They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They were confounded.—Comp. Jeremiah’s description of the famine (Jeremiah 14:3). (See margin.)Job 6:20. They were confounded — That is, the troops and companies were miserably disappointed; because they hoped — Comforted themselves with the expectation of water there to quench their thirst; they came, and were ashamed — To think that they should expect relief from such uncertain streams, and had deceived themselves and others. Thus we prepare confusion for ourselves by our vain hopes: the reeds break under us because we lean upon them.Isaiah 30:5. They were downcast and sad that the waters had failed, and they looked on one another with confusion and dismay. There are few images more poetic than this, and nothing that would more strikingly exhibit the disappointment of Job, that he had looked for consolation from his friends, and had not found it. He was down-cast, distressed, and disheartened, like the travelers of Tema and of Sheba, because they had nothing to offer to console him; because he had waited for them to sustain him in his afflictions, and had been wholly disappointed.
they came thither—to the place.
and were ashamed—literally, "their countenances burn," an Oriental phrase for the shame and consternation of deceived expectation; so "ashamed" as to disappointment (Ro 5:5).They were confounded, i.e. the troops and companies. Because they had hoped; they comforted themselves with the expectation of water there to quench their thirst.
Were ashamed; as having deceived themselves and others with vain and false hopes.
they came thither, and were ashamed; which is the same thing expressed in different words; and aptly enough describes Job's disappointment in not meeting with that relief and comfort he expected from his friends, to whom he makes application of all this in the following words.They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 20. - They were confounded because they had hoped. Shame and confusion of face came upon them in consequence of their vain hope. In the same way, Job implies, he is ashamed of having looked for compassion and kindness from his friends. He should have been wiser and have known better. They came thither, and were ashamed. They not only hoped, but acted on their hope-let it turn them aside from their way (ver. 18) and bring them to ruin.
Otherwise he might forsake the fear of the Almighty.
15 My brothers are become false as a torrent,
As the bed of torrents which vanish away -
16 They were blackish from ice,
Snow is hidden in them -
17 In the time, when warmth cometh to them, they are destroyed.
It becometh hot, they are extinguished from their place.
Ewald supplies between Job 6:14 and Job 6:14 two lines which have professedly fallen out ("from a brother sympathy is due to the oppressed of God, in order he may not succumb to excessive grief"). Hitzig strongly characterizes this interpolation as a "pure swindle." There is really nothing wanting; but we need not even take חסד, with Hitz., in the signification reproach (like Proverbs 14:34): if reproach cometh to the sufferer from his friend, he forsaketh the fear of God. מס (from מסס, liquefieri) is one who is inwardly melted, the disheartened. Such an one should receive חסד from his friend, i.e., that he should restore him ἐν πνεύματι πραΰ́τητος (Galatians 6:1). The waw (Job 6:14) is equivalent to alioqui with the future subjunctive (vid., Ges. 127, 5). Harshness might precipitate him into the abyss from which love will keep him back. So Schnurrer: Afflicto exhibenda est ab amico ipsius humanitas, alioqui hic reverentiam Dei exuit. Such harshness instead of charity meets him from his brothers, i.e., friends beloved as brothers. In vain he has looked to them for reviving consolation. Theirs is no comfort; it is like the dried-up water of a wady. נחל is a mountain or forest brook, which comes down from the height, and in spring is swollen by melting ice and the snow that thaws on the mountain-tops; χειμάῤῥους, i.e., a torrent swollen by winter water. The melting blocks of ice darken the water of such a wady, and the snow falling together is quickly hidden in its bosom (התעלּם). If they begin to be warmed (Pual זרב, cognate to צרב, Ezekiel 21:3, aduri, and שׂרף, comburere), suddenly they are reduced to nothing (נצמת, exstingui); they vanish away בּחמּו, when it becomes hot. The suffix is, with Ew., Olsh., and others, to be taken as neuter; not with Hirz., to be referred to a suppressed את: when the season grows hot. job bewails the disappointment he has experienced, the "decline" of charity
(Note: Oetinger says that Job 6:15-20 describe those who get "consumption" when they are obliged to extend "the breasts of compassion" to their neighbour.)
still further, by keeping to the figure of the mountain torrent.
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