Job 6:5
Does the wild ass bray when he has grass? or lows the ox over his fodder?
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Job 6:5. Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? &c. — “Grass and fodder here are a figure of abundance and tranquillity, such as the friends of Job enjoyed. To bray and low refer to expressions of grief and uneasiness. Job therefore compares his friends, with some smartness, to a wild ass exulting in its food, and to an ox perfectly satisfied with grateful pasture.” His words may be paraphrased thus: Even the brute beasts, when they have convenient food, are quiet and contented. So, it is no wonder that you complain not, who live in ease and prosperity, any more than I did when I wanted nothing; “happy yourselves, you do not condole with me in my wretchedness, nor mourn with me, but rather blame my mourning as importunate clamour, and as if I had behaved myself toward God with insolence and impatience.” — Schultens.6:1-7 Job still justifies himself in his complaints. In addition to outward troubles, the inward sense of God's wrath took away all his courage and resolution. The feeling sense of the wrath of God is harder to bear than any outward afflictions. What then did the Saviour endure in the garden and on the cross, when he bare our sins, and his soul was made a sacrifice to Divine justice for us! Whatever burden of affliction, in body or estate, God is pleased to lay upon us, we may well submit to it as long as he continues to us the use of our reason, and the peace of our conscience; but if either of these is disturbed, our case is very pitiable. Job reflects upon his friends for their censures. He complains he had nothing offered for his relief, but what was in itself tasteless, loathsome, and burdensome.Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? - On the habits of the wild ass, see the notes at Job 11:12. The meaning of Job here is, that he did not complain without reason; and this he illustrates by the fact that the wild animal that had a plentiful supply of food would be gentle and calm, and that when its bray was heard it was proof that it was suffering. So Job says that there was a reason for his complaining. He was suffering; and perhaps he means that his complaint was just as natural, and just as innocent, as the braying of the ass for its food. He should have remembered however, that he was endowed with reason, and that he was bound to evince a different spirit from the brute creation.

Or loweth the ox over his fodder? - That is, the ox is satisfied and uncomplaining when his needs are supplied. The fact that he lows is proof that he is in distress, or there is a reason for it. So Job says that his complaints were proof that he was in distress, and that there was a reason for his language of complaint.

5. Neither wild animals, as the wild ass, nor tame, as the ox, are dissatisfied when well-supplied with food. The braying of the one and the lowing of the other prove distress and want of palatable food. So, Job argues, if he complains, it is not without cause; namely, his pains, which are, as it were, disgusting food, which God feeds him with (end of Job 6:7). But he should have remembered a rational being should evince a better spirit than the brute. Thou wonderest that my disposition and carriage is so greatly altered from what it was, Job 4:3-5, but thou mayst easily learn the reason of it from the brute beasts, the ass and ox, who when they have convenient and common food, are quiet and contented; but when they want that, they will resent it, and complain in their way by braying or lowing: see Jeremiah 14:6. And therefore my carriage is agreeable to those common principles of nature which are both in men and beasts, by which their disposition and deportment is generally suitable to their condition. It is no wonder that you complain not, who live in ease and prosperity; nor did I, when it was so with me; but if you felt what I feel, you would be as full of complaints as I am. Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder? No, they neither of them do, when the one is in a good pasture, and the other has a sufficiency of provender; but when they are in want of food, the one will bray, and the other will low, which are tones peculiar to those creatures, and express their mournful complaints; wherefore Job suggests, that should he make no moan and complaint in his sorrowful circumstances, he should be more stupid and senseless than those brute creatures: and he may have some respect to the different circumstances of himself and his friends; he himself, when he was in prosperity, made no complaints, as the wild ass brays not, and the ox lows not, when they have both food enough; but now, being in distress, he could not but utter his sorrow and trouble, as those creatures when in lack of food; and this may serve as an answer to his different conduct now and formerly, objected to him, Job 4:3; and so his friends; they lived in great tranquillity and prosperity, as Aben Ezra observes, and roared and grieved not, which doubtless they would, were they in the same circumstances he was; though it became them, as things were, to have uttered words of condolence to their friend in distress, instead of sharp reproofs and hard censures. Doth the {d} wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?

(d) Do you think that I cry without cause, seeing the brute beasts do not complain when they have what they want.

5, 6. Job’s complaints are proof of his pain, for does any creature complain when it has what its nature desires? The “braying” and “lowing” here are those expressing discontent or want.

be eaten without salt] Rather, can that be eaten which is unsavoury and saltless?

the white of an egg] This is the traditional interpretation and is perhaps the most probable. Others think of some insipid herb, and render: the slime (broth) of purslain. The reference in the passage is to Job’s afflictions, which he compares here to an insipid, and in next verse to a loathsome, food, cf. ch. Job 3:24. Others have thought that the reference was to the insipid harangues of the friends. But such a reference entirely breaks the connexion.Verse 5. - Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? literally, over grass; i.e. when he has grass under his feet, and has consequently no cause of complaint. Job means to say that his own complainings are as natural and instinctive as these of animals (On the species of wild asses known to Job, see the comment on Job 39:5.) Or loweth the ox over his fodder? The lowing of the ox, like the braying of the wild ass, is a complaint - a sign of distress and discomfort. 22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh,

And from the beasts of the earth thou hast nothing to fear.

23 For thou art in league with the stones of the field,

And the beasts of the field are at peace with thee.

24 And thou knowest that peace is thy pavilion;

And thou searchest thy household, and findest nothing wanting.

25 Thou knowest also that thy seed shall be numerous,

And thy offspring as the herb of the ground.

26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a ripe age,

As shocks of corn are brought in in their season.

27 Lo! this we have searched out, so it is:

Hear it, and give thou heed to it.

The verb שׂחק is construed (Job 5:22) with ל of that which is despised, as Job 39:7, Job 39:18; Job 41:21 [Hebr.]. על־תּירא is the form of subjective negation [vid. Ges. 152, 1: Tr.]: only fear thou not equals thou hast no occasion. In Job 5:23, בּריתך is the shortest substantive form for לך בּרית. The whole of nature will be at peace with thee: the stones of the field, that they do not injure the fertility of thy fields; the wild beasts of the field, that they do not hurt thee and thy herds. The same promise that Hosea (Hosea 2:20) utters in reference to the last days is here used individually. From this we see how deeply the Chokma had searched into the history of Paradise and the Fall. Since man, the appointed lord of the earth, has been tempted by a reptile, and has fallen by a tree, his relation to nature, and its relation to him, has been reversed: it is an incongruity, which is again as a whole put right (שׁלום), as the false relation of man to God is put right. In Job 5:24, שׁלום (which might also be adj.) is predicate: thou wilt learn (וידעתּ, praet. consec. with accented ultima, as e.g., Deuteronomy 4:39, here with Tiphcha initiale s. anterius, which does not indicate the grammatical tone-syllable) that thy tent is peace, i.e., in a condition of contentment and peace on all sides. Job 5:24 is to be arranged: And when thou examinest thy household, then thou lackest nothing, goest not astray, i.e., thou findest everything, without missing anything, in the place where thou seekest it.

Job 5:25 reminds one of the Salomonic Psalm 72:16. צאצאים in the Old Testament is found only in Isaiah and the book of Job. The meaning of the noun כּלח, which occurs only here and Job 30:2, is clear. Referring to the verb כּלח, Arabic qahila (qalhama), to be shrivelled up, very aged, it signifies the maturity of old age, - an idea which may be gained more easily if we connect כּלח with כּלה (to be completed), like קשׁח with קשׁה (to be hard).


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