As a servant earnestly desires the shadow, and as an hireling looks for the reward of his work:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 7:2. As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow — Of the evening, the sun-set, or the night, the time allotted for his rest and repose. For man goeth forth to his labour until the evening, Psalm 104:23. So, why may not I also desire the time of my rest? The Hebrew, however, ישׁאŠ צל, jishap tzel, is more literally rendered, gapeth, or panteth after the shade. And the meaning probably is, As a servant, labouring in the heat of the sun, earnestly desires a cool, refreshing shade. And as a hireling — Hebrews שׂכיר, sacir, properly, a servant hired for a certain time, whereas, the preceding word, עבד, gnebed, signifies a servant, whose time of service is not fixed or limited: looketh for the reward of his work — As the Hebrews פעל, pognal, according to Buxtorf, signifies both work, and, by a metonymy, the wages of work, and is accordingly translated wages, (Leviticus 19:13,) the words in the Italic character (namely, the reward of) did not need to be added here in the text, but the version might properly have been, As a hireling looketh, or, as Heath renders it, earnestly longeth for his wages.
The shadow - This may refer either to a shade in the intense heat of the day, or to the night. Nothing is more grateful in oriental countries, when the sun pours down intensely on burning sands, than the shadow of a tree, or the shade of a projecting rock. The editor of the Pictorial Bible on this verse remarks, "We think we can say, that next to water, the greatest and deepest enjoyment we could ever realize in the hot climates of the East was, when on a journey, any circumstance of the road brought us for a few minutes under some shade. Its reviving influence upon the bodily frame, and consequently upon the spirits, is inconceivable by one who has not had some experience of the kind. Often also during the hall of a caravan in the open air, when the writer has been enabled to secure a station for repose under the shelter of a rock or of an old wall, has his own exultation and strong sense of luxurious enjoyment reminded him of this and other passages of Scripture, in which shade is mentioned as a thing punted for with intense desire." Probably here, however, the reference is to the shades of night, the time when darkness falls upon the earth, and the servant is released from his toil. It is common in all languages to speak of night as enveloped with shadows. Thus, Virgil, En. iv. 7:
Humentemque aurora polo dimoverat urnbram.
The meaning of Job is, that as a servant looked impatiently for the shades of the evening when he would be dismissed from toil, so he longed for death.
And as an hireling looketh - That is, he anxiously desires his work to be finished, and expects the reward of his labors. So Job looked to the reward of a life of toil and piety. Is there not here an undoubted reference to a future state? Is it not manifest that Job looked to some recompense in the future world, as real and as sure, as a hired servant looks for the reward of his toils when his work is done?The shadow, i.e. the sun-set, or the night, the time allotted for his rest and repose, Psalm 104:23. And why may not I also desire the time of my rest?
The reward of his work, Heb. his work; which is oft put for the reward of it, as Leviticus 19:13 Isaiah 40:10 49:4. Or, the end of his work. Isaiah 25:4. Wherefore they "gape" for, or "pant" after some shady place for refreshment, as the word (n) used signifies; or for the shadow of the evening, or the sun setting, when the longest shadow is cast, Jeremiah 6:4; and when the work of a servant is ended, and he retires to his house for refreshment and rest: and since now such a shadow in either sense is desirable, and not unlawful to wish for, Job suggests it ought not to be charged as a crime in him, that he should importunately desire to be in the shadow of death, or in the grave, where the weary are at rest; or to have the night come on him, when he should cease from all his toil and labour, sorrows and pains:
and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work; or "for his work" (o); either for new work, what was set him being done, or rather for the finishing of it, that he might have rest from it; or for the reward, the hire due to him upon its being done; so Job intimates he desired death with the same view, that he might cease from his works, which should follow him, and when he should have the reward of the inheritance, not in a way of debt, but of grace: nor indeed is it sinful to look or have respect unto the recompence of reward, in order to engage to go through service more cheerfully, or to endure sufferings more patiently, see Hebrews 11:26; for though the hireling is an emblem of a self-righteous person, that works for life, and expects it as the reward of his work, and of false teachers and bad shepherds, that take the care of the flock for filthy lucre's sake, see Luke 15:19; yet hiring is sometimes used, in a good sense, of good men, that are hired and allured by gracious promises and divine encouragements to labour in the Lord's vineyard, and may expect their reward; see Matthew 20:1.As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. With slight change the verse reads,
As a slave who panteth for the shadow,
And as an hireling who looketh, &c.
The slave in the heat and under his hard toil pants for the shadow of evening, the day’s end; and the hireling looks for his wages, that is, the close of the day; cf. Proverbs 21:6.Verse 2. - As a servant (or, a slave) panteth for the shadow; i.e. longs for the shades of evening to descend and bring the day to a close. The slavery of Job's time was probably not unlike that of captive races in Egypt, so graphically portrayed in the early chapters of Exodus. The captive, working from morning to night at exhausting labour, would long intensely for the night to arrive, when his toil would come to an end. The inference is not drawn, but clearly is - so Job may be excused if he longs for death, now that he has reached old age, and that the work of his life is manifestly ended. And as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work; rather, for his wages. The word used (פעל) has the two meanings of "work" and "the wages of work" (see Jeremiah 22:13).
And cause me to understand wherein I have failed.
25 How forcible are words in accordance with truth!
But what doth reproof from you reprove?
26 Do you think to reprove words?
The words of one in despair belong to the wind.
27 Ye would even cast lots for the orphan,
And traffic about your friend.
נמרצוּ, Job 6:25, in the signification of נמלצוּ (Psalm 119:103), would suit very well: how smooth, delicate, sweet, are, etc. (Hirz., Ew., Schlottm.); but this meaning does not suit Job 16:3. Hupfeld, by comparison with mar, bitter, translates: quantumvis acerba; but מה may signify quidquid, though not quantumvis. Hahn compares the Arabic verb to be sick, and translates: in what respect are right words bad; but physical disease and ethical badness are not such nearly related ideas. Ebrard: honest words are not taken amiss; but with an inadmissible application of Job 16:3. Von Gerl. is best: how strong or forcible are, etc. מרץ is taken as related to פּרץ, in the signification to penetrate; Hiph. to goad; Niph. to be furnished with the property of penetrating, - used here of penetrating speech; 1 Kings 2:8, of a curse inevitably carried out; Micah 2:10, of unsparing destruction. Words which keep the straight way to truth, go to the heart; on the contrary, what avails the reproving from you, i.e., which proceeds from you? הוכח, inf. absol. as Proverbs 25:27, and in but a few other passages as subject; מכּם, as Job 5:15, the sword going forth out of their mouth. In Job 6:26 the waw introduces a subordinate adverbial clause: while, however, the words of one in despair belong to the wind, that they may be carried away by it, not to the judgment which retains and analyzes them, without considering the mood of which they are the hasty expression. The futt. express the extent to which their want of feeling would go, if the circumstances for it only existed; they are subjunctive, as Job 3:13, Job 3:16. גּורל, the lot, is to be supplied to תּפּילוּ, as 1 Samuel 14:42. The verb כּרה, however, does not here signify to dig, so that שׁחת, a pit, should be supplied (Heiligst.), still less: dig out earth, and cast it on any one (Ebrard); but has the signification of buying and selling with על of the object, exactly like Job 39:27.
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