Job 8:12
Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it wither before any other herb.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
8:8-19 Bildad discourses well of hypocrites and evil-doers, and the fatal end of all their hopes and joys. He proves this truth of the destruction of the hopes and joys of hypocrites, by an appeal to former times. Bildad refers to the testimony of the ancients. Those teach best that utter words out of their heart, that speak from an experience of spiritual and divine things. A rush growing in fenny ground, looking very green, but withering in dry weather, represents the hypocrite's profession, which is maintained only in times of prosperity. The spider's web, spun with great skill, but easily swept away, represents a man's pretensions to religion when without the grace of God in his heart. A formal professor flatters himself in his own eyes, doubts not of his salvation, is secure, and cheats the world with his vain confidences. The flourishing of the tree, planted in the garden, striking root to the rock, yet after a time cut down and thrown aside, represents wicked men, when most firmly established, suddenly thrown down and forgotten. This doctrine of the vanity of a hypocrite's confidence, or the prosperity of a wicked man, is sound; but it was not applicable to the case of Job, if confined to the present world.Whilst it is yet in his greenness - That is, while it seems to be in its vigor.

And is not cut down - Even when it is not cut down. If suffered to stand by itself, and if undisturbed, it will wither away. The application of this is obvious and beautiful. Such plants have no self sustaining power. They are dependent on moisture for their support. If that is withheld, they droop and die. So with the prosperous sinner and the hypocrite. His piety, compared with that which is genuine, is like the spongy texture of the paper-reed compared with the solid oak. He is sustained in his professed religion by outward prosperity, as the rush is nourished by moisture; and the moment his prosperity is withdrawn, his religion droops and dies like the flag without water.

12. not cut down—Before it has ripened for the scythe, it withers more suddenly than any herb, having no self-sustaining power, once that the moisture is gone, which other herbs do not need in the same degree. So ruin seizes on the godless in the zenith of prosperity, more suddenly than on others who appear less firmly seated in their possessions [Umbreit] (Ps 112:10). Yet in his greenness; whereby it promiseth long continuance.

Not cut down; though no man cut it down, it withereth of itself, and will save a man the labour of cutting or plucking it up. It gives not a man so much warning that he can cut it down in time, as other green herbs do, but suddenly withereth.

Before any other herb, i.e. sooner than other herbs, or in their presence, or they surviving; in which sense it seems to be said that Ishmael died in the presence of his brethren, Genesis 25:18; the rest of the herbs looking upon it, and admiring this sudden change. For actions of sense and understanding are oft ascribed to lifeless creatures, both in Scripture and other authors. Whilst it is yet in its greenness,.... Before it is come to its full height, or to a proper ripeness; when as yet it has not flowered, or is about it; before the time usual for it to turn and change; it being without moisture, water, or watery clay, will change:

and not cut down; by the scythe, or cropped by the hand of man:

it withereth before any other herb; of itself; rather sooner than such that do not require so much moisture; or in the sight and presence of them, they looking on as it were, and deriding it; a poetical representation, as Schultens observes: next follows the accommodation of these similes to wicked and hypocritical men.

Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. and not cut down] lit. and not to be cut down (or, plucked, ch. Job 30:4), that is, in its full luxuriance, not ripe nor ready for cutting, and therefore with no trace of withering or decay in it. In this state of full freshness, when water is withdrawn from it, it sinks and collapses, withering sooner than any herb.Verse 12. - Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not out down. It grows and flourishes in a rich greenness up to a certain point; no one touches it; but the water fails from the root, and it fades, collapses, and is gone. It withereth before any other herb. The ground may be all green around it with ordinary grass and other herbs, since they only need a little moisture - the water-plant will collapse unless it has its full supply. 5 If thou seekest unto God,

And makest supplication to the Almighty,

6 If thou art pure and upright; Surely!

He will care for thee,

And restore the habitation of thy righteousness;

7 And if thy beginning was small,

Thy end shall be exceeding great.

There is still hope for Job (אתּה, in opposition to his children), if, turning humbly to God, he shows that, although not suffering undeservedly, he is nevertheless pure and upright in his inmost mind. Job 8:6 is so intended; not as Mercier and others explain: si in posterum puritati et justitiae studueris. אל־אל שׁחר, to turn one's self to God earnestly seeking, constr. praegnans, like אל־אל דּרשׁ, Job 5:8. Then begins the conclusion with כּי־עתּה, like Job 13:18. "The habitation of thy righteousness" is Job's household cleansed and justified from sin. God will restore that; שׁלּם might also signify, give peace to, but restore is far more appropriate. Completely falling back on שׁלם, the Piel signifies to recompense, off like being returned for like, and to restore, of a complete covering of the loss sustained. God will not only restore, but increase beyond measure, what Job was and had. The verb. masc. after אחרית here is remarkable. But we need not, with Olsh., read ישׂגּה: we may suppose, with Ewald, according to 174, e, that אהרית is purposely treated as masc. It would be a mistake to refer to Proverbs 23:32; Proverbs 29:21, in support of it.

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