He shall lean on his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)It shall not endure.—The description of the wicked man ends here.Job 8:15. He shall lean upon his house — He shall trust to the multitude and strength of his children and servants, and to his wealth, all which come under the name of a man’s house in Scripture. But it shall not stand — That is, not be able to uphold itself, nor him that trusted to it. He shall hold it fast — Or, he shall take fast hold of it to strengthen and uphold himself by it. But his web, that refuge of lies, will be swept away, and he crushed in it. Or, by holding it fast, may be meant, that he shall endeavour to support his house by strong alliances, but it will be to no purpose, for it shall not endure.
He shall hold it fast - Or, he shall lay hold on it to sustain him, denoting the avidity with which the hypocrite seizes upon his hope. The figure is still taken from the spider, and is an instance of a careful observation of the habits of that insect. The idea is, that the spider, when a high wind or a tempest blows, seizes upon its slender web to sustain itself. But it is insufficient. The wind sweeps all away. So the tempest of calamity sweeps away the hypocrite, though he grasps at his hope, and would seek security in that, as a spider does in the light and tenuous thread which it has spun.He, either the spider, or rather, the wicked man signified by it,
shall lean upon his house, i.e. he shall trust to the multitude and strength of his children and servants. and to his wealth, all which come under the name of a man’s house in Scripture use.
It shall not stand, i.e. not be able to uphold itself, nor him that trusted to it.
He shall hold it fast; or, he shall take fast hold of it; not to uphold it, but to strengthen and uphold himself by it, as it is in the former branch.
but it shall not stand: whether it be riches, these are uncertain things, of no continuance; there are no riches durable but the unsearchable riches of Christ and his grace; or whether it be a man's own righteousness, which he endeavours to establish, or "make to stand", as the phrase is in Romans 10:3; but in vain; it is but a sandy foundation to build on; or the hope and confidence laid upon it is like a house built on the sand, and, when rain falls, floods come, and winds beat upon it, it falls; and great is the fall of it, Matthew 7:26,
he shall hold it fast; as the worldling does his wealth, his gold and his silver; but it is snatched out of his hand by one providence or another, or however at last death obliges him to part with it; and the self-righteous man holds fast his righteousness, it is his own, he is fond of, an house of his own building, and cannot bear to have it demolished; an idol of his own setting up, and to take it away is to take away his gods; and what has he more? wherefore he holds it as fast as he can, and will not let it go till he can hold it no longer; or, "he shall fortify himself in it" (h), as in a castle or strong hold, which he thinks impregnable, yet will soon and easily be battered down by divine justice:
but it shall not endure; gold perishes, riches come to nought, wealth is no enduring substance, nor is a man's righteousness lasting; only Christ's righteousness is everlasting; true grace endures to eternal and issues in it; but external gifts, speculative and rational knowledge, and a mere profession of religion, fail, cease, and vanish away.He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. hold it fast] i. e. hold fast by it. The meaning of course is not that he tries to uphold his house, but that he tries to support himself by holding on to it. This is true both of the spider and the man.Verse 15. - He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. A spider's web, once damaged, rapidly goes to pieces. It cannot be patched up. To "lean upon it" is to put its structure to a test which it is unable to bear. It cannot "stand" or "endure." The case is the same with all the supports of the ungodly.
And attend to the research of their fathers -
9 For we are of yesterday, without experience,
Because our days upon earth are a shadow -
10 Shall they not teach thee, speak to thee,
And bring forth words from their heart?
This challenge calls Deuteronomy 32:7 to mind. לבּך is to be supplied to כּונן; the conjecture of Olshausen, וּבונן, is good, but unnecessary. רשׁון is after the Aramaic form of writing, comp. Job 15:7, where this and the ordinary form are combined. The "research of their fathers," i.e., which the fathers of former generations have bequeathed to them, is the collective result of their research, the profound wisdom of the ancients gathered from experience. Our ephemeral and shadowy life is not sufficient for passing judgment on the dealings of God; we must call history and tradition to our aid. We are תּמול (per aphaeresin, the same as אתמול), yesterday equals of yesterday; it is not necessary to read, with Olshausen, מתּמול. There is no occasion for us to suppose that Job 8:9 is an antithesis to the long duration of life of primeval man. לב (Job 8:10) is not the antithesis of mouth; but has the pregnant signification of a feeling, i.e., intelligent heart, as we find לבב אישׁ, a man of heart, i.e., understanding, Job 34:10, Job 34:34. יוציאוּ, promunt, calls to mind Matthew 13:52. Now follow familiar sayings of the ancients, not directly quoted, but the wisdom of the fathers, which Bildad endeavours to reproduce.
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