Psalm 105:18
Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
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(18) He was laid in iron.—The Prayer Book Version, “the iron entered into his soul,” has established itself so firmly among expressive proverbial sayings, that the mind almost resents the Authorised Version. The grammar of the clause does not decide its sense with certainty; for its syntax is rather in favour of the Prayer Book Version, though the feminine form of the verb makes in favour of the marginal rendering. Symmachus has, “his soul came into iron;” the LXX., “his soul passed through iron.” The Vulg., however, has the other Version, “the iron passed through his soul”—first found in the Targum. The parallelism is in favour of the Authorised Version.

105:8-23 Let us remember the Redeemer's marvellous works, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth. Though true Christians are few number, strangers and pilgrims upon earth, yet a far better inheritance than Canaan is made sure to them by the covenant of God; and if we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, none can do us any harm. Afflictions are among our mercies. They prove our faith and love, they humble our pride, they wean us from the world, and quicken our prayers. Bread is the staff which supports life; when that staff is broken, the body fails and sinks to the earth. The word of God is the staff of spiritual life, the food and support of the soul: the sorest judgment is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. Such a famine was sore in all lands when Christ appeared in the flesh; whose coming, and the blessed effect of it, are shadowed forth in the history of Joseph. At the appointed time Christ was exalted as Mediator; all the treasures of grace and salvation are at his disposal, perishing sinners come to him, and are relieved by him.Whose feet they hurt with fetters - In Genesis 40:3; it is said of Joseph that he was "bound" in prison. It is not improbable that his "feet" were bound, as this is the usual way of confining prisoners.

He was laid in iron - In the prison. The margin is, "his soul came into iron." The version in the Prayer-Book of the Episcopal Church is, the iron entered into his soul. This is a more striking and beautiful rendering, though it may be doubted whether the Hebrew will permit it. DeWette renders it, "In iron lay his body."

18. hurt with fetters—(Ge 40:3).

was laid in iron—literally, "his soul" (see on [631]Ps 16:10), or, "he came into iron," or, he was bound to his grief (compare Ps 3:2; 11:1). The "soul" is put for the whole person, because the soul of the captive suffers still more than the body. Joseph is referred to as being an appropriate type of those "bound in affliction and iron" (Ps 107:10).

Heb. his soul came into iron; which seems to be added emphatically to aggravate his imprisonment, and to show how grievous it was to his very soul, which must needs sympathize with his body, and moreover was greatly vexed to consider both the great injury which was done to him, and yet the foul and public scandal which lay upon him.

Whose feet they hurt with fetters,.... For it seems Joseph was not only cast into prison, upon the calumny of his mistress; but had fetters put upon him, and his feet were made fast with them; and these were so close and heavy, as to pinch and gall and hurt him; which, though not mentioned in his history, was undoubtedly true; see Genesis 39:20.

He was laid in iron: or "the iron" (or, as the Targum, "the iron chain") "went into his Soul" (f); his body; it ate into him, and gave him great pain: or rather, as it is in the king's Bible, "his soul went into the iron chain"; there being, as Aben Ezra observes, an ellipsis of the particle and which is supplied by Symmachus, and so in the Targum; that is, his body was enclosed in iron bands, so Buxtorf (g). In all this he was a type of Christ, whose soul was made exceeding sorrowful unto death: he was seized by the Jews, led bound to the high priest, fastened to the cursed tree, pierced with nails, and more so with the sins of his people he bore; and was laid in the prison of the grave; from whence and from judgment he was brought, Isaiah 53:8.

(f) So Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus. (g) Lexic. "in voce"

Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
18. Whose feet] R.V. His feet. This verse is merely a poetical description of imprisonment. The narrative in Gen. does not hint that Joseph was severely treated.

he was laid in iron] I.e. as R.V., he was laid in (chains of) iron. But the Heb. literally means, (into) iron entered his soul; and his soul is not a mere equivalent for he, but denotes (though we have no word by which it could be rendered here) Joseph’s whole sensitive personality. He keenly felt the degradation and suffering of his unjust imprisonment. Thus the sense is substantially the same as that of the picturesque rendering of the P.B.V. which has passed into a proverbial phrase, “the iron entered into his soul[58].” This rendering, which is that of the Targ. and Vulg.[59], is defended by Delitzsch and others, but is questionable for grammatical reasons.

[58] Coverdale’s original rendering (1535) was, the yron pearsed his herte. The alteration in the Great Bible (1539) was no doubt suggested by Münster’s ferreum (vinculum) intravit usque ad animam eius.

[59] According to the present text, which has ferrum pertransiit animam eius. But as all the mss. of the LXX have σίδηρον διῆλθεν ἡ ψυχὴ αὐτοῦ, it seems probable that animam is a corruption for anima.

Verse 18. - Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron; rather, his soul entered into iron. In Genesis nothing more is said than that Joseph "was bound" in the prison (Genesis 40:3). But the psalmist knows what imprisonment was in those early times. Psalm 105:18"To call up a famine" is also a prose expression in 2 Kings 8:1. To break the staff of bread (i.e., the staff which bread is to man) is a very old metaphor, Leviticus 26:26. That the selling of Joseph was, providentially regarded, a "sending before," he himself says in Genesis 45:5. Psalm 102:24 throws light upon the meaning of ענּה ב. The Kerמ רגלו is just as much without any occasion to justify it as עינו in Ecclesiastes 4:8 (for עיניו). The statement that iron came upon his soul is intended to say that he had to endure in iron fetters sufferings that threatened his life. Most expositors take בּרזל as equivalent to בּבּרזל, but Hitzig rightly takes נפשׁו as an object, following the Targum; for ברזל as a name of an iron fetter

(Note: Also in ancient Arabic firzil (after the Aramaic פרזלא) directly signifies an iron fetter (and the large smith's shears for cutting the iron), whence the verb. denom. Arab. farzala, c. acc. pers., to put any one into iron chains. Iron is called בּרזל from בּרז, to pierce, like the Arabic ḥdı̂d, as being the material of which pointed tools are made.)

can change its gender, as do, e.g., צפון as a name of the north wind, and כבוד as a name of the soul. The imprisonment (so harsh at the commencement) lasted over ten years, until at last Joseph's word cam to pass, viz., the word concerning this exaltation which had been revealed to him in dreams (Genesis 42:9). According to Psalm 107:20, דברו appears to be the word of Jahve, but then one would expect from Psalm 105:19 a more parallel turn of expression. What is meant is Joseph's open-hearted word concerning his visions, and אמרת ה is the revelation of God conveying His promises, which came to him in the same form, which had to try, to prove, and to purify him (צרף as in Psalm 17:3, and frequently), inasmuch as he was not to be raised to honour without having in a state of deep abasement proved a faithfulness that wavered not, and a confidence that knew no despair. The divine "word" is conceived of as a living effectual power, as in Psalm 119:50. The representation of the exaltation begins, according to Genesis 41:14, with שׁלח־מלך

(Note: Here שׁלח is united by Makkeph with the following word, to which it hurries on, whereas in Psalm 105:28 it has its own accent, a circumstance to which the Masora has directed attention in the apophthegm: שׁלוחי דמלכא זריזין שׁלוחי דחשׁוכא מתינין (the emissaries of the king are in haste, those of darkness are tardy); vid., Baer, Thorath Emeth, p. 22.)

and follows Genesis 41:39-41, Genesis 41:44, very closely as to the rest, according to which בּנפשׁו is a collateral definition to לאסּר (with an orthophonic Dag.) in the sense of בּרצונו: by his soul, i.e., by virtue of his will (vid., Psychology, S. 202; tr. p. 239). In consequence of this exaltation of Joseph, Jacob-Israel came then into Egypt, and sojourned there as in a protecting house of shelter (concerning גּוּר, vid., supra, p. 414). Egypt is called (Psalm 105:23, Psalm 105:27) the land of Chaam, as in Psalm 78:51; according to Plutarch, in the vernacular the black land, from the dark ashy grey colouring which the deposited mud of the Nile gives to the ground. There Israel became a powerful, numerous people (Exodus 1:7; Deuteronomy 26:5), greater than their oppressors.

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