Job 30:9
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
“And now I have become their song; I am a byword to them.

King James Bible
And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword.

American Standard Version
And now I am become their song, Yea, I am a byword unto them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now I am turned into their song, and am become their byword.

English Revised Version
And now I am become their song, yea, I am a byword unto them.

Webster's Bible Translation
And now I am their song, yes, I am their by-word.

Job 30:9 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

1 And now they who are younger than I have me in derision,

Those whose fathers I disdained To set with the dogs of my flock.

2 Yea, the strength of their hands, what should it profit me?

They have lost vigour and strength.

3 They are benumbed from want and hunger,

They who gnaw the steppe,

The darkness of the wilderness and waste;

4 They who pluck mallows in the thicket,

And the root of the broom is their bread.

With ועתּה, which also elsewhere expresses the turning-point from the premises to the conclusion, from accusation to the threat of punishment, and such like, Job here begins to bewail the sad turn which his former prosperity has taken. The first line of the verse, which is marked off by Mercha-Mahpach, is intentionally so disproportionately long, to form a deep and long breathed beginning to the lamentation which is now begun. Formerly, as he has related in the first part of the monologue, an object of reverential fear to the respectable youth of the city (Job 29:8), he is now an object of derision (שׂחק על, to laugh at, distinct from שׂחק אל, Job 29:24, to laugh to, smile upon) to the young good-for-nothing vagabonds of a miserable class of men. They are just the same עניּי ארץ, whose sorrowful lot he reckons among the mysteries of divine providence, so difficulty of solution (Job 24:4-8). The less he belongs to the merciless ones, who take advantage of the calamities of the poor for their own selfish ends, instead of relieving their distress as far as is in their power, the more unjustifiable is the rude treatment which he now experiences from them, when they who meanly hated him before because he was rich, now rejoice at the destruction of his prosperity. Younger than he in days (לימים as Job 32:4, with ל of closer definition, instead of which the simple acc. was inadmissible here, comp. on Job 11:9) laugh at him, sons of those fathers who were so useless and abandoned that he scorned (מאס ל, comp. מאס מן, 1 Samuel 15:26) to entrust to them even a service so menial as that of the shepherd dogs. Schult., Rosenm., and Schlottm. take שׁית עם for שׁית על, praeficere, but that ought to be just simply שׁית על; שׁית עם signifies to range beside, i.e., to place alike, to associate; moreover, the oversight of the shepherd dogs is no such menial post, while Job intends to say that he did not once consider them fit to render such a subordinate service as is that of the dogs which help the shepherds.

And even the strength of their (these youths') hands (גּם is referable to the suff. of ידיהם: even; not: now entirely, completely, as Hahn translates), of what use should it be to him: (למּה not cur, but ad quid, quorsum, as Genesis 25:32; Genesis 27:46.) They are enervated, good-for-nothing fellows: כּלח is lost to them (עלימו trebly emphatic: it is placed in a prominent position, has a pathetic suff., and is על for ל, 1 Samuel 9:3). The signif. senectus, which suits Job 5:26, is here inapplicable, since it is not the aged that are spoken of, but the young; for that "old age is lost to them" would be a forced expression for the thought - which, moreover, does not accord with the connection - that they die off early. One does not here expect the idea of senectus or senectus vegeta, but vigor, as the Syriac (‛ushino) and Arabic also translate it. May not כּלח perhaps be related to כּח, as שׁלאנן to שׁאנן, the latter being a mixed form from שׁאנן and שׁלו, the former from כּח and לח, fresh juicy vigour, or as we say: pith and marrow (Saft and Kraft)? At all events, if this is somewhat the idea of the word, it may be derived from כּלח equals כּלה (lxx συντέλεια), or some other way (vid., on Job 5:26): it signifies full strength or maturity.

(Note: From the root Arab. kl (on its primary notion, vid., my review of Bernstein's edition of Kirsch's Syr. Chrestomathie, Ergnzungsblatt der A.L.Z. 1843, Nr. 16 and 17) other derivatives, as Arab. kl', klb, klt, klṯ, klj, kld, klz, etc., develop in general the significations to bring, take, or hold together, enclose, and the like; but Arab. lkḥ in particular the signification to draw together, distort violently, viz., the muscles of the face in grinning and showing the teeth, or even sardonic laughing, and drawing the lips apart. The general signification of drawing together, Arab. šdd, resolves itself, however, from that special reference to the muscles of the face, and is manifest in the IV form Arab. kâlaḥa, to show one's self strict and firm (against any one); also more sensuously: to remain firm in one's place; of the moon, which remains as though motionless in one of its twenty-eight halting-places. Hence Arab. dahrun kâliḥun, a hard season, zmân šdı̂d and kulâḥun, kalâḥi (the latter as a kind of n. propr. invariably ending in i, and always without the article), a hard year, i.e., a year of failure of the crops, and of scarcity and want. If it is possible to apply this to כּלח without the hazardous comparison of Arab. qḥl, qlḥm, etc. so supra, p. 300], the primary signification might perhaps be that of hardness, unbroken strength; Job 5:26, "Thou wilt go to the grave with unbroken strength," i.e., full of days indeed, but without having thyself experienced the infirmities and burdens of the aetas decrepita, as also a shock brought in "in its season" is at the highest point of ripeness; Job 30:2 : "What (should) the strength of their hands profit me? as for them, their vigour is departed." - Fl.)

With Job 30:3 begins a new clause. It is גּלמוּד, not גּלמוּדים, because the book of Job does not inflect this Hebraeo-Arabic word, which is peculiar to it (besides only Isaiah 49:21, גּלמוּדה). It is also in Arab. more a substantive (stone, a mass) than an adj. (hard as stone, massive, e.g., Hist. Tamerlani in Schultens: Arab. 'l-ṣchr 'l-jlmûd, the hardest rock); and, similar to the Greek χέρσος (vid., Passow), it denotes the condition or attribute of rigidity, i.e., sterility, Job 3:7; or stiff as death, Job 15:34; or, as here, extreme weakness and incapability of working. The subj.: such are they, is wanting; it is ranged line upon line in the manner of a mere sketch, participles with the demonstrative article follow the elliptical substantival clause. The part. הערקים is explained by lxx, Targ., Saad. (Arab. fârrı̂n), and most of the old expositors, after ערק, Arab. ‛araqa, fut. ya‛riq, fugere, abire, which, however, gives a tame and - since the desert is to be thought of as the proper habitation of these people, be they the Seir remnant of the displaced Horites, or the Hauran "races of the clefts" - even an inappropriate sense. On the contrary, ‛rq in Arab. (also Pael ‛arreq in Syriac) signifies to gnaw; and this Arabic signification of a word exclusively peculiar to the book of Job (here and Job 30:17) is perfectly suitable. We do not, however, with Jerome, translate: qui rodebant in solitudine (which is doubly false), but qui rodunt solitudinem, they gnaw the sunburnt parched ground of the steppe, stretched out there more like beasts than men (what Gecatilia also means by his Arab. lâzmû, adhaerent), and derive from it their scanty food. אמשׁ שׁואה וּמשׁאה is added as an explanatory, or rather further descriptive, permutative to ציּה. The same alliterative union of substantives of the same root occurs in Job 38:27; Zephaniah 1:15, and a similar one in Nahum 2:11 (בוקה ומבוקה), Ezekiel 6:14; Ezekiel 33:29 (שׁמה ומשׁמה); on this expression of the superlative by heaping up similar words, comp. Ew. 313, c. The verb שׁאה has the primary notion of wild confused din (e.g., Isaiah 17:12.), which does not pass over to the idea of desolation and destruction by means of the intermediate notion of ruins that come together with a crash, but by the transfer of what is confusing to the ear to confusing impressions and conditions of all kinds; the desert is accordingly called also תּהוּ, Deuteronomy 32:10, from תּהה equals שׁאה (vid., Genesis, S. 93).

The noun אמשׁ nuon signifies elsewhere adverbially, in the past night, to grow night-like, and in general yesterday, according to which it is translated: the yesterday of waste and desolation; or, retaining the adverbial form: waste and desolation are of yesterday equals long since. It is undeniable that מאתמוּל and אתמוּל, Isaiah 30:33; Micah 2:8, are used in the sense pridem (not only to-day, but even yesterday); but our poet uses תּמול, Job 8:9, in the opposite sense, non pridem (not long since, but only of yesterday); and it is more natural to ask whether אמשׁ then has not here the substantival signification from which it has become an adverb, in the signification nightly or yesterday. Since it originally signifies yesterday evening or night, then yesterday, it must have the primary signification darkness, as the Arab. ams is also traceable to the primary notion of the sinking of the sun towards the horizon; so that, consequently, although the usage of Arabic does not allow this sense,

continued...

Job 30:9 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

am I

Job 17:6 He has made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret.

Psalm 35:15,16 But in my adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yes, the attackers gathered themselves together against me...

Psalm 44:14 You make us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.

Psalm 69:12 They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.

Lamentations 3:14,63 I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day...

Cross References
Job 12:4
I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called to God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.

Job 17:6
"He has made me a byword of the peoples, and I am one before whom men spit.

Job 30:8
A senseless, a nameless brood, they have been whipped out of the land.

Psalm 69:11
When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.

Psalm 69:12
I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.

Lamentations 3:14
I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long.

Lamentations 3:46
"All our enemies open their mouths against us;

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