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B.-Job: Seeing that God withdraws Himself from him, and that moreover His
allotment of men's destinies on earth is in many ways most unequal, the incomprehensibleness of His ways may hence be inferred, as well as the short sightedness and one-sidedness of the external theory of retribution held by the friends.
1. The wish for a judicial decision of God in his favor is repeated, but is repressed by the thought
that God intentionally withdraws from him, in order that He may not be obliged to yindicate him in this life.
CHAP. XXIII. i Then Job answered, and said:
2 Even to-day is my complaint bitter:
my stroke is heavier than my groaning. 3 O‘that I knew where I might find Him!
that I might come even to His seat! 4 I would order my cause before Him,
and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would know the words which He would answer me,
and understand what He would say unto me.
6 Will He plead against me with His great power?
No; but He would put strength in me. 7 There the righteous might dispute with Him;
so should I be delivered forever from my judge. 8 Behold I go forward, but He is not there;
and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; 9 on the left hand where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him ;
He hideth Himself on the right hand that I cannot see Him.
10 But He knoweth the way that I take:
when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot hath held His steps,
His way have I kept, and not declined. 12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips;
I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. 13 But He is in one mind, and who can turn Him ?
and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth.
14 For He performeth the thing that is appointed for me:
and many such things are with Him. 15 Therefore am I troubled at His presence:
when I consider, I am afraid of Him. 16 For God maketh my heart soft,
and the Almighty troubleth me. 17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness,
neither hath He covered the darkness from my face.
2. The darkness and unsearchableness of God's ways to be recognized in many other instances of an unequal distribution of earthly prosperity, as well as in Job's case.
Chap. XXIV. 1 Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty,
do they that know Him not see His days ?
2 Some remove the landmarks;
they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof. 3 They drive away the ass of the fatherless,
they take the widow's ox for a pledge. 4 They turn the needy out of the way;
the poor of the earth hide themselves together.
5 Behold, as wild asses in the desert,
go they forth to their work, rising betimes for a prey :
the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children. 6 They reap every one his corn in the field :
and they gather the vintage of the wicked. 7 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing,
that they have no covering in the cold. 8 They are wet with the showers of the mountains,
and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.
9 They pluck the fatherless from the breast,
and take a pledge of the poor. 10 They cause him to go naked without clothing,
and they take away the sheaf from the hungry; 11 which make oil within their walls,
and tread their wine-presses, and suffer thirst. 12 Men groan from out of the city,
and the soul of the wounded crieth out:
yet God layeth not folly to them. 13 They are of those that rebel against the light;
they know not the ways thereof,
nor abide in the paths thereof. 14 The murderer rising with the light
killeth the poor and needy,
and in the night is as a thief. 15 The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight,
saying, No eye shall see me:
and disguiseth his face. 16 In the dark they dig through houses,
which they had marked for themselves in the daytime:
they know not the light. 17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death :
If one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death 18 He is swift as the waters ;
their portion is cursed in the earth :
he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards. 19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters :
so doth the grave those which have sinned. 20 The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him ;
he shall be no more remembered ;
and wickedness shall be broken as a tree. 21 He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not:
and doeth not good to the widow. 22 He draweth also the mighty. with his power:
he riseth up, and no man is sure of life. 23 Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth ;
yet his eyes are upon their ways. 24 They are exalted for a little while, but are gone
and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all others,
and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. 25 And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?
| hand lies heavy on my groaning: i. e., I EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL.
am driven to the continuous outbreak of my 1. Instead of replying directly to the injuri.
groaning, I must all the time force forth groans ous accusations of Eliphaz in ch. xxii. 6 sq.;
(not: my hand thrusts down my groaning, forces Job here recurs first of all to the wish which he
it back; Hirzel). Since this rendering yields & has already uttered several times (especially in
meaning that is entirely suitable, and suffers chs, ix. and xiii.), that God Himself might ma
from no particular difficulty as to the language, nifest Himself as Umpire and as Witness of his
it is unnecessary either with the Targ. [E. V.), innocence, and so end authoritatively the con
to understand of “the hand of God which troversy which in each successive stage was be- strikes me" (the suffix '- sensu obj.) or (with coming more and more involved. This wish is, the LXX. and Pesh.) [Merx] to read 17. (AChowever, immediately repressed by the thought
cording to E. V., Ges., Ber., Noyes, Schlottm., that God purposely keeps Himself removed from bim, in order to make him drink the cup of his Ren., Rod., Sy is comparative: “ the hand upon sufferings to the dregs (ch. xxiii.). And in con | me is beavier than my groaning," which gives Dection with the mournful fact that his state is a suitable meaning, at least if we take 77 so cheerless and so full of suffering, and fur- the sense of bitterness. The objection to it ia, nishes living proof that God withholds the ex
however, as stated by Delitzsch, that “77733 ercise of His retributive justice, he arrays forthwith (in the second and longer division of his sy g' is an established phrase, and commonly discourse, ch. xxiv.), numerous facts of a simi- used of the burden of the hand upon any one, lar character, which may be observed in the Ps. xxxii. 4 (comp. ch. xxxiii. 7; and the consphere of human life in general. In particular
nection with 5x, 1 Sam. v. 6, and du, 1 Sam. he sets forth many examples of the prosperity of the wicked, continuing to extreme old age, or v. 11").-E.]. It remain
v. 11").-E.]. It remains to be said that the even to the end of life. He dwells with evident clause defining the time, Ding? Da, “even tosatisfaction on his description of these examples, day,” belongs to both halves of the verse, and in order in this way to establish and illustrate for the same reason it expresses the more genemost fully the incomprehensibleness of the di- ral sense, “even now, even always,” (comp.ch. vine ways.—The whole discourse, apart from iii. 24). The supposition that the colloquy had the two principal divisions, which coincide with lasted several days, and that in particular the the customary division by chapters, is divided present third course of the same had begun one into smaller strophes of four verses each (in one day later than the one preceding is scarcely adcase of five) in accordance with the strophe- missible on the strength of their expression, divisions of Ewald, as well as of Stickel and De- which is certainly not to be pressed too far, litzsch, which in the present case are entirely i (against Ewald, 2d Ed., and Dillmann). in harmony.
Ver. 3. Oh that I but knew how to find 2. First Division. Repetition of the wish, here- Him.-The Perf. it with the following Imtofore uttered, that God might appear to rescue
perf. consec. (1978*?!) expresses the principal and to vindicate him, together with a self-suggested objection, and an expression of doubt notion contained
| notion contained in Job's wish: utinam scirem whether the wish would be realized: ch. xxiii.
(locum ejus), et invenirem eum = utinam possiin inFirst Strophe: Verg. 2–5. Even to-day my venire
venire eum! Comp. the similar construction in complaint is still bitter.-Both the authority
chap. xxxii. 22; also Gesen., 2142, (8139), 3, c. of the Ancient Versions, such as the Targ.,
The rendering of Dillmann: “Oh that I, having Pesh., Vulg. [E. V.), and also the comparison
known (where He is to be found), might find with former passages, such as ch. vii. 11; X. 1, Him," (in accordance with Ewald, 8 357 6) gives favor the view that ?? signifies “bitterness,” essentially the same sense.—77JOn in the second and is thus synonymous with 12, the possibility member means by itself, a frame, stand, setting of which is shown by the cognate radical rela-up;" here specifically, “seat, throne,” i. e., the tion of the verbs ning and770, which occa- | judgment seat of God, as the sequel shows. sionally interchange forms; comp. Delitzsch on | Ver. 4. In regard to you? 77y, causam inthe passage. If we take the word however in struere, comp. ch. xiii. 18; in regard to nindia its ordinary signification of “frowardness, perverseness," we get a suitable meaning : “my
(lit. “ objections, reproofs"') in the specific sense complaint is still ever froward” (ever bids de
of “legal arguments, grounds of justification,"
see Ps. xxxviii. 15 (14); also above ch. xiii. 3. fiance, maintains its opposition),' i. e., against
| Second Strophe: Vers. 6–9. The doubt as to such exhortations to penitence as those of Eli
the possibility of such a protective interposition pbaz (or in opposition to God, as Hahn, Olshau
of God, begins again to appear. This (ver. 6) sen, etc., explain). On the other hand we can
takes first of all the form of a shrinking reflecmake no use of the reading of the LXX. : ŠKris
tion on the crushing effect which God's majesty Xelpós uov ("???), nor yet of Ewald's conjecture
and infinite fulness of power might easily exert derived from it-17"?, “by reason of His hand upon him; a thought which has already emerged is my complaint" [so Copt. and Merx].-My twice before (ch. ix. 34; xiii. 21), and which in
this place Job, supported by the consciousness the less probability that the passage contains of his innocence, repudiates and tramples under any reference to the 2n 'lin, (“ the chambers foot. Would He in omnipotence then of the South,” ch. ix. 9), or, generally speak. contend with me? Nay! He would only ing, to any celestial abode of God as set forth in regard me: i. e., only give heed to me (on heathen theologies or cosmogonies. Rather does scil. 25: comp. ch. iv. 20; here in union with 2 the poet conceive of God as omnipresent, as
much so as the poet of the 139ch Psalm, in his to express the cleaving of the Divine regard to
similar description (vers. 8-10). (Gesenius and him, comp. ? 1739, ch. vi. 28): only grant me a
Carey translate 6: “ He veileth the South, etc.," hearing, and as the result thereof acquit me.
but less appropriately, the construction of 13 [7X, “ nothing but;' intensive; the very thing
being evidently the same with Side, which is that He would do, hence the thing that He would assuredly do]. To render the imperfect verbs | unquestionably adverbial.-E.] J'? and D'Was expressive of a wish: “shall
Third Strophe: vers. 10–13. The reason why
God withdraws Himself: although He knows He contend with me?" i. e., shall I wish, that
Job's innocence, He nevertheless will not abanHe would contend with me? (Hirzel, Ew., Dillm.,
don His purpoee, once formed, not to allow Himetc.), is altogether too artificial, and not at all |
self to be found by Him. [" He conceals Himself required by the connection. [The E. V., Bar., |
from him, lest He should be compelled to acCarey, supply “strength” (nb) after DW': God,
knowledge the right of the sufferer, and to withso far from using His power to crush Job, would draw His cbastening hand from him.” Delitz.) strengthen him to plead his cause. But the el Ver. 10. For He knows well my accuslipsis of a5 is already justified by ch. iv. 20, tomed way.- '7py 7.2.7, lit. “the way with and the antithesis thus obtained between a and
me," i. e., the way which adheres to me, which b is more direct and natural.-E.).
is steadfastly pursued by me (comp. Ps. cxxxix.
24; Ew., & 287 c), or: "the way of which I am Ver. 7. Then (ou as in ch. xxxv. 12; Ps.
conscious" [" which his conscience (ovveiðncis) xiv. 5; lxvi. 6, and often in a temporal sense ; / approves (ovuluaptvpei)”], as Delitzsch explains, then, when such a judicial interposition of God referring to ch. ix. 35; xv. 9.-If He should should take place) would a righteous man prove me (', an elliptical conditional plead (lit., “be pleading,” naid, partic.) with clause; comp. Ewald, & 357,6), I should come Him: i. e., it would be shown that it is a right forth as gold, i. e., out of His crucible; a very eous man who pleads with him; and I should strong and bold declaration of his consciousness forever escape my Judge; i. e., by virtue
of innocence, for which Job must hereafter (ch. xlii. 6) implore pardon.
Veri 11. My foot hath held firm to his XX. 20, intensive of Kal.
step (inx, as elsewhere 728, Ps. xvii. 5; Pror. Vers. 8, 9. The joyful prospect is suddenly
v. 5) [" The Oriental foot has a power of grasp swept away by the thought that God is nowhere,
ez and tenacity, because not shackled with shoes in no quarter of the world to be found.-Yet from early childhood, of which we can form but (07, “yet behold,” in an adversative sense, as little idea.” Carey: His way I have kept, in ch, xxi. 16) if I go eastward, He is not and turned not aside. Dx, Jussive Hipb. there, etc. 07P. (“ toward the front, = towards from 70), in the intransitive sense of deflectere. the east”) and ginx (toward the rear, = tow-l as in Ps. cxxv. 5; Is. xxx. 11. ard the west,” comp. ch. xviii. 20), refer to the Ver. 12. The commandment of His lips eastern and western quarters of the heavens, I have not departed from it.-W27, ineven as the following “left” and “right” refer
transitive, like 17917 in the verse preceding. In to the northern and southern.-If He works northward, I behold (Him) not; if He
| regard to the construction (antecedent placing
of a nominative absolute) comp. ch. iv. 6. More turns southward I see it not. 71890, than my (own) law I have observed the • toward the left” is an adverbial local clause, saying of His mouth; have accordingly set
them far above all that I have, of my own will, qualifying inbya, as also 'ply, qualifying q0y":
desired or prescribed for myself. [Bernard ex. The former verb expresses its customary mean
plains the preposition > here to mean: “by ing: “to work, to be active, efficient," which
reason of my rule," i. e., by reason of my haring suits here very well (comp.ch. xxviii. 26), so that made it a rule. This however obscures the every different rendering, as e. 9., taking niny - 197 ny, “to take His way” (Blumenfeld), E.). With pn we may compare the “ law in or ="to hide Himself” (Umbreit), or = n9y|
the members” warring against the Divine law, “to incline Himself, to turn Himself” (Ewald), Rom. vii. 23. [E. V. takes P?, as in Gen. seems uncalled for. On the other hand the com- xlvii. 22; Prov. XXX. 8, in the sense of one's mon signification of 907_" to veil Himself,” is allowance of food;" Ewald also translates by less suitable in 6 [so E. V., Lee, Con., Ber., Rod., “ Gebühr" ("* that which as a distinguished rich Elz., etc.), than the signification “ bending, turn man I have the right to require in my relations ing aside" adopted by Saadia, Schultens, Ewald, to other men, and my claims upon them"). The Delitzsch, etc., after the Arabic. If this latter consideration of Job's greatness and power definition deserves here the preference, there is should be borne in mind with the rendering
פַּלֶט .of this my uprightness is , like
-אַמְרֵי-פִיו and זְקִי striking contrast between
claw." The «law” which Job bad ever held sub-, not able to strike me dumb (with horror); only ordinate to the Divine precepts was the will of a the thought of God can do this, who with His prince.-E.]. 193 “to lay up, preserve,” is here incomprehensible decree stands behind this my substantially equivalent with you, comp. Ps.cxix. I suffering! Observe the significant contrast be11; in view of which parallel passage it is not ne-tween the JON-?? of this ver. and the 1297 of cessary with the LXX. instead of 'Po to read | ver. 15 a; as well as moreover the antithetic reP 3, kv Tộ có 2.5 gov &aponpa bruara airoỡ.
lation, which obtains between this passage and Ver. 13. Nevertheless He remaineth
the statement of Eliphaz in ch. xxii. 11 that Job
seemed not to mark at all the terrible darkness · (ever) the same, and who will turn Him;
of his misery. Either of these retrospective reviz., from His purpose; comp. ch. ix. 12; xi. 10.
ferences of the passage is lost sight of if, with nx? 1771, not: “He remaineth by one thing"
most of the ancients (LXX., Vulg., Luth.) [E. (Hiržel, Del.) [Lee, Noyes, Carey), for this v. Ges., Scott, Noyes, Ber., Ren., Rod., Elz.] we would have been expressed by the neuter form render: “because I was not cut off (nos), dennx (comp. ch. ix. 22); but the ? is 3 essentiæ leri, perire, as in ch. vi. 17) before the darkness (Gesen. & 154  3, a), and the thought ex- came, and He has not covered the darkness from pressed is that of the unchangeableness, the con- my face" [i. e., has not covered me in the grave, stancy of God (not the oneness, or the absolute so that I might never have faced this suffering). superiority of God, as the Vulg., Targ., Starke, The signification: “to become dumb, to be who refers to Gal. iii. 20, Schultens, Ewald, brought to silence,” is the only one that is suitSchlottmann, [Ges., Ber., Rod., Elz.] explain, able here; we should then have to think (with but against the context. With b compare the Delitzsch, etc.) of an inward destruction by terwell-known expression : “He spake, and it was ror and confusion. done, etc.,'' Pe. xxxiii. 9. [The unchangeable 3. Second Division : ch. xxiv. An extended purpose of God of which Job here speaks is evi- description of the many incomprehensible things denily the purpose to inflict suffering on him, a in what God does as ruler of the universe, bepurpose to which He inflexibly adheres, notwith-ginning with the many instances in which He standing He knows Job's integrity, and finds permits the innocent and defenceless to be opthrough His crucible that the sufferer is pure pressed and persecuted by their powerful enegold.-E.].
mies : vers. 1-12. Fourth Strophe : vers. 14-17. Truly (3 as Fifth Strophe : vers. 1-4. Why are times in ch. xxii. 26), He will accomplish my des- not reserved by the Almighty ?-i.e. times tiny. Pn, with suffix of the object, means of reckoning with good and evil; judicial terms, here that which has been decreed, ordained con
at which He displays His retributive justice. In cerning me. And much of a like kind is reg
regard to the use of P3,"reserving" (storing with Him-i. e., “has been determined by
up] in the sense of “appointing, fixing," comp. Him, lies in His purpose," (comp. ch. ix. 35: 8.
ch. xv. 20; xxi. 19. The question is of course 13, xv. 9). The “much of that kind” spoken of
so intended as to require no answer, or a negarefers not specifically to Job's sufferings (Um
tive one. So also in the second member: and breit, Delitzsch, etc.), as rather to all that is ana
do His friends (lit. “ His knowers” [acquaintlogous thereto, to all decrees of a like charac
ances], they who are His, who know Him, and
He them, comp. ch. xviii. 21; Ps. xxxvi. 11 ter regarding men in general. Ver. 15. Therefore do I tremble (lit. “Il
a r10]) not see His days ?—The “days” of am terrified, troubled") before His face; if
God here are His judgment days, the days in I consider it, I am afraid before Him.
which He reveals Himself in judicial rigor
against his enemies, and in beneficent mercy togianx is an elliptical hypothetical antecedent, ward His holy ones (comp. Ezek. xxx. 3, also the as is the case in ver. 10 b. We are to supply as expression, the days of the Son of Man” in the object to be considered the unfathomable Luke xvii. 22). This verse also seems to condecree of God, by virtue of which he must tain a retrospective reference to the last dissuffer.
course of Eliphaz, especially to ch. xxii, 19; by Ver. 16. And God hath made my heart the ancients, moreover, who were troubled more faint [lit. “soft”] (177 Hiph. from 72, Deut. particularly about the only, “terms, judicial xx. 3. etc.), and the Almighty has con- periods,” it was variously misunderstood, and founded me. The emphasis rests in the sub- erroneously translated. [The construction
adopted by E. V., Con., etc. : “Why, seeing jects 98 and '70, which are purposely placed times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they first in both members. It is God Himself, who that know Him not see His days?” is a less Daby His incomprehensibly harsh and stern treat- tural and simple rendering of the original than ment has plunged him in anguish and terror; that given above. Conant objects that “this his suffering considered in itself by no means question is not pertinent here. The point of inexerts such a crushing influence upon him (see quiry is not, why are such times of retribution the vers, following).
not appointed by God; but why, if they are apVer. 17. For I am not dumb before the pointed by Him, as alleged, do not good men darkness, nor yet before myself whom witness them?” Job however does deny, by thick darkness has covered-i. e., the dark- implication, that there is any retribution, or ness of my calamity (comp. ch. xxii. 11), and time reserved for it, with the Almighty. The my own face and form darkened and disfigured phenomena of human life, he argues, indicate by my sufferings (comp. ch. xix. 13 seq.) are that God cares not how men sin, or suffer. The