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B.-Job: Seeing that God withdraws Elmself from him, and that moreover Eis
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 beld by the friends.
CHAP. XXIII-XXIV. 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 vindicate him in this life.
CHAP. XXIII. 1 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 Le. 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;
80 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 bide 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 viutage 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
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, 689:; it back: Hirzel). Since this rendering yields a
(not: my band trusts down my groaning, forces Job here recurs first of all to the wish which he has already uttered several times (especially in meaning tbat 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. [Ē. v.), innocence, and so end authoritatively the con- to understand I 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 him, in order to make him drink the cup of his Ren., Rod., hy is comparative: “the hand upon sufferings to the dregs (ch. xxiii.). And in con me is beavier than my groaning,” which gives nection with the mournful fact that his state is a suitable meaning, at least if we take '? in so cheerless and so full of suffering, and fur- the sense of bitterness. The objection to it is, 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 hy my 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 58, 1 Sam. v. 6, and op, 1 Sam. he sets forth many examples of the prosperity of the wicked, continuing to extreme old age, or
v. 11").-E.]. It remains to be said that the even to the end of life. He dwells with evident clause defining the time, Dio? 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 bad 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. 'AYTwith the following Imtofore uttered, that God might appear to rescue and to vindicate him, together with a self-sug
perf. consec. (97783?!?) expresses the principal gested objection, and an expression of doubt notion contained in Job's wish: utinam scirem whether the wish would be realized: ch. xxiii.
(locum ejus), et invenirem eum = utinam possim inFirst Strophe: Vers. 2–5. Even to-day my venire eum! Comp. the similar construction in complaint is still bitter.—Both the authority chap. xxxii. 22; also Gesen., & 142, (2139), 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, 9357 6) gives favor the view that "?? signifies bitterness," essentially the same sense. On in the second and is thus synonymous with 79, 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 179 and°779, which occa- judgment seat of God, as the sequel shows. sionally interchange forms; comp. Delitzsch on Ver. 4. In regard to ope? 12%, causam inthe passage. If we take the word however in struere, comp. ch. xiii. 18; in regard to ninain its ordinary signification of “frowardness, per- (lit. objections, reproofs”) in the specific sense verseness," we get a suitable meaning: my of "legal arguments, grounds of justification,” complaint is still ever froward” (ever bids desuch exhortations to penitence as those of Eli- the possibility of such a protective interposition fiance, maintains its opposition),' i. e., against see Ps. xxxviii
, 15 (17]; also above ch. xiii. 3.
Second Strophe : Vers. 6–9. The doubt as to phaz (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 make no use of the reading of the LXX.: tūs tion on the crushing effect which God's majesty
takes first of all the form of a shrinking reflecxelpós pov (???), nor yet of Ewald's
conjecture and infinite fulness of power might easily exert derived from it-it?," by reason of His hand upon him; a thought which has already emerged is my complaint" [s0 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 1?? ??N(“ the chambers foot. Would He in omnipotence then of the South," ch. ix. 9), or, generally speakcontend 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 (o'lp, heathen theologies or cosmogonies. Rather does scil. 31; ; comp. ch. iv. 20; here in union with ? much so as the poet
of the 19th
Psalm, in his
the poet conceive of God as omnipresent, as to express the cleaving of the Divine regard to similar description (vers. 8-10). [Gesenius and him, comp. ? 1, ch. vi. 28): only grant me a
Carey translate b: “He veileth the South, etc.,' hearing, and as the result thereof acquit me.
but less appropriately, the construction of 1? [78, “nothing but;" intensive; the very thing that He would do, hence the thing that he would being evidently the same with Saw, which assuredly do]. To render the imperfect verbs unquestionably adverbial.—E.] ? and D'Or as expressive of a wish: “shall
Third Strophe: vers. 10–13. The reason why He contend with me?" i. e., shall I wish, that Job's innocence, He nevertheless will not aban
God withdraws Himself: although He knows He would contend with me? (Hirzel
, Ew., Dillo..; don His purpose, once formed, not 10 allow Himetc.), is altogether too artificial, and not at all self to be found by Him. ["lle conceals Himself required by the connection. . [The E. V., Bar., from him, lest he should be compelled to acCarey, supply “strength” (n)) after DW': God, knowledge the right of the sufferer, and to withso far from using His power to crush Job, would draw His chastening hand from him.” Delitz.] strengthen him to plead his cause. But the el Ver. 10. For He knows well my accus. lipsis of 35 is already justified by ch. iv. 20, tomed way.—'opy 777, 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.
“the way of which I am Ver. 7. Then (ow as in ch. XXXV. 12; Ps. 24; Ew.,8 287 c), or:
conscious" [" which his conscience (oweidnis) xiv. 5; lxvi. 6, and often in a temporal sense ; approves (ouuuaprupei)"], 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 (?)ņa, an elliptical conditional plead (lit., “be pleading,” npia, partic.) with clause; comp. Ewald, & 357, b), 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. of this my uprightness. 999 is, like who ch. xlii, 6) implore pardon.
Ver. 11. My foot hath held firm to His XX. 20, intensive of Kal.
step (inx, as elsewhere :129, Ps. xvii. 5; Prov. Vers. 8, 9. The joyful prospect is suddenly v. 5) [“ The Oriental foot bas a power of grasp swept away by the thought that God is nowhere, and tenacity, because not shackled with shoes in no quarter of the world to be found.—Yet from early childhooi, of which we can form but (?, “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. O Jus-ive Hiph. there, etc. ???(“ toward the front, toward from 700, in the intransitive sense of deflectere, the east ”) and ins (toward the rear, tow 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.-Up), ineven as the following "left” and right” refer transitive, like on 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 turns southward I see it not. Sorpio, than my (own ) law I have observed the “toward the left” is an adverbial local clause, saying of His mouth; have accordingly set qualifying inoy.a, as also fps, qualifying by them far above all that I have, of my own will
desired or prescribed for myself. [Bernard erThe 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 having suits here very well (comp.ch. xxviii. 26), so that made it a rule. This however obscures tbe every different rendering, as e.g., taking niet striking contrast between 'P” and "?".FOX- 77? non“ to take His way” (Blumenfeld), E.]. With 'P!? we may compare the law in or ="to hide Himself” (Umbreit), or = 100; the members” warring a cainst the Divine law, “ to incline Himself, to turn Himself”. (Ewald), Rom. vii. 23. [E. V. takes 'Pr, 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 708—- to veil Himself,” iz " allowance of food;" Ewald also translates by less suitable in b [s0 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
:not ,וְהוּא בּאחָר
"law.” The “law” which Job had ever held sub- | not able to strike me dumb (with horror); only ordinate to the Divine precepts was the will of a the thonght of God can do this, who with His prince.-E.). 12 "to lay up, preserve,” is here incomprehensible decree stands bebind this my substantially equivalent with now, comp. Ps.cxix. suffering! Observe the significant contrast be11; in view of which parallel passage it is not ne-tween the on-??? of this ver, and the app of · cessary with the LXX. instead of "Pa to read ver. 15 a; as well as moreover the antithetic re
lation, which obtains between this passage and "Ρ"Π5, εν τω κόλπο μον έκρυψα ρήματα αυτού. Ver. 13. Nevertheless He remaineth seemed not to mark at all the terrible darkness
the statement of Eliphaz in ch. xxii. 11 that Job (over) 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 it, with
.He remaineth by one thing" most of the ancients (LXX., Vulg., Luth.) [E. (Hirzel
, 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 (nord, denns(comp. ch. ix. 22); but the ? is 3 essentize leri, perire, as in ch. vi. 17) before the darkness (Gesen. & 154 [8 151] 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, s'ancy 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.,” Ps. 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 (? 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 ting. 'P”, 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 regard to the use of 193,"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: x.
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-do His friends (lit. “His knowers" (acquaint
So also in the second member: and breit, Delitzsch, etc.), as rather to all that is analogous thereto, to all decrees of a like charac- ances), they who are His, who know Him, and ter regarding men in general.
He them, comp. ch. xviii. 21; Ps. xxxvi. 11 Ver. 15. Therefore do I tremble (lit. “I  ) 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 tojalang is an elliptical bypothetical 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 lain 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”] (7277 Hiph. from 7?, Deut. particularly about the diny, “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 jects box and nu, which are purposely placed times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they
adopted by E. V., Con., etc. : “Why, seeing first in both members. It is God Himself, who that know Him not see His days?" is a less naby 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, wny 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 ihat God cares not how men sin, or suffer. The