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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 30

 

 

Verse 1

CHAP. XXX.

Job goes on to lament the change of his former condition, and sets forth the contempt into which his adversity had brought him.

Before Christ 1645.


Verse 2

Job 30:2. Yea, whereto might the strength, &c.— For of what use was the labour of their hands to me, since all life was destroyed in them? Heath. Houbigant renders the last clause, When all their health or strength was worn out: and he renders the next verse, They led a solitary life in hunger and thirst: they fled into the desart: they sought out waste solitudes.


Verse 4

Job 30:4. Who cut up mallows, &c.— Or, Sea-purslane. The word rendered juniper signifies the broom, or birch-tree. See 1 Kings 19:4. These were, without doubt, the meanest kinds of foods and made use of only when no other could be procured.


Verse 7

Job 30:7. They brayed They made their moan, or cried out. Heath and Houbigant. The latter part of the verse may be rendered, Among the nettles were they ... {tormented, Hiller, par. 2: p. 196 con.} / {burned, Noldius, 919.} See the Observations, p. 85.


Verse 8

Job 30:8. They were children of fools Foolish men and inglorious, they were driven out of the country in which they lived. Job 30:9. But now, I am become their song, &c. Houb.


Verse 10

Job 30:10. They abhor me, &c.— They abominate me: they hold me in the utmost abhorrence, and fear not to spit in my face. Houb. Heath reads, They hold me in abhorrence; they go out at a distance from me; nay, they refrain not from spitting in my face: Job 30:11. Because he hath stripped me of my glory, and hath afflicted me; therefore they have thrown off the bridle in my presence. See Schultens.


Verse 12

Job 30:12. Upon my right hand rise the youth On my right hand their brood start up: they trip up my heels. Their troops of destruction throw up an intrenchment round me: Heath: who, instead of, they set forward my calamity, in the next verse, reads, they triumph in my calamity: there is none who helpeth me against them.


Verse 14

Job 30:14. They came upon me, &c.— They come on, as to a wide breach; they roll themselves on against me, like desolation.


Verse 16

Job 30:16. And now my soul is poured out upon me For now my soul melteth within me. Houb. See Psalms 42:4.


Verse 17

Job 30:17. My bones are pierced in me, &c.— My bones are pierced through with pain in the night, and my veins have no rest. Job 30:18. With great force he layeth hold of my garment, and enfolds me by the collar of my robe. Job 30:19. He hath cast me into the mire, &c. Houb.; who observes, that the idea is taken from a man struggling with another, laying hold of his garment, casting him to the earth, and rolling him in the mire. Job compares the disease and affliction which laid hold of him with such a struggle.


Verse 21

Job 30:21. Thou art become cruel to me, &c.— This appears to be one of the most exceptionable passages in all Job's speeches. There seems to be a great want of decency, or of delicacy at least, in the expression, if the Hebrew words carry the same force with the English. But the turn of the sentence in the original is somewhat different, תשׂטמני ידךֶ בעצם לי לאכזר תהפךֶ tehapek leakzar li beotsem yadeka tistemeni which is literally thus: Thou art become cruel to me; with thy strong hand thou hatest me: to hate with the hand, is something very different from hating with the heart, and is a plain direction to us how the passage ought to be understood; namely, Thou hast dealt with me as if thou hatest me; or as men use to deal with those whom they hate. As for the other expression, thou art become cruel to me, it is remarkable that the same word is used Jeremiah 30:14 where God himself declares how he had dealt with his own people, and expresses it in the following terms: I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one. What shall we say? Does the Hebrew word carry a softer sense than the English? Or have we softer ears than the ancients? Or is there a mixture of both in the case? It is not my purpose to vindicate every daring thought or ardent expression which occurs in the speeches of this afflicted man; but we shall certainly judge amiss, if we think every thing wrong which will not suit with the politeness of our manners. If we flatter ourselves that we excel in this respect, it is certain that we fall short in others; and it were happy for us if, with Job's simplicity, we could reach those noble heights of piety which are so conspicuous in his speeches and his character throughout. Some of his commentators have fallen very hard upon him, and given him little better quarter than his three friends. It is well for him that he had a better advocate to plead his cause than any of them; for as to any thing highly criminal in Job's speeches, it is what the infallible judge himself acquits him of. See chap. Job 42:7-8. Peters.


Verse 22

Job 30:22. Thou liftest me up to the wind Thou liftest me up: thou causest me to ride upon the wind; nay, thou dissolvest my very existence. Heath. Houbigant renders the last clause, But salvation shall not forsake me; which seems to connect well with the next verse, where he says, For I know that thou wilt place me in the state of the dead, in the house to which all the living hasten: the sheol, or general receptacle both of good and bad souls. See Peters, p. 401.


Verse 24

Job 30:24. Howbeit, he will not stretch out, &c.— Houbigant renders this verse, Howbeit death shall not extend his hand to my sepulchre; but if to my dissolution, even that shall be for my salvation. See his note. Heath reads it differently thus: Howbeit, he will not stretch forth his hand in its might, though they shout ever so loud when he afflicteth me. The author, says he, with great elegance, makes death and the grave two persons (see the former verse), who shout at every stroke laid upon the sufferer, as if it brought him nearer to their hands: a shout of triumph, as for a victory gained.


Verse 26

Job 30:26. When I looked for good, &c.— See the note on chap. Job 3:25-26.


Verse 28

Job 30:28. I went mourning without the sun I go mourning, as if the sun did not shine. Houb.


Verse 29

Job 30:29. I am a brother to dragons, &c.— I am a brother to jackals, and a companion to ostriches. See Bochart Hieroz. lib. 2: cap. 14. The jackal and the female ostrich are both remarkable for their mournful cry, and for their inhabiting desolate places.


Verse 30

Job 30:30. My bones are burned with heat My bones are dried up with heat or drought: Heath and Houb. Organ, in the next verse, should be read pipe.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, We have here a long account of Job's distresses; among the chief of which he reckons the insults that he sustained from the vilest abjects around him.

1. He describes them as younger than himself, persons of the meanest extraction, whose parents were so despicable, that they were unworthy to be set over the dogs of his flock; yea, scarcely fit company for them: so slothful, that they were useless cumberers of the ground: so battered with vices, that they never reached old age: or so foolish, that all the wisdom which usually attends long life was perished in them. Poor as idle, famine came upon them; and while they refused to work, to such sturdy beggars none cared to give; so that their distresses drove them to the deserts, to live upon roots and fruits which grew wild among the bushes. Vagabonds on the earth, and plagues of their country, for their crimes they were driven from the society of men, and every one was glad to be rid of them. Under the rocks and in caves they hid themselves; like wild asses famished, they brayed for hunger; and under the nettles, or thorn hedges, were gathered together, a generation of folly and infamy, the very scum of the earth. Note; (1.) They who can work and will not, have no right to eat. (2.) It is a relief to society, when the idle vagrants, the pests of the public, are driven from the hive. (3.) This beggarly world is full of the devil's poor, whose vices and sloth concur to make their being as miserable to themselves, as their sins make them odious to God and man.

2. Even these dared to shew their insolence and abuse to this afflicted man. They derided him; made him the subject of their ballads; perhaps turned his name into a proverb for hypocrisy and wickedness; they abhorred him for the vigilance with which, as a magistrate, he had animadverted upon them; and shunned him as a plague, or, if they came near, it was but to add the vilest insults to him, to spit in his face, or trip up his heels, that they might sport themselves at his fall. Because God had afflicted him, and loosed his cord (his power as a magistrate to punish them), they cast off all reverence and restraint. The very children, taught by their ungodly parents, rose up to mock at his calamities. They imputed to him the cause of all their sufferings, and sought to revenge themselves upon him in his destruction. They obstructed him in the exercises of devotion, or treated his holy walk with contempt, they added bitterness to his affliction, and they have no helper, or no helper is against them, none to take my part. Like the waters when the mound is broken down, or a besieging army when the breach is opened in the wall, they came rolling themselves as if to overwhelm him in his present desolations, taking advantage of his weakness, and eager to make an utter end of him. Note; (1.) Insult is what generous spirits can with the greatest difficulty brook. (2.) The best of men have suffered the most contempt and ridicule from an ungodly world: we must not think it strange, therefore, if we share with them. (3.) They who in their prosperity were almost adored, in adversity will often be trampled upon by every foot.

3. Thus was the "greater than Job" treated in his distresses, mocked, spat upon, pushed at in sport, and abhorred; yet he never appeared greater in the eyes of God than when most despised and rejected of men.

2nd, Many and grievous were the tribulations that Job endured both in body and mind, of which he here feelingly complains.

Internal terrors fixed on his spirit, from the apprehension of God as an enemy: and, as the wind, swift in succession and resistless, they pursued him. His welfare or salvation, his prosperity, passed away as the cloud vanishes. Dissolved with anguish, his soul melted within him, and affliction had seized on him as its prey. His body tortured with pains, his bones aching, and his sinews as if stretched upon the rack, prevented sleep from closing his weary eyes. The discharge from his boils discoloured and stiffened his very garments, so that they were not only noisome, but pressed hard and painfully on his inflamed ulcers. Like one cast in the mire, so loathsome he appeared; and as more than half dead, his flesh seemed already turned to corruption, and fit only for the grave. Vain, as it appeared to him, were his prayers, his tears; God gave him no answer, as if disregarding his request. Yea, worse, God seemed to deal with him as a cruel enemy; and, as if armed with omnipotence, opposed him on every side. Caught up as the stubble before the wind, he thought that God sported with his misery, and by the blasts of his displeasure dissipated all his substance. No prospect of relief appeared; but, wretched as he was, he expected to be brought to the grave, the house appointed for all the living since sin entered and death followed at his heels. Yea, even the death unto which he was appointed was delayed, and he was kept in torment; or God would not rescue him from going down to the pit, notwithstanding the prayers and pleadings of those who interested themselves for him, in his present ruinous and miserable estate. His compassions to the poor and afflicted had been tender and constant; and he might have hoped to have met with like compassion from God; but how greatly was he disappointed, when, instead of the good he looked for, evil came upon him; and, instead of light and comfort in his troubles, darkness, and despair of their end, had compassed him about. A burning fever scorched him up within, and days of anguish rushed on him as an enemy, and surprised him as a thief in the night. No gleam of sunshine lightened up the dark valley of affliction: even amid the greatest concourse of those who assembled for worship, or gathered round him, he roared out in his pains, desolate and wailing, as the dragons and the owls, and finding none to pity him. His skin was black with his disease, and it burnt to the very bones and marrow. The voice of joy was fled, his harp and organ lay neglected by, unable now to relish the swelling notes, when weeping and mourning were the melancholy discordant sounds that ever grated in his ears. Note; (1.) They who dwell in corruptible bodies, must expect often to feel sickness and pain, the preludes of death. (2.) It is a folly, as well as a sin, to be proud of that body which the stroke of disease can make so loathsome. (3.) Whatever houses men build for themselves, let them remember that there is one dwelling prepared for them, where they must make their longest abode. (4.) Bodily trials are heavy; but a sense of God's displeasure, and a wounded spirit, are the bitterest of all our burdens. (5.) Music is a pleasing entertainment; but disease untunes the nerves, and loosens the silver cord, and then the sounds of harmony can delight no longer.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 30:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-30.html. 1801-1803.

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