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Job 30:1 But now [they that are] younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.
Ver. 1. But now they that are younger than I have me in derision ] Id quod ei morbo suo longe gravius fuerit, sicut et Hebraei testantur, saith Mercer. This troubled him much more than all his sores and sicknesses; that every young shackrag slighted him, and laughed him to scorn. In this case especially,
- Faciles motus mens generosa capit (Ovid).
You shall find some, saith Erasmus, that if death be threatened, can despise it; but to be despised or belied they cannot brook; but least of all by base persons: Quilibet ab aquila quam corvo discerpi mavult. Job was now grown ancient, and had been honourable, as he had set forth, Job 29:1-25 . Old age and honour, in the Greek tongue, are near akin, Cognata sunt, γηρας et γερας , ut ηθος et εθος ; and,
Summa fuit quondam capitis reverentia cani:
Inque sue precio ruga senilis erat.
But it is a sign of gasping devotion, and that things are far out of order, when the child behaveth himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable, Isaiah 3:5 , as at Bethel, where those poorly bred children derided the old prophet, and petulantly cried after him, "Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head," 2 Kings 2:23 . If the like unworthy usage befall us, let it suffice us that our betters, Job, David, Christ himself, have sped no better. Art not thou glad to fare as Phocion? said he to a lowly man that was to die with him.
Whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock ] i.e. To have made my dog keepers, that they might feed with them, as the prodigal son did with the swine. Dogs are commonly looked upon as paltry carrion creatures; only some, for their mind’s sake, and others, for certain necessary uses, as shepherds and hunters, make some reckoning of them. It was not permitted to a dog to enter into the Acropolis, or tower of Athens, for his libidinousness and ill savour, δια του ακολαστου και δυσωδους (Plut.). At Rome they crucified a dog yearly, in detestation of those dogs in the capitol that gave not warning of the approach of an enemy. Job, it seems, had his dog feeders, men of meanest account. Now these men’s sons, a beggarly breed, and very rascals, insulted and trampled upon this precious man, dealt as basely and coarsely with him, haply, as those factious fellows in Geneva did with reverend Calvin; whom they not only in contempt called Cain (as Athanasius was sometimes by his enemies called Sathanasius; and Cyprian, Coprian, that is, a dunghill fellow), but also named their dogs Calvin, as Beza, in his Life, reporteth.
Job 30:2 Yea, whereto [might] the strength of their hands [profit] me, in whom old age was perished?
Ver. 2. Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me ] For, to say the truth (thus Beza here paraphraseth), the strength of those young striplings could not have stood me in any stead at all; and as for the old age of their fathers, it were such, that, having spent the greatest and best part of their life partly in idleness, and partly in divers wicked and lewd pranks, they might worthily seem to have lived in vain all that while. Thus he. The Greeks say, Eργα νεων , and the Latins, Iuniores ad labores, young men are fit for hard labour, because strong and lusty. But these Sanuiones in the text were, through idleness, mere nullities in the world, superfluities in the earth, Jeremiah’s rotten girdle, good for nothing but to devour victuals; vermin, apes, monkeys, their whole life was to eat and drink (when they could come by it), and sleep, and sport, and fleer, jeer at God’s afflicted, with words as full of scorn as profane wit or rancoured malice can make them. These are excrements in human society; pests, the Scripture styleth them, Psalms 1:1 ( λοιμοι . Septuag.).
In whom old age was perished? ] Their fathers also were old dottrels, in ipsa senectute, senectute carentes, old, but not wise (Moriae Encore.); like the Brabanti, who are said to be the older the foolisher. Some men live long, but are good for little. Non ille diu vixit, sed diu fuit, saith Seneca of somebody, He hath not lived long, but only been long; as a ship in a storm, he hath been tossed much, but sailed nothing. Those old men who have not gotten wisdom by long experience are not worthy of their years; their old age is perished, and their honour forfeited. The Vulgate rendereth it, They were reckoned unworthy of life itself: Depontani.
Job 30:3 For want and famine [they were] solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.
Ver. 3. For want and famine they were solitary ] Miserably poor they were, and nittily needy; scarce having a rag to their backs, and, therefore, ashamed to show themselves in company of others, propter penuriam, et propter esuriem, they lurked in bycorners, and seldom came abroad, unless when hard hunger drove the wolf out of the wood. Slow bellies they had ever been, and evil beasts, fitter, therefore, to live in the wilderness, in former time desolate and waste, than in a civil society; or, if in any place, at Poneropolis, a city built by Philip, king of Macedonia, for varlets and vagrants, and with such kind of persons peopled; that they might not pester other places. Job would have none such about him; and was, therefore, haply, now in this low condition, so much hated and affronted by them.
In former time desolate and waste ] And so perhaps haunted by the devil, as Isaiah 13:20-21 . Brentius rendereth it, Hesternam pressuram et consternationem, yesterday’s pressures and fright; that is, saith he, The creditor’s eagerness to be satisfied, which frighteth these wretches, and putteth them to their work.
Job 30:4 Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots [for] their meat.
Ver. 4. Who cut up mallows by the bushes ] Pitiful poor fare they are glad of; not so good as that of the Baptist, locusts and wild honey, Matthew 3:4 , but mallows, which, together with asphodelus, Hesiod mentioneth as poor folk’s fare. Tremellius rendereth it, Herbas e salsilagine cum stirpibus, salt, and bitter herbs and stalks; Brentius rendereth it, nettles; some take it for samphire, which is a kind of sea mallows, or sea purslain. The Hebrew word comes from another that signifieth salt; and sounds like the Latin malva, and the English mallows. Coarse and homely provision the wretches were glad to make use of, to appease the cruel hunger that devoured them, Ut famem quoquomodo sedarent (Merc.). And this hath been sometimes the case of better men; as of those worthies, who wandered in deserts, and in mountains, in dens and caves of the earth, Hebrews 11:38 . The Duke of Lorrain had proscribed some thousands of his Protestant subjects, who were thereby forced to feed upon leaves of trees and grass of the fields, till the senate of Strasborough, overcome by the importunity of their divines, took them in, and relieved them, till they could be otherwise provided for (Scultet. Annal.). In the late wars of Germany people were found dead in the highways with grass in their mouths, perishing for want of better food.
And juniper roots for their meat ] These, though they surpass all other in bitterness, were their ordinary food. Our forefathers, as they coloured their bodies with woad A blue dye-stuff prepared from the leaves of Isatis tinctoria powdered and fermented: now generally superseded by indigo, in the preparation of which it is still sometimes used. (and were, therefore, called Picts), this was their fine clothes; so their food was barks of trees, and roots, say our chroniclers. Is not the matter well amended with us? and should we not serve the Lord with joyfulness in the abundance of all things, Deuteronomy 28:47 . Lavater thinks that these poor people for a living dug up juniper roots, and sold them to others for the use of making perfume.
Job 30:5 They were driven forth from among [men], (they cried after them as [after] a thief;)
Ver. 5. They were driven forth from among men ] E corpore, saith Tremellius, out of the body; that is, out of the community, as not fit to live in a commonwealth. The Jews are, for their inexpiable guilt, banished out of the world, as it were, by a common consent of nations. Out of England they were exiled for ever by King Edward I, A.D. 1290; out of France, 1307; out of Spain, 1492; Portugal, 1597; Naples and Sicily, 1539. In Turkey they pay for the very heads they wear; but in Cyprus, if a Jew be taken (though driven thither by tempest), he is put to death immediately. Country they have none, nor resting place anywhere. In Jerusalem they are not to be found, at this time, a hundred households of them; indeed, in Constantinople and Thessalonica there are esteemed to be about 160,000 Jews; who yet are exceedingly condemned and hated there (Breerwood’s Inquiries); and at every Easter in danger of being stoned by the Christians, because at that time they crucified our Saviour, derided, and buffeted him (Biddulph). All this, and more, they suffer; and yet they continue, by a just judgment of God upon them, woefully hard hearted, blood thirsty, thievish, treacherous, flagitious. Howbeit there is a remnant according to the election of grace, Romans 11:5 . A.D. 1556, at Weissensten, in Germany, a Jew, for theft (they had cried after him with hue and cry, as after a thief), was in this cruel manner to be executed: he was hanged by the feet, with his head downward, between two dogs, which constantly snatched and bit at him. The strangeness of the torment moved Jacob Andreas, a grave divine, to go to behold it; coming thither, he found the poor wretch, as he hung, repeating verses out of the Hebrew psalms, wherein he cried out to God for mercy. Andreas hereupon took occasion to counsel him to trust in Jesus Christ, the true Saviour of mankind. The Jew, embracing the Christian faith, requested but this one thing, that he might be taken down, and be baptized, though presently after he were hanged again (but by the neck, as Christian malefactors suffered), which was accordingly granted him (Melch. Adam in Vit.).
They cried after them as after a thief ] Presuming that, by doing nothing, they had learned to do naughtily; and that, having nothing of their own, and not willing to work, they lived by rapine and robbery. Such, therefore, as these they served as Philip of Macedonia did a couple of his idle, and therefore evil, subjects; he made the one of them run out of the country, and the other drive him. Solon made a law at Athens, that every man once a year should show the magistrates by what art or trade he maintained his family. This if he could not do to their good liking, he was presently expelled from the city. At Corinth, also, Periander ordained, That if any man spent freely, and could not make it appear that he got it honestly, he should, without further process of law, be trussed up for a thief.
Job 30:6 To dwell in the clifts of the valleys, [in] caves of the earth, and [in] the rocks.
Ver. 6. To dwell in the cliffs of the valleys ] Like wild beasts and serpents; which these idle persons will rather choose to do, and suffer any hardship, than labour for their livings, and do good in their places; earning it before they eat, and contributing something to the public welfare, as bees bring their honey to the common hive; this, those that will not do, are worthily cast out, and made to dwell in the cliffs, &c. In the time of Cato Censorius, when any one would be a citizen of Rome, they took his hand between theirs; and if it felt smooth and soft, they presently, as an idle vagabond, gave him his dimissal; but if hard and knotty, they forthwith admitted him to dwell in their city. And if a malefactor were apprehended whose hands were labouring hands, his punishment should be mitigated, though his crime were grievous; as if otherwise, a severe punishment was inflicted for a light offence.
Job 30:7 Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together.
Ver. 7. Among the bushes they brayed ] Through grief and discontent at their low condition and many miseries; which yet they would rather bootlessly bewail than take a right course to remedy. They lust, and have not; they kill (themselves through idleness), and desire to have (if it would come without labour), but cannot obtain, James 4:2 . And hence they bray like the wild ass when empty, and roar as the lion when bitten with hunger.
Under the nettles they were gathered together ] Or they were pricked, whealed, as we call it. Urtica ab urendo, they were nettle stung, while they got under those weeds for shelter and warmth. All this Job relateth of those that derided him; not to be even with them, or out of a desire to disparage them, but to aggravate the indignity of his misusage, and to comfort himself, as Seneca in like case did: Male de me loquuntur, sed mali, They speak evil of me, but who are they? base persons, and wicked above measure; and oh how easy a thing it is to wag a wicked tongue! especially when the devil hath the doing of it, as he hath in this kind of men qui revera os aperiunt, et diabolum loqui sinunt, whose mouth the devil borroweth to vent the language of hell by (Lavater).
Job 30:8 [They were] children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth.
Ver. 8. They were children of fools, yea, children of base men ] Homines flagitiosissimi, etiam homines ignominiosissimi afflictissimi erant, extorres, so Tremellius translateth; Naught all over they were, and nought esteemed; what wonder, therefore, if heavily afflicted and relegated? Their poverty was self-procured, and, therefore, unpitied; they had brought themselves into the briars, and also in their fathers’ iniquities they were pining away with them, Leviticus 26:39 . Evil eggs they were of evil birds, nihili homunciones et inglorii, as the Tigurines translate, fellows of no fashion, and as little account, terrae filii, earth sprung mushrooms, men in whom all true wisdom was faded and decayed, sapless persons, Nabals, Nebulones.
They were viler than the earth ] Terra quam ferimus, terra etiam quam terimus; or, They were smitten out of the earth, driven out of the land, sc. by me when I was in power; but now these vile varlets show themselves again, and trample upon me with the feet of pride and petulancy, Leoni mortuo vel mus insultat.
Job 30:9 And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword.
Ver. 9. And now am I their song ] They compose comedies out of my tragedies, and make themselves merry in my misery; they not only make ballads and sonnets of my sufferings, but also play them upon their instruments, as the Hebrew word importeth.
Yea, I am their byword ] Sermonis argumentum , the matter of their discourse; I am all their talk; neither have they anything else whereof to chat and babble, but only of me; yea, to make my disgraces to pass into a proverb, they call all miserable men by my name, De me confabulantur et contemptim loquuntur (Disc.). The ale stakes served David in like sort; the drunkards upon their ale bench tossed his name as dogs do carrion, making him their ballad and their byword, Psalms 69:12 . The whole Church complaineth of the like contempt, Psa 79:4 Lamentations 3:14 ; Lam 3:63 Ezekiel 33:32 . Thus when the invincible Armada, as they called it, was coming for England, Don Bernardino Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador in France, solaced himself with a vain and false poem or song of England’s miseries; which, as a triumph before the victory, he absurdly printed (Cambd. Eliz.). The gunpowder traitors also did the like in their sevenfold psalmody, as they called it; that devilish ditty, which secretly the Papists passed from hand to hand with tunes set to be sung or played. The matter consisted of railing upon King Edward VI, Queen Elizabeth, King James, and others; of petition, imprecation, prophecy, and praise (Spec. Bell. Sacr.).
Job 30:10 They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face.
Ver. 10. They abhor me, they flee far from me ] As if I were a leper or a bugbear, or that my breath were infectious; like that maid spoken of by Avicen, who, feeding upon poison, was herself healthy, yet infected others with her venomous breath. Job was wont to be honoured; now he is as much abhorred. People were used to hanging upon his lips for learned counsel, but they stand aloof, and keep at a distance. They looked upon that face of his as the face of an angel, which now, with utmost despite and detestation, they spit upon and spare not. At virtutes evertere non possunt, as Demetrius Phalereus said, when the Athenians threw down the many statues they had once erected in honour of him, But they cannot throw down my virtues and valiant acts, whereby I deserved those statues. Job was not without his cordial in this sad and sudden change of his condition. For, first, the bird in his own bosom sang sweetly still, as birds in the spring tune most melodiously when it rains most sadly. And, secondly, what if these miscreants prate against Job with malicious words, as Diotrephes did against Demetrius, 3 John 1:9-13 , yet it is enough for Job or Demetrius that they have a good report of all men; that is, of all good men, who indeed are the only men (because a good name only is a name, Ecclesiastes 7:1 , and a good wife only a wife, Pro 18:22 ) to be reckoned on; and of the truth itself, that is more, Job 30:12 .
And spare not to spit in my face ] In signum videlicet maximi contemptus et indignationis (Junius), In token of greatest contempt and indignation, as Num 12:14 Isa 50:6 Deuteronomy 25:9 . The face is the table of beauty or comeliness; and when it is spit upon it is made the seat of shame. Their words were, likely, such as the English barons here said of the popes that excommunicated them, Fie on such rascal ribalds, &c., Marcidi ribauldi (Mat. Paris,). Our Lord Christ also was spit upon in like manner, that he might cleanse our faces from the filth of sin, and make them shine with his beams, 1 John 3:2 .
Job 30:11 Because he hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me.
Ver. 11. Because he hath loosed my cord ] i.e. God hath taken away mine authority, whereby I heretofore kept them in order, and made them more obsequious, so that now, like headstrong horses, having gotten the bit between their teeth, they run whithersoever they list, and rise up against their rider. It is God who casteth contempt upon princes, Psa 107:40 Job 12:21 , as he did upon Solomon in his old age, upon his son Rehoboam, upon Ephraim, Hosea 13:1 , See Trapp on " Hos 13:1 " upon our Edward II, and Henry VI. Some render it, He hath loosed my bow string, in reference to Job 29:20 , so that I cannot now shoot at those that slight me. Job was disarmed and disabled to do as he desired, as Philip, king of France, was in the battle between him and Edward III, king of England, at the instant whereof there fell such a piercing shower of rain as dissolved the strings of his archers, and made their bows usefuless (Dan. Hist. f. 237).
And afflicted me ] When a tree is felled each man pulleth off a branch, saith the Greek proverb. When a dog is worried, every cur will fall on him, and have a fling at him; when a deer is wounded, the whole herd will set against him, and thrust him out of their company: so, when God hath afflicted Job, every base beggarly fellow sat heavy upon his skirts. This was an addition to his affliction.
Theft have also let loose the bridle upon me ] Those insolents, having pulled their heads out of the halter, lay the reins in the neck, and run riot; yea, they run at tilt against me, as it were, beyond all reason and measure, without fear, shame, or manners, Effraenate in me invecti sunt (Jan.). For, upon me, some read, before me; q.d. Now they dare do anything, even in my presence, who formerly stood in awe of me.
Job 30:12 Upon [my] right [hand] rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction.
Ver. 12. Upon the right hand rise the youth ] Broughton readeth, The springals. The Hebrew hath it, The blossom, or the young birds, Vix puberes, such as are scarcely out of the shell. The youngsters, the boys, scoffed and abused Job. The lawless rout, riding without reins, took a licentious boldness to despise and despite him, because he was ever most severe against their unruly practices.
They push away my feet ] They trip up my heels, as we phrase it, and lay me along. Vide admirandam humanae sortis varietatem, saith Brentius here; i.e. See the strange turns of human condition. Job was wont to have the chief seats in the temple, and salutations in the market place; now he cannot have a room anywhere to stand in, but every paltry boy is pushing him down. May it not be said of Job, as it was of that emperor, that he was fortunae pila et lusus? But he saw God in all.
And they raise up against me the ways of their destruction ] Allegoria castrensis. Job borroweth this expression from the camp, as he doth many more from other things, whensoever he speaketh of his great afflictions, and the contempt that was cast upon him. Upon me they tread the paths of their unhappiness, so Beza; that is, they make a path in which they may practise that their malapert boldness in doing mischief. They beat their paths by running up and down therein, to undo me, so Vatablus; they cast upon me the causes of their woe, so Broughton.
Job 30:13 They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they have no helper.
Ver. 13. They mar my paths ] That is, all my studies and endeavours; they obstruct all passages whereby I might hope for help, as if they were resolved upon my ruin.
They set forward my calamity ] See Zechariah 1:15 . See Trapp on " Zec 1:15 " Or they count it profitable to them to vex me, so great is their malice against me. And though it do them no good, yet if they may do me hurt, they have enough.
They have no helper ] Neither need they any to animate them or egg them on to mischief, who of themselves are overly forward, though but small and young, as Vajezatha, Haman’s youngest son, was. See Trapp on " Est 9:9 "
Job 30:14 They came [upon me] as a wide breaking in [of waters]: in the desolation they rolled themselves [upon me].
Ver. 14. They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters ] Quasi irruptione lata invadunt me. As soldiers when they have made a breach in a wall, come tumbling in upon the town, and sack and ransack it, yea, raze it, and harass it; so have these dealt with me.
They rolled themselves upon me ] Labouring wholly to suppress me, Genesis 43:18 . Taking occasion by this my downfall, which they ought rather to have lamented and pitied, they unmercifully fell upon me, as if they themselves had lived out of the reach of God’s rod.
Job 30:15 Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue my soul as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud.
Ver. 15. Terrors are turned upon me ] I am horribly afraid of thy judgments, as David expresseth it; and this was it that pointed and put a sting into all other sufferings; for a wounded conscience who can bear? If the shoulder be galled, the burden will be very tedious and irksome. Be not thou a terror unto me, Lord, saith Jeremiah, and then I care not much what else soever befalleth me. But why were these terrors so troublesome?
They pursue my soul as the wind ] Brentius rendereth it, They pursue my liberality, or, They take away from me all the cheerfulness and readiness of my mind; whereby heretofore I suffered so many calamities, and shrank not; for the joy of the Lord was my strength, and then nothing came amiss to me. Thou hast strengthened me with strength in my soul, Psalms 138:3 , and upheld me with thy noble spirit, Psalms 51:12 . The Chaldee hath it, kingly spirit, and it is the same word in the original that is here rendered, my soul; it is, my princess, or, my nobility, for so the soul is the more noble part, Animam meam nobilem et inclytam (Vat.). David calleth it his glory, Psalms 16:9 , and his darling, Psalms 22:20 . Some of the Jewish doctors make it the same with welfare, in the words following; but that is not likely.
And my welfare passeth away as a cloud ] i.e. Totally, as before; irresistible like the wind. Job aboundeth with similitudes, which do notably illustrate. Terrorum vim simili a vento illustrat, et salutem a se abeuntem similitudine nubis (Merl.). He would say, I am utterly deprived of all means of avoiding this misery.
Job 30:16 And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me.
Ver. 16. And now my soul is poured out upon me ] Now that I am under these inward terrors, I am become strengthless, even weak as water, my soul doth melt away for grief, as in Psalms 42:4 , and I am as a hollow tree, wherein there is not any heart of oak; I am utterly dispirited.
The days of affliction have taken hold upon me ] And so hard hold, that I despair of ever getting loose while I am alive.
Job 30:17 My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest.
Ver. 17. My bones are pierced in me in the night season ] Sleep is the nurse of nature, and the sweet parenthesis of men’s griefs and cares. But Job had so many aches and ailments in his body (over and above the terrors and troubles of his mind), that rest he could take none at all in the night season, when all creatures are wont to be at quiet. For for what reason? the very marrow of his bones raged through intolerable pain; as if it had been run through with a tuck. Nay more,
And my sinews (or, my pulses) take no rest] Heb. Sleep not; my sinews or arteries are racked with the cramp; and my pulses, by the force of fever, beat excessively, and pant without intermission; Qui tamen minui deberent, quia calor retrahitur in partem interiorem; which yet should move more slowly by night, because then the heat is drawn into the internal parts (Vatablus).
Job 30:18 By the great force [of my disease] is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat.
Ver. 18. By the great force of my disease is my garment changed ] sc. Sudore, cruore, sanie, sanguine, By the matter that my disease forceth outward in boils and botches, is my garment (which once was decoris et magistratus insigne, the ensign of my authority) utterly stained and spoiled, loathsome to myself, and noisome to others, Totum cruentum et sordidatum (Merc.). Every one (say some chemists) hath his own balsam within him; his own bane it is sure he hath. Physicians hold that in every two years there is such store of ill humours and excrements engendered in the body, that a vessel of one hundred ounces will scarce contain them. Now if these, by God’s appointment (for he is the great centurion, Matthew 8:9 , who hath all diseases at his beck and call), break outward, what an ulcerous leper and lazar must that man needs be! This was Job’s case, and Munster’s, who called his sores Gemmas, et preciosa Dei ornamenta, God’s gems and jewels, wherewith he decketh those whom he loveth; and King Philip’s, of Spain, who, besides many other diseases, had ingentem puris ex ulceribus redundantiam, quae binas indies scutellas divite paedore impleret, abundance of filthy matter issuing out of his sores, insomuch as that no change of clothes, or art of physicians, could keep him from being devoured by lice and vermin thereby engendered (Carol. Scriban. Instit. Princip. cap. 20).
It bindeth me about as the collar of my coat ] It is become so stiff and starky, that it wrings me and hurts me, as an uneasy collar girds and gripes a man’s neck; as the edge of my coat it girds me, so Broughton readeth it. Beza rendereth this latter part of the verse thus: He (God) compasseth me about as the collar of my coat. Piscator, the whole thus: By the greatness of his (God’s) strength (which he putteth forth in scourging me with diseases), my garment changeth itself (putteth upon, as it were, another garment of scabs and scurf), as the mouth of my coat, he (God) girdeth me; i.e. Morbo premit corpus meum, he pincheth my body with diseases. But the former reading is better.
Job 30:19 He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes.
Ver. 19. He hath cast me into the mire ] My disease hath, so Vatablus senseth it. Others, God hath as it were trampled me to dirt, thrown me into the kennel, and so done me the greatest disgrace that can be.
And I am become like dust and ashes ] Like a dust head behind the door, cadaverosus et semimortuus, saith Mercer; being covered all over (saith Beza) with the scales and scrapings that fall from my scabs; I am become more like unto the unprofitable dust and ashes, than unto a living man. Dust and ashes are not more like one another than their names are in the original; sic κονις , cinis. See Genesis 3:19 ; Genesis 18:27 .
Job 30:20 I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me: I stand up, and thou regardest me [not].
Ver. 20. I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me ] This was a sore trial, that God should cast him into straits, and there leave him. His enemies indeed he usually dealeth so by, Ezekiel 22:20 ; Ezekiel 29:5 , but not by his servants, Hebrews 13:5 . Or if he do leave them, yet he will not forsake them. The mother leaves her child sometimes, but when he setteth up his note and crieth lustily, she hasteneth to help him. So doth God: but now Job cried unto him, and was not heard or answered, to his thinking at least, and that was a great cut to him, as Psalms 22:2 .
I stand up ] sc. To make supplication to my judge, as Haman stood up to make request for his life, Esther 7:7 , as the publican stood and prayed, Luke 18:13 , and as Moses and Samuel are supposed to stand before God in prayer for their people, Jeremiah 15:1 . Hence that proverb among the Jews, Absque stationibus, non staret mundus, Did not the saints stand in prayer, the world could not stand.
And thou regardest me not ] This was but a mistake in Job, for the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers. Only God answereth our prayer, non secundum voluntatem, tamen ad utilitatem. Not always or as soon as we would, but doth that which is better for us, and takes it ill to be misconstrued, as he was by Job; witness the next words, bloody words indeed, and not far from blasphemy. Accusat ergo Iob Dominum mendacii (Brent.). Contumeliosus videri potest (Merl.).
Job 30:21 Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.
Ver. 21. Thou art become cruel to me ] Mutatus es mihi in tyrannum, thou art turned tyrant towards me, so Brentius rendereth it; and the like he had said before, Job 16:13 ; Job 19:8-10 , out of the vehemency of his pain, and the sense of his flesh, which should have been silenced, and faith exalted; the property whereof is to pick one contrary out of another (as life out of death, assurance of deliverance out of deepest distresses, Deu 32:36 ), and to persuade the heart that God concealeth his love, out of increased love, and in very faithfulness afflicteth his darlings, that he may be true to their souls, Psalms 119:75 .
With thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me ] Thou hatest me, Satanically hatest me; Intestinum odium exerces adversum me (Tremell.); and accordingly thou dost practise all thy might upon me. Thus Job in his heat; and that he may not seem to rage without reason, he subjoineth.
Job 30:22 Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride [upon it], and dissolvest my substance.
Ver. 22. Thou liftest me up to the wind ] Thou whifflest and wherriest me about as chaff or thistle down. Pro libidine tractas me thou usest me at thy pleasure (Brent.).
Thou causest me to ride upon it ] Upon the wings of the wind, lifting me up aloft, that I may fall with the greater poise, as the eagle is said to do the tortoise; Ut lapsu graviore ruam. -
Thou dissolvest my substance ] Or, Thou meltest my wisdom. I have neither flesh nor reason remaining. The issue that he expecteth of all these his forementioned miseries, followeth:
Job 30:23 For I know [that] thou wilt bring me [to] death, and [to] the house appointed for all living.
Ver. 23. For I know that thou wilt bring me to death ] Such hard thoughts had Job of God, and such heavy thoughts of himself. Nam experior, mors avocat me so Tremellius: For I feel it, death calleth me away. Sic ludis mecum, ut facile conieciam mibi moriendum esse saith Brentius: Thou so dalliest with me, that I plainly perceive I must shortly die, there is no avoiding of it. Thus good Job was pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch as he despaired even of life; and had the sentence (or denunciation) of death in himself, &c., 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 . But God was better to him than his fears, and delivered him from so great a death: this is usual.
Qui nil sperare potest, desperet nihil.
And to the house appointed for all living ] That is, the grave, Psalms 49:14 ; Psalms 89:48 , that congregation house of all living; as heaven is called Pανηγυρις , the congregation house of the firstborn, Hebrews 12:23 , the public or common meeting place, as Isaiah 14:13 , the house of constitution or assignation to all living, as the Hebrew here hath it, that is, to all men, who are by an excellence called, "every creature," Mark 16:15 , as being the best living creatures upon earth.
Job 30:24 Howbeit he will not stretch out [his] hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.
Ver. 24. Howbeit he will outstretch not his hand to the grave ] He will not dig up the dead, as the Papists dealt by Bucer and others, to afflict them any more. Quid facere poterunt? Occident? Nunquid, resuscitabunt ut iterum occidant? What can they do? said Luther concerning his enemies who threatened him. Will they kill me? but what then? Will they raise me up to life again, that they may kill me again? No: Charles V, emperor, when he might have done that, and was moved to do it, would not. Mors requies aerumnarum. Dead men are at rest, was Chaucer’s motto. There, in the grave, the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest, Job 3:17 . Thus Job speaketh, going no further than the afflictions of the body, as being for his own part fearless of eternal punishment. But as for the wicked, when they die out of bodily misery, it is but as the man’s flying from a lion, and a more savage bear meeteth him; or going from it into the house (this house mentioned in Job 30:23 ), and that more venomous serpent (the devil, who hath the power of death, Heb 2:14 ) there biteth him, Amos 5:19 .
Though they cry in his destruction ] i.e. While God is crushing or killing of them. Or, Is there any cry in his destruction? It was never yet known that dead men made moan; whatever the Popish legenders tell us of one that cried out, I am dead, I am judged, I am damned; which gave occasion to Bruno to found the Carthusian order.
Job 30:25 Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was [not] my soul grieved for the poor?
Ver. 25. Did I not weep for him that was in trouble? ] Rursum, per pathos, excandescit (Mercer). Here Job wondereth and is much moved again at his unpitied condition, since he was so full of pity for the afflicted. He could safely say with Cyprian, Cum singulis pectus meum copulo, maeroris et funeris pondera luctuosa participo, cum plangentibus plango, cum deflentibus defico. He had tears ready for the afflicted, and wept with those that weep; not for a compliment, as the Brazilians, who
Ut flerent, oculos erudiere suos (Ovid),
nor out of tender heartedness, as Gordian the emperor, who would weep for the beating of a boy at school; but out of hearty compassion and commiseration, as good Nehemiah, Nehemiah 2:2 , and those Christian Hebrews, Hebrews 10:33-34 . Now forasmuch as the merciful have the promises of mercy made unto them, Matthew 5:7 James 2:13 , and all men say, Ab alio expectes alteri quod feceris, Job marvelleth at others’ hard heartedness toward him, and expostulateth the unkindness.
Was not my soul grieved for the poor? ] Into whose case good Job put himself, and so became mendicorum maximus, as Salvian saith of Christ, because he shareth with his saints in all their necessities; he drew out not only his sheaf, but his soul to the hungry, Isaiah 58:7 ; Isaiah 58:10 , and satisfied the afflicted soul; this was right. Contrisrata est anima mea super egenum. Some render it, Restagnavit lachrymis anima mea, My soul stood with tears, like a standing pool. Others, ustulatur, πυρουται , My soul burneth: which is agreeable to that of the apostle, 2 Corinthians 11:29 , "Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?"
Job 30:26 When I looked for good, then evil came [unto me]: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.
Ver. 26. When I looked for good ] According to that general rule, and the common course of God’s proceedings, "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again," Matthew 7:2 . "With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful," Psalms 18:25 . Middah cenegedh middah, say the Hebrews, Men shall have measure for measure, like for like. Hence Job expected to have all things at will, but it happened somewhat otherwise; and this puzzled him, he could not understand these cross occurrences. He could almost find in his heart to think that he was therefore so little pitied by others, because he had been so full of pity toward others.
When I waited for light, then came darkness ] Things grew every day worse and worse with me, mending like sour ale in summer, as we say. Thus it fares many times with God’s best servants, these children of light walk in darkness, nevertheless let them trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon their God, in the fail of all outward comforts, Isa 50:10 Habakkuk 3:17-18 . This is the triumph of faith, which tells the soul that things must go backward before they can come forward, and when matters are at worst they will mend.
Job 30:27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.
Ver. 27. My bowels boiled, and rested not ] Being tossed and tumbled with continual boiling and bubbling, rumbling and making a rattle (as the word signifieth), whether through passion or compassion, Ollae more insonueruut (Merc.). With most compassionate sympathy (saith one learned paraphrast) did my bowels yearn over the afflicted, so that I could have no quiet in myself for grieving and taking thought for them; I was seldom or never without sorrow for some one or other’s affliction.
The days of affliction prevented me ] Prevision should have hindered this prevention. Evils foreseen come no whit the sooner, but far the easier. It is a labour well lost if they befall us not; well spent if they do; whereas coming suddenly, they find weak minds secure, make them miserable, leave them desperate. Expect them therefore and prepare for them; darts foreseen are dintless.
Job 30:28 I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, [and] I cried in the congregation.
Ver. 28. I went mourning without the sun ] Ater ambulo, sed non ob solem; I am not sun burnt, but heart burnt; black and discoloured without, because parched and dried up within by the force of my disease and my grief, wherewith I am pained, pined, and even perished.
I stood up and cried in the congregation ] Which was not very handsome, but I could not hold. Rise I did, and roar I must amidst the press of people, whatever they should think of me. So Mordecai went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; and came even before the king’s gate, &c., Esther 4:1-2 . In extreme heaviness men care not to keep decorums.
Job 30:29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
Ver. 29. I am a brother to dragons, &c. ] i.e. I utter a very lamentable voice, or rather noise, like dragons, which sucking the elephant’s blood till he fall down dead upon them, and quell them with his huge bulk, make a horrible howling; so horrible and hideous, say some, that they amaze, yea, kill those that hear it (Plin. Solin.).
And a companion to owls ] I give forth rude and confused cries, as if I howled with owls, or grunted with ostriches. We use to say of such, that they roar like bears and bellow like bulls, filling the air with their outcries. Young ostriches cast off by their dams, Job 39:14 Lamentations 4:3 , make a pitiful moan; so do the young ravens for like cause, Psalms 147:9 . Job cried out more like a beast than a man, in his pain and misery. This the Stoics censured as effeminate, and would not allow a wise or valiant man to sigh, or cry, or show any token of grief, whatever befell him. But this was to destroy nature, and to transform men into stocks and stones void of sense. The patriarchs bewailed their deceased friends. David, likely, was not ignorant of the Gentile’s proverb, Weeping becometh not a king; yet he wept abundantly, yea, he out wept Jonathan. Because the better anyone is, the more inclined to weeping and lamentation, which yet must be duly moderated (Eurip. - Aγαθοι δ αριδακρυες ανδρες ).
Job 30:30 My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.
Ver. 30. My skin is black upon me ] Through the violence of the fever, and a dust matter, his skin was as black and mud coloured as the waters of the river Nile, which hath its name Sihor, in the Hebrew, from this root, Jeremiah 2:18 . The Ethiopians’ skin is black, but that is natural to them, and they think it best so, and therefore paint the devil white, &c.
And my bones are burnt with heat ] In the fever they call Epialis, the heat is all inward, and drieth up the radical moisture. Job complaineth of such a distemper, and so doth David, Psalms 32:3-4 , and Solomon tells us, that a heavy heart drieth up the bones. Beza expoundeth it of the jawbone, dried and pined away for want of moisture.
Job 30:31 My harp also is [turned] to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.
Ver. 31. My harp also is turned to mourning ] All the days of the afflicted are evil, Proverbs 15:15 , his harps are hanged up, his lute no longer fit but for melancholy airs; his song nothing but lachrymae, doleful ditties; his organs, all those instruments that were wont to divert him, are condemned either to sigh or to be silent. Intempestiva est in luctu Musica /RAPC Sir 22:6, ου ναβλα κωκυτοισιν ου λυρα φιλα (Sophocl.). Gillimer, overcome and besieged by Belisarius, sent to request of him three things: 1. A loaf, to ease his hunger. 2. A harp, to ease his grief. 3. A sponge, to dry up his tears. Such mournful music was Job’s, if any at all.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 30". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28