Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 18:15

"There dwells in his tent nothing of his; Brimstone is scattered on his habitation.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Brimstone;   Wicked (People);   Thompson Chain Reference - Brimstone;   The Topic Concordance - Bearing Fruit;   Knowledge;   Perishing;   Wickedness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Death of the Wicked, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Bildad;   Brimstone;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Brimstone;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Job;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Brimstone;   Job, the Book of;   Minerals and Metals;   Night Monster;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Brimstone;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Brimstone;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

It shall dwell in his tabernacle - Desolation is here personified, and it is said that it shall be the inhabitant, its former owner being destroyed. Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation, so that, like Sodom and Gomorrah, it may be an everlasting monument of the Divine displeasure. In the Persian poet Saady, we find a couplet which contains a similar sentiment: -

Purdeh daree meekund dar keesri Keesar ankeboot

Boomee Noobat meezund ber kumbed Afraseeab .

"The spider holds the veil in the palace of Caesar;

The owl stands sentinel on the watchtower of Afrasiab."

The palaces of those mighty kings are so desolate that the spider is the only chamberlain, and the owl the only sentinel. The web of the former is all that remains as a substitute for the costly veil furnished by the chamberlain in the palace of the Roman monarch; and the hooting of the latter is the only remaining substitute for the sound of drums and trumpets by which the guards were accustomed to be relieved at the watchtower of the Persian king. The word (Persic) Keesur, the same as kaisar or Caesar, is the term which the Asiatics always use when they designate the Roman emperor. Afrasiab was an ancient king who invaded and conquered Persia about seven hundred years before the Christian era. After having reigned twelve years, he was defeated and slain by Zalzer and his son, the famous Rustem. The present reigning family of Constantinople claim descent from this ancient monarch.

Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation - This may either refer to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as has already been intimated, or to an ancient custom of fumigating houses with brimstone, in order to purify them from defilement. Pliny says, Hist. Nat., lib. xxxv., c. 15, speaking of the uses of sulphur, Habet et in religionibus locum ad expiandas suffitu domos; which Dr. Holland paraphrases thus: "Moreover brimstone is employed ceremoniously in hallowing of houses; for many are of opinion that the perfume and burning thereof will keep out all enchantments; yea, and drive away foul fiends and evil sprites that do haunt a place."

Ovid refers to the same, De Arte. Am., lib. ii. ver. 329.

Et veniat, quae lustret anus lectumque locumque:

Praeferat et tremula sulphur et ova manu.

This alludes to the ceremony of purifying the bed or place in which a sick person was confined; an old woman or nurse was the operator, and eggs and sulphur were the instruments of purification. On this and other methods of purgation see an excellent note in Servius on these words of Virgil, Aen. vi., ver. 740. -

Aliae panduntur inanes

Suspensae ad ventos: aliis sub gurgite vasto

Infectum eluitur scelus, aut exuritur igni.

"For this are various penances subjoin'd;

And some are hung to bleach upon the wind;

Some plunged in waters, others, plunged in fires."

Unde etiam, says Servius, in sacris Liberi omnibus tres sunt istae purgationes: nam aut taeda purgantur et sulphure, aut aqua abluuntur, aut aere ventilantur.

"These three kinds of purgation are used in the rites of Bacchus: they are purged by flame and sulphur, or washed in water, or ventilated by the winds."

But it is most likely that Bildad, in his usual uncharitable manner, alludes to the destruction of Job's property and family by winds and fire: for the Fire of God fell from heaven and burnt up the sheep and the servants, and Consumed them; and a great wind, probably the sulphureous suffocating simoom, smote the four corners of the house, where Job's children were feasting, and killed them; see Job 1:16, Job 1:19.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

It shall dwell in his tabernacle - It is uncertain what is to be understood as referred to here. Some suppose that the word to be understood is soul, and that the meaning is “his soul,” that is, he himself, “shall dwell in his tent.” Rosenmuller, Noyes, Wemyss, and others, suppose that the word is terror. “Terror (בלהה ballâhâh ) shall dwell in his tent,” the same word which is used in the plural in the previous verse. This is undoubtedly the correct sense; and the idea is, that his forsaken tent shall be a place of terror - somewhat, perhaps, as we speak of a forsaken house as “haunted.” It may be that Bildad refers to some such superstitious fear as we sometimes, and almost always in childhood, connect with the idea of a house in which nobody lives.

Because it is none of his - It is no longer his. It is a forsaken, tenantless dwelling.

Brimstone shall be scattered - Brimstone has been always the image of desolation. Nothing will grow on a field that is covered with sulphur; and the meaning here is, that his house would be utterly desolate and forsaken. Rosenmuller and Noyes suppose that there is an allusion here to a sudden destruction, such as was that of Sodom and Gomorrha. Grotius doubts whether it refers to that or to lightning. Others suppose that lightning is referred to both here and in Genesis 19:24; Deuteronomy 29:23. I can see no evidence here, however, that there is any reference to Sodom and Gomorrha, or that there is any allusion to lightning. If the allusion had been to Sodom, it would have been more full. That was a case “just in point” in the argument; and the fact that was exactly in point, and would have furnished to the friends of Job such an irrefragalbe proof of the position which they were defending, and that it is not worked into the very texture of their argument, is full demonstration, to my mind, that that remarkable event is not referred to in this place. The only thing necessarily implied in the language before us is, that sulphur, the emblem of desolation, would be scattered on his dwelling, and that his dwelling would be wholly desolate.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-18.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

It shall dwell in his tabernacle,.... What shall dwell in it is not said; there are various conjectures about it, and different supplements are made; the Targum is,

"his wife shall dwell in a tabernacle not his;'

and to the same purpose Jarchi; as if it was one part of the punishment of a wicked man, that he should leave a widow behind him, and no house of his own for her to dwell in; but this is the case of the widows of many good men, who themselves, in their lifetime, have no houses of their own, and some no certain dwelling places, yea, have lived in caves and dens of the earth; the mother of our Lord, who seems to have been a widow at his death, was taken by one of his disciples to his own home, which shows she had none of her own. The Vulgate Latin version is,

"his neighbours shall dwell in his tabernacle;'

which some understand of their coming into it after his death, to mourn and bewail him; but as such a visit of his family upon his decease cannot be called dwelling, so this is rather a benefit and favour to his family, than a distress: rather it may signify, that such neighbours whom he had oppressed, and who hated him for his tyranny and cruelty, now should dwell in his house; what he had built, strangers should inhabit, which is a punishment of sin and sinners, Deuteronomy 28:30. Aben Ezra supplies it thus, a strange or evil beast shall dwell in it, as they do in desolate places; and it is frequently given as a sign and token of desolation in countries, cities, and palaces, that they are become the habitations of wild and savage creatures, see Isaiah 13:19; but it seems best to supply it from the context, either thus, famine, hunger, want of food, shall dwell in it; poverty and want shall come like an armed man into it, and take possession; there shall appear all the marks and signs of penury and distress; or destruction ready at his side shall take up its abode in it, and it shall be called the house of destruction, as a certain city is called the city of destruction, because devoted to it, Isaiah 19:18; or the firstborn of death, some deadly disease, as the pestilence; or death itself, the king of terrors, who is sometimes represented as a person coming up into the windows of a palace, and entering it, and cutting off great numbers; so that it goes ill with him that is left in a tabernacle, where he has his habitation, Jeremiah 9:21; or terror, as Ben Gersom; everyone of the terrors before mentioned, so that no body will care to dwell in it, but forsake it as an haunted house: in short, from the whole it may be gathered, that the curse of God should alight upon it, and remain in it, as it does in the house of the wicked; the same with the flying roll in the vision of Zechariah, the curse of God's righteous law, which enters into the house of the thief and perjurer, and consumes it, Proverbs 3:33; the reason follows,

because it is none of his; not by right, being bought or built with mammon of unrighteousness, with money not honestly got, and therefore shall not prosper; or because it is no longer his, he being taken from it by death, the king of terrors, and that not knowing or owning him any more as its master or proprietor, and therefore strangers shall dwell in it; or because there is none that shall be after him, because he shall have none left, or he shall have no survivorF8So Syr. Ar & Schmidt. , all his family being taken away by death; and therefore nothing but desolation and destruction shall be seen in it, see Amos 6:9;

brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation; that is, his house should be burnt down by lightning, which is often sulphurous, and sometimes very sensibly has the smell of brimstone in itF9Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 35. c. 35. . Bildad may refer either to the fire of heaven that destroyed Job's sheep, which was of this kind; or rather to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by a shower of fire and brimstone from heaven, a fact well known in those times. Moreover, brimstone scattered upon the wicked man's dwelling place may denote the desolation of it, that it should lie in ruins, and be unfit to be inhabited; and the desolation of places is sometimes signified by their being salt, brimstone and burning pitch, Deuteronomy 29:23; yea, this may be carried further, and denote the eternal damnation of all in his house, seeing the burning of Sodom with brimstone was an example to ungodly men suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, Judges 1:7; and which is sometimes expressed by brimstone, and a lake burning with fire and brimstone, Revelation 20:10. SomeF11Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 709, 710. think respect is had to the purifying of houses with sulphur, to drive away demons, and remove impurity, to make them fit to dwell inF12Vid. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 35. c. 15. Theocrit. Idyll. 25. ver. 95. Homer. Odyss. 22. prope finem. ; and others think it refers to the burning of sulphur in houses at funerals, to testify and exaggerate mourningF13Vid. Menochium de Repub. Heb. l. 8. c. 6. col. 792. .

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because [it is] none of his: l brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

(l) Though all the world would favour him, yet God would destroy him and his.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-18.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

It — “Terror” shall haunt, etc., and not as Umbreit, “another,” which the last clause of the verse disproves.

none of his — It is his no longer.

brimstone — probably comparing the calamity of Job by the “fire of God” (Job 1:16) to the destruction of guilty Sodom by fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:24).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-18.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

It — Destruction, expressed verse12, shall fix its abode with him.

Because — Because it is none of his own, being got from others by deceit or violence.

Brimstone — It shall be utterly destroyed, as it were, by fire and brimstone. He seems to allude both to the destruction of Sodom, which happened not long before these times, and to the judgment which befel Job, chap1:16.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-18.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 18:15 It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because [it is] none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

Ver. 15. It shall dwell in his tabernacles, because it is none of his] Heb. Not his; Why? the king of terrors hath turned him out of it, and taken it up for a habitation for himself. Some render it thus, nothing, or have nothing (that is, want) shall dwell in his tabernacle, his house shall be replenished with emptiness, scarcity shall be the furniture of his habitation.

Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation] As is also threatened, Psalms 11:6. And as was executed upon Sodom and her sisters; as also upon Dioclesian, the tyrant, who, giving over his empire, decreed to lead the rest of his life quietly. But he escaped not so, for after that his house was wholly consumed with lightning, and a flame of fire that fell from heaven, not without a sulphurous smell, he hiding himself for fear of the lightning, died a short time later. (Euseb. de Vita Const. lib. v.)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 18:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-18.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 18:15. It shall dwell in his tabernacle They shall take up their habitation in his tent, because he hath no survivor: brimstone shall be sprinkled upon his habitation. As much as to say, "Since he hath no one to survive him, his posterity is utterly exterminated: horror takes possession of his habitation, and it is sprinkled with brimstone, that no person may ever after inhabit it, but that it may remain an object of terror to future ages." The image is grand, and worthy of the tragic style. Heath. But I should rather think, that the sprinkling of brimstone upon his habitation alludes to the known custom of purifying a house with sulphur, after it had been abused to wicked and riotous purposes. See Numbers 31:20.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 18:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-18.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

It, i.e. destruction, expressed Job 18:12, and designed by this particle it, Job 18:13, shall not come upon him and his for a season, for then there might be some hopes of recovery; but it shall fix his abode with him.

It is none of his: this may be added, either,

1. By way of correction, Did I say

his tabernacle? I must retract the expression; for in truth, it is none of his, it is become another man’s. Or,

2. As a reason of the ruin of his tabernacle, because it is none of his own, but got from others by deceit or violence. But these words are and may be joined with the former, and both thus rendered, A stranger (Heb. one that is not his, that is not descended from him, and hath no relation to him)

shall dwell in his tabernacle, i.e. shall possess his house and goods.

Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation; it shall be utterly and prodigiously destroyed, as it were by fire and brimstone. He seems to allude both to the destruction of Sodom, upon which God did scatter brimstone and fire, which happened not long before these times, and could not be unknown to them, who lived near that place, and were diligent observers of God’s works; and to the judgment which befell Job, Job 1:16: when the stranger hath taken and rifled his dwelling, he shall forsake it as an accursed place, and shall burn it with fire and brimstone, that there may be no monument of so vile a person left upon the earth.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 18:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-18.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.His tabernacle — After he has been snatched from it, there shall dwell in his tent that which is not his, to wit: wild beasts, (Isaiah 13:21,) or weeds and thorns, (Hosea 9:6, Dillmann,) or strangers and aliens, (Hitzig.)

Brimstone — His doom shall be like that of Sodom and Gomorrah; the fires of heaven shall fall upon his habitation. The ancients fancied that lightning had the smell of brimstone. Thus Pliny, (Job 35:1,) “Lightning and thunder are attended with a strong smell of sulphur, and the light produced by them is of a sulplhureous complexion.” “The desolation of his house is the most terrible calamity for the Semite.’ For the Bedawi especially, although his hair tent leaves no mark, the thought of the desolation of his house, the extinction of his hospitable health, is terrible.” — WETZSTEIN, in Del. The ancients had a custom of fumigating houses with sulphur for purposes of purification and exorcism. But notwithstanding Dr. Adam Clarke’s great authority, its application to the text is very questionable. (See Clarke, in loc.)

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-18.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 18:15. It shall dwell in his tabernacle — Destruction, expressed Job 18:12, shall fix its abode with him. Because it is none of his — Because it is none of his own, being got from others by deceit or violence. Brimstone shall be scattered on his habitation — It shall be utterly destroyed, as it were, by fire and brimstone. He seems to allude both to the destruction of Sodom, which happened not long before these times, and to the judgment which befell Job, chap. Job 1:16. When the stranger hath taken and rifled his dwelling, he shall forsake it as an accursed place, and shall burn it with fire and brimstone, that there may be no monument of so vile a person left upon the earth. Heath’s interpretation of this verse is, “They shall take up their habitation in his tent, because he hath no surviver: brimstone shall be sprinkled upon his habitation. As much as to say, ‘Since he hath no one to survive him, his posterity is utterly exterminated: horror takes possession of his habitation, and it is sprinkled with brimstone, that no person may ever after inhabit it; but that it may remain an object of terror to future ages.’ The image is grand, and worthy of the tragic style.”

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 18:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-18.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Tent, when he is gone to purify it. Et veniat quæ lustret anus lectumque locumque,

Præferat et tremula sulphur et ova manu. (Ovid, Art.)

--- Yet Moses does not mention sulphur as a thing proper for purifications. Some think that Baldad hints that his house will be destroyed with lightning, or rendered uninhabitable by a loathsome smell.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-18.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"There dwells in his tent nothing of his": His possessions pass on to others (Ecclesiastes 2:18f), or are removed by God"s judgment. The use of the term "brimstone" may either refer to the practice of using sulphur to fumigate the room where a corpse had lain, or an inference that Job"s losing his prosperity was an act of Divine judgment (Genesis 19:24; Deuteronomy 29:22-23).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-18.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

It: i.e. every one of the terrors.

none of his = not, indeed, his own.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-18.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

It - terror shall haunt, etc.; and not, as Umbreit, another, which the last clause disproves: for the fire having consumed his tabernacle, none other can dwell in it except the terror which haunts deserted dwellings. None of his - it is his no longer, but desolate and untenanted.

Brimstone - perhaps comparing the calamity of Job by the "fire of God" (Job 1:16), to the destruction of guilty Sodom by fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:24); but the language is too vague to make the allusion certain (cf. Psalms 11:6, "Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone").

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-18.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) It shall dwell in his tabernacle.—Or, “There shall dwell in his tent they that are none of his,” or “which is no longer his”: i.e., terrors shall dwell, or, “which is none of his” may hint that it had been violently taken from some one else. “Brimstone shall be scattered on his dwelling” is probably an allusion to the cities of the plain (Genesis 19).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.
dwell
12,13; Zechariah 5:4
because
20:18-21; 31:38,39; Jeremiah 22:13; Habakkuk 2:6-11
brimstone
Genesis 19:24; Deuteronomy 29:23; Psalms 11:6; Isaiah 34:9,10; Revelation 19:20; 21:8
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 28:24 - make the rain;  Job 5:24 - thou shalt know;  Job 15:28 - desolate;  Job 20:19 - he hath violently;  Job 22:23 - thou shalt;  Proverbs 12:7 - wicked;  Proverbs 14:11 - house;  Jeremiah 49:18 - no man;  Ezekiel 16:50 - therefore;  Revelation 14:10 - be

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 18:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-18.html.