Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 27:18

"He has built his house like the spider's web, Or as a hut which the watchman has made.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Booth;   Hypocrisy;   Moth;   Oppression;   Rich, the;   Wicked (People);   Thompson Chain Reference - Builders, Worldly;   Insects;   Moths;   Worldliness-Unworldliness;   Worldly;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Insects;   Moth, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gardens;   Moth;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Cottage;   House;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Garden;   Moth;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Booth;   Insects;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Job;   Moth;   Providence;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Moth ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Dwelling;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Garden;   House;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Moth;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Booth;   Gardener;   Job, Book of;   Moth;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He buildeth his house as a moth - With great skill, great pains, and great industry; but the structure, however skillful, shall be dissolved; and the materials, however costly, shall be brought to corruption. To its owner it shall be only a temporary habitation, like that which the moth makes in its larve or caterpillar state, during its change from a chrysalis to a winged insect.

As a booth that the keeper maketh - A shed which the watchman or keeper of a vineyard erects to cover him from the scorching sun, while watching the ripening grapes, that they may be preserved from depredation. Travellers in the East have observed that such booths or sheds are made of the lightest and most worthless materials; and after the harvest or vintage is in, they are quite neglected, and by the winter rains, etc., are soon dissolved and destroyed.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-27.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He buildeth his house as a moth - The house which the moth builds is the slight fabric which it makes for its own dwelling in the garment which it consumes. On this verse compare Job 8:14. The dwelling of the moth is composed of the materials of the garment on which it feeds, and there may be an allusion here not only to the fact that the house which the wicked reared for themselves would be temporary, and that it would soon pass away like the dwelling of the moth, but that it was obtained - like the dwelling of the moth - at the expense of others. The idea of frailty, however, and of its being only a very temporary habitation, is probably the main thought in the passage. The allusion here is to the moth-worm as it proceeds from the egg, before it is changed into the chrysalis, aurelia, or nymph. “The young moth, upon leaving the egg which a papilio has lodged upon a piece of stuff, or a skin well dressed, and commodious for her purpose, immediately finds a habitation and food in the nap of the stuff, or hair of the skin. It gnaws and lives upon the nap, and likewise builds with it its apartment, accommodated both with a front door and a back one: the whole is well fastened to the ground of the stuff, with several cords and a little glue. The moth sometimes thrusts her head out of one opening, and sometimes out of the other, and perpetually demolishes all about her; and when she has cleared the place about her, she draws out all the stakes of the tent, after which she carries it to some little distance, and then fixes it with her slender cords in a new situation.”

Burder. It is to the insect in its larvae or caterpillar state that Job refers here, and the slightness of the habitation will be easily understood by anyone who has watched the operations of the silkworm, or of the moths that appear in this country. The idea is, that the habitation which the wicked constructed was temporary and frail, and would soon be left. The Chaldee and Syriac render this “the spider;” and so does Luther - Spinne. The slight gossamer dwelling of the spider would well correspond with the idea here expressed by Job.

And as a booth - A tent, or cottage.

That the keeper maketh - That one who watches vineyards or gardens makes as a temporary shelter from the storm or the cold at night. Such edifices were very frail in their structure, and were designed to be only temporary habitations; see the subject explained in the notes at Isaiah 1:8. Niebuhr, in his description of Arabia, p. 158, says, “In the mountains of Yemen they have a sort of nest on the trees, where the Arabs sit to watch the fields after they have been planted. But in the Kehama, where they have but few trees, they build a light kind of scaffolding for this purpose.” Mr. Southey opens the fifth part of his Curse of Kehama with a similar allusion:

“Evening comes on: - arising from the stream

Homeward the tall flamingo wings his flight;

And when hc sails athwart the setting beam,

His scarlet plumage glows with deeper light.

The watchman, at the wish‘d approach of night

Gladly forsakes the field, where he all day,

To scare the winged plunderers from their prey,

With shout and sling, on yonder clay-built height,

Hath borne the sultry ray.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-27.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He buildeth his house as a moth,.... Which builds its house in a garment by eating into it, and so destroying it, and in time eats itself out of house and home, and however does not continue long in it, but is soon and easily shook out, or brushed off; so a wicked man builds himself an house, a stately palace, like ArcturusF12כעש "quasi Arcturi", Junius & Tremellius; so Aben Ezra. ; so some render the words from Job 9:9, a palace among the stars, an heavenly palace and paradise, and expects it will continue for ever; but as he builds it with the mammon of unrighteousness, and to the prejudice and injury of others, and with their money, or what was due to them, so by his sins and iniquities he brings ruin and destruction upon himself and his family, so that his house soon falls to decay, and at least he and his posterity have but a short lived enjoyment of it. This may be applied in a figurative sense to the hypocrite's hope and confidence, which is like a spider's web, a moth eaten garment, and a house built upon the sand; the Septuagint version here adds, "as a spider", Job 8:13;

and as a booth that the keeper maketh; either a keeper of sheep, who sets up his tent in a certain place for a while, for the sake of pasturage, and then removes it, to which the allusion is, Isaiah 38:12; or a keeper of fruit, as the Targum, of gardens and orchards, that the fruit is not stolen; or of fig trees and vineyards, as Jarchi and Bar Tzemach, which is only a lodge or hut pitched for a season, until the fruit is gathered in, and then is taken down, see Isaiah 1:8; and it signifies here the short continuance of the house of the wicked man, which he imagined would continue for ever, Psalm 49:11.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-27.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

He buildeth his house as a m moth, and as a booth [that] the keeper maketh.

(m) Which breeds in another man's possessions or garment, but is soon shaken out.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-27.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Job 8:14; Job 4:19). The transition is natural from “raiment” (Job 27:16) to the “house” of the “moth” in it, and of it, when in its larva state. The moth worm‘s house is broken whenever the “raiment” is shaken out, so frail is it.

booth — a bough-formed hut which the guard of a vineyard raises for temporary shelter (Isaiah 1:8).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-27.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.

A moth — Which settleth itself in a garment, but is quickly and unexpectedly dispossessed of its dwelling, and crushed to death.

A booth — Which the keeper of a garden or vineyard suddenly rears up in fruit-time, and as quickly pulls down again.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-27.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE DESTROYER DESTROYED

‘As a moth.’

Job 27:18

The moth is best known by its destructive work upon garments. The little pest considers not the value or the beauty of the fur which comes in its way, but ruins it for its own purposes. It is remarkable that the ancient poet who wrote the book of Job should have noticed this and used it as a metaphor of ‘the wicked man’ who ‘buildeth his house as a moth.’

I. It is one phase of wickedness that it will recklessly ruin the character of others.—For character is the garment of the soul. It is a strange thing, but a fact, that as in the Church of God it is the grand aim to weave fair character, so in the world it is the unceasing effort to destroy it. And this, like the moth, by processes almost imperceptible until the ruin is accomplished. The conversation of society is made up of selfish considerations which undermine principle, and its customs present little temptations, to gambling, to drinking, to those wrong-doings which are the dry rot of holiness.

The Christian sometimes sings, ‘I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.’ And he knows that he has not only to keep his character unspotted from the world, but to watch lest it be eaten into by the wicked about him working secretly in the dark as a moth.

II. There is a sad emblem of the end of the wicked man in the sudden destruction which often befalls the winged moth.—It flies out in the darkness and, attracted by the artificial light, flies round the candle till at length its delicately feathered wings are caught in the flame and it perishes miserably. This illustrates the unhappy condition of thousands at the present day. They have neglected the glorious sunshine. They discover some taper and flutter around. Instead of noonday splendour, which they might have, their wings are burned and they perish. Oh! it is strange to see men, anxious it may be for the truth, hovering around some poor glimmer of criticism, or philosophy, going round and round some feeble idea which cannot save them, and dying without a hope, whilst all the time the clear, loving words of Jesus are heard: ‘I am the light of the world. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ Surely the Lord of love did not mock us in His promises. Which is the more probable truth, that the all-seeing God rejects the anxious cries of men and will not give them light, which is really the popular idea, or the Biblical statement, ‘Light is come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light’?

Illustration

‘Summoning all the strength of his faith, Job declares that He will teach them concerning the hand of God, and he now practically takes hold of all that they have said about God’s visitation of the wicked, and hurls it back upon them as an anathema. He splendidly admits the truth of their philosophy, but denies its application to himself. He thus leaves the whole problem where it is, full of mystery. All the things they have said are true, but they are not true of him. There must be some other way to account for his suffering.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Job 27:18". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/job-27.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 27:18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth [that] the keeper maketh.

Ver. 18. He buildeth his house as a moth] Which lodgeth itself in some stately garment, and thinks there to die in his nest, which he hath feathered (as the silkworm endeth his life in his long wrought clew), but is soon bruised or brushed out; so shall the oppressor be cast out of his sumptuous buildings, which he hath with much cost and care erected, rather for a moth than a man to dwell in. It is not unlawful to build houses; only men must not build them, as the moth doth, with loss and hurt to others. Tremellius reads the text thus, He shall build his house at Arcturus (so this word is translated, Job 9:9), that is, a heavenly house, and as it were a second paradise. But God did not cast man out of one paradise that he should build him another. Haec sunt quae nos invitos faciunt mori, said Charles V to the duke of Venice (who had showed him his palace, which was very magnificent and majestic), These be the things that make us loth to die. The Turks’ private houses in Constantinople are for the most part low and base; they, after their homely manner (by long custom received), never build anything sumptuously for their own private use; but content themselves with their simple cottages, how mean soever; commonly saying, that they are good enough for the short time of their pilgrimage.

And as a booth that the keeper maketh] i.e. The keeper of the field, orchard, or vineyard, who setteth him up a booth, cabin, or cottage, to defend him from the parching heat of the sun, which lasteth only for one summer at utmost; so here, the experience whereof we have had abundantly in these late desolating wars; for how many gallant houses have been utterly ruined,

Ut praeter nomen solum, nihil amplius extet?

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 27:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-27.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 27:18. A booth that the keeper maketh Here is an omission of the word vineyard: these booths were little huts or arbours made by the keepers to watch in by night, to prevent the vineyard from being plundered: a practice still continued in the wine-countries. See Heath, and Isaiah 1:8.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 27:18". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-27.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

As a moth; which settleth itself in a garment, but is quickly and unexpectedly brushed off, and dispossessed of its dwelling, and crushed to death.

That the keeper maketh; which the keeper of a garden or vineyard suddenly rears up in fruit time, and as quickly and easily pulls it down again. See Isaiah 1:8 Lamentations 2:6.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 27:18". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-27.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

18.His house as a moth — The house that the moth builds rises on the ruin of the garment where it dwells. “By means of their maxillae these little larvae shear down the surface of various substances, and, uniting the particles by means of their glutinous silk, they thus form protecting habitations.” — Encyclo. Brit., 9:217. So frail is the house that if the garment be shaken it perishes. See Job 4:19. As a booth — A frail and temporary shed erected for the use of those set to watch over vineyards and orchards.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-27.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Moth. Hebrew, "as the polar star." (Junius) --- But the Chaldean, &c., translate with the Vulgate, which agrees better with the latter part of the verse. The moth devours another's property, like the wicked man, who lodges commodiously, though not at his own expense. --- Keeper of a field, or of a vineyard. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "His house has slipt away like a moth, and what he has kept (or his riches) like a spider." (Haydock) --- The moth demolishes its own house, and is then disturbed, (Menochius) or thrown with the rotten wood into the fire.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-27.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

His house or family that appears to be so strong is actually as flimsy as a spider"s web, or a temporary hut built by a farmer during harvest season so he can guard his crops.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-27.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

booth. Generally made of branches of trees. Compare Isaiah 1:8.

keeper = watcher: i.e. vineyard watcher.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-27.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.
as a moth
8:14,15; Isaiah 51:8
as a booth
Isaiah 1:8; 38:12; Lamentations 2:6
Reciprocal: Proverbs 12:7 - wicked

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 27:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-27.html.