Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 30:24

"Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, Or in his disaster therefore cry out for help?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Dictionaries:
Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cry, Crying;   Eliphaz (2);   How;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He will not stretch out his hand to the grave - After all that has been said relative to the just translation and true meaning of this verse, is it not evident that it is in the mouth of Job a consolatory reflection? As if he said, Though I suffer here, I shall not suffer hereafter. Though he add stroke to stroke, so as to destroy my life, yet his displeasure shall not proceed beyond the grave.

Though they cry in his destruction - Mr. Good translates: Surely there, in its ruin, is freedom. In the sepulcher there is freedom from calamity, and rest for the weary.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-30.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave - Margin, heap. In our common version this verse conveys no very clear idea, and it is quite evident that our translators despaired of giving it a consistent sense, and attempted merely to translate it literally. The verse has been rendered by every expositor almost in his own way; and though almost no two of them agree, yet it is remarkable that the versions given are all beautiful, and furnish a sense that agrees well with the scope of the passage. The Vulgate renders it, “But not to their consumption wilt thou send forth their hand; and if they fall, thou wilt save them.” The Septuagint,” For O that I could lay violent hands on myself, or beseech another, and he would do it for me Luther renders it, “Yet he shall not stretch out the hand to the charnelhouse, and they shall not cry before his destruction.” Noyes:

“When he stretcheth out his hand, prayer

availeth nothing,

When he bringeth destruction, vain is the

Cry for help.”

Umbreit renders it:

Nur mog‘ er nicht an den zerstorten Haufen
Hand anlegen!

Oder mussen jene selbst in ihrem
Tode schreien?

“Only if he would not lay his hand upon the
Heaps of the destroyed!

Or must these also cry out in their death?”

According to this interpretation, Job speaks here in bitter irony. “I would gladly die,” says he, “if God would only suffer me to be quiet when I am dead.” He would be willing that the edifice of the body should be taken down, provided the ruins might rest in peace. Rosenmuller gives the same sense as that expressed by Noyes. Amidst this variety of interpretation, it is by no means easy to determine on the true meaning of the passage. The principal difficulty in the exposition lies in the word בעי be‛ı̂y rendered in the text “in the grave,” and in the margin “heap.” If that word is compounded of the preposition ב beand עי ‛ı̂y it means literally, “in ruins, or in rubbish” - for so the word עי ‛ı̂y is used in Micah 1:6; Jeremiah 26:18; Micah 3:12; Psalm 79:1; Nehemiah 4:2, Nehemiah 4:10. But Gesenius supposes it to be a single word, from the obsolete root בעה, Chaldee בעא, “to pray, to petition”; and according to this the meaning is, “Yea, prayer is nought when he stretches out his hand; and in his (God‘s) destruction, their cry availeth not.”

Prof. Lee understands the word (בעי be‛ı̂y ) in the same sense, but gives a somewhat different meaning to the whole passage. According to him the meaning is, “Nevertheless, upon prayer thou wilt not lay thine hand; surely, when he destroyeth, in this alone there is safety.” Schultens accords very nearly in the sentiment expressed by Umbreit, and renders it, “Yet not even in the tomb would he relax his hand, if in its destruction an alleviation were there.” This sentiment is very strong, and borders on impiety, and should not be adopted if it is possible to avoid it. It looks as if Job felt that God was disposed to pursue his animosity even into the regions of the dead, and that he would have pleasure in carrying on the work of destruction and affliction in the ruins of the grave. After the most careful examination which I have been able to give of this difficult passage, it seems probable to me that the following is the correct sense.

Job means to state a general and important principle - that there was rest in the grave. He said he knew that God would bring him down there, but that would be a state of repose. The hand of God producing pain, would not reach there, nor would the sorrows experienced in this world be felt there, provided there had been a praying life. Notwithstanding all his afflictions, therefore, and his certain conviction that he would die, he had unwavering confidence in God. Agreeably to this, the following paraphrase will convey the true sense. “I know that he will bring me to the grave. Nevertheless (אך 'ak ), over the ruins (בעי be‛ı̂y ) - of my body, the ruins in the grave - “he will not stretch out his hand” - to afflict me there or to pursue those who lie there with calamity and judgment; if in his destruction (בפידו bepı̂ydô ) - in the destruction or desolation which God brings upon people - among them (להן lâhên ) - among those who are thus consigned to the ruins of the grave - there is prayer (שׁוע shûa‛ ); if there has been supplication offered to him, or a cry for mercy has gone up before him.” This paraphrase embraces every word of the original; saves the necessity of attempting to change the text, as has been often done, and gives a meaning which accords with the scope of the passage, and with the uniform belief of Job, that God would ultimately vindicate him, and show that he himself was right in his government.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-30.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave,.... Or, "verily"F8אך "verum", Mercerus; profecto, Drusius, Bolducius; "sane", Tigurine version. , truly he will not, &c. I am well assured he never will, meaning either he never would stretch out his hand to shut up the grave; or rather keep it shut, and prevent Job from going down into it; or to open it, and fetch him out of it when in it: God is indeed able to do either of these, and has done it; sometimes, when persons are brought as it were to the gates of death and the grave, he says to them, Return; yea, when they are brought to the dust of death, he prevents them going into the grave, by restoring them to life before carried thither, as the Shunammite's son, 2 Kings 4:32; Jairus's daughter, Mark 5:41; and the widow's son of Nain, even when he was carrying to his grave, Luke 7:12; some have been laid in the grave, and God has stretched out his hand, and raised them up again; as the man that was laid in Elisha's grave, 2 Kings 13:21, and Lazarus after he had lain in the grave some days, John 11:39; but such things are not usually done; in common, when a man dies, and is laid in the grave, he rises not again, till the heavens be no more; and this Job was persuaded would be his case:

though they cry in his destruction; that is, though the friends and relations of the sick person, or the poor that he has been kind and bountiful unto, should cry unto God, while he is destroying him by the diseases upon him, and which threaten him with destruction, that he would spare his useful and valuable life; yet he is inexorable, and will not hear, but go on with what he intends to do, and takes him off by death, and lays him in the grave, "the pit of destruction", Psalm 55:23, so called because it wastes and consumes bodies laid in it; and when once laid there, all cries for a restoration to life again are vain and fruitless. Some take these words as expressed in a way of solace, as if Job comforted himself with this thought under his present afflictions, that, when once he was brought to death and the grave, there would be an end of all his sorrow; the hand of the Lord, that was now stretched out on him in a terrible way, would be no longer stretched out on him; he would then cease to afflict him, and he should be where the weary are at rest; and so the last clause is read with an interrogation, "is there any cry", or "do any cry, in his destruction?"F9אם בפידו להן שוע "aut clamant aliqui post obitum suum?" Tigurine version; "si in contritione ejus eis clamor?" Montanus, Bolducius. ; no, when death has done its office, and the body is laid in the grave, there is no more pain nor sorrow, nor crying; all tears are wiped away, and there is no more sense of afflictions and sufferings; they are all at an end. Mr. Broughton renders these words as to the sense the same, and as in connection with the following ones, "and prayed I not when plague was sent? when hurt came to any, thereupon cried I not?" and so do some othersF11Junius & Tremellius. .

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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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Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-30.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Howbeit he will not stretch out [his] hand q to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.

(q) No one can deliver me from there, though they lament my death.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-30.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Expressing Job‘s faith as to the state after death. Though one must go to the grave, yet He will no more afflict in the ruin of the body (so Hebrew for “grave”) there, if one has cried to Him when being destroyed. The “stretching of His hand” to punish after death answers antithetically to the raising “the cry” of prayer in the second clause. Maurer gives another translation which accords with the scope of Job 30:24-31; if it be natural for one in affliction to ask aid, why should it be considered (by the friends) wrong in my case? “Nevertheless does not a man in ruin stretch out his hand” (imploring help, Job 30:20; Lamentations 1:17)? If one be in his calamity (destruction) is there not therefore a “cry” (for aid)? Thus in the parallelism “cry” answers to “stretch - hand”; “in his calamity,” to “in ruin.” The negative of the first clause is to be supplied in the second, as in Job 30:25 (Job 28:17).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-30.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.

To the grave — The hand of God's wrath will not follow me beyond death; I shall then be safe and easy: Tho' men cry in his destruction: tho' most men cry and are affrighted, while they are dying, while the body is sinking into destruction; yet I desire it, I have nothing to fear therein, since I know that my redeemer liveth.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-30.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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, Hebrews 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.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 30:24". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-30.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

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.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 30:24". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-30.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

There is great variety and difficulty in the sense and connexion of these words. They may be joined either,

1. With the following verse, as describing Job’s compassion to others in affliction, which by the principles of reason and religion should have procured him some pity from God and men in his affliction. And to that purpose the words are or may be translated thus: But was not my prayers for them (which words may be understood out of the following clause) when he stretched out his hand? (to wit, against them to destroy them;) in his destruction or oppression (understand it actively, i.e. when God was about to destroy any other man or men) was not (the negation being understood out of the former branch of the verse, as is usual) my cry for them? the feminine-gender being put for the masculine, as it is elsewhere; or for these things, the feminine being put for the neuter; that is, for those destructive calamities which were upon them. Or,

2. With the foregoing verse. And so these words contain either,

1. A consolation against the evil last mentioned: so the sense is, Though God will undoubtedly bring me to the grave by these torments, yet this comforts me, that surely he will not stretch out his hand (to wit, to afflict or punish me further, as this phrase is used, Exodus 3:20 Isaiah 9:12,13) in the grave, though they, i.e. the perishing persons, cry or roar (i.e. be sorely pained and tormented)

in his destruction, i.e. whilst God is destroying them. Or this last clause may be read interrogatively, Is there any cry in his destruction? When a man is cut off or destroyed by death, doth he then cry and complain? No, there is an end of all these miseries. Or rather,

2. A confirmation of what he last said. For the whole context shows that Job is not taking any comfort to himself, but rather aggravating his sufferings. I know, saith he, that I am a dead man, and my condition is desperate, for surely he, i.e. God, will not stretch out his hand (to wit, to save or rescue me, as this phrase is used, Psalms 18:17 144:7, compared with Acts 4:30) to or in the grave, (i.e. to a dead man, such as I am in effect, having not only one foot, but in a manner both feet, in the grave, as being upon the very brink of the pit,) though they cry (to wit, unto God, i.e. though there be a great and a general cry and lamentation for him among his friends, or others, and an earnest desire of him, if possibly he might be restored to life again) in his destruction, i.e. when he is destroyed or dead; yet all these cries would be in vain.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 30:24". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-30.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Fourth strophe — God’s insensibility to Job’s prayers may have arisen from the general principle that prayers can be of no avail when once the doom of destruction shall have gone forth. The sympathy Job had ever extended to those in distress led him to expect divine succour, but in vain, since naught now remains to him but lamentation and death. Job 30:24-31.

24.Howbeit , yea. Schultens enumerates eighteen interpretations of this difficult verse. Those most worthy of consideration turn upon the meaning of , which, if taken as one word, signifies prayer; if compounded, it means to the grave or in destruction. Gesenius, (Thes., 222,) Rosenmuller, Conant, Renan, Lewis, etc., render, essentially, yea, there is no prayer where he (God) stretches out the hand; when he (God) destroys, vain is the cry for help. Literally, it reads. “If in his destruction (that of which God is author) one cries,” what then? of what avail? which is, says Dr. T. Lewis, an aposiopesis, (like that of Luke 13:9, if it bear fruit!! or the quos ego!! of Virgil,) a figure common to passionate language, in which the speaker leaves the hearer to supply a conclusion which he himself is loath to express. Comp. Psalms 94:9; Iliad, 1:26. Renan renders it, “of what use to protest against his blows.” If instead of taking, with Jerome and Kimchi, , as euphonical for a masculine plural, it be read adverbially “on this account,” (Furst,) the sense is not materially changed. The noun , cry, corresponds to the of Job 24:12, “The soul of the wounded crieth out.” On the other hand, in view of the context, Ewald, Hirtzel, Dillmann, etc., translate less correctly, yet in destruction doth one not stretch out the hand? In his calamity doth he not complain thereof? Dr. Clarke gives no translation, but seems disposed to follow Bede and most of the Latins in regarding it as “a consolatory reflection, as if he had said, though I suffer here, I shall not suffer hereafter’ his displeasure shall not proceed beyond the grave.”

 

 

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-30.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 30:24. He will not stretch out his hand to the grave — This verse is judged by commentators to be very obscure. The sense of it probably is, Notwithstanding I earnestly wished for the grave as a place of rest, thou wilt not indulge me so far as to stretch out thy hand and give me my death- wound: or, thy hand (that is, the hand of God’s wrath) will not follow me beyond death and the grave: I shall then be safe and easy. Though they cry in his destruction — In the destruction brought on them by death; that is, though most men cry out and are affrighted while they are dying, while the body is sinking into destruction, yet I desire it; I have nothing to fear therein, since I know that my Redeemer liveth.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 30:24". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-30.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Consumption. Thou dealest mercifully with other people: but all the effects of thy anger fall upon me, even here. Septuagint, "O that I might lay hands on myself, or desire another to do this for me!" Hebrew has nothing similar; but is very obscure: "He will not, however, stretch forth his had to the grave; and when they are wounded, they are healed." (Calmet) --- Protestants, "grave, though they cry in his destruction." (Haydock) --- The grave is more desirable than such a life. There the dead are freed from the miseries of this world. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-30.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Here Job bemoans the fact that in the midst of all this suffering, he had been forsaken by his friends as well. Job had cried out for help, only to be accused of some secret sin and being a hypocrite.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-30.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

grave. Hebrew. bi" i, a mound or tumulus. But others point it be"i = a prayer.

his destruction = their calamity.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-30.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.

Expressing Job's faith as to the state after death. 'Though one must go to the grave, yet He will no more afflict IN THE RUIN of the body (so the Hebrew for grave [ b

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-30.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(24) Though they cry in his destruction.—This is a very obscure verse. Some render it, “Surely against a ruinous heap he will not put forth his hand; though it be in his destruction one may utter a cry because of these things.” Others, understanding the word rendered “ruinous heap” otherwise, render “Howbeit, God will not put forth His hand to bring man to death and the grave when there is earnest prayer for them, nor even when in calamity proceeding from Him there is a loud cry for them:” that is to say, “I know that Thou wilt dissolve and destroy me, and bring me to the grave, though Thou wilt not do so when I pray unto Thee to release me by death from my sufferings. Thou wilt surely do so, but not in my time or according to my will, but only in Thine own appointed time, and as Thou seest fit.” This is one of those passages that may be regarded as hopelessly uncertain. Each reader will make the best sense he can of it, according to his judgment. That Job should speak of himself as a ruinous heap seems very strange; neither is it at all clear what “these things” are because of which a cry is uttered. Certainly the significance given by the other rendering is much greater. “His destruction” must mean, at all events, the destruction that cometh from Him; and if this is so, the sense given is virtually that of the Authorised Version.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-30.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.
grave
Heb. heap. they cry.
Judges 5:31; Psalms 35:25; Matthew 27:39-44
Reciprocal: Ecclesiastes 3:20 - go

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 30:24". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-30.html.