Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 30:3

"From want and famine they are gaunt Who gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Persecution;   Thompson Chain Reference - Abundance-Want;   Job;   Want;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Rocks;  
Dictionaries:
Holman Bible Dictionary - Desert;   Job, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Wilderness, Desert;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Famine;   Knee;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Wilderness;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Fleeing into the wilderness - Seeking something to sustain life even in the barren desert. This shows the extreme of want, when the desert is supposed to be the only place where any thing to sustain life can possibly be found.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 30:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-30.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For want and famine - By hunger and poverty their strength is wholly exhausted, and they are among the miserable outcasts of society. In order to show the depth to which he himself was sunk in public estimation, Job goes into a description of the state of these miserable wretches, and says that he was treated with contempt by the very scum of society, by those who were reduced to the most abject wretchedness, and who wandered in the deserts, subsisting on roots, without clothing, shelter, or home, and who were chased away by the respectable portion of the community as if they were thieves and robbers. The description is one of great power, and presents a sad picture of his own condition.

They were solitary - Margin, or, “dark as the night.” Hebrew גלמוד galmûd This word properly means “hard,” and is applied to a dry, stony, barren soil. In Arabic it means a hard rock. “Umbreit.” In Job 3:7, it is applied to a night in which none are born. Here it seems to denote a countenance, dry, hard, emaciated with hunger. Jerome renders it, “steriles.” The Septuagint, ἄγονος agonos - “sterile.” Prof. Lee, “Hardly beset.” The meaning is, that they were greatly reduced - or dried up - by hunger and want. So Umbreit renders it, “gantz ausgedorrt- altogether dried up.”

Fleeing into the wilderness - Into the desert or lonely wastes. That is, they “fled” there to obtain, on what the desert produced, a scanty subsistence. Such is the usual explanation of the word rendered “flee” - ערק ‛âraq But the Vulgate, the Syriac, and the Arabic, render it “gnawinq,” and this is followed by Umbreit, Noyes, Schultens, and Good. According to this the meaning is, that they were “gnawers of the desert;” that is, that they lived by gnawing the roots and shrubs which they found in the desert. This idea is much more expressive, and agrees with the connection. The word occurs in Hebrew only in this verse and in Job 30:17, where it is rendered “My sinews,” but which may more appropriately be rendered “My gnawing pains.” In the Syriac and Arabic the word means to “gnaw,” or “corrode,” as the leading signification, and as the sense of the word cannot be determined by its usage in the Hebrew, it is better to depend on the ancient versions, and on its use in the cognate languages. According to this, the idea is, that they picked up a scanty subsistence as they could find it, by gnawing roots and shrubs in the deserts.

In the former time - Margin, “yesternight.” The Hebrew word (אמשׁ 'emesh ) means properly last night; the latter part of the preceding day, and then it is used to denote night or darkness in general. Gesenius supposes that this refers to “the night of desolation,” the pathless desert being strikingly compared by the Orientals with darkness. According to this, the idea is not that they had gone but yesterday into the desert, but that they went into the shades and solitudes of the wilderness, far from the homes of men. The sense then is, “They fled into the night of desolate wastes.”

Desolate and waste - In Hebrew the same word occurs in different forms, designed to give emphasis, and to describe the gloom and solitariness of the desert in the most impressive manner. We should express the same idea by saying that they hid themselves in the “shades” of the wilderness.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 30:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-30.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For want and famine they were solitary,.... The Targum interprets it, without children; but then this cannot be understood of the fathers; rather through famine and want they were reduced to the utmost extremity, and were as destitute of food as a rock, or hard flint, from whence nothing is to be had, as the word signifies, see Job 3:7;

fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste: to search and try what they could get there for their sustenance and relief, fleeing through fear of being taken up for some crimes committed, or through shame, on account of their miserable condition, not caring to be seen by men, and therefore fled into the wilderness to get what they could there: but since men in want and famine usually make to cities, and places of resort, where provision may be expected; this may be interpreted not of their flying into the wilderness, though of their being there, perhaps banished thither, see Job 30:5; but of their "gnawing"F17הערקים ציה "qui rodebant in solitudine", V. L. "rodentes siccitatem", Schultens. , or biting the dry and barren wilderness, and what they could find there; where having short commons, and hunger bitten, they bit close; which, though extremely desolate, they were glad to feed upon what they could light on there; such miserable beggarly creatures were they: and with this agrees what follows.

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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 30:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-30.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

solitary — literally, “hard as a rock”; so translate, rather, “dried up,” emaciated with hunger. Job describes the rudest race of Bedouins of the desert [Umbreit].

fleeing — So the Septuagint. Better, as Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate, “gnawers of the wilderness.” What they gnaw follows in Job 30:4.

in former time — literally, the “yesternight of desolation and waste” (the most utter desolation; Ezekiel 6:14); that is, those deserts frightful as night to man, and even there from time immemorial. I think both ideas are in the words darkness [Gesenius] and antiquity [Umbreit]. (Isaiah 30:33, Margin).

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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 30:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-30.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.

Solitary — Although want commonly drives persons to places of resort for relief, yet they were so conscious of their own guilt, that they shunned company, and for fear or shame fled into, and lived in desolate places.

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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 30:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-30.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 30:3 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.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 30:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-30.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Want and famine, brought upon them either by their own sloth or wickedness, or by God’s just judgment. Heb. In want and famine, which aggravates their following solitude. Although want commonly drives persons to places of resort and company for relief, yet they were so conscious of their own guilt, and contemptibleness, and hatefulness to all persons, that they shunned all company, and for fear or shame fled into and lived in desolate places.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 30:3". 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

3.Solitary — Similar to Job 3:7, (which see;) barren, emaciated, hard like the rock.

Fleeing into — Literally, gnawing the wilderness. The scantness of their livelihood appears from Job 30:4.

Former time — The prime import of this word, , is darkness, or yesternight, as in margin; others insist upon “the yesterday of waste and desolation.” The language denotes extreme desolation.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 30:3". "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 30:3. For want and famine — Brought upon them either by their own sloth or wickedness, or by God’s just judgment. Hebrew, בחסר, becheser, In want and famine, which aggravates their following solitude. They were solitary, &c. — Although want commonly draws persons to places of resort and company for relief, yet they were so conscious of their own guilt, and contemptibleness, and hatefulness to all persons, that they shunned all company, and for fear or shame fled into and lived in desolate places.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 30:3". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-30.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Who. Hebrew, "solitary in," &c. Yet these vagabond (Haydock) people now insult over me. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 30:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-30.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

They are thin from not having enough to eat and they act like animals "gnawing the ground in an effort to get food" (Zuck p. 130).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 30:3". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-30.html. 1999-2014.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste. For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.

Solitary - literally, hard as a rock [ galmuwd (Hebrew #1565)]: translate, 'dried up,' emaciated with hunger, Job describes the rudest race of Bedouins of the desert (Umbreit).

Fleeing, [ ha`or

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 30:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-30.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.
solitary
or, dark as the night.
24:13-16
fleeing into
24:5; Hebrews 11:38
in former time
Heb. yesternight.
Reciprocal: Job 15:23 - wandereth;  Psalm 109:10 - GeneralJeremiah 48:6 - be like;  Jeremiah 49:3 - run;  Ezekiel 26:20 - in places;  Daniel 4:25 - drive;  Daniel 5:21 - he was driven

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 30:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-30.html.