Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 5:23

"For you will be in league with the stones of the field, And the beasts of the field will be at peace with you.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Faith;   Fear of God;   Happiness;   Peace;   Righteous;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Covenants;   Peace;   Privileges of Saints;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Deliverance, Deliverer;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Covenant;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Peace;   Possession;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Peace;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Apes;   Demonology;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field - Instead of אבני abney, stones, Mr. Good reads בני beney, sons, or produce; but this reading is not supported by any ancient version, nor, as far as I know, by any MS. yet collated. We must, therefore, take up the text as we find it, and make the best we can of the present reading. The Chaldee gives a plausible sense: Thou needest not to fear, "because thy covenant is on tables of stone, which are publicly erected in the field; and the Canaanites, which are compared to the beasts of the field, have made peace with thee." Perhaps the reference is to those rocks or strong holds, where banditti secured themselves and their prey, or where the emirs or neighboring chiefs had their ordinary residence. Eliphaz may be understood as saying: Instead, then, of taking advantage of thee, as the Sabeans have done, the circumjacent chieftains will be confederate with thee; and the very beasts of the field will not be permitted to harm thy flocks.

Coverdale seems to have had an idea of this kind, as we find he translates the verse thus: -

But the castels in the londe shall be confederate with the,

And the beastes of the felde shall give the peace.

I believe the above to be the meaning of the place. See the next verse, Job 5:24; (note).

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field - In the Hebrew, “There shall be a covenant between thee and the stones of the field.” The sense is, they shall not harm thee. They are here spoken of as enemies that were made to be at peace, and that would not annoy or injure. It is to be remembered that this was spoken in Arabia, where rocks and stones abounded, and where traveling, from that cause, was difficult and dangerous. The sense here is, as I understand it, that he would be permitted to make his way in ease and safety. Tindal renders it:

But the castels in the land shall be confederate with thee;

The beastes of the fealde shall give thee peace.

Some have supposed that the meaning is, that the land would be free from stones that rendered it barren, and would be rendered fertile if the favor of God was sought. Shaw, in his Travels, supposes that it refers to the custom of walking over stones, in which the feet are liable to be injured every moment, and that the meaning is, that that danger would be averted by the divine interposition. By others it has been conjectured that the allusion is to a custom which is known as skopelism, of which Egmont and Heyman (Reisen, II. Th. S. 156), give the following account: “that in Arabia, if anyone is living at variance with another he places on his land stones as a warning that no one should dare to plow it, as by doing it he would expose himself to the danger of being punished by him who had placed the stones there.” This custom is also referred to by Ulpian (L. ix. de officio Proconsulis), and in the Greek Pandects, Lib. lx. Tit. xxii. Leg. 9. It may be doubted, however, whether this custom was as early as the time of Job, or was so common then as to make it probable that the allusion is to it. Rosenmuller supposes the meaning to be, “Thy field shall be free from stones, which would render it unfruitful.” Alte u. neue Morgenland, in loc. Other explanations may be seen in Rosenmuller (Commentary), but it seems to me that the view presented above, that traveling would be rendered safe and pleasant, is the true one. Such a promise would be among the rich blessings in a country like Arabia.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-5.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field,.... So as to receive no hurt from them, by walking among them, and even barefoot, which was usual in the eastern countries, see Psalm 91:12; or by their being in the field, so as to hinder the increase of them; but on the contrary, even from such fields as were stony ground, a large crop has been produced, and so rather receive benefit by them, as men do from those with whom they are in league; and may therefore likewise signify, that these stones should be useful in being boundaries or fences about their fields, and landmarks in them, which should not be removed: many interpreters take notice of a sense that Pineda gives of these words, and which Cocceius calls an ingenious one, that it refers to a custom in Arabia, which may be called Scopelism, and was this; a man's enemies would lay stones in his field, and these signified, that if any attempted to till and manure those grounds where they were laid, some evil would befall him by the means of those persons who laid the stones there; and which stones were thought to be ominous and formidable; something like it is in 2 Kings 3:19; and so the sense is, that a good man had nothing to fear from such stones, he being in league with them; and this malicious practice is thought to have had its origin in Arabia PetraeaF9See Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 156. ; but the first sense seems best:

and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee; a covenant being made with them, as in Hosea 2:18; meaning either literally, the beasts of the field; and these either the same as before, wild beasts, or beasts of prey; or rather, in distinction from them, tame beasts, as cows and horses, which should be so far from doing any harm, as sometimes is done by these tame creatures, that they should be very serviceable in tilling fields and drawing carriages, and the like: or else figuratively, men comparable to such creatures; and so the sense may be, that when a man's ways please the Lord, and he behaves according to his mind and will, particularly under afflictions, even his enemies are made to be at peace with him; Proverbs 16:7; the Targum interprets this of the Canaanites, comparable to the beasts of the field.

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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 5:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-5.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For thou u shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.

(u) When we are in God's favour, all creatures will serve us.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-5.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

in league with the stones of the field — They shall not hurt the fertility of thy soil; nor the wild beasts thy fruits; spoken in Arabia-Deserta, where stones abounded. Arabia, derived from Arabah - a desert plain. The first clause of this verse answers to the first clause of Job 5:22; and the last of this verse to the last of that verse. The full realization of this is yet future (Isaiah 65:23, Isaiah 65:25; Hosea 2:18).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-5.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.

League — Thou shalt be free from annoyance thereby, as if they had made an inviolable league with thee. This is a bold metaphor, but such as are frequent both in scripture and other authors. This is an addition to the former privilege; they shall not hurt thee, verse22, nay, they shall befriend thee, as being at peace with thee. Our covenant with God is a covenant with all the creatures, that they shall do us no hurt, but serve and be ready to do us good.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 5:23 For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.

Ver. 23. For thou shall be in league with the stones of the field] Thou shall not dash thy foot against them (the Latins call a stone lapidem a laedendo pede, from hurting the foot that hitteth against them, Psalms 91:1-2.) They were wont of old to go barefoot (as Vatablus here noteth). And our chronicler telleth us of King Henry II, that, for a penance, going to Canterbury to the shrine of Thomas Becket, his bare feet with the hard stones were forced to yield bloody tokens of his devotion on the way. Or thus, the stones of the field shall not hinder thy harvest, as Matthew 13:6. Or being piled up for a mound, or wall, they shall not fall upon thee, and brain thee, as the stones of the wall of Aphek did the blasphemous Syrians, 1 Kings 20:33; as the town house did the insulting Philistines, 16:30; as the house did Job’s children, &c.; or, the stones out of the wall shall not cry out against thee, as Habakkuk 2:11, but all creatures shall be thy confederates; not only not hurting, but helping thee, all that may be. For as they are all armed against the wicked as rebels and traitors to the Divine majesty; so God hath promised to make a covenant for his saints with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, &c., Rebellis facta est; quia homo numini, creatura homini (Aug.), Hosea 2:18. {See Trapp on "Hosea 2:18"}

And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee] The tame beasts shall not only not mischieve thee (as some they have done: Euripides the poet was torn in pieces with dogs; horses have been the death of many, &c.), but shall be serviceable and profitable unto thee; some alive, not dead, as the dog, horse; some dead, not alive, as the hog; some both, as the ox, sheep, &c. Ambrose hath a very strange story of a man slain at Antioch by night, by a soldier, in hope of spoil; this man’s dog would not leave his master’s dead corpse, but lay howling by it till daylight; many came in the morning to see that sad sight, and the murderer among the rest came, that he might be the less suspected. The dog no sooner saw this soldier but he ran fiercely at him, and would never stop barking and baiting at him till he saw him apprehended and carried to prison, where he confessed the fact and was for the same deservedly executed (Amb. in Hexaem.).

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 5:23". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-5.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 5:23. Thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field Houbigant reads, For there shall be a covenant to thee with the fruits of the field; for I cannot acquiesce, says he, in the common interpretation; as both what goes before, and what follows after, seems averse from it; mention of famine naturally leads us to suppose that something should recur correspondent to the removal of that famine.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 5:23". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-5.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Thou shalt be free from any annoyance by stones, either in thy walking or other postures, or in thy ploughing, as if they had made an inviolable league with thee. Stones may be, and in these stony countries were, hurtful to men many ways; either by bruising or hurting their feet when they walked barefoot, as the manner then was; or by giving them occasion of stumbling, or slipping, and falling; or by falling upon a man from a rock, or higher ground, as sometimes it hath happened; or filling his grounds, so as to hinder his ploughing, and make his lands unfruitful. Nay, the stones shall not only cease to be hurtful, but they shall be useful and beneficial to thee; they shall, as it were, present themselves to thee when thou hast occasion, either to sling them at thine enemies, as then was usual, Jude 20:16 2 Chronicles 26:14, or to make fences to thy ground, or to build a house. This is a bold metaphor, but such are frequent, as in other authors, so also in Scripture, as Isaiah 28:15 Hosea 2:18.

The beasts of the field; either,

1. The wild beasts; and then this is an addition to the former privilege; they shall not hurt thee, Job 5:22; nay, they shall befriend thee, as being at peace with thee, here, Job 5:23. Or,

2. The tame beasts, who otherwise may be refractory and hurtful to a man, many having been killed by them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 5:23". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-5.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

23.For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field — Literally, For with the stones of the field (is) thy covenant. “Isaiah (Isaiah 28:15) speaks of a covenant with death;’ that is, death is far from us, and will not injure us. Such, also, is the meaning here: thy field will be free from stones, which would make it barren.” — Rosenmuller. In like manner Lucan says (Phar., 9:394) —

Pax illis cum morte data est, Peace with death to them is given, in the sense of security from death. Dr. Shaw thus alludes to this text: “The feet being thus unguarded, (that is, being bare, or only protected with slippers,) were every moment liable to be hurt and injured; and from thence perhaps the danger, without the divine assistance, which ever protects us from the smallest misfortunes, of dashing them against a stone, (Psalms 91:12;) which, perhaps, will illustrate that difficult text (Job 5:23) of being in league with the stones of the field.” Compare 2 Kings 3:25. “The stones are personified: they conclude a treaty with the reformed Job, and promise not to injure him.” — Hengstenberg.

Beasts’ field — In Ezekiel 14:21, “noisome beasts” constitute a fourth calamitous judgment which God threatens against Israel. What is here promised to the pious man is in like figure prophesied of the Messianic times; Isaiah 11:6-10. The good man is protected against the animate and inanimate creation. Each of the three following verses is crowned with a promise especially pleasing to the Oriental mind: first, domestic bliss; second, numerous posterity; third, long life.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-5.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 5:23. Thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field — Thou shalt be free from any annoyance thereby, as if they had made an inviolable league with thee. It is a bold metaphor, but such are frequent in the Scriptures, as also in other authors. And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee — This is an addition to the former privilege; they shall not hurt thee, Job 5:22. Nay, they shall befriend thee, as being at peace with thee. Our covenant with God is a covenant with all the creatures, that they shall do us no hurt, but serve and be ready to do us good.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 5:23". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-5.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Stones, so as not to stumble; or, the rocks will be a retreat for thee.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-5.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

thou shalt be in league = thy covenant shall be stones. Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Species), App-6, put for whatever is hurtful to the soil.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.

In league with the stones of the field - they shall not hurt the fertility of thy soil (2 Kings 3:19; 2 Kings 3:25; Isaiah 5:2), nor the wild beasts thy fruits. Spoken in Arabia Deserta, where stones abounded. Arabia, derived from Arabah-a desert plain. The first clause of this verse answers to the first clause of Job 5:22; and the last of this verse to the last of that verse. The full realization of this is yet future. "They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble" (Isaiah 65:23; Isaiah 65:25; Isaiah 11:6-8); I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field-I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth" (Hosea 2:18).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-5.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(23) For thou shalt be in league.—Literally, for with the stones of the field shall thy covenant be, and the beasts of the field shall be made to be at peace with thee.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.
thou
Psalms 91:12,13; Hosea 2:18; Romans 8:38,39
beasts
Leviticus 26:6; Ezekiel 14:15,16; Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 6:22
Reciprocal: Genesis 1:26 - have dominion;  Genesis 9:2 - GeneralIsaiah 28:15 - We have;  Matthew 4:6 - lest

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 5:23". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-5.html.