Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 5:7

For man is born for trouble, As sparks fly upward.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Faith;   Thompson Chain Reference - Distress;   Joy-Sorrow;   Trouble;   The Topic Concordance - Man;   Trouble;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Afflictions;   Fall of Man, the;   Man;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Affliction;   Greatness of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Afflictions;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Spark;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Fly;   Spark;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ben-;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Job;   Talmud;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for September 27;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Yet man is born unto trouble - לעמל leamal, to labor. He must toil and be careful; and if in the course of his labor he meet with trials and difficulties, he should rise superior to them, and not sink as thou dost.

As the sparks By upward - עוף יגביהי רשף ובני ubeney resheph yagbihu uph ; And the sons of the coal lift up their flight, or dart upwards. And who are the sons of the coal? Are they not bold, intrepid, ardent, fearless men, who rise superior to all their trials; combat what are termed chance and occurrence; succumb under no difficulties; and rise superior to time, tide, fate, and fortune? I prefer this to all the various meanings of the place with which I have met. Coverdale translates, It is man that is borne unto mysery, like as the byrde for to fle. Most of the ancient versions give a similar sense.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Yet man is born unto trouble - All this is connected with the sentiment in Job 5:8 ff. The meaning is, that “since afflictions are ordered by an intelligent Being, and since man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward, therefore it is wise to commit our cause to God, and not to complain against him.” Margin, or labor. The word here (עמל ‛âmâl ) rather means trouble, or affliction, than labor. The sense is, that as certainly as man is born, so sure is it that he will have trouble. It follows from the condition of our being, as certainly as that unconscious objects will follow the laws of their nature - that sparks will ascend. This seems to have a proverbial cast, and was doubtless regarded as a sentiment universally true. It is as true now as it was then; for it is still the great law of our being, that trouble as certainly comes sooner or later, as that material objects obey the laws of nature which God has impressed on them.

As the sparks fly upward - The Hebrew expression here is very beautiful - “as רשׁף בני benēy reshep - the sons of flame fly.” The word used (רשׁף reshep ) means flame, lightning; the sons, or children of the flame, are that which it produces; that is, sparks. Gesenius strangely renders it, “sons of the lightning; that is, birds of prey which fly as swift as the lightning.” So Dr. Good, “As the bird-tribes are made to fly upwards.” So Umbreit renders it, Gleichwie die Brut des Raubgeflugels sich hoch in Fluge hebt - “as a flock of birds of prey elevate themselves on the wing.” Noyes adopts the construction of Gesenius; partly on the principle that man would be more likely to be compared to birds, living creatures, than to sparks. There is considerable variety in the interpretation of the passage. The Septuagint renders it, νεοσσοι δε γυπος neossoi de gupos - the young of the vulture. The Chaldee, מזיקי בני benēy mezēyqēy - “the sons of demons.” Syriac “Sons of birds.” Jerome, “Man is born to labor, and the bird to flight” - et avis ad volatum. Schultens renders it, “glittering javelins,” and Arius Montanus, “sons of the live coal.” It seems to me that our common version has expressed the true meaning. But the idea is not essentially varied whichever interpretation is adopted. It is, that as sparks ascend, or as birds fly upward - following the laws of their being - so is trouble the lot of man. It certainly comes; and comes under the direction of a Being who has fixed the laws of the inferior creation. It would be wise for man, therefore, to resign himself to God in the times when those troubles come. He should not sit down and complain at this condition of things, but should submit to it as the law of his being, and should have sufficient confidence in God to believe that he orders it aright.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-5.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Yet man is born unto trouble,.... Or butF2כי "sed", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius Schmidt, so Broughton. , after the negative follows the positive part of the assertion; before we have what is denied as the cause of affliction, here what it is affirmed to be, or what it is to be ascribed unto, even to the appointment of God for sin: to be born to it is to be appointed to it, as all men are appointed to death, and to everything previous and that leads on to it; and it signifies that affliction or trouble springs from the birth sin of man, from original sin, the sin of the first parent, and of his nature; as all sins arise from hence, and are streams from this fountain of pollution, so all disorders and diseases of body, all distresses and anguish of mind, and death in every sense, corporeal, spiritual, and eternal; and these are the lot and portion, the estate and inheritance, of the sons of men by nature, what they are born unto, and are full of, see Job 14:1; the same word is here used as in Job 5:6, and signifies labour, mischief, the mischief of sin, improbity, wickedness, moral evil; and man may be said to be born to sin, inasmuch as he is conceived, shapen, and born in it; and as he is born at once into a sinful state, and sins as soon as born, goes astray from the womb, is a transgressor from thence, and the imagination of his heart evil from his infancy and youth upwards, he becomes a slave to sin, and is a homeborn one; not that he is laid under a necessity of force to sin, or his will compelled to it; for he sins most freely, is a voluntary slave to it; he serves various lusts as pleasures, and gives himself up to work all iniquity with greediness; but there is such a connection between his birth, the circumstances of it, and sin, that sin is the certain consequence of it, and immediately, naturally, and necessarily follows upon it; that is, by a necessity of consequence, though not of coaction or force; it is as natural for man to sin as it is for a thirsty man to covet and drink water; or as for an Ethiopian to be born black, and a leopard with spots; or, as it follows:

as the sparks fly upward; which they do naturally and necessarily when coals are blown, and which are here called "the sons of coals"F3בני רשף, "tilii prunae", Montanus, Vatablus, Piscator, Cocceius, Bolducius, Schmidt. ; and to these, troubles and afflictions, the fruits and effects of sin, may be aptly compared; not only for the necessity of them, it is if needs be they are, but for the nature of them, being fiery and troublesome, hence called fiery trials, and signified by fires and flames of fire, 1 Peter 4:12; and also for the number of them, being many, and very grievous: some interpret this of flying fowls, of young vultures, as the Septuagint; of young eagles, as others; Aben Ezra makes mention of this sense, as if it was, as a fowl is born to fly, so man is born to labour; to labour in the law, according to the Targum; or to labour for his bread; or rather, to labour and sorrow; that is, to affliction and trouble: a learned manF4Hinckelman. Praefat. ad Alcoran. p. 29. So Schultens renders it, "tela corusea". thinks the phrase, according to the use of it in the Arabic language, designs the more rapid cast of a dart, of the vibration of it, which is very quick.

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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 5:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-5.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Yet man is born unto i trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

(i) Which declares that sin is always in our corrupt nature: for before sin it was not subject to pain and affliction.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-5.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Yet — rather, “Truly,” or, But affliction does not come from chance, but is the appointment of God for sin; that is, the original birth-sin of man. Eliphaz passes from the particular sin and consequent suffering of Job to the universal sin and suffering of mankind. Troubles spring from man‘s common sin by as necessary a law of natural consequences as sparks (Hebrew, “sons of coal”) fly upward. Troubles are many and fiery, as sparks (1 Peter 4:12; Isaiah 43:2). Umbreit for “sparks” has “birds of prey;” literally, “sons of lightning,” not so well.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-5.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Is born — He is so commonly exposed to various troubles, as if he were born to no other end: affliction is become natural to man, and is transmitted from parents, to children, as their constant inheritance; God having allotted this portion to mankind for their sins. And therefore thou takest a wrong course in complaining so bitterly of that which thou shouldest patiently bear, as the common lot of mankind.

As — As naturally, and as generally, as the sparks of fire fly upward. Why then should we be surprized at our afflictions as strange, or quarrel with them, as hard?

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Ver. 7. Yet man is born unto trouble] Which is the natural fruit of his sin; and a piece of the curse. He hath in him a πανσπερμια, a common seminary of all sin, and this he brings into the world with him; what wonder, then, though troubles come trooping in upon him on every side, as if he were born for no other end but to suffer, and that as naturally as fire ascendeth? Sure it is, that sin doth as naturally and ordinarily draw and suck judgments to it as the loedestone doth iron, or turpentine fire. Some read the words thus, Man is born to sin, and so consequently to trouble; for sin usually ends tragicly and troublesomely. Hence the same word, both here and that in the former verse, signifies both sin and sorrow; and man, by reason of his birth blot, hath a birthright to them both, he is even born to them. The devil, when he speaketh lies, speaketh of his own, John 8:44. And we, when either we do evil, we work de nostro et secundum hominem, of our own, and according to men, 1 Corinthians 3:3; or when we suffer evil, we suffer nothing but what is human and incident to men, 1 Corinthians 10:13. The very heathen could say as much; witness that of Xenophon, παν προσδοκαν δει ανθρωπον οντα, It behoveth him that is no more than a man to expect all sorts of troubles; and that of Demosthenes, It is fit for men to hope the best, but bravely to bear the worst, as that which is common to all mankind; and that of Isocrates, O μεμνημενος, &c., He that remembereth that he is a man will not be discontented at whatsoever trouble befalleth him; and that of Herodotus, πας εστιν ανθρωπος συμφορα, every man is miserable. For this it was likely that God, to keep Ezekiel lowly in the abundance of revelations, calleth him so oft son of man. And when the French king, being prisoner to Charles V, saw written upon the wall that emperor’s motto, plus ultra, more beyond, further yet, and underwrote, Hodie mihi, cras tibi, Today for me, tomorrow for you, I am now thy prisoner, thou mayest hereafter be mine; the emperor came after him, and subscribed, I confess I am a man, and may soon suffer anything incident to mankind, Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto (J. Manl. loc. com. 175).

As the sparks fly upward] Heb. The sons of the quick or live coal lift up to fly. The Vulgate hath it, As the birds fly upward; the Septuagint, As the young vultures fly upward. Sparks and birds fly upward naturally, and by a principle of their own, they need not be taught it; so here. Birds, though they have more of the earth than of the other three elements, Genesis 2:19, yet are light (which is a wonder), and delight in high flying, and this is innate to them; so is it to man, as man, to be in trouble, Job 14:1. Some of the Hebrews by sparks, or sons of the quick coal, here understand the devils, and make this to be the sense; like as sin is connatural to men, so doth God stir up the devils, to whom it is as natural to flutter up and down here for the punishment of such as sin; Sed hoc friget, but this is cold, saith Mercer; but this is not likely to be the meaning.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 5:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-5.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

i.e. He is so commonly exposed to many and various troubles, as if he were born to no other end. Affliction is become in some sort natural and proper to man, and it is, together with sin, transmitted from parents to children, as their most certain and constant inheritance; God having allotted this portion to mankind for their sins. And therefore thou takest a wrong course in complaining so bitterly of that which thou shouldst patiently bear, as the common lot of mankind; and thy right method is to seek unto God, who inflicts it, and who only can remove it.

As the sparks fly upward, i.e. as naturally and as generally as the sparks of fire fly upward, which do so universally and constantly. Heb. and the sparks, &c. But the particle and is oft used comparatively for as, as Job 12:11 14:11 34:3 Proverbs 25:21 Mark 9:49.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 5:7". 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

7.Yet — Not an adversative, as Dillman, Hitzig, and others would read, but for; thus Conant, Evans, etc. This verse is also argumentative.

The sparks Bene resheph — sons of fire, just as arrows are called sons of the bow. Umbreit translates: “Even as the bird of prey rises high in its flight.” Jerome beautifully expresses it, “Man is born to labour and the bird to flight.” The version of the text is better. That the evils of life are many, and “in close succession rise,” is implied in the figurative word “sparks.”

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "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 5:7. Yet man is born to trouble, &c. — He is so commonly exposed to various troubles, as if he were born to no other end: affliction is become natural to man, and is transmitted from parents to children, as their constant inheritance; God having allotted this portion to mankind for their sins. And therefore thou takest a wrong course in complaining so bitterly of that which thou shouldst patiently bear, as the common lot of mankind. As — As naturally, and as generally, as the sparks of fire fly upward — Why then should we be surprised at our afflictions, as strange, or quarrel with them, as hard? This last clause, literally translated from the Hebrew, is, As the sons of the burning coal raise themselves up to fly. Instead, however, of sparks, or the sons of the coal, the author of the Vulgate writes, Homo nascitur ad laborem, et avis ad volatum, man is born for labour, (or trouble,) and the bird for flying; reading, עוŠ, gnoph, a bird, for gnuph, to fly. To the same purpose is the interpretation of the LXX., Syr. and Arab.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 5:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-5.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Bird. Hebrew, "sparks fly up." (Haydock) --- You can no more then expect to pass unpunished, since it is impossible for man to be innocent! (Calmet) and, at any rate, labour is inevitable. (Menochius) --- We must gain our bread by the sweat of our brow. [Genesis iii. 19.] (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-5.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upwards": "Man is born for trouble as certainly as flames from an open fire fly upwards. Eliphaz"s view that man by his sin brings trouble on himself, though a partial truth, overlooks Jesus" statement that a falling tower may kill people who were no more sinful than the survivors (Luke 13:4)" (Zuck p. 34).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-5.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

man. Hebrew. "Adam. App-14.

born unto trouble, &c. Figure of speech Paroemia. App-6.

sparks. Hebrew sons of flame.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "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

Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Yet - rather, Truly, or, But. Affliction does not come from chance, but is the appointment of God for sin - i:e., the original birth-sin of man. Eliphaz passes from the particular sin, and consequent suffering of Job, to the universal sin, and suffering of mankind. Troubles spring from man's common sin by as necessary a law of natural consequence as sparks-Hebrew, sons of flame, or burning coal (Song of Solomon 8:6) - fly upward. Troubles are many and fiery as sparks (1 Peter 4:12; Isaiah 43:2). Umbreit for sparks has birds of prey-literally, sons of lightning, so called from their lightning speed. So Maurer, Gesenius, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate-`As the sons of lightning fly high' (Job 39:27). Not by mere external causes, but by his own nature, man is born to sin, and by sin to misery, as the birds of prey fly upward.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-5.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
man
14:1; Genesis 3:17-19; Psalms 90:8,9; 1 Corinthians 10:13
trouble
or, labour.
Ecclesiastes 1:8; 2:22; 5:15-17
sparks fly upward
Heb. sons of the burning coal lift up to fly.
Reciprocal: Psalm 78:33 - years;  Ecclesiastes 2:23 - all;  Matthew 11:28 - all;  Mark 9:21 - How

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 5:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-5.html.