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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Job 30

Verse 1

XXX.

(1) Whose fathers I would have disdained.—Rather, whose fathers I disdained to set. The complaint is that the children of those who were so inferior to him should treat him thus.

Verse 2

(2) Whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, is the description of the fathers; Job 30:3 seqq. describes their children. The people here spoken of seem to have been somewhat similar to those known to the ancients as Troglodytes (Herod. iv. 183, &c.), the inhabitants of caves, who lived an outcast life and had manners and customs of their own. They are desolate with want and famine. They flee into the wilderness on the eve of wasteness and desolation, or when all is dark (yester night), waste, and desolate. It is evident that Job must have been familiar with a people of this kind, an alien and proscribed race living in the way he mentions.

Verse 7

(7) Among the bushes they brayed.—Herodotus says their language was like the screeching of bats, others say it was like the whistling of birds. This whole description is of the mockers of Job, and therefore should be in the present tense in Job 30:5; Job 30:7-8, as it may be in the Authorised Version of Job 30:4.

Verse 8

(8) They were viler than the earth.—Rather, They are scourged out of the land, or are outcasts from the land.

Verse 9

(9) And now am I their song.—See the references in the margin, which show that it is quite appropriate to give to the complaints of Job a Messianic interpretation.

Verse 11

(11) Because he hath loosed my cord.—Better, his: i.e., “God hath loosed the cord of his bow and they have cast off all restraint before me.”

Verse 12

(12) The youthi.e., the young brood, rabble.

Verse 13

(13) They have no helperi.e., probably without deriving therefrom any help or advantage themselves.

Verse 14

(14) As a wide breaking in of waters.—Or, as through a wide breach they come. “In the midst of the crash they roll themselves upon me;” or, “instead of a tempest” (i.e., like a tempest) “they roll themselves upon me.”

Verse 15

(15) They pursuei.e., “the terrors chase or pursue

my honour:” i.e., my soul; or it may be, “Thou (i.e., God) chasest.”

Verse 18

(18) My garment changed.—Some render “By His (i.e., God’s) great power the garment (of my skin) is disfigured;” and others, “With great effort must my garment be changed because of the sores to which it clings? It bindeth me about as closely as the collar of my coat.”

Verse 19

(19) He hath cast me into the mire.—He now turns more directly to God, having in Job 30:16 turned from man to his own condition—dust and ashes. This latter phrase is used but three times in Scripture: twice by Job (here and Job 42:6), and once by Abraham (Genesis 18:27).

Verse 20

(20) Thou regardest me not.—The Authorised Version understands that the negative of the first clause must be supplied in the second, as is the case in Psalms 9:18 : “The needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.” Others understand it, “I stand up (i.e., to pray) in the attitude of prayer, and Thou lookest at me,” i.e., and doest no more with mute indifference.

Verse 22

(22) Thou liftest me up to the wind.—Some render this verse, “Thou liftest me up to the wind, and causest me to ride upon it; Thou dissolvest me in thy blast;” others understand him to express the contrast between his former prosperous state and his present low condition: “Thou usedst to raise me and make me ride upon the wind, and now Thou dissolvest my substance, my very being.” (Comp. Psalms 102:10 : “Thou hast lifted me up and cast me down.”)

Verse 24

(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.

Verse 25

(25) Did not I weep for him?—Job declares that he has not withheld that sympathy with sorrow and suffering for which he himself has asked in vain.

Verse 26

(26) When I looked for good.—Before, in Job 3:25-26, he had spoken as one who did not wish to be the fool of prosperity, and so overtaken unawares by calamity, and who therefore looked at things on the darker side; now he speaks as one who hoped for the best, and yet, notwithstanding that hope, was disappointed and deceived.

Verse 27

(27) My bowels boiled.—The sense is better expressed by the present, “My bowels boil, and rest not. Days of affliction have overtaken me unawares.” (See last verse.)

Verse 28

(28) I went mourning without the sun.—Rather, I go mourning without the sun; or, according to some, “blackened, but not by the sun.” We give the preference to the other.

I stood up, and I cried in the congregationi.e., not merely in secret, but in the face of all men.

Verse 29

(29) Dragons and owls are, according to some moderns, jackals and ostriches.

Verse 31

(31) My harp also is turned to mourning.—Or, Therefore is my harp turned to mourning, and my pipe into the voice of them that weep. The musical instruments here named, like those of Genesis 4:21, are respectively the stringed and wind instruments.

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