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Job 29-31. Job’ s Reply to Zophar.— He sums up his whole case, ending with an appeal to God. In Job 29 he surveys his former happy days, in Job 30 his present misery. Job 31 is his great oath of clearing” : Job solemnly protests his innocence and invites God to judge his case. In Job 30:21-24 Job almost returns to his former feeling against God. Since Job 19:25 f. he has moved away from his great conviction that God will ultimately right him, to face the general problem of Providence, and has come to the dreadful conclusion that there is no moral law in the universe. He comes back, therefore, to the point from which he started, and demands that God should clear up matters here and now. It was necessary to the poet that Job should thus present his case in order to prepare for the Divine revelation which is the answer to the problem of Providence. He allows Job to gain the victory of faith and then to lose ground again, so as to state the wider problem and deal with it.
Job 30. Job’ s Present Misery.— As the text stands at present, Job begins by complaining that the very abjects of society now despise him. Many scholars, however, detach Job 30:2-8 as a misplaced section of the description of the outcasts, which we have already met in Job 24:5 f. “ When we look at the passage apart from Job 30:1, the impression it makes is not one of contempt for their abject condition, but of pity for their misery. Hence the greater part would have been better suited to one of Job’ s delineations of human wretchedness than to the picture he is painting of his own distress, from which he is diverted at a surprisingly early point” (Peake). Duhm, followed by Strahan, treats Job 30:1 as an insertion intended to connect Job 30:2-8 with its present context. Peake allows it to stand as part of Job’ s speech, which is perhaps better, as Job 30:9 seems to require some introduction.
Job 30:1 . Job complains of the mockery of his inferiors.
Job 30:2-8 . Misery of the outcast.
Job 30:2 a works the passage into the context by making them into erewhile servants of Job. Duhm reads, “ Yea, the strength of their hands fails, vigour (so mg.) is perished in them.”
Job 30:3 b needs emendation; Duhm reads, “ They grope in wasteness and desolation.” In Job 30:7 their uncouth speech is called braying ( cf. Job 24:5). In Job 30:8 “ base men” is literally “ men of no name.”
Job 30:9-15 . Here we join on to Job 30:1, reading instead of “ and now,” “ but now.” Job describes how his enemies insult him. In Job 30:10 translate “ spit before me.” In Job 30:11 read as mg. “ my cord.” God has loosed Job’ s bowstring ( cf. Job 29:20), and afflicted him; his persecutors therefore cast off all restraint. In Job 30:12 f. the text is corrupt. For Job 30:12 Peake and Strahan read “ against me rise the rabble; they have cast up their ways of destruction.” For Job 30:13-14 a Duhm, with help of LXX, reads, “ They break up my path, they destroy my way. His helpers surround me, and through a wide breach they come.”
Job 30:14 b, Job 30:15 a go together. “ The fortress is stormed, and terrors let loose upon the vanquished” (Strahan). In Job 30:15 read for “ they chased” “ is chased” or else follow mg.
Job 30:16-31 describes Job’ s affliction, God’ s cruelty to him, and ends upon a note of the most poignant lamentation. In Job 30:17 a mg. gives the right sense, in Job 30:17 b the text.
Job 30:18 is obscure. Duhm reads for Job 30:18 a, “ By-reason of my great wasting my garment is crumpled together.”
Job 30:18 b means, “ It clings to me like a vest.” “ It is not clear whether this line also refers to his emaciation. But the garment would surely hang loosely on his shrunken body, so that we should perhaps suppose that here the reference is to the abnormal swelling of other parts of the body which makes his garment fit tight to these” (Peake).
Job 30:20-23 describe God’ s cruelty. In Job 30:20, as the text stands “ thou lookest” must mean lookest maliciously. Some read “ thou lookest not.” Syr., however, intensifies meaning of present text by reading, “ Thou standest.”
Job 30:24 is obscure. Either follow mg. or read with Dillmann, “ Howbeit doth not a sinking man stretch forth his hand? Or doth he not in his calamity cry for help?” Job had wept for others ( Job 30:25), why not for himself? With Job 30:26, therefore, his complaint begins anew.
Job 30:27 a describes the ceaseless turmoil of his inner emotions. Compare Goethe’ s lines:
Job 30:28 b is strange; what assembly is meant? Duhm emends, “ I stand up in the assembly of jackals.”
Job 30:28 a as translated in mg. and Job 30:30 describe the symptoms of Job’ s disease.
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 30". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26