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AND Eliphaz the Themanite, answered, and said: 2 Will a wise man answer as if he were speaking in the wind, and fill his stomach with burning heat?

Ver. 2.  Heat.  Heb. "east wind," (H.) or give vent to passion.  H.

 

--- Eliphaz now rebukes Job without any reserve.  C.

 

--- He was perhaps displeased at the comparison used by the latter.  C. xiii. 4.  Baldad had also hinted that Job's discourse was nothing but wind.  C. viii. 2.  H.

 

--- Being unable to answer his arguments, he reviles him as an enemy of God.  W.


3 Thou reprovest him by words, who is not equal to thee, and thou speakest that which is not good for thee.

Ver. 3.  Equal.  God, who is far above thee.  Heb. "Will he (the wise) argue with less words, or with speeches which are nothing to the purpose?"  C.


4 As much as is in thee, thou hast made void fear, and hast taken away prayers from before God.

Ver. 4.  God.  Another, after thy example, will assert his own innocence under affliction, and will not fear, nor have recourse to God by humble prayer.  Behold the dangerous consequences of thy principle.  C.


5 For thy iniquity hath taught thy mouth, and thou imitatest the tongue of blasphemers.

Ver. 5.  Blasphemers.  Heb. "of the crafty," which is sometimes taken in a good sense.  Sept. "thou hast not distinguished the speeches of the princes."  Thou hast not shewn respect to our admonitions, (C.) or understood our meaning.  H.

 

--- Thou rather choosest to imitate those false sages, who strive to deceive the world.  Abuse could hardly be carried to greater lengths than it is by this man; who before spoke with some moderation.  C. iv.  C.


6 Thy own mouth shall condemn thee, and not I: and thy own lips shall answer thee. 7 Art thou the first man that was born, or wast thou made before the hills?

Ver. 7.  First.  Is thy experience so great, (M.) or art thou the most excellent of men?  To hear thee we are but novices.  C. xiii. 5.  C.


8 Hast thou heard God's counsel, and shall his wisdom be inferior to thee?

Ver. 8.  His.  Heb. "dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?  Sept. "or has wisdom come to thee?"  H.


9 What knowest thou that we are ignorant of? what dost thou understand that we know not? 10 There are with us also aged and ancient men, much elder than thy fathers.

Ver. 10.  Fathers.  Heb. and Sept. "father."  H.

 

--- Eliphaz always speaks first, and hints that he was as old, perhaps older, than Job; who had rather found fault with the youth of Sophar.  C. xii. 12.  He also boasts that they, or their country, furnished master of great wisdom and experience than even Job's father.  C.



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11 Is it a great matter that God should comfort thee? but thy wicked words hinder this.

Ver. 11.  Thee.  This would not be difficult, (T.) if thy presumption did not prove an obstacle.  Thou makest small account of those comforts or of our advice, trusting in thy own justice.  C.

 

--- Sept. "Thou hast been chastised little, considering thy sins.  Thou hast spoken with excessive insolence."


12 Why doth thy heart elevate thee, and why dost thou stare with thy eyes, as if they were thinking great things?

Ver. 12.  Why.  Sept. "What has thy heart dared, or what have thine eyes brought thee?"  Heb. "what do thy eyes wink at?" (H.) through pride and disdain.  Ps. xxxiv. 19.  Prov. vi. 13.  C.

 

--- We need not wonder that Eliphaz should misunderstand the looks of Job, (H.) since he gives such a false notion of his speeches.  C.


13 Why doth thy spirit swell against God, to utter such words out of thy mouth? 14 What is man that he should be without spot, and he that is born of a woman that he should appear just?

Ver. 14.  Just.  Few are free from all spot; but venial sins do not hinder a man from being styled truly virtuous.  W.


15 Behold among his saints none is unchangeable, and the heavens are not pure in his sight.

Ver. 15.  Unchangeable, of his own nature, and during this life.  C.

 

--- Heb. and Sept. "is not trusted by him," till they have been tried, (H.  C. iv. 17.  None is good but God alone.  Mar. x. 18.) in comparison.  T.



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16 How much more is man abominable, and unprofitable, who drinketh iniquity like water?

Ver. 16.  Water, with the utmost avidity and unconcern.  Prov. x. 23. and xxvi. 6.


17 I will shew thee, hear me: and I mill tell thee what I have seen.

Ver. 17.  Seen.  He had before given himself out for a prophet.  Perhaps he may only mean to deliver what he had been taught, or had learned by experience, v. 18.  His observations are in themselves just; but the application to Job is no less insulting.  C.


18 Wise men confess and hide not their fathers.

Ver. 18.  Wise.  Prot. "which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it."  C. viii. 8.  The authority of tradition was then very great; and why should it now be despised?  H.


19 To whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger hath passed among them.

Ver. 19.  Them.  Their antiquity, courage, and purity of morals must consequently be greater, as they have preserved themselves from the inroads of strangers.  C.


20 The wicked man is proud all his days, and the number of the years of his tyranny is uncertain.

Ver. 20.  Proud; uncertain.  Heb. "in pain."  H. --- Sept. "numbered," or few.  Gen. xxxiv. 30.  These are the maxims which Eliphaz had received in a vision, or from the ancients, v. 17.  The description of a tyrant's life was admirably verified in Dionysius, of Syracuse, (C.) and in our Cromwell, (H.)

 

--- "...pale and trembling in the dead of night."  Pope.

 

---who rarely lodged two night in one chamber.  Clarendon.

 

--- Such live in dread, (H.) and seldom die a natural death.

                        Ad generum Cereris sine cæde et vulnere pauci

                        Descendunt reges et siccâ morte Tyranni.  Juv. x. 113.

                        Nocte dieque suum gestare in pectore testem.  Juv. xiii.

They bear always about the witness, "conscience."  H.

 

--- They distrust every one, and are hated by all.

                        Districtus ensis cui super impia

                        Cervice pendet, &c.  Hor. iii. Ode 1.

 

--- These miseries are incident to the wicked, but are improperly addressed to Job.  W.


21 The sound of dread is always in his ears: and when there is peace, he always suspecteth treason. 22 He believeth not that he may return from darkness to light, looking round about for the sword on every side. 23 When he moveth himself to seek bread, he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand. 24 Tribulation shall terrify him, and distress shall surround him, as a king that is prepared for the battle.
25 For he hath stretched out his hand against God, and hath strengthened himself against the Almighty. 26 He hath run against him with his neck raised up, and is armed with a fat neck.

Ver. 26.  And is.  Heb. "even upon the thick bosses of his buckler."  H.

 

--- God thus seizes his antagonist, who, like Pharao, swells with pride.  C.  Deut. xxxii. 15.


27 Fatness hath covered his face, and the fat hangeth down on his sides. 28 He hath dwelt in desolate cities, and in desert houses that are reduced into heaps.

Ver. 28.  Heaps, by his ambition and fury, (C.) and exactions, (Cajet.  M.) till the king chooses to rebuild the cities.  Vatab.


29 He shall not be enriched, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he push his root in the earth. 30 He shall not depart out of darkness: the flame shall dry up his branches, and he shall be taken away by the breath of his own month. 31 He shall not believe, being vainly deceived by error, that he may be redeemed with any price.

Ver. 31.  That he.  Heb. and Sept. "for vanity shall be his reward."  H.

 

--- If he would repent, he might still be safe.  M.


32 Before his days be full he shall perish: and his hands shall wither away.

Ver. 32.  Hands; strength and prosperity.  C.

 

--- Sept. "his branch shall not grow thick."  H.


33 He shall be blasted as a vine when its grapes are in the first flower, and as an olive tree that casteth its flower.

Ver. 33.  First.  Heb. "unripe."  H.

 

--- He shall derive no aid or comfort from his young family.


34 For the congregation of the hypocrite is barren, and fire shall devour their tabernacles, who love to take bribes.

Ver. 34.  Congregation, or family.

 

--- Bribes.  Lit. "presents," which H. frequently were not given freely, but extorted as a real tribute.  C.

 

--- Sept. "for the death of the wicked is a martyrdom," or proof of his impiety.  "But fire shall consume the houses of the present (or bribe) receivers."


35 He hath conceived sorrow, and hath brought forth iniquity, and his womb prepareth deceits.

Ver. 35.  Sorrow.  Heb. "mischief."  H.  See Ps. vii. 15.  Isai. xlix. 4.

 

--- The tree is known by its fruit.  Eliphaz sufficiently insinuates, that he is speaking of Job.  C.

 

--- His, or "its," the congregation's womb, v. 34.  Prot. "their belly."  H.



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