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BUT Job answered, and said: 2 O that my sins, whereby I have deserved wrath, and the calamity that I suffer, were weighed in a balance.

Ver. 2.  My sins, &c.  In the Heb. my wrath.  He does not mean to compare his sufferings with his real sins; but with the imaginary crimes which his friends falsely imputed to him: and especially with his wrath or grief, expressed in the third chapter, which they so much accused.  Though, as he tells them here, it bore no proportion with the greatness of his calamity.  Ch.


--- Job does not deny but he may have transgressed.  C.  See C. vii. 20.


--- But his is not conscious of any mortal offence; such as his friends insisted he must have committed, as he was so cruelly tormented.  H.


--- Some deny canonical authority to the words of Job, because God reprehended him.  But S. Greg. (Mor. vii.) says, Ab æterno judice casurus laudari non potuit.  D.


--- "The man who was on the point of falling, could not be praised by the eternal Judge;" (H.) and it seems to be a mistake that Job erred, (Houbig.) though asserted by many.  See C. W. &c.


--- Wrath.  Heb. "O that my grief (H. or complaints.  C.) were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together."  Prot.  H.


--- A just man confesses his own sins, but not those which are wrongfully laid to his charge.  W.

3 As the sand of the sea this would appear heavier: therefore my words are full of sorrow:

Ver. 3.  Heavier.  The figure hyperbole is frequently used in Scripture, to give us some idea of what surpasses our understanding.  Job intimates that he punishment was incomparably greater than his sins.  As he and other saints, particularly our Saviour and the blessed Virgin, have thus patiently suffered more than they had deserved, these merits form part of that treasure of the Church, out of which the pope and bishops are empowered to dispense indulgences, to release people from the pains due to sin, either in this world or in purgatory.  W.


--- Sept. "Yea, these (sorrows) are heavier than the sand of the seashore.  But, it seems my words are wicked."  H.

4 For the arrows of the Lord are in me, the rage whereof drinketh up my spirit, and the terrors of the Lord war against me.

Ver. 4.  Rage.  Heb. "poison," (H.) or "venom;" (Chal.  M.) as it was customary to use poisoned arrows.  C.


--- Sept. "When I begin to speak, they pierce me.  For what!  Does the wild ass continually bray, except when he is in quest of food?"  H.


--- It is easy for those to be silent who suffer nothing.  The wild asses were so common in those parts, (C.) that Herod sometimes slew 40 in a hunt.  Joseph. Bel. i. 16.


--- Many fabulous account have been given of them.  Some are still found in Ethiopia resembling a mule, except in the ears, and beautifully striped with grey, black, and reddish colours.  Bernier.

5 Will the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or will the ox low when he standeth before a full manger? 6 Or can an unsavoury thing be eaten, that is not seasoned with salt? or can a man taste that which when tasted bringeth death?

Ver. 6.  Salt.  I wonder not that you should consider my lamentations as insipid; I now find some consolation in them, v. 7.  C.


--- Or can.  Heb. "or is there any taste in the white of an egg?" (Prot.) or in blue milk? (Mercer) or "in the spittle, which a man swallows in a dream?"  See Isai. xxviii. 8.  If pain did not extort these complaints, should I find any pleasure in them?  C.


--- Sept. "is there any taste in vain words?"  Can I hear your arguments without indignation?  H.  M.


--- Some MSS. add, "For to a hungry soul even bitter things appear to be sweet," from Prov. xxvii. 7.  C.

7 The things which before my soul would not touch, now, through anguish are my meats.


8 Who will grant that my request may come: and that God may give me what I look for? 9 And that he that hath begun may destroy me, that he may let loose his hand, and cut me off?

Ver. 9.  Off, and release me from this state of misery and danger.  H.


--- He is ready to die cheerfully, if it be God's will.  C.


--- Sept. "May the Lord, who has begun, wound me, but not take me away finally.  Yea, let my city, over which I have exulted, be my grave. I will not spare, for I have not belied a word of my holy God."  H.

10 And that this may be my comfort, that afflicting me with sorrow, he spare not, nor I contradict the words of the Holy One. 11 For what is my strength, that I can hold out? or what is my end that I should keep patience?

Ver. 11.  End.  Sept. "time."  I am too weak and short-lived to bear all this.  H.


--- I can perceive no end.  M.


--- Keep.  Prot. "prolong my life."  H.


--- "What is the extent of my soul, to reach so far?"  C.


--- Longanimity is the characteristic of a great soul.  H.

12 My strength is not the strength of stones, nor is my flesh of brass.

Ver. 12.  Brass.  This is proverbial.  Homer (Iliad A) says, "Attack the Greeks; their skin is neither of stone, (C.) iron, or brass."  Those who are aware of their own frailty, ought not to expose themselves to dangerous company, particularly to those of the other sex.

13 Behold there is no help for me in myself, and my familiar friends also are departed from me.

Ver. 13.  Myself.  "Have I not placed my trust in him?"  God alone.  H.


--- All my other friends have abandoned me, v. 15.  C.


--- Can they wonder if I express my grief?  H.


--- Familiar.  Heb. "is wisdom removed far from me?"  H.


--- Has my strength abandoned me, so that I cannot be recognized?  C.

14 He that taketh away mercy from his friend, forsaketh the fear of the Lord. 15 My brethren have passed by me, as the torrent that passeth swiftly in the valleys. 16 They that fear the hoary frost, the snow shall fall upon them.

Ver. 16.  Them.  They shall run from a less to a greater evil.  C.


--- Sept. "Those who respected me, have now fallen upon me, like snow or ice; (17) as when it is consumed with heat, it is no longer known where it was: (18) thus I have been abandoned by all, lost and expelled from my house."  Consider, (19) Heb. continues, in the comparison of the torrents, (15) "which are hidden by the ice and snow," and are left dry and of no service in summer, when most wanted.  H.


--- So these friends stood by me only in the days of my prosperity.  C.


--- Luther and the Dutch version follow the Vulg. Amama says, improperly.  He proposes that of Pagnin, "which (torrents) are darkened by the ice.  Snow is concealed in (Mont. upon) them."  H.

17 At the time when they shall be scattered they shall perish: and after it groweth hot they shall be melted out of their place. 18 The paths of their steps are entangled: they shall walk in vain, and shall perish.

Ver. 18.  Entangled.  Like meandering streams, my friends act crookedly.  M.

19 Consider the paths of Thema, the ways of Saba, and wait a little while.

Ver. 19.  While.  Till the torrents subside, when the caravans from these towns of Arabia may pass on.  Job may also address his friends, (C.) and bid them consider how few had taken any notice of him.  M.


--- Prot. "the troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them."


Saba is written with sh, to denote a part of Arabia, and with s, when Ethiopia is meant. Ps. lxxi. 10. The former is here designated, (M.) being "the ends of the earth, east" of Judea, (Tacit. Hist. v.) and lying also to the south of that country. Matt. xii. 42. This region was famous for gold, &c. and acknowledged the dominion of women: "Medis levibusque Sabæis Imperat hic sexus." Claud. Eutrop. i. Grotius follows the opinion of Josephus (viii. 6.) and Origen, (hom. 2. in Cant.) who place the seat of this queen's empire at Meroe. The Abyssinians also pretend that their kings are descendants of Solomon, by the queen of Saba; and that Azarias, the son of Sadoc, stole the tables of the law, when he brought back his pupil from Jerusalem. Sanctius.

20 They are confounded, because I have hoped: they are come also even unto me, and are covered with shame.

Ver. 20.  I.  Heb. "they had  hoped" to pass along.  H.

21 Now you are come: and now seeing my affliction you are afraid.

Ver. 21.  Come.  Heb. "are good for nothing."  C.


--- Prot. marg. "like to them."

22 Did I say: Bring to me, and give me of your substance? 23 Or deliver me from the hand of the enemy, and rescue me out of the hand of the mighty? 24 Teach me, and I will hold my peace: and if I have been ignorant in any thing, instruct me.
25 Why have you detracted the words of truth, whereas there is none of you that can reprove me?

Ver. 25.  Why.  Heb. "How strong are the words of truth!"  C.


--- Whereas.  Prot. "But what doth your arguing reprove?"  What part of my discourse do you find erroneous?  Sept. "But it seems the words of the man of truth are deceitful.  Yet I do not beg from you (a word or) strength."  H.

26 You dress up speeches only to rebuke, and you utter words to the wind.

Ver. 26.  Wind.  Job humbles the vanity of Eliphaz.  C.


--- Sept. "nor shall your rebuke silence my words: for I will not admit the sound of your discourse.  Nay, you rush," &c.

27 You rush in upon the fatherless, and you endeavour to overthrow your friend. 28 However finish what you have begun, give ear, and see whether I lie. 29 Answer, I beseech you, without contention: and speaking that which is just, judge ye. 30 And you shall not And iniquity in my tongue, neither shall folly sound in my mouth.

Ver. 30.  Mouth.  He engages their attention.  C.


--- Heb. "Cannot my taste discern perverse things," (Prot.  H.) or "the evil" which I endure?  My complaints are not surely unfounded.  C.

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