Job 30


Job proceeds to lament the change of his former condition, and

the contempt into which his adversity had brought him, 1-15.

Pathetically describes the afflictions of his body and mind,



Verse 1. But now they that are younger than I have me in

derision] Compare this with Job 29:8, where he speaks of the

respect he had from the youth while in the days of his prosperity.

Now he is no longer affluent, and they are no longer respectful.

Dogs of my flock.] Persons who were not deemed sufficiently

respectable to be trusted with the care of those dogs which were

the guardians of my flocks. Not confidential enough to be made

shepherds, ass-keepers, or camel-drivers; nor even to have the

care of the dogs by which the flocks were guarded. This saying is

what we call an expression of sovereign contempt.

Verse 2. The strength of their hands profit me] He is speaking

here of the fathers of these young men. What was the strength of

their hands to me? Their old age also has perished. The sense of

which I believe to be this: I have never esteemed their strength

even in their most vigorous youth, nor their conduct, nor their

counsel even in old age. They were never good for any thing,

either young or old. As their youth was without profit, so their

old age was without honour. See Calmet.

Mr. Good contends that the words are Arabic, and should be

translated according to the meaning in that language, and the

first clause of the third verse joined to the latter clause of the

second, without which no good meaning can be elicited so as to

keep properly close to the letter. I shall give the Hebrew text,

Mr. Good's Arabic, and its translation:-

The Hebrew text is this:-

aleymo abad calach

becheser ubechaphan galmud

The Arabic version this:-



Which he translates thus:-

"With whom crabbed looks are perpetual,

From hunger and flinty famine."

This translation is very little distant from the import of the

present Hebrew text, if it may be called Hebrew, when the

principal words are pure Arabic, and the others constructively so.

Verse 3. Fleeing into the wilderness] Seeking something to

sustain life even in the barren desert. This shows the extreme of

want, when the desert is supposed to be the only place where any

thing to sustain life can possibly be found.

Verse 4. Who cut up mallows by the bushes] malluach,

which we translate mallows, comes from melach, salt; some

herb or shrub of a salt nature, sea-purslane, or the salsaria,

salsola, or saltwort. Bochart says it is the αλιμος of the Greeks,

and the halimus of the Romans. Some translate it nettles. The

Syriac and Arabic omit the whole verse. The halimus, or atriplex

halimus, grows near the sea in different countries, and is found

in Spain, America, England, and Barbary. The salsaria, salsola, or

saltwort, is an extensive genus of plants, several common to Asia,

and not a few indigenous to a dry and sandy soil.

And juniper roots for their meat.] rethamim. This is

variously translated juniper, broom, furze, gorse, or whin. It is

supposed to derive its name from the toughness of its twigs, as

ratham signifies to bind; and this answers well enough to

the broom. Genista quoque vinculi usum praestat, "The broom serves

for bands," says PLINY, Hist. Nat. lib. xxiv., c. 9. But how can

it be said that the roots of this shrub were eaten? I do not find

any evidence from Asiatic writers that the roots of the juniper

tree were an article of food; and some have supposed, because of

this want of evidence, that the word lachmam, for their

bread, should be understood thus, to bake their bread, because

it is well known that the wood of the juniper gives an intense

heat, and the coals of it endure a long time; and therefore we

find coals of juniper, gachaley rethamim, used

Ps 120:4 to express severe and enduring punishment. But that

the roots of the juniper were used for food in the northern

countries, among the Goths, we have a positive testimony from

Olaus Magnus, himself a Goth, and archbishop of Upsal, in lib.

vii., c. 4, of his Hist. de Gentibus Septentrionalibus. Speaking

of the great number of different trees in their woods, he says:

"There is a great plenty of beech trees in all the northern parts,

the virtue whereof is this: that, being cut between the bark and

the wood, they send forth a juice that is good for drink. The

fruit of them in famine serves for bread, and their bark for

clothing. Likewise also the berries of the juniper, yea, even the

roots of this tree are eaten for bread, as holy Job testifies,

though it is difficult to come at them by reason of their

prickles: in these prickles, or thorns, live coals will last a

whole year. If the inhabitants do not quench them, when winds

arise they set the woods on fire, and destroy all the circumjacent

fields." In this account both the properties of the juniper tree,

referred to by Job and David, are mentioned by the Gothic prelate.

They use its berries and roots for food, and its wood for fire.

Verse 5. They were driven forth] They were persons whom no one

would employ; they were driven away from the city; and if any of

them appeared, the hue and cry was immediately raised up against

them. The last clause Mr. Good translates, "They slunk away from

them like a thief," instead of "They cried after them," &c.

Verse 6. To dwell in the cliffs of the valleys] They were

obliged to take shelter in the most dangerous, out-of-the-way, and

unfrequented places. This is the meaning.

Verse 7. Among the bushes they brayed] They cried out among the

bushes, seeking for food, as the wild ass when he is in want of

provender. Two MSS. read yinaku, they groaned, instead of

yinhaku, they brayed.

Under the nettles] charul, the briers or brambles,

under the brushwood in the thickest parts of the underwood; they

huddled together like wild beasts.

Verse 8. Children of fools] Children of nabal; children without

a name; persons of no consideration, and descendants of such.

Viler than the earth.] Rather, driven out of the land; persons

not fit for civil society.

Verse 9. Now am I their song] I am the subject of their mirth,

and serve as a proverb or by-word. They use me with every species

of indignity.

Verse 10. They abhor me] What a state must civil society be in

when such indignities were permitted to be offered to the aged and


Verse 11. Because he hath loosed my cord] Instead of

yithri, my cord, which is the keri or marginal reading,

yithro, his cord, is the reading of the text in many copies; and

this reading directs us to a metaphor taken from an archer, who,

observing his butt, sets his arrow on the string, draws it to a

proper degree of tension, levels, and then loosing his hold, the

arrow flies at the mark. He hath let loose his arrow against me;

it has hit me; and I am wounded. The Vulgate understood it in this

way: Pharetram enim suam aperuit. So also the Septuagint: ανοιξας

γαρφαρετραναυτου; "He hath opened his quiver."

They have also let loose the bridle] When they perceived that

God had afflicted me, they then threw off all restraints; like

headstrong horses, swallowed the bit, got the reins on their own

neck, and ran off at full speed.

Verse 12. Upon my right hand rise the youth] The word

pirchach, which we translate youth, signifies properly buds, or

the buttons of trees. Mr. Good has younglings. Younkers

would be better, were it not too colloquial.

They push away my feet] They trip up my heels, or they in effect

trample me under their feet. They rush upon and overwhelm me. They

are violently incensed against me. They roll themselves upon me,

hithgalgalu, velut unda impellit undam, as waves of the

sea which wash the sand from under the feet, and then swamp the

man to the bottom; see Job 30:14.

Verse 13. They mar my path] They destroy the way-marks, so that

there is no safety in travelling through the deserts, the

guide-posts and way-marks being gone.

These may be an allusion here to a besieged city: the besiegers

strive by every means and way to distress the besieged; stopping

up the fountains, breaking up the road, raising up towers to

project arrows and stones into the city, called here raising up

against it the ways of destruction, Job 30:12; preventing all

succour and support.

They have no helper.] "There is not an adviser among them."-Mr.

Good. There is none to give them better instruction.

Verse 14. They came upon me as a wide breaking in] They storm

me on every side.

In the desolation they rolled themselves] When they had made the

breach, they rolled in upon me as an irresistible torrent. There

still appears to be an allusion to a besieged city: the sap, the

breach, the storm, the flight, the pursuit, and the

slaughter. See the following verse.

Verse 15. Terrors are turned upon me] Defence is no longer

useful; they have beat down my walls.

They pursue my soul as the wind] I seek safety in flight, my

strong holds being no longer tenable; but they pursue me so

swiftly, that it is impossible for me to escape. They follow me

like a whirlwind; and as fast as that drives away the clouds

before it, so is my prosperity destroyed. The word

nedibathi, which we translate my soul, signifies properly my

nobility, my excellence: they endeavour to destroy both my

reputation and my property.

Verse 18. Is my garment changed] There seem to be here plain

allusions to the effect of his cruel disease; the whole body being

enveloped with a kind of elephantine hide, formed by innumerable

incrustations from the ulcerated surface.

It bindeth me about] There is now a new kind of covering to my

body, formed by the effects of this disease; and it is not a

garment which I can cast off; it is as closely attached to me as

the collar of my coat. Or, my disease seizes me as a strong armed

man; it has throttled me, and cast me in the mud. This is probably

an allusion to two persons struggling: the stronger seizes the

other by the throat, brings him down, and treads him in the dirt.

Verse 20. I cry unto thee] I am persecuted by man, afflicted

with sore disease, and apparently forsaken of God.

I stand up] Or, as some translate, "I persevere, and thou

lookest upon me." Thou seest my desolate, afflicted state; but

thine eye doth not affect thy heart. Thou leavest me unsupported

to struggle with my adversities.

Verse 21. Thou art become cruel to me] Thou appearest to treat

me with cruelty. I cry for mercy, trust in thy goodness, and am

still permitted to remain under my afflictions.

Thou opposest thyself] Instead of helping, thou opposest me;

thou appearest as my enemy.

Verse 22. Thou liftest me up to the wind] Thou hast so

completely stripped me of all my substance, that I am like chaff

lifted up by the wind; or as a straw, the sport of every breeze;

and at last carried totally away, being dissipated into particles

by the continued agitation.

Verse 23. Thou wilt bring me to death] This must be the issue of

my present affliction: to God alone it is possible that I should

survive it.

To the house appointed for all living.] Or to the house,

moed, the rendezvous, the place of general assembly of human

beings: the great devourer in whose jaws all that have lived, now

live, and shall live, must necessarily meet.

"____________ O great man-eater!

Whose every day is carnival; not sated yet!

Unheard of epicure! without a fellow!

The veriest gluttons do not always cram!

Some intervals of abstinence are sought

To edge the appetite: thou seekest none.

Methinks the countless swarms thou hast devour'd,

And thousands that each hour thou gobblest up,

This, less than this, might gorge thee to the full.

But O! rapacious still, thou gap'st for more,

Like one, whole days defrauded of his meals,

On whom lank hunger lays her skinny hand,

And whets to keenest eagerness his cravings;

As if diseases, massacres, and poisons,

Famine, and war, were not thy caterers."


Verse 24. He will not stretch out his hand to the grave] After

all that has been said relative to the just translation and true

meaning of this verse, is it not evident that it is in the mouth

of Job a consolatory reflection? As if he said, Though I suffer

here, I shall not suffer hereafter. Though he add stroke to

stroke, so as to destroy my life, yet his displeasure shall not

proceed beyond the grave.

Though they cry in his destruction.] Mr. Good translates: Surely

there, in its ruin, is freedom. In the sepulchre there is freedom

from calamity, and rest for the weary.

Verse 25. Did not I weep for him that was in trouble?] Mr. Good

translates much nearer the sense of the original, liksheh

yom. "Should I not then weep for the ruthless day?" May I not

lament that my sufferings are only to terminate with my life? Or,

Did I not mourn for those who suffered by times of calamity?

Was not my soul grieved for the poor? Did I not relieve the

distressed according to my power; and did I not sympathize with

the sufferer?

Verse 27. My bowels boiled] This alludes to the strong commotion

in the bowels which every humane person feels at the sight of one

in misery.

Verse 28. I went mourning without the sun] chammah, which

we here translate the sun, comes from a root of the same letters,

which signifies to hide, protect, &c., and may be translated, I

went mourning without a protector or guardian; or, the word may be

derived from cham, to be hot, and here it may signify fury,

rage, anger; and thus it was understood by the Vulgate: Maerens

incedebam, sine furore, I went mourning without anger; or, as

Calmet translates, Je marchois tout triste, mais sans me laisser

aller a l'emportement; "I walked in deep sadness, but did not give

way to an angry spirit." The Syriac and Arabic understood it in

the same way.

Verse 29. I am a brother to dragons] By my mournful and

continual cry I resemble tannim, the jackals or hyenas.

And a companion to owls.] benoth yaanah, to the

daughters of howling: generally understood to be the ostrich;

for both the jackal and the female ostrich are remarkable for

their mournful cry, and for their attachment to desolate


Verse 30. My skin is black] By continual exposure to the open

air, and parching influence of the sun.

My bones are burned with heat.] A strong expression, to point

out the raging fever that was continually preying upon his vitals.

Verse 31. My harp also is turned to mourning] Instead of the

harp, my only music is my own plaintive cries.

And my organ] What the uggab was, we know not; it was most

probably some sort of pipe or wind instrument. His harp,

kinnor, and his pipe, uggab, were equally mute, or only

used for mournful ditties.

THIS chapter is full of the most painful and pathetic sorrow;

but nevertheless tempered with a calmness and humiliation of

spirit, which did not appear in Job's lamentations previously to

the time in which he had that remarkable revelation mentioned in

the nineteenth chapter. Job 19:25 After he was assured that his

Redeemer was the living God, he submitted to his dispensations,

kissed the rod, and mourned not without hope, though in deep

distress, occasioned by his unremitting sufferings. If the

groaning of Job was great, his stroke was certainly heavy.

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