Job 18:1-21. Reply of
2. ye—the other two friends of Job, whom
Bildad charges with having spoken mere "words," that is, empty
speeches; opposed to "mark," that is, come to reason, consider
the question intelligently; and then let us speak.
3. beasts—alluding to what Job said
12:7; so Isa 1:3).
vile—rather from a Hebrew root,
"to stop up." "Stubborn," answering to the stupidity implied in the
parallel first clause [Umbreit]. Why
should we give occasion by your empty speeches for our being mutually
reputed, in the sight of Job and one another, as unintelligent? (Job 17:4,
4. Rather, turning to Job, "thou that tearest
thyself in anger" (Job 5:2).
be forsaken?—become desolate. He
alludes here to Job's words as to the "rock," crumbling away (Job 14:18,
19); but in a different
application. He says bitterly "for thee." Wert thou not punished as
thou art, and as thou art unwilling to bear, the eternal order of the
universe would be disturbed and the earth become desolate through
unavenged wickedness [Umbreit]. Bildad
takes it for granted Job is a great sinner (Job 8:3-6;
Isa 24:5, 6). "Shall that
which stands fast as a rock be removed for your special
5. That (Job 18:4) cannot be. The decree of God is
unalterable, the light (prosperity) of the wicked shall at length be
his fire—alluding to Arabian
hospitality, which prided itself on welcoming the stranger to the fire
in the tent, and even lit fires to direct him to it. The ungodly shall
be deprived of the means to show hospitality. His dwelling shall be
dark and desolate!
6. candle—the lamp which in the East is
usually fastened to the ceiling. Oil abounds in those regions, and the
lamp was kept burning all night, as now in Egypt, where the poorest
would rather dispense with food than the night lamp (Ps 18:28). To put out the lamp was an image of
7. steps of his strength—Hebrew,
for "His strong steps." A firm step marks health. To be straitened in
steps is to be no longer able to move about at will (Pr 4:12).
his own counsel—Plans shall be the
means of his fall (Job 5:13).
8. he walketh upon—rather, "he lets
himself go into the net" [Umbreit].
If the English Version be retained, then understand "snare" to
be the pitfall, covered over with branches and earth, which when walked
upon give way (Ps 9:15; 35:8).
9. robber—rather answering to "gin" in
the parallel clause, "the noose shall hold him fast" [Umbreit].
11. Terrors—often mentioned in this book
18:14; 24:17; &c.). The
terrors excited through an evil conscience are here personified.
"Magor-missabib" (Jer 20:3).
drive … to his feet—rather,
"shall pursue" (literally, "scatter," Hab 3:14) him close "at his heels" (literally,
"immediately after his feet," Hab 3:5; 1Sa 25:42; Hebrew). The image is that of a
pursuing conqueror who scatters the enemy [Umbreit].
12. The Hebrew is brief and bold, "his
strength is hungry."
destruction—that is, a great calamity
ready at his side—close at hand to
destroy him (Pr 19:29).
13. Umbreit has
"he" for "it," that is, "in the rage of hunger he shall devour his own
body"; or, "his own children" (La 4:10). Rather, "destruction" from Job 18:12 is nominative to "devour."
strength—rather, "members" (literally,
the "branches" of a tree).
the first-born of death—a
personification full of poetical horror. The first-born son held the
chief place (Ge 49:3); so
here the chiefest (most deadly) disease that death has ever
engendered (Isa 14:30;
"first-born of the poor"—the poorest). The Arabs call fever,
"daughter of death."
14. confidence—all that the father
trusted in for domestic happiness, children, fortune, &c.,
referring to Job's losses.
rooted out—suddenly torn away, it
shall bring—that is, he shall be brought; or, as Umbreit better has, "Thou (God) shalt bring
him slowly." The Hebrew expresses, "to stride slowly and
solemnly." The godless has a fearful death for long before his eyes,
and is at last taken by it. Alluding to Job's case. The King of
terrors, not like the heathen Pluto, the tabled ruler of the dead, but
Death, with all its terrors to the ungodly, personified.
15. It—"Terror" shall haunt, &c.,
and not as Umbreit, "another," which the
last clause of the verse disproves.
none of his—It is his no longer.
brimstone—probably comparing the
calamity of Job by the "fire of God" (Job 1:16) to the destruction of guilty Sodom by
fire and brimstone (Ge 19:24).
branch—his children (Job 8:12;
15:30; Mal 4:1).
17. street—Men shall not speak of him in
meeting in the highways; rather, "in the field" or "meadow"; the
shepherds shall no more mention his name—a picture from nomadic
18. light …
19. nephew—(so Isa 14:22). But it is translated "grandson" (Ge 21:23); translate "kinsman."
20. after … before—rather, "those
in the West—those in the East"; that is, all people; literally,
"those behind—those before"; for Orientals in geography turn with
their faces to the east (not to the north as we), and back to the west;
so that before—east; behind—north (so Zec 14:8).
day—of ruin (Ob 12).
affrighted—seized with terror (Job
21:6; Isa 13:8).
21. (Job 8:22, Margin).