"but his flesh, because of worms upon him, shall grieve;''
and so Jarchi, troublesome is the worm to a dead man as a needle in quick flesh; pain and grief are by a prosopopoeia or personification attributed to a dead body; signifying, that could it be sensible of its case, it would be painful and grievous to it:
and his soul within him shall mourn; either while he lives, because of his afflictions and terrors, the days being come in which he has no pleasure, and the time of death drawing nigh; or his dead body, as the word is used in Psalm 16:10; said to mourn by the same figure; or his soul, because of his body being dead; or rather his breath, which at death fails and pines away (y).
(x) Ebr. Comment. p. 605. (y) "emarcida luget", Schultens.
INTRODUCTION TO Job 15
Job's three friends having in their turns attacked him, and he having given answer respectively to them, Eliphaz, who began the attack, first enters the debate with him again, and proceeds upon the same plan as before, and endeavours to defend his former sentiments, falling upon Job with greater vehemence and severity; he charges him with vanity, imprudence, and unprofitableness in his talk, and acting a part unbecoming his character as a wise man; yea, with impiety and a neglect of religion, or at least as a discourager of it by his words and doctrines, of which his mouth and lips were witnesses against him, Job 15:1; he charges him with arrogance and a high conceit of himself, as if he was the first man that was made, nay, as if he was the eternal wisdom of God, and had been in his council; and, to check his vanity, retorts his own words upon him, or however the sense of them, Job 15:7; and also with slighting the consolations of God; upon which he warmly expostulates with him, Job 15:11; and in order to convince him of his self-righteousness, which he thought he was full of, he argues from the angels, the heavens, and the general case of man, Job 15:14; and then he declares from his own knowledge, and from the relation of wise and ancient men in former times, who made it their observation, that wicked men are afflicted all their days, attended with terror and despair, and liable to various calamities, Job 15:17; the reasons of which are their insolence to God, and hostilities committed against him, which they are encouraged in by their prosperous circumstances, Job 15:25; notwithstanding all, their estates, riches, and wealth, will come to nothing, Job 15:28; and the chapter is closed with an exhortation to such, not to feed themselves up with vain hopes, or trust in uncertain riches, since their destruction would be sure, sudden, and terrible, Job 15:31.
and fill his belly with the east wind; which is noisy and blusterous, rapid and forcible, bearing all before it, and very infectious in hot countries; and such notions Job, according to Eliphaz, satisfied himself with, and endeavoured to insinuate them into others; which were nothing but great swelling words of vanity, and tended to subvert the faith of men, and overthrow all religion, and were very unwholesome, infectious, and ruinous to the minds of men, as suggested.
or with speeches wherewith he can do no good? but may do a great deal of hurt both to himself and others; but the same thing is here signified in different words,
and restrainest prayer before God; prayer is to be made to God and to him only, it is a part of religious worship, directed to by the light of nature, and ought to be performed by every man; it is a special privilege of the saints, who have a covenant God on a throne of grace to go to, and can pray in a spiritual manner for spiritual things; and especially is to be observed in times of trouble, in which Job now was, and never to be disused; now this charge either respects Job himself, that he left off praying, which can hardly be supposed; or that he drew out prayer to a great length, as some understand the words (w), like the tautologies of the Heathen; or he diminished prayer, as others (x), lessened the times of prayer, and the petitions in it: or rather it may respect others; not that it can be thought he should lay his injunctions on those over whom he had any authority, forbidding his servants, or those about him, to pray; but that by his manner of reasoning he discouraged prayer, as Eliphaz thought, as an useless thing; for if God laughs at the trials and afflictions of the innocent, and suffers wicked men to prosper, who would pray to him, or serve him? see Job 9:23.
(w) "tulisti", V. L. "traheres", Cocceius; "multiplicasti", so some in Bar Tzemach. (x) "Imminues", Montanus; "imminuisti", Bolducius; "diminuis", Schmidt; "minuis", Schultens.
and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty; coloured over things under specious pretences of religion and godliness, so that the simple and ignorant took him for a holy good man, when he was at heart an hypocrite; in this light Eliphaz puts Job, as one that walked and talked in craftiness, and was a deceitful worker, and imposed upon men with false glosses and plausible pretences.
(y) "docuit iniquitas tua os tuum", V. L. Pagninus, Bolducius; "docebit", Montanus; "docet", Piscator, Cocceius; so Tigurine version.
yea, thine own lips testify against thee; and therefore there were no need of producing any other testimony; what he had said showed that his talk was vain and unprofitable, unbecoming a wise man, and tending to make null and void the fear of God among men, to discourage all religious exercises, and particularly prayer before God.
"wast thou born with the first man, without father and mother?''
and hast thou existed ever since? or, "wast thou born before Adam?" before the first man (z)? Art thou the wisdom and son of God, who was before Abraham, before Adam, before any creature whatever, was in the beginning with God, and was God? What dost thou make thyself to be, Job? thou, a mere man, dost thou make thyself to be the eternal God? for to be before the first man, or to be the firstborn of every creature, or to be born before every creature, is expressive of eternity, as is the following phrase:
or wast thou made before the hills? or existed before they did? as is said of the son of God, Proverbs 8:25; what is before the hills and mountains is eternal; the eternal God and his eternity are thus described, Psalm 90:2.
(z) So Mercerus, and some in Vatablus, Schmidt, Jarchi, & Bar Tzemach.
and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? not keep it to himself without communicating it to others, which to do is to imprison the truth, and detain it in unrighteousness; as men have freely received, they should freely give; but he arrogated and ascribed wisdom to himself, monopolized it, and would allow no man to have any share of it but himself; he reckoned so highly of himself, as if he was the only wise man in the world; thus what he charged his friends with Eliphaz retorts upon himself, Job 12:2; as he does his own words in Job 15:9.
(a) "in secreto Dei", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius. Schultens.
what understandest thou which is not in us? in our hearts, minds, and understanding; or among us, which one or other, or all of us, have not: yet all men have not knowledge alike; some that profess themselves to be wise, and to have a large share of knowledge, are fools; and such who think they know something extraordinary, and more than others, know nothing as they ought to know; and such who have gifts of real knowledge have them different one from another; even of the things known there is not a like degree of knowledge, and particularly in spiritual things; some are little children in understanding, some are young men and know more, and some are fathers, and know most of all; an equality in knowledge belongs to another state, to the latter day glory, when the watchmen shall see eye to eye, and all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, and especially to the ultimate glory, when saints will know as they are known.
and very aged men; or "man" rather; Mr. Broughton renders it, and "all gray", as if the other word only signifies one that has a mixture of gray hairs on him, but this one all whose hairs are turned gray:
much elder than thy father; or "greater", as the same learned man renders it; and so Aben Ezra and Bar Tzemach say in the Arabic language the word signifies, and may design a third person. Ben Gersom thinks that Eliphaz was older than Job, and that his other two friends were younger than he, or Zophar only was younger than he; one of the Targums paraphrases the words thus,
"but Eliphaz who is gray, and Bildad who is aged, are with us, and Zophar who is greater in days than thy father;''
it appears that they were very old men by what Elihu says, Job 32:6; though it may be Eliphaz may not barely have respect to themselves and their age, but to their ancestors, their fathers, from whom they had their knowledge, when they were but of yesterday, and knew little, and so pleads antiquity on their side; and it has been observed that Teman, from whence Eliphaz was, was famous for wisdom, and wise men in it, at least it was so in later times; and if so early, the observation would be more pertinent, and the sense might be thought to be, that we have at Teman men as ancient and as wise as at Uz, in the schools of the one as in the schools of the other, and so have the opportunity of gaining as much wisdom and knowledge as Job: or it may be the meaning only is this, that we have on our side the question as many ancient and learned men, or more, than Job can pretend to; and thus, as before, antiquity is pleaded; but is not a sure rule to go by, at least by trusting to it men may be led aside; for though truth is the good old way, and is the oldest way, yet error is almost as old as truth; it follows so close upon the heels of it, that it is difficult, in some cases, to discern which is first, though truth always is: there is the old way which wicked men have trodden; and a pretence to antiquity, if not carefully observed, may lead into it, see Jeremiah 6:16, Job 22:15.
is there any secret thing with thee? any secret wisdom and knowledge which they were strangers to; or any secret way of conveying comfort to him they knew not of; or any secret sin in him, any Achan in the camp, Joshua 7:11, that hindered him from receiving comfort, or put him upon slighting what was offered to him.
(b) "consolationes istorum virorum", Vatablus; "consolationes istae", so some in Drusius.
and what do thine eyes wink at; conniving at and shutting his eyes against his own sins and iniquities, unwilling to see them, and be convinced of them, and own them; or shutting them against the charges and reproofs of his friends, and all the light and evidence with which they came; or rather as carelessly attending to them, and scoffing and sneering at them: some render it, "what do thine eyes aim at" (c)? as men, when they take an aim at a mark, wink with or shut one eye; what are thy designs? what hast thou in view? what wouldest thou be at, talking and behaving in such a manner as thou dost?
(c) "collimant", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; so Broughton.
and lettest such words go out of thy mouth? as in Job 9:22.
and he which is born of a woman; a periphrasis of man, Job 14:1;
that he should be righteous? as no man is naturally; there is none righteous, no, not one; though man originally was made righteous, yet sinning he lost his righteousness, and all his posterity are without any; nor can they become righteous of themselves, or by any works of righteousness done by them; and though they may trust in themselves that they are righteous, and may appear outwardly so before men, yet by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified or accounted righteous in the sight of God, and much less be more just than he, as in Job 4:17; nor can any of the sons of men be made or reckoned righteous but by the obedience of Christ, or by that justifying righteousness that is in him: what Eliphaz here says concerning the impurity, imperfection, and unrighteousness of men, are very great truths; but if he aims at Job, as he seems to do he misses his mark, and mistakes the man, and it is in vain with respect to him, or as a refutation of any notions of his; for Job asserts the corruption and depravity of human nature as strongly as it is expressed here, Job 14:4; nor does he ever claim, but disclaims, sinless perfection, Job 9:20; nor did he expect to be personally justified before God by any righteousness of his own, the imperfection of which he was sensible of, but by the righteousness of his living Redeemer, Job 9:30; but what he pleaded for was the integrity and uprightness of his heart in opposition to hypocrisy he was charged with; and the holiness and righteousness of his life and conversation, in opposition to a course of living in sin, or to his being guilty of some notorious sin or sins for which he was afflicted, as was insinuated. Eliphaz here recurs to his oracle, Job 4:17; and expresses it much to the same sense.
yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight; heaven born men, partakers of the heavenly calling, whose hearts and affections are set on heavenly things, and have their conversation in heaven; yet these, in the sight of a pure and holy God, and in comparison of him, are impure and unholy; or they of heaven, as Mr. Broughton renders it, the inhabitants of heaven; the angels on high, as the Targum paraphrases it; these are charged by him with folly, and they, conscious of their imperfection with respect to him, cover their faces with their wings, while they celebrate the perfection of his holiness, who is so glorious in it; though the natural heavens may be intended, at least not excluded, and the luminous bodies in them, as Bildad seems to explain it, Job 25:5; the stars are reckoned the more dense and thick part of the heavens, the moon has its spots, and by later discoveries it seems the sun is not without them, and the heavens are often covered with clouds and darkness, and the present ones will be purified with fire at the general conflagration, which supposes them unclean, and they shall pass away, and new ones succeed, which implies imperfection in the former, or there would be no need of others; this is the proof Eliphaz gives of what he had suggested in Job 15:14.
(d) "non posuit stabilitatem", Pagninus; "immutabilitatem, sive perfectionem absolutam", Vatablus; "firmum opus non produxit", Tigurine version; "non crediturns esset firmitatem", Junius & Tremellius.
which drinketh iniquity like water; it is as natural to him to commit iniquity as it is for a man to drink water when he is thirsty, and he does it with equal gust, delight, and pleasure; as cold water is delightful to a thirsty soul, so is sin to a sinner, a sweet morsel he holds in his mouth; various lusts are various pleasures, though these pleasures are but for a season: sin, like water, is easy to be come at, it is near at hand, it easily besets men, and is all around them, and they easily give into it; everyone turns to his wicked course as readily as the horse rushes into the battle; and the phrase may be expressive of the abundance of sin committed, like large draughts of water greedily taken down by a man athirst, and repeated again and again; moreover, as water drank enters into men, and is taken down as an harmless thing, yet often proves very hurtful and pernicious to them when drank while they are hot, and occasions disorders, which issue in death; so sin, though it may seem harmless, and be pleasing and refreshing, going down like water, yet it works like poison, and is the gall of asps within a man, and ends in eternal death, if grace prevents not. This is the conclusion and application of the whole to man, arguing from the greater to the lesser, and so proving the impurity and imperfection of man, and that he cannot be clean and righteous before God of himself.
and that which I have seen I will declare; what he had been an eyewitness of himself; the same he had observed, Job 4:8; and such testimonies are most regarded, and reckoned most authentic and creditable, especially when they come from men of character; see Luke 1:1.
and have not hid it; their fathers did not hide it from them, and what they have received from their fathers they did not hide it from their children; and so it came to be handed down from one to another with great truth, exactness, and certainty, and to be depended upon, see Psalm 44:1.
and no stranger passed among them; either there was no wicked man among them, a stranger to God and godliness; or an enemy that invaded them, passed through them, disturbed and dispossessed them of their power and substance; which shows how wise and good men are regarded by the Lord, and not distressed and afflicted as wicked men be; as well as serves to strengthen the credit of their character, and the report received and derived from them by tradition, and tacitly glances at Job's distress and disturbance by the Chaldeans and Sabeans; next follows the account of the things either seen by Eliphaz, or handed down from such credible persons now described.
"the voice or sound of the fears in hell is in his ears;''
and among the rest of his fears what follows is one, and so some connect the words, that (u).
in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him; either God the lawgiver, whose law he has transgressed, and who is able, as to save his people, so to destroy the wicked, soul and body, in hell; and destruction from the Almighty, Job himself says, was a terror to him, Job 31:23; or a destroying angel, such an one as went through the land of Egypt, and destroyed the firstborn, and into the camp of Israel, when they committed sin, and were destroyed of the destroyer; or some enemy, plunderer, and robber, such as the Sabeans and Chaldeans were, and to whom respect may be had; or even the devil himself, Apollyon, the destroyer of the souls of men, and who sometimes wicked men fear will come and carry them away, soul and body, to hell; or it may be death is meant, which kills and destroys all men; and wicked men are afraid that in the midst of all their peace and prosperity sudden destruction by death should come upon them, like a thief in the night, and remove them from all their enjoyments; and whether they are or no under any fearful apprehensions of this, it certainly will be their case.
(t) "sonitus timorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Bolducius; to the same sense Codurcus, Junius & Tremellius, Mercerus, Cocceius, Schmidt, Schultens. (u) "Vastatorem invasurum eum", Junius & Tremellius.
and he is waited for of the sword; or by them that kill with the sword, as the Targum, who lie in wait for him, to rob him, and kill him; or in his own apprehension he seems to have nothing but drawn swords about him, or a sword hanging over his head, or the judgments of God ready to fall upon him for his sins; for he, having killed others with the sword, must expect to be killed with it himself.
saying, where is it? where is bread to be had? where shall I go for it? where lives a liberal man that will give it freely and generously? by this question it seems as if it was difficult for such a man to get his bread by begging; he having been cruel and oppressive to others, unkind and ungenerous in his time of prosperity, now finds but few that care to relieve him; and indeed a man that has not shown mercy to the indigent, when in his power to have relieved them, cannot expect mercy will be shown to him; this he does, wanders about, seeking food, "wheresoever he is" (w):
he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand; either that a day of affliction and adversity is coming upon him, perceiving his affairs to grow worse and worse, or to be immediately and already on him, which obliges him to wander about for bread; or that the day of death is at hand, which he is made sensible of by one symptom or another; or rather it may be the day of everlasting darkness in hell, the wrath of God to the uttermost he has deserved; he finds the day of judgment is at hand, and the Judge at the door, and in a short time he must receive the reward of eternal vengeance for the wicked deeds he has done; for so the words may be rendered, "that the day of darkness is prepared by his hand" (x); by the evil works his hand has wrought, and so has treasured up to himself wrath against the day of wrath, and righteous judgment of God.
(w) So Noldius in Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 87. (x) "suis factis", Tigurine version; "per manum suam", Schmidt.
they shall prevail against him as a king ready to the battle; that is, trouble and anguish shall prevail against him; he will be no more able to resist them than a very inferior force, or even a single man, is able to resist a warlike king, attended with a numerous army, and these set in battle array; such a man's troubles will come upon him as an armed man, against which he cannot stand; the Targum is,
"they shall surround him as a king prepared for a footstool;''
who being taken by the enemy shall be used as a footstool to mount on horseback; and as the word has the signification of a globe or ball, see Isaiah 22:18; some think it has respect to the manner of kings, when taken captive, put into an iron cage, as Bajazet was by Tamerlane; or into an iron hoop, bound hand and foot, and hung up in chains; or, as Ben Gersom thinks, to the manner of drowning persons, who used to be tied hand and foot, as if rolled up in the form of a globe, and so cast into the water; but rather the reference is to an army, besieging a place all around in the form of a ball or globe, so that there is no escaping them; or rather it may be to a king drawing up his army in such a form, ready to engage in battle; or putting it in such a position when encamped or entrenched, waiting the motion of the enemy; see 1 Samuel 26:5; and such are the troubles that surround and prevail against a wicked man, see Isaiah 29:3; the reasons of the wicked man being brought into such a woeful condition follow.
and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty; by hardening his heart against him as Pharaoh did; by putting on a bold and brazen countenance, by setting his mouth against God in heaven, and suffering, his tongue to walk through the earth, fearing neither God nor man; by entering into a friendship with the world, and making alliances with the enemies of God, even by making a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell; all which is egregious folly and madness: for a sinful man to oppose himself to God is to set briers and thorns to a consuming fire; for a weak feeble creature to set himself against the Almighty, who can crush him in a moment, and send him down to hell, is the height of folly; let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth, but not man with his Maker; who ever strengthened or hardened himself against him, and prospered?
upon the thick bosses of his bucklers; alluding to shields, embossed in the middle, where they are thicker than in the other parts, and used to have a spike of iron set in the middle; so that it was daring and dangerous to run upon them: these may design the perfections of God, denied by the wicked man; or his providential dispensations, despised by him; or his purposes and decrees ridiculed, replied unto, and disputed; or the flaming sword of justice, and the curses of a righteous law, in defiance of which wicked men go on in sin: or "with the bosses of his bucklers" (z); with all his family, as Schmidt; or employing all his wealth and riches, his power and authority, against God, and the interest of religion in the world. Some understand this of God, meeting the wicked man, stretching out his hand, and strengthening himself against him, as if he, God, ran upon the wicked man, and upon his neck, and took him by it, and shook him; as in Job 16:12; and upon the thick bosses of his buckler, his bones and nerves, as Mr. Broughton; or on his power and wealth, which are not able to secure him from the vengeance of the Almighty; but the former sense seems best.
(y) "erecto collo", V. L. Piscator; "duro collo", Drusius, Michaelis; "cum cervice", Cocceius, Schmidt, Schultens. (z) "cum erassitie umbonum clypeorum suorum", Cocceius; so Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens.
and maketh collops of fat in his flanks; a description of a very fat man, and one that pampers the flesh, and indulges himself in eating and drinking; and, figuratively, of one that abounds in the good things of this world, and which make him vain and proud, and lead him on to commit sin in a bold and daring way, promising himself impunity in it, but without any just ground for it, as the following verses show; perhaps some respect may be had to Job's children feasting with one another in their prosperity, which led on to sin, and issued in their ruin, as Eliphaz would suggest.
"and he makes tabernacles in desert cities, that he may dwelt in houses which were not inhabited;''
and so Ben Gersom: and hence because of his success among men, and the grandeur he lives in, his heart is lifted up, and his hand is stretched out against God; or else this may express the sinful course of life such a man lives, who chooses to dwell in desolate places, and deserts, to do harm to others, to seize upon travellers as they pass by, and rob and plunder them of their substance, sitting and waiting for them in such places, as the Arabians in the wilderness, Jeremiah 3:2; which is the sense of some, as Aben Ezra observes; or rather this points at the punishment of the wicked man, who though for the present may be in great prosperity, possessed of large cities and stately palaces, "yet" or "but" (a), for so the particle may be rendered, "he dwelleth in desolate cities"; in such as shall become desolate, being destroyed by a superior enemy, that shall come upon him; or through his subjects forsaking him, not being able to bear his tyranny and cruelty; or he shall be driven from his dominions by them, and be obliged to fly, and dwell in desert places; or he shall choose to dwell there, through the horrors of a guilty conscience; or, best of all, he shall be reduced to such distress and poverty, that he shall not have a house fit to dwell in; but "shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited", Jeremiah 17:6; as follows:
and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps; such as have been deserted by their former inhabitants, because come to decay, and ready to fall down upon them, and become heaps of stones and rubbish.
(a) So the Annotator of the Assembly of Divines.
neither shall his substance continue; or "his strength" (b) his power and might, a rich man's wealth being his strong city, in which he places his trust and confidence; riches are called "substance", though their are but a shadow, yea, mere nonentities, things that are not, in comparison of heavenly things; see Proverbs 23:5; at least they are not an enduring substance; they are uncertain things, here today, and gone tomorrow; that make themselves wings, and fly away from the owners of them; or they are taken away front them, and are not like the riches of grace, which are durable riches; or like those of glory; but by one means or another are taken out of the hands of the possessors of them, and they are reduced to poverty: and this "their substance shall not rise"; or rather, "not rise again" (c), as the word may be rendered; notwithstanding all the pains they may take, their substance shall not rise, grow, and increase; or not rise up to the former heights it did, but being fallen into poverty there they lie:
neither shall he prolong the perfection of it upon the earth; though, indeed, there is no perfection in the creature, nor in creature enjoyments, nor in outward riches and substance; such as have had the largest share of them, as David and Solomon, have declared they have seen an end of all perfection, and that all things, the highest enjoyments, are vanity and vexation of spirit; yet when men are got to the summit, and height, and perfection of outward happiness, as they or others may think, this is not prolonged, or continued long in the earth, or they continued in it; but often are suddenly cast down from the pinnacle of honour, wealth, and riches; hence some render the words, "and their prosperity shall not be fixed into the earth" (d); shall not take root, though it may seem to do, Jeremiah 12:2; and so shall not spread itself as a tree well rooted does; and as does the spiritual prosperity, perfection, and fullness of good men, which they have in and by Christ; being rooted in the love of God, in the grace of Christ, and having the root of the matter in them, they cast forth their roots as Lebanon, and their branches spread, and they are full of the fruits and blessings of grace, Hosea 14:5.
(b) "ejus robur", Mercerus; "potentia ejus", Drusius. (c) "neque resurgent opes ejus", Schmidt. (d) "nec mittet in terra radicem suam", V. L. "et non pangetur in terram prosperitas eorum", Schultens.
the flame shall dry up his branches; alluding either to a violent drought and heat, which dries up pastures, herbs, and trees, and the branches of them; or to a wind, as the Septuagint, a burning wind, in the eastern countries, which consumed all green things; or to a flash of lightning, which shatters, strips, and destroys branches of trees: here it may signify the wrath of God, like a flame of fire consuming the wealth and substance, and families, of wicked men; whose children particularly may be compared to branches, and so respect may be had to Job's children, who were suddenly destroyed by a violent wind, which threw down the house in which they were:
and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away; out of the world, a phrase expressive of death; either because of the breath of his own mouth, as some in Jarchi, because of his blasphemies against God and his people, because of his cursing and swearing his mouth is full of, and the many vain, foolish, and idle words which come out of it, and for which he will be condemned; or rather
"by the breath of the mouth of God,''
as the Targum; either according to his purpose and decree, and by his order, and the word that goes out of his mouth; the wicked man shall be obliged to depart out of the world at once, being struck dead by him, as Ananias and Sapphira were; or by his powerful wrath and vengeance, whose breath is as a stream of brimstone, and with which he will slay the wicked of the earth, and particularly will consume the wicked one, antichrist, even with the spirit of his mouth, and with the brightness of his coming, Isaiah 11:4.
"he will not (or should not) believe in a son of man (or in a man), who errs through falsehood;''
the reason dissuading from it follows:
for vanity shall be his recompence; all that a man gets by trusting in vanity, or by trusting in a man deceived, is nothing but emptiness and vanity; he gets nothing solid and substantial, that will be of any advantage to him here or hereafter; and yet this he will not easily believe; and so Beza reads the words, "he that is deceived by vanity will not believe that vanity shall be his recompence".
(e) "per vanitatem deceptus", Beza; so Tigurine version.
and his branch shall not be green; but dried up and wither away; his wealth and riches, his children and family, be utterly extinct; instead of being like a branch, green and flourishing, shall be like a dry stick, useless and unprofitable, only fit for burning; see Job 15:30.
(f) "ante diem suam", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (g) "complebitur", Montanus; "implebitur", Schultens.
and shall cast off his flower, as the olive: which tree, when shaken in a violent manner, drops its flower, and so brings forth no fruit; it is observed by naturalists (h), that these two trees, the vine and the olive, flourish much about the same time, and suffer much by storms and tempests, which destroy their fruits, and especially when rain falls in the time of their flowering; the some thing is intended in this clause as in the former.
(h) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 25. l. 17. c. 2. 24.
and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery; either such tents, or houses, as were built with money taken as bribes; see Habakkuk 2:12; or where such who received bribes dwelt; unjust judges, who took a gift that blinds the eyes, to pervert justice. Job is afterwards by Eliphaz represented as if he was an oppressor, a wicked magistrate, and guilty of such like crimes as here pointed at, Job 22:6; and the "fire" said to consume the dwelling places of such may be understood either of material fire, such as came down from heaven, and destroyed Job's sheep, Job 1:16; or figuratively, the wrath of God often compared to fire, which would appear in one way or another, to the utter ruin of such persons, their habitations, and those that dwelt in them.
"solitarium", Montanus; and to the same sense Vatablus, Beza, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Cocceius.