Job 4:19 MEANING

Job 4:19
(19) Houses of clay.--This may perhaps contain an allusion to Genesis 11:3.

Are crushed before the moth?--That is to say, are so frail that even the moth destroys them.

Verse 19. - How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay! rather, hew muck more cloth he not put trust in them that inhabit houses of clay! i.e. "earthly bodies," bodies made out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7; setup, Job 33:6). Whose foundation is in the dust; i.e." whose origin was the dust of the ground," which were formed from it and must return to it, according to the words of Genesis 3:19, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou must return." Which are crushed before the moth. This is somewhat obscure. It may mean, "which are so fragile that a moth, a fly, or other weak creature may destroy them," or "which are crushed with the same ease with which a moth is crushed and destroyed."

4:12-21 Eliphaz relates a vision. When we are communing with our own hearts, and are still, Ps 4:4, then is a time for the Holy Spirit to commune with us. This vision put him into very great fear. Ever since man sinned, it has been terrible to him to receive communications from Heaven, conscious that he can expect no good tidings thence. Sinful man! shall he pretend to be more just, more pure, than God, who being his Maker, is his Lord and Owner? How dreadful, then, the pride and presumption of man! How great the patience of God! Look upon man in his life. The very foundation of that cottage of clay in which man dwells, is in the dust, and it will sink with its own weight. We stand but upon the dust. Some have a higher heap of dust to stand upon than others but still it is the earth that stays us up, and will shortly swallow us up. Man is soon crushed; or if some lingering distemper, which consumes like a moth, be sent to destroy him, he cannot resist it. Shall such a creature pretend to blame the appointments of God? Look upon man in his death. Life is short, and in a little time men are cut off. Beauty, strength, learning, not only cannot secure them from death, but these things die with them; nor shall their pomp, their wealth, or power, continue after them. Shall a weak, sinful, dying creature, pretend to be more just than God, and more pure than his Maker? No: instead of quarrelling with his afflictions, let him wonder that he is out of hell. Can a man be cleansed without his Maker? Will God justify sinful mortals, and clear them from guilt? or will he do so without their having an interest in the righteousness and gracious help of their promised Redeemer, when angels, once ministering spirits before his throne, receive the just recompence of their sins? Notwithstanding the seeming impunity of men for a short time, though living without God in the world, their doom is as certain as that of the fallen angels, and is continually overtaking them. Yet careless sinners note it so little, that they expect not the change, nor are wise to consider their latter end.How much less on them that dwell in houses of clay,.... Meaning men, but not as dwelling in houses, in a proper sense, made of clay dried by the sun, as were common in the eastern countries; nor in mean cottages, as distinguished from cedar, and ceiled houses, in which great personages dwelt, for this respects men in common; nor as being in the houses of the grave, as the Targum, Jarchi, and others, which are no other than dust, dirt, and clay; for this regards not the dead, but the living; but the bodies of men are meant; in which their souls dwell; which shows the superior excellency of the soul to the body, and its independency of it, being capable of existing without it, as it does in the separate state before the resurrection; so bodies are called tabernacles, and earthen vessels, and earthly houses, 2 Peter 1:13 2 Corinthians 4:7; and bodies of clay, Job 13:12; so the body is by Epictetus (c) called clay elegantly wrought; and another Heathen writer (d) calls it clay steeped in, or macerated and mixed with blood: being of clay denotes the original of bodies, the dust of the earth; and the frailty of them, like brittle clay, and the pollution of them, all the members thereof being defiled with sin, and so called vile bodies, and will remain such till changed by Christ, Philippians 3:21; now the argument stands thus, if God put no trust in angels, then much less in poor, frail, mortal, sinful men; he has no dependence on their services, whose weakness, unprofitableness, and unfaithfulness, he well knows; he puts no trust in their purposes, and resolutions, and vows, which often come to nothing; nor does he trust his own people with their salvation and justification, or put these things upon the foot of their works, but trusts them and the salvation and justification of them with his Son, and puts them upon the foot of his own grace and mercy: and if he charges the holy angels with folly, then much more (for so it may be also rendered) will he charge mortal sinful men with it, who are born like the wild ass's colt, and are foolish as well as disobedient, even his chosen ones, especially before conversion; or thus if so stands the case of angels, then much less can man be just before him, and pure in his sight: the weakness, frailty, and pollution of the bodies of men, are further enlarged on in some following clauses:

whose foundation is in the dust; meaning not the lower parts of the body, as the feet, which support and bear it up; rather the soul, which is the basis of it, referring to its corruption and depravity by sin; though it seems chiefly to respect the original of the body, which is the dust of the earth, of which it consists, and to which it will return again, this being but a poor foundation to stand upon, Genesis 2:7; for the sense is, whose foundation is dust, mere dust, the particle being redundant, or rather an Arabism:

which are crushed before the moth? that is, which bodies of men, or houses of clay founded in the dust; or, "they crush them"; or "which" or "whom they crush" (e); either God, Father, Son, and Spirit, as some; or the angels, as others; or distresses, calamities, and afflictions, which sense seems best, by which they are crushed "before the moth" or "worm" (f); that is, before they die, and come to be the repast of worms, Job 19:26; or before a moth is destroyed, as soon, or sooner (g), than it is; so a man may be crushed to death, or his life taken from him, as soon as a moth's; either by the immediate hand of God, as Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:5; or by the sword of man, as Amasa by Joab, 2 Samuel 20:10; or rather, "like a moth" (h), as easily and as quickly as a moth is crushed between a man's fingers, or by his foot: some, as Saadiah Gaon, and others, render it, "before Arcturus" (i), a constellation in the heavens, Job 9:9; and take the phrase to be the same as that, "before the sun"; Psalm 72:17; and to denote the perpetuity and duration of their being crushed, which would be as long as the sun or Arcturus continued, that is, for ever; but either of the above senses is best, especially the last of them.

(c) Arrian. Epictet. l. 1. c. 1.((d) Theodor. Gadareus, apud Sueton. Vit. Tiber. c. 57. (e) "conterent eos", Montanus, Mercerus, Michaelis, Schultens; "sub trinitas personarum", Schmidt; "angeli", Mercerus; so Sephorno and R. Simeon Bar Tzemach; "calamitates", Vatablus; so some in Bar Tzemach. (f) "conam verme", Coceius; so the Targum and Bar Tzemach. (g) "Antequam tinea", Junius & Tremellius; "citius quam tinea", Piscator. (h) , Sept. "instar tineae", Noldius, Schmidt; so Aben Ezra and Broughton. (i) "Donec fuerit Arcturus", Pagninus, Vatablus; so some in Aben Ezra, Ben Melech.

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