Job 5:23 MEANING

Job 5:23
(23) For thou shalt be in league.--Literally, for with the stones of the field shall thy covenant be, and the beasts of the field shall be made to be at peace with thee.

Verse 23. - For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field; i.e. there shall be peace between thee and all the rest of God's creation, even "the stones of the field," against which thou shalt not dash thy foot (Psalm 91:12); and if the senseless stones am thus in league with thee, and refrain from doing thee hurt, much more mayest thou be sure that the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. For they are not altogether senseless, and will in some sort understand that thou art under God's protection, and not to be molested by them (comp. Hosea 2:18, where God promises to make a covenant between his people and "the beasts of the field, the fowls of heaven, and the creeping things of the ground," that so they may "lie down safely "). A misplaced ingenuity seeks to find either six or seven forms of calamity in the enumeration of vers. 20-23; but there appear to be really only five:

(1) famine;

(2) war;

(3) calumny;

(4) devastation; and

(5) noisome beasts.

The expression used in ver. 19 - "six, yea, seven" - means, as already explained, an indefinite number.

5:17-27 Eliphaz gives to Job a word of caution and exhortation: Despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. Call it a chastening, which comes from the Father's love, and is for the child's good; and notice it as a messenger from Heaven. Eliphaz also encourages Job to submit to his condition. A good man is happy though he be afflicted, for he has not lost his enjoyment of God, nor his title to heaven; nay, he is happy because he is afflicted. Correction mortifies his corruptions, weans his heart from the world, draws him nearer to God, brings him to his Bible, brings him to his knees. Though God wounds, yet he supports his people under afflictions, and in due time delivers them. Making a wound is sometimes part of a cure. Eliphaz gives Job precious promises of what God would do for him, if he humbled himself. Whatever troubles good men may be in, they shall do them no real harm. Being kept from sin, they are kept from the evil of trouble. And if the servants of Christ are not delivered from outward troubles, they are delivered by them, and while overcome by one trouble, they conquer all. Whatever is maliciously said against them shall not hurt them. They shall have wisdom and grace to manage their concerns. The greatest blessing, both in our employments and in our enjoyments, is to be kept from sin. They shall finish their course with joy and honour. That man lives long enough who has done his work, and is fit for another world. It is a mercy to die seasonably, as the corn is cut and housed when fully ripe; not till then, but then not suffered to stand any longer. Our times are in God's hands; it is well they are so. Believers are not to expect great wealth, long life, or to be free from trials. But all will be ordered for the best. And remark from Job's history, that steadiness of mind and heart under trial, is one of the highest attainments of faith. There is little exercise for faith when all things go well. But if God raises a storm, permits the enemy to send wave after wave, and seemingly stands aloof from our prayers, then, still to hang on and trust God, when we cannot trace him, this is the patience of the saints. Blessed Saviour! how sweet it is to look unto thee, the Author and Finisher of faith, in such moments!For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field,.... So as to receive no hurt from them, by walking among them, and even barefoot, which was usual in the eastern countries, see Psalm 91:12; or by their being in the field, so as to hinder the increase of them; but on the contrary, even from such fields as were stony ground, a large crop has been produced, and so rather receive benefit by them, as men do from those with whom they are in league; and may therefore likewise signify, that these stones should be useful in being boundaries or fences about their fields, and landmarks in them, which should not be removed: many interpreters take notice of a sense that Pineda gives of these words, and which Cocceius calls an ingenious one, that it refers to a custom in Arabia, which may be called Scopelism, and was this; a man's enemies would lay stones in his field, and these signified, that if any attempted to till and manure those grounds where they were laid, some evil would befall him by the means of those persons who laid the stones there; and which stones were thought to be ominous and formidable; something like it is in 2 Kings 3:19; and so the sense is, that a good man had nothing to fear from such stones, he being in league with them; and this malicious practice is thought to have had its origin in Arabia Petraea (i); but the first sense seems best:

and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee; a covenant being made with them, as in Hosea 2:18; meaning either literally, the beasts of the field; and these either the same as before, wild beasts, or beasts of prey; or rather, in distinction from them, tame beasts, as cows and horses, which should be so far from doing any harm, as sometimes is done by these tame creatures, that they should be very serviceable in tilling fields and drawing carriages, and the like: or else figuratively, men comparable to such creatures; and so the sense may be, that when a man's ways please the Lord, and he behaves according to his mind and will, particularly under afflictions, even his enemies are made to be at peace with him; Proverbs 16:7; the Targum interprets this of the Canaanites, comparable to the beasts of the field.

(i) See Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 156.

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