Job 5:5
(5) Whose harvest the hungry eateth up.--The meaning becomes more pointed if we understand the wicked man himself as the subject whose harvest he shall eat famishing and have to take from among the thorns--there shall be so little, and that little choked with thorns. The word "robber" is perhaps a trap, or snare. Some of the old versions use other vowels, and read, "the thirsty swallow up," making the parallelism complete.

Verse 5. - Whose harvest the hungry eateth up. Covetous men rush in and "eat up" all that the family possesses, thus bringing it to the extreme of poverty and want. And taketh it even out of the thorns. Vain is any protection that may be devised. As hedges, even of the prickly pear, do not keep out a band of plunderers, so there is no obstacle which those bent on robbing them will not overcome. And the robber swalloweth up their substance; or, the thirsty; i.e. those who thirst after it.

5:1-5 Eliphaz here calls upon Job to answer his arguments. Were any of the saints or servants of God visited with such Divine judgments as Job, or did they ever behave like him under their sufferings? The term, saints, holy, or more strictly, consecrated ones, seems in all ages to have been applied to the people of God, through the Sacrifice slain in the covenant of their reconciliation. Eliphaz doubts not that the sin of sinners directly tends to their ruin. They kill themselves by some lust or other; therefore, no doubt, Job has done some foolish thing, by which he has brought himself into this condition. The allusion was plain to Job's former prosperity; but there was no evidence of Job's wickedness, and the application to him was unfair and severe.Whose harvest the hungry eateth up,.... This is to be understood of the foolish rich man before described, as taking root and flourishing; though he sows, and reaps and gathers in his harvest, and fancies he has goods laid up for many years, to be enjoyed by him, yet he is taken away by death, and another eats what he has gathered; either his hungry heirs, that he has kept bare, and without the proper necessaries of life; or the poor whom he has oppressed, who, driven by hunger, seize upon his harvest, and eat it up, whether he be alive or dead: Sephorno interprets this of the wicked man himself, who should eat up his own harvest, and not have enough to satisfy him, the curse of God being upon his land; and another learned interpreter (s) thinks the sense is, that such should be the curse of God on the fields of wicked men, that they should produce no more than what was usually left to the poor, and therefore should have no need to gather it:

and taketh it even out of the thorns; that is, either the hungry man takes the harvest out of the thorns, among which it grows, see Matthew 13:7; or which he had gotten "through the thorns", as Mr. Broughton renders it; that is, the owner, through many difficulties; and hunger will break through many to get at it; or though his harvest being got in, is enclosed with a thorn hedge, the hungry man gets through it, and takes it out from it, surrounded by it; the above mentioned Jewish writer understands this also of the wicked man, who takes his own harvest out from among the thorns, so that there is nothing left for the poor and his friends, as it is meet there should: the word (t) for "thorns" has also the signification of armour, particularly of shields; hence the Targum is,"and armed men with warlike arms shall take it away;''to which agrees the Vulgate Latin version,"and the armed men shall take it away;''that is, soldiers should forage, spoil, and destroy it:

and the robber swalloweth up their substance; the house robber, who breaks in and devours all at once, and makes a clear riddance of it; some render it "the hairy man" (u) either that neglects his hair, as beggars, or such that live in desert places, as robbers, that they may appear the more terrible; or that take care of it, and nourish it, and tie it up in locks, and behind their heads, as Bar Tzemach and Ben Melech observe they do in Turkey; others translate it "the thirsty" (w), and so it answers to the hungry in the preceding clause, and designs such who thirst, and gape after, and covet the substance of others, and greedily catch at it, and swallow it up at once, at one draught, as a thirsty man does a large quantity of liquor, see Proverbs 1:12; this may have some respect to the Sabeans and Chaldeans, that swallowed up Job's substance, and took away his cattle from him at once, and were no other than bands of robbers; and the use of the word for a thief or a robber, as we take it, is confirmed by a learned man (x), who derives it from the Arabic word which signifies to smite with a club or stone.

(s) Schmidt. (t) "de lanceis", Bolducius. "est et elypeus, umbo", Codurcus. (u) "comatus", Cocceius, Schmidt; "horridus", Junius & Tremellius. (w) Sitientes, V. L. "sitibundi", Montanus, Bolducius; so Simeon Bar Tzemach. (x) Hinckelman. Praefat. ad Alcoran. p. 28, 29.

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