Job 5:6
(6, 7) Although affliction. . . .--These two verses are confessedly very difficult. It is hard to see also the connection between sparks flying upwards and man's being born to trouble. It seems to give better sense if we understand Eliphaz comparing man's lot as prepared for him by God with his own pride and presumptuous ambition. Man is born to labour, but, like sparks of fire, he makes high his flight. Trouble and toil is no accidental growth, but a lot appointed by God, which would be beneficial if man did not thwart it by his own pride. They lift themselves up and soar on high like sparks of fire with daring and presumptuous conduct, and so bring on themselves condign punishment. The same word means trouble and toil, and it may be understood in the two consecutive verses in these cognate, but slightly different, senses. It would be no consolation to Job to tell him that man was born to trouble; besides, it is a sentiment more likely to proceed from the patient himself than from the spectator.

Verse 6. - Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground. There is a tacit reference to what was said in Job 4:8. Affliction and trouble are not chance products of spontaneous growth. They only spring up when men have prepared the ground for them, and planted in it an evil seed.

5:6-16 Eliphaz reminds Job, that no affliction comes by chance, nor is to be placed to second causes. The difference between prosperity and adversity is not so exactly observed, as that between day and night, summer and winter; but it is according to the will and counsel of God. We must not attribute our afflictions to fortune, for they are from God; nor our sins to fate, for they are from ourselves. Man is born in sin, and therefore born to trouble. There is nothing in this world we are born to, and can truly call our own, but sin and trouble. Actual transgressions are sparks that fly out of the furnace of original corruption. Such is the frailty of our bodies, and the vanity of all our enjoyments, that our troubles arise thence as the sparks fly upward; so many are they, and so fast does one follow another. Eliphaz reproves Job for not seeking God, instead of quarrelling with him. Is any afflicted? let him pray. It is heart's ease, a salve for every sore. Eliphaz speaks of rain, which we are apt to look upon as a little thing; but if we consider how it is produced, and what is produced by it, we shall see it to be a great work of power and goodness. Too often the great Author of all our comforts, and the manner in which they are conveyed to us, are not noticed, because they are received as things of course. In the ways of Providence, the experiences of some are encouragements to others, to hope the best in the worst of times; for it is the glory of God to send help to the helpless, and hope to the hopeless. And daring sinners are confounded, and forced to acknowledge the justice of God's proceedings.Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust,.... Or rather, "for" or "indeed" (y), this being a reason showing that wicked men are justly afflicted and punished; seeing their afflictions come not from the creatures, though they may be instruments, but from God for the sins of men: the word for affliction also signifies iniquity or sin, the cause of affliction, as well as affliction the fruit of sin; and so does the word in the following clause; and Aben Ezra understands both, not of natural but moral evil, and so do others (z); both senses may be taken in: sin does not come from God, the Maker of the dust of the earth, he is not the author of sin, nor does this spring out of the dust which he has made; good things, as Schmidt observes, come out of the earth for the use of man as well as beasts, bread, and wine, and oil, and all the necessaries of life; the precious things produced by the influence of the sun and moon, the precious things of the everlasting hills, and of the earth, and the fulness of it; indeed, the earth was cursed for the sin of men, but this is taken off; and, however, it is not owing to the soil, or to the air and climate in which a man lives, that he is sinful; for though there may be national vices or some sins peculiar to or more predominant in one nation than in another, yet this is not to be attributed to such causes; for all sin is from a man's self, and proceeds out of his own evil heart, which is desperately wicked and evil continually, and from whence all the impure streams of sin flow, see Matthew 15:19; and so afflictions are not to be ascribed to second causes, such as the things before mentioned, or Job's losses by the Sabeans and Chaldeans; nor did he place them to that account, but to the hand of God; nor to chance and fortune, or to be reckoned fortuitous events, as if they were chance productions, spontaneous things that spring up of themselves, and not under the direction of an all wise Providence; but they are to be considered as of God, and as of his appointment, and directed by his sovereign will and pleasure, and overruled for his glory; who has fixed what they shall be, of what kind and sort, what the measure of them, to what pitch they shall rise, and how long they shall last:

neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; the same thing as before in different words, neither sin, the cause of trouble, the effect of sin; sin may very fitly be expressed by a word (a) which signifies trouble, because it is both troublesome, wearisome, and offensive to God, and brings trouble to the bodies and souls of men here and hereafter. Here Eliphaz begins to lower the tone of his voice, and to speak to Job in a seemingly more kind and friendly manner, observing to him the spring of afflictions, and giving him advice how to behave under them.

(y) "quia", Pagninus, Montanus; "etenim", Beza, Mercerus; "nam", Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens; so Broughton; "sane", Bolducius. (z) "iniquitas", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Bolducius, Schmidt, Michaelis; "improbitas", Codurcus. (a) "perversitas", Pagninus; "improbitas", Schultens.

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