Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Flock, to watch over them. (Sanchez) (Calmet) — I had so little confidence in them, (Haydock) or they were so very mean. (Calmet) — They were not as well fed as my dogs. (Nicetas.) — Job does not speak this out of contempt, as he was affable to all. But this proverbial expression denotes how vile these people were. (Menochius) — Even the most contemptible, and such as were not fit to have the care of dogs, derided him. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. And they. Hebrew, “Their old age is perished.” They were good for nothing all their lives. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Who. Hebrew, “solitary in,” &c. Yet these vagabond (Haydock) people now insult over me. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Grass. “There (in Crete, where no noxious animal, no serpent lives) the herb alimos, being chewed, expels hunger for the day;” admorsa diurnam famem prohibet. (Solin. 17.) — The Hebrew malluach, is rendered halima, by the Septuagint (Haydock) and Bochart would translate, “who gather the halima from the bush.” (Calmet) — Protestants, “who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat.” (Haydock) — Yet all agree that the latter is not proper for food. (Calmet) — Rethamim may (Haydock) designate any “shrubs or wild herbs,” as the Septuagint and Symmachus have explained it. (Calmet) — Perhaps the very poor people might use the juniper or broom roots for food, (Menochius) or to burn in order to prepare their victuals. (Haydock) — The Arabs and Spaniards still use the word retama for “the birch-tree.” (Parkhurst)
Ver. 5. Who. Septuagint, “through excessive hunger. Robbers rushed upon me.” Protestants, “They were driven forth from among men; (they cried after them as after a thief.”) (Haydock)
Ver. 6. Gravel of the torrents. (Menochius) — Hebrew, “in the rocks,” living like the Troglodites. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Pleased. Hebrew, “brayed.” (Calmet) — Briars. Protestants, “nettles.” They were driven from the society of men and forced to abscond. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. And not. Hebrew, “viler than the earth.” (Protestants)
Ver. 9. Bye-word. “Proverb.” (Haydock) — They speak of me with contempt, chap. xvii. 6.
Ver. 10. Face. This most people explain literally; while some, (Calmet) as Job was herein a figure of Christ, (Menochius; Matthew xxvi.; Worthington) think that the expression denotes the utmost contempt; (St. Gregory, &c.) or that the people spit upon the ground (Calmet) for fear of contracting any infection; (Haydock) and because lepers were held in the utmost abhorrence. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. For he. Protestants, “Because he hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me,” (Haydock) being no longer under any restraint. Sometimes it was customary to put bits into the mouth of a person who was led to execution, Isaias xxxvii. 29. (Calmet) — The Hebrew plural, have put, insinuates the plurality of persons in God, (Worthington) though it may be as well referred to the enemies of Job.
Ver. 12. Forthwith. Hebrew pirchach seems to be translated (Haydock) by three terms, rising, calamities, and forthwith, as it denotes “a bud” which suddenly appears. (Calmet) — Septuagint Blaston, “On the right hand of the bud they rose up.” (Haydock) — Hebrew, “Youth stood up on the right,” to accuse me; (Psalm cviii. 6.) or, “Scarcely had I begun to flourish, when they rose up,” &c. The days of prosperity soon vanished, (Calmet) and young men were ready to insult the distressed, and, as it were, to trip them up. (Menochius) — Septuagint, “they stretched out their feet and trampled upon me, that they might destroy me.” (Haydock) — They seem to have read (Calmet) regliem, “their feet,” though the two last letters are now omitted in Hebrew. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Help them, or me. (Calmet) Septuagint, “they took off my garment.” (Haydock) — Job seemed to be besieged, and could not escape. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Down, (devoluti sunt.) They have proceeded to aggravate my misfortunes. (Haydock) — “They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters: in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me.[“] (Protestants)
Ver. 15. Nothing. Hebrew, “terror.” (Haydock) — Desire. Hebrew, “princess,” reason. (Calmet) — Protestants, “soul.” Septuagint, “my hope has flown away like wind.” (Haydock)
Ver. 16. Fadeth. Hebrew, “is poured out,” (Haydock) ready to take its flight, Psalm xli. 5.
Ver. 17. They that. Heberw, “my sinews take no rest.” Septuagint, “are dissolved.” (Haydock) — The worms prey upon me, and I am like one in a raging fever. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Coat. The worms are so numerous, (Menochius) or my enemies pour upon me. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “with great power He (God; Protestants, my disease) has seized me by the garment.” Theodotion adds, “He has taken hold of me like the collar of my tunic:” (Haydock) which corresponds with our shirt, and had an opening at the top. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. I am. Hebrew, “He hath cast me into the mire;” (Protestants) or, “He regards me as dirt; my portion is on the earth and dust.” (Haydock) — All look upon me with horror and contempt. (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Not is supplied by Protestants in the second part of the verse from the first; (Haydock) as this construction is not unusual in the Hebrew. Septuagint, “they have stood up, and have considered me,” (Calmet) to procure my entire ruin. (Haydock)
Ver. 22. Dashed me in pieces, as if I had been raised so high for that purpose. Hebrew, “thou hast dissolved my substance,” wisdom, &c. The signification of tushiova (Haydock) is very indeterminate, chap. v. 12. (Calmet) — “Thou hast cast me far away from salvation.” (Septuagint and Theodotion) (Haydock)
Ver. 23. Liveth. Death is a relief to a just man in tribulation. (Worthington)
Ver. 24. Consumption. Thou dealest mercifully with other people: but all the effects of thy anger fall upon me, even here. Septuagint, “O that I might lay hands on myself, or desire another to do this for me!” Hebrew has nothing similar; but is very obscure: “He will not, however, stretch forth his hand to the grave; and when they are wounded, they are healed.” (Calmet) — Protestants, “grave, though they cry in his destruction.” (Haydock) — The grave is more desirable than such a life. There the dead are freed from the miseries of this world. (Calmet)
Ver. 28. Mourning. Hebrew, “blackened without the sun.” (Haydock) — Bile has disfigured my countenance, through excessive sorrow, ver. 30. The dark olive complexions of the Jews and Arabs would be more susceptible of these effects. (Calmet) — Indignation. I have not given way to passion, though I allowed full scope to my groans. (Septuagint) (Haydock)
Ver. 29. Brother of dragons, &c. Imitating these creatures in their lamentable noise. (Challoner) — I was like those beasts which retire in order to lament. (Worthington) — The dragons hiss dreadfully, when crushed by the elephant; (St. Jerome) and the young ostriches, being abandoned, make great lamentations. (Menochius) (Delrio, t. ii. adag. 18.) — This comparison occurs, Micheas i. 8. Natural history does not, however, represent these animals as very plaintive. The former term may denote sea monsters, or crocodiles; thannim: (Septuagint, syrens) and “the daughters of the yahana,” signify “swans,” (Isaias xiii. 21.) though commonly rendered ostriches, as they are by the Septuagint, &c. (Calmet) — Protestants have, “owls.” But we may adhere to the Vulgate. (Haydock)
Ver. 31. Weep. I have exchanged my songs of joy for mourning. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Job shews the wonderful change of his temporal estate, from welfare to great calamity.
1 But now the younger in time scorn me, whose fathers I would not have set with the dogs of my flock:
2 The strength of whose hands was to me as nothing, and they were thought unworthy of life itself.
3 Barren with want and hunger, who gnawed in the wilderness, disfigured with calamity and misery.
4 And they eat grass, and barks of trees, and the root of junipers was their food.
5 Who snatched up these things out of the valleys, and when they had found any of them, they ran to them with a cry.
6 They dwelt in the desert places of torrents, and in caves of the earth, or upon the gravel.
7 They pleased themselves among these kind of things, and counted it delightful to be under the briars.
8 The children of foolish and base men, and not appearing at all upon the earth.
9 Now I am turned into their song, and am become their bye-word.
10 They abhor me, and flee far from me, and are not afraid to spit in my face.
11 For he hath opened his quiver, and hath afflicted me, and hath put a bridle into my mouth.
12 At the right hand of my rising, my calamities forthwith arose: they have overthrown my feet, and have overwhelmed me with their paths as with waves.
13 They have destroyed my ways, they have lain in wait against me, and they have prevailed, and there was none to help.
14 They have rushed in upon me, as when a wall is broken, and a gate opened, and have rolled themselves down to my miseries.
15 I am brought to nothing: as a wind thou hast taken away my desire: and my prosperity hath passed away like a cloud.
16 And now my soul fadeth within myself, and the days of affliction possess me.
17 In the night my bone is pierced with sorrows: and they that feed upon me, do not sleep.
18 With the multitude of them, my garment is consumed, and they have girded me about as with the collar of my coat.
19 I am compared to dirt, and am likened to embers and ashes.
20 I cry to thee, and thou hearest me not: I stand up, and thou dost not regard me.
21 Thou art changed to be cruel toward me, and in the hardness of thy hand thou art against me.
22 Thou hast lifted me up, and set me as it were upon the wind, and thou hast mightily dashed me.
23 I know that thou wilt deliver me to death, where a house is appointed for every one that liveth.
24 But yet thou stretchest not forth thy hand to their consumption: and if they shall fall down thou wilt save.
25 I wept heretofore for him that was afflicted, and my soul had compassion on the poor.
26 I expected good things, and evils are come upon me: I waited for light, and darkness broke out.
27 My inner parts have boiled without any rest, the days of affliction have prevented me.
28 I went mourning without indignation; I rose up, and cried in the crowd.
29 I was the brother of dragons, and companion of ostriches.
30 My skin is become black upon me, and my bones are dried up with heat.
31 My harp is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of those that weep.