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thee ? Compare Job 7: 8, Thine eye is upon me, and I am not; t'iat is, I cannot endure it. In reference to the same idea, God is called the watcher of men, Job 7: 20, as the word 740 there should be rendered, instead of preserver.
There is no mode of expression which varies more, according to the accompanying conception or aspect in which it is viewed, than this kind of impassioned interrogatory. Under each such aspect, it admits of a widely different answer; and this, too, varies very much according to our view of the emphatic point of the question. Thus, there may be bere imagined a threefold latent response. It may be the strong negative-minime vero—which Rosenmüller and Mr. Barnes so unbesitatingly regard as the true answer intended to the famous question, verse 14; and it would be difficult to say why this positiveness would not be as much warranted in the one case as in the other. This same negative answer, too, would vary much, according as we regarded the emphasis of the interrogatory as concentered on the object, or the action, or the agent. Is it SUCH AN ONE that thou bringest, etc.? Again-Dost thou bring such an one into judgment with thee? Or, thirdly—Dost thou bring such an one into JUDGMENT with thee? Is he an object not merely of thy general physical providence, like other insignificant parts of the creation, but also of a moral contest, and dost thou judge the actions of this brief temporal being by laws and principles eternal in their nature and their sanctions? In one case, and according to one assumption, the supposed negative answer would be the strongest affirmation, that man was not wholly such an one as had been described, and which description was doubtless intended as true of him, considered in his mere physical relations. It would be equivalent to asserting that there really is something more than this physical aspect, to be taken into our entire estimate of huinanity; however ill defined may have been the conceptions of the interrogator respecting it. Again, on the assumption that man is wholly such an one, the same supposed answer would be a denial that God attaches importance to his moral conduct; or, in other words, that the good or evil that befel him had anything to do with any moral considerations. An assumed affirmative would give rise to a similar variety in the statement of its bearings. So also the question itself, as a whole, takes different aspects, from a consideration of the state of mind from whence it may be supposed to have emanated. It may be regarded, if we choose to take the lowest view, as the language of one who has no doubt of the mere animality of the human condition. It may be, on the other hand, the mode in which the clearest faith expresses its assurance that man has a higher being, and is related to a higher world
215 of truth than would seem from the contemplation of his mere phenomenal existence. It may, again,--and to this middle view the whole aspect of the passage forces us,-be rather a musing soliloquy, than any strong expression of belief or disbelief. It may be the language of one seeking to invigorate a desponding faith; or of surprise at some great conception which passes through the mind, seeming for the moment too great to be entertained, and yet too intensely solemn and interesting to be rejected. Can it be, that man has no higher destiny than this! Why, then, should God bring him into judgment?
V. 4. The same train of thought may be regarded as pursued in the succeeding verse—79 109 - Who can bring purity out of impurity? How can holiness, or moral excellence, be derived from so low a state, from such a mere physical existence ? How can any moral relations be at all connected with such a being?
We need not suppose that there passed through the mind of Job just such a development of this thought, as would now result from viewing man in the clearer light which Christianity and an improved philosophy have shed upon his moral existence. Still, may we believe, that in this musing of the spirit, the ground of the developed thought was there, and that in that germ was contained, potentially, all that will be ever brought out in its highest and most perfect manifestation. In reading and interpreting Holy Writ, we are not shut up to the precise measure of the conception, as it may have darkly existed in the mind of the ancient writer or speaker through whom any parts have been transmitted to us. To put ourselves just in their position according to what some have styled the great law of Biblical bermeneutics-would be to forget that inspired revelation was actually, in some high sense, the product of the Eternal Spirit, and that, therefore, its fulness of meaning cannot be wholly bounded by the inadequate conceptions of those who were used as the medium of its utterance. Some check, of course, must be interposed to extravagant and false interpretation; and this is found in the safe principle, that the law above mentioned must be carefully applied to limit and define the external and internal circumstances attending the origin of the thought, and the true conditions under which it was first given forth. These must certainly be regarded as indicative and regulative of its true nature, if not of its extent, and as presenting the true germ of subsequent development. By the nature of the thought we mean-whether it is moral or physical, whether it has respect alone to animal and earthly, or to moral and spiritual relations, even though it be but the merest glimmering view of them, in their most germinal aspects. But when this bas been carefuly determined, then we are to make a distinction
and a most important distinction it is-between the thought or idea, which may be expanded ad infinitum, and the inadequate conception, by which it may have been at first represented, or by which it may afterwards have been measured, according to the varying knowledge, or capacities, or circumstances of human readers. The former, in the largest extent to which it can be carried by finite faculties, and even far beyond them, may be regarded as the mind of the Spirit. This may be taken as the true word, in a sense as real and as much intended by the author of the inspired volume, as the more limited view of its meaning which may have attended its first utterance recorded in the Bible. We may even say, in a sense still more real and true, rising higher and higher, (after having been thus grounded in a true hermeneutical foundation, as the security against cabalistical, mystical, or visionary interpretations,) according to the reader's spiritual-mindedness, or his com munion with that Spirit of Truth through whom all ypaq JEÓNVEVOTOS was given to mankind. In other words, we are bound to get at the sacred writer's true thought, as distinguished from every other, and as built upon the true historical or hermeneutical sense of the passage ; but then we are not to be limited by his measurement of the thought, or to take his objective conception as the full interpretation of his own idea,--so as to regard this conception and nothing more as being alone the word, or as all that God intended to say to the church through him. The Thought has a true existence per se, for all mind, and independent of the particular mind through which it is originally given. Whatever soul possesses it, even with the feeblest conception, may, in one sense, and a most real sense, be said to have it all; and yet it may be far more fully developed in one mind than in another,-far more fully developed, it may be sometimes, in the mind of the scholar than in that of the teacher, in the mind of the reader than in that of the author, in the mind of the humblest gospel-enlightened student of the Bible, than as it presented itself to some of those holy men through whom God imparted his primitive embryo revelations in the earliest periods of our race.
Such a germ we conceive to be presented here. The thought would seem to have respect to our moral relations, and to be capable of immense expansion. It affirms that we are not beings of a day, by seeming to ask- What would such have to do with the ETERNAL principles of moral obligation? How can moral purity be deduced from a merely animal or physical existence? These ideas may have just gleamed upon the mind of Job, under circumstances so adapted to the springing forth of their germ, and then have passed away again as rapidly into the gloom of his despondency. Yet still it may be
Comment on Verses Fifth and Sixth.
maintained, that they are not only consistent with the context, but suit it the best of any answer that may be implied to his impassioned imagination. Compare the similar language, Job 7: 17—19, What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him (that is, make his action of great moral account), or that thou shouldest set thy thought intently upon him; that thou shouldest visit him every morning and try him every moment ! So also the closing verses of the chapter just preceding-Wouldst thou frighten the driven leaf? Wouldst thou chase the withered stubble ; that thou shouldest write bitter things against me, and make me inherit the sins of my youth? If he is such an one, why shouldst thou make him an object of thy constant providence, and bind him by the laws of thine eternal justice ?
There is here an expressive force in the sudden change of the person, so common in the Hebrew-And bring ME into judgment with thee. By this the speaker, without any new declaration, fixes attention upon himself, as the being whose frail physical life seems connected with such wondrous moral and providential relations. It is also important, in a hermeneutical point of view, as striking evidence of the soliloquizing nature of the whole chapter.
V. 5. Durma decided, decreed ; literally, cut short. It contains the same etymological metaphor with the Latin decido and Greek ouvréuro. There is a continuance of the same train of thought in the style of expostulation, strongly implying that this is not all of human destiny. If his days are determined ; if the number of his months are with thee ; if thou hast made a decree which he cannot pass ; if this indeed be so, and this is the whole of man, then
V. 6. mbi - Look away from him. It is to be contrasted with the expression above-In such an one dost thou open thine eyes ! Compare Job 7: 19, How long will it be that thou look not away from me? Also Isa. 22: 4 and Ps. 39: 14 (in Hiphil), with the same sense and in a similar connection-Avert thine eye from me, that I may enjoy myself before I go hence and be no more.
And let him cease let him rest. The same word is used below (v. 8) of the tree. This, and the meaning required Ps. 49: 9, seems to show that something more expressive is intended here, and would justify the paraphrastic rendering that has been given--ut desinat esse ac vivere. Take from him thine eye of judgment, and let him die (or, that he may die), that he may (at length) enjoy like a hireling his day. See also the use of the verbal adjective bon, Ps. 39: 5 Let me know the measure of my days, bonne. From the same idea comes the noun 37n, as used in the lamentation of Hezekiah, Isa. 38: 11-I shall no more look upon men when I am with the inhabi
VOL. VI. No. 22.
tants of Hedel--namely, the place of rest or cessation from all that occupies men in the land of the living. So also in Greek, anonym and dródn£is are used for death or the decline of life.
V. 7. For there is hope of a tree, that if it be cut down, it will again spring upon. Few words in Hebrew are more difficult to translate than this, so as to give its true spirit in many places, by any one English term. It is rendered to change, to pass through, to pass away, to perish, to disappear,-periit, praeteriit, abiit, transiit, evanuit, also reviruit. Its Hiphil and Kal senses are very much alike. In its most primary and general sense it may be defined as meaning to pass from one state to another; hence ever including the idea of phenomenal change, whether from life to death or from death to life. Thus, it may mean to perish, or pass off from the organized to the unorganized ; also the contrary, from the unorganized to the organic state-o revive, or be renewed. Along with the idea of change, there is also generally implied that of suddenness. Thus, as it is used in Kal Job 4: 15, where it is rendered, “A spirit passed before my face,” there is evidently intended something more than that mere motion, which might have been expressed by . There seems to be denoted one of those fitting and unaccountable transitions which are 89 common in dreams, and which we find it so difficult to define in language, or even to explain to our own thoughts
“A change came o'er the spirit of my dream." In its Hiphil sense of renewal or substitution, it admirably expresses the transition intended in this place, and described more fully in the two subsequent verses. For a parallel use of the word, see Ps. 90: 6.
V. 9. Dinne. Rendered-From the scent of water. More properly–From the breath ; or, more correctly still, from the inhalation of water ; referring to the absorption of moisture through the fibres of the roots, which, in respect to the plant or tree, may be regarded as somewhat analogous to lungs in the human body. To preserve this analogy, water is treated as the breath of vegetable life; and thus it is said to revive, to breathe again-avayúzev to live a new life, whilst,
Vs. 10. Man dies, and loses the vital energy; man exhales ( éxyúxei), or gives up, bis breath, and where is he! 99 is a word which seems evidently derived from the action it represents expiravit, effiavit ; like the Greek καπ, or καφ, in κάπτω, κάφω, whence the Homeric phrase xexapróra Júuov-gasping forth one's soul ; see Iliad 5. 698. Odyssey 5. 468; hence the noun xánvs, Eolic xános, breath; also xúnvos, and the Latin vapor. On the same resemblance are built our English words gape and gasp.
This word is rendered, actively, to subdue, bring low;