on Job 16 :4
I also could speak - It is probably better to render some of these permissives or potential verbs literally in the future tense, as in the Hebrew: I also Will speak. Mr. Good has adopted this mode.
If your soul were in my soul's stead - If you were in my place, I also could quote many wise sayings that might tend to show that you were hypocrites and wicked men; but would this be fair? Even when I might not choose to go farther in assertion, I might shake my head by way of insinuation that there was much more behind, of which I did not choose to speak; but would this be right? That such sayings are in memory, is no proof that they were either made for me, or apply to my case.
on Job 16 :4
I also could speak as ye do - In the same reproachful manner, and stringing together old proverbs and maxims as you have.
If your soul were in my soul's stead - If you were in my place. The idea is, that there is no difficulty in finding arguments to overwhelm the afflicted - a truth which most persons who have been unfortunate, have had opportunity to experience.
I could heap up words against you - Or, rather, "I could string together words against you." The idea is not that of heaping up, or accumulating; it is that of tying together, or uniting; and refers here to stringing together old maxims, saws, and proverbs, in the form of a set argument or discourse. The idea of Job is, that their discourses were nothing but ancient proverbs, thrown together, or strung along without regard to order, pertinency, or force. The Hebrew word used here (חבר châbar) means to bind, to bind together, to associate, to be confederate. It may be applied to friends - united in friendship; to nations - united in an alliance, etc. Gesenius supposes that it means here that he "would make a league with words against them;" but the above seems to be the more probable interpretation. The Septuagint renders it, "then I could insult you - ἐναλοῦμαι enaloumai - with words." Jerome (Vulgate) "I would console you with words, and move my head over you." The Chaldee is as the Hebrew - חבר châbar. Dr. Good renders it, "against you will I string together old sayings."
And shake mine head at you - An action common to all countries and ages, expressive of contempt, or of threatening; compare Jeremiah 18:16; Lamentations 2:15; Zephaniah 2:15; Matthew 27:39. So Lucretius ii.:1163:
Jamque caput quassans grandis suspirat ararat
Crebrius incassum magnum cecidisse laborem.
In like manner Virgil, Aeneid xii. 292:
Tum quassanos caput, haec effudit pectore dicta.
So, also, Homer, Odyssey ε e:
Κινήσας δὲ κάρη πρότι ὅν μυθήσατο Θυμόν.
Kinēsas de karē proti hon muthēsato thumon.
The meaning of Job here is, that be could as easily have expressed contempt, reproach, and scorn, as they did. It required no uncommon talent to do it, and he felt that he would have been fully sufficient for the task.
on Job 16 :4