on Job 20 :18
That which he laboureth for shall he restore - I prefer here the reading of the Arabic, which is also supported by the Syriac, and is much nearer to the Hebrew text than the common version. He shall return to labor, but he shall not eat; he shall toil, and not be permitted to enjoy the fruit of his labor. The whole of this verse Mr. Good thus translates: -
"To labor shall he return, but he shall not eat.
A dearth his recompense: yea, nothing shall he taste."
It may be inquired how Mr. Good arrives at this meaning. It is by considering the word יעלס yaalos, which we translate he shall rejoice, as the Arabic (Arabic) alasa, "he ate, drank, tasted;" and the word כהיל kehil, which we make a compound word, keeheyl, "according to substance," to be the pure Arabic word (Arabic) kahala, "it was fruitless," applied to a year of dearth: hence kahlan, "a barren year." Conceiving these two to be pure Arabic words, for which he seems to have sufficient authority, he renders תמורתו temuratho, his recompense, as in Job 15:31, and not restitution, as here. The general meaning is, He shall labor and toil, but shall not reap, for God shall send on his land blasting and mildew. Houbigant translates the verse thus: Reddet labore partum; neque id absumet; copiosae fuerunt mercaturae ejus, sed illis non fruetur. "He shall restore what he gained by labor, nor shall he consume it; his merchandises were abundant, but he shall not enjoy them." O, how doctors disagree! Old Coverdale gives a good sense, which is no unfrequent thing with this venerable translator: -
But laboure shal he, and yet have nothinge to eate; great travayle shal he make for riches, but he shal not enjoye them.
on Job 20 :18
That which he laboured for shall he restore - This means that he shall give back the profit of his labor. He shall not be permitted to enjoy it or to consume it.
And shall not swallow it down - Shall not enjoy it; shall not eat it. He shall be obliged to give it to others.
According to his substance shall the restitution be - literally, according to Gesenius, "As a possession to be restored in which one rejoices not." The sense is, that all that he has is like property which a man has, which he feels not to be his own, but which belongs to another and which is soon to be given "up." In such property a man does not find that pleasure which he does in that which he feels to be his own. He cannot dispose of it, and he cannot look on it and feel that it is his. So Zophar says it is with the wicked man. He can look on his property only as that which he will soon be compelled to part with, and not having any security for retaining it, he cannot rejoice in it as if it were his own. Dr. Lee, however, renders this, "As his wealth is, so shall his restitution be; and he shall not rejoice." But the interpretation proposed above, seems to me to accord best with the sense of the Hebrew.
on Job 20 :18
20:18 Swallow - So as to hold it. He shall not possess it long, nor to any considerable purpose. Yea, he shall be forced to part with his estate to make compensations for his wrongs. So that he shall not enjoy what he had gotten, because it shall be taken from him.