on Job 29 :4
The days of my youth - The original word rather means in the days of my winter, חרפי charpi, from חרף charaph, "to strip or make bare." Mr. Harmer supposes the rainy season is intended, when the fields, etc., parched up by long drought, are revived by the plentiful showers. Mr. Good thinks the word as found in the Arabic, which means top or summit, and which he translates perfection, is that which should be preferred. Others think the autumnal state is meant, when he was loaded with prosperity, as the trees are with ripe fruit.
The secret of God was upon my tabernacle - בסוד אלוה besod Eloah, "the secret assembly of God," meaning probably the same thing that is spoken of in the beginning of this book, the sons of God, the devout people, presenting themselves before God. It is not unlikely that such a secret assembly of God Job had in his own house; where he tells us, in the next verse, "The Almighty was with him, and his children were about him." Mr. Good translates differently: When God fortified my tent over me; supposing that the Hebrew סוד sod is the Arabic sud, "a barrier or fortification." Either will make a good sense.
on Job 29 :4
As I was in the days of my youth - The word here rendered "youth" (חרף chôreph), properly means "autumn - from" (חרף châraph), to "pluck, pull," as being the time when fruits ace gathered. Then it means that which is mature; and the meaning here is probably "mature" or "manly" - "As I was in the days of my ripeness;" that is, of my vigor or strength. The whole passage shows that it does not mean "youth," for he goes on to describe the honor and respect shown to him when in mature life. So the Septuagint - Ὅτε ἤμην ἐπιβρίθων ὁδοὺς Hote ēmēn epibrithōn hodous - "When I made heavy or laded my ways," an expression referring to autumn as being laden with fruit. So we speak of the spring, the autumn, and the winter of life, and by the autumn denote the maturity of vigor, experience, and wisdom. So the Greeks used the word ὸπώρα opōra, Pindar, Isthm. 2, 7, 8; Nem. 5, 10, Aeschyl. Suppl. 1005, 1022. So Ovid:
Excessit Autumnus posito fervore javentae
Maturus, mitisque inter juvenemque senemqae;
Temperie medius, sparsis per tempora canis.
Inde senilis hiems tremulo venit horrida passu.
Aut spoliata suos, aut. quos habet, alba capillos.
Metam. 15. 200.
The wish of Job was, that he might be restored to the vigor of mature life, and to the influence and honors which he had then, or rather, perhaps, it was that they might have a view of what he was then, that they might see from what a height he had fallen, and what cause he had of complaint and grief.
When the secret of God was upon my tabernacle - The meaning of this language is not clear, and considerable variety has obtained in the interpretation. The Septuagint renders it, "When God watched over - ἐπισκοπὴν ἐποιεῖτο episkopēn epoieito - my house." Vulgate, "When God was secretly in my tabernacle." Noyes, "When God was the friend of my tent." Coverdale renders the whole, "As I stood when I was wealthy and had enough; when God prospered my house." Umbreit, Als noch traulich Gott in meinem Zette weilte - "When God remained cordially in my tent." Herder, "When God took counsel with me in my tent." The word rendered "secret" (סוד sôd), means a "couch" or "cushion" on which one reclines, and then a divan, or circle of friends sitting together in consultation; see the word explained in the notes at Job 15:8. The idea here probably is, that God came into his tent or dwelling as a friend, and that Job was, as it were, admitted to the secrecy of his friendship and to an acquaintance with his plans.
on Job 29 :4