on Job 31 :31
If the men of my tabernacle said - I believe the Targum gives the best sense here: - "If the men of my tabernacle have not said, Who hath commanded that we should not be satisfied with his flesh?" My domestics have had all kindness shown them; they have lived like my own children, and have been served with the same viands as my family. They have never seen flesh come to my table, when they have been obliged to live on pulse. Mr. Good's translation is nearly to the same sense: -
"If the men of my tabernacle do not exclaim,
Who hath longed for his meat without fullness?"
"Where is the man that has not been satisfied with his flesh?" i.e., fed to the full with the provisions from his table. See Proverbs 23:20; Isaiah 23:13, and Daniel 10:3.
on Job 31 :31
If the men of my tabernacle - The men of my tent; or those who dwell with me. The reference is doubtless to those who were in his employ, and who, being constantly with him, had an opportunity to observe his manner of life. On this verse there has been a great variety of exposition, and interpreters are by no means agreed as to its meaning. Herder connects it with the previous verse, and renders it,
"No! my tongue uttered no evil word,
Nor any imprecation against him,
When the men of my tent said,
'O that we had his flesh, it would satisfy us.'"
That is, though he were the bitterest enemy of my house, and all were in open violence. Noyes translates it,
"Have not the men of my tent exclaimed,
'Who is there that hath not been satisfied with his meat?'"
Umbreit supposes that it is designed to celebrate the benevolence of Job, and that the meaning is, that all his companions - the inmates of his house - could bear him witness that not one of the poor was allowed to depart without being satisfied with his hospitality. They were abundantly fed, and their needs supplied. The verse is undoubtedly to be regarded as connected, as Ikenius supposes, with the following, and is designed to illustrate the hospitality of Job. His object is to show that those who dwelt with him, and who had every opportunity of knowing all about him, could never say that the stranger was not hospitably entertained. The phrase, "If the men of my tabernacle said not," means, that a case never occurred in which they could not make use of the language which follows, they never could say that the stranger was not hospitably entertained.
Oh that we had - The phrase נתן מי mı̂y nâthan, commonly means, "O that" - as the Latin Utinam - implying a wish or desire. See Job 19:23; Job 31:35. But here the phrase seems to be used in the sense of "Who will give, or who will show or furnish" (compare Job 14:4); and the sense is, "Who will refer to one instance in which the stranger has not been hospitably entertained?"
Of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied - Or, rather, "Who will refer to an instance in which it can be said that we have not been satisfied from his flesh, that is, from his table, or by his hospitality?" The word flesh here cannot mean, as our translation would seem to imply, the flesh of Job himself, as if it were to be torn and lacerated with a spirit of revenge, but that which his table furnished by a generous hospitality. The Septuagint renders this, "If my maid-servants have often said, O that we had some of his flesh to eat! while I was living luxuriously." For a great variety of opinions on the passage, see Schultens in loc. The above interpretation of Ikenius is the most simple, natural, and obvious of any which have been proposed, and is adopted by Schultens and Rosenmuller.
on Job 31 :31