on Job 5 :21
Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue - The Targum refers this to the incantations of Balaam: "From injury by the tongue of Balaam thou shalt be hidden in the clouds; and thou shalt not fear from the blasting of the Midianites, when it shall come." Perhaps no evil is more dreadful than the scourge of the tongue: evil-speaking, detraction, backbiting, calumny, slander, tale-bearing, whispering, and scandalizing, are some of the terms which we use when endeavoring to express the baleful influence and effects of that member, which is a world of fire, kindled from the nethermost hell. The Scripture abounds with invectives and execrations against it. See Psalm 31:20; Psalm 52:2-4; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 14:3; James 3:1-8.
Neither shalt thou be afraid - "Thou shouldst have such strong confidence in God, that even in the presence of destruction thou shouldst not fear death," the God of life and power being with thee.
on Job 5 :21
Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue - Margin, Or, "when the tongue scourgeth." The word rendered "scourge" - שׁוט shôṭ - means properly a whip. It is used of God when he scourges people by calamities and punishments; Isaiah 10:26; Job 9:23. See the use of the verb שׁוּט shûṭ in Job 2:7. Here it is used to denote a slanderous tongue, as being that which inflicts a severe wound upon the reputation and peace of an individual. The idea is, that God would guard the reputation of those who commit themselves to him, and that they shall be secure from slander, "whose breath," Shakespeare says, "outvenoms all the worms of Nile."
Neither shalt thou be afraid when destruction cometh - That is, your mind shall be calm in those calamities which threaten destruction. When war rages, when the tempest howls, when the pestilence breathes upon a community, then your mind shall be at peace. A similar thought occurs in Isaiah 26:3 : "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee;" and the same sentiment is beautifully illustrated at length in Psalm 91. The Chaldee Paraphrase applies all this to events which had occurred in the history of the Hebrews. Thus, Job 5:20 : "In the famine in Egypt, he redeemed thee from death; and in the war with Amalek, from being slain by the sword;" Job 5:21 : "In the injury inflicted by the tongue of Balaam thou wert hid among the clouds, and thou didst not fear from the desolation of the Midianites when it came;" Job 5:22 : "In the desolation of Sihon, and in the famine of the desert, thou didst laugh; and of the camps of Og, who was like a wild beast of the earth, thou wert not afraid."
on Job 5 :21