on Job 5 :23
Thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field - Instead of אבני abney, stones, Mr. Good reads בני beney, sons, or produce; but this reading is not supported by any ancient version, nor, as far as I know, by any MS. yet collated. We must, therefore, take up the text as we find it, and make the best we can of the present reading. The Chaldee gives a plausible sense: Thou needest not to fear, "because thy covenant is on tables of stone, which are publicly erected in the field; and the Canaanites, which are compared to the beasts of the field, have made peace with thee." Perhaps the reference is to those rocks or strong holds, where banditti secured themselves and their prey, or where the emirs or neighboring chiefs had their ordinary residence. Eliphaz may be understood as saying: Instead, then, of taking advantage of thee, as the Sabeans have done, the circumjacent chieftains will be confederate with thee; and the very beasts of the field will not be permitted to harm thy flocks.
Coverdale seems to have had an idea of this kind, as we find he translates the verse thus: -
But the castels in the londe shall be confederate with the,
And the beastes of the felde shall give the peace.
I believe the above to be the meaning of the place. See the next verse, Job 5:24 (note).
Job 5:23."And I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field. And with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground."
on Job 5 :23
For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field - In the Hebrew, "There shall be a covenant between thee and the stones of the field." The sense is, they shall not harm thee. They are here spoken of as enemies that were made to be at peace, and that would not annoy or injure. It is to be remembered that this was spoken in Arabia, where rocks and stones abounded, and where traveling, from that cause, was difficult and dangerous. The sense here is, as I understand it, that he would be permitted to make his way in ease and safety. Tindal renders it:
But the castels in the land shall be confederate with thee;
The beastes of the fealde shall give thee peace.
Some have supposed that the meaning is, that the land would be free from stones that rendered it barren, and would be rendered fertile if the favor of God was sought. Shaw, in his Travels, supposes that it refers to the custom of walking over stones, in which the feet are liable to be injured every moment, and that the meaning is, that that danger would be averted by the divine interposition. By others it has been conjectured that the allusion is to a custom which is known as skopelism, of which Egmont and Heyman (Reisen, II. Th. S. 156), give the following account: "that in Arabia, if anyone is living at variance with another he places on his land stones as a warning that no one should dare to plow it, as by doing it he would expose himself to the danger of being punished by him who had placed the stones there." This custom is also referred to by Ulpian (L. ix. de officio Proconsulis), and in the Greek Pandects, Lib. lx. Titus 22.Leg. 9. It may be doubted, however, whether this custom was as early as the time of Job, or was so common then as to make it probable that the allusion is to it. Rosenmuller supposes the meaning to be, "Thy field shall be free from stones, which would render it unfruitful." Alte u. neue Morgenland, in loc. Other explanations may be seen in Rosenmuller (Commentary), but it seems to me that the view presented above, that traveling would be rendered safe and pleasant, is the true one. Such a promise would be among the rich blessings in a country like Arabia.
on Job 5 :23
5:23 League - Thou shalt be free from annoyance thereby, as if they had made an inviolable league with thee. This is a bold metaphor, but such as are frequent both in scripture and other authors. This is an addition to the former privilege; they shall not hurt thee, ver.22, nay, they shall befriend thee, as being at peace with thee. Our covenant with God is a covenant with all the creatures, that they shall do us no hurt, but serve and be ready to do us good.