on Job 6 :14
To him that is afflicted pity should be showed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty - The Vulgate gives a better sense, Qui tollit ab amico suo misericordiam, timorem Domini dereliquit, "He who takes away mercy from his friend, hath cast off the fear of the Lord." The word למס lammas, which we render to him who is Afflicted, from מסה masah, to dissolve, or waste away, is in thirty-two of Dr. Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. למאס lemoes, "to him that despiseth his friend;" and hence the passage may be read: To him who despiseth his friend, it is a reproach; and he will forsake the fear of the Almighty: or, as Mr. Good translates,
"Shame to the man who despiseth his friend!
He indeed hath departed from the fear of the Almighty."
Eliphaz had, in effect, despised Job; and on this ground had acted any thing but the part of a friend towards him; and he well deserved the severe stroke which he here receives. A heathen said, Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur; the full sense of which we have in our common adage: -
A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed.
Job's friends, so called, supported each other in their attempts to blacken the character of this worthy man; and their hand became the heavier, because they supposed the hand of God was upon him. To each of them, individually, might be applied the words of another heathen: -
- Absentem qui rodit amicum,
Qui non defendit alio culpante; solutos
Qui captat risus hominum, famamque dicacis,
Fingere qui non visa potest; commissa tacere
Qui nequit; hic niger est; hunc tu, Romane, caveto.
Hor. Satyr. lib. i., s. iv., ver. 81.
He who, malignant, tears an absent friend;
Or, when attack'd by others, don't defend;
on Job 6 :14
To him that is afflicted - Margin, "melteth." The word here used (מס mâs) is from מסס mâsas, to melt, flow down, waste away, and here means one who pines away, or is consumed under calamities. The design of this verse is, to reprove his friends for the little sympathy which they had shown for him. He had looked for consolation in his trials, and he had a right to expect it; but he says that he had met with just the opposite, and that his calamity was aggravated by the fact that they had dealt only in the language of severity.
Pity should be showed from his friend - Good renders this, "shame to the man who despiseth his friend." A great variety of interpretations have been proposed of the passage, but our translation has probably expressed the true sense. If there is any place where kindness should be shown, it is when a man is sinking under accumulated sorrows to the grave.
But he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty - This may be either understood as referring to the language which Job says they had used of him - charging him with forsaking the fear of God, instead of consoling him; or it may mean that they had forsaken the fear of God in reproaching him, and in failing to comfort him; or it may mean that if such kindness were not shown to a friend in trial, he would be left to cast off the fear of God. This last interpretation is adopted by Noyes. Good supposes that it is designed to be a severe reproach of Eliphaz, for the course which he had pursued. It seems to me that this is probably the correct interpretation, and that the particle ו (v) here is used in an adversative sense, meaning that while it was an obvious dictate of piety to show kindness to a friend, Eliphaz had forgotten this obligation, and had indulged himself in a strain of remark which could not have been prompted by true religion. This sentiment he proceeds to illustrate by one of the most beautiful comparisons to be found in any language.
on Job 6 :14
6:14 To him - Heb. to him that is melted or dissolved with affections. But. and c. - But thou hast no pity for thy friend; a plain evidence that thou art guilty of what thou didst charge me with, even of the want of the fear of God. The least which those that are at ease can do for them that are pained, is to pity them, to feel a tender concern for them, and to sympathize with them.