on Job 9 :26
As the swift ships - אניות אבה oniyoth ebeh. Ships of desire, or ships of Ebeh, says our margin; perhaps more correctly, inflated ships, the sails bellying out with a fair brisk wind, tide favorable, and the vessels themselves lightly freighted. The Vulgate has, Like ships freighted with apples. Ships laden with the best fruits - Targum. Ships well adapted for sailing - Arabic. Shipes that be good under sale - Coverdale. Probably this relates to the light fast-sailing ships on the Nile, which were made of reeds or papyrus. Perhaps the idea to be seized is not so much the swiftness of the passage, as their leaving no trace or track behind them. But instead of אבה ebeh, איבה eybah, hostile ships or the ships of enemies, is the reading of forty-seven of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., and of the Syriac version. If this be the true reading what is its sense? My days are gone off like the light vessels of the pirates, having stripped me of my property, and carried all irrecoverably away, under the strongest press of sail, that they may effect their escape, and secure their booty. The next words, As the eagle that hasteth to the prey, seem at least to countenance, if not confirm, the above reading: the idea of robbery and spoil, prompt attack and sudden retreat, is preserved in both images.
on Job 9 :26
They are passed away as the swift ships - Margin, Ships of desire; or ships of Ebeh. Hebrew אבה אניה 'onı̂yâh 'êbeh. Vulgate, Naves poma portantes. Septuagint, "Is there any track left by ships in their passage?" The Chaldee renders it as the Vulgate, "Ships bearing good fruit;" that is, as such fruit was perishable, haste was required in order to reach the place of destination. Our translators were evidently perplexed by the word אבה 'êbeh, as appears by their placing two different phrases in the margin. "Ships of desire," denotes the value or desirableness of such ships; and the phrase, "Ships of Ebeh," denotes their confession of ignorance as to the meaning of the word. Gesenius explains the word to mean reed, bulrush, or papyrus - from an Arabic use of the word, and supposes that the reference is to the light vessels made of the papyrus, which were used on the Nile; see the note at Isaiah 18:2. Such vessels would be distinguished for the ease with which they might be rowed, and the rapidity of their motion. Chardin supposes that the reference is to vessels that were made to go on the Euphrates or the Tigris, and that were borne along with the rapid current. The supposition of an allusion to any boat or vessel under full sail, will be in accordance with the language here, though the probability is, that the reference is to the light vessels, made of reeds, that might be propelled with so much fleetness. Sails were frequently used, also, for such vessels.
As the eagle that hasteth to the prey - A striking emblem of rapidity. Few things can be more rapid than the motion of the eagle, as he darts upon his victim.
on Job 9 :26
9:26 Eagle - Which flies swiftly, especially when in the sight of his prey. See here how swift the motion of time is! It is always upon the wing, hastening to its period. What little need have we of past - times! What great need to redeem time, which runs out, runs on so fast toward eternity! And how vain are the enjoyments of time, which we may be deprived of, even while time continues! Our day may be longer than our sunshine: and when that is gone, it is as if it had never been.