on Job 3 :5
Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it - יגאלהו yigaluhu, "pollute or avenge it," from גאל gaal, to vindicate, avenge, etc.; hence גאל goel, the nearest of kin, whose right it was to redeem an inheritance, and avenge the death of his relative by slaying the murderer. Let this day be pursued, overtaken, and destroyed. Let natural darkness, the total privation of the solar light, rendered still more intense by death's shadow projected over it, seize on and destroy this day, εκλαβοι αυτην, Septuagint; alluding, perhaps, says Mr. Parkhurst, to the avenger of blood seizing the offender.
Let a cloud dwell upon it - Let the dymme cloude fall upon it - Coverdale. Let the thickest clouds have there their dwelling-place - let that be the period of time on which they shall constantly rest, and never be dispersed. This seems to be the import of the original, תשכן עליו אננה tishcan alaiv ananah. Let it be the place in which clouds shall be continually gathered together, so as to be the storehouse of the densest vapors, still in the act of being increasingly condensed.
Let the blackness of the day terrify it - And let it be lapped in with sorrowe. - Coverdale. This is very expressive: lap signifies to fold up, or envelope any particular thing with fold upon fold, so as to cover it everywhere and secure it in all points. Leaving out the semicolon, we had better translate the whole clause thus: "Let the thickest cloud have its dwelling-place upon it, and let the bitterness of a day fill it with terror." A day similar to that, says the Targum, in which Jeremiah was distressed for the destruction of the house of the sanctuary; or like that in which Jonah was cast into the sea of Tarsis; such a day as that on which some great or national misfortune has happened: probably in allusion to that in which the darkness that might be felt enveloped the whole land of Egypt, and the night in which the destroying angel slew all the first-born in the land.
on Job 3 :5
Let darkness and the shadow of death - The Hebrew word צלמות tsalmâveth is exceedingly musical and poetical. It is derived from צל tsêl, "a shadow," and מות mâveth, "death;" and is used to denote the deepest darkness; see the notes at Isaiah 9:2. It occurs frequently in the sacred Scriptures; compare Job 10:21-22; Psalm 23:4; Job 12:22; Job 16:16; Job 24:17; Job 34:22; Job 38:17; Amos 5:8; Jeremiah 2:6. It is used to denote the abode of departed spirits, described by Job as "a land of darkness, as darkness itself; of the shadow of death without any order, and where the light is as darkness;" Job 10:21-22. The idea seems to have been, that "death" was a dark and gloomy object that obstructed all light, and threw a baleful shade afar, and that that melancholy shade was thrown afar over the regions of the dead. The sense here is, that Job wished the deepest conceivable darkness to rest upon it.
Stain it - Margin, or "challenge." Vulgate, "obscure it." Septuagint, "take or occupy it," Ἐκλάβοι Eklaboi, Dr. Good, "crush it." Noyes, "redeem it." Herder, "seize it." This variety of interpretation has arisen in part from the twofold signification of the word used here, גאל gā'al. The word means either to "redeem," or to "defile," "pollute," "stain." These senses are not very closely connected, and I know not how the one has grown out of the other, unless it be that redemption was accomplishcd with blood, and that the frequent sprinkling of blood on an altar rendered it defiled, or unclean. In one sense, blood thus sprinkled would purify, when it took away sin; in another, it would render an object unclean or polluted. Gesenius says, that the latter signification occurs only in the later Hebrew. If the word here means to "redeem," the sense is, that Job wished darknessto resume its dominion over the day, and rcdeem it to itself, and thus wholly to exclude the light.
If the word means to defile or pollute, the sense is, that he desired the death-shade to stain the day wholly black; to take out every ray of light, and to render it wholly obscure. Gesenius renders it in the former sense. The sense which Reiske and Dr. Good give to the word, "crush it," is not found in the Hebrew. The word means to defile, stain, or pollute, in the following places, namely,: it is rendered "pollute" and "polluted" in Malachi 1:7, Malachi 1:12; Zephaniah 3:1; Lamentations 4:14; Ezra 2:62; Nehemiah 7:64; "defile" or "defiled" in Isaiah 59:3; Daniel 1:8; Nehemiah 13:29; and "stain" in Isaiah 63:3. It seems to me that this is the sense here, and that the meaning has been well explained by Schultens, that Job wished that his birthday should be involved in a deep "stain," that it should be covered with clouds and storms, and made dark and dismal. This imprecation referred not only to the day on which he was born, but to each succeeding birthday. Instead of its being on its return a bright and cheerful day, he wished that it might be annually a day of tempests and of terrors; a day so marked that it wouId excite attention as especially gloomy and inauspicious. It was a day whose return conveyed no pleasure to his soul, and which he wished no one to observe with gratitude or joy.
Let a cloud dwell upon it - There is, as Dr. Good and others have remarked, much sublimity iu this expression. The Hebrew word rendered "a cloud" עננה ‛ănânâh occurs nowhere else in this form. It is the feminine form of the word ענן ‛ânân, "a cloud," and is used "collectively" to denote "clouds;" that is, clouds piled on clouds; clouds "condensed, impacted, heaped together" (Dr. Good), and hence, the gathered tempest, the clouds assembled deep and dark, and ready to burst forth in the fury of a storm. Theodotion renders it συννεφέα sunnefea, "assembled clouds;" and hence, "darkness," The Septuagint renders it γνόφος gnophos, "tempest," or "thick darkness." So Jerome, "caligo." The word rendered "dwell upon it" שׁכן shâkan, means properly to "settle down," and there to abide or dwell. Perhaps the original notion was that of fixing a tent, and so Schultens renders it, "tentorium figat super eo Nubes," "Let the cloud pitch its tent over it;" rendered by Dr. Good, "The gathered tempest pavilion over it!" "This is an image," says Schultens, "common among the Arabs." The sense is, that Job wished clouds piled on clouds to settle down on the day permanently, to make that day their abode, and to involve it in deep and eternal night.
Let the blackness of the day terrify it - Margin, "Or, Let them terrify it as those who have a bitter day." There has been great variety in the interpretation of this passage. Dr. Good renders it, "The blasts of noontide terrify it." Noyes, "Let whatever darkens the day terrify it." Herder, "The blackness of misfortune terrify it." Jerome, Et involvatur amaritudine, "let it be involved in bitterness." The Septuagint, καταραθείη ἡ ἡμέρα katarathein hē hēmera, "let the day be cursed." This variety has arisen from the difficulty of determining the sense of the Hebrew word used here and rendered "blackness," כמרירים kı̂mrı̂yrı̂ym. If it is supposed to be derived from the word כמר kâmar, to be warm, to be hot, to burn, then it would mean the deadly heats of the day, the dry and sultry blasts which prevail so much in sandy deserts. Some writers suppose that there is a reference here to the poisonous wind Samum or Samiel, which sweeps over those deserts, and which is so much dreaded in the beat of summer. "Men as well as animals are often suffocated with this wind. For during a great heat, a current of air often comes which is still hotter; and when human beings and animals are so exhausted that they almost faint away with the heat, it seems that this little addition quite deprives them of breath. When a man is suffocated with this wind, or when, as they say, his heart is burst blood is said to flow from his nose and ears two hours after his death. The body is said to remain long warm, to swell, to turn blue and green, and if the arm or leg is taken hold of to raise it up, the limb is said to come off."
Burder's Oriental customs, No. 176. From the testimony of recent travelers, however, it would seem that the injurious effects of this wind have been greatly exaggerated. If this interpretation be the true one, then Job wished the day of his birth to be frightful and alarming, as when such a poisonous blast should sweep along all day, and render it a day of terror and dread. But this interpretation does not well suit the parallelism. Others, therefore, understand by the word, "obscurations," or whatever darkens the day. Such is the interpretation of Gesenius, Bochart, Noyes, and some others. According to this, the reference is to eclipses or fearful storms which cover the day in darkness. The noun here is not found elsewhere; but the "verb" כמר kâmar is used in the sense of being black and dark in Lain. v. 10: "Our skin was black like an oven, because of the terrible famine;" or perhaps more literally, "Our skin is scorched as with a furnace, from the burning heat of famine."
That which is burned becomes black, and hence, the word may mean that which is dark, obscure, and gloomy. This meaning suits the parallelism, and is a sense which the Hebrew will bear. Another interpretation regards the Hebrew letter כ (k) used as a prefix before the word כמרירים kı̂mrı̂yrı̂ym "bitterness," and then the sense is, "according to the bitterness of the day;" that is, the greatest calamities which can happen to a day. This sense is found in several of the ancient versions, and is adopted by Rosenmuller. To me it seems that the second interpretation proposed best suits the connection, and that the meaning is, that Job wished that everything which could render the day gloomy and obscure might rest upon it. The Chaldee adds here," Let it be as the bitterness of day - the grief with which Jeremiah was afflicted in being cut off from the house of the sanctuary, and Jonah in being cast into the sea of Tarshish."
on Job 3 :5
3:5 Death - A black and dark shadow like that of the place of the dead, which is a land of darkness. Slain - Take away its beauty and glory. Terrify - That is, men in it. Let it be always observed as a frightful and dismal day.