Job 6:4
(4) The poison whereof drinketh up my spirit.--Rather, the poison whereof my spirit imbibeth, the rendering of the Authorised Version being ambiguous.

Do set themselves in array against me.--Like hosts marshalling themselves for battle. "If the ox or the ass will not low or bray so long as he is satisfied, so neither should I complain if I had no valid cause. My groaning is the evidence of a great burden, and consequently the disdainful way in which you treat it is insipid and distasteful to me--my soul refuseth to touch your proffered remedies; they are as loathsome meat to me." According to some, the words rendered "the white of an egg" mean the juice of purslain.

Verse 4. - For the arrows of the Almighty are wlthin me (comp. Psalm 38:2, "For thine arrows stick fast in me"). So Shakespeare speaks of "the slings and arrows el outrageous fortune" for calamities generally. The metaphor is a very common one (see Deuteronomy 32:23, 42; Psalm 7:13; Psalm 21:12; Psalm 45:5; Lamentations 3:13, 14). The poison whereof. Poisoned arrows, such as are now employed by the savage tribes of Central Africa, were common in antiquity, though seldom used by civilized nations. Ovid declares that the Scythians of his time made use of them ('Tristia,' 1, 2). Drinketh up my spirit; rather, my spirit drinketh up. Job's spirit absorbs the poison that festers in his wounds, and therefore loses control over itself. This is his apology for his vehemence; he is well-nigh distraught. He adds, The terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. Besides actual pains and sufferings, he is assailed by fears. God's terrors, i.e. all the other evils that he has at his disposal, are drawn up against him, as it were, in battle array, and still further agitate and distract his soul. What further troubles may not God bring upon him?

6:1-7 Job still justifies himself in his complaints. In addition to outward troubles, the inward sense of God's wrath took away all his courage and resolution. The feeling sense of the wrath of God is harder to bear than any outward afflictions. What then did the Saviour endure in the garden and on the cross, when he bare our sins, and his soul was made a sacrifice to Divine justice for us! Whatever burden of affliction, in body or estate, God is pleased to lay upon us, we may well submit to it as long as he continues to us the use of our reason, and the peace of our conscience; but if either of these is disturbed, our case is very pitiable. Job reflects upon his friends for their censures. He complains he had nothing offered for his relief, but what was in itself tasteless, loathsome, and burdensome.For the arrows of the Almighty are within me,.... Which are a reason proving the weight and heaviness of his affliction, and also of his hot and passionate expressions he broke out into; which designs not so much outward calamities, as famine, pestilence, thunder and lightning, which are called the arrows of God, Deuteronomy 32:23; all which had attended Job, and were his case; being reduced to extreme poverty, had malignant and pestilential ulcers upon him, and his sheep destroyed by thunder and lightning; and which were like arrows, that came upon him suddenly, secretly, and at unawares, and very swiftly; these arrows flew thick and first about, him, and stuck in him, and were sharp and painful, and wounded and slew him; for he was now under slaying circumstances of Providence; but rather these mean, together with his afflictions, the inward distresses, grief, and anguish of his mind arising from them, being attended with a keen sense of the divine displeasure, which was the case of David, and is expressed in much the same language, Psalm 38:1; Job here considers his afflictions as coming from God, as arrows shot from his bow; and as coming from him, not as a father, in a way of paternal chastisement, and love, dealing with him as a child of his, but accounting him as an enemy, and setting him up as a mark or butt to shoot at, see Job 7:20; yea, not only as the arrows of a strong and mighty man, expert in archery, who shoots his arrows with great strength and skill, so that they miss not, and return not in vain, see Psalm 120:4; but as being the arrows of the Almighty, which come with force irresistible, with the stretching and lighting down of his arm, and with the indignation of his anger intolerable:

the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit; alluding to the custom of some people, that used to dip their arrows in poison, or besmear them with it; so the Persians, as Jarchi observes, and Heliodorus (c) reports of the Ethiopians, that they dipped their arrows in the poison of dragons, and which made them inflammatory, and raised such an heat, and such burning pains, as were intolerable; and now, as such poison presently infected the blood, and penetrated into and seized the animal spirits, and inflamed and soon exhausted them; so the heat of divine wrath, and a sense of it, which attended the arrows of God, his afflictions on Job, so affected him, as not only to take away his breath, that he could not speak, as in Job 6:3, or rather, as to cause those warm and hot expressions to break out from him, but even to eat up his vital spirits, and leave him spiritless and lifeless; which was Heman's case, and similar to Job's, Psalm 88:3,

the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me; the Lord is sometimes compared to a man of war in arms, stirring up his wrath and jealousy, Exodus 15:3; and in this light he was viewed by Job, and so he apprehended him, as coming forth against him, and which was terrible; and his terrors were like an army of soldiers set in battle array, in rank and file, ready to discharge, or discharging their artillery upon him; and which sometimes design the inward terrors of mind, of a guilty conscience, the terrors of God's judgment here, or of a future judgment hereafter, of death and hell, and eternal damnation, through the menaces and curses of the law of God transgressed and broken; but here afflictive providences, or terrible things in righteousness, which surrounded him, attacked him in great numbers, and in a hostile military way, with great order and regularity, and which were frightful to behold; perhaps regard may be also had to those scaring dreams and terrifying visions he sometimes had, see Job 7:14.

(c) Ethiopic. l. 9. c. 19.

Job 6:3
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