Job 4:14
Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.
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Job 4:14. Fear came upon me, and trembling — The Hebrew is very poetical, namely, Fear called me, or called to me. Job expresses himself in similar language, Job 17:14. I have said, קראתי, karati, literally, I have called to corruption. Thus also Jeremiah 30:5, We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear. As in a poem every thing is, or ought to be, alive, so fear is here represented as a person, who comes up to Eliphaz, and speaks to, and arrests him, as an officer of justice. Which made all my bones to shake — Which affected me to such a degree that my mind and body lost all power, and my very bones shook and trembled. It should seem, before he either heard or saw any thing, he was seized with this terror.

4:12-21 Eliphaz relates a vision. When we are communing with our own hearts, and are still, Ps 4:4, then is a time for the Holy Spirit to commune with us. This vision put him into very great fear. Ever since man sinned, it has been terrible to him to receive communications from Heaven, conscious that he can expect no good tidings thence. Sinful man! shall he pretend to be more just, more pure, than God, who being his Maker, is his Lord and Owner? How dreadful, then, the pride and presumption of man! How great the patience of God! Look upon man in his life. The very foundation of that cottage of clay in which man dwells, is in the dust, and it will sink with its own weight. We stand but upon the dust. Some have a higher heap of dust to stand upon than others but still it is the earth that stays us up, and will shortly swallow us up. Man is soon crushed; or if some lingering distemper, which consumes like a moth, be sent to destroy him, he cannot resist it. Shall such a creature pretend to blame the appointments of God? Look upon man in his death. Life is short, and in a little time men are cut off. Beauty, strength, learning, not only cannot secure them from death, but these things die with them; nor shall their pomp, their wealth, or power, continue after them. Shall a weak, sinful, dying creature, pretend to be more just than God, and more pure than his Maker? No: instead of quarrelling with his afflictions, let him wonder that he is out of hell. Can a man be cleansed without his Maker? Will God justify sinful mortals, and clear them from guilt? or will he do so without their having an interest in the righteousness and gracious help of their promised Redeemer, when angels, once ministering spirits before his throne, receive the just recompence of their sins? Notwithstanding the seeming impunity of men for a short time, though living without God in the world, their doom is as certain as that of the fallen angels, and is continually overtaking them. Yet careless sinners note it so little, that they expect not the change, nor are wise to consider their latter end.Fear came upon me - Margin, "Met me." The Chaldee Paraphrase renders this, "a tempest," זיקא. The Septuagint, φρίκη frikē - "shuddering," or "horror." The sense is, that he became greatly alarmed at the vision.

Which made all my bones to shake - Margin, as in Hebrew, the multitude of my bones. A similar image is employed by Virgil,

Obstupuere auimis, gelidusque per ima cucurrit

Ossa tremor;

Aeneid ii.120.

"A cold tremor ran through all their bones."

13. In thoughts from the visions of the night—[So Winer]. While revolving night visions previously made to him (Da 2:29). Rather, "In my manifold (Hebrew, divided) thoughts, before the visions of the night commenced"; therefore not a delusive dream (Ps 4:4) [Umbreit].

deep sleep—(Ge 2:21; 15:12).

Fear came upon me; either caused by the apparition following; or sent by God to humble him, and to prepare him for the more diligent attention to, reverent reception of; and ready compliance with, the Divine message.

Fear came upon me, and trembling,.... Not only a dread of mind, but trembling of body; which was often the case even with good men, whenever there was any unusual appearance of God unto them by a voice, or by any representation, or by an angel; as with Abraham in the vision of the pieces, and with Moses on Mount Sinai, and with Daniel in some of his visions, and with Zechariah, when an angel appeared and brought him the tidings of a son to be born to him; which arises from the frailty and weakness of human nature, a consciousness of guilt, a sense of the awful majesty of God, and an uneasy apprehension of what may be the consequences of it:

which made all my bones to shake; not only there was inward fear and outward tremor of body, but to such a degree, that not one joint in him was still; all the members of his body shook, and every bone was as if it was loosed, which are the more firm and solid parts, as is common many considerable tremor.

Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones {i} to shake.

(i) In these visions which God shows to his creatures, there is always a certain fear joined, that the authority of it might be had in greater reverence.

14. Eliphaz depicts graphically the circumstances in which he received the message from heaven. In the dead night, in the midst of his perplexing thoughts upon his bed, a supernatural terror suddenly seized him. Then he was conscious of a breath passing before him, Job 4:15. Then he seemed to perceive a figure in his presence, too dim, however, to be discerned; and at last a whisper of a voice gave utterance to the awful words that expressed the relations of man to God, Job 4:16. So awful were the impressions of that night, that Eliphaz in recalling the circumstances almost feels himself in the midst of them again, and he falls into the present tense in describing them: a breath passeth before my face … an image is before mine eyes … and I hear a voice, &c.

Verse 14. - Fear came upon me, and trembling; compare the "horror of great darkness" which fell upon Abraham (Genesis 15:12). Our nature shrinks from direct contact with the spiritual world, and our earthly frame shudders at the unearthly presence. Which made the multitude of my bones to shake; or, which made my bones greatly to shake (so the LXX.' Professor Lee, and others). Job 4:1412 And a word reached me stealthily,

And my ear heard a whisper thereof.

13 In the play of thought, in visions of the night,

When deep sleep falleth on men,

14 Fear came upon me, and trembling;

And it caused the multitude of my bones to quake with fear.

15 And a breathing passed over my face;

16 It stood there, and I discerned not its appearance:

An image was before my eyes;

A gentle murmur, and I heard a voice.

The fut. יגגּב, like Judges 2:1; Psalm 80:9, is ruled by the following fut. consec.: ad me furtim delatum est (not deferebatur). Eliphaz does not say אלי ויגנּב (although he means a single occurrence), because he desires, with pathos, to put himself prominent. That the word came to him so secretly, and that he heard only as it were a whisper (שׁמץ, according to Arnheim, in distinction from שׁמע, denotes a faint, indistinct impression on the ear), is designed to show the value of such a solemn communication, and to arouse curiosity. Instead of the prosaic ממּנוּ, we find here the poetic pausal-form מנהוּ expanded from מנּוּ, after the form מנּי, Job 21:16; Psalm 18:23. מן is partitive: I heard only a whisper, murmur; the word was too sacred and holy to come loudly and directly to his ear. It happened, as he lay in the deep sleep of night, in the midst of the confusion of thought resulting from nightly dreams. שׂעפּים (from שׂעיף, branched) are thoughts proceeding like branches from the heart as their root, and intertwining themselves; the מן which follows refers to the cause: there were all manner of dreams which occasioned the thoughts, and to which they referred (comp. Job 33:15); תּרדּמה, in distinction from שׁנה, sleep, and תּנוּמה, slumber, is the deep sleep related to death and ecstasy, in which man sinks back from outward life into the remotest ground of his inner life. In Job 4:14, קראני, from קרא equals קרה, to meet (Ges. 75, 22), is equivalent to קרני (not קרני, as Hirz., first edition, wrongly points it; comp. Genesis 44:29). The subject of הפחיד is the undiscerned ghostlike something. Eliphaz was stretched upon his bed when רוּח, a breath of wind, passed (חלף( dessap, similar to Isaiah 21:1) over his face. The wind is the element by means of which the spirit-existence is made manifest; comp. 1 Kings 19:12, where Jehovah appears in a gentle whispering of the wind, and Acts 2:2, where the descent of the Holy Spirit is made known by a mighty rushing. רוּח, πνεῦμα, Sanscrit âtma, signifies both the immaterial spirit and the air, which is proportionately the most immaterial of material things.

(Note: On wind and spirit, vid., Windischmann, Die Philosophie im Fortgang der Weltgesch. S. 1331ff.)

His hair bristled up, even every hair of his body; סמּר, not causative, but intensive of Kal. יעמד has also the ghostlike appearance as subject. Eliphaz could not discern its outline, only a תמוּנה, imago quaedam (the most ethereal word for form, Numbers 12:8; Psalm 17:15, of μορφή or δόξα of God), was before his eyes, and he heard, as it were proceeding from it, רקל דּממה, i.e., per hendiadyn: a voice, which spoke to him in a gentle, whispering tone, as follows:

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