Your remembrances [are] like unto ashes
Either of things they put Job in remembrance of, the mementos which they had suggested to him; see ( Job 4:7 ) ; or the things which they had brought forth out of their memories, the instances they had given of what had been in the world, the arguments, objections, and reasonings, they had made use of in this controversy; their "memorable sentences" F5, as some render it, were of no more moment and importance than ashes, and easily blown away like them; or whatsoever was memorable in them, or they thought would perpetuate their memory hereafter, as their houses and lands, and towns and cities, called by their names, these memorials should perish, ( Psalms 49:11 ) ( 9:6 ) ; or their wealth and riches, their honour and glory, their learning, wisdom, and knowledge, all should fade, and come to nothing; the memory of the just indeed is blessed, the righteous are had in everlasting remembrance, because of their everlasting righteousness; but as anything else, that may be thought to be a remembrance of man, it is but as ashes, of little worth, gone, and often trampled upon; and men should remember that they are but dust and ashes, as Aben Ezra F6 observes, even in their best estate, in comparison of the excellency of God, before spoken of; and as Abraham confessed in the presence of God, ( Genesis 18:27 ) ;
your bodies to bodies of clay;
that is, are like to bodies of clay, to such as are made of clay after the similitude of human bodies; and such are the bodies of men themselves, they are of the earth, earthly, they are houses of clay, which have their foundation in the dust; earthen vessels, and earthly houses of this tabernacle, poor, mean, frail, brittle things, are crushed before the moth, and much more before the Almighty; the word is by some rendered "eminencies", the most eminent men; what is most eminent in them are like to "eminences of clay" F7, or heaps of dirt: some interpret this, as the former expression, of their words, reasonings, arguments, and objections; which though great swelling words, were vain and empty, mere bubbles, and though reckoned strong reasonings, unanswerable arguments, and objections, had no strength in them, but were to be easily thrown down like hillocks of clay; and though thought to be like shields, or high and strong fortresses, as some F8 take the word to signify, yet are but clayey ones.
F5 (Mkynwdz) "sententiae vestrae memorabiles", Schultens.
F6 So the Tigurine version, "meminisse oportebat vos similea esse cineri".
F7 (Mkybg rmx ybgl) "eminentiae vestrae, eminentiae luteae", Beza; so Bolducius.
F8 So Cocceius, Beza.