Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro?
&c.] A leaf that falls from a tree in autumn, and withers and is rolled up, and driven about by the wind, which it cannot resist, to which Job here compares himself; but it is not to be understood of him with respect to his spiritual estate; for being a good man, and one that trusted in the Lord, and made him his hope, he was, as every good man is, like to a tree planted by rivers of water, whose leaf withers not, but is always green, and does not fall off, as is the case of carnal professors, who are compared to trees in autumn, which cast their leaves and rotten fruit; see ( Psalms 1:3 ) ( Jeremiah 17:7 Jeremiah 17:8 ) ( Jude 1:12 ) ; but in respect to his outward estate, his frailty, weakness, and feebleness, especially as now under the afflicting hand of God; see ( Isaiah 64:6 ) ; so John the Baptist, on account of his being a frail mortal man, a weak feeble creature, compares himself to a reed shaken with the wind, ( Matthew 11:7 ) ; now to break such an one was to add affliction to affliction, and which could not well be borne; and the like is signified by the next clause,
and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
which cannot stand before the wind, or the force of devouring fire; this also respects not Job in his spiritual estate, with regard to which he was not like to dry stubble or chaff, to which wicked men are compared, ( Psalms 1:4 ) ; but to standing corn and wheat in the full ear; and not only to green grass, which is flourishing, but to palm trees, and cedar trees of the Lord, which are full of sap, to which good men are like; but he describes him in his weak and afflicted state, tossed to and fro like dry stubble; and no more able to contend and grapple with an incensed God than dry stubble can withstand devouring flames; this he says, partly to suggest that it was below the Divine Being to set his strength against his weakness; as David said to Saul, "after whom is the king of Israel come out? after a dead dog, after a flea?" ( 1 Samuel 24:14 ) ; which words Bar Tzemach compares with these; and partly to move the divine pity and commiseration towards him, who uses not to "break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax", ( Isaiah 42:3 ) ( Matthew 12:20 ) .