To him that is afflicted pity [should be showed] from his
An "afflicted" man is an object of pity, one that is afflicted of God; either inwardly with a wounded spirit, with a sense of God's displeasure, with divine desertions, with the arrows of the Almighty sticking in him, the poison thereof drinking up his spirits; or outwardly with diseases of body, with want of the necessaries of life, with loss of near relations, as well as substance, which was Job's case; or afflicted by Satan, shot at, sifted and buffered by him, distressed by his temptations, suggestions, and solicitations; or afflicted by men, reproached and persecuted for righteousness sake: in all such cases and circumstances "pity" should be showed; which is an inward affection of the mind, a sympathy of spirit, a sensible feeling of the afflictions of others, and which is expressed by gestures, motions, and actions, as by visiting them in their affliction, speaking comfortably to them, and relieving their necessities according to ability, and as the case requires: and this may be expected from a "friend", and what the law of friendship requires, whether it be in a natural and civil sense, or in a religious and spiritual one; the union between friends being so near and close, that they are, as it were, one soul, as David and Jonathan were; and as the people of God, members of the same body are, so that if one suffers, all the rest do, or should suffer and sympathize with it: and though this duty is not always performed, at least as it should be, by natural and spiritual friends, yet this grace is always shown by God, our best of friends, who pities his children and by Christ, who is a friend that loves at all times, a brother born for adversity, and that sticks closer than any brother, and cannot but be touched with the feeling of the infirmities of his friends. The words may be rendered, "to him that is melted" F3; afflictions are like a furnace or refining pot for the melting of metals, and are called the furnace of afflictions: and saints are the metal, which are put into it; and afflictions also are the fire, of fiery trials, which heat and melt, and by which means the dross of sin and corruption is removed, and the graces of the spirit are tried and made the brighter; though here it rather signifies the melting of the heart like wax or water through the affliction, and denotes the anguish and distress, the trembling and fears, a person is in through it, being overwhelmed and borne down by it, which was Job's case: or "he that melts pity", or "whose pity melts", or "melts in pity to his friend, he forsakes" F4 that is, he that fails in pity, is destitute of compassion, and shuts up the bowels of it to his friend in distress, has not the fear of God before his eyes; and this sense makes Job himself to be the friend in affliction, and Eliphaz, and those with him, the persons that are deficient in their mercy, pity, and compassion. Some render the words F5, "should reproach [be cast] on him that is afflicted, as that he forsakes the fear of the Almighty?" the word for pity is so used in ( Proverbs 14:34 ) ; and the reproach on Job was, that he had cast off the fear of God, ( Job 4:6 ) ( 15:4 ) . This grieved him most of all, and added to his affliction, and of which he complains as very cruel usage; and very cutting it was that he should be reckoned a man destitute of the fear of God, and that because he was afflicted by him; though rather the following words,
but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty,
are a charge upon his friend Eliphaz for not showing pity to him in his affliction, which was tacitly forsaking the fear of God. Job here recriminates and retorts the charge of want of the fear of God on Eliphaz himself; for to show mercy to an afflicted friend is a religious act, a part of pure and undefiled religion, a branch of the fear of God; and he that neglects it is so far wanting in it, and acts contrary to his profession of God, of fear of him, and love to him; see ( James 1:26 ) ( 1 John 3:17 ) ; or "otherwise he forsakes" F6.
F3 (oml) "liquefacto", Vatablus, Mercerus, Beza; so Ben Gersom.
F4 "Cujus liquescit benignitas", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, "qui misericordia erga amicum contabescit", Schultens.
F5 Mercerus, Vatablus, so Ben Gersom. Some interpret it as a charge that he forsakes both mercy and the fear of the Lord; so R. Simeon Bar Tzemach, Sephorno, and Ben Melech.
F6 So Pagninus & Beza.