For now ye are nothing
Once they seemed to be something to him; he thought them men wise, good, and religious, kind, bountiful, and tenderhearted; but now he found them otherwise, they were nothing to him as friends or as comforters in his distress; the "Cetib", or Scripture, is, as we read, and is followed by many; but the marginal reading is, "now ye are to it" F1; that is, ye are like to it, the brook whose waters he had been describing; so Jarchi interprets it; Mr. Broughton very agreeably takes in both, "so now ye are become like that, even nothing"; as that deceitful brook is no more, nor of any use to travellers fainting through thirst; so ye are like that, of no use and advantage to me in my affliction:
ye see [my] casting down;
from a state of prosperity to a state of adversity; from a pinnacle of honour, from being the greatest man in the east, a civil magistrate, and the head of a flourishing family, to the lowest degree of disgrace and dishonour; from wealth and riches to want and poverty; as well as saw the inward dejection of his mind, through the poisoned arrows of the Almighty within him:
and ye are afraid;
of the righteous judgments of God, taking these calamities to be such, and fearing the same or the like should fall on them, should they keep him company; or however should they patronize and defend him; and afraid also of being too near him, lest his breath, and the smell of him, should be infectious, and they should catch a distemper from him; or lest he should be expensive and troublesome to them.
F1 (wl Mtyyh hte yk) "certe nunc fuistis illi", Bolducius; so Michaelis; "certe nunc estis similes illi", Pagninus, Vatablus, Mercerus.