Job 6:15
(15) Have dealt deceitfully as a brook.--This is one of the most celebrated poetical similes in the book, and carries us to life in the desert, where the wadys, so mighty and torrent-like in the winter, are insignificant streams or fail altogether in summer. So when the writer saw the Gnadalquiver (or mighty wady) at Cordova, in August, it was a third-rate stream, running in many divided currents in its stony bed.

Verse 15. - My brethren; i.e. "my three friends," Eliphaz, who has spoken; Bildad and Zophar, who by their silence have shown their agreement with him. Have dealt deceitfully as a brook; i.e. "a winter torrent" - a "wady," to use the modern Arab expression. These watercourses are characteristic of Palestine and the adjacent regions. "During the winter months," says Dr. Cunningham Geikie, "they are often foaming rivers; but in the hot summer, when they would be of priceless value, their dry bed is generally the road from one point to another. The water rushes over the sheets of rock as it would from the roof of a house, and converging, as it descends, into minor streams in the higher wadies, these sweep on to a common channel in some central valley, and, thus united, swell in an incredibly short time into a deep, troubled, roaring flood, which fills the whole bottom of the wady with an irresistible torrent... The streams from Lebanon, and also from the high mountains of the Hauran. send down great floods of dark and troubled waters in spring, when the ice and snow of their summits are melted; but they dry up under the heat of summer, and the track of the torrent, with its chaos of boulders, stones, and gravel, seems as if it had not known a stream for ages. So Job's friends had in former times seemed as if they would be true to him for ever; but their friendship had vanished, like the rush of the torrent that had passed away" ('The Holy Land and the Bible,' vol. 1. pp. 123-125). And as the stream of brooks they pass away; or, the channel; i.e. the wady itself. Canon Cook well says on this, "The simile is remarkably complete. When little needed, the torrent overflows; when needed, it disappears. In winter it does not fertilize; in summer it is dried up. Nor is it merely useless; it deceives, alluring the traveller by the appearance of verdure, promising refreshment, and giving none."

6:14-30 In his prosperity Job formed great expectations from his friends, but now was disappointed. This he compares to the failing of brooks in summer. Those who rest their expectations on the creature, will find it fail when it should help them; whereas those who make God their confidence, have help in the time of need, Heb 4:16. Those who make gold their hope, sooner or later will be ashamed of it, and of their confidence in it. It is our wisdom to cease from man. Let us put all our confidence in the Rock of ages, not in broken reeds; in the Fountain of life, not in broken cisterns. The application is very close; for now ye are nothing. It were well for us, if we had always such convictions of the vanity of the creature, as we have had, or shall have, on a sick-bed, a death-bed, or in trouble of conscience. Job upbraids his friends with their hard usage. Though in want, he desired no more from them than a good look and a good word. It often happens that, even when we expect little from man, we have less; but from God, even when we expect much, we have more. Though Job differed from them, yet he was ready to yield as soon as it was made to appear that he was in error. Though Job had been in fault, yet they ought not to have given him such hard usage. His righteousness he holds fast, and will not let it go. He felt that there had not been such iniquity in him as they supposed. But it is best to commit our characters to Him who keeps our souls; in the great day every upright believer shall have praise of God.My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook,.... Meaning his three friends, represented by Eliphaz, who were of the same sentiments with him, and behaved towards Job as he did: these were his brethren not by birth by blood nor by country, but by the profession of the same religion of the one true and living God in opposition to the idolatrous people among whom they dwelt; and this their relation to him is an aggravation of their perfidy and treachery, unfaithfulness and deceit, by which is meant their balking and disappointing him in his expectations; when they came to visit him as friends, he might reasonably expect they came to condole and sympathize with him, and comfort him; but, instead of this they reproached him and grieved him, and were miserable comforters of him; and this he illustrates by the simile of a "brook", which he enlarges upon in the following verses: these friends and brethren of his he compares to a "brook", not that was fed by a spring which continues, but filled with falls of water and melting snows from the hills, with which it is swelled, and looks like a large river for a while, but when these fail it is soon gone; hereby representing his friends in his state of prosperity, who looked big, and promised long and lasting friendship, but proved, in time of adversity, unfaithful and deceitful; and so it denotes the fickleness and inconstancy of their friendship:

and as the stream of brooks they pass away: or, "pass by" (g), as a stream of water, fed by many brooks, or flows of water like unto many brooks, which run with great rapidity and force, and are quickly gone and seen no more; thus his friends, as such, passed by him, and were of no use to him any more than the priest and Levite were to the man that fell among thieves, Luke 10:30.

(g) "praetereunt", Mercerus, Schmidt; "transeunt", Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis.

Job 6:14
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