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25.--"My days are swifter than a post.” “ Ah ! my days are like an arrow.” " What is my time? 'tis like the wind.” “'Tis like cotton spread in the strong wind.” “ See that falling leaf; that is life.” “'Tis but as a snap of the finger.” “Am I not like a flower ?” “ Yes; 't is a stream.” “A neer-mulle, i. e. a bubble ! how softly it glides along ! how beautiful its colours ! but how soon it disappears.”
X. 10. — “ Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and
curdled me like cheese?” Much philological learning has been brought to the explanation of this passage. In the preceding verse, Job is speaking of his DEATH. “Wilt thou bring me unto dust again?” But what has the pouring out of milk to do with death? The people of the East pour milk on their heads after
performing the funeral obsequies. Has a father a profligate son, one he never expects to reclaim, he says, in reference to him, “Ah ! I have poured milk upon my head,” i.e. “I have done with him; he is as one dead to me.”
“ And curdled me like cheese." The cheese of the East is little better than curds : and these also are used at the funeral ceremonies.
XII. 2.-“ No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom
shall die with you." The people of the East take great pleasure in irony, and some of their satirical sayings are very cutting. When a sage intimates that he has superior wisdom, or when he is disposed to rally another for his meagre attainments, he says, yes; you are the man !” “Your wisdom is like the sea.” “ You found it in dreams.” “When you die, whither will wisdom go?” “You have all wisdom?” “When gone, alas ! what will become of wisdom ?” “O the Nyāni ! O the philosopher !”
4.-"I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon
God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.” Though Job, in his distress, cried unto the Lord, his neighbours mocked him, and laughed him to scorn; showing their own impiety, and belief that God would not answer him.
Sometimes, when a heathen (who is supposed to be forsaken of the gods) performs a penance or religious austerity, others will mock him, and say, " Fast for me also; yes, perform the poosy for me, and you shall have all you want.” Should a man, who is suffering under the punishment due to his crimes, cry to the gods for help, those who are near reply (for the gods), “ Yes, we are here; what do you want? we will help you.”
“ When the gods come, tell them I am gone home; I could not remain any longer.”
Thus was the just, the upright Job laughed to scorn when he called upon God.
5. — “He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a
lamp despised in the thought of him that is at
ease.” D'Oyley and Mant quote from Caryl and Poole as follows: “ A despised lamp is of the same signification with a smoking fire-brand; which last is a proverb for that which is almost spent, and therefore despised and thrown away as useless.” In view of these observations, it is worthy of notice, that of a man who is much despised, or who is very contemptible, it is said, “ That fellow is like the half consumed fire-brand of the funeral pile.”
Job, by his enemies, was counted as a despised lamp. When a person is sick unto death, it is said, “ His lamp is going out.” After death, “ His lamp has gone out.” When a person is indisposed, should a lamp give a dim light, the people of the house will become much alarmed, as they think it-a bad sign. A lamp, therefore, which burns dimly (as did that of Job) will be lightly esteemed.
7.-" But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee;
and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” He who refuses instruction, or who will not be convinced, is told to ask the cattle, enquire of the birds, and they will give thee wisdom.
XIII. 15.-" Though he slay me, yet will I trust in
him.” When a master chastises an affectionate slave, or tells him to leave his service, he says, “My lord, though you slay me, yet will I trust in you :” Does a husband beat his wife, she exclaims, “ My husband, though you kill me, I will not let you go.” “ Kill me, my lord, if you please, but I will not leave you : I trust in you.” “Oh! beat me not; do I not trust in you?" “ What an affectionate wife that is : though her husband cut her to pieces, yet she trusts in him.” “The fellow is always beating her, yet she confides in him.” *
24.—“ Wherefore hidest thou thy face?” Job, in his distress, makes this pathetic enquiry of the Lord. Should a great man become displeased with a person to whom he has been previously kind, he will, when he sees him approaching, avert his face, or conceal it with his hand, which shows at once what is the state of the case. man then mourns, and complains, and asks, “ Ah! why does he hide his face ?” The wife says to her offended husband,
Why do you hide your face?” The son to his father, “ Hide not your face from your son.”
* Married females in the East are in a state of great degradation, for men of every rank hesitate not to beat them on the most frivolous occasions. The late king of Kandy, when on his passage in H. M.'s Ship, Cornwallis, commanded by Captain O'Brien, to Madras, was so unmerciful to his wives, that the officer in charge was obliged to remonstrate with his gracious Majesty. Should a husband, on coming home, not find his food ready, or not made to his taste, he immediately commences a brutal attack upon his wife. Should he, however, be afraid of that, he sets on and breaks all the cooking utensils, and cuts down the plantain trees, or beats the children.
26.-" Thou writest bitter things against me.” “ Ah ! the things that man has written against me to the Judge, are all kassapu, all bitter.” “Oh! that is a bitter, bitter fault." “Who will make this bitterness sweet?”
27.—“Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and
lookest narrowly unto all my paths: thou settest
a print upon the heels of my feet.” The punishment of the stocks has been common in the East from the most remote antiquity, as is seen in all their records. But whether the stocks were formerly like clogs, or as those of the present day, it is impossible to say. Those now in use differ from those in England, as the unfortunate culprit has to lie with his back on the ground, having his feet fast in one pair, and his hands in another. Thus, all he can do is to writhe his body; his arms and legs being so fast, that he cannot possibly move them. A man placed in great difficulty, says, “Alas ! I am now in the stocks.” “I have put my boy in the tulungu,” i. e. stocks; which means he is confined, or sent to the school. To a young man of roving habits it is said, “You must have your feet in the stocks," i. e. get married. “ Alas! alas ! I am now in the stocks; the guards are around my path, and a seal is put upon my feet.”
XIV. 4.—“ Who can bring a clean thing out of an
unclean?” The following are common sayings:-“ Who can turn a black crow into a white crane ?" “ Who can make the bitter fruit sweet ?” “ Who can make straight the tail of the dog ?” “ If you give the serpent sweet things, will his poison depart?”
7.-" There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it
will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof
will not cease.” Trees here appear to be more tenacious of life than in England. See them blown down; yet from the roots fresh shoots spring up. See them sometimes at such an angle (through storms) that their branches nearly touch the ground, and yet they keep that position, and continue to bear fruit. Those trees, also, which have actually been cut down, after a few showers, soon begin to send forth the “tender branch.” The plantain tree, after it has borne fruit once, is cut down; but from its roots another springs up, which, in its turn, also gives fruit, and is then cut down, to make way for another. Thus, in reference to this tree, it may be truly said, Cut it down, but “the tender branch thereof will not cease.”
19. — “ The waters wear the stones.” Is a man found fault with because he makes slow progress in his undertaking, he says, “Never mind; the water which runs so softly will, in time, wear away the stones.”
XV. 7.— " Art thou the first man that was born ?” When a majority of people agree on any subject, should an individual pertinaciously oppose them, it will be asked, “ What! were you born before all others ?” “Yes, yes; he is the first man: no wonder he has so much wisdom !” “ Salām to the first ! man."
16.-" How much more abominable and filthy is man,
which drinketh iniquity like water." Of a man who wallows in sin it is said, “He lives on it.” “ That wretch eats and drinks injustice.” “Truly, that wretch lives on avva-suttam, uncleanness."