Dead things are formed from under the waters - This verse, as it stands in our version, seems to convey no meaning; and the Hebrew is obscure; , harephaim , "the Rephaim," certainly means not dead things; nor can there be any propriety in saying that dead things, or things without life, are formed under the waters, for such things are formed everywhere in the earth, and under the earth, as well as under the waters.
The Vulgate translates: Ecce gigantes gemunt sub aquis, et qui habitant cum eis . "Behold the giants, and those who dwell with them, groan from under the waters."
The Septuagint: ̔ ̔, ; "Are not the giants formed from under the waters, and their neighbors?"
The Chaldee: eposhar degibraiya demithmazmezin yithbareyan veinnun millera lemaiya umashreiyatehon , "Can the trembling giants be regenerated, when they and their hosts are under the water?"
The Syriac and Arabic: "Behold, the giants are slain, and are drawn out of the water." None of these appear to give any sense by which the true meaning can be determined.
There is probably here an allusion to the destruction of the earth by the general deluge. Moses, speaking concerning the state of the earth before the flood, says, Genesis 6:4, "There were giants nephilim , in the earth in those days." Now it is likely that Job means the same by rephaim as Moses does by the nephilim; and that both refer to the antediluvians, who were all, for their exceeding great iniquities, overwhelmed by the waters of the deluge. Can those mighty men and their neighbors, all the sinners who have been gathered to them since, be rejected from under the waters, by which they were judicially overwhelmed?
Mr. Good thinks the shades of the heroes of former times, the gigantic spectres, the mighty or enormous dead, are meant.
I greatly question whether sea-monsters be not intended, such as porpoises, sharks, narwals, grampuses, and whales. We know, however that an opinion anciently prevailed, that the Titans, a race of men of enormous stature, rebelled against the gods, and endeavored to scale heaven by placing one mountain on the top of another; and that they and their structure were cast down by the thunder of the deities, and buried under the earth and sea; and that their struggles to arise produce the earthquakes which occur in certain countries. Now although this opinion is supported by the most respectable antiquity among the heathens, it is not to be supposed that in the word of God there can be any countenance given to an opinion at once as absurd as it is monstrous. (But still the poet may use the language of the common people). I must therefore either refer the passage here to the antediluvians, or to the vast sea-monsters mentioned above.
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