The nobles held their peace - Princes שרים sarim, and Nobles, נגידים negidim, must have been two different classes of the great men of Idumea. שר sar, Prince, director, or ruler, was probably the head of a township, or what we would call a magistrate of a particular district. נגיד nagid, a Noble, or one of those who had the privilege of standing before, or in the presence of, the chief ruler. The participle נגד neged is frequently used to signify before, in the presence of, publicly, openly. And on this account, it is most likely that the noun means one of those nobles or counsellors who were always admitted to the royal presence. Mr. Good thinks that renowned speakers or eminent orators are meant: and others have embraced the same opinion. Job here intimates that his judgment was so sound, his decisions so accredited, and his reasoning power so great, that every person paid him the utmost deference.
The nobles - Margin, “The voice of the nobles was hid.” Literally, this may be rendered, “as to the voice the nobles hid themselves;” or the phrase here employed (נגידים קול נחבאו nechâbâ'û qôl nāgı̂ydiym ) may be rendered, “the voice of the nobles was hid” - it being common in the Hebrew when two nouns come together, of different numbers and gender, for the verb to conform to the latter. Rosenmuller. The word “nobles” here is to be understood in the sense of “counsellors,” or men of rank. They would now be called “Emirs,” or “Sheiks.”
And their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth - They were so awed by my presence that they could not speak.
God has given in His word a picture of a prosperous man—one whose life was in the truest sense a success, a man whom both heaven and earth delighted to honor. Of his experiences Job himself says: Ed 142.1
“In the ripeness of my days,
When the secret of God was upon my tent;
When the Almighty was yet with me,
And my children were about me; ...
When I went forth to the gate unto the city,
When I prepared my seat in the broad place [margin],
The young men saw me and hid themselves,
And the aged rose up and stood;
The princes refrained talking,
And laid their hand on their mouth;
The voice of the nobles was hushed.... Ed 142.2
“For when the ear heard me, then it blessed me;
And when the eye saw me, it gave witness unto me;
Because I delivered the poor that cried,
The fatherless also, and him [margin], that had none to
help him. Ed 142.3