“The oracle concerning the desert plain.
In the scrub of the desert plain
You will lodge.
O caravans of Dedanites!
Bring water to the thirsty!
Meet the fugitive with bread!
O inhabitants of the land of Tema!
They have fled
From the swords,
From the drawn sword,
From the bent bow,
From the stress of battle.”
This oracle is about the wandering Arab tribes in the desert of Arabia, currently known as Saudi Arabia. They lived among the scrubs of the desert. They lodged in caravans. These people were called Dedanites, as a reference to northern Arabs. However, they seem to be very peaceful people. They brought water to the thirsty and gave bread to the people fleeing. Tema was an oasis in northwest Arabia that was mentioned 4 other times in the Bible. This also was a peaceful place, since people went there to get away from drawn swords, bent bows, and the stress of battles itself.
“Those who withhold kindness from a friend
Reject the fear of the Almighty Shaddai.
My companions are as treacherous as a flood.
My companions are like streams of water that pass away.
They are like dark spots on ice.
They are like murky spots on melting snow.
In time of heat they disappear.
When it is hot,
They vanish from their place.
The caravans turn aside from their course.
They go up into the waste.
The caravans of Tema look.
The travelers of Sheba hope.
They are disappointed
Because they were confident.
They come there
But they are confused.”
Job then turned on his 3 companions. He said that they were not so friendly. However, they did come to spend some time with him. He, however, called them treacherous. He compared them to a flood of water, an uncontrolled stream of water. He also compared them to a flash flood. In other words, they were like quick and destructive flows of water. He also compared them to dark ice and murky snow in that when it got hot, they would disappear. Then he compared them to caravans from Tema, an Arab tribe descendent from Ishmael, and Sheba that got lost in the desert. Both these caravans in ancient times were very confident but in the end they were confused. Job was comparing his 3 friends to these lost confusing caravans. They were not helping him with their torrent of confusing words.