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Job 9:1-35. REPLY OF JOB TO BILDAD.
2. I know it is so of a truth--that God does not "pervert justice" (Job 8:3). But (even though I be sure of being in the right) how can a mere man assert his right--(be just) with God. The Gospel answers (Ro 3:26).
3. If he--God
4. wise in heart--in understanding!--and mighty in power! God confounds
the ablest arguer by His wisdom, and the mightiest by His power.
7. The sun, at His command, does not rise; namely, in an eclipse,
or the darkness that accompanies earthquakes
8. spreadeth out-- (Isa 40:22; Ps 104:2). But throughout it is not so much God's creating, as His governing, power over nature that is set forth. A storm seems a struggle between Nature and her Lord! Better, therefore, "Who boweth the heavens alone," without help of any other. God descends from the bowed-down heaven to the earth (Ps 18:9). The storm, wherein the clouds descend, suggests this image. In the descent of the vault of heaven, God has come down from His high throne and walks majestically over the mountain waves (Hebrew, "heights"), as a conqueror taming their violence. So "tread upon" (De 33:29; Am 4:13; Mt 14:26). The Egyptian hieroglyphic for impossibility is a man walking on waves.
9. maketh--rather, from the Arabic, "covereth up." This accords
better with the context, which describes His boundless power as
controller rather than as creator [UMBREIT].
10. Repeated from Eliphaz (Job 5:9).
11. I see him not: he passeth on--The image is that of a howling wind (Isa 21:1). Like it when it bursts invisibly upon man, so God is felt in the awful effects of His wrath, but is not seen (Joh 3:8). Therefore, reasons Job, it is impossible to contend with Him.
13. If God--rather, "God will not withdraw His anger," that is, so
long as a mortal obstinately resists [UMBREIT].
14. How much less shall I? &c.--who am weak, seeing that the mighty have to stoop before Him. Choose words (use a well-chosen speech, in order to reason) with Him.
19. UMBREIT takes these as the words of God, translating, "What availeth the might of the strong?" "Here (saith he) behold! what availeth justice? Who will appoint me a time to plead?" (So Jer 49:19). The last words certainly apply better to God than to Job. The sense is substantially the same if we make "me" apply to Job. The "lo!" expresses God's swift readiness for battle when challenged.
21. Literally, here (and in Job 9:20), "I perfect! I should not know my soul! I would despise," [that is], "disown my life"; that is, Though conscious of innocence, I should be compelled, in contending with the infinite God, to ignore my own soul and despise my past life as if it were guilty [ROSENMULLER].
22. one thing--"It is all one; whether perfect or wicked--He destroyeth." This was the point Job maintained against his friends, that the righteous and wicked alike are afflicted, and that great sufferings here do not prove great guilt (Lu 13:1-5; Ec 9:2).
23. If--Rather, "While (His) scourge slays suddenly (the wicked, Job 9:22), He laughs at (disregards; not derides) the pining away of the innocent." The only difference, says Job, between the innocent and guilty is, the latter are slain by a sudden stroke, the former pine away gradually. The translation, "trial," does not express the antithesis to "slay suddenly," as "pining away" does [UMBREIT].
24. Referring to righteous "judges," in antithesis to "the wicked"
in the parallel first clause, whereas the wicked oppressor often has
the earth given into his hand, the righteous judges are led to
execution--culprits had their faces covered preparatory to execution
Thus the contrast of the wicked and righteous here answers to that in
25. a post--a courier. In the wide Persian empire such couriers, on dromedaries or on foot, were employed to carry the royal commands to the distant provinces (Es 3:13, 15; 8:14). "My days" are not like the slow caravan, but the fleet post. The "days" are themselves poetically said to "see no good," instead of Job in them (1Pe 3:10).
28. The apodosis to Job 9:27 --"If I say, &c." "I still am afraid of all my sorrows (returning), for I know that thou wilt (dost) (by removing my sufferings) not hold or declare me innocent. How then can I leave off my heaviness?"
29. The "if" is better omitted; I (am treated by God as) wicked; why then labor I in vain (to disprove His charge)? Job submits, not so much because he is convinced that God is right, as because God is powerful and he weak [BARNES].
30. snow water--thought to be more cleansing than common water,
owing to the whiteness of snow
32. (Ec 6:10; Isa 45:9).
33. daysman--"mediator," or "umpire"; the imposition of whose hand expresses power to adjudicate between the persons. There might be one on a level with Job, the one party; but Job knew of none on a level with the Almighty, the other party (1Sa 2:25). We Christians know of such a Mediator (not, however, in the sense of umpire) on a level with both--the God-man, Christ Jesus (1Ti 2:5).