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Which removeth the mountains and they know not, without their being aware of the
which overturneth them in His anger; His wrath strikes them with such sudden fury that they are not even conscious of the change effected by His power until all has been done. V. 6. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, causing not only the mountains, but the entire earth to tremble in mighty earthquakes, and the pillars thereof tremble, its very foundations are rocked and shaken, Ps. 75, 3; Is. 24, 20. V. 7. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not, with holding his golden rays from the earth; and sealeth up the stars, setting a seal round about them, veiling them by thick clouds and darkening the night as well as the day, as He chooses. V. 8. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, like an immense tent, Is. 40, 22, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea, He is their Master; though they rise up in threatening heights, Ps. 107, 26, at His almighty command they must serve Him with meekness. V. 9. Which maketh Arcturus, the constellation of the Great Bear, in the northern part of the sky, Orion, a constellation of the southern sky, and Pleiades, a constellation of the eastern sky, and the chambers of the south, the secret places of the Antarctic sky, for in that direction the endless spaces of the heavens were hidden from the sight of the Arabian astronomers. V. 10. Which doeth great things past finding out, yea, and wonders without number. Job cheerfully agreed with his friend, chap. 5, 9, on the absolute power and the inexpressible majesty of God. The Lord's great power is put forth not only in the kingdom of nature, but also in His government of man. V. 11. Lo, He goeth by me, and I see Him not; He passeth on also, but I perceive Him not. Though his eyes cannot see the great and mighty God, his spirit perceives His nearness, as He sweeps by like a destructive wind be. fore which no man can stand. V. 12. Behold, He taketh away, snatching away His victim and all the spoil He chooses to take; who can hinder Him, holding Him back from His course, placing hindrances in His way? Who will say unto Him, What doest Thou? This thought of God's overwhelming and often apparently arbitrary power now prompts Job to speak in an almost defiant manner. V. 13. If God will not withdraw His anger, rather, affirmatively, “He will not cause it to return,” He will not recall it, the proud helpers do stoop under Him, literally, "the helpers of Rahab cringe before Him,” the reference being to a historical or a legendary defeat of some mighty enemies of Jehovah. V. 14. How much less shall I answer Him, namely, than such great and mighty adversaries, and choose out my words to reason with Him? No matter how carefully he might choose his
words, attempting to get just the right expression, he could not escape rebuke on the part of God. V. 15. Whom, though I were righteous, even if Job were in the right, free from blame according to standards of right as commonly accepted, yet would I not answer, that is, Job, could not answer, but I would make supplication to my Judge, being brought to the humiliating position of beseeching the Judge, who was his adversary, accuser, and judge in one person. V. 16. If I had called, and He had answered me, if Job's pleading would apparently find favor, yet would I not believe that He had hearkened unto my voice; he feared that God's infinite exaltation would keep Him from showing such kindness. V. 17. For He breaketh me with a tempest, that is, He would overwhelm Job with a storm, should he attempt such a course, and multiplieth my wounds without cause, in spite of Job's innocence He would pursue him with calamities. V. 18. He wilļ not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness, this being considered the food with which Job should satisfy his soul. V. 19. If I speak of strength, lo, He is strong, in a trial of strength Job would, of course, not stand a show; and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead? If it were a question of right and judgment, the mighty word of God would be thundered at him: Who will cite Me? In either case, there was no hope for weak and mortal man. V. 20. If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me; even if he were right, the confusion of his speech would condemn him; if I say, I am perfect, inno. cent, without guilt, it shall also prove me perverse, set him forth as guilty. V. 21. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul, he had reached the point where he no longer knew himself; I would despise my life, it had become a burden to him. He felt so unspeakably wretched that he wished to die. In all this Job forgot that even the breath of an accusation against God as though He were not just and righteous in all His works is an insult to His glorious majesty.
JOB INSISTS THAT GOD VISITS ALSO RIGHTEOUS WITH AFFLICTION. V. 22. This is one thing, it is all one, or, it makes no difference whether a person is innnocent or guilty; therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked; this statement Job feels constrained to make against God. V. 23. If the scourge slay suddenly, namely, by means of any calamity, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent, God will mock at the despair of the guiltless, not permitting Himself to be disturbed in the enjoyment of His heavenly bliss. V. 24. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked, this God readily permits; He covereth the faces of the judges thereof, veiling their eyes and permitting them to render wicked decisions, to practise unrighteous.
ness; if not, where and who is He? Who but God could it be that does this? V. 25. Now, my days are swifter than a post, flying away more swiftly than the motion of a courier, or runner; they flee away, they see no good; Job despairs of ever being released of his affliction, he has entirely forgotten his former state of prosperity. V. 26. They are passed away as the swift ships, sweeping past like vessels of bulrush, known for their lightness and swiftness; as the eagle that hasteth to the prey, swooping down upon it with almost incredible speed. Thus Job illustrates the hasty flight of his life. V. 27. If I say, I will forget my complaint, making an attempt to rouse himself from his stupor, I will leave off my heaviness, literally, “my countenance," that is, his gloomy and downcast look, and comfort myself, looking cheerful once more. V. 28. I am afraid of all my sorrows, he is once more forced to shudder with pain; I know that Thou wilt not hold me innocent, that God would not declare him guiltless. V. 29. If I be wicked, rather, “I am to be guilty," declared to be wicked by the decree of God, why, then, labor I in vain? It was a useless endeavor on his part trying to appear innocent; he felt that he was tiring himself out without result. V. 30. If I wash myself with snow-water, which was considered as containing greater cleansing power than ordinary water, and make my hands never so clean, literally,
"cleansing my hands with lye,” in an effort to purge away all impurities, v. 31. yet shalt Thou plunge me in the ditch, into a sink or sewer, and mine own clothes shall abhor me. This would happen while he was still naked after his washing and would cause him to become so filthy as to make his own clothes ashamed of him. That is: "Not even the best. grounded self-justification can avail him; for God would still bring it to pass that his clearly proved innocence should change to the most horrible impurity." (Delitzsch.) V. 32. For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, standing on the same level with Him before a court of justice, and we should come together in judgment. V. 33. Neither is there any daysman, arbitrator or media. tor, betwixt us that might lay his hand upon us both, acting as umpire between God and Job to settle his case; for God was both accuser and judge. V. 34. Let Him take His rod away from me, the scourge and calamity wherewith He was smiting Job, and let not His fear terrify me, stupefying him by His majestic presence; v. 35. then would I speak and not fear Him, namely, with this handicap of overpowering majesty removed; but it is not so with me, in his own person he was not conscious of any reason why he should fear Him. Job's defense of himself becomes so emphatic that it verges on self-righteous boasting, an act against which every believer must guard with the greatest care.
objects only from the outside, judging only by Job's PRAYER FOR ENLIGHTENMENT. - Job the outward look of things? Or seest Thou now launches forth into a pitiful complaint, as man seeth? V.5. Are Thy days as the addressing God Himself on the great severity days of man, of a mortal, changeable creawith which He was treating him, although He ture? Are Thy years as man's days, v. 6. knew that he was innocent of any specific guilt.
that Thou enquirest, seekest, after mine V. 1. My soul is weary of my life, filled with iniquity and searchest after my sin? disgust and loathing; I will leave my com- Surely God's life was not so short that He was plaint upon myself, giving free course to his obliged to resort to tortures of this kind, in sorrowful statement; I will speak in the order to force an unwilling confession of guilt bitterness of my soul. V. 2. I will say unto from the mouth of Job. Such a way of dealGod, Do not condemn me, letting him die ing could be expected in an earthly ruler, but the death of a guilty person against the testi
not in the great King of heaven. V.7. Thou mony of his conscience. Show me wherefore knowest that I am not wicked, rather, “alThou contendest with me, letting him know though Thou knowest that I am not guilty”; the definite charge which He preferred against and there is none that can deliver out of him. V.3. Is it good unto Thee that Thou Thine hand; although He had all men abshouldest oppress, that Thou shouldest de- solutely in His power, He surely would not act spise the work of Thine hands and shine like a tyrant, for they could not escape His upon the counsel of the wicked ? Surely justice in any event. Job argued that all three God would not take pleasure, find joy, in possibilities: gratification of a whim, judg. cruelly abusing a creature of His own hands, ment according to appearances only, and the in treating Job as possessing no value, while necessity of deciding quickly, were out of the favoring, at the same time, the success of the question in the case of God. V. 8. Thine wicked and giving prosperity to their en- hands have made me and fashioned me deavors. V. 4. Hast Thou eyes of flesh? together round about, having carefully and Would God judge like a man, perceiving the elaborately formed and fashioned his intricate
organism; yet Thou dost destroy me! An exclamation of reproachful amazement. V. 9. Remember, I beseech thee, that Thou hast made me as the clay, as a potter fashions a vessel out of clay; and wilt Thou bring me into dust again? Out of dust was man originally formed, and to dust he must return. V. 10. Hast Thou not poured me out as milk and curdled me like cheese? This describes the entire molding of the body before birth, one of God's great mysteries. V. 11. Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh and hast fenced me with bones and sinews, interweaving them into the pattern of the body in that wonderful process of creation. V. 12. Thou hast granted me life and favor, his life having been preserved by reason of the divine kindness, and Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit; by the providence of God his life had been spared and the breath kept in his body. Should all these miraculous acts be in vain? All believers should appreciate the wonderful kindness of God; for to all men He gives body and soul, eyes, ears, and all their members, their reason, and all their senses, and still preserves them.
JOB RENEWS His COMPLAINT OF HIS AFFLICTION. – V. 13. And these things hast Thou hid in Thine heart; I know that this is with Thee, that is: In spite of all God's care in the creation and preservation of Job, in spite of all His apparent kindness in the past, His hidden purpose had planned Job's destruction. V. 14. If I sin, then Thou markest me, that is, If Job should sin, God had intended to watch very carefully and immediately charge it against him, and Thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity; He carefully notes down every evidence of wickedness. V. 15. If I be wicked, woe unto me! He must expect a sudden and violent punishment. And if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head, even if he were right, he would not dare to look up with freedom and confidence, for this would not be acknowledged. I am full of confusion, filled with shame; therefore see Thou mine affiction. He always had his misery in sight and must hang his head in shame, like a wicked sinner who was getting
his just deserts. V. 16. For it increaseth, rather, “and should my head lift itself up,” should Job dare to show a cheerful courage, Thou huntest me as a fierce lion; and again Thou showest Thyself marvelous upon me, God would show His wonderful power in destroying him. V. 17. Thou renewest Thy witnesses against me, God would cause new witnesses to appear against Job, and increasest Thine indignation upon me, with an ever new amount of displeasure. Changes and war are against me; Job would have to consider ever new troops and a whole army opposed to him. He alone is the mark of God's displeasure. V. 18. Wherefore, then, hast Thou brought me forth out of the womb? He renews his complaint, bewailing the fact that he was ever born. Oh, that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! He would have died, never have seen the light of day, if God had not called him into being. V. 19. I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave, still-born, a corpse, and out of misery. V. 20. Are not my days few? Was not the time of his life short enough? Could not God take from him some of the burden which was weighting him down? Cease, then, and let me alone, turning His attention elsewhere, that I may take comfort a little, enjoy just a little brightness and cheerfulness, v. 21. before I go whence I shall not return, or, "go hence and return not,” even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; v. 22. a land of darkness, as darkness itself, black as the shades of midnight; and of the shadow of death, without any order, filled with chaotic confusion, and where the light is as darkness, literally, "where it is light as midnight,” said of the most intense darkness, an utterly sunless gloom. Job here, in the bitterness of his soul, gave way to a hopelessness which should never be found in a believer, but which sometimes threatens to overwhelm him. It is only the remembrance of God's unwavering kindness, as a characteristic of faith, that will keep us from such depths of despair.
very emphatic in his statement that Job must ZOPHAR TRIES TO REPROVE JOB. — V, 1. Then
not be allowed the last word in this matter. answered Zophar, the Naamathite, chap.
V. 3. Should thy lies, rather, “chatter, vain 2, 11, and said, v. 2. Should not the multi- babbling," make men hold their peace? tude of words, as just brought out in the "Men” is emphatic; no one who calls himself speech of Job, be answered? And should a a man will remain silent with such talk going man full of talk, literally, "a man of lips," on. And when thou mockest, both men and that is, of many words, a vain and foolish God, in Zophar's opinion, being included in babbler, be justified, be right? Zophar was a Job's upbraiding, shall no man make thee man of zealous and violent spirit, and he was ashamed? It was necessary that his state
ments be refuted, lest he consider himself jus. tified. V. 4. For thou hast said, My doctrine, the moral teaching, the tenets which Job had expounded, is pure, and I am clean in Thine eyes, Job maintained his purity even over against God. V. 5. But oh, that God would speak and open His lips against thee, since such an action would put an immediate end to Job's boasting, as Zophar confidently believed; v. 6. and that He would show thee the secrets of wisdom, making known the true, divine wisdom over against Job's doctrine, that they are double to that which is, that God's wisdom immeasurably surpasses everything that men consider wis. dom! Know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth, literally, “that God consigns to oblivion (a large part of] thy guilt,” leaving it out of account against Job, who would otherwise long have been overwhelmed by God's punishment. V. 7. Canst thou by searching find out God, reaching the bottom of the mystery of God's wonderful essence? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection, penetrating to the uttermost parts of the divine nature? “The nature of God may be sought after, but cannot be found out; and the end of God is unattainable, for He is both: the perfect or absolute God and the endless or infinite God.” (Delitzsch.) V. 8. It is as high as heaven, literally, "heights of heaven," namely, those are the distances which extend between man's understanding and God's infinity; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell, far below the realm of the dead the hidden depths of the divine wisdom extend; what canst thou know ? Man's utter powerlessness in the face of God's immeasurable essence is here brought out with a force rarely equaled. V. 9. The measure thereof is longer than the earth and broader than the sea, the length of God's wisdom is unbounded, and its breadth extends far beyond human understanding. V. 10. If He cut off, passing over, or rushing upon, in anger, and shut up, or gather together, that is, if God arrests a man and calls him to judg. ment, holds a public trial, then who can hinder Him? Who can turn Him aside, who will oppose Him? God will render judgment, God will pass sentence upon every prisoner whom He summons, in spite of all opposition. V. 11. For He knoweth vain men, such evil men as try to disguise their godlessness; He seeth wickedness also; will He not, then, consider it? The statement is rather affirmative: God sees wickedness without considering it, al. though it is open before His eyes; He does not immediately punish the transgressors. V. 12. For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt, literally, “And a hollow-headed, witless man will gain wisdom, and the foal of a wild ass a man will be born,"
which means, either: Before an empty head gains understanding, a wild ass's foal will be born a man, or: A witless fool should be filled with understanding, he should be regenerated and made over into a man, though by nature as untamed as the colt of a wild ass. Zophar wanted to make his rebuke as emphatic as possible, even by means of biting comparisons, in order to overcome Job's calm arguments.
ZOPHAR ADMONISHES JOB TO REPENT. – V. 13. If thou prepare thine heart, bringing it into the proper condition over against God, and stretch out thine hands toward Him, in a gesture of pleading, of asking for mercy; v. 14. if iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles, for without this evidence of a repentant heart the Lord would not heed his prayer. V. 15. For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; having received the assurance of the forgiveness of his sins, his face would show no consciousness of guilt; yea, thou shalt be steadfast and shalt not fear, without wavering, like metals which have hardened in the mold, v. 16. because thou shalt forget thy misery, all the trouble which was now besetting him, and remember it as waters that pass away, that flow by in a stream and make no lasting impression upon the memory, v. 17. and thine age shall be clearer than the noonday, literally, “brighter than noon shall be the duration or way of thy life,” his entire future life would be lifted out of the darkness of the present misery; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning, that is, if any darkness should come, if any new adversity should befall him, it would nevertheless resolve itself into the brightness of a clear morning. V. 18. And thou shalt be secure, have the firm confidence, because there is hope, the text emphasizing the real and lasting existence of this hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, looking about through his household to find whether everything was safe and sound; and thou shalt take thy rest in safety, able to lie down and sleep without the slightest worry. V. 19. Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid, in full peace and security; yea, many shall make suit unto thee, literally, "stroke thy face," flattering him and begging a special favor from him. V. 20. But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, wasting away in a vain search for help, and they shall not escape, every refuge being taken away from them, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost, death remaining as their last hope, as bringing them deliverance from the evils which were laid upon them. This picture of a hopeful future, as painted by Zophar, was also an unconscious prophecy concerning the deliverance which finally came upon Job.
ness of God. V. 9. Who knoweth not in all THE STRANGE GOOD FORTUNE OF THE GOD
these, gaining his understanding from observLESS. – If Zophar's arguments had been valid ing them, that the hand of the Lord hath and Job's suffering was to be regarded as the
wrought this? The entire visible universe direct punishment for a specific sin, then his
proclaims the creation of Jehovah. V. 10. In faith in the justice of God would have been
whose hand is the soul of every living severely shaken. For that reason Job answers
thing, the life which He has given to all creain a tone of great severity. V. 1. And Job tures, and the breath of all mankind, litanswered and said, in a tone and with words erally, "the spirit of all flesh of man.” All of bitter sarcasm, v. 2. No doubt but ye are this must be acknowledged by all observers of the people, that is, the right kind, the repre
nature. V. 11. Doth not the ear try words, sentative men, and wisdom shall die with prove sayings or proverbs, testing their inner you, since, by their own statements, they pos
worth, and the mouth taste his meat? sessed it all, and no one dared to differ vith Even as the palate discriminates between the them. V. 3. But I have understanding as
foods which are taken into the mouth, so the well as you, he was in no wise lacking in the spirit of man should distinguish between matunderstanding of which they thought they had
ters brought to its attention. V. 12. With the the monopoly; I am not inferior to you, he
ancient is wisdom; aged men, in the course was not meaner in wisdom than they and there- of their long life, acquire a true insight into fore did not have to give way one inch; yea, the nature of things; and in length of days who knoweth not such things as these ? understanding; when a person has lived What they had brought forward was a matter many years and always carefully observed of common knowledge, by no means unusual; things, his judgment is usually reliable. But they had no reason to take special pride in now, by way of contrast and in bringing out a their remarks. V. 4. I am as one mocked of
climax, Job refers to God. V. 13. With Him his neighbor, he had become a laughing-stock
is wisdom and strength, He possesses them to his own friends, who calleth upon God, as His personal qualities, as His essential atand He answereth him, that is, I who called
tributes; He hath counsel and understandto God and found a hearing, who had made
ing, the ability to discern what is right and the worship of God the rule of my life. The wrong, sound and corrupt. V. 14. Behold, He just, upright man is laughed to scorn,
breaketh down, in the irresistible exercise of a target for the mockery of those who called His almighty power, and it cannot be built themselves his friends. V. 5. He that is ready again, man being powerless before His might; to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised He shutteth up a man, imprisoning him in in the thought of him that is at ease, lit
troubles as in a cistern or dungeon, and there erally, “For misfortune scorn, according to the
can be no opening, there is no escape from opinion of the prosperous, ready for those
His power. V. 15. Behold, He withholdeth whose foot wavers," that is, fortunate and suc
the waters, restraining all calamity at His cessful people ordinarily have nothing but
will, and they dry up; also He sendeth scorn and contempt for the unfortunate, for
them out, releasing their devastating power, such as are overtaken with misfortune. V.6. and they overturn the earth. V. 16. With The tabernacles of robbers prosper, power
Him is strength and wisdom, true, essential ful tyrants, men who make it a practise to knowledge; the deceived and the deceiver spoil others, live in safety, and they that
are His, both he who errs and he who causes provoke God are secure, Ps. 73, 12; into
others to err. God's wisdom is far above that whose hand God bringeth abundantly,
of all men, whether they use their knowledge rather, "he who has God enter into his hand,” for the good of their fellow-men or abuse it trusting in the weapon which he wields with in leading others astray. V. 17. He leadeth his right hand. The strange good fortune of
counselors away spoiled, stripped of everythe godless has often puzzled believing children
thing they valued, especially the badges of of God, but the solution of the question is
their rank, and maketh the judges fools, found Ps. 73.
depriving them of both their power and presGod's GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD. – V. 7. tige. V. 18. He looseth the bond of kings, But ask now the beasts, and they shall breaking the fetters, the yoke, with which they teach thee, every man can learn from them kept their subjects in obedience, and girdeth what Job very well knew, the majesty of God their loins with a girdle, placing them in in the government of the world; and the bonds, in turn. V. 19. He leadeth princes, fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee; priests who were at the same time rulers, v. 8. or speak to the earth, addressing it for away spoiled, all their authority being taken information, and it shall teach thee, and from them, and overthroweth the mighty, the fishes of the sea shall declare unto those who considered themselves firmly estabthee. All nature unites in declaring the great- lished, mighty and influential persons. V. 20. Popular Commentary, Old Test., II.