|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
38:1-3 Job had silenced, but had not convinced his friends. Elihu had silenced Job, but had not brought him to admit his guilt before God. It pleased the Lord to interpose. The Lord, in this discourse, humbles Job, and brings him to repent of his passionate expressions concerning God's providential dealings with him; and this he does, by calling upon Job to compare God's being from everlasting to everlasting, with his own time; God's knowledge of all things, with his own ignorance; and God's almighty power, with his own weakness. Our darkening the counsels of God's wisdom with our folly, is a great provocation to God. Humble faith and sincere obedience see farthest and best into the will of the Lord.
Verse 3. - Gird up now thy loins like a man. Job had desired to contend with God, to plead with him, and argue out his case (Job 9:32-35; Job 13:3, 18-22; Job 23:4-7; Job 31:35). God now offers to grant his request, and bids him stand forth "as a man'" and "gird himself" for the contest, which he has challenged. For I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. He will begin with interrogatories which Job must answer; then Job will be entitled to put questions to him. Job, however, on the opportunity being given him, shrinks back, and says, "Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken: but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further" (Job 40:4, 5). The confident boldness which he felt when God seemed far off disappears in his presence, and is replaced by diffidence and distrust.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Gird up now thy loins like a man,.... Like a man of valour that girds on his harness for battle: Job is bid to prepare for the controversy the Lord was entering into with him; and bring forth his strong reasons and most powerful arguments in his own defence. The allusion is to the custom in the eastern countries, where they wore long garments, to gird them about their loins, when they engaged in work or war. Job had blustered what he would do, and now he is dared to it; see Job 23:4;
for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me; put questions to him, to which he required a direct and positive answer. Jehovah takes the part of the opponent in this dispute, and gives that of the respondent to Job; since Job himself had put it to his option which to take, Job 13:22.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. a man—hero, ready for battle (1Co 16:13), as he had wished (Job 9:35; 13:22; 31:37). The robe, usually worn flowing, was girt up by a girdle when men ran, labored, or fought (1Pe 1:13).
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