Job 4:17
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?

New Living Translation
'Can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone be pure before the Creator?'

English Standard Version
‘Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?

New American Standard Bible
'Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?

King James Bible
Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"Can a person be more righteous than God, or a man more pure than his Maker?"

International Standard Version
Can a mortal person be more righteous than God? Or can the purity of the valiant exceed that of his maker?'

NET Bible
"Is a mortal man righteous before God? Or a man pure before his Creator?

New Heart English Bible
'Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
'Can [any] mortal be righteous to God? Can [any] human being be pure to his maker?'

JPS Tanakh 1917
Shall mortal man be just before God? Shall a man be pure before his Maker?

New American Standard 1977
‘Can mankind be just before God?
            Can a man be pure before his Maker?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?

King James 2000 Bible
Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

American King James Version
Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

American Standard Version
Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Shall man be justified in comparison of God, or shall a man be more pure than his maker?

Darby Bible Translation
Shall [mortal] man be more just than +God? Shall a man be purer than his Maker?

English Revised Version
Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker?

Webster's Bible Translation
Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

World English Bible
'Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?

Young's Literal Translation
'Is mortal man than God more righteous? Than his Maker is a man cleaner?
Study Bible
Eliphaz: the Innocent Prosper
16"It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance; A form was before my eyes; There was silence, then I heard a voice: 17Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? 18'He puts no trust even in His servants; And against His angels He charges error.…
Cross References
Job 4:16
"It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance; A form was before my eyes; There was silence, then I heard a voice:

Job 9:2
"In truth I know that this is so; But how can a man be in the right before God?

Job 25:4
"How then can a man be just with God? Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?

Job 31:15
"Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb?

Job 32:22
"For I do not know how to flatter, Else my Maker would soon take me away.

Job 35:10
"But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night,

Job 36:3
"I will fetch my knowledge from afar, And I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

Psalm 143:2
And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no man living is righteous.
Treasury of Scripture

Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

Shall mortal.

Job 8:3 Does God pervert judgment? or does the Almighty pervert justice?

Job 9:2 I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?

Job 35:2 Think you this to be right, that you said, My righteousness is more than God's?

Job 40:8 Will you also cancel my judgment? will you condemn me, that you may …

Genesis 18:25 That be far from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous …

Psalm 143:2 And enter not into judgment with your servant: for in your sight …

Psalm 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man on earth, that does good, and sins not.

Jeremiah 12:1 Righteous are you, O LORD, when I plead with you: yet let me talk …

Romans 2:5 But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up to yourself …

Romans 3:4-7 God forbid: yes, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is …

Romans 9:20 No but, O man, who are you that reply against God? Shall the thing …

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! …

shall a man.

Job 9:30,31 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean…

Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, …

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that …

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: …

Mark 7:20-23 And he said, That which comes out of the man, that defiles the man…

Revelation 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they …

(17) Shall mortal man be more just than God?--This is the burden, or refrain, upon which the friends of Job are for ever harping. It is perfectly orthodox, but at the same time perfectly inadequate to deal with the necessities of Job's case. He is willing to admit that it is impossible for any man to be just with God; but then arises Job's dilemma, Where is God's justice if He punishes the innocent as the guilty? The word rendered "mortal" man is really weak, frail man, involving, it may be, the idea of mortality, but not immediately suggesting it. As far as mortality implies sin, the notion of being just is absurd; and even a strong man--such is the antithesis--cannot be more pure than He that made him, who, it is assumed, must be both strong and righteous.

Verse 17. - Shall mortal man be more just than God? Is it to be supposed that the ways of God can be rightly criticized and condemned by man? Surely not; for then man must be more penetrated with the spirit of justice than the Almighty. If our thoughts are not as God's thoughts, it must be, our thoughts that are wrong. Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? Equally impossible. God alone is absolutely pure. The best man must be conscious to himself, as Isaiah was (Isaiah 6:5), of uncleanness. Shall mortal man be more just than God?.... Poor, weak, frail, dying man, and so sinful, as his mortality shows, which is the effect of sin; how should such a man be more righteous than God? who is so originally and essentially of himself, completely, perfectly, yea, infinitely righteous in his nature, and in his works, both of providence and grace; in chastising his people, punishing the wicked, and bestowing favours upon his friends, even in their election, redemption, justification, pardon, and eternal happiness: yea, not only profane wicked sinners can make no pretensions to anything of this kind, but even the best of men, none being without sin, no, not man in his best estate; for the righteousness he had then was of God, and therefore he could not be more just than he that made him upright. This comparative sense, which our version leads to, is more generally received; but it seems not to be the sense of the passage, since this is a truth clear from reason, and needed no vision or revelation to discover it; nor can it be thought that God would send an angelic spirit in such an awful and pompous manner, to declare that which every one knew, and no man would contradict; even the most self-righteous and self-sufficient man would never be so daring and insolent as to say he was more righteous than God; but the words should be rather rendered, "shall mortal man be justified by God, or be just from God?" or "with" him, or "before" him (t), in his sight, by any righteousness in him, or done by him? shall he enter into his presence, stand at his bar, and be examined there, and go away from thence, in the sight and account of God, as a righteous person of himself? no, he cannot; now this is a doctrine opposed to carnal reasoning and the common sentiments of men, a doctrine of divine revelation, a precious truth: this is the string of pearls Eliphaz received, see Job 4:12; that mortal man is of himself an unrighteous creature; that he cannot be justified by his own righteousness in the sight of God; and that he must look and seek out for a better righteousness than his own, to justify him before God; and this agrees with Eliphaz's interpretation of the vision, Job 15:14; with the sentiments of his friend Bildad, who seems to have some respect to it, Job 25:4; and also of Job himself, Job 9:2; and in like manner are we to understand the following clause:

shall a man be more pure than his Maker? even the greatest and best of men, since what purity was in Adam, in a state of innocence, was from God; and what good men have, in a state of grace, is from the grace of God and blood of Christ, without which no man is pure at all, and therefore cannot be purer than him from whom they have it: or rather "be pure from", or "with", or "before his Maker" (u), or be so accounted by him; every man is impure by his first birth, and in his nature state, and therefore cannot stand before a pure and holy God, who of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; or go away his presence, and be reckoned by him a pure and holy creature of himself; nor can any thing that he can do, in a moral or ceremonial manner, cleanse him from his impurity; and therefore it is necessary he should apply to the grace of God, and blood of Christ, for his purification.

(t) "an mortalis a Deo justificabitur?" Codurcus' Bolducius, Deodatus, Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 709. "Num mortalis a numine justus erit?" Schultens; so Mr. Broughton, "can the sorrowful man be holden just before the Puissant?" (u) "an quisquam vir a factore suo mundus habebitur?" Codurcus; "an a conditore suo purus erit vir?" Schultens; so Mr. Broughton, "can the human being be clear before him that was his Maker?" 17. mortal man … a man—Two Hebrew words for "man" are used; the first implying his feebleness; the second his strength. Whether feeble or strong, man is not righteous before God.

more just than God … more pure than his maker—But this would be self-evident without an oracle.4:12-21 Eliphaz relates a vision. When we are communing with our own hearts, and are still, Ps 4:4, then is a time for the Holy Spirit to commune with us. This vision put him into very great fear. Ever since man sinned, it has been terrible to him to receive communications from Heaven, conscious that he can expect no good tidings thence. Sinful man! shall he pretend to be more just, more pure, than God, who being his Maker, is his Lord and Owner? How dreadful, then, the pride and presumption of man! How great the patience of God! Look upon man in his life. The very foundation of that cottage of clay in which man dwells, is in the dust, and it will sink with its own weight. We stand but upon the dust. Some have a higher heap of dust to stand upon than others but still it is the earth that stays us up, and will shortly swallow us up. Man is soon crushed; or if some lingering distemper, which consumes like a moth, be sent to destroy him, he cannot resist it. Shall such a creature pretend to blame the appointments of God? Look upon man in his death. Life is short, and in a little time men are cut off. Beauty, strength, learning, not only cannot secure them from death, but these things die with them; nor shall their pomp, their wealth, or power, continue after them. Shall a weak, sinful, dying creature, pretend to be more just than God, and more pure than his Maker? No: instead of quarrelling with his afflictions, let him wonder that he is out of hell. Can a man be cleansed without his Maker? Will God justify sinful mortals, and clear them from guilt? or will he do so without their having an interest in the righteousness and gracious help of their promised Redeemer, when angels, once ministering spirits before his throne, receive the just recompence of their sins? Notwithstanding the seeming impunity of men for a short time, though living without God in the world, their doom is as certain as that of the fallen angels, and is continually overtaking them. Yet careless sinners note it so little, that they expect not the change, nor are wise to consider their latter end.
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