|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:21-36 Having stated his distress and temptation, the prophet shows how he was raised above it. Bad as things are, it is owing to the mercy of God that they are not worse. We should observe what makes for us, as well as what is against us. God's compassions fail not; of this we have fresh instances every morning. Portions on earth are perishing things, but God is a portion for ever. It is our duty, and will be our comfort and satisfaction, to hope and quietly to wait for the salvation of the Lord. Afflictions do and will work very much for good: many have found it good to bear this yoke in their youth; it has made many humble and serious, and has weaned them from the world, who otherwise would have been proud and unruly. If tribulation work patience, that patience will work experience, and that experience a hope that makes not ashamed. Due thoughts of the evil of sin, and of our own sinfulness, will convince us that it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. If we cannot say with unwavering voice, The Lord is my portion; may we not say, I desire to have Him for my portion and salvation, and in his word do I hope? Happy shall we be, if we learn to receive affliction as laid upon us by the hand of God.
Verse 29. - He putteth his mouth, etc. An Oriental manner of expressing submission (comp. Micah 7:17; Psalm 72:9).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He putteth his mouth in the dust,.... Of self-abhorrence; sensible of his own vileness and nothingness, his unworthiness, and the unprofitableness of all his duties; ascribing the whole of his salvation to the free grace of God, Job 42:6; humbling himself under the mighty hand of God; not daring to open his mouth in a complaining way against him; but prostrating himself before him to the earth, as the manner of the eastern people in prayer was, to which the allusion is; licking as it were the dust of the earth, under a sense of the distance and disproportion between God and him, who is but dust and ashes; so the Targum adds,
"and is prostrate before the Lord:''
if so be there may be hope; or, "peradventure there is hope" (d); for, as some interpreters observe, these words do not express hesitation and doubt, but hope and expectation of help, to bear the yoke of God's commandments, and in due time to be delivered from affliction and distress.
(d) "forte est expectatio", Junius & Tremellius; "fortassis", Piscator, Cocceius; "forte est spes", Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
29. (Job 42:6). The mouth in the dust is the attitude of suppliant and humble submission to God's dealings as righteous and loving in design (compare Ezr 9:6; 1Co 14:25).
if so be there may be hope—This does not express doubt as to whether God be willing to receive the penitent, but the penitent's doubt as to himself; he whispers to himself this consolation, "Perhaps there may be hope for me."
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