Job 10:3
Is it good to you that you should oppress, that you should despise the work of your hands, and shine on the counsel of the wicked?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 10:3. Is it good unto thee? — Dost thou take any pleasure in it, that those shouldest oppress? — By thy absolute and irresistible power, without regard to that justice and clemency by which thou usest to govern mankind. Shouldest despise the work of thy hands — Show thy contempt of thy creatures, either by denying them protection, or by destroying them. And shine upon the counsel of the wicked — That is, by the methods of thy providence seem to favour the practices of wicked men, to whom thou givest prosperity and success, while thou frownest upon me and other good men. Far be it from Job to think that God did him wrong. But he is at a loss to reconcile his providences with his justice. And so other good men have often been, and will be, until the day shall declare it.10:1-7 Job, being weary of his life, resolves to complain, but he will not charge God with unrighteousness. Here is a prayer that he might be delivered from the sting of his afflictions, which is sin. When God afflicts us, he contends with us; when he contends with us, there is always a reason; and it is desirable to know the reason, that we may repent of and forsake the sin for which God has a controversy with us. But when, like Job, we speak in the bitterness of our souls, we increase guilt and vexation. Let us harbour no hard thoughts of God; we shall hereafter see there was no cause for them. Job is sure that God does not discover things, nor judge of them, as men do; therefore he thinks it strange that God continues him under affliction, as if he must take time to inquire into his sin.Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress - The sense of this is, that it could not be with God a matter of personal gratification to inflict pain wantonly. There must be a reason why he did it. This was clear to Job, and he was anxious, therefore, to know the reason why he was treated in this manner. Yet there is evidently here not a little of the spirit of complaining. There is an insinuation that God was afflicting him beyond what he deserved; see Job 10:7. The state of his mind appears to have been this: he is conscious to himself that he is a sincere friend of God, and he is unwilling to believe that God can wantonly inflict pain - and yet he has no other way of accounting for it. He is in a sort driven to this painful conclusion - and he asks with deep feeling, whether it can be so? Is there no other solution than this? Is there no way of explaining the fact that he suffers so much, than either the supposition that he is a hypocrite - which he feels assured he is not; or that God took a wanton pleasure in inflicting pain - which he was as little disposed to believe, if he could avoid it? Yet his mind rather verges to this latter belief, for he seems more disposed to believe that God was severe than that he himself was a hypocrite and a wicked man. Neither of these conclusions was necessary. If he had taken a middle ground, and had adverted to the fact that God might afflict his own children for their good, the mystery would have been solved. He could have retained the consciousness of his integrity, and at the same time his confidence in God.

That thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands - Margin, labor. That is, despise man, or treat him as if he were of no value. The idea is, that it would be natural for God to love his own work, and that his treatment of Job seemed as if he regarded his own workmanship - man - as of no value.

And shine upon the counsel of the wicked - By giving them health and prosperity.

3. Job is unwilling to think God can have pleasure in using His power to "oppress" the weak, and to treat man, the work of His own hands, as of no value (Job 10:8; Ps 138:8).

shine upon—favor with prosperity (Ps 50:2).

Dost thou take any pleasure in it? Hast thou any advantage or honour by it? Dost thou think it right and just, and becoming the Ruler of the world?

That thou shouldest oppress, by thy absolute and irresistible power, without any regard to that justice, and equity, and clemency by which thou usest to govern mankind.

That thou shouldest despise, i.e. show thy contempt of them, either by denying them common favour and protection, or by destroying them.

The work of thine hands, which every workman loves and maintains.

Shine upon the counsel of the wicked, i.e. by the methods of thy providence seem to favour the courses and practices of wicked men, to whom thou givest prosperity, and success, whilst thou frownest upon me and other good men. This may have reference either to Job’s friends, whose ungodly censures God seemed to approve, by continuing Job’s afflictions upon him; or to the Chaldeans and Sabeans, who had succeeded in their wicked attempts upon Job; but it seems to he more generally meant of wicked men. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress?.... This God does not approve of in others; he dehorts men from it; he threatens to punish those that do so, and to be a swift witness against them; he promises to arise to the help of the oppressed, and to be a refuge for them, and therefore will never do the same himself; it can never be pleasant to him, nor right and just in his sight, nor is it of any advantage to him. Job here suggests that his afflictions were an oppression to him; and, indeed, no affliction is joyous, but grievous, and sometimes the hand of God presses hard and sore, but then there is no injury nor any injustice done, as the word (e) here used signifies; and he intimates also, as if God took some seeming delight and pleasure in thus oppressing him, and therefore expostulates with him about it, as if such conduct was not fit and becoming him, not agreeable to his perfections, and could afford neither pleasure nor profit. This, and what follows in this verse, are expostulations too bold and daring, and in which Job uses too much freedom with the Almighty, and in which he is not so modest as in Job 10:2,

that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands? which he tacitly insinuates he did. Job means himself, who, as to his body, and the several members of it, were the work of God's hands, curiously and wonderfully made by him, as is afterwards expressed; and as to his soul, and the powers and faculties of it, they were his make, who is the Father of spirits; and moreover, as a new man, he was made by him, was the workmanship of God, and a curious piece indeed, created after his image in righteousness and true holiness; and he was in every sense the work of his hands, or "the labour of his hands" (f); wrought with great care and labour, even with the "palms of his hands", as is the word (g) used; and could Job think that God "despised" such a work? he who, upon a survey of his works, said they were all very good; who forsakes not the work of his hands, nor despises the day of small things, could never do this; nor are afflictions to be interpreted in such a manner, as if God was indifferent unto, slighted and thought meanly of, what he himself has wrought; since these are so far from having such a meaning, that they flow from that great respect he has for his own work, and are for the good of it:

and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? either the counsel of the wicked one, Satan, who moved God to afflict him in the manner he had, or of the Sabeans and Chaldeans, who thrived and prospered, notwithstanding the injury they had done him; or of his friends, who consulted to brand his character with hypocrisy; or, rather, of wicked men in general, on whose counsel God may be thought to "shine", when it succeeds, and God seems to smile upon them in his providence, and they are in prosperous circumstances, and have what heart can wish, when good men are greatly afflicted; which sometimes has been a temptation, and greatly distressing, to the latter; see Psalm 73:2; but this is not always the case; the counsel of the froward is sometimes carried headlong, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is made brutish, and that of Ahithophel was defeated by him; and whenever he seems to countenance it, it is to answer some ends of his glory.

(e) "est opprimere vim injustam alicui facere", Schmidt. (f) "laborem", Pagninus, Montanus, Schultens, Michaelis. (g) "volarum tuarum", Montanus, Bolducius.

Is it {d} good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the {e} work of thine hands, and shine upon the {f} counsel of the wicked?

(d) Is it agreeable to your justice to do me wrong?

(e) Will you be without compassions?

(f) Will you gratify the wicked and condemn me?

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. is it good unto thee] The usual meaning of the phrase is, Is it thy pleasure, does it seem right to thee? Deuteronomy 23:17. The words might also mean, Is it becoming thee? Exodus 14:12. The former sense suits the connexion better, because Job is groping after the discovery of some characteristic or quality in God to account for his afflictions.

the work of thine hands] No doubt both Job and the wicked were all the work of God’s hands, but the righteous are in such a special sense the work of His hands that here they are so described in opposition to the wicked.Verse 3. - Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress? Job assumes that he is oppressed. He has no conception that his sufferings are a purification (John 15:2), intended to lead to the elevation and improvement of his moral character. He therefore asks - Is it worthy of God, is it good in him, is it compatible with his perfect excellence, to be an oppressor? It is a sort of argumentum ad verecundiam well enough between man and man, but quite out of place between a man and his Maker. That thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands (comp. Psalm 138:8). This argument is more legitimate. God may be expected, not to despise, but to care for, the work of his own hands (comp. Isaiah 19:25; Isaiah 29:23; 64:21; Isaiah 64:8; Ephesians 2:10). Every maker of a thing, as Aristotle says, loves his work, and naturally guards it, cares for it, and cherishes it. And shine upon the counsel of the wicked (comp. Job 9:24). The prosperity of evil-doers must arise, Job thinks, from God allowing his countenance to shine upon them. 29 If I am wicked, why do I exert myself in vain?

30 If I should wash myself with snow water,

And make my hands clean with lye,

31 Then thou wouldst plunge me into the pit,

And my clothes would abhor me.

32 For He is not a man as I, that I should answer Him,

That we should go together to judgment.

33 There is not an arbitrator between us

Who should lay his hand upon us both.

The clause with strongly accented "I" affirms that in relation to God is from the first, and unchangeably, a wicked, i.e., guilty, man (Psalm 109:7) (רשׁע, to be a wicked man, means either to act as such Job 10:15, or to appear as such, be accounted as such, as here and Job 10:7; Hiph., Job 9:20, to condemn). Why, therefore, should he vainly (הבל, acc. adv., like breath, useless) exert himself by crying for help, and basing his plaint on his innocence? In Job 9:30 the Chethib is במו, the Keri במי, as the reverse in Isaiah 25:10; mo itself appears in the signification water (Egyptian muau), in the proper names Moab and Moshe (according to Jablonsky, ex aqua servatus); in במו, however, the mo may be understood according to Ges. 103, 2. This is the meaning - no cleansing, even though he should use snow and בּר (a vegetable alkali), i.e., 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. Ewald, Rdiger, and others translate incorrectly: my clothes would make me disgusting. The idea is tame. The Piel תּעב signifies elsewhere in the book (Job 19:19; Job 30:10) to abhor, not to make abhorrent; and the causative meaning is indeed questionable, for מתעב (Isaiah 49:7) signifies loathing, as מכסּה (Job 23:17) covering, and Ezekiel 16:25 certainly borders on the signification "to make detestable," but תעב may also be in the primary meaning, abominari, the strongest expression for that contempt of the beauty bestowed by God which manifests itself by prostitution. Translate: My clothes would abhor me; which does not mean: I should be disgusted with myself (Hirzel); Job is rather represented as naked; him, the naked one, God would - says he - so plunge into the pit that his clothes would conceive a horror of him, i.e., start back in terror at the idea of being put on and defiled by such a horrible creature (Schlottm., Oehler). For God is not his equal, standing on the same level with him: He, the Absolute Being, is accuser and judge in one person; there is between them no arbitrator who (or that he) should lay, etc. Mercier correctly explains: impositio manus est potestatis signum; the meaning therefore is: qui utrumque nostrum velut manu imposita coerceat.

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