Job 13:19
Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.
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(19) If I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.—A marvellous confession, equivalent to, “If I give up my faith in Him who is my salvation, and my personal innocence, which goes hand-in-hand therewith, I shall perish. To give up my innocence is to give up Him in whom I hold my innocence, and in whom I live.”

13:13-22 Job resolved to cleave to the testimony his own conscience gave of his uprightness. He depended upon God for justification and salvation, the two great things we hope for through Christ. Temporal salvation he little expected, but of his eternal salvation he was very confident; that God would not only be his Saviour to make him happy, but his salvation, in the sight and enjoyment of whom he should be happy. He knew himself not to be a hypocrite, and concluded that he should not be rejected. We should be well pleased with God as a Friend, even when he seems against us as an enemy. We must believe that all shall work for good to us, even when all seems to make against us. We must cleave to God, yea, though we cannot for the present find comfort in him. In a dying hour, we must derive from him living comforts; and this is to trust in him, though he slay us.Who is he that will plead with me? - That is, "who is there now that will take up the cause, and enter into an argument against me? I have set my cause before God. I appeal now to all to take up the argument against me, and have no fear if they do as to the result. I am confident of a sucessful issue, and await calmly the divine adjudication."

For now, if I hold my tongue I shall give up the ghost - This translation, in my view, by no means expresses the sense of the original, if indeed it is not exactly the reverse. According to this version, the meaning is, that if he did not go into a vindication of himself he would die. The Hebrew, however is, "for now I will be silent, and die." That is, "I have maintained my cause, I will say no more. If there is anyone who can successfully contend with me, and can prove that my course cannot be vindicated, then I have no more to say. I will be silent, and die. I will submit to my fate without further argument, and without a complaint. I have said all that needs to be said, and nothing would remain but to submit and die."

19. if, &c.—Rather, "Then would I hold my tongue and give up the ghost"; that is, if any one can contend with me and prove me false, I have no more to say. "I will be silent and die." Like our "I would stake my life on it" [Umbreit]. Who is he that will plead with me? where is the man that will do it? nay, oh that God would do it! which here he implies, and presently expresseth.

I shall give up the ghost; my grief for God’s heavy hand and find your bitter reproaches would break my heart, if I should not give it vent.

Who is he that will plead with me,.... Enter the lists with him; dispute the point, and try the strength of his arguments he had to plead for his own justification: thus Christ, the head of the church, and the surety of his people, is represented as speaking when he had by his obedience and sufferings made satisfaction for them, by bringing in an everlasting righteousness, and was, as their public and federal head, justified and acquitted, Isaiah 1:4; and much the same words are put into the mouth of a believer in him, and are expressed by him, Romans 8:33; who stands acquitted from all charges that men or devils, friends or foes, the law or justice of God, the devil and his own unbelieving heart, at any time, can bring against him. Job, well knowing the uprightness of his heart and life, the justness of his cause depending between him and his friends, boldly challenges them to come forth, and try it with him; or rather he seems desirous that God himself would take the case in hand, and plead with him; he was ready to engage with him, and in the presence of his friends, and in their hearing; and doubted not of being acquitted before God, and at his bar; so satisfied was he of his own innocence as to the things charged upon him:

for now, if I hold my peace, I shall give up the ghost; his sense seems to be, that if he was not allowed to speak for himself, and plead his cause, and have a hearing of it out, he could not live, he could not contain himself, he must burst and die; nor could he live under such charges and calumnies, he must die under the weight and pressure of them; though some think that this not only expresses his eagerness and impatience to have his cause tried fairly before God, but contains in it an argument to hasten it, taken from the near approach of his death: "for now", in a little time, "I shall be silent" (w); be in the silent grave: "I shall expire"; or die; and then it will be too late; therefore if any will plead with me, let them do it immediately, or I shall be soon gone, and then it will be all over: or rather the sense is, I challenge anyone to reason the matter, and dispute the point with me; and I promise that, if the cause goes against me, "now will I be silent"; I will not say one word more in my vindication: "I will die"; or submit to any death, or any sort of punishment, that shall be pronounced upon me; I shall patiently endure it, and not complain of it, or object to the execution of it; so Sephorno.

(w) "nune enim silebo et expirabo", Cocceius; so Schmidt, Schultens.

Who is he that will plead {h} with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall {i} give up the ghost.

(h) To prove that God punishes me for my sins.

(i) If I do not defend my cause, every man will condemn me.

19. Who is he that will plead with me] i. e. plead against me, enter to oppose me with good reasons—who will bring a valid argument against me? The words are a triumphant expression of the feeling that no one will or can, cf. Isaiah 50:8.

for now if I hold my tongue, &c.] Rather, for then would I hold my peace, and give up the ghost; that is, in case any one should appear against him with proof of his sin. The words form a splendid climax to the declaration of his consciousness of innocence. He is sure he shall be found in the right, nay, none will be found to contend with him; if he thought any one could he would be silent and die.

Verse 19. - Who is he that will plead with me? Will God himself plead? Or will he depute some one, man or angel? Job is impatient that the pleadings should begin. For now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost. Some translate, "For now shall I hold my peace and give up the ghost," which they explain to mean, "If God does implead me, I shall take refuge in silence, and straightway expire." But this seems an impossible conclusion, when all that Job has been aiming at and striving for since his opponents taxed him with wickedness has been that he might "speak to the Almighty, and reason with God" (ver. 3). It is far simpler to keep to the translation of the Authorized Version, and understand Job to mean that things have now reached a point at which he must either speak or expire. Job 13:1917 Hear, O hear my confession,

And let my declaration echo in your ears.

18 Behold now! I have arranged the cause,

I know that I shall maintain the right.

19 Who then can contend with me?

Then, indeed, I would be silent and expire.

Eager for the accomplishment of his wish that he might himself take his cause before God, and as though in imagination it were so, he invites the friends to be present to hear his defence of himself. מלּה (in Arabic directly used for confession equals religion) is the confession which he will lay down, and אחוה the declaration that he will make in evidence, i.e., the proof of his innocence. The latter substantive, which signifies brotherly conduct in post-biblical Hebrew, is here an ἅπ. λεγ. from חוה, not however with Aleph prostheticum from Kal, but after the form אזכּרה equals הזכּרה, from the Aphl equals Hiphil of this verb, which, except Psalm 19:3, occurs only in the book of Job as Hebrew (comp. the n. actionis, אחויה, Daniel 5:12), Ewald, 156, c. It is unnecessary to carry the שׁמעוּ on to Job 13:17 (hear now ... with your own ears, as e.g., Jeremiah 26:11); Job 13:17 is an independent substantival clause like Job 15:11; Isaiah 5:9, which carries in itself the verbal idea of תּהי or תּבא (Psalm 18:7). They shall hear, for on his part he has arranged, i.e., prepared (משׁפּט ערך, causam instruere, as Job 23:4, comp. Job 33:5) the cause, so that the action can begin forthwith; and he knows that he, he and no one else, will be found in the right. With the conviction of this superiority, he exclaims, Who in all the world could contend with him, i.e., advance valid arguments against his defence of himself? Then, indeed, if this impossibility should happen, he would be dumb, and willingly die as one completely overpowered not merely in outward appearance, but in reality vanquished. יריב עמדי following הוא מי (comp. Job 4:7) may be taken as an elliptical relative clause: qui litigare possit mecum (comp. Isaiah 50:9 with Romans 8:34, τίς ὁ καταδρίνων); but since זה הוא מי is also used in the sense of quis tandem or ecquisnam, this syntactic connection which certainly did exist (Ewald, 325, a) is obliterated, and הוא serves like זה only to give intensity and vividness to the מי. On עתּה כּי (in meaning not different to אז כּי), vid., Job 3:13; Job 8:6. In Job 13:19 that is granted as possible which, according to the declaration of his conscience, Job must consider as absolutely impossible. Therefore he clings to the desire of being able to bring his cause before God, and becomes more and more absorbed in the thought.

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