Why hide you your face, and hold me for your enemy?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Isaiah 1:15.
enemy—God treated Job as an enemy who must be robbed of power by ceaseless sufferings (Job 7:17, 21).Hidest thou thy face, i.e. withdrawest thy favour and help which thou didst use to afford me; as this phrase is commonly used, as Deu 31:17 Psalm 13:1 102:2, &c.
Holdest me for thine enemy, i.e. dealest as sharply with me as if I were thy professed enemy. Job 23:2; a greater blessing cannot be had than the gracious presence of God; nothing gives more pleasure when enjoyed, and nothing more grievous to good men when it is withheld; oftentimes sin is the cause of it, but not always, as in this instance of Job; the end of the Lord in all his afflictions, both inward and outward, was to try his patience, his integrity, and faithfulness; but as Job was for the present ignorant of it, he desires to know the reason of this the Lord's behaviour towards him; as it is what all good men should do in the like circumstances, nothing being more afflicting and distressing to them, and even intolerable; see Psalm 10:11; some think here is an allusion to the behaviour of judges towards such as were condemned by them, they were prejudiced against, and would neither hear nor see them; or to a rite and custom in former times, as Pineda observes, when judges, at the time of pronouncing sentence on a malefactor, used to draw a curtain between them; or to the covering of the face of the criminal, see Job 9:24;
and holdest me for thine enemy? Job had been an enemy to God, as all men are in a state of nature, yea, enmity itself, as is shown by their wicked works; but he was now reconciled unto God, the enmity of his heart was slain, and he had laid down his weapons of rebellion, and ceased committing hostilities against God, and was become subject to him and to his law, through the power of efficacious grace; a principle of love, which is the fruit of the spirit in regeneration, was implanted in him; and he was a true and sincere lover of God, one that feared him, and trusted in him; whose faith worked by love, and so appeared to be of the right kind; and therefore, since he was conscious to himself that he loved God with all his heart, loved his word, his ways, and worship, his people and all that belonged to him, it was cutting and grievous to him to be thought and accounted, or deal with, as an enemy to him; for so he interpreted his conduct towards him; as he afflicted him, he took it to be in anger and fury, and hot displeasure; and as he hid his face from him, he supposed it was in great wrath, viewing him in this light as his enemy.Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. Wherefore hidest thou thy face] This does not mean, Wherefore dost thou refuse to answer me now? the reference is to God’s severity in afflicting him, as is shewn by the words “holdest me for thine enemy,” cf. ch. Job 19:5, Job 35:2 seq.Verse 24. - Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy? What is thy reason for withdrawing from me the light of thy countenance, and behaving towards me as though thou weft mine enemy? Job does not believe God to be his enemy. He knows that God will one day be his Salvation (ver. 16); but he recognizes a present alienation, and desires to be made acquainted with the cause of it.
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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