Job 13:25
Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Wilt thou break a leaf.—His confession of sin here approaches even to what the Psalmist describes as the condition of the ungodly (Psalm 1:4).

Job 13:25. Wilt thou break a leaf? &c. — Doth it become thy infinite and excellent majesty to use thy might to crush such a poor, impotent, and frail creature as I am, that can no more resist thy power than a leaf or a little dry straw can resist the fury of the wind or fire? Thus, whatever was irreverent or unbecoming in Job’s expressions, as recorded in Job 13:22, is greatly alleviated, as Dr. Dodd has observed, from Peters, by the humility and self- abasement manifested in these last three verses. Scarcely ever were the feelings of the human heart, burdened with an extraordinary load of grief, expressed in a more natural, or less blameable way. He first wishes that God would discover to him the particular sins, if there were any, for which he thus afflicted him, intimating his readiness to deplore them, and to correct his errors for the future. Secondly, he accounts it the greatest of his calamities, that God should hide his face from him, and deal with him as an enemy; on whose friendship and favour he had always set the highest value; had endeavoured to preserve it by the integrity of his life, and was resolved never to depart from that integrity. Lastly, he confesses his own meanness, or rather nothingness, in comparison of God; and that in a manner so ingenuous and simple, as to show that his complaints, however passionate and moving, did not proceed from pride or stubbornness of spirit.

13:23-28 Job begs to have his sins discovered to him. A true penitent is willing to know the worst of himself; and we should all desire to know what our transgressions are, that we may confess them, and guard against them for the future. Job complains sorrowfully of God's severe dealings with him. Time does not wear out the guilt of sin. When God writes bitter things against us, his design is to make us bring forgotten sins to mind, and so to bring us to repent of them, as to break us off from them. Let young persons beware of indulging in sin. Even in this world they may so possess the sins of their youth, as to have months of sorrow for moments of pleasure. Their wisdom is to remember their Creator in their early days, that they may have assured hope, and sweet peace of conscience, as the solace of their declining years. Job also complains that his present mistakes are strictly noticed. So far from this, God deals not with us according to our deserts. This was the language of Job's melancholy views. If God marks our steps, and narrowly examines our paths, in judgment, both body and soul feel his righteous vengeance. This will be the awful case of unbelievers, yet there is salvation devised, provided, and made known in Christ.Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? - Job here means to say that the treatment of God in regard to him was like treading down a leaf that was driven about by the wind - an insigni ficant, unsettled, and worthless thing. "Wouldst thou show thy power against such an object?" - The sense is, that it was not worthy of God thus to pursue one so unimportant, and so incapable of offering any resistance.

And wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? - Is it worthy of God thus to contend with the driven straw and stubble of the field? To such a leaf, and to such stubble, he compares himself; and he asks whether God could be employed in a work such as that would be, of pursuing such a flying leaf or driven stubble with a desire to overtake it, and wreak his vengeance on it.

25. (Le 26:36; Ps 1:4). Job compares himself to a leaf already fallen, which the storm still chases hither and thither.

break—literally, "shake with (Thy) terrors." Jesus Christ does not "break the bruised reed" (Isa 42:3, 27:8).

Doth it become thy infinite and excellent majesty to use all thy might to crush such a poor, impotent, frail creature as I am, that can no more resist thy power than a leaf, or a little loose and dry straw can resist the fury of the wind or fire.

Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro?.... A leaf that falls from a tree in autumn, and withers and is rolled up, and driven about by the wind, which it cannot resist, to which Job here compares himself; but it is not to be understood of him with respect to his spiritual estate; for being a good man, and one that trusted in the Lord, and made him his hope, he was, as every good man is, like to a tree planted by rivers of water, whose leaf withers not, but is always green, and does not fall off, as is the case of carnal professors, who are compared to trees in autumn, which cast their leaves and rotten fruit; see Psalm 1:3; but in respect to his outward estate, his frailty, weakness, and feebleness, especially as now under the afflicting hand of God; see Isaiah 64:6; so John the Baptist, on account of his being a frail mortal man, a weak feeble creature, compares himself to a reed shaken with the wind, Matthew 11:7; now to break such an one was to add affliction to affliction, and which could not well be borne; and the like is signified by the next clause,

and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? which cannot stand before the wind, or the force of devouring fire; this also respects not Job in his spiritual estate, with regard to which he was not like to dry stubble or chaff, to which wicked men are compared, Psalm 1:4; but to standing corn and wheat in the full ear; and not only to green grass, which is flourishing, but to palm trees, and cedar trees of the Lord, which are full of sap, to which good men are like; but he describes him in his weak and afflicted state, tossed to and fro like dry stubble; and no more able to contend and grapple with an incensed God than dry stubble can withstand devouring flames; this he says, partly to suggest that it was below the Divine Being to set his strength against his weakness; as David said to Saul, "after whom is the king of Israel come out? after a dead dog, after a flea?" 1 Samuel 24:14; which words Bar Tzemach compares with these; and partly to move the divine pity and commiseration towards him, who uses not to "break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax", Isaiah 42:3.

Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. Wilt thou break] Or, Wilt thou affright, that is, chase. The “driven leaf” and the “dry stubble” are figures for that which is so light and unsubstantial that it is the sport of every wind of circumstance. So Job describes himself, in contrast with God, and asks, Is thy determination to assail this kind of foe the explanation of my afflictions?

Verse 25. - Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? Job compares himself to two of the weakest things in nature - a withered leaf, and a morsel of dry stubble. He cannot believe that God will employ his almighty strength in crushing and destroying what is so slight and feeble. A deep sense of God's goodness and compassion underlies the thought. Job 13:2523 How many are mine iniquities and sins?

Make me to know my transgression and sin! - -

24 Wherefore dost Thou hide Thy face,

And regard me as Thine enemy?

25 Wilt Thou frighten away a leaf driven to and fro,

And pursue the dry stubble?

When עון and חטּאת, פּשׁע and חטּאת, are used in close connection, the latter, which describes sin as failing and error, signifies sins of weakness (infirmities, Schwachheitssnde); whereas עון (prop. distorting or bending) signifies misdeed, and פשׁע (prop. breaking loose, or away from, Arab. fsq) wickedness which designedly estranges itself from God and removes from favour, both therefore malignant sin (Bosheitssnde).

(Note: Comp. the development of the idea of the synonyms for sin in von Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, i. 483ff., at the commencement of the fourth Lehrstck.)

The bold self-confidence which is expressed in the question and challenge of Job 13:23 is, in Job 13:24, changed to grievous astonishment that God does not appear to him, and on the contrary continues to pursue him as an enemy without investigating his cause. Has the Almighty then pleasure in scaring away a leaf that is already blown to and fro? העלה, with He interrog., like החכם, Job 15:2, according to Ges. 100, 4. ערץ used as transitive here, like Psalm 10:18, to terrify, scare away affrighted. Does it give Him satisfaction to pursue dried-up stubble? By את (before an indeterminate noun, according to Ges. 117, 2) he points δεικτικῶς to himself: he, the powerless one, completely deprived of strength by sickness and pain, is as dried-up stubble; nevertheless God is after him, as though He would get rid of every trace of a dangerous enemy by summoning His utmost strength against him.

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