Job 19:6
Know now that God has overthrown me, and has compassed me with his net.
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(6) Know now that God hath overthrown me.—Bildad had spoken a great deal about the wicked being snared by his own sin, and now Job, without actually quoting his words—for he uses a word for net that Bildad had not used—speaks to their substance. It is God who has taken him in His net and compassed him about therewith. This is the assertion he has made before (Job 16:7; Job 13:27, &c.).

Job 19:6-7. Know now — Consider well, that God hath overthrown me — Hath grievously afflicted me in various ways, and therefore it ill becomes you to aggravate my miseries. Hebrew, עותני, gnivetani; hath perverted me; either my state and condition, as has now been said: or my right and cause. He oppresseth me with power, and will not give me a fair hearing, as it follows, Job 19:7. This is a harsh reflection on God: but such thoughts and expressions have sometimes proceeded from good men when they have been under sore afflictions and temptations, which was now Job’s case. And hath compassed me with his net — With afflictions on every side, so that I cannot escape, nor obtain freedom to plead with him as I desire. Behold, I cry out of wrong — Hebrew, אצעק חמס, etsgnack chamas, literally, I cry out injury! violence! namely, from my friends, who show me no pity, but condemn me without cause, and rob me of my good name; or from the Sabeans and Chaldeans, who have plundered me of my substance. Perhaps he also meant to complain that God himself treated him with rigorous justice, and not according to the mercy and benignity which he was wont to show to upright and good men. I cry aloud, but there is no judgment — Neither God nor man relieves or pities me. God, for a time, may seem to turn away his ear from his people, to be angry at their prayers, and overlook their appeals to him, and they must be excused if in that case they complain bitterly. Wo unto us if God be against us.19:1-7 Job's friends blamed him as a wicked man, because he was so afflicted; here he describes their unkindness, showing that what they condemned was capable of excuse. Harsh language from friends, greatly adds to the weight of afflictions: yet it is best not to lay it to heart, lest we harbour resentment. Rather let us look to Him who endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, and was treated with far more cruelty than Job was, or we can be.Know now that God - Understand the case; and in order that they might, he goes into an extended description of the calamities which God had brought upon him. He wished them to be "fully" apprised of all that he had suffered at the hand of God.

Hath overthrown me - The word used here (עות ‛âvath) means to bend, to make crooked or curved; then to distort, prevert: them to overturn, to destroy; Isaiah 24:1; Lamentations 3:9. The meaning here is, that he had been in a state of prosperity, but that God had completely "reversed" everything.

And hath compassed me with his net - Has sprung his net upon me as a hunter does, and I am caught. Perhaps there may be an allusion here to what Bildad said in Job 18:8 ff, that the wicked would be taken in his own snares. Instead of that, Job says that "God" had sprung the snare upon him - for reasons which he could not understand, but in such a manner as should move the compassion of his friends.

6. compassed … net—alluding to Bildad's words (Job 18:8). Know, that it is not that I as a wicked man have been caught in my "own net"; it is God who has compassed me in His—why, I know not. Know now; consider what I am now saying.

Hath overthrown me; hath grievously afflicted me in all kinds; therefore it ill becomes you to aggravate my miseries; and if my passions, hereby raised, have broken forth into some extravagant and unmeet expressions, I might expect your pity and favourable construction, and not such severe censures and reproaches. Heb. God hath perverted me, i.e. either my state or condition, as was now said, or my right and cause. He oppresseth me with power, and will not give me a fair hearing, as it follows, Job 19:7. He giveth me very hard measure, and dealeth worse with me than I might in reason and justice expect from so wise and good a God. This is a harsh reflection upon God; but such passages have sometimes come from good men, when under sore afflictions and temptations, which was Job’s case.

With his net, i.e. with afflictions on every side, so that I cannot escape, nor get any freedom to come to him and plead with him, as I desire. Know now that God hath overthrown me,.... He would have them take notice that all his afflictions were from the hand of God; and therefore should take care to what they imputed any acts of his, whose ways are unsearchable, and the reasons of them not to be found out; and therefore, if a wrong construction should be put upon them, which may be easily done by weak sighted men, it must be displeasing to him. Job had all along from the first ascribed his afflictions to God, and he still continued to do so; he saw his hand in them all; whoever were the instruments, it was God that had overthrown him, or cast him down from an high to a very low estate; that had taken away his substance, his children, and his wealth: or "hath perverted me" (l); not that God had made him perverse, or was the cause or occasion of any perverseness in him, either in his words or in his actions, or had perverted his cause, and the judgment of it; Job could readily answer to those questions of Bildad, "doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?" and say, no, he doth not; but he is to be understood in the same sense as the church is, when she says, see Lamentations 3:9; "he hath made my path crooked"; where the same word is used as here; and both she and Job mean that God had brought them into cross, crooked, and afflictive dispensations:

and hath compassed me with his net; and which also designs affliction, which is God's net, which he has made, ordained, and makes use of; which he lays for his people, and takes them in, and draws them to himself, and prevents them committing sin, and causes to issue in their good; see Lamentations 1:13.

(l) "pervertit me", Montanus, Mercerus; so Vatablus, Drusius, Schultens.

Know now that God hath {c} overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.

(c) He breaks out again into his passions and declares still that his affliction comes from God though he is not able to feel the cause in himself.

6. Know now] Or, as we say, know then. The word God is emphatic.

overthrown me] More probably, perverted my right (Job 19:7); this, not his guilt, is the explanation of his afflictions. By his reference to the “net” of God Job repudiates the statements of Bildad, ch. Job 18:8 seq.; it was not his own feet that led him into the net, God had thrown it about him.Verse 6. - Know now that God hath overthrown me; or, perverted me - "subverted me in my cause" (see Lamentations 3:6). And hath compassed me with his net. Professor Lee thinks that the net, or rather noose, intended by the rare word מצוּד is the lasso' which was certainly employed in war (Herod., 7:85), and probably also in hunting, from ancient times in the East. Bildad had insinuated that Job had fallen into his own snare (Job 18:7-9); Job replies that the snare in which he is taken is from God. 20 Those who dwell in the west are astonished at his day,

And trembling seizeth those who dwell in the east;

21 Surely thus it befalleth the dwellings of the unrighteous,

And thus the place of him that knew not God.

It is as much in accordance with the usage of Arabic as it is biblical, to call the day of a man's doom "his day," the day of a battle at a place "the day of that place." Who are the אחרנים who are astonished at it, and the קדמנים whom terror (שׂער as twice besides in this sense in Ezek.) seizes, or as it is properly, who seize terror, i.e., of themselves, without being able to do otherwise than yield to the emotion (as Job 21:6; Isaiah 13:8; comp. on the contrary Exodus 15:14.)? Hirz., Schlottm., Hahn, and others, understand posterity by אחרנים, and by קדמנים their ancestors, therefore Job's contemporaries. But the return from the posterity to those then living is strange, and the usage of the language is opposed to it; for קדמנים is elsewhere always what belongs to the previous age in relation to the speaker (e.g., 1 Samuel 24:14, comp. Ecclesiastes 4:16). Since, then, קדמני is used in the signification eastern (e.g., הים הקדמוני, the eastern sea equals the Dead Sea), and אחרון in the signification western (e.g., הים האחרון, the western sea equals the Mediterranean), it is much more suited both to the order of the words and the usage of the language to understand, with Schult., Oetinger, Umbr., and Ew., the former of those dwelling in the west, and the latter of those dwelling in the east. In the summarizing Job 18:21, the retrospective pronouns are also praegn., like Job 8:19; Job 20:29, comp. Job 26:14 : Thus is it, viz., according to their fate, i.e., thus it befalls them; and אך here retains its original affirmative signification (as in the concluding verse of Psalm 58:1-11), although in Hebrew this is blended with the restrictive. וזה has Rebia mugrasch instead of great Schalscheleth,

(Note: Vid., Psalter ii. 503, and comp. Davidson, Outlines of Hebrew Accentuation (1861), p. 92, note.)

and מקום has in correct texts Legarme, which must be followed by לא־ידע with Illuj on the penult. On the relative clause לא־ידע אל without אשׁר, comp. e.g., Job 29:16; and on this use of the st. constr., vid., Ges. 116, 3. The last verse is as though those mentioned in Job 18:20 pointed with the finger to the example of punishment in the "desolated" dwellings which have been visited by the curse.

This second speech of Bildad begins, like the first (Job 8:2), with the reproach of endless babbling; but it does not end like the first (Job 8:22). The first closed with the words: "Thy haters shall be clothed with shame, and the tent of the godless is no more," the second is only an amplification of the second half of this conclusion, without taking up again anywhere the tone of promise, which there also embraces the threatening.

It is manifest also from this speech, that the friends, to express it in the words of the old commentators, know nothing of evangelical but only of legal suffering, and also only of legal, nothing of evangelical, righteousness. For the righteousness of which Job boasts is not the righteousness of single works of the law, but of a disposition directed to God, of conduct proceeding from faith, or (as the Old Testament generally says) from trust in God's mercy, the weaknesses of which are forgiven because they are exonerated by the habitual disposition of the man and the primary aim of his actions. The fact that the principle, "suffering is the consequence of human unrighteousness," is accounted by Bildad as the formula of an inviolable law of the moral order of the world, is closely connected with that outward aspect of human righteousness. One can only thus judge when one regards human righteousness and human destiny from the purely legal point of view. A man, as soon as we conceive him in faith, and therefore under grace, is no longer under that supposed exclusive fundamental law of the divine dealing. Brentius is quite right when he observes that the sentence of the law certainly is modified for the sake of the godly who have the word of promise. Bildad knows nothing of the worth and power which a man attains by a righteous heart. By faith he is removed from the domain of God's justice, which recompenses according to the law of works; and before the power of faith even rocks move from their place.

Bildad then goes off into a detailed description of the total destruction into which the evil-doer, after going about for a time oppressed with the terrors of his conscience as one walking over snares, at last sinks beneath a painful sickness. The description is terribly brilliant, solemn, and pathetic, as becomes the stern preacher of repentance with haughty mien and pharisaic self-confidence; it is none the less beautiful, and, considered in itself, also true - a masterpiece of the poet's skill in poetic idealizing, and in apportioning out the truth in dramatic form. The speech only becomes untrue through the application of the truth advanced, and this untruthfulness the poet has most delicately presented in it. For with a view of terrifying Job, Bildad interweaves distinct references to Job in his description; he knows, however, also how to conceal them under the rich drapery of diversified figures. The first-born of death, that hands the ungodly over to death itself, the king of terrors, by consuming the limbs of the ungodly, is the Arabian leprosy, which slowly destroys the body. The brimstone indicates the fire of God, which, having fallen from heaven, has burned up one part of the herds and servants of Job; the withering of the branch, the death of Job's children, whom he himself, as a drying-up root that will also soon die off, has survived. Job is the ungodly man, who, with wealth, children, name, and all that he possessed, is being destroyed as an example of punishment for posterity both far and near.

But, in reality, Job is not an example of punishment, but an example for consolation to posterity; and what posterity has to relate is not Job's ruin, but his wondrous deliverance (Psalm 22:31.). He is no עוּל, but a righteous man; not one who לא ידע־אל, but he knows God better than the friends, although he contends with Him, and they defend Him. It is with him as with the righteous One, who complains, Psalm 69:21 : "Contempt hath broken my heart, and I became sick: I hoped for sympathy, but in vain; for comforters, and found none;" and Psalm 38:12 (comp. Psalm 31:12; Psalm 55:13-15; Psalm 69:9; Psalm 88:9, 19): "My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my stroke, and my kinsmen stand afar off." Not without a deep purpose does the poet make Bildad to address Job in the plural. The address is first directed to Job alone; nevertheless it is so put, that what Bildad says to Job is also intended to be said to others of a like way of thinking, therefore to a whole party of the opposite opinion to himself. Who are these like-minded? Hirzel rightly refers to Job 17:8. Job is the representative of the suffering and misjudged righteous, in other words: of the "congregation," whose blessedness is hidden beneath an outward form of suffering. One is hereby reminded that in the second part of Isaiah the יהוה עבד is also at one time spoken of in the sing., and at another time in the plur.; since this idea, by a remarkable contraction and expansion of expression (systole and diastole), at one time describes the one servant of Jehovah, and at another the congregation of the servants of Jehovah, which has its head in Him. Thus we again have a trace of the fact that the poet is narrating a history that is of universal significance, and that, although Job is no mere personification, he has in him brought forth to view an idea connected with the history of redemption. The ancient interpreters were on the track of this idea when they said in their way, that in Job we behold the image of Christ, and the figure of His church. Christi personam figuraliter gessit, says Beda; and Gregory, after having stated and explained that there is not in the Old Testament a righteous man who does not typically point to Christ, says: Beatus Iob venturi cum suo corpore typum redemtoris insinuat.

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