Job 22:30
He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.
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(30) He shall deliver the island of the innocent is undoubtedly an error for He shall deliver him that is not innocent: that is, either God shall deliver, or the humble person, if that is the subject of the former clause; the humble-minded man would have saved them. “He would have delivered him that is not innocent; yea, even so shall he be delivered by the cleanness of thy hands,” as the ten righteous would have saved Sodom. It is remarkable that this, which is the last word of Eliphaz, has in it the significance of a prophecy, for it is exactly thus that the history of Job closes; and Eliphaz himself exemplified his own promise in being indebted to Job for the act of intercession by which he was pardoned, together with his friends; Job 42:8-9.

Job 22:30. He — Whose prerogative it is to give deliverances; shall deliver — Namely, upon thy request, as the following clause shows; the island of the innocent — Not only thyself, when thou shalt become innocent, or righteous, but, for thy sake, he will deliver the whole island, or country, in which thou dwellest: God will have so great a respect to thy innocence, that for thy sake he will deliver those that belong to thee, or live with thee, or near thee, though, in themselves, they be ripe for destruction. By the pureness of thy hands — By thy prayers, proceeding from a pure heart and conscience. So Eliphaz and his two friends, who, in this matter, were not innocent, were delivered by the pureness of Job’s hands, Job 42:8.

22:21-30 The answer of Eliphaz wrongly implied that Job had hitherto not known God, and that prosperity in this life would follow his sincere conversion. The counsel Eliphaz here gives is good, though, as to Job, it was built upon a false supposition that he was a stranger and enemy to God. Let us beware of slandering our brethren; and if it be our lot to suffer in this manner, let us remember how Job was treated; yea, how Jesus was reviled, that we may be patient. Let us examine whether there may not be some colour for the slander, and walk watchfully, so as to be clear of all appearances of evil.He shall deliver the island of the innocent - Margin, "the innocent shall deliver the island." Never was there a more unhappy translation than this; and it is quite clear that our translators had no intelligible idea of the meaning of the passage. What can be meant by "saving the island of the innocent?" The word rendered island (אי 'ı̂y) commonly means, indeed, an island, or a maritime country; see Isaiah 20:6, note. It is, however, used as a "negative" in 1 Samuel 4:21, in the name "I-chabod" - אי־כבוד 'ı̂y-kâbôd. "And she named the child I-chabod (margin, that is, "where is the glory?" or, there is "no glory"), saying, the glory is departed from Israel." This sense is frequent in the Rabbinic Hebrew, where it is used as connected with an adjective in a privative sense, like the English "un." It is probably an abbreviated form of (אין 'ayı̂n) "not, nothing;" and is used here as a "negative" to qualify the following word, "He shall deliver even him that is not innocent."

So it is rendered by the Chaldee, by Le Clerc, Rosenmuller, Gesenius, Noyes, and others. The Vulgate and the Septuagint render it, "He shall deliver the innocent." The sense is, that the man who returns to God, and who is regarded by him as his friend, will be able to intercede for the guilty, and to save them from the punishment which they deserved. His prayers and intercessions will be heard in their behalf, and on his account layouts will be shown to them, even when they did not personally deserve them. This sentiment accords with that expressed in Genesis 18:26, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes;" Ezekiel 14:14, "Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, they should deliver but their own souls;" compare Ezekiel 22:30; Jeremiah 5:1. The sentiment, also, had a beautiful illustration, though one which Eliphaz did not here think of, in his own case and that of his friends, where this very Job, to whom he was giving this counsel, was directed to intercede for them; Job 42:7-8. The sentiment, indeed, is found every where in the Scriptures, that the righteous are permitted to pray for others, and that they are thus the means of bringing down important blessings on them. In answer to those prayers, multitudes are saved from calamity here, and will be brought to eternal life hereafter.

And it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands - Or, rather, he, i. e., the wicked, for whom you pray, will be delivered by the pureness of thine hands. That is, God will save him in answer to the prayers of a righteous man. Your upright and holy life; your pure hands stretched out in supplication, shall be the means of saving him. No one can tell how many blessings are conferred on wicked people because the righteous pray for them. No one can tell how many a wicked son is spared, and ultimately saved, in answer to the intercessions of a holy parent; nor can the wicked world yet know how much it owes its preservation, and the numberless blessings which it enjoys, to the intercessions of the saints. It is one of the innumerable blessings of being a child of God thus to be permitted to be the means of bringing down blessings on others, and saving sinners from ruin. All the friends of God may thus confer unspeakable benefits to others; and they who have "an interest at the throne of grace" should plead without ceasing for the salvation of guilty and dying people.

30. island—that is, "dwelling." But the Hebrew expresses the negative (1Sa 4:21); translate "Thus He (God) shall deliver him who was not guiltless," namely, one, who like Job himself on conversion shall be saved, but not because he was, as Job so constantly affirms of himself, guiltless, but because he humbles himself (Job 22:29); an oblique attack on Job, even to the last.

and it—Rather, "he (the one not heretofore guiltless) shall be delivered through the purity (acquired since conversion) of thy hands"; by thy intercession (as Ge 18:26, &c.). [Maurer]. The irony is strikingly exhibited in Eliphaz unconsciously uttering words which exactly answer to what happened at last: he and the other two were "delivered" by God accepting the intercession of Job for them (Job 42:7, 8).

He, i.e. God, as Job 22:29, whose prerogative it is to give deliverances.

Shall deliver, to wit, upon thy request, as the following clause showeth: God will hear thy prayers even for others, which is a great honour and comfort; and much more for thyself.

The island of the innocent; not only thyself, when thou shalt become innocent and pure, but for thy sake he will deliver the whole island (or country, that word being oft used not only for such lands or countries as were separated from Canaan by the sea, as is commonly observed, but also for such as were upon the same continent with it, as appears from Genesis 10:5 Psalm 72:10 97:1 Isaiah 41:5) in which thou dwellest. Or, the guilty, or him that is not innocent; for the word here rendered island is sometimes used for not, in Scripture, as 1 Samuel 4:21 Proverbs 31:4. So the sense is, God will have so great a respect to thy innocency and purity, that for thy sake he will deliver those that belong to thee, or live with thee, or near thee, though in themselves they be sinful creatures, and ripe for destruction. See Genesis 18:32.

It is delivered, to wit, the island; or, he, i.e. the guilty person.

By the pureness of thine hands, i.e. by thy prayers proceeding from a pure heart and conscience. When thou shalt lift up pure hands to God in prayer, as it is expressed, 1 Timothy 2:8; whereby as he asserts the prevalency of the righteous man’s prayers with God for mercy, both for himself and others; and by this argument he persuadeth Job to repentance; so withal he allegeth this as an argument or evidence that Job did not stretch out pure hands to God in prayer, as he pretended, because his prayers could not prevail for the preservation of himself or his children, and much less for others at a greater distance.

He shall deliver the island of the innocent,.... But where is there such an island, an island of innocent persons? it seems to be better rendered by others, "the innocent shall deliver the island" (s): good men are sometimes, by their counsel and advice, and especially by their prayers, the means of delivering an island or country from ruin and destruction: but the word rendered "island" is a negative particle, as in 1 Samuel 4:21; and signifies "not"; and so in the Targum; which is

"a man that is not innocent shall be delivered:''

in like manner Jarchi interprets it, and so do Noldius (t) and others (u); and the sense is, that Job, for he is the person spoken of, as appears from the following clause, should not only be beneficial by his prayers, to humble and good men, but even to the wicked, such as were not innocent and free from fault and punishment, but guilty, and obnoxious to wrath and ruin; and yet such should escape it, at least for the present, through the prayers and intercession of Job; or God should do this for Job's sake and his prayers:

and it is, or "he is"

delivered by the pureness of thine hands; either by his good works, setting a good example, which, being followed, would be the means of the prevention of present ruin; or by his lifting up pure and holy hands in prayer to God for a sinful people; which God often attends to and hears, and so delivers them from destruction; as the Israelites were delivered through the prayer of Moses, when they had made the golden calf, and worshipped it; see Psalm 106:19; though sometimes God will not admit of an intercessor for such persons, Ezekiel 14:20.

(s) "innocens insulam liberabit", Montanus; so Pagninus, Vatablus. (t) Concordant. Ebr. Part. p. 25. No. 135. (u) "non innocentem", Drusius, Piscator, Michaelis; "non insontem", Schultens; to the same sense Beza, Mercerus, Codurcus, Junius, & Tremellius.

He shall deliver the {x} island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.

(x) God will deliver a whole country from peril, even for the just man's sake.

30. the island of the innocent] Rather, him that is not innocent. Even others who are blameworthy shall be saved through Job’s intercession, because of the cleanness of his hands, for the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. The curious translation “island of the innocent” arose from confounding ’I, an unusual form of the privative particle “not,” with ’I, an island. This form of the privative appears occasionally in proper names as, I-chabod, “not glory” (inglorious). For and it is, better, yea, he shall be.

The charges of unrighteousness (Job 22:5-11) and ungodliness (Job 22:12-17), which Eliphaz allows himself to make against Job, furnish a singular illustration of the length to which good men will suffer their theoretical opinions in religion to carry them. His concluding words, however (Job 22:21-30), are conciliatory and humane, and not unworthy of the very aged and very devout speaker.

Verse 30. - He shall deliver the island of the innocent; rather, he shall deliver even him that is not innocent (see the Revised Version). It is now generally admitted that אי in this place is for אין, as in 1 Samuel 4:21; Proverbs 31:4. The meaning seems to be that God will deliver, at Job's prayer, even guilty persons, who will be delivered by the pureness of Job's hands. Eliphaz thus prophesies his own deliverance and that of his two friends from God's wrath at the intercession of Job, as actually came to pass afterwards (see Job 42:7-9).

Job 22:30It may seem at first sight, that by אי־נקי, the not-guiltless (אי

(Note: In Rabbinic also this abbreviated negative is not אי (as Dukes and Gieger point it), but according to the traditional pronunciation, אי, e.g., אי אפשׁר (impossibilie).)

equals אין equals אין, e.g., Isaiah 40:29; 2 Chronicles 14:10, Ges. 152, 1), Eliphaz means Job himself in his present condition; it would then be a mild periphrastic expression for "the guilty, who has merited his suffering." If thou returne

The speech of Eliphaz opens the third course of the controversy. In the first course of the controversy the speeches of the friends, though bearing upon the question of punishment, were embellished with alluring promises; but these promises were incapable of comforting Job, because they proceeded upon the assumption that he is suffering as a sinner deserving of punishment, and can only become free from his punishment by turning to God. In the second course of the controversy, since Job gave no heed to their exhortations to penitence, the friends drew back their promises, and began the more unreservedly to punish and to threaten, by presenting to Job, in the most terrifying pictures of the ruin of the evil-doer, his own threatening destruction. The misconstruction which Job experiences from the friends has the salutary effect on him of rooting him still more deeply in the hope that God will not let him die without having borne witness to his innocence. But the mystery of the present is nevertheless not cleared up for Job by this glimpse of faith into the future. On the contrary, the second course of the controversy ends so, that to the friends who unjustly and uncharitably deny instead of solving the mystery of his individual lot, Job now presents that which is mysterious in the divine distribution of human fortune in general, the total irreconcilableness of experience with the idea of the just divine retribution maintained by them. In that speech of his, Job 21, which forms the transition to the third course of the controversy, Job uses the language of the doubter not without sinning against God. But since it is true that the outward lot of man by no means always corresponds to his true moral condition, and never warrants an infallible conclusion respecting it, he certainly in that speech gives the death-blow to the dogma of the friends. The poet cannot possibly allow them to be silent over it. Eliphaz, the most discreet and intelligent, speaks. His speech, considered in itself, is the purest truth, uttered in the most appropriate and beautiful form. But as an answer to the speech of Job the dogma of the friends itself is destroyed in it, by the false conclusion by which it is obliged to justify itself to itself. The greatness of the poet is manifest from this, that he makes the speeches of the friends, considered in themselves, and apart from the connection of the drama, express the most glorious truths, while they are proved to be inadequate, indeed perverted and false, in so far as they are designed to solve the existing mystery. According to their general substance, these speeches are genuine diamonds; according to their special application, they are false ones.

How true is what Eliphaz says, that God neither blesses the pious because he is profitable to Him, nor punishes the wicked because he is hurtful to Him; that the pious is profitable not to God, but to himself; the wicked is hurtful not to God, but himself; that therefore the conduct of God towards both is neither arbitrary nor selfish! But if we consider the conclusion to which, in these thoughts, Eliphaz only takes a spring, they prove themselves to be only the premises of a false conclusion. For Eliphaz infers from them that God rewards virtue as such, and punishes vice as such; that therefore where a man suffers, the reason of it is not to be sought in any secondary purpose on the part of God, but solely and absolutely in the purpose of God to punish the sins of the man. The fallacy of the conclusion is this, that the possibility of any other purpose, which is just as far removed from self-interest, in connection with God's purpose of punishing the sins of the man, is excluded. It is now manifest how near theoretical error and practical falsehood border on one another, so that dogmatical error is really in the rule at the same time ἀδικία. For after Eliphaz, in order to defend the justice of divine retribution against Job, has again indissolubly connected suffering and the punishment of sin, without acknowledging any other form of divine rule but His justice, any other purpose in decreeing suffering than the infliction of punishment (from the recognition of which the right and true comfort for Job would have sprung up), he is obliged in the present instance, against his better knowledge and conscience, to distort an established fact, to play the hypocrite to himself, and persuade himself of the existence of sins in Job, of which the confirmation fails him, and to become false and unjust towards Job even in favour of the false dogma. For the dogma demands wickedness in an equal degree to correspond to a great evil, unlimited sins to unlimited sufferings. Therefore the former wealth of Job must furnish him with the ground of heavy accusations, which he now expresses directly and unconditionally to Job. He whose conscience, however, does not accuse him of mammon-worship, Job 31:24, is suffering the punishment of a covetous and compassionless rich man. Thus is the dogma of the justice of God rescued by the unjust abandonment of Job.

Further, how true is Eliphaz' condemnatory judgment against the free-thinking, which, if it does not deny the existence of God, still regards God as shut up in the heavens, without concerning himself about anything that takes place on earth! The divine judgment of total destruction came upon a former generation that had thought thus insolently of God, and to the joy of the righteous the same judgment is still executed upon evil-doers of the same mind. This is true, but it does not apply to Job, for whom it is intended. Job has denied the universality of a just divine retribution, but not the special providence of God. Eliphaz sets retributive justice and special providence again here in a false correlation. He thinks that, so far as a man fails to perceive the one, he must at once doubt the other, - another instance of the absurd reasoning of their dogmatic one-sidedness. Such is Job's relation to God, that even if he failed to discover a single trace of retributive justice anywhere, he would not deny His rule in nature and among men. For his God is not a mere notion, but a person to whom he stands in a living relation. A notion falls to pieces as soon as it is found to be self-contradictory; but God remains what He is, however much the phenomenon of His rule contradicts the nature of His person. The rule of God on earth Job firmly holds, although in manifold instances he can only explain it by God's absolute and arbitrary power. Thus he really knows no higher motive in God to which to refer his affliction; but nevertheless he knows that God interests himself about him, and that He who is even now his Witness in heaven will soon arise on the dust of the grave in his behalf. For such utterances of Job's faith Eliphaz has no ear. He knows no faith beyond the circle of his dogma.

The exhortations and promises by which Eliphaz then (Job 22:21-30) seeks to lead Job back to God are in and of themselves true and most glorious. There is also somewhat in them which reflects shame on Job; they direct him to that inward peace, to that joy in God, which he had entirely lost sight of when he spoke of the misfortune of the righteous in contrast with the prosperity of the wicked.

(Note: Brentius: Prudentia carnis existimat benedictionem extrinsecus in hoc seculo piis contingere, impiis vero maledictionem, sed veritas docet, benedictionem piis in hoc seculo sub maledictione, vitam sub morte, salutem sub damnatione, e contra impiis sub benedictoine maledictionem, sub vita mortem, sub salute damnationem contingere.)

But even these beauteous words of promise are blemished by the false assumption from which they proceed. The promise, the Almighty shall become Job's precious ore, rests on the assumption that Job is now suffering the punishment of his avarice, and has as its antecedent: "Lay thine ore in the dust, and thine Ophir beneath the pebbles of the brook." Thus do even the holiest and truest words lose their value when they are not uttered at the right time, and the most brilliant sermon that exhorts to penitence remains without effect when it is prompted by pharisaic uncharitableness. The poet, who is general has regarded the character of Eliphaz as similar to that of a prophet (vid., Job 4:12.), makes him here at the close of his speech against his will prophesy the issue of the controversy. He who now, considering himself as נקי, preaches penitence to Job, shall at last stand forth as אי נקי, and will be one of the first who need Job's intercession as the servant of God, and whom he is able mediatorially to rescue by the purity of his hands.

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