Job 22:5
Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Is not thy wickedness great?—This was mere conjecture and surmise, arising simply from a false assumption: namely, that a just God can only punish the wicked, and that therefore those must be wicked whom He punishes.

Job 22:5. Is not thy wickedness great? — Thy great sins are the true and only cause of thy misery. Or, the verse may be translated, Is not thy evil (thy affliction or punishment) great, because, אין קצ, ein ketz, there is no end to thy iniquities? Are not thy calamities procured by, and in proportion to thy sins? Thy conscience tells thee they are so. And therefore thou hast no reason to accuse God, or any person but thyself.

22:5-14 Eliphaz brought heavy charges against Job, without reason for his accusations, except that Job was visited as he supposed God always visited every wicked man. He charges him with oppression, and that he did harm with his wealth and power in the time of his prosperity.Is not thy wickedness great? - That is, "Is it not utter presumption and folly for a man, whose wickedness is undoubtedly so great, to presume to enter into a litigation with God?" Eliphaz here "assumes" it as an undeniable proposition, that Job was a great sinner. This charge had not been directly made before. He and his friends had argued evidently on that supposition, and had maintained that one who was a great sinner would be punished in this life for it, and they had left it to be implied, in no doubtful manner, that they so regarded Job. But the charge had not been before so openly made. Here Eliphaz argues as if that were a point that could not be disputed. The only "proof" that he had, so far as appears, was, that Job had been afflicted as they maintained great sinners "would be," and they, therefore, concluded that he must be such. No facts are referred to, except that he was a great sufferer, and yet, on the ground of this, he proceeds to take for granted that he "must have been" a man who had taken a pledge for no cause; had refused to give water to the thirsty; had been an oppressor, etc.

And thine iniquities infinite? - Hebrew "And there is no end to thine iniquities," that is, they are without number. This does not mean that sin is an "infinite evil," or that his sins were infinite in degree; but that if one should attempt to reckon up the number of his transgressions, there would be no end to them. This, I believe, is the only place in the Bible where sin is spoken of, in any respect, as "infinite;" and this cannot be used as a proof text, to show that sin is an infinite evil, for:

(1) that is not the meaning of the passage even with respect to Job;

(2) it makes no affirmation respecting sin in general; and

(3) it was untrue, even in regard to Job, and in the sense in which Zophar meant to use the phrase.

There is no intelligible sense in which it can be said that sin is "an infinite evil;" and no argument should be based on such a declaration, to prove that sin demanded an infinite atonement, or that it deserves eternal sufferings. Those doctrines can be defended on solid grounds - they should not be made to rest on a false assumption, or on a false interpretation of the Scriptures.

5. Heretofore Eliphaz had only insinuated, now he plainly asserts Job's guilt, merely on the ground of his sufferings. Thy great sins are the true and only causes of thy misery. The words may very well be rendered thus, Is not thy evil (i.e. thy punishment or affliction, which is frequently expressed by this very word) great, because (the particle and being oft used causally, as it is Genesis 18:13 22:12 24:56 Isaiah 34:1 64:5)

thine iniquities are infinite? Are not thy calamities procured by and proportionable to thy sins? Thy own conscience tells thee they are so. And therefore thou hast no reason to accuse God, nor any person but thyself.

Is not thy wickedness great?.... It must be owned it is, it cannot be denied. Indeed, the wickedness of every man's heart is great, it being desperately wicked, full of sin, abounding with it; out of it comes forth everything that is bad, and the wickedness of actions is very great: some sins are indeed greater than others, as those against God, and the first table of the law, are greater than those against men, or the second table; some are like crimson and scarlet, are beams in the eye, while others are comparatively as motes; yet all are great, as committed against God, and as they are breaches of his law; and especially they appear so to sensible sinners, to whom sin is made exceeding sinful; and they see and own themselves to be the chief of sinners, and as such entreat for pardon on that account, see Psalm 25:11;

and thine iniquities infinite? strictly speaking, nothing is infinite but God; sins may be said in some sense to be infinite, because committed against an infinite God, and cannot be satisfied for by a finite creature, or by finite sufferings, only through the infinite value of the blood of Christ; here it signifies, that his iniquities were "innumerable" (n), as some versions, they were not to be reckoned up, they were so many; or, more literally, there is "no end of thine iniquities" (o), there is no summing of them up; and it may denote his continuance in them; Eliphaz suggests as if Job 54ed in sin, and allowed himself in it, and was going on in a course of iniquity without end, which was very uncharitable; here he charges him in a general way, and next he descends to particulars.

(n) Sept. (o) "non est finis iniquitatibus tuis", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5–9. Job’s afflictions are because of his sins—sins which Eliphaz now suggests and enumerates. They are such sins as a powerful Oriental ruler naturally falls into, inhumanity, avarice, and abuse of power.

Verse 5. - Is not thy wickedness great? Judging from the greatness of Job's punishment, Eliphaz concludes, logically from his premisses, that his wickedness must be commensurate. He must have been guilty of almost every form of ill-doing. And thine iniquities infinite? literally, and is there not no end to thine iniquities? These general conclusions seem to Eliphaz to justify him in proceeding to the enumeration of details. Job 22:5 1 Then began Eliphaz the Temanite, and said:

2 Is a man profitable unto God?

No, indeed! the intelligent man is profitable to himself.

3 Hath the Almighty any profit if thou art righteous,

Or gain if thou strivest to walk uprightly?

4 Will He reprove thee for thy fear of God,

Will He go with thee into judgment?

5 Is not thy wickedness great,

Thine iniquities infinite?

The verb סכן, in the signification to be profitable, is peculiar to the book of Job (although also סכן and סכנת elsewhere, according to its primary signification, does not differ from מועיל, מועילה, by which it is explained by Kimchi); the correct development of the notion of this verb is to be perceived from the Hiph., which occurs in Job 21:21 in this speech of Eliphaz (vid., Ges. Thes.): it signifies originally, like שׁכן, Arab. skn, to rest, dwell, especially to dwell beside one another, then to become accustomed to one another (comp. שׁכן, a neighbour, and Arab. sakanun, a friend, confidant), and to assist one another, to be serviceable, to be profitable; we can say both סכנתּי, I have profit, Job 34:9, and סכן, it is profitable, Job 15:3; Job 35:3, here twice with a personal subj., and first followed by ל, then with the על usual also elsewhere in later prose (e.g., טוב על, 1 Chronicles 13:2, comp. supra, Job 10:3, to be pleasant) and poetry, which gladly adopts Aramaisms (as here and Psalm 16:6, שׁפר על, well-pleased), instead of ל, whence here עלימו, as Job 20:23, pathetic for עליו. The question, which is intended as a negative, is followed by the negative answer (which establishes its negative meaning) with כּי; משׂכּיל is, like Psalm 14:2, the intelligent, who wills and does what is good, with an insight into the nature of the extremes in morality, as in Proverbs 1:3 independent morality which rests not merely on blind custom is called מוסר השׂכל. היה חפץ ל, it is to the interest of any one (different from 1 Samuel 15:22, vid., on Job 21:21), and היה בצע ל, it is to the gain of any one (prop. the act of cutting, cutting off, i.e., what one tears in pieces), follow as synonyms of סכן. On the Aramaizing doubling of the first radical in the Hiph. תתּם (instead of תתם), vid., Ges. 67, rem. 8, comp. 3. It is translated an lucrum (ei) si integras facias vias tuas. The meaning of the whole strophe is mainly determined according to the rendering of המיּראתך (like המבינתך, Job 39:26, with Dech, and as an exception with Munach, not removed to the place of the Metheg; vid., Psalter, ii. 491, Anm. 1). If the suff. is taken objectively (from fear of thee), e.g., Hirz., we have the following line of thought: God is neither benefited by human virtue nor injured by human sin, so that when He corrects the sinner He is turning danger from himself; He neither rewards the godly because He is benefited by his piety, nor punishes the sinner because by his sinning he threatens Him with injury. Since, therefore, if God chastises a man, the reason of it is not to be found in any selfish purpose of God, it must be in the sin of the man, which is on its own account worthy of punishment. But the logical relation in which Job 22:5 stands to Job 22:4 does not suit this: perhaps from fear of thee ... ? no, rather because of thy many and great sins! Hahn is more just to this relation when he explains: "God has no personal profit to expect from man, so that, somewhat from fear, to prevent him from being injurious, He should have any occasion to torment him with sufferings unjustly." But if the personal profit, which is denied, is one that grows out of the piety of the man, the personal harm, which is denied as one which God by punishment will keep far from Himself, is to be thought of as growing out of the sin of the man; and the logical relation of Job 22:5 to Job 22:4 is not suited to this, for. Job 22:5 assigns the reason of the chastisement to the sin, and denies, as it runs, not merely any motive whatever in connection with the sin, but that the reason can lie in the opposite of sin, as it appears according to Job's assertion that, although guiltless, he is still suffering from the wrath of God.

Thus, then, the suff. of המיראתך is to be taken subjectively: on account of thy fear of God, as Eliphaz has used יראתך twice already, Job 4:6; Job 15:4. By this subjective rendering Job 22:4 and Job 22:5 form a true antithesis: Does God perhaps punish thee on account of thy fear of God? Does He go (on that account) with thee into judgment? No (it would be absurd to suppose that); therefore thy wickedness must be great (in proportion to the greatness of thy suffering), and thy misdeeds infinitely many. If we now look at what precedes, we shall have to put aside the thought drawn into Job 22:2 and Job 22:3 by Ewald (and also by Hahn): whether God, perhaps with the purpose of gaining greater advantage from piety, seeks to raise it by unjustly decreed suffering; for this thought has nothing to indicate it, and is indeed certainly false, but on account of the force of truth which lies in it (there is a decreeing of suffering for the godly to raise their piety) is only perplexing.

First of all, we must inquire how it is that Eliphaz begins his speech thus. All the exhortations to penitence in which the three exhaust themselves, rebound from Job without affecting him. Even Eliphaz, the oldest among them, full of a lofty, almost prophetic consciousness, has with the utmost solicitude allured and terrified him, but in vain. And it is the cause of God which he brings against him, or rather his own well-being that he seeks, without making an impression upon him. Then he reminds him that God is in Himself the all-sufficient One; that no advantage accrues to Him from human uprightness, since His nature, existing before and transcending all created things, can suffer neither diminution nor increase from the creature; that Job therefore, since he remains inaccessible to that well-meant call to penitent humiliation, has refused not to benefit Him, but himself; or, what is the reverse side of this thought (which is not, however, expressed), that he does no injury to Him, only to himself. And yet in what except in Job's sin should this decree of suffering have its ground? If it is a self-contradiction that God should chastise a man because he fears Him, there must be sin on the side of Job; and indeed, since the nature of the sin is to be measured according to the nature of the suffering, great and measureless sin. This logical necessity Eliphaz now regards as real, without further investigation, by opening out this bundle of sins in the next strophe, and reproaching Job directly with that which Zophar, Job 20:19-21, aiming at Job, has said of the רשׁע. In the next strophe he continues, with כי explic.:

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