Job 25:5
Behold even to the moon, and it shines not; yes, the stars are not pure in his sight.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Even to the moon and stars, pure and chaste as their light is, they are not clean before Him (comp. Job 4:18), for the stars rise and set, and once in every month the moon hides her face.

Job 25:5. Behold, even to the moon, and it shineth not — The moon, though bright and glorious, if compared with the divine majesty, is without any lustre or glory. By his naming the moon, and thence proceeding to the stars, he shows that he includes the sun also, and all other creatures, and signifies that the brightest and most glorious objects in nature shine not when compared with God’s ineffable and essential brightness. Indeed, the highest order of beings make but small advances to the essential perfection which is in him; so that, when a comparison is made, their highest purity will be little less than impurity, when brought before the standard of divine perfection.25:1-6 Bildad shows that man cannot be justified before God. - Bildad drops the question concerning the prosperity of wicked men; but shows the infinite distance there is between God and man. He represents to Job some truths he had too much overlooked. Man's righteousness and holiness, at the best, are nothing in comparison with God's, Ps 89:6. As God is so great and glorious, how can man, who is guilty and impure, appear before him? We need to be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost, and to be bathed again and again in the blood of Christ, that Fountain opened, Zec 13:1. We should be humbled as mean, guilty, polluted creatures, and renounce self-dependence. But our vileness will commend Christ's condescension and love; the riches of his mercy and the power of his grace will be magnified to all eternity by every sinner he redeems.Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not - Or, behold even the moon shineth not. That is, in comparison with God it is dark and obscure. The idea is, that the most beautiful and glorious objects become dim and fade away when compared with him. So Jerome renders it, Ecce luna etiam non splendet. The word here rendered "shineth" (יאהיל ya'âhalı̂yl) frequently means to pitch or remove a tent, and is a form of the word אהל 'ôhel uniformly rendered tent or tabernacle. Some have supposed that the meaning here is, that even the moon and the stars of heaven - the bright canopy above - were not fit to furnish a tent or dwelling for God. But the parallelism seems to demand the usual interpretation, as meaning that the moon and stars faded away before God. The word אהל 'ôhel derives this meaning, according to Gesenius, from its relation to the word הלל hâlal, to be clear or brilliant, from the mutual relation of the פא and עע verbs. The Arabic has the same meaning.

Yea, the stars are not pure in his sight - That is, they are not bright in comparison with him. The design is to show the glory of the Most High and that nothing could be compared with him; see the notes at Job 4:18.

5. "Look up even unto the moon" (Job 15:15). "Stars" here answer to "saints" (angels) there; "the moon" here to "the heavens" there. Even the "stars," the most dazzling object to man's eye, and the angels, of which the stars are emblems (Job 4:18; Re 9:1), are imperfect in His sight. Theirs is the light and purity but of creatures; His of the Creator. The moon, though a bright and glorious creature, Job 31:26 Song of Solomon 6:10, if compared with the splendour of the Divine majesty, is but as a dark and earthy lump, without any lustre or glory. He names the

moon and the

stars rather than the sun, because they many times are eclipsed or disappear even to our eyes, which is a plain evidence of their utter obscurity in respect of God’s light; whereas the sun, though that also he obscure, if compared with God, yet it casts a constant and most clear light. Or by naming the moon, and thence proceeding to the stars, the sun is included between them.

The stars are not pure in his sight; he can discern many spots and blemishes in them which we cannot see; and in like manner he can discover those corruptions or sins in us which are unknown to our own conscience, which should make thee, O Job, tremble to appear before his tribunal. Behold, even to the moon,.... If all things that are glorious and illustrious in the lower world, and which are between that and the region of the moon, are beheld; or all from the seat of the Divine Majesty, down to that glorious luminary, are viewed, they lose all their lustre and brightness, when compared with the Divine Being;

and it, even that itself

shineth not; it is darkened, confounded, and ashamed; it hides its beautiful face, and draws in its borrowed and useful light, at the approach of him, who is light itself, and in whom is no darkness at all: or it tabernacles not (n); has no tabernacle to abide in, as is said of the sun, Psalm 19:4; or does not expand and spread its light, as a tent (o) or tabernacle is spread; it does not diffuse, but contracts it. No mention is made of the sun, not because that shines in its own light, which the moon does not; but perhaps because the controversy between Job and his friends was held in the night, when the moon and the stars were only seen, and therefore only mentioned; otherwise, what is here observed equally holds good of the sun as of the moon; see Isaiah 24:23;

yea, the stars are not pure in his sight; as there are spots in the sun and in the moon, seen by the eye of man, aided and assisted, so such may be seen by God in the stars also, and in these, both in a natural and in a mystical sense; as by them may be meant the angels of heaven, even those are not pure in the sight of God, and in comparison of him, the most perfectly pure and holy Being; see Job 4:18.

(n) "et non ponet tabernaculum", Montanus, Bolducius; so Schmidt, Schultens. (o) "Non expandet lumen suum in modum tentorii", Complutenses apud Bolduc.

Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, {d} the stars are not pure in his sight.

(d) If God shows his power, the moon and stars cannot have the light which is given to them, much less can man have any excellency but from God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. The thought of Job 25:4 amplified. Even the moon, the brightest star, does not shine, is dark, when He looks upon it, and the stars are not pure, how much less man, which is a worm? The contrast drawn by Eliphaz between man and the angels is drawn here between man and the heavenly bodies; comp. ch. Job 15:15. The Hebrew has two words for “worm” here, the one the worm of decay and corruption (ch. Job 7:5, Job 17:14, Job 21:26, Job 24:20; Exodus 16:24; Isaiah 14:11), the other in the second clause, used to express the utmost abasement and abjectness, “Fear not thou worm Jacob,” Isaiah 41:14, “But I am a worm and no man,” Psalm 22:6, though occasionally occurring also in the sense of the other word. We have only one word in English, for though Shakespeare speaks of “Grubs and eyeless skulls,” such a term can hardly be used now in language of any elevation.Verse 5. - Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not. Observe, i.e., all that is purely bright in creation, "even to the moon," the most purely bright object of all, and consider that in God's sight, compared to his radiance, it has no brightness - "it shineth not." Or turn your attention from the moon to the stars, rivals of the moon in purity and brilliance, and reflect that the stars are not pure in his sight. A sort of dusky veil overspreads them. 22 And He preserveth the mighty by His strength;

Such an one riseth again, though he despaired of life.

23 He giveth him rest, and he is sustained,

And His eyes are over their ways.

24 They are exalted - a little while, - then they are no more,

And they are sunken away, snatched away like all others,

And as the top of the stalk they are cut off. -

25 And if it is not so, who will charge me with lying,

And make my assertion worthless?

Though it becomes manifest after their death how little the ungodly, who were only feared by men, were beloved, the form of their death itself is by no means such as to reveal the retributive justice of God. And does it become at all manifest during their life? The Waw, with which the strophe begins, is, according to our rendering, not adversative, but progressive. God is the subject. משׁך, to extend in length, used elsewhere of love, Psalm 36:11; Psalm 109:12, and anger, Psalm 85:6, is here transferred to persons: to prolong, preserve long in life. אבּירים are the strong, who bid defiance not only to every danger (Psalm 76:6), but also to all divine influences and noble impulses (Isaiah 46:12). These, whose trust in their own strength God might smite down by His almighty power, He preserves alive even in critical positions by that very power: he (the אבּיר) stands up (again), whilst he does not trust to life, i.e., whilst he believes that he must succumb to death (האמין as Psalm 27:13, comp. Genesis, S. 368; חיּין, Aramaic form, like מלּין, Job 4:2; Job 12:11; the whole is a contracted circumstantial clause for והוא לא וגו). He (God) grants him לבטח, in security, viz., to live, or even directly: a secure peaceful existence, since לבטח is virtually an object, and the ל is that of condition (comp. לרב, Job 26:3). Thus Hahn, who, however, here is only to be followed in this one particular, takes it correctly: and that he can support himself, which would only be possible if an inf. with ל had preceded. Therefore: and he is supported or he can support himself, i.e., be comforted, though this absolute use of נשׁען cannot be supported; in this instance we miss על־טוּבו, or some such expression (Job 8:15). God sustains him and raises him up again: His eyes (עיניחוּ equals עיניו) are (rest) on the ways of these men, they stand as it were beneath His special protection, or, as it is expressed in Job 10:3 : He causes light to shine from above upon the doings of the wicked. "They are risen up, and are conscious of the height (of prosperity) - a little while, and they are no more." Thus Job 24:24 is to be explained. The accentuation רומו with Mahpach, מעט with Asla legarmeh (according to which it would have to be translated: they stand on high a short time), is erroneous. The verb רוּם signifies not merely to be high, but also to rise up, raise one's self, e.g., Proverbs 11:11, and to show one's self exalted, here extulerunt se in altum or exaltati sunt; according to the form of writing רומּוּ, רוּם is treated as an Ayin Waw verb med. O, and the Dagesh is a so-called Dag. affecuosum (Olsh. 83, b), while רמּוּ (like רבּוּ, Genesis 49:23) appears to assume the form of a double Ayin verb med. O, consequently רמם (Ges. 67, rem. 1).

מעט, followed by Waw of the conclusion, forms a clause of itself, as more frequently עוד מעט ו (yet a little while, then ... ), as, e.g., in an exactly similar connection in Psalm 37:10; here, however, not expressive of the sudden judgment of the ungodly, but of their easy death without a struggle (εὐθανασία): a little, then he is not (again a transition from the plur. to the distributive or individualizing sing.). They are, viz., as Job 24:24 further describes, bowed down all at once (an idea which is expressed by the perf.), are snatched off like all other men. המּכוּ is an Aramaizing Hophal-form, approaching the Hoph. of strong verbs, for הוּמכּוּ (Ges. 67, rem. 8), from מכך, to bow one's self (Psalm 106:43), to be brought low (Ecclesiastes 10:18); comp. Arab. mkk, to cause to vanish, to annul. יקּפצוּן (for which it is unnecessary with Olsh. to read יקּבצוּן, after Ezekiel 29:5) signifies, according to the primary signification of קפץ, comprehendere, constringere, contrahere (cogn. קבץ, קמץ, קמט, comp. supra, p. 481): they are hurried together, or snatched off, i.e., deprived of life, like the Arabic qbḍh allâh (קפצו אלהים) and passive qubiḍa, equivalent to, he has died. There is no reference in the phrase to the componere artus, Genesis 49:33; it is rather the figure of housing (gathering into the barn) that underlies it; the word, however, only implies seizing and drawing in. Thus the figure which follows is also naturally (comp. קמץ, Arab. qabḍat, manipulus) connected with what precedes, and, like the head of an ear of corn, i.e., the corn-bearing head of the wheat-stalk, they are cut off (by which one must bear in mind that the ears are reaped higher up than with us, and the standing stalk is usually burnt to make dressing for the field; vid., Ges. Thes. s.v. קשׁ).

(Note: Another figure is also presented here. It is a common thing for the Arabs (Beduins) in harvest-time to come down upon the fields of standing corn - especially barley, because during summer and autumn this grain is indispensable to them as food for their horses - of a district, chiefly at night, and not unfrequently hundreds of camels are laden at one time. As they have no sickles, they cut off the upper part of the stalk with the ‛aqfe (a knife very similar to the Roman sica) and with sabres, whence this theft is called qard קרץ, sabring off; and that which is cut off, as well as the uneven stubble that is left standing, is called qarid. - Wetzst.)).

On ימּלוּ (fut. Niph. equals ימּלּוּ), vid., on Job 14:2; Job 18:16; the signification praedicuntur, as observed above, is more suitable here than marcescunt (in connection with which signification Job 5:26 ought to be compared, and the form regarded as fut. Kal). Assured of the truth, in conformity with experience, of that which has been said, he appeals finally to the friends: if it be not so (on אפו equals אפוא in conditional clauses, vid., Job 9:24), who (by proving the opposite) is able to charge me with lying and bring to nought (לאל equals לאין, Ew. 321, b, perhaps by אל being conceived of as originally infin. from אלל (comp. אליל), in the sense of non-existence, Arab. 'l-‛adam) my assertion?

The bold accusations in the speech of Eliphaz, in which the uncharitableness of the friends attains its height, must penetrate most deeply into Job's spirit. But Job does not answer like by like. Even in this speech in opposition to the friends, he maintains the passionless repose which has once been gained. Although the misjudgment of his character has attained its height in the speech of Eliphaz, his answer does not contain a single bitter personal word. In general, he does not address them, not as though he did not wish to show respect to them, but because he has nothing to say concerning their unjust and wrong conduct that he would not already have said, and because he has lost all hope of his reproof taking effect, all hope of sympathy with his entreaty that they would spare him, all hope of understanding and information on their part.

continued...

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