Job 25:5
Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, 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. Job 25:5Instead of the appellation מרומיו, which reminds one of Isaiah 24:21, - where a like peacemaking act of judgment on the part of God is promised in reference to the spirit-host of the heights that have been working seductively among the nations on earth, - גּדוּדיו, of similar meaning to צבאיו, used elsewhere, occurs in this verse. The stars, according to biblical representation, are like an army arrayed for battle, but not as after the Persian representation - as an army divided into troops of the Ahuramazd and Angramainyus (Ahriman), but a standing army of the children of light, clad in the armour of light, under the guidance of the one God the Creator (Isaiah 40:26, comp. the anti-dualistic assertion in Isaiah 45:7). The one God is the Lord among these numberless legions, who commands their reverence, and maintains unity among them; and over whom does not His light arise? Umbr. explains: who does not His light, which He communicates to the hosts of heaven, vanquish (קוּם על in the usual warlike meaning: to rise against any one); but this is a thought that is devoid of purpose in this connection. אורהו with the emphatic suff. hu (as Job 24:23, עיניהוּ) at any rate refers directly to God: His light in distinction from the derived light of the hosts of heaven. This distinction is better brought out if we interpret (Merc., Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm., and others): over whom does (would) not His light arise? i.e., all receive their light from His, and do but reflect it back. But יקוּם equals יזרח cannot be justified by Job 11:17. Therefore we interpret with Ew. and Hlgst. thus: whom does not His light surpass, or, literally, over whom (i.e., which of these beings of light) does it not rise, leaving it behind and exceeding it in brightness (יקוּם as synon. of ירוּם)? How then could a mortal be just with God, i.e., at His side or standing up before Him; and how could one of woman born be spotless! How could he (which is hereby indirectly said) enter into a controversy with God, who is infinitely exalted above him, and maintain before Him a moral character faultless, and therefore absolutely free from condemnation! In the heights of heaven God's decision is revered; and should man, the feeble one, and born flesh of flesh (vid., Job 14:1), dare to contend with God? Behold, עד־ירח (עד, as usually when preceded by a negation, adeo, ne ... quidem, e.g., Exodus 14:28, comp. Nahum 1:10, where J. H. Michaelis correctly renders: adeo up spinas perplexitate aequent, and אל used in the same way, Job 5:5, Ew. 219, c), even as to the moon, it does not (ולא with Waw apod., Ges. 145, 2, although there is a reading לא without ו) shine bright, יאחיל equals יהל, from אהל equals הלל.

(Note: It is worthy of observation, that hilâl signifies in Arabic the new moon (comp. Genesis, S. 307); and the Hiphil ahalla, like the Kal halla, is used of the appearing and shining of the new moon.)

Thus lxx, Targ. Jer., and Gecatilia translate; whereas Saadia translates: it turns not in (Arab. lâ ydchl), or properly, it does not pitch its tent, fix its habitation. But to pitch one's tent is אהל or אהל, whence יהל, Isaiah 13:20, equals יאהל; and what is still more decisive, one would naturally expect יאהיל שׁם in connection with this thought. We therefore render אהל as a form for once boldly used in the scriptural language for הלל, as in Isaiah 28:28 אדשׁ once occurs for דּוּשׁ. Even the moon is only a feeble light before God, and the stars are not clean in His eyes; there is a vast distance between Him and His highest and most glorious creatures - how much more between Him and man, the worm of the dust!

The friends, as was to be expected, are unable to furnish any solution of the mystery, why the ungodly often live and die happily; and yet they ought to be able to give this solution, if the language which they employ against Job were authorized. Bildad alone speaks in the above speech, Zophar is silent. But Bildad does not utter a word that affects the question. This designed omission shows the inability of the friends to solve it, as much as the tenacity with which they firmly maintain their dogma; and the breach that has been made in it, either they will not perceive or yet not acknowledge, because they think that thereby they are approaching too near to the honour of God. Moreover, it must be observed with what delicate tact, and how directly to the purpose in the structure of the whole, this short speech of Bildad's closes the opposition of the friends. Two things are manifest from this last speech of the friends: First, that they know nothing new to bring forward against Job, and nothing just to Job's advantage; that all their darts bound back from Job; and that, though not according to their judgment, yet in reality, they are beaten. This is evident from the fact that Bildad is unable to give any answer to Job's questions, but can only take up the one idea in Job's speech, that he confidently and boldly thinks of being able to approach God's throne of judgment; he repeats with slight variation what Eliphaz has said twice already, concerning the infinite distance between man and God, Job 4:17-21; Job 15:14-16, and is not even denied by Job himself, Job 9:2; Job 14:4. But, secondly, the poet cannot allow us to part from the friends with too great repugnance; for they are Job's friends notwithstanding, and at the close we see them willingly obedient to God's instruction, to go to Job that he may pray for them and make sacrifice on their behalf. For this reason he does not make Bildad at last repeat those unjust incriminations which were put prominently forward in the speech of Eliphaz, Job 22:5-11. Bildad only reminds Job of the universal sinfulness of the human race once again, without direct accusation, in order that Job may himself derive from it the admonition to humble himself; and this admonition Job really needs, for his speeches are in many ways contrary to that humility which is still the duty of sinful man, even in connection with the best justified consciousness of right thoughts and actions towards the holy God.

1 Then Job began, and said:

2 How has thou helped him that is without power,

Raised the arm that hath no strength!

3 How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom,

And fully declared the essence of the matter!

4 To whom hast thou uttered words,

And whose breath proceeded from thee?

Bildad is the person addressed, and the exclamations in Job 26:2, Job 26:3 are ironical: how thy speech contains nothing whatever that might help me, the supposedly feeble one, in conquering my affliction and my temptation; me, the supposedly ignorant one, in comprehending man's mysterious lot, and mine! ללא־כח, according to the idea, is only equivalent to כח לו (אין) לאשׁר לא, and זרוע לא־עז equivalent to זרוע בלא־עז (לא עז לו); the former is the abstr. pro concreto, the latter the genitival connection - the arm of the no-power, i.e., powerless (Ges. 152, 1). The powerless one is Job himself, not God (Merc., Schlottm.), as even the choice of the verbs, Job 26:2, Job 26:3, shows. Respecting תּוּשׁיּה, which we have translated essentiality, duration, completion, we said, on Job 5:12, that it is formed from ישׁ (vid., Proverbs 8:21), not directly indeed, but by means of a verb ושׁי brev a fo (ושׁה), in the signification subsistere (comp. Arab. kân, and Syriac קום);

(Note: Comp. also Spiegel, Grammatik der Huzvresch-Sprache, S. 103.)

it is a Hophal-formation (like תּוּגה), and signifies, so to speak, durability, subsistentia, substantia, ὑπόστασις, so that the comparison of ושׁי with אשׁשׁ, Arab. 'ss (whence אשׁישׁ, Arab. ası̂s, asâs, etc., fundamentum) is forced upon one, and the relationship to the Sanskrit as (asmi equals εἰμὶ) can remain undecided. The observation of J. D. Michaelis

continued...

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