Job 25:6
How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) How much less man . . .—Comp. Psalm 8:4; Psalm 22:6; Isaiah 41:14, &c.

Job 25:6. How much less man, that is a worm — Mean, vile, and impotent; proceeding from corruption, and returning to it. And the son of man — For miserable man, in the last clause, he here puts the son of any man, to show that this is true, even of the greatest and best of men. Let us then wonder at the condescension of God, in taking such worms into covenant and communion with himself! 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.How much less man - See Job 4:19. Man is mentioned here as a worm; in Job 4:19 he is said to dwell in a house of clay and to be crushed before the moth. In both cases the design is to represent him as insignificant in comparison with God.

A worm - רמה rı̂mmâh; see Job 7:5. The word is commonly applied to such worms as are bred in putridity, and hence, the comparison is the more forcible.

And the son of man - Another mode of speaking of man. Any one of the children of man is the same. No one of them can be compared with God; compare the notes at Matthew 1:1.

Which is a worm - תולעה tôlê‛âh; compare the notes at Isaiah 1:18. This word frequently denotes the worm from which the scarlet or crimson color was obtained. It is, however, used to denote the worm that is bred on putrid substances, and is so used here; compare Exodus 16:20; Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 66:24. It is also applied to a worm that destroys plants. Jonah 4:7; Deuteronomy 28:39. Here it means, that man is poor, feeble, powerless. In comparison with God he is a crawling worm. All that is said in this chapter is true and beautiful, but it has nothing to do with the subject in debate. Job had appealed to the course of events in proof of the truth of his position. The true way to meet that was either to deny that the facts existed as he alleged, or to show that they did not prove what be had adduced them to establish. But Bildad did neither; nor did he ingenuously confess that the argument was against him and his friends. At this stage of the controversy, since they had nothing to reply to what Job had alleged, it would have been honorable in them to have acknowledged that they were in error, and to have yielded the palm of victory to him. But it requires extraordinary candor and humility to do that; and rather than do it, most people would prefer to say something - though it has nothing to do with the case in hand.

6. (Job 4:19-21; 15:16).

worm … worm—Two distinct Hebrew words. The first, a worm bred in putridity; alluding to man's corruption. The second a crawling worm; implying that man is weak and grovelling.

A worm, to wit, mean, and vile, and impotent; proceeding from corruption, and returning to it; and withal filthy and loathsome, and so every way a very unfit person to appear before the high and holy God, and much more to contend with him. The same thing is repeated in other words; only for miserable man in the last branch he here puts the son of any man, of what degree or quality soever, to show that this is true even of the greatest and best of men. How much less man, that is a worm?.... Whose original is of the earth, dwells in it, and is supported by it, and creeps into it again; who is impure by nature and by practice, weak and impotent to do anything that is spiritually good, or to defend himself from his spiritual enemies; and is mean and despicable, as even the best of men are, in their own eyes, and in the eyes of the world: and, if the best of men are comparable to such creatures, and our Lord himself, in human nature, was content to be called a worm, and no man; what must the worst of men be, or man be in and of himself, without the grace of God and righteousness of Christ, by which he can be only clean and righteous? see Isaiah 41:14; and, if the celestial bodies above mentioned are eclipsed of all their brightness and glory, in the presence of God; what a contemptible figure must man make in the court of heaven, who, in comparison of them, is but a worm, and much more so, as appearing before God?

and the son of man, which is a worm; which is repeated with a little variation for the confirmation of it; or it may signify, that even the first man was no other than of the earth, earthy, and so are all his sons. The Targum is,

"how much more man, who in his life is a reptile, and the son of man, who in his death is a worm?''

to which may be added, that he is in his grave a companion for the worms; and indeed it appears by the observations made through microscopes, that man, in his first state of generation, is really a worm (p); so that, as Pliny says (q), one that is a judge of things may pity and be ashamed of the sorry original of the proudest of animals. By this short reply of Bildad, and which contains little more than what had been before said, it is plain that he was tired of the controversy, and glad to give out.

(p) Lewenhoeck apud Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 721. Vid. Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 2. p. 912, 913. (q) Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 7.

How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 6. - How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm? (comp. Psalm 22:6). How much less can man be pure in God's sight? An undoubted truth, or rather, perhaps, a truism, but not to the point, for Job has never really maintained that he is without sin (see ch. 7:20, 21; 9:2, 20, etc.). He has only maintained that his sins have not been of such a character as to account for his sufferings.



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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