Job 26:2
How have you helped him that is without power? how save you the arm that has no strength?
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Job 26:2. How hast thou helped him, that is without power? — Thou hast helped excellently! It is an ironical expression, implying quite the contrary, that he had not helped at all. As if he had said, I am a poor helpless creature, my strength and spirits are quite broken with the pains of my body, and the perplexities of my mind; and humanity and religion should have taught thee to support and comfort me, with representations of the goodness and promises of God, and not to terrify and overwhelm me with displaying his sovereign majesty, his glorious holiness, and inflexible justice, the thoughts whereof are already so discouraging and dreadful to me.26:1-4 Job derided Bildad's answer; his words were a mixture of peevishness and self-preference. Bildad ought to have laid before Job the consolations, rather than the terrors of the Almighty. Christ knows how to speak what is proper for the weary, Isa 50:4; and his ministers should not grieve those whom God would not have made sad. We are often disappointed in our expectations from our friends who should comfort us; but the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, never mistakes, nor fails of his end.How hast thou helped him that is without power? - It has been doubted whether this refers to Job himself, the two friends of Bildad, or to the Deity. Rosenmuller. The connection, however, seems to demand that it should be referred to Job himself. It is sarcastical. Bildad had come as a friend and comforter. He had, also, in common with Eliphaz and Zophar, taken upon himself the office of teacher and counsellor. He had regarded Job as manifesting great weakness in his views of God and of his government; as destitute of all strength to bear up aright under trials, and now all that he had done to aid one so weak was found in the impertinent and irrelevant generalities of his brief speech. Job is indignant that one with such pretensions should have said nothing more to the purpose. Herder, however, renders this as if it related wholly to God, and it cannot be denied that the Hebrew would bear this:

"Whom helpest thou? Him who hath no strength?

Whom dost thou vindicate? Him whose arm hath no power?

To whom give counsel? One without wisdom?

Truly much wisdom hast thou taught him."

How savest thou the arm that hath no strength? - That is, your remarks are not adapted to invigorate the feeble. He had come professedly to comfort and support his afflicted friend in his trials. Yet Job asks what there was in his observations that was fitted to produce this effect? Instead of declaiming on the majesty and greatness of God, he should have said something that was adapted to relieve an afflicted and a troubled soul.

2, 3. without power … no strength … no wisdom—The negatives are used instead of the positives, powerlessness, &c., designedly (so Isa 31:8; De 32:21). Granting I am, as you say (Job 18:17; 15:2), powerlessness itself, &c. "How hast thou helped such a one?"


How hast thou helped? thou hast helped egregiously. It is an ironical expression, implying the quite contrary, that he had not at all helped. See the like, Genesis 3:22 1 Kings 18:27 1 Corinthians 4:8,10.

Him that is without power; either,

1. God, who it seems is weak and unwise, and needed so powerful and eloquent an advocate as thou art to maintain his fights and plead his cause. Or, rather,

2. Job himself: I am a poor helpless creature, my strength and spirits quite broken with the pains of my body and perplexities of my mind, whom nature, and humanity, and religion should have taught thee to support and comfort with a representation of the gracious nature and promises of God, and not to terrify and overwhelm me with displaying his sovereign majesty, the thoughts whereof are already so distractive and dreadful to me. How hast thou helped him that is without power?.... This verse and Job 26:3 either are to be understood of God, as many do, by reading the words, "who hast thou helped? God" (r)? a fine advocate for him thou art, representing him as if he was without power, and could not help himself, but stood in need of another; as if he had no arm, and could not save and protect himself, but needed one to rise and stand up in his behalf, when he is God omnipotent, and has an arm strong and mighty, and there is none like his; and as if he wanted wisdom, and one to counsel him, when he is the all wise God, and never consults with any of his creatures, or admits them to be of his council; and as if his "essence" (s), or "what he is", as he is, had been very copiously and plentifully declared in a few words by him; in supposing which he must be guilty of the greatest arrogance, stupidity, and folly; and therefore he asks him, who it was he uttered such things unto? and by whose spirit he must be aided in so doing? see Job 13:7; or else Job refers to the cause undertaken by Bildad; and which he, in a sarcastic way, represents as a very weak and feeble one, that had neither strength nor wisdom in it, and was as weakly and as foolishly supported, or rather was entirely neglected and deserted, Bildad having wholly declined the thing in controversy, and said not one word of it; therefore Job ironically asks him, "in what", or "wherein hast thou helped?" (t) what good hast thou done to this poor tottering cause of yours? or what light hast thou thrown upon it? and to what purpose is anything that has been said by thee? Some are of opinion that Job refers to Bildad's friends, whom he represents as weak and stupid, as men of no argument, and had no strength of reasoning, and were as poorly assisted and defended by Bildad: but, why not to Bildad himself? for the sense of the question, agreeably enough to the original text, may be put after this manner; a fine patron and defender of a cause thou art; thou canst help and save a dying cause without power, and with a strengthless arm, or without any force of argument, or strength of reasoning; thou canst give counsel without any wisdom, without any show or share of it, and in half a dozen lines set the thing in a true light, just as it is and should be; a wonderful man indeed thou art! though I choose to join with such interpreters, who understand the whole of Job himself, who was without might and power, a weak and feeble creature in booty and mind, being pressed and broken with the weight of his affliction, but was poorly helped, succoured, strengthened, and comforted, with what Bildad had said: it is the duty of all good men, and it is what Job himself had done in former times, to strengthen weak hands and feeble knees, by sympathizing with persons under affliction, by bearing their burdens and infirmities, by speaking comfortably unto them, and telling them what comforts they themselves have received under afflictions, see Job 4:3; but miserable comforters of Job were Bildad and his friends:

how savest thou the arm that hath no strength? the sense is the same as before, that he had done nothing to relieve Job in his bodily or soul distresses, and save him out of them; nor had contributed in the least towards his support under them; and be it that he was as weak in his intellectuals as he and his friends thought him to be, and had undertaken a cause which he had not strength of argument to defend; yet, what had he done to convince him of his mistake, and save him from the error of his way?

(r) "cui auxiliatis es", Pagninus, Montanus; so Tigurine version. (s) "essentiam", Montanus. (t) "Qua nam re adjuvisti?" Vatablus; "quid auxiliatus es?" Drusius.

{a} How hast thou helped him that is without power? how {b} savest thou the arm that hath no strength?

(a) You concluded nothing, for neither did you help me while destitute of all help, nor yet speak sufficiently on God's behalf, who has no need for your defence.

(b) But you do not apply it to the purpose.

2. how savest thou?] Rather, how hast thou saved? i. e. succoured.

2–4. Job sarcastically expresses his admiration of Bildad’s speech, and gratitude for the help it has been to him. 1 Then began Bildad the Shuhite, and said:

2 Dominion and terror are with Him,

He maketh peace in His high places.

3 Is there any number to His armies,

And whom doth not His light surpass?

4 How could a mortal be just with God,

And how could one born of woman be pure?

5 Behold, even the moon, it shineth not brightly,

And the stars are not pure in His eyes.

6 How much less mortal man, a worm,

And the son of man, a worm!

Ultimum hocce classicum, observes Schultens, quod a parte triumvirorum sonuit, magis receptui canentis videtur, quam praelium renovantis. Bildad only repeats the two commonplaces, that man cannot possibly maintain his supposedly perverted right before God, the all-just and all-controlling One, to whom, even in heaven above, all things cheerfully submit, and that man cannot possibly be accounted spotlessly pure, and consequently exalted above all punishment before Him, the most holy One, before whom even the brightest stars do not appear absolutely pure. המשׁל is an inf. abs. made into a substantive, like השׁקט; the Hiph. (to cause to rule), which is otherwise causative, can also, like Kal, signify to rule, or properly, without destroying the Hiphil-signification, to exercise authority (vid., on Job 31:18); המשׁל therefore signifies sovereign rule. עשׂה, with הוּא to be supplied, which is not unfrequently omitted both in participial principal clauses (Job 12:17., Psalm 22:29; Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 29:8; Isaiah 40:19, comp. Zechariah 9:12, where אני is to be supplied) and in partic. subordinate clauses (Psalm 7:10; Psalm 55:20; Habakkuk 2:10), is an expression of the simple praes., which is represented by the partic. used thus absolutely (including the personal pronoun) as a proper tense-form (Ew. 168, c, 306, d). Schlottman refers עשׂה to המשׁל ופהד; but the analogy of such attributive descriptions of God is against it. Umbreit and Hahn connect בּמרומיו with the subject: He in His heights, i.e., down from His throne in the heavens. But most expositors rightly take it as descriptive of the place and object of the action expressed: He establishes peace in His heights, i.e., among the celestial beings immediately surrounding Him. This, only assuming the abstract possibility of discord, might mean: facit magestate sua ut in summa pace et promptissima obedientia ipsi ministrent angeli ipsius in excelsis (Schmid). But although from Job 4:18; Job 15:15, nothing more than that even the holy ones above are neither removed from the possibility of sin nor the necessity of a judicial authority which is high above them, can be inferred; yet, on the other hand, from Job 3:8; Job 9:13 (comp. Job 26:12.), it is clear that the poet, in whose conception, as in scripture generally, the angels and the stars stand in the closest relation, knows of actual, and not merely past, but possibly recurring, instances of hostile dissension and titanic rebellion among the celestial powers; so that עשׂה שׁלום, therefore, is intended not merely of a harmonizing reconciliation among creatures which have been contending one against another, but of an actual restoration of the equilibrium that had been disturbed through self-will, by an act of mediation and the exercise of judicial authority on the part of God.

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