Let my enemy be as the wicked, and he that rises up against me as the unrighteous.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Let mine enemy be as the wicked.—While, however, he admits that the wicked is often a prosperous man, he declares that he has no envy for him, but would have only his adversaries to be like him.Job 27:7. Let mine enemy be as the wicked — I am so far from loving and practising wickedness, whereof you accuse me, that I abhor the thoughts of it; and if I might and should wish to be revenged of mine enemy, I could wish him no greater mischief than to be a wicked man. This does not imply that we may lawfully wish any man to be wicked, or that any man who is not wicked should be treated as wicked; but we ought all rather to choose to be in the condition of a beggar, an outlaw, a galley-slave, any thing rather than in the condition of the wicked, though in ever so much outward pomp and prosperity. Daniel 4:19, "My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies;" that is, calamities are coming upon thee indicated by the dream, such as you would desire on your foes; so in Judges 5:31. After the mother of Sisera had anxiously looked for the return of her son from the battle, though he was then slain, the sacred writer adds, "So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord." Thus, when a traitor is executed it is common for the executioner to hold up his head and say, "So let all the enemies of the king die." Job means to say that he had no sympathy with wicked people, and that he believed that they would be punished as certainly and as severely as one could desire his enemy to suffer. Schnurrer supposes that by the enemy here he refers to his friends with whom he had been disputing; but this is to give an unnecessarily harsh construction to the passage.
He that riseth up against me; either,
1. You my friends, who, instead of comforting me, are risen up to torment me. Or rather,
2. My worst enemies.
"as the overthrow of the ungodly, and as the perdition of transgressors;''
though some take this to be a kind of an ironic imprecation, and that by the wicked man here, and unrighteous in the next clause, he means himself, whom his friends reckoned a wicked and unrighteous man; and then the sense is, I wish you all, my friends, and even the worst enemies I have, were but as wicked Job is, as you call him; not that he wished they might be afflicted in body, family, and estate, as he was, but that they were as good men as he was, and partook of as much of the grace of God as he did, and had the same integrity and righteousness as he had, see Acts 26:29; and such a wish as this, as it serves to illustrate his own character, so it breathes charity and good will to others; and indeed it cannot be thought the words are to be taken in such a sense as that he wished the same evils might be retorted upon his enemies, whether open or secret, which they were the means of bringing upon him, which was contrary to the spirit of Job, Job 31:29. Some consider them not as an imprecation, but as a prediction, "mine enemy shall be as the wicked" (e); and may have respect to his friends, who were so ready to charge him with wickedness, and suggests that in the issue of thin; they would be found, and not he, guilty of sin folly, and to have said the things that were not right, neither of God, nor of him, which had its accomplishment, Job 42:7;
and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous; which is but another way of expressing the same thing; for an enemy, and one that rises up against a man, is the same person; only this the better explains what enemy is intended, even an open one, that rises up in an hostile manner, full of rage and fury; and so a wicked and an unrighteous man are the same, and are frequently put together as describing the same sort of persons, see Isaiah 55:7.Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. In Job 27:2-6 Job protested his sincerity in affirming his innocence. With Job 27:7 commences a description of the misery of mind, and the outward destruction at the hand of God, which are the portion of the unrighteous. The “wicked” is the subject throughout to the end of the chapter; therefore in the words “let mine enemy be as the wicked” the emphasis falls on “wicked.” The words express the speaker’s abhorrence of the “wicked,” they do not imprecate evil on his “enemy.” It it understood that he wishes his “enemy” ill, and he can wish him nothing worse than that he should be as the “wicked”—so much does he himself shrink from the thought of being as the wicked are. Others (e.g. Delitzsch) put the emphasis on “enemy,” taking that expression to mean “him who accuses me of iniquity”—mine enemy must appear an evil-doer, inasmuch as he charges me falsely. This makes the verse a mere parenthetical imprecation by Job on his friends, for the words taken in this sense have no connexion with Job 27:8-10. The speaker, rather, repudiates the idea of his being one of the wicked, and he does so because he shudders to think that the condition of the mind of the wicked man, who has no hope in God, should be his—his condition of mind is very different (Job 27:8-10). Still even when taken in this, their only natural sense, the words of Job 27:7 have no strict logical connexion with Job 27:2-6. The connexion is: “I will never cease to maintain that I am a righteous man, for how comfortless in calamity is the condition of the wicked!” while strictly it should be: “I will never cease holding on to the way of righteousness, for how comfortless in affliction is the wicked man, having no hope in God!” So far as the mere language of Job 27:5-6 is concerned, the expressions “I will not remove mine integrity from me,” “and my righteousness I hold fast,” might have the meaning “I will continue to live a righteous life” (comp. ch. Job 2:9), but such a meaning is absolutely excluded here by the connexion and general scope of Job 27:2-6.
7–10. The dreary and desolate condition of the mind of the wicked man in affliction.Verse 7. - Let mine enemy be as the wicked. The nexus of this passage with what goes before is uncertain. Some suppose Job's full thought to have been, "Ye try to persuade me to act wickedly by making a false representation of my feelings and convictions; but I absolutely refuse to do so. Let that rather be the act of my enemy." Others regard him as simply so vexed by his pretended friends, who are his real enemies, that he is driven to utter an imprecation against them. And he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous. This is another instance of a mere pleonastic hemistich - a repetition of the preceding clause in different words.
2 As God liveth, who hath deprived me of my right,
And the Almighty, who hath sorely saddened my soul -
3 For still all my breath is in me,
And the breath of Eloah in my nostrils -
4 My lips do not speak what is false,
And my tongue uttereth not deceit!
5 Far be it from me, to grant that you are in the right:
Till I die I will not remove my innocence from me.
6 My righteousness I hold fast, and let it not go:
My heart reproacheth not any of my days.
7 Mine enemy must appear as an evil-doer,
And he who riseth up against me as unrighteous.
The friends are silent, Job remains master of the discourse, and his continued speech is introduced as a continued שׂאת משׁלו (after the analogy of the phrase נשׂא קול), as in Numbers 23:7 and further on, the oracles of Balaam. משׁל is speech of a more elevated tone and more figurative character; here, as frequently, the unaffected outgrowth of an elevated solemn mood. The introduction of the ultimatum, as משׁל, reminds one of "the proverb (el-methel) seals it" in the mouth of the Arab, since in common life it is customary to use a pithy saying as the final proof at the conclusion of a speech.
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