Job 40:2
Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XL.

(2) Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?—Rather, Can he that reproveth (e. g., Job) contend with the Almighty? or, Can the contending with the Almighty instruct Him? “Art thou prepared still to dispute and contend with God? or, if thou dost, is there any hope that thou wilt instruct (i.e., convince) Him in argument? Let him that argueth with God (i.e., Job) answer this question.” It might, perhaps, tend to make these verses (Job 40:4-5) more effective if we transposed them after Job 42:6, and regarded them as the very climax of the poem, as some have done. But this is not necessary, and is an arrangement that has no support from external evidence. If, however, it were adopted, Job’s resolution, “Once have I spoken; but I will speak no more: yea, twice; but I will not again” (Job 40:5), would not be literally inconsistent, as it now is, with what he says in Job 42:1-6.

Job 40:2. Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? — Shall Job, who presumeth to contend with me in judgment, and to dispute the reasonableness and equity of my proceedings, give me instructions or directions how to govern my creatures? The Hebrew, however, may be rendered, Is it instruction, or learning, or does it indicate instruction or erudition, to contend with the Almighty? An eruditi est? Buxtorf. Is it the part of a well-instructed and wise man? This agrees with Ab. Ezra’s comment, which is, Is it the way of instruction for a man to contend with the Almighty? The words are also capable of being translated, He that disputeth with the Almighty shall be chastised: thus Heath. God’s almightiness is fitly mentioned as an argument of his justice. For how can he be unjust, who, having boundless power and every other perfection in an infinite degree, must necessarily be all-sufficient within himself, and therefore can neither have any inclination to unrighteousness, which is an imperfection, nor any temptation to it, from any need he can have of it to accomplish his designs, which his own omnipotence is sufficient to accomplish, or from any advantage that can accrue to him by it? He that reproveth God — That boldly censureth his ways or works; let him answer it — Or, answer for it; or, he shall answer for it, that is, it is at his peril.

40:1-5 Communion with the Lord effectually convinces and humbles a saint, and makes him glad to part with his most beloved sins. There is need to be thoroughly convinced and humbled, to prepare us for remarkable deliverances. After God had shown Job, by his manifest ignorance of the works of nature, how unable he was to judge of the methods and designs of Providence, he puts a convincing question to him; Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? Now Job began to melt into godly sorrow: when his friends reasoned with him, he did not yield; but the voice of the Lord is powerful. When the Spirit of truth is come, he shall convince. Job yields himself to the grace of God. He owns himself an offender, and has nothing to say to justify himself. He is now sensible that he has sinned; and therefore he calls himself vile. Repentance changes men's opinion of themselves. Job is now convinced of his error. Those who are truly sensible of their own sinfulness and vileness, dare not justify themselves before God. He perceived that he was a poor, mean, foolish, and sinful creature, who ought not to have uttered one word against the Divine conduct. One glimpse of God's holy nature would appal the stoutest rebel. How, then will the wicked bear the sight of his glory at the day of judgment? But when we see this glory revealed in Jesus Christ, we shall be humbled without being terrified; self-abasement agrees with filial love.Shall he that contendeth with the A mighty instruct him? - Gesenius renders this, "Contending shall the reprover of God contend with the Almighty?" Prof. Lee, "Shall one by contending with the Almighty correct this?" On the grammatical construction, see Gesenius on the word יסור yissôr, and Rosenmuller and Lee, in loc. The meaning seems to be this: "Will he who would enter into a controversy with the Almighty now presume to instruct him? He that was so desirous of arguing his cause with God, will he now answer?" All the language used here is taken from courts, and is such as I have had frequent occasion to explain in these notes. The reference is to the fact that Job had so often expressed a wish to carry his cause, as before a judicial tribunal, directly up to God. He had felt that if he could get it there, he could so argue it as to secure a verdict in his favor; that he could set arguments before the Almighty which would secure a reversal of the fearful sentence which had gone out against him, and which had caused him to be held as a guilty man. God now asks whether he who had been so anxious to have a legal argument, and to carry his cause himself before God - a man disposed to litigation before God (רוב rûb) - was still of the same mind, and felt himself qualified to take upon himself the office of an instructor, a corrector, an admonisher (יסור yissôr) of God? He had the opportunity now, and God here paused, after the sublime exhibition of his majesty and power in the previous chapters, to give him an opportunity, as he wished, to carry his cause directly before him. The result is stated in Job 40:3-4. Job had now nothing to say.

He that reproveth God - Or rather, "He that is disposed to carry his cause before God," as Job had often expressed a wish to do. The word used here (יכח yâkach) is often employed, especially in the Hiphil, in a "forensic sense," and means "to argue, to show, to prove" anything; then "to argue down, to confute, to convict;" see Job 6:25; Job 13:15; Job 19:5; Job 32:12; Proverbs 9:7-8; Proverbs 15:12; Proverbs 19:25. It is evidently used in that sense here - a Hiphil participle מוכיח môkiyach - and refers, not to any man in general who reproves God, but to Job in particular, as having expressed a wish to carry his cause before him, and to argue it there.

Let him answer it - Or rather, "Let him answer him." That is, Is he now ready to answer? There is now an opportunity for him to carry his cause, as he wished, directly before God. Is he ready to embrace the opportunity, and to answer now what the Almighty has said? This does not mean, then, as the common version would seem to imply, that the man who reproves God must be held responsible for it, but that Job, who had expressed the wish to carry his cause before God, had now an opportunity to do so. That this is the meaning, is apparent from the next verses, where Job says that he was confounded, and had nothing to say.

2. he that contendeth—as Job had so often expressed a wish to do. Or, rebuketh. Does Job now still (after seeing and hearing of God's majesty and wisdom) wish to set God right?

answer it—namely, the questions I have asked.

Shall Job, who presumed to contend with me in judgment, and to dispute the reasonableness and equity of my proceedings, give me instructions or directions how to manage my own affairs, and govern my creatures? He justly mentions his almightiness, as a convincing argument of his justice. For how can he be unjust to his creatures, who hath no obligation to them, and never did nor can receive any thing from them; and who hath an absolute, sovereign, and uncontrollable dominion over them; and who being infinitely and necessarily perfect, and all-sufficient within himself, can neither have any inclination to unrighteousness, which is an imperfection, nor any temptation to it from any need he hath of it to accomplish his designs, which he can do by his own omnipotence, or front any advantage accruing to him by it.

That reproveth God; that boldly censureth his ways or works; which thou hast done.

Let him answer it; let him answer my former and further questions at his peril.

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?.... Is he capable of it? He ought to be that takes upon him to dispute with God, to object or reply to him; that brings a charge against him, enters the debate, and litigates a point with him; which Job wanted to do. But could he or any other instruct him, who is the God of knowledge, the all wise and only wise God; who gives man wisdom, and teaches him knowledge? What folly is it to pretend to instruct him! Or can such an one be "instructed?" as the Targum: he is not in the way of instruction; he that submits to the chastising hand of God may be instructed thereby, but not he that contends with him; see Psalm 94:12. Or should he be one that is instructed? no, he ought to be an instructor, and not one instructed; a teacher, and not one that is taught; he should be above all instruction from God or man that will dispute with the Almighty, The word for instruct has the signification of chastisement, because instruction sometimes comes that way; and then the sense either is, shall a man contend with the Almighty that chastises him? Does it become a son or a servant to strive against a parent or a master that corrects him? Or does not he deserve to be chastised that acts such a part? Some derive the word from one that signifies to remove or depart, and give the sense, shall the abundance, the all sufficiency of God, go from him to another, to a man; and so he, instead of God, be the all sufficient one? Or rather the meaning of the clause is, has there not been much, enough, and more than enough said, Job, to chastise thee, and convince thee of thy mistakes? must more be said? is there any need of it?

he that reproveth God, let him answer it; he that reproves God, for his words, or works, or ways, finding fault with either of them, ought to answer to the question now put; or to any or all of those in the preceding chapters, and not be silent as Job now was.

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty {q} instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

(q) Is this the way for a man that will learn, to strive with God? which he reproves in Job.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. The verse means,

Will the reprover contend with the Almighty?

He that disputeth with God let him answer it.

The “reprover” or blamer is of course Job; and so is “he that disputeth,” or, “he that would dispute.” The word it refers to the foregoing display of God’s glory in creation, which Jehovah has set before Job. And the question means, Will Job now, having God in the manifoldness of His Being thus set before him, really enter on a contention with the Almighty?

Job 40:2 1 Then Jehovah answered Job, and said:

2 Will now the censurer contend with the Almighty?

Let the instructor of Eloah answer it!

3 Then Job answered Jehovah, and said:

With Job 40:1; Job 38:1 is again taken up, because the speech of Jehovah has now in some measure attained the end which was assigned to it as an answer to Job's outburst of censure. רב is inf. abs., as Judges 11:25; it is left to the hearer to give to the simple verbal notion its syntactic relation in accordance with the connection; here it stands in the sense of the fut. (comp. 2 Kings 4:43): num litigabit, Ges. 131, 4, b. The inf. abs. is followed by יסּור as subj., which (after the form שׁכּור) signifies a censurer and fault-finder, moomeetee's. The question means, will Job persist in this contending with God? He who sets God right, as though he knew everything better than He, shall answer the questions put before him.

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