Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yes, twice; but I will proceed no further.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
But I will not answer - I will not now answer, as I had expressed the wish to do. Job now saw that he had spoken in an improper manner, and he says that he would not repeat what he had said.
Yea, twice - He had not only offended once, as if in a thoughtless and hasty manner, but he had repeated it, showing deliberation, and thus aggravating his guilt. When a man is brought to a willingness to confess that he has done wrong once, he will be very likely to see that he has been guilty of more than one offence. One sin will draw on the remembrance of another; and the gate once open, a flood of sins will rush to the recollection. It is not common that a man can so isolate a sin as to repent of that alone, or so look at one offence against God as not to feel that he has been often guilty of the same crimes.
But I will proceed no further - Job felt doubtless that if he should allow himself to speak again, or to attempt now to vindicate himself, he would be in danger of committing the same error again. He now saw that God was right; that he had himself repeatedly indulged in an improper spirit, and that all that became him was a penitent confession in the fewest words possible. We may learn here:
(1) That a view of God is fitted to produce in us a deep sense of our own sins. No one can feel himself to be in the presence of God, or regard the Almighty as speaking to him, without saying, "Lo I am vile? There is nothing so much fitted to produce a sense of sinfulness and nothingness as a view of God.
(2) The world will be mute at the day of judgment. They who have been most loud and bold in vindicating themselves will then be silent, and will confess that they are vile, and the whole world "will become guilty before God." If the presence and the voice of God produced such an effect on so good a man as Job, what will it not do on a wicked world?
(3) A true penitent is disposed to use but few words; "God be merciful to me a sinner," or, "lo, I am vile," is about all the language which the penitent employs. He does not go into long arguments, into metaphysical distinctions, into apologies and vindications, but uses the simplest language of confession, and then leaves the soul, and the cause, in the hands of God.
(4) Repentance consists in stopping where we are, and in resolving to add no more sin. "I have erred," is its language. "I will not add to it, I will do so no more," is the immediate response of the soul. A readiness to go into a vindication, or to expose oneself to the danger of sinning again in the same way, is an evidence that there is no true repentance. Job, a true penitent, would not allow himself even to speak again on the subject, lest he should be guilty of the sin which he had already committed.
(5) In repentance we must be willing to retract our errors, and confess that we were wrong - no matter what favorite opinions we have had, or how tenaciously and zealously we have defended and held them. Job had constructed many beautiful and eloquent arguments in defense of his opinions; he had brought to bear on the subject all the results of his observation, all his attainments in science, all the adages and maxims that he had derived from the ancients, and from a long contact with mankind, but he was now brought to a willingness to confess that his arguments were not solid, and that the opinions which he had cherished were erroneous. It is often more difficult to abandon opinions than vices; and the proud philosopher when he exercises repentance has a more difficult task than the victim of low and debasing sensuality. His opinions are his idols. They embody the results of his reading, his reflections, his conversation, his observation, and they become a part of himself. Hence, it is, that so many abandoned sinners are converted, and so few philosophers; that religion spreads often with so much success among the obscure and the openly wicked, while so few of the "wise men of the world" are called and saved.
I have spoken—namely, against God.
not answer—not plead against Thee.I will not answer, or speak again; answering being oft put for speaking. I will contend no more with thee.
Yea, twice, i.e. ofttimes, or again and again, the definite number being used indefinitely.
I will proceed no further in such bold and presumptuous expressions and accusations of thy providence towards me. Vain therefore are the excuses which some interpreters make for Job, as if he were faultless in his foregoing discourses, when both God chargeth him with faultiness therein, and Job himself confesseth it. Job 9:22;
yea, twice; but I will proceed no further; the meaning seems to be, that he who had once and again, or very often, at least in some instances, spoken very imprudently and indecently, for the future would take care not to speak in such a manner: for this confession was not quite free and full; and therefore the Lord takes him in hand again, to bring him to make a more full and ingenuous one, as he does in Job 42:1.Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. I will proceed no further] Or, but I will not again. The words “once”, “twice”, that is, sundry times, refer to what Job had often said in his speeches concerning the Almighty.
The purpose of making these wonders of creation pass before Job’s eyes was to display God before him, and to heal the presumption of his heart. Every one of these wonders utters the name of God with a louder emphasis in Job’s ears. It is not any attribute of God that is dwelt upon, it is God in all the manifoldness of His being that passes before Job’s mind. It is entirely to misinterpret the design of these visions of creation presented to Job when we suppose that what is aimed at is to impress on Job the incomprehensibility of the Creator’s works, or the mystery that lies in them all; as if he was bidden consider that not in his own life alone, but everywhere, beneath his feet and around him, there lay unfathomable mysteries. The Lord does not reason with Job after the manner of the author of the Analogy of Religion. He does not say “you complain of darkness in your own history, look into the world and behold darkness everywhere”. This would have been sorry reasoning on the part of the Father of lights. On the contrary, He bids Job look away from his own darkness to the world which is luminous with God; and the exceeding light about God there, breaking on Job, swallows up his own darkness.
It is scarcely just to say that what Jehovah demands of Job here is simple submission, that he should bow absolutely and unconditionally under God. If this had been the meaning of Jehovah’s speeches out of the storm there was no reason for His speaking. Silence would have been more effective; or if He had spoken, it should have been with the voice of the thunder, terrifying Job into the dust. That the Lord speaks at all implies that He says something that may be understood by the creature of His hand. His speaking may be indirect, and in parables, but it will contain meaning. It is true that the object of the Divine speeches is, partly at least, to bring Job’s heart to submission and cause him to assume his right place before the Creator. And this was necessary, for Job, as he acknowledges, had sinned against the majesty of God. But the Lord does not command Job to take this place; He induces him. And he does so by the only means that will ever induce any human spirit to put itself right with God, the revelation of Himself. This revelation given to Job was patient, broad, and manifold. It was anything but a categorical command. We, indeed, may feel now that the revelation might have been different, that it might have contained other traits. The traits which we desiderate could hardly, perhaps, have been exhibited on an Old Testament stage. It was not the design of the revelation, if it ever was the design of revelation, to communicate new truths to Job, but to make him feel the truth which he knew, and enable him to live aright before God.Verse 5. - Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but l will proceed no further. The meaning is, "I have already spoken, not once, but more than once. Now I will be silent; I will say no more.' There is a sort of recognition that the arguments used were futile, but not a full and complete confession, as in Job 42:3.
Doth it spread its wings towards the south?
27 Or is it at thy command that the eagle soareth aloft,
And buildeth its nest on high?
28 It inhabiteth the rock, and buildeth its nest
Upon the crag of the rock and fastness.
29 From thence it seeketh food,
Its eyes see afar off.
30 And its young ones suck up blood;
And where the slain are, there is it.
The ancient versions are unanimous in testifying that, according to the signification of the root, נץ signifies the hawk (which is significant in the Hieroglyphics): the soaring one, the high-flyer (comp. Arab. nṣṣ, to rise, struggle forwards, and Arab. nḍḍ, to raise the wings for flight). The Hiph. יאבר- (jussive form in the question, as Job 13:27) might signify: to get feathers, plumescere (Targ., Jer.), but that gives a tame question; wherefore Gregory understands the plumescit of the Vulgate of moulting, for which purpose the hawk seeks the sunny side. But האביר alone, by itself, cannot signify "to get new feathers;" moreover, an annual moulting is common to all birds, and prominence is alone given to the new feathering of the eagle in the Old Testament, Psalm 103:5; Micah 1:16, comp. Isaiah 40:31 (lxx πτεροφυήσουσιν ὡς ἀετοί).
(Note: Less unfavourable to this rendering is the following, that אברה signifies the long feathers, and אבר the wing that is composed of them (perhaps, since the Talm. אברים signifies wings and limbs, artus, from אבר equals הבר, Arab. hbr, to divide, furnish with joints), although נוצה (from נצה, to fly) is the more general designation of the feathers of birds.)
Thus, then, the point of the question will lie in לתימן: the hawk is a bird of passage, God has endowed it with instinct to migrate to the south as the winter season is approaching.
In Job 39:27 the circle of the native figures taken from animal life, which began with the lion, the king of quadrupeds, is now closed with the eagle, the king of birds. It is called נשׁר, from נשׁר, Arab. nsr, vellere; as also vultur (by virtue of a strong power of assimilation equals vultor) is derived from vellere, - a common name of the golden eagle, the lamb's vulture, the carrion-kite (Cathartes percnopterus), and indeed also of other kinds of kites and falcons. There is nothing to prevent our understanding the eagle κατ ̓ εξοχήν, viz., the golden eagle (Aquila chrysatos), in the present passage; for even to this, corpses, though not already putrified, are a welcome prey. In Job 39:27 we must translate either: and is it at thy command that ... ? or: is it so that (as in הכי) at thy command ... ? The former is more natural here. מצוּדה, Job 39:28, signifies prop. specula (from צוּד, to spy); then, however, as Arab. masâd (referred by the original lexicons to masada), the high hill, and the mountain-top. The rare form יעלעוּ, for which Ges., Olsh., and others wish to read לעלעוּ or ילעלעוּ (from לוּע, deglutire), is to be derived from עלע, a likewise secondary form out of עלעל (from עוּל, to suck, to give suck),
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