Job 42:4
Hear, I beseech you, and I will speak: I will demand of you, and declare you to me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Hear, I beseech thee.—This cannot in like manner be appropriately assigned to Job, but, as in Job 38:3; Job 40:7, must be referred to God; then the confession of Job 42:5-6 comes in very grandly. How much of our knowledge of God is merely hearsay? and it is not till the experimental teaching of the Holy Ghost has revealed God to our consciences that we really see Him with the inward eye. The confession of Job, therefore, is the confession of every converted man. Compare in a much later and very different, and yet analogous sphere, the confession of St. Paul (Galatians 1:16).

Job 42:4. Hear, I beseech thee — Hear and accept my humble and penitent confession. I will demand of thee — Hebrew, אשׁאלךְ, eshaleka, interrogabo te, I will inquire, ask, or make my petition to thee. I will no more dispute the matter with thee, but beg information from thee. The words which God had uttered to Job by way of challenge, Job returns to him in the way of submission.42:1-6 Job was now sensible of his guilt; he would no longer speak in his own excuse; he abhorred himself as a sinner in heart and life, especially for murmuring against God, and took shame to himself. When the understanding is enlightened by the Spirit of grace, our knowledge of Divine things as far exceeds what we had before, as the sight of the eyes excels report and common fame. By the teachings of men, God reveals his Son to us; but by the teachings of his Spirit he reveals his Son in us, Ga 1:16, and changes us into the same image, 2Co 3:18. It concerns us to be deeply humbled for the sins of which we are convinced. Self-loathing is ever the companion of true repentance. The Lord will bring those whom he loveth, to adore him in self-abasement; while true grace will always lead them to confess their sins without self-justifying.Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak - This is the language of humble, docile submission. On former occasions he had spoken confidently and boldly of God; he had called in question the equity of his dealings with him; he had demanded that he might be permitted to carry his cause before him, and argue it there himself; Notes, Job 13:3, and notes Job 13:20-22. Now he is wholly changed. His is the submissive language of a docile child, and he begs to be permitted to sit down before God, and humbly to inquire of him what was truth. "This is true religion."

I will demand of thee - Or rather, "I will ask of thee." The word "demand" implies more than there is of necessity in the original word (שׁאל shâ'al). That means simply "to ask," and it may be done with the deepest humility and desire of instruction. That was now the temper of Job.

And declare thou unto me - Job was not now disposed to debate the matter, or to enter into a controversy with God. He was willing to sit down and receive instruction from God, and earnestly desired that he would "teach" him of his ways. It should be added, that very respectable critics suppose that in this verse Job designs to make confession of the impropriety of his language on former occasions, in the presumptuous and irreverent manner in which he had demanded a trial of argument with God. It would then require to be rendered as a quotation from his own words formerly.

"I have indeed uttered what I understood not,

Things too wonderful for me, which I know not,

(When I said) Hear now, I will speak,

I will demand of thee, and do thou teach me"

This is adopted by Umbreit, and has much in its favor that is plausible; but on the whole the usual interpretation seems to be most simple and proper.

4. When I said, "Hear," &c., Job's demand (Job 13:22) convicted him of being "without knowledge." God alone could speak thus to Job, not Job to God: therefore he quotes again God's words as the groundwork of retracting his own foolish words. Hear and accept my humble and penitent confession and recantation.

I will demand of thee; or, and inquire, to wit, counsel or instruction, as a scholar doth of his master, as the following words note. I will no more saucily dispute the matter with thee, but beg information from thee. The words which God had uttered to Job by way of challenge, Job 38:3 40:7, Job returns to him again in way of submission. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak,.... Not in the manner he had before, complaining of God and justifying himself, but in a way of humble entreaty of favours of him, of confession of sin before him, and of acknowledgment of his wisdom, goodness, and justice in all his dealings with him, which before he arraigned;

I will demand of thee; or rather "I will make petition to thee", as Mr. Broughton renders it; humbly ask a favour, and entreat a gracious answer; for to demand is not so agreeable to the frame and temper of soul Job was now in;

and declare thou unto me; or make him know what he knew not; he now in ignorance applies to God, as a God of knowledge, to inform him in things he was in the dark about, and to increase what knowledge he had. He was now willing to take the advice of Elihu, and pursue it, Job 34:31.

Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, {d} and declare thou unto me.

(d) He shows that he will be God's scholar to learn of him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. hear, I beseech thee] Or, hear now, and I will speak. The words are not an entreaty on the part of Job that the Almighty would further instruct him; they are a repetition of the words of the Lord (ch. Job 38:3, Job 40:7). The verse is closely connected with Job 42:5, which suggests under what feeling Job repeats the words of God to him. He recites the divine challenge and puts it away from him—“Declare unto thee! (Job 42:4) that be far from me; I had heard of thee with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee” (Job 42:5). This is more natural than to suppose Job 42:4 uttered with a kind of self-irony, as if Job, in repeating the words of the divine challenge, also entered into the ironical spirit of it. In either case Job 42:5 has a half-apologetic meaning, accounting for Job’s former rashness.Verse 4. - Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak; I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me, Job refers to God's words in Job 38:3 and Job 40:7, and realizes the humbling effect which they had had on him. They made him feel how little he knew on the subject of God's works and ways, and how little competent he was to judge them. Hence he bursts into the confession- 30 His under parts are the sharpest shards,

He spreadeth a threshing sledge upon the mire.

31 He maketh the deep foam like a caldron,

He maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.

32 He lighteth up the path behind him,

One taketh the water-flood for hoary hair.

33 Upon earth there is not his equal,

That is created without fear.

34 He looketh upon everything high,

He is the king over every proud beast.

Under it, or, תּחתּיו taken like תּחת, Job 41:11, as a virtual subject (vid., Job 28:5): its under parts are the most pointed or sharpest shards, i.e., it is furnished with exceedingly pointed scales. חדּוּד is the intensive form of חד (Arab. hadı̂d, sharpened equals iron, p. 542, note), as חלּוּק, 1 Samuel 17:40, of חלק (smooth),

(Note: In Arabic also this substantival form is intensive, e.g., lebbûn, an exceedingly large kind of tile, dried in the open air, of which farm-yards are built, nearly eight times larger than the common tile, which is called libne (לבנח).)

and the combination חדּוּדי חרשׂ (equal the combination חדודי החרשׂים, comp. Job 30:6) is moreover superlative: in the domain of shards standing prominent as sharp ones, as Arab. chairu ummatin, the best people, prop. bon en fait de peuple (Ew. 313, c. Gramm. Arab. 532). lxx ἡ στρωμνὴ αὐτοῦ ὀβελίσκοι ὀξεῖς, by drawing ירפּד to Job 41:30, and so translating as though it were רפידתו (Arab. rifâde, stratum). The verb רפד (rafada), cogn. רבד, signifies sternere (Job 17:13), and then also culcire; what is predicated cannot be referred to the belly of the crocodile, the scales of which are smooth, but to the tail with its scales, which more or less strongly protrude, are edged round by a shallow cavity, and therefore are easily and sharply separated when pressed; and the meaning is, that when it presses its under side in the morass, it appears as though a threshing-sledge with its iron teeth had been driven across it.

The pictures in Job 41:31 are true to nature; Bartram, who saw two alligators fighting, says that their rapid passage was marked by the surface of the water as it were boiling. With מצוּלה, a whirlpool, abyss, depth (from צוּל equals צלל, to hiss, clash; to whirl, surge), ים alternates; the Nile even in the present day is called bahr (sea) by the Beduins, and also compared, when it overflows its banks, to a sea. The observation that the animal diffuses a strong odour of musk, has perhaps its share in the figure of the pot of ointment (lxx ὥσπερ ἐξάλειπτρον, which Zwingli falsely translates spongia); a double gland in the tail furnishes the Egyptians and Americans their (pseudo) musk. In Job 41:32 the bright white trail that the crocodile leaves behind it on the surface of the water is intended; in Job 41:32 the figure is expressed which underlies the descriptions of the foaming sea with πολιός, canus, in the classic poets. שׂיבה, hoary hair, was to the ancients the most beautiful, most awe-inspiring whiteness. משׁלו, Job 41:33, understood by the Targ., Syr., Arab. version, and most moderns (e.g., Hahn: there is not on earth any mastery over it), according to Zechariah 9:10, is certainly, with lxx, Jer., and Umbr., not to be understood differently from the Arab. mithlahu (its equal); whether it be an inflexion of משׁל, or what is more probable, of משׁל (comp. Job 17:6, where this nomen actionis signifies a proverb equals word of derision, and התמשּׁל, to compare one's self, be equal, Job 30:19). על־עפר is also Hebr.-Arab.; the Arabic uses turbe, formed from turâb (vid., on Job 19:25), of the surface of the earth, and et-tarbâ-u as the name of the earth itself. העשׂוּ (for העשׂוּי, as צפוּ, Job 15:22, Cheth. equals צפוּי, resolved from עשׂוּו, ‛asûw, 1 Samuel 25:18, Cheth.) is the confirmatory predicate of the logical subj. described in Job 41:33 as incomparable; and לבלי־חת (from חת, the a of which becomes i in inflexion), absque terrore (comp. Job 38:4), is virtually a nom. of the predicate: the created one (becomes) a terrorless one (a being that is terrified by nothing). Everything high, as the לבלי־חת, Job 41:33, is more exactly explained, it looketh upon, i.e., remains standing before it, without turning away affrighted; in short, it (the leviathan) is king over all the sons of pride, i.e., every beast of prey that proudly roams about (vid., on Job 28:8).

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