Job 42:5
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 42:5. But now mine eye seeth thee — “It is plain,” says Dr. Dodd, “that there is some privilege intended here that Job had never enjoyed before, and which he calls a sight of God. He had heard of him by the hearing of the ear, or the tradition delivered down from his forefathers; but he had now a clear and sensible perception of his being and divine perfections; some light thrown in upon his mind, which carried its own evidence with it; and which to him had all the certainty and clearness even of sight itself.” Poole thus paraphrases his words: “The knowledge which I had of thy nature, perfections, and counsels, was hitherto grounded chiefly upon the instructions of men; but now it is clear and certain, as being immediately inspired into my mind by this thy glorious appearance and revelation, and by the operation of thy Holy Spirit, which makes these things as evident to me as if I saw them with my bodily eyes.” “When,” adds Henry, “the mind is enlightened by the Spirit of God, our knowledge of divine things as far exceeds what we had before, as knowledge by ocular demonstration exceeds that by common fame.”

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.I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear - Referring to the indistinct views which we have of anything by merely hearing of it, compared with the clear apprehension which is furnished by sight. Job had had such views of God as one may obtain by being told of him; he now had such views as are furnished by the sight. The meaning is, that his views of God before were dark and obscure.

But now mine eye seeth thee - We are not to suppose that Job means to say that he actually "saw" God, but that his apprehensions of him were clear and bright "as if" he did. There is no evidence that God appeared to Job in any visible form. He is said, indeed, to have spoken from the whirlwind, but no visible manifestation of Yahweh is mentioned.

Job 42:5-6.An effect also remarkably similar is described in reference to the apostle Peter, Luke 5:8 : "When Simon Peter saw it (the miracle which Jesus had performed), he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. '"

A people of unclean lips - A people who are unworthy to celebrate the praises of a God so pure and exalted.

Mine eyes have seen - In Exodus 33:20, it is said: 'Thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me and live;' compare John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16. Perhaps it was in recollection of this, that Isaiah said he was undone. It is not, however, to be understood that the prophet saw Yahweh Himself, but only the "symbol" of His presence. It was for this expression, according to the tradition of the Jews, that Manasseh took occasion to put the prophet to death; see the Introduction, Section 2.

continued...

5. hearing of the ear—(Ps 18:44, Margin). Hearing and seeing are often in antithesis (Job 29:11; Ps 18:8).

seeth—not God's face (Ex 33:20), but His presence in the veil of a dark cloud (Job 38:1). Job implies also that, besides this literal seeing, he now saw spiritually what he had indistinctly taken on hearsay before God's infinite wisdom. He "now" proves this; he had seen in a literal sense before, at the beginning of God's speech, but he had not seen spiritually till "now" at its close.

The knowledge which I had of thy Divine nature, and perfections, and counsels, was hitherto dark, and doubtful, and conjectural, being grounded chiefly, if not only, upon the instructions and reports of other men; but now it is clear and certain, as being immediately inspired into my mind by this thy glorious apparition and revelation, and by the operation of thy Holy Spirit; which makes these things as certain and evident to me, as if I saw them with my bodily eyes.

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear,.... From his ancestors, who in a traditionary way had handed down from one to another what they knew of God, his will and worship, his works and ways; and from those who had the care of his education, parents and tutors, who had instilled the principles of religion, and the knowledge of divine things, into him very early; and from such as might instruct in matters of religion in a public manner; and both by ordinary and extraordinary revelation made unto him, as was sometimes granted to men in that age in which Job 54ed; see Job 4:16. Though he had heard more of God through his speaking to him out of the whirlwind than ever he did before, to which he had attentively listened; and the phrase, hearing by or with the hearing of the ear, denotes close attention; see Ezekiel 44:5;

but now mine eye seeth thee; thy Shechinah, as Jarchi; thy divine glory and Majesty; the Logos, the Word or Son of God, who now appeared in an human form, and spake to Job out of the whirlwind; and whom he saw with the eyes of his body, as several of the patriarchs had seen him, and which is the sense of an ancient writer (n); though no doubt he saw him also with the eyes of his understanding, and had a clearer sight of his living Redeemer, the Messiah, than ever he had before; and saw more of God in Christ, of his nature, perfections, and glory, than ever he had as yet seen; and what he had heard of him came greatly short of what he now saw; particularly he had a more clear and distinct view of the sovereignty, wisdom, goodness, and justice of God in the dealings of his providence with the children of men, and with himself, to which now he humbly submitted.

(n) Euseb. Demonstr. Evangel. l. 1. c. 5. p. 11.

I have {e} heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

(e) I knew you only before by hearsay, but now you have caused me to feel what you are to me, that I may resign myself over to you.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. I have heard] Rather perhaps, I had heard. Job’s former knowledge of God, though he had prided himself upon it (ch. 12–13), seems to him now only such a knowledge as one gets by hearsay, confused and defective. His present knowledge is that of eyesight, immediate and full (Isaiah 52:8).

Verse 5. - I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear. Hitherto, i.e., I have had nothing but hearsay knowledge of thee; I have not known thee in any true sense; but now - now that thou hast revealed thy-self - mine eye seeth thee; my spiritual eye is opened, and I begin to see thee in thy true might, thy true greatness, thy true inscrutableness. Now I recognize the distance which separates us, and feel how unreasonable it is that I should contend with thee, argue with thee, assume myself to be competent to pass judgment on thy doings. "Wherefore I abhor myself," etc. Job 42:5 4 O hear now, and I will speak:

I will ask Thee, and instruct Thou me.

5 I had heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear,

And now mine eye hath seen Thee.

6 Therefore I am sorry, and Irepent

In dust and ashes.

The words employed after the manner of entreaty, in Job 42:4, Job also takes from the mouth of Jehovah, Job 38:3; Job 40:7. Hitherto Jehovah has interrogated him, in order to bring him to a knowledge of his ignorance and weakness. Now, however, after he has thoroughly perceived this, he is anxious to put questions to Jehovah, in order to penetrate deeper and deeper into the knowledge of the divine power and wisdom. Now for the first time with him, the true, living perception of God has its beginning, being no longer effected by tradition (ל of the external cause: in consequence of the tidings which came to my ears, comp. Psalm 18:45, comp. Isaiah 23:5), but by direct communication with God. In this new light he can no longer deceive himself concerning God and concerning himself; the delusion of the conflict now yields to the vision of the truth, and only penitential sorrow for his sin towards God remains to him. The object to אמאס is his previous conduct. נחם is the exact expression for μετανοεῖν, the godly sorrow of repentance not to be repented of. He repents (sitting) on dust and ashes after the manner of those in deep grief.

If the second speech of Jehovah no longer has to do with the exaltation and power of God in general, but is intended to answer Job's doubt concerning the justice of the divine government of the world, the long passage about the hippopotamus and the crocodile, Job 40:15-41:34, in this second speech seems to be devoid of purpose and connection. Even Eichhorn and Bertholdt on this account suppose that the separate portions of the two speeches of Jehovah have fallen into disorder. Stuhlmann, Bernstein, and De Wette, on the other hand, explained the second half of the description of the leviathan, Job 41:12-34, as a later interpolation; for this part is thought to be inflated, and to destroy the connection between Jehovah's concluding words, Job 41:2-3, and Job's answer, Job 42:2-6. Ewald forcibly rejected the whole section, Job 40:15, by ascribing it to the writer of Elihu's speeches-an opinion which he has again more recently abandoned. In fact, this section ought to have had a third poet as its writer. But he would be the double (Doppelgnger) of the first; for, deducting the somewhat tame לא אחרישׁ בדיו, Job 41:12, - which, however, is introduced by the interrupted description being resumed, in order now to begin in real earnest, - this section stands upon an equally exalted height with the rest of the book as a poetic production and lofty description; and since it has not only, as also Elihu's speeches, an Arabizing tinge, but also the poetic genius, the rich fountain of thought, the perfection of technical detail, in common with the rest of the book; and since the writer of the book of Job also betrays elsewhere an acquaintance with Egypt, and an especial interest in things Egyptian, the authenticity of the section is by no means doubted by us, but we freely adopt the originality of its present position.

But before one doubts the originality of its position, he ought, first of all, to make an earnest attempt to comprehend the portion in its present connection, into which it at any rate has not fallen from pure thoughtlessness. The first speech of Jehovah, moreover, was surprisingly different from what was to have been expected, and yet we recognised in it a deep consistency with the plan; perhaps the same thing is also the case in connection with the second.

After Job has answered the first speech of Jehovah by a confession of penitence, the second can have no other purpose but that of strengthening the conviction, which urges to this confession, and of deepening the healthful tone from which it proceeds. The object of censure here is no longer Job's contending with Jehovah in general, but Job's contending with Jehovah on account of the prosperity of the evil-doer, which is irreconcilable with divine justice; that contending by which the sufferer, in spite of the shadow which affliction casts upon him, supported the assertion of his own righteousness. Here also, as a result, the refutation follows in the only way consistent with the dignity of Jehovah, and so that Job must believe in order to perceive, and does not perceive in order not to be obliged to believe. Without arguing the matter with Job, as to why many things in the government of the world are thus and not rather otherwise, Jehovah challenges Job to take the government of the world into his own hand, and to give free course to his wrath, to cast down everything that is exalted, and to render the evil-doer for ever harmless. By thus thinking of himself as the ruler of the world, Job is obliged to recognise the cutting contrast of his feebleness and the divine rule, with which he has ventured to find fault; at the same time, however, he is taught, that - what he would never be able to do - God really punishes the ungodly, and must have wise purposes when, which He indeed might do, He does not allow the floods of His wrath to be poured forth immediately.

Thus far also Simson is agreed; but what is the design of the description of the two Egyptian monsters, which are regarded by him as by Ewald as out of place here? To show Job how little capable he is of governing the world, and how little he would be in a position to execute judgment on the evil-doer, two creatures are described to him, two unslain monsters of gigantic structure and invincible strength, which defy all human attack. These two descriptions are, we think, designed to teach Job how little capable of passing sentence upon the evil-doer he is, who cannot even draw a cord through the nose of the behmoth, and who, if he once attempted to attack the leviathan, would have reason to remember it so long as he lived, and would henceforth let it alone. It is perhaps an emblem that is not without connection with the book of Job, that these בהמות and לויתן (תנין), in the language of the Prophets and the Psalms, are the symbols of a worldly power at enmity with the God of redemption and His people. And wherefore should Job's confession, Job 42:2, not be suitably attached to the completed description of the leviathan, especially as the description is divided into two parts by the utterances of Jehovah, Job 41:2-3, which retrospectively and prospectively set it in the right light for Job?

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