But Job answered and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) But Job answered and said.—Job replies to Eliphaz with the despair of a man who has been baulked of sympathy when he hoped to find it. We cannot trace, nor must we expect to find, the formal reply of a logical argument, fliphaz, he feels, has so misjudged his case that he is neither worthy of a direct reply nor susceptible of one. It is enough for him to reiterate his complaint, and long for one who can enter into it.Job 6:1. Job answered and said — Eliphaz concluded his discourse with an air of assurance, being very confident that what he had advanced was so plain and so pertinent that nothing could be objected to it. Job, however, is not at all convinced by it, but still justifies himself in his complaints, and condemns his friend for the weakness of his arguing. Though Eliphaz, in the beginning and some other parts of his speech, was very severe upon Job, he gave him no interruption, but heard him patiently till he had delivered his whole mind. But when he had done this, and had finished all he had to say, Job modestly, but feelingly, makes his reply. He begins with an apology for venting his grief in a manner somewhat unbecoming, and begs it may be ascribed to the great multitude and sharpness of his afflictions; but as to the advice given him by Eliphaz, to hope for an amendment of his condition: and to address God for that purpose, he tells them, that his petition to God should be of a quite different nature, namely, that he would be pleased to cut him off speedily; for that the desperateness of his condition would by no means permit him to hope for any amendment. That, however, he could not help resenting their unkind suspicions of him, that they should think him capable of such great wickedness; but, above all, should imagine him to be so abandoned as to be able to entertain a thought tending to a revolt from the Almighty. He begs them not to condemn him barely on suspicion, and on the strength of general maxims, but to consider it was possible he might be innocent.
We have searched it - We have by careful observation of the course of events come to these conclusions. These are our views of the providence of God, and of the principles of his government, as far as we have had the opportunity of observing, and they are well worthy of your attention. The sentiments in these two chapters indicate close and accurate observation; and if we think that the observation was not always wholly accurate, or that the principles were carried further than facts would warrant, or that Eliphaz applied them with somewhat undue severity to the case of Job, we are to remember that this was in the infancy of the world, that they had few historical records, and that they had no written revelation. If they were favored with occasional revelations, as Eliphaz claimed (Job 4:12 ff), yet they were few in number, and at distant intervals, and the divine communications pertained to but few points.
Though it may without impropriety be maintained that some of the views of Eliphaz and his friends were not wholly accurate, yet we may safely ask, Where among the Greek and Roman sages can views of the divine government be found that equal these in correctness, or that are expressed with equal force and beauty? For profound and accurate observation, for beauty of thought and sublimity of expression, the sage of Teman will not fall behind the sages of Athens; and not the least interesting thing in the contemplation of the book of Job, is the comparison which we are almost of necessity compelled to make between the observations on the course of events which were made in Arabia, and those which were made by the philosophers of the ancient pagan world. Is it improper to suppose that one design of this book was to show how far the human mind could go, with the aid of occasional revelations on a few points, in ascertaining the principles of the divine administration, and to demonstrate that, after all, the mind needed a fuller revelation to enable man to comprehend the truths pertaining to the kingdom of God? "Hear it for thy good." Margin, as in Hebrew "thyself." These principles are such that they are of importance for you to understand and to apply.
FIRST SERIES CONTINUED.
Job 6:1-30. Reply of Job to Eliphaz.Job’s answer: he wisheth his troubles were duly weighed, for then would his complaints appear just, Job 6:1-7: prayeth for death; his hope in it, Job 6:8-10. He is unable to bear up under his burden, Job 6:11,12. He vindicateth himself against his friends, and reproveth them, Job 6:13-30.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Job 6:1-13. Job defends the violence of his complaints and his despair
Eliphaz had made no reference directly to sin on Job’s part; but he drew dark pictures of the evilness of human nature before the eye of his friend, and for his advantage. Job shews a dislike to touch this point. His dislike is that of a man conscious of his innocence, and who can hardly believe that his friends seriously mean what their indirect allusions seem to imply. Hence he attaches his reply to what Eliphaz had openly expressed, namely, his wonder at the despair of Job and his blameable impatience. The idea of his having sinned he touches only in passing and with strong repudiation of it (ch. Job 6:28-30).
Eliphaz had used the word “confounded” of Job’s hopeless despair (ch. Job 4:5); he had spoken of “impatience,” and “passion”; and had referred to the “fool” or godless man, as shewing this kind of temper under affliction (Job 6:2). All this wounds Job deeply, and he first of all replies to it, justifying the bitterness of his complaints by the overwhelming heaviness of his sorrow.
First, he wishes that his impatience and his calamity were laid against one another in the balance. His calamity is heavier than the sand of the sea. For that which gives it its terror is that it is from God. The arrows of the Almighty are in him, and his spirit drinks in their poison and is paralysed, Job 6:1-4.
Second, a more kindly judgment, he thinks, would have reasoned the other way from his friends, namely, from the violence of his complaints to the greatness of his sufferings. So men reasoned with regard to beasts even. No creature complained if it had no want or no pain; neither would he complain if what was unbearable were not thrust upon him, Job 6:5-7.
Third, so far he goes in his defence. But so keenly does he realize as he describes it (Job 6:6-7) the misery and loathsomeness of his state that here he breaks out into a passionate cry for death, his mind passes into a momentary frenzy, and he says he would leap for joy in the midst of unsparing pain, if it brought death with it. This is the consolation that he seeks. And this consolation he can look for, for he has never denied the words of the Holy One. And no other can he look to, for his flesh is not brass that it should resist his exhausting afflictions; and what issue has he to expect that he should be patient? Job 6:8-13.Verses 1, 2. - But Job answered and said, Oh that my grief were throughly weighed! rather, my anger, or my vexation - the same word as that used by Eliphaz when reproaching Job, in Job 5:2. Job wishes that, before men blame him, they would calmly weigh the force of his feelings and expressions against the weight of the calamity which oppresses him. His words may seem too strong and too violent; but are they more than a just counterpoise to the extreme character of his afflictions? The weighing of words and thoughts was an essential element in the Egyptian conception of the judgment, where Thoth held the balance, and in the one scale were placed the merits of the deceased, in the other the image of Ma, or Truth, and his fate was determined by the side to which the balance inclined ('Ritual of the Dead,' ch. 125; Wilkinson, 'Ancient Egyptians,' vol. 5. p. 252). And my calamity laid in the balances together. My calamity placed in one scale, and my vexation in the other, and so weighed, each against each.
And from the beasts of the earth thou hast nothing to fear.
23 For thou art in league with the stones of the field,
And the beasts of the field are at peace with thee.
24 And thou knowest that peace is thy pavilion;
And thou searchest thy household, and findest nothing wanting.
25 Thou knowest also that thy seed shall be numerous,
And thy offspring as the herb of the ground.
26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a ripe age,
As shocks of corn are brought in in their season.
27 Lo! this we have searched out, so it is:
Hear it, and give thou heed to it.
The verb שׂחק is construed (Job 5:22) with ל of that which is despised, as Job 39:7, Job 39:18; Job 41:21 [Hebr.]. על־תּירא is the form of subjective negation [vid. Ges. 152, 1: Tr.]: only fear thou not equals thou hast no occasion. In Job 5:23, בּריתך is the shortest substantive form for לך בּרית. The whole of nature will be at peace with thee: the stones of the field, that they do not injure the fertility of thy fields; the wild beasts of the field, that they do not hurt thee and thy herds. The same promise that Hosea (Hosea 2:20) utters in reference to the last days is here used individually. From this we see how deeply the Chokma had searched into the history of Paradise and the Fall. Since man, the appointed lord of the earth, has been tempted by a reptile, and has fallen by a tree, his relation to nature, and its relation to him, has been reversed: it is an incongruity, which is again as a whole put right (שׁלום), as the false relation of man to God is put right. In Job 5:24, שׁלום (which might also be adj.) is predicate: thou wilt learn (וידעתּ, praet. consec. with accented ultima, as e.g., Deuteronomy 4:39, here with Tiphcha initiale s. anterius, which does not indicate the grammatical tone-syllable) that thy tent is peace, i.e., in a condition of contentment and peace on all sides. Job 5:24 is to be arranged: And when thou examinest thy household, then thou lackest nothing, goest not astray, i.e., thou findest everything, without missing anything, in the place where thou seekest it.
Job 5:25 reminds one of the Salomonic Psalm 72:16. צאצאים in the Old Testament is found only in Isaiah and the book of Job. The meaning of the noun כּלח, which occurs only here and Job 30:2, is clear. Referring to the verb כּלח, Arabic qahila (qalhama), to be shrivelled up, very aged, it signifies the maturity of old age, - an idea which may be gained more easily if we connect כּלח with כּלה (to be completed), like קשׁח with קשׁה (to be hard).
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