Job 6:24
Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
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Job 6:24-25. Teach me — Instead of censuring and reproaching, instruct and convince me by solid arguments; and I will hold my tongue — I will patiently hear and gladly receive your counsels; and cause me to understand wherein I have erred — Show me my mistakes and miscarriages; for I am ready to receive your reproofs, and humbly to submit to them. How forcible are right words! — The words of truth and solid argument have a marvellous power to convince and persuade a man; and, if yours were such, I should readily yield to them. But what doth your arguing reprove? — There is no truth in your assertions, nor weight in your arguments, and therefore they are of no account, and have no power with me.

6:14-30 In his prosperity Job formed great expectations from his friends, but now was disappointed. This he compares to the failing of brooks in summer. Those who rest their expectations on the creature, will find it fail when it should help them; whereas those who make God their confidence, have help in the time of need, Heb 4:16. Those who make gold their hope, sooner or later will be ashamed of it, and of their confidence in it. It is our wisdom to cease from man. Let us put all our confidence in the Rock of ages, not in broken reeds; in the Fountain of life, not in broken cisterns. The application is very close; for now ye are nothing. It were well for us, if we had always such convictions of the vanity of the creature, as we have had, or shall have, on a sick-bed, a death-bed, or in trouble of conscience. Job upbraids his friends with their hard usage. Though in want, he desired no more from them than a good look and a good word. It often happens that, even when we expect little from man, we have less; but from God, even when we expect much, we have more. Though Job differed from them, yet he was ready to yield as soon as it was made to appear that he was in error. Though Job had been in fault, yet they ought not to have given him such hard usage. His righteousness he holds fast, and will not let it go. He felt that there had not been such iniquity in him as they supposed. But it is best to commit our characters to Him who keeps our souls; in the great day every upright believer shall have praise of God.Teach me, and I will hold my tongue - That is, give me any real instruction, or show me what is my duty, and I will be silent. By this he means that Eliphaz had really imparted no instruction, but had dealt only in the language of reproof. The sense is, "I would willingly sit and listen where truth is imparted, and where I could be enabled to see the reason of the divine dealings. If I could be made to understand where I have erred, I would acquiesce." 24, 25. Irony. If you can "teach me" the right view, I am willing to be set right, and "hold my tongue"; and to be made to see my error. But then if your words be really the right words, how is it that they are so feeble? "Yet how feeble are the words of what you call the right view." So the Hebrew is used (in Mic 2:10; 1:9). The English Version, "How powerful," &c., does not agree so well with the last clause of the verse. Teach me; instead of censuring and reproaching, instruct and convince me by solid arguments.

I will hold my tongue; I will patiently hear and gladly receive your counsels; or, I will be silent; I will neither contradict you, nor complain of my own griefs. Compare Job 40:4,5 Pr 30:32.

Wherein I have erred, i.e. my mistakes and miscarriages.

Teach me, and I will hold my tongue,.... Job having made his defence, and which he thought a sufficient one to acquit him of the charge against him; yet to show that he was not stubborn and flexible, but was open to conviction, and ready to attend and hearken to what might be further said, desires to be taught and instructed in the way of his duty; suggesting that, upon being convinced of his mistakes, he should ingenuously acknowledge them: good men are desirous of being taught both of God and men; they are not above instruction, or think themselves wiser than their teachers; they are willing to receive knowledge, not only from their superiors, but from their equals, and even from those that are inferior to them, as Job from his friends, though they had been unkind to him, and bore very hard upon him; and he promises that while they were speaking he would be silent, and not noisy, and clamorous, nor interrupt nor contradict them; but would patiently and attentively listen to what they said, and seriously consider it, and weigh it well in his mind; and, should he be convinced thereby, would no longer continue his complaints unto God, nor murmur at his providences; and would cease reflecting on them his friends, and no more charge them with deceit, perfidy, and unkindness; and by his silence would acknowledge his guilt, and not pertinaciously stand in an evil matter, but lay his hand on his mouth; hold his tongue, as our English phrase is, a Graecism (z); that is, be silent, as in Hebrew; and even take shame to himself, and in this way confess his iniquity, and do so no more:

and cause me to understand wherein I have erred; not that he allowed that he was in an error; for all that he says, both before and after, shows that he thought himself free from any; only, that whereas there was a possibility that he might be in one, he should be glad to have it pointed out; for he would not willingly and obstinately continue therein: error is common to human nature; the best of men are liable to mistakes; and those are so frequent and numerous, that many of them escape notice; "who can understand his errors?" Psalm 19:12; wherefore wise and good men will esteem it a favour to have their errors pointed out to them, and their mistakes rectified; and it becomes men of capacity and ability to take some pains to do this, since he that converts one that has erred, whether in principle or practice, saves a soul from death, and covers a multitude of sins; James 5:19; Job is desirous, that if he had imbibed or uttered any error in principle, any thing unbecoming the Divine Being, contrary to his perfections, or to the holy religion which he professed, or was guilty of any in practice, in his conduct and behaviour, especially under the present providence, that it might be clearly made out unto him, and he should at once frankly and freely own it, retract and relinquish it.

(z) , Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 2. c. 2.

Teach me, and I will {o} hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

(o) Show me where I have erred, and I will confess my sin.

24–27. In answer to their covert insinuations Job demands that they should bring home to him the sins of which they suspected him.

Verse 24. - Teach me, and I will hold my tongue. Job is willing to be taught, if his friends have any instruction to give. He is willing to be reproved. But not in such sort as he has been reproved by Eliphas. His words were not "words of uprightness." Cause me to understand wherein I have erred. Point out, that is, in what my assumed guilt consists. You maintain that my afflictions are deserved. Point out what in my conduct has deserved them. I am quite ready to be convinced. Job 6:2424 Teach me, and I will be silent,

And cause me to understand wherein I have failed.

25 How forcible are words in accordance with truth!

But what doth reproof from you reprove?

26 Do you think to reprove words?

The words of one in despair belong to the wind.

27 Ye would even cast lots for the orphan,

And traffic about your friend.

נמרצוּ, Job 6:25, in the signification of נמלצוּ (Psalm 119:103), would suit very well: how smooth, delicate, sweet, are, etc. (Hirz., Ew., Schlottm.); but this meaning does not suit Job 16:3. Hupfeld, by comparison with mar, bitter, translates: quantumvis acerba; but מה may signify quidquid, though not quantumvis. Hahn compares the Arabic verb to be sick, and translates: in what respect are right words bad; but physical disease and ethical badness are not such nearly related ideas. Ebrard: honest words are not taken amiss; but with an inadmissible application of Job 16:3. Von Gerl. is best: how strong or forcible are, etc. מרץ is taken as related to פּרץ, in the signification to penetrate; Hiph. to goad; Niph. to be furnished with the property of penetrating, - used here of penetrating speech; 1 Kings 2:8, of a curse inevitably carried out; Micah 2:10, of unsparing destruction. Words which keep the straight way to truth, go to the heart; on the contrary, what avails the reproving from you, i.e., which proceeds from you? הוכח, inf. absol. as Proverbs 25:27, and in but a few other passages as subject; מכּם, as Job 5:15, the sword going forth out of their mouth. In Job 6:26 the waw introduces a subordinate adverbial clause: while, however, the words of one in despair belong to the wind, that they may be carried away by it, not to the judgment which retains and analyzes them, without considering the mood of which they are the hasty expression. The futt. express the extent to which their want of feeling would go, if the circumstances for it only existed; they are subjunctive, as Job 3:13, Job 3:16. גּורל, the lot, is to be supplied to תּפּילוּ, as 1 Samuel 14:42. The verb כּרה, however, does not here signify to dig, so that שׁחת, a pit, should be supplied (Heiligst.), still less: dig out earth, and cast it on any one (Ebrard); but has the signification of buying and selling with על of the object, exactly like Job 39:27.

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