Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Is there iniquity?—Or, injustice in my tongue? Is my taste so perverted that it cannot perceive what is perverse? “Ye appear to think that I am wholly incapable of judging my own cause because it is my own; but if ye will only condescend to return in due course, ye shall find that I know what is right as well as you, and that there is no more vicious reasoning in me than there is with you, and probably less.” It is difficult to draw out the argument of Job in the logical form of our Western thought, and to trace the line of connection running through it. If we look at it in detail—as we must in order to explain it—then we are apt to look at it piecemeal, and miss the thread; but in point of fact it is just this very thread which it is so difficult to detect and retain from one chapter to another.Job 6:30. Is there iniquity in my tongue? — Consider, if there be any iniquity, or untruth, in what I have already said, or shall further speak? Have I hitherto uttered any thing that is faulty? Cannot my taste discern perverse things — That is, my understanding, which judges of words and actions, as the palate doth of meats. I hope it is not so corrupted but that I can discern what is bad, though spoken by myself.
Cannot my taste discern perverse things? - Margin, palate. The word used here חך chêk means properly the palate, together with the corresponding lower part of the mouth, the inside mouth. Gesenius. Hence, it means the organ of taste, residing in the mouth. The meaning is, that Job was qualified to discern what was true or false, sincere or hypocritical, just or unjust, in the same manner as the palate is fitted to discern the qualities of objects, whether bitter or sweet, pleasant or unpleasant, wholesome or unwholesome. His object is to invite attention to what he had to state on the subject. To this proposed vindication he proceeds in the following chapter, showing the greatness of his calamity, and his right, as he supposes, to complain. Their attention was gained. They did not refuse to listen to him, and he proceeds to a fuller statement of his calamity, and of the reasons why he had allowed himself to use the language of complaint. They listened without interruption until he was done, and then replied in tones of deeper severity still.
My taste. i.e. my judgment, which discerns and judgeth of words and actions as the taste or palate doth of meats.
Perverse things, i.e. false opinions or sinful expressions. I am not so bereft of common understanding, as not to be able to distinguish between good and evil; and therefore if I have uttered, or should utter, any perverse words, I should apprehend them to be so as well as you do.
cannot my taste discern perverse things? which is to be understood not of his natural taste, which very probably through his disease might be greatly vitiated, and incapable of relishing his food as in time of health, and of distinguishing good from bad; but of his intellectual taste, or of his sense and reason, his rational and spiritual taste; he had his senses exercised to discern good and evil; he could distinguish between right and wrong that was said or done, either by himself or others; be had the use of his rational powers and faculties, and therefore not to be treated as a mad or distracted man, but as one capable of carrying on a conversation, of opening his true case, and defending himself; see Job 12:11.Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)30. In Job 6:28 Job asseverated that he spoke truth in affirming his innocence. In Job 6:29 he affirmed that he had right on his side in his plea against God, in other words that he was wrongly afflicted. This verse, therefore, can hardly be a new assertion that he speaks the truth when he affirms his innocence; it must refer to a point further back, and be, in the form of a question, an affirmation of his ability to say whether he is innocent or not, and to judge rightly regarding the nature of his afflictions. The question, Is there iniquity in my tongue? means Is my tongue perverted that it cannot distinguish? In the second clause “taste” or “palate” is not referred to as an organ of speech but of perception (ch. Job 12:11).
The expression “perverse things” may mean wickednesses. This may be used generally and the question in the second clause have the same meaning as that in the first, viz. whether Job had lost moral sense and could not distinguish wrong from right? And the whole would be an affirmation of the soundness of his moral judgments, meant to support the asseveration of his innocence and the righteousness of his cause (Job 6:28-29). The phrase “perverse things” is that rendered “calamity” Job 6:2, and this might be the meaning here: “cannot my taste discern calamities?” i. e. the true nature of my afflictions, and perceive that they are undeserved and unjust?
Either of the above meanings forms a fitting and pathetic transition to the renewed cry of despair in ch. 7. For that which makes Job’s condition so crushing to him is that though innocent he feels himself in the hands of a ruthless and arbitrary fate, which, regardless of his innocence, is bent on destroying him. For this fate he has no other name but God; cf. ch. Job 9:22 seq., Job 23:13 seq.Verse 30. - Is there iniquity in my tongue? (see ver. 26). Job now justifies his words, which previously he had admitted to have been "rash" (ver. 3). Perhaps he intends to distinguish between rashness and actual wickedness. Cannot my taste discern perverse things? i.e. I see no perversity or wickedness in what I have said. If there were any, I think I should discern it The reasoning is somewhat dangerous, since men are not infallible judges, not being unprejudiced judges, in their own case. Job's ultimate verdict on himself is that he has "uttered that which he understood not" (Job 42:3) - wherefore he "abhors himself, and repents in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6).
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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