Does God pervert judgment? or does the Almighty pervert justice?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 8:3. Doth God — Hebrew, אל, Eel, the mighty God, as this word signifies; pervert judgment? — Judge unrighteously? No: this is inconsistent with God’s nature, Which is essentially and necessarily just, and with his office of governor of the world. Or doth the Almighty pervert justice? — Hebrew, שׁדי, Shaddai, a word that sets forth God’s omnipotence and all-sufficiency. These names are emphatically used to prove that God cannot deal unjustly or falsely with men: because he hath no need so to do, nor temptation to it, being self-sufficient for his own happiness, and being able, by his own invincible power, to do whatsoever pleaseth him.God, Heb. the mighty God, as this word signifies; the almighty or all-sufficient God, as the next name of God here implies. These names are emphatically used, to prove that God cannot deal unjustly or falsely with men, because he hath no need of it, nor temptation to it, being self-sufficient for his own happiness, and being able by his own invincible power to do whatsoever pleaseth him; unless men will impudently say that God doth falsely for mere love to falsehood, without any necessity of it, or advantage to himself by it, than which nothing can be more absurd and ridiculous; for this makes him worse than the vilest of men, who act unjustly and falsely because they cannot otherwise accomplish their designs.
Pervert judgment, i.e. overthrow the course of justice in giving judgment, or judge unrighteously. No, this is inconsistent with God’s nature, which is essentially and necessarily just, and with his office of Governor of the world, Genesis 18:25.
or doth the Almighty pervert justice? for judgment and justice are the same, and often go together in Scripture, as being done either by God or men, when righteousness is executed by them, and this is never perverted by the Lord; there is no unrighteousness in him, neither in his nature, nor in his ways and works, either of providence or of grace; he is the Judge of all the earth, that does and will do right; to subvert a man in his cause, he approves not of in others, and will never do it himself; to justify the wicked, and condemn the just, are both an abomination to him, and therefore neither of these can ever be thought to be done by him; for though he justifies the ungodly, he does not justify their ungodliness, nor them in it, but from it, and that by the perfect righteousness of his Son; whereby the law is fulfilled, and justice satisfied, and so he is just while he is the justifier of him that believes in Jesus; though he is gracious and merciful, he is also righteous, and will not clear the guilty, or pardon sin without satisfaction to his justice; and such as are truly just or righteous, he never condemns here or hereafter; he may afflict them, but he delivers them out of their afflictions, nor are they ever forsaken by him; and, on the contrary, he punishes wicked men in this world, and in that to come, as he has the angels that sinned, the old world, Sodom and Gomorrah, and many others, and all wicked men will be punished with everlasting destruction; yea, even so strict is his punitive justice, that the sins of his own people being laid and found on his Son as their surety, he has most severely punished him for them; he awoke the sword of justice against him, spared him not, but delivered him to death for us all; and though he forgives the iniquities of his children, he takes vengeance on their inventions, and chastises them for their sins, that they may not be condemned with the world; and, on the other hand, he is not unrighteous to forget their work and labour of love, which he rewards in a way of grace, as well as it is a righteous thing with him to render tribulation to them that trouble them: the righteousness of God is known by the judgments he executes on wicked men, and especially will be manifest in his judgments on antichrist; and though the justice of God in the course of his providence, in some instances, may not now be so clear, his judgments will be made manifest, and especially at the great day of judgment, when everything shall be brought to account, and God will judge the world in righteousness; all which, we may be assured of, is and will be executed by him, from the consideration of his nature and perfections, and particularly from the name he goes by in this passage, being El, the mighty God, who is able to save and to destroy, to save the righteous, and destroy the wicked; and is Shaddai, all sufficient, stands in need of nothing; nor can he receive anything that is not his own, and therefore incapable of being bribed to the perversion of justice and judgment.Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. doth God pervert] Or, will God pervert … will the Almighty, &c.? This is what Bildad means by his reference to these things. Job’s speech put briefly is an assertion that God perverts justice. God is referred to in his character of ruler of the world. By the question Bildad expresses his astonishment and abhorrence of what seems the drift of Job’s language. The words “God” and “Almighty” stand first in the sentence for the sake of emphasis, will God …? and the same word “pervert” is also used in both clauses with an intonation of astonishment.Verse 3. - Doth God pervert judgment? This was, no doubt, what Job's words of expostulation might seem to imply. But he had never gone so far as to make the direct charge, and a true friend would have shrunk from taxing him with an impiety, witch could only be deduced from his speech by way of inference. It is our duty to put the best construction that we can on our friends' words, no less than upon their actions. Or doth the Almighty pervert justice? "Justice" is not altogether the same thing with "judgment." Judgment is the act, justice the principle which underlies or ought to underlie the act. It is, of course, impossible for God to pervert either. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25).
And that Thou turnest Thy heart toward him,
18 And visitest him every morning,
Triest him every moment?
19 How long dost Thou not look away from me,
Nor lettest me alone till I swallow down my spittle?
The questions in Job 7:17. are in some degree a parody on Psalm 8:5, comp. Psalm 144:3, Lamentations 3:23. There it is said that God exalts puny man to a kingly and divine position among His creatures, and distinguishes him continually with new tokens of His favour; here, that instead of ignoring him, He makes too much of him, by selecting him, perishable as he is, as the object of ever new and ceaseless sufferings. כּמּה, quamdiu, Job 7:19, is construed with the praet. instead of the fut.: how long will it continue that Thou turnest not away Thy look of anger from me? as the synonymous עד־מתי, quousque, is sometimes construed with the praet. instead of the fut., e.g., Psalm 80:5. "Until I swallow my spittle" is a proverbial expression for the minimum of time.
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