Then Job answered and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 9:1. Then Job answered and said — “In reply to Bildad, Job begins with hinting, that their opinions seemed a little to clash; Eliphaz had insisted, from revelation, that the common failings of men were a sufficient justification of providence, even in the most afflicting dispensations. Bildad says, if he were pure and upright, God would interpose in his behalf. Job replies, that all this is very true; but the difficulty is, to be thus pure and upright: ‘for I am not exempt from the common failings of men: if, therefore, they are sufficient to account for the great calamities which have befallen me, I am still without a remedy. As to God’s power and wisdom, I am as thoroughly convinced, and can give as many instances of it as you; and, therefore, I know it is in vain for me to contend with him, Job 9:2-13. I have nothing left but to acknowledge my own vileness, and to make my supplication to him, Job 9:14-19. But yet, as to any heinous crimes, beyond the common infirmities of human nature, these I disclaim; and let the event be what it will, I will rather part with my life than accuse myself wrongfully. And whereas you affirm, that affliction is an infallible mark of guilt, you quite mistake the matter; for afflictions are indifferently assigned to be the portion of the innocent and the guilty. God, indeed, sometimes in his anger destroys the wicked; but, doth he not as frequently afflict the innocent? The dispensations of providence, in this world, are frequently such, that, were it not that God now and then lets loose his fury against them, one would be almost tempted to imagine the rule of this world was delivered over into the hands of wicked men, Job 9:21-24. As for my own part, my days are almost come to an end: it is therefore labour lost for me to plead the cause of my innocence: besides, that in the sight of God I must appear all vileness; so that it is not for such a one as me to pretend to put myself on a level with him. And, even though I were able to do so, there is no one that hath sufficient authority to judge between us, Job 9:25-33. Yet, were it his pleasure to grant me a little respite, I could say a great deal in my own vindication; but, as matters stand, I dare not; for which reason my life is a burden to me, and my desire is, it may speedily come to an end, chap. 10. Job 9:1, to the end. I would, however, expostulate a little with the Almighty.’ And here he enters into the most beautiful and tender pleading which heart can conceive; ending, as before, with a prayer, that his sufferings and life might soon come to a period; and that God would grant him some little respite before his departure hence.” — Heath and Dodd.
And the dwelling-place of the wicked ... - The wicked shall be destroyed, and his family shall pass away. That is, God will favor the righteous, but punish the wicked. This opinion the friends of Job maintain all along, and by this they urge him to forsake his sins, repent, and return to God.
Job 9:1-35. Reply of Job to Bildad.Job’s answer: man cannot stand in judgment with God, because of his justice, wisdom, and power, which are unsearchable, Job 9:1-11. All help or reason against God is vain; nor can we answer him; but must supplicate to our Judge, Job 9:12-15. God’s sovereignty, and our vileness before him, Job 9:16-21. The godly are punished as well as the wicked by general calamities and wicked oppression, Job 9:22-24. His time swift; his sorrows bitter: if wicked, he could not clear himself; nor would God hold him innocent, Job 9:25-31; yet wisheth for a daysman, and a removal of Divine terror; then would he before God maintain his innocency, Job 9:32-35.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. It is not quite easy to see what form of the maxim of the friends it is to which Job gives his sneering assent in this verse, when he says, To be sure I know that it is so. In Job 9:10 he quotes words from Eliphaz, ch. Job 5:9, verbatim, and he may refer to the form in which this speaker put forward the principle common to them all, Shall man be righteous before God? ch. Job 4:17. In this case the second member of the verse merely explains the words that it is so,
Of a truth I know that it is so:
How shall man be righteous with God?
Job, however, gives a different turn to the words, meaning by them, How shall man substantiate his righteousness, and make it to appear, when he has to maintain it in the face of the overpowering might of God? (Job 9:3). Or, Job may attach his reply to Bildad’s question, Will God pervert right? (ch. Job 8:3). To which he replies: Of course—but how shall man have right with God? God’s power makes right. Job does not quibble with words. He speaks from the point of view of his own circumstances and the construction which he put on them. His afflictions were proof that God held him guilty, while his own conscience declared his innocence. But he was helpless against God’s judgment of him. In the view of his friends and all men, and even himself, his afflictions were God’s verdict against him. And his answer is that man must be guilty before God because he cannot contend with an omnipotent power resolved to hold him guilty.Verses 1-35. - Job, in answer to Bildad, admits the truth of his arguments, but declines to attempt the justification which can alone entitle him to accept the favourable side of Bildad's alternative. Man cannot absolutely justify himself before God. It is in vain to attempt to do so. The contest is too unequal. On the one side perfect wisdom and absolute strength (ver. 4); on the other, weakness, imperfection, ignorance. guilt (vers. 17-20). And no "daysman," or umpire, between them; no third party to hold the balance even, and preside authoritatively over the controversy, and see that justice is done (vers. 33-35). Were it otherwise, Job would not shrink from the controversy; but he thinks it ill arguing with omnipotent power. What he seems to lack is the absolute conviction expressed by Abraham in the emphatic words'" Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). Verses 1, 2. - And Job answered and said, I know it is so of a truth. "I freely admit," is., "all that has been said." God would not cast away a perfectly righteous man (Job 8:20); and, of course, he punishes evil-doers. But, applied practically, what is the result? How should man be just with God? or, before God? Apart from any knowledge of the doctrine of original or inherited sin, each man feels, deep in his heart, that he is sinful - "a chief of sinners." Bradford looks upon the murderer as he mounts the scaffold, and says, "But for the grace of God, there goes John Bradford!" Job has a similar conviction, that in the sight of God, righteousness, such as it is, shrinks away into insignificance, and is as nothing, cannot anyhow be relied upon. Such must be the attitude before God of every human soul that is not puffed up with pride or utterly insensate and sunk in apathy.
And his branch spreads itself over his garden.
17 His roots intertwine over heaps of stone,
He looks upon a house of stones.
18 If He casts him away from his place,
It shall deny him: I have not seen thee.
19 Behold, thus endeth his blissful course,
And others spring forth from the dust.
The subject throughout is not the creeping-plant directly, but the ungodly, who is likened to it. Accordingly the expression of the thought is in part figurative and in part literal, יחזה אבנים בּית (Job 8:17). As the creeper has stones before it, and by its interwindings, as it were, so rules them that it may call them its own (v. Gerlach: the exuberant growth twines itself about the walls, and looks proudly down upon the stony structure); so the ungodly regards his fortune as a solid structure, which he has quickly caused to spring up, and which seems to him imperishable. Ewald translates: he separates one stone from another; בּית, according to 217, g, he considers equivalent to בּינת, and signifies apart from one another; but although חזה equals חזז, according to its radical idea, may signify to split, pierce through, still בּית, when used as a preposition, can signify nothing else but, within. Others, e.g., Rosenmller, translate: he marks a place of stones, i.e., meets with a layer of stones, against which he strikes himself; for this also בּית will not do. He who casts away (Job 8:18) is not the house of stone, but God. He who has been hitherto prosperous, becomes now as strange to the place in which he flourished so luxuriantly, as if it had never seen him. Behold, that is the delight of his way (course of life), i.e., so fashioned, so perishable is it, so it ends. From the ground above which he sprouts forth, others grow up whose fate, when they have no better ground of confidence than he, is the same. After he has placed before Job both the blessed gain of him who trusts, and the sudden destruction of him who forgets, God, as the result of the whole, Bildad recapitulates:
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