Job 9:11
Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) He passeth on also.—This, again, is an expression Eliphaz had used in Job 4:15. Here in words of great sublimity Job depicts the unapproachable majesty of God omnipotent, but invisible, and shows the utter hopelessness of entering into judgment with Him. Unfortunately, though this is a proposition to which all must assent, yet none is virtually so much repudiated or practically so often contravened. Men still cast about to justify themselves before God, and will do so till the end of time; but it is in teaching such as this that the Book of Job has laid the foundation of the Gospel by preparing for its acceptance by overthrowing man’s natural and habitual standing-ground in himself.

Job 9:11. Lo he goeth by me — Or besides, or before me, in my presence; that is, he worketh by his providence in ways of mercy or judgment. And I see him not — I see the effects, but I cannot understand the causes or grounds of his actions, for they are incomprehensible to me, or any other man: for though Job speaks only in his own person, yet he means to affirm it of all men, that such is the weakness of their understandings that they cannot search out God’s counsels and ways. The operations of second causes are commonly obvious to our senses; but, though God works by those causes, we see him not, nor can our finite minds fathom his counsels, apprehend his motions, or comprehend the measures he takes. He passeth on also — He goeth from place to place; from one action to another. But I perceive him not — He passes and acts invisibly and undiscerned.

9:1-13 In this answer Job declared that he did not doubt the justice of God, when he denied himself to be a hypocrite; for how should man be just with God? Before him he pleaded guilty of sins more than could be counted; and if God should contend with him in judgment, he could not justify one out of a thousand, of all the thoughts, words, and actions of his life; therefore he deserved worse than all his present sufferings. When Job mentions the wisdom and power of God, he forgets his complaints. We are unfit to judge of God's proceedings, because we know not what he does, or what he designs. God acts with power which no creature can resist. Those who think they have strength enough to help others, will not be able to help themselves against it.Lo, he goeth by me - That is, he passes along - as in the silent movements of the heavenly bodies. "I see the evidence of his existence. I can see that God must be there - moving along by me in the orbs of night and in the march of the constellations, but I cannot see God himself. He passes by, or rather he passes over me (עלי ‛ālay), as in the majestic movement of the heavenly bodies over my head." This is, I think, the idea, and the image is exceedingly poetic and beautiful. The heavens are seen to move in silent grandeur. The northern constellation rolls around the pole. The others move on as a marshalled army. They go in silent and solemn order, and God must be there. But, says Job, I cannot see him. I can feel that he must be there, and I look out on the heavens to see him, but my eyes fail, and I cannot behold him. He passes on, and I see him not. Who has ever looked upon the heavens in the still night, and seen the silent grandeur of such movements of the heavenly host, without some such feeling - some emotion of inexpressible awe - as if he, if I may so express it, COULD ALMOST SEE GOD? 11. I see him not: he passeth on—The image is that of a howling wind (Isa 21:1). Like it when it bursts invisibly upon man, so God is felt in the awful effects of His wrath, but is not seen (Joh 3:8). Therefore, reasons Job, it is impossible to contend with Him. He goeth, i.e. he worketh by his providence in ways of mercy or judgment.

By me; or, besides or before me; in my presence.

I see him not; I see the effects, but I cannot understand the causes or grounds of his actions, for they are incomprehensible by me, or by any other men: for though he speaks only in his own person, yet he means it of all men; that such is the weakness of men’s understandings, that they cannot search out God’s counsels and ways: see Acts 17:27 Romans 11:33.

He passeth on also; he goeth from place to place, from one action to another. He speaks of God after the manner of men.

Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not,.... This is expressive of the invisibility of God; for though the angels in heaven always behold his face, and men, in the works of creation, may see his eternal power and Godhead, and other perfections of it displayed therein; and saints by faith have a comfortable and delightful view of him, of his countenance, his love, grace and mercy in his word and ordinances, and especially in the face and person of Christ, the image of the invisible God, and will in heaven most clearly see him as he is, in the greater display of his glory and his grace; yet his essence is invisible, not only not to be seen with corporeal eyes, but not to be comprehended in the mind:

he passeth on also, but I perceive him not; this "going and passing on", as, ascribed to God, must be understood in consistence with his omnipresence; he cannot be thought to move from place to place who is everywhere, who fills heaven and earth with his presence, and there is no going from it: local motion cannot be said of him; but this respects the operations of his providence; he is continually working all around us, by supporting us in being, and supplying us with what we want, and so is near us, and yet we see him not: Job experienced the bounties of his providence, as well as the blessings of his grace, in the time of his prosperity, and now he felt the weight of his afflicting hand upon him; but yet, as to his essence, he could not see him; he was sensible that he was nigh him, and find a concern in all that befell him, but he could neither see nor comprehend him, nor account for his dealings with him: he had "passed by" him in his state of nature, and had looked graciously on him, and had said unto him, Live; he had "passed on" from him, and hid his face so that he could not see him, nor find him backward nor forward, on the right hand, nor on the left, where he used to work, see Job 23:3.

Lo, he goeth {e} by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.

(e) I am not able to comprehend his works, which are common and daily before my eyes, much less in those things, which are hid and secret.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. This power is subtle and invisible in its presence, felt but impossible to grasp.

11–24. From the operation of this terrible force in the physical world Job passes on to describe its display among creatures, and to shew how it paralyses and crushes them.

Verse 11. - Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not. Near as God is to us, close as he comes to us, we cannot directly see him, or feel him, or perceive his presence. We know it by faith, we may feel it in our inmost spirits; but there is no manifestation of it to our senses. A sharp line divides the visible and invisible worlds; and this line, if it is ever crossed, is very rarely crossed. Job possibly reflects upon the pretension of Eliphaz to have had a physical consciousness of the visitation of a spirit (Job 4:15, 16), and asserts, with a tinge of sarcasm, that it is otherwise with him - the spirit-worm passes him by, and he receives no light, no illumination, no miraculous direction from it. He passeth on also. The same verb is used by Eliphaz (Job 4:15) in speaking of his spiritual visitation. But I perceive him not. Eliphaz perceived the presence of the spirit (Job 4:15, 16) and heard its voice (Job 4:16-21). Job seems to mean that he is not so favoured. Job 9:1111 Behold, He goeth by me and I see not,

And passeth by and I perceive Him not.

12 Behold, He taketh away, who will hold Him back?

Who will say to Him: What doest Thou?

13 Eloah restraineth not His anger,

The helpers of Rahab stoop under Him -

14 How much less that I should address Him,

That I should choose the right words in answer to Him;

15 Because, though I were right, I could not answer, -

To Him as my Judge I must make supplication.

God works among men, as He works in nature, with a supreme control over all, invisibly, irresistibly, and is not responsible to any being (Isaiah 45:9). He does not turn or restrain His anger without having accomplished His purpose. This is a proposition which, thus broadly expressed, is only partially true, as is evident from Psalm 78:38. The helpers of Rahab must bow themselves under Him. It is not feasible to understand this in a general sense, as meaning those who are ready with boastful arrogance to yield succour to any against God. The form of expression which follows in Job 9:14, "much less I," supports the assumption that רהב עזרי refers to some well-known extraordinary example of wicked enterprise which had been frustrated, notwithstanding the gigantic strength by which it was supported; and שׁחהוּ may be translated by the present tense, since a familiar fact is used as synonymous with the expression of an universal truth. Elsewhere Rahab as a proper name denotes Egypt (Psalm 87:4), but it cannot be so understood here, because direct references to events in the history of Israel are contrary to the character of the book, which, with remarkable consistency, avoids everything that is at all Israelitish. But how has Egypt obtained the name of Rahab? It is evident from Isaiah 30:7 that it bears this name with reference to its deeds of prowess; but from Psalm 89:11; Isaiah 51:9, it is evident that Rahab properly denotes a sea-monster, which has become the symbol of Egypt, like tannn and leviathan elsewhere. This signification of the word is also supported by Job 26:12, where the lxx actually translate κητος, as here with remarkable freedom, ὑπ ̓ ἀυτοῦ ἐκάμφθησαν κήτη τὰ ὑπ ̓ οὐρανόν. It is not clear whether these "sea-monsters" denote rebels cast down into the sea beneath the sky, or chained upon the sky; but at any rate the consciousness of a distinct mythological meaning in רהב עזרי is expressed by this translation (as also in the still freer translation of Jerome, et sub quo curvantur qui portant orbem); probably a myth connected with such names of the constellations as Κῆτος and Πρίστις (Ewald, Hirz., Schlottm.). The poesy of the book of Job even in other places does not spurn mythological allusions; and the phrase before us reminds one of the Hindu myth of Indras' victory over the dark demon Vritras, who tries to delay the descent of rain, and over his helpers. In Vritras, as in רהב, there is the idea of hostile resistance.

Job compares himself, the feeble one, to these mythical titanic powers in Job 9:14. כּי אף (properly: even that), or even אף alone (Job 4:19), signifies, according as the connection introduces a climax or anti-climax, either quanto magis or quanto minus, as here: how much less can I, the feeble one, dispute with Him! אשׁר, Job 9:15, is best taken, as in Job 5:5, in the signification quoniam. The part. Poel משׁפטי we should more correctly translate "my disputant" than "my judge;" it is Poel which Ewald appropriately styles the conjugation of attack: שׁופט, judicando vel litigando aliquem petere; comp. Ges. 55, 1. The part. Kal denotes a judge, the part. Poel one who is accuser and judge at the same time. On such Poel-forms from strong roots, vid., on Psalm 109:10, where wedorschu is to be read, and therefore it is written ודרשׁוּ in correct Codices.

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