Job 9:13
If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Proud helpers.—Literally, helpers of Rahab. (See Isaiah 30:7; Psalm 87:4.) But whether Rahab was Egypt, or a poetical name for the lost archangel, it is impossible to say. If the former, then there is a probable allusion here to the overthrow of Pharaoh and his hosts; but we lack evidence to make it plain. The phrase is evidently used as expressing the very ideal of strength—the race of the giants.

Job 9:13. If God will not withdraw his anger — There is nothing in the Hebrew for if. The words, literally rendered, are, God will not withdraw his anger; or, continuing the interrogation, used twice in the preceding verse, which Chappelow thinks ought to be continued, Will not God withdraw? &c.; the consequence that follows is then quite natural and just; the proud helpers do (then) stoop under him — Those who undertake to uphold and defend one another against him fall, and are crushed by him; that is, his majesty is so dreadful that nothing can resist it, but every thing must submit that dares to oppose it. They are fitly called proud helpers, because it is a most proud, insolent, and presumptuous act to oppose themselves to the Lord God Almighty, and to his counsels and proceedings; or, helpers of pride, as it is in the Hebrew, because they give assistance to those who carry themselves proudly and stoutly toward God, under his correcting hand.

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.If God will not withdraw his anger - That is, if he perseveres in inflicting punishment. He will not turn aside his displeasure by any opposition or resistance made to him.

The proud helpers - Margin, Helpers of pride, or, strength. Jerome renders this, "under whom they who bear up the world bow down." The Septuagint, not less singularly, "by him the whales (or monsters - κήτος ketos) which are under heaven, are bowed down." Codurcus renders it, "aids of pride," and understands by it all the things on which proud men rely, as wealth, health, rank, talent. So Dr. Good renders it, "the supports of the proud." The meaning is, probably, that all those things which contribute to the support of pride, or all those persons who are allied together to maintain the dominion of pride on the earth, must sink under the wrath of God. Or it may refer to those who sustain the pride of state and empire - the men who stand around the thrones of monarchs, and who contribute, by their talent and power, to uphold the pomp and magnificence of courts. On the meaning of the word here rendered pride (רהב rahab), see the notes at Isaiah 30:7.

13. If God—rather, "God will not withdraw His anger," that is, so long as a mortal obstinately resists [Umbreit].

the proud helpers—The arrogant, who would help one contending with the Almighty, are of no avail against Him.

i.e. If God resolve not to withdraw his rod and stroke, the effect of his anger. Or without if, which is not in the Hebrew,

God will not withdraw his anger, i.e. not forbear to punish, neither because any man can overpower and restrain him, nor for fear lest he should rebuke him for proceeding to punish, as is implied by comparing this verse with the former.

The proud helpers, i.e. those men who shall undertake to uphold and defend him whom God intends to punish and destroy; who are fitly called proud helpers, because this is a most proud, and insolent, and presumptuous act, to oppose themselves to the Lord God Almighty, and to his counsels and courses: or, (as it is in the Hebrew,) helpers of pride, because they give assistance to that man who carries himself proudly and stoutly towards God under his correcting hand: or, (as some translate it,) the helpers of Egypt, or the Egyptian helpers, i.e. the most potent helpers; for Egypt was in Job’s time a powerful and flourishing kingdom, and not far from Job’s country. And the word rahab, here rendered pride, is elsewhere put for Egypt, as Psalm 87:4 Isaiah 51:9; and (as some take it) Job 26:12.

Do stoop under him, i.e. shall fall and be crushed by him; and consequently they who are helped by him must fall with them.

If God will not withdraw his anger,.... Or "God will not withdraw his anger" (m); he is angry, or at least seems to be angry with his own people, in their apprehension, when he afflicts them and hides his face from them, or does not immediately appear to their relief and assistance; but this does not always last, he does not retain or keep anger for ever; but shows great mercies to them, and with everlasting kindness has mercy on them, by discovering his love to them, applying his pardoning grace and mercy, and comforting them with the consolations of his spirit; but then he is angry with the wicked every day, for their continual transgressions; and he never withdraws his anger from them, neither here nor hereafter, but punishes them with everlasting destruction, and casts them into everlasting fire, to which his wrath and anger are compared: the consequence of which is:

the proud helpers do stoop under him; or "the helpers of pride" (n), or helpers of proud men; proud, wicked, and ungodly men, who combine together and help one another against God, his people, cause and interest; men of power, rule and government, as Aben Ezra explains it; civil magistrates, men in authority, who, instead of being terrors to evil doers, encourage them, and help them forward in their wickedness; but though both those that help, and those that are helped, may continue for a while, and be supported, yet they shall sooner or later fall under the mighty hand of God, his power and wrath, and be crushed by it. Some regard may be had either to the giants, the men of the old world, who filled the earth with violence, and were swept away with the flood, Genesis 6:13; or rather to the builders of Babel, who helped one another to build a tower to make them a name, and secure themselves, and in opposition to God; but he being angry with them, made them desist, and they bowed under him, Genesis 11:4. Some render it, "the helpers of Rahab"; that is, of Egypt (o), Rahab being a name of Egypt, Psalm 87:4. The devils are meant, whose sin was pride, and by which they fell, and which they have endeavoured to promote and cherish among men; but these proud spirits are cast out of heaven and into hell, where they are reserved in chains of darkness to the great judgment, Jde 1:6; and are obliged, whether they will or not, to stoop to the Lord, and even to the son of God in human nature, which their proud stomachs cannot well bear; but are forced to it, the anger of God lying upon them, and his wrath, which will never be withdrawn from them.

(m) "Deus non revocabit furorem suum", Pagninus, Beza. (n) "adjutores superbiae", Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius, Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt, Michaelis. (o) So Jarchi.

If God {g} will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers {h} do stoop under him.

(g) God will not be appeased for anything that man can say for himself for his justification.

(h) That is, all the reasons that men can lay to approve their cause.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. if God will not withdraw] Rather, God withdraws not. His fury is persistent and inexorable till it has accomplished its purpose, cf. ch. Job 23:13-14.

the proud helpers do stoop] Rather, the helpers of Rahab did stoop. The “helpers” are the abettors, the partizans and company of Rahab; and the clause illustrates by an example, the highest example that could be chosen, the statement in the first clause, God withdraws not his anger; to this wrath even the aiders of Rahab succumbed. (1) “Rahab” means pride or arrogancy. But the “helpers of pride” or the “proud helpers” is an expression too indefinite to occur in the present connexion, where, in addition, the perf. bowed beneath him, points to a distinct historical event, adduced as an illustration. (2) In Psalm 87:4 Rahab is a name for Egypt; so Psalm 89:10, Isaiah 30:7 (for, “their strength” read Rahab), Isaiah 51:9. Any historical illustration, however, from the history of Egypt in connexion with Israel is not to be looked for in this Book, the scene of which is laid in an age anterior to the Exodus. Direct allusions do not occur to the history of Israel. Allusions of any kind are rare, but such as are made are to the general history of mankind before Israel became a nation, cf. ch. Job 22:16, a reference to the flood or the cities of the Plain. (3) In Isaiah 51:9 the parallel clause to “cut Rahab (Egypt) in pieces,” is, “wounded the Dragon.” Again in Psalm 74:13-14 the parallel to “didst divide the sea” is “brakest the heads of Leviathan.” From this it appears that Egypt was called Rahab, Dragon or Leviathan with reference to its native monster, which was taken as the symbol of the nation and its character (cf. Psalm 68:30 margin). All this leads finally to the conclusion that Rahab is the monster of the sea, which is probably nothing but the sea itself, as appears from Job 26:12. In the poetical nature-myth this stormy sea, assaulting heaven with its waves, was personified as a monster leading his helpers on to wage war with heaven, but was quelled (ch. Job 26:12) by the might of God. This is the instance of God’s power adduced by Job. That the Poet makes use of the floating fragments of superstition and mythology still existing in the popular mind has nothing surprising in it.

Verse 13. - If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him. There is no "if" in the original; and the passage is best taken categorically: "God does not withdraw his anger;" i.e. the anger which he feels against those who resist him. "The helpers of Rahab do stoop [or, 'are prostrate'] under him." Rahab in this passage, and also in Job 26:12, as well us in Isaiah 51:9, seems to be used as the proper name of some great power of evil Such a power was recognized in the mythology of Egypt, under the names of Set (or Typhon) and of Apophia, the great serpent, continually represented as pierced by Horus (Rawlinson's 'Herodotus,' vol. 2. p. 257; 'History of Ancient Egypt,' vol. 1. p. 395). In the earlier Aryan myths there is a similar personification of evil in Vitre, called Dasiya, "the Destroyer," and at perpetual enmity with Indra and Agni ('Religions of the Ancient World,' p. 114). The Babylonians and Assyrians had a tradition of a great "war in heaven" ('Records of the Past,' vol. 5. pp. 133-136). carried on by seven spirits, who were finally reduced to subjection. All these seem to be distorted reminiscences of that great conflict, whereof the only trustworthy account is the one contained in the Revelation of St. John, "There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels" - the "helpers" of the present passage - "and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven" (Revelation 12:7, 8). Job, it seems, had inherited one of such traditions, one in which the power of evil was known as Rahab, "the Proud One;" and he means here to say that God not only holds men in subjection, but also beings much more powerful than man, as Rahab and his helpers, who had rebelled and made war on God, and been east down from heaven, and were now prostrate under God's feet. Job 9:1311 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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