Job 9:15
Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Though I were righteous.—He now puts the alternative case: that he were actually righteous; yet even then supplication, and not assertion, would best become him.

9:14-21 Job is still righteous in his own eyes, ch. 32:1, and this answer, though it sets forth the power and majesty of God, implies that the question between the afflicted and the Lord of providence, is a question of might, and not of right; and we begin to discover the evil fruits of pride and of a self-righteous spirit. Job begins to manifest a disposition to condemn God, that he may justify himself, for which he is afterwards reproved. Still Job knew so much of himself, that he durst not stand a trial. If we say, We have no sin, we not only deceive ourselves, but we affront God; for we sin in saying so, and give the lie to the Scripture. But Job reflected on God's goodness and justice in saying his affliction was without cause.Whom, though I were righteous - That is, if I felt the utmost confidence that I was righteous, yet, if God judged otherwise, and regarded me as a sinner, I would not reply to him, but would make supplication to him as a sinner. I would have so much confidence in him, and would feel that he was so much better qualified than I am to judge, and that I am so liable to be deceived, that I would come to him as a sinner, if he judged and declared me to be one, and would plead for pardon. The meaning is, that God is a much better judge of our character than we can possibly be, and that his regarding us as sinners is the highest proof that we are such, whatever may be our views to the contrary. This shows the extent of the confidence which Job had in God and is an indication of true piety. And it is founded in reason as well as in piety. Men often suppose that they are righteous, and yet they know that God adjudges otherwise, and regards them as sinners. He offers them pardon as sinners. He threatens to punish them as sinners. The question is, whether they shall act on their own feelings and judgment in the case, or on his? Shall they adhere obstinately to their views, and refuse to yield to God, or shall they act on the truth of his declarations? Now that Job was right in his views of the case, may appear from the following considerations.

(1) God knows the heart. He cannot be deceived; we may be. In nothing are we more liable to be deceived than in regard to our own character. We should, therefore, distrust our own judgment in this case, but we should never distrust God.

(2) God is infinitely benevolent, and will not judge unkindly. He has no wish to find us sinners; he will have no pleasure in making us out to be transgressors. A heart of infinite benevolence would prefer to find all people holy, and would look on every favorable circumstance in the case with all the kindness which it would deserve. No being would be so likely to make a favorable decision in our case as the infinitely benevolent God; none would so delight to find that we were free from the charge of guilt.

(3) God will act on his own views of our character, and not on ours; and it is prudent and wise, therefore, for us to act on his views now. He will judge us in the last day according to his estimate of our character, and not according to the estimate which we may form.

(4) At the same time, we cannot but accord with his views of our own character. Our reason and conscience tell us that we have violated his laws, and that we have no claim to his mercy. No man can persuade himself that he is wholly righteous; and being conscious of guilt, though in the slightest degree, he should make supplication to his Judge.

15. (Job 10:15). Though I were conscious of no sin, yet I would not dare to say so, but leave it to His judgment and mercy to justify me (1Co 4:4). Though I were righteous; though I had a most just cause, and were not conscious to myself of any sin.

Yet would I not answer, i.e. I durst not undertake to plead my cause against him, or maintain my integrity before him, because he knows me better than I know myself, and because I am wholly in his hands, and at his mercy.

I would make supplication to my Judge, to wit, that he would hear me meekly, and judge favourably of me and my cause, and not according to the rigours of his justice.

Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer,.... This is not to be understood of the righteousness of his cause, that Job made no supposition of, but strongly asserted and determined to hold it fast as long as he lived; nor of his evangelic righteousness, the righteousness of faith he was acquainted with, even the righteousness of his living Redeemer, by which he knew he was, and should be, justified; and by which righteousness he could and did answer God, as every believer may, who, making mention of this righteousness, and of this only, such an one may plead the righteousness of Christ with God as his justifying one, and hold it up against all charges brought against him; yea, by presenting this to God by faith, he answers all the demands of the law of God, both with respect to the precepts and penalty of it, it being magnified and made honourable hereby, and all that the justice of God can require, and with which it is entirely satisfied; yea, this righteousness will answer to God for him in a time to come, in the last judgment: but Job speaks of his own legal and civil righteousness, as a good man, and a good magistrate; as the latter, he put on righteousness, and it clothed him; as the former, having grace, the root of the matter, in him, as he calls it, it taught him to live soberly, righteously, and godly; he was a man that feared God, and eschewed evil; and his sense is, that though he should so well behave in every respect, and so order his conversation aright before men that they could have nothing to lay to his charge, yet he would not bring such a righteousness before God, and pretend to answer him with it; for he knew that such a righteousness is no righteousness in the sight of God, in the eye of his law, and in the account of divine justice, being not only imperfect, but impure; not only rags, but filthy ones, attended with many sins, as well as imperfections; wherefore no good man will put his cause before God on such an issue, however he may before men; nay, Job seems to carry this point yet further, that though he had a sinless righteousness of his own, and were as righteous as Adam before his fall, or the holy angels in heaven, yet he would not insist upon such a righteousness before God, or pretend to answer him with it; for he knew that the inhabitants of the heavens, and so man in his paradise on earth, in his best estate, were not pure in his sight, but chargeable with folly and imperfection, in comparison of him: and when he says he could not "answer" him, his meaning is not that he would not answer to a question that was asked him, but that he would not answer him in a judicial way; that, if he should prefer a bill against him, he would not put in at answer to it, though he knew nothing by himself, and could not charge himself with anything wrong in thought, word, or deed; yet if God charged him with it, he would not reply against him, he would not contradict him, he would not answer again, or litigate the point with him, but give it up; because, though he might not know he had done any thing amiss, or there was imperfection in him, yet God, who was greater than his heart, and knows all things, is the heart searching and rein trying God, he knew better than he did, and therefore was determined to submit to him, and be set down by him what he was:

but I would make supplication to my Judge: that is, to God, the Judge of the whole earth; and who is particularly the Judge of his own people, their Patron and Defender, their Judge and Lawgiver, who will save them; for though he is a just God, and a righteous Judge, yet a Saviour; and it is one of the privileges of his people that they can come to him, not only as the God of all grace, and as their God and Father in Christ, but to him as to God the Judge of all, Hebrews 12:23; and lay their case before him, and entreat his protection; and this Job chose to do rather than contend with him; for by "supplication" prayer is meant, as it frequently is in both Testaments; and it signifies such prayer as consists of petitions for grace and mercy, or for things to be bestowed in a way of grace and mercy; not according to merit, but mercy; not for works of righteousness done, but through the favour and good will of God; and which prayer is put up in an humble supplicant manner, acknowledging a man's unworthiness, that he is not deserving of the least of mercies, nor expects any on account of any worth or worthiness in him, or his services; and in such a way a man prevails more with God, and is most likely to succeed, than by contending with him in a judicial way. Jacob had power with God and prevailed, but it was by weeping and supplication, see Hosea 12:4; so Mr. Broughton reads the words,"my would crave pity of my Judge.''Some render it, "my adversary" (p), the opposite party in a court of judicature, whom he would not contest with, but supplicate, and in the way make up matters with him. Job seems resolved to take such a method Christ advises to in civil cases, Matthew 5:24.

(p) "in jus me vocanti", Cocceius; "ei qui mecum judicatur", i.e. "parti meae adversae", Gussetius, p. 880.

Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I {k} not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.

(k) Meaning, in his own opinion, signifying that man will sometimes flatter himself to be righteous which before God is an abomination.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. though I were righteous] i. e. though I were in the right, though my cause was just against Him.

make supplication to my judge] Rather, to mine adversary, or opponent. Had Job right on his side he could not maintain it; overpowered by the irresistible and awful might of his opponent he would desert his own just plea and supplicate his adversary.

Verse 15. - Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer. Even perfect righteousness, so far as possible in a creature, would not enable a non to stand up in controversy with him who "charges his angels with folly" (Job 4:18); and, moreover, to such righteousness Job does not pretend (see Job 7:20, 21). But I would make supplication to my Judge; rather, to mine adversary (see the Revised Version). Prayer is the only rightful attitude of even the best man before his Maker - prayer for mercy, prayer for pardon prayer for grace, prayer for advance in holiness. Job 9:1511 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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