Job 9:22
This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.
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Job 9:22-23. This one thing — In the other things which you have spoken of, God’s greatness, power, and justice, I do not contend with you; but this one thing I do, and must affirm against you. Therefore I said it — I did not utter it rashly, but upon deep consideration. He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked — God sends afflictions promiscuously upon good and bad men. If the scourge slay suddenly — If some common judgment come upon a people, which destroys both good and bad: or if God inflict some grievous and unexpected stroke upon a holy person. He will laugh at the trial of the innocent — God will be pleased to see how the same, or a similar scourge, which is the perdition of the wicked, is only the trial of the integrity, faith, and patience of the innocent, that is, of his own people, and a means of their further purification and improvement.

9:22-24 Job touches briefly upon the main point now in dispute. His friends maintained that those who are righteous and good, always prosper in this world, and that none but the wicked are in misery and distress: he said, on the contrary, that it is a common thing for the wicked to prosper, and the righteous to be greatly afflicted. Yet there is too much passion in what Job here says, for God doth not afflict willingly. When the spirit is heated with dispute or with discontent, we have need to set a watch before our lips.This is one thing, therefore I said it - This may mean, "it is all the same thing. It makes no difference whether a man be righteous or wicked. God treats them substantially alike; he has one and the same rule on the subject. Nothing can be argued certainly about the character of a man from the divine dealings with him here." This was the point in dispute, this the position that Job maintained - that God did not deal with people here in strict accordance with their character, but that the righteous and the wicked in this world were afflicted alike.

He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked - He makes no distinction among them. That Job was right in this his main position there can be no doubt; and the wonder is, that his friends did not all see it. But it required a long time in the course of events, and much observation and discussion, before this important point was made clear. With our full views of the state of retribution in the future world, we can have no doubt on the subject. Heavy and sudden judgments do not necessarily prove that they who are cut off are especially guilty, and long prosperity is no evidence that a man is holy. Calamity, by fire and flood, on a steamboat, or in the pestilence, does not demonstrate the unusual and eminent wickedness of those who suffer (compare Luke 13:1-5), nor should those who escape from such calamities infer that of necessity they are the objects of the divine favor.

22. one thing—"It is all one; whether perfect or wicked—He destroyeth." This was the point Job maintained against his friends, that the righteous and wicked alike are afflicted, and that great sufferings here do not prove great guilt (Lu 13:1-5; Ec 9:2). In the other things which you have spoken of God’s greatness, justice, &c., I do not contend with you, but this one thing I do and must affirm against you.

Therefore I said it; I did not utter it rashly, but upon deep consideration. God sends afflictions promiscuously upon good and bad men. Compare Psalm 73:2 Ecclesiastes 9:2 Jeremiah 12:1, &c.

This is one thing,.... Or "one thing there is" (x) in the world, as Jarchi adds; or "one measure", as the Targum, to good and bad men; one event alike to the righteous, and to the wicked, Ecclesiastes 9:2; so that, as others render it, "it is all one" (y), whether a man righteous and perfect, or whether he is not, he is equally liable to be afflicted and distressed: and "this is one thing, very singular" (z), amazing and astonishing, and very unaccountable; but so it is, and which he differed from his three friends about; as to the justice of God, he agreed with them in that; yea, he believed he was righteous in whatever he did, and even in this, which was so strange and surprising, though he could not account for it: and "this is uniform", as Mr. Broughton translates it; either God acts uniformly in what he does, treating all men alike, good and bad men; or Job was uniform in his sentiments, he was all of a piece, steady and constant, retaining the same sense of things, from which he had not departed, nor could he depart:

therefore I said it; with the greatest confidence and assurance, because he believed it, and would say it again, seeing no reason at all to alter his judgment; the thing was quite clear to him, of which he had, at least as he thought, unquestionable evidence; and the thing he has respect to is as follows:

he destroyeth the perfect and the wicked; this is thought by some to be a very bad expression, bordering on blasphemy, and contrary to the nature and perfections of God, and to the methods of his providence, Genesis 18:23; and that Job speaks in the person of one destitute of the grace of God: but nothing is more certain than that this was the real sentiment of his mind, his firm belief, nor could he be persuaded to the contrary; indeed it may be understood in a good sense: by a "perfect" man we are to understand a truly good man, one that has received the grace of God in truth, and is perfectly justified and pardoned through the blood and righteousness of Christ; and by a "wicked" man one that is under the influence of his lusts, is abandoned to them, and never easy but while he is serving them, which he is continually doing. Now the destruction of these is not to be interpreted of everlasting destruction; this indeed will be the case of wicked men, but not of perfect and good men: God by his grace has made a difference between them in this world, and so he will in the next; the one will go into everlasting punishment, the other into everlasting life, and will never come together in the same place or state; nor will the perfect man be destroyed at all in such sense; the grace of God within him, and the righteousness of Christ upon him, will eternally secure him from everlasting wrath and ruin: but it is meant of temporal destruction; sometimes indeed a remarkable distinction is made between the one and the other in a time of general calamity, as Noah, a perfect man, was saved, when the world of the ungodly were destroyed by water, Genesis 7:23; and Lot, a righteous man, when Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed by fire, Genesis 19:29; but frequently they fall together in the same common distress; good and bad men, among the Jews were alike carried captive into Babylon, signified by Jeremiah's good and bad figs, Jeremiah 24:2; of good men, Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, are instances; though indeed it is on different accounts, and with different views, that the one and the other are destroyed with a temporal destruction, in their persons, their health, their families, or in their estates; such calamities upon good men are not as punishments for their sins, as on the wicked; but as fatherly chastisements, and for the trial of their graces, for their spiritual and eternal good, and that they might not be condemned with the world. Job's view in saying this is to observe, that a man's state God-ward is not to be judged of by his outward circumstances, whether he is a good man or a bad man, since they may both be in the same afflictions and distress, and which he opposes to the sentiments and sayings of Eliphaz and Bildad, Job 4:7.

(x) "unum est", Munster, Mercerus, Schmidt. (y) "Perinde est", Cocceius. (z) "Singulare enimvero id!", Schultens.

This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the {p} perfect and the wicked.

(p) If God punishes according to his justice, he will destroy them who are counted perfect as well as them that are wicked.

22. This verse reads,

It is all one, therefore I say,

He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked,

that is, indiscriminately. Here there is not only the former statement of ch. 7. that the destiny of man at the hands of God is hard and crushing, but in addition an express denial of the position of Bildad that God’s dealing with men was discriminating. An emphasis falls on He. It is not quite easy to decide what is meant by it is all one. The close connexion with Job 9:21 makes it most natural to understand: it is all one whether I live or die; so that the Job 9:21-24 are all one outburst, in which the Almighty is described as a crushing force that bears down on all good and bad without distinction.

Verse 22. - This is one thing; rather, the matter is one or it is all one. There is no difference, that is, between the case of the righteous and the wicked; all are alike sinful in God's sight, all equally "concluded under sin" (Galatians 3:22), and all consequently obnoxious to punishment at his hands (comp. Ecclesiastes 9:2). In a certain sense the statement is true, and corresponds with the argument of Romans 1-3; but no account is taken here of God's gracious forgiveness of sin, much less of the general scheme of redemption, or the compensation for earthly sufferings in an eternity of happiness, on which the hope of the Christian rests. Therefore I said it; rather, therefore I say with the Revised Version. He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked. As far as this world is concerned, it is undoubtedly true that calamities fall alike upon the just and upon the unjust. Death is the lot of all; trouble, suffering, grief, the lot of all (Job 6:7). Nor can it even be said that the wicked in this world suffer more than the good (comp. 1 Oct. 1529). Their sufferings are more the natural consequence of their actions, but do not seem to exceed in amount or severity the sufferings of the good. But this only shows that there must be a future life to redress the apparent injustice of the present one, and set the balance right. Job 9:2221 Whether I am innocent, I know not myself,

My life is offensive to me.

22 There is one thing-therefore I maintain - :

The innocent and wicked He destroyeth.

23 If the scourge slay suddenly,

He laugheth at the melting away of the innocent.

24 Countries are given into the hand of the wicked;

The countenance of its rulers He veileth -

Is it not so, who else doeth it?

Job 9:21 is usually considered to be an affirmation of innocence on the part of Job, though without effect, and even at the peril of his own destruction: "I am innocent, I boldly say it even with scorn of my life" (Schnurr., Hirz., Ewald, Schlottm.). But although נפשׁי אדע לא may mean: I care nothing for my soul, i.e., my life (comp. Genesis 39:6), its first meaning would be: I know not my soul, i.e., myself; and this sense is also quite in accordance with the context. He is innocent, but the contradiction between his lot and his innocence seems to show that his self-consciousness is deceptive, and makes him a mystery to himself, leads him astray respecting himself; and having thus become a stranger to himself, he abhors this life of seeming contradictions, for which he desires nothing less than its long continuance (vid., Job 7:16). The היא אחת which follows we do not explain: "it is all the same to me whether I live or not," but: it is all one whether man is innocent or not. He himself is a proof of this; therefore he maintains, etc. It is, however, also possible that this expression, which is similar in meaning to Ecclesiastes 9:2 (there is one event, אחד מקרה, to the righteous and to the wicked), and is well translated in the Targ. by היא מכילא חדא (there is one measure of retribution, מכילא equals מדּה, μέτρον, Matthew 7:2), refers to what follows, and that "therefore I maintain" is parenthetical (like אמרתי, Psalm 119:57; אמר לי, Isaiah 45:24), and we have translated it accordingly. There is certainly a kind of suspense, and על־כן d introduces an assertion of Job, which is founded upon the fact of the continuance of his own misfortune, - an assertion which he advances in direct contradiction to the friends, and which is expressly censured by Elihu.

In Job 9:23., by some striking examples, he completes the description of that which seems to be supported by the conflict he is called to endure. שׁוט, a scourge, signifies a judgment which passes over a nation (Isaiah 28:15). It swept off the guiltless as well, and therefore Job concludes that God delights in מסּה, πειρασμός, trial, or perhaps more correctly the melting away (from מסס, as Job 6:14) of the guiltless, i.e., their dissolution in anguish and dismay, their wearing away and despondency. Jerome rightly remarks that in the whole book Job says nihil asperius than what he says in Job 9:23. Another example in favour of his disconsolate היא אחת is that whole lands are given into the hand of the wicked: the monarch is an evil man, and the countenance of their judges He (God) covers, so that they do not distinguish between right and wrong, nor decide in favour of the former rather than of the latter. God himself is the final cause of the whole: if not, i.e., if it is not so, who can it then be that causes it? אפו (four times in the book of Job instead of the usual form אפוא) is, according to the current opinion, placed per hyperbaton in the conditional instead of the interrogative clause; and מי אפו are certainly not, with Hirzel, to be taken together. There is, however, not a proper hyperbaton, but אפו here gives intensity to the question; though not directly as Job 17:15 (Ges. 153, 2), but only indirectly, by giving intensity to that which introduces the question, as Job 24:25 and Genesis 27:37; translate therefore: if it really is not so (comp. the Homeric expression ει ̓ δ ̓ ἄγε). It is indisputable that God, and no one else, is the final cause of this misery, apparently so full of contradiction, which meets us in the history of mankind, and which Job now experiences for himself.

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