I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that you will not hold me innocent.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Thou wilt not hold me innocent - God will not remove my sorrows so as to furnish the evidence that I am innocent. My sufferings continue, and with them continue all the evidence on which my friends rely that I am a guilty man. In such a state of things, how can I be otherwise than sad? He was held to be guilty; he was suffering in such a way as to afford them the proof that he was so, and how could he be cheerful?My sorrows; or, my pains and griefs. I find all such endeavours vain; for if my griefs be suspended for a little time, yet my fears continue.
I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent; I plainly perceive that my changing my note is to no purpose; for thou, O God, (to whom he makes a sudden apostrophe, as he doth also Job 9:31) wilt not clear my innocency, by removing those afflictions which make them judge me guilty of some peat crime. Words proceeding from great impatience and despair of relief.
I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent: a sudden apostrophe to God as near him; the meaning is not, that he was confident that God would not justify him but condemn him in a spiritual sense; Job did not despair of his everlasting salvation, he knew and believed in his living Redeemer; he knew he should be acquitted and justified by his righteousness, and not be condemned with the world; but he was certain of this, as he thought that God would neither "cleanse" (k) him, as some render the word, from the worms his flesh was clad with, and from the filthy boils and ulcers he was covered with; nor clear him so as that he should appear to be innocent in the sight and judgment of his friends; but go on to treat him as if he was a guilty person, by continuing his afflictions on him, even unto death; he had no hope of being freed from them, and so of being cleared from the imputation of his friends, who judged of him by his outward circumstances.I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. As Job’s afflictions were the proof of his guilt in the estimation of God, “to hold him innocent” means to remove his afflictions, as the first clause suggests.Verse 28. - I am afraid of all my sorrows (see the comment on ver. 27). I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent. The worst of all Job's sorrows is the sense of alienation from God, which his unexampled sufferings have wrought in him. Though unconscious of having deserved them, he still, not unnaturally, looks upon them as marks of God s displeasure, proofs that God does not regard him as innocent.
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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