Job 9:35
Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.
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(35) It is not so with me.—Literally, I am not so with me. The words are variously understood: “It is not so with me,” i.e., “I am not thus without fear,” as the former part of the verse supposes; or, “I am not so as ye suppose,” i.e., guilty, but innocent; or, “Am I not right with myself?” i.e., inwardly conscious of my integrity and innocence (Job 10:1).

9:25-35 What little need have we of pastimes, and what great need to redeem time, when it runs on so fast towards eternity! How vain the enjoyments of time, which we may quite lose while yet time continues! The remembrance of having done our duty will be pleasing afterwards; so will not the remembrance of having got worldly wealth, when it is all lost and gone. Job's complaint of God, as one that could not be appeased and would not relent, was the language of his corruption. There is a Mediator, a Daysman, or Umpire, for us, even God's own beloved Son, who has purchased peace for us with the blood of his cross, who is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God through him. If we trust in his name, our sins will be buried in the depths of the sea, we shall be washed from all our filthiness, and made whiter than snow, so that none can lay any thing to our charge. We shall be clothed with the robes of righteousness and salvation, adorned with the graces of the Holy Spirit, and presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. May we learn the difference between justifying ourselves, and being thus justified by God himself. Let the tempest-tossed soul consider Job, and notice that others have passed this dreadful gulf; and though they found it hard to believe that God would hear or deliver them, yet he rebuked the storm, and brought them to the desired haven. Resist the devil; give not place to hard thoughts of God, or desperate conclusions about thyself. Come to Him who invites the weary and heavy laden; who promises in nowise to cast them out.Then would I speak, and not fear him - I should then be able to maintain my cause on equal terms, and with equal advantages.

But it is not so with me - Margin, I am not so with myself. Noyes, "I am not so at heart." Good, "but not thus could I in my present state." Literally, "for not thus I with myself." The Syriac renders it, "for neither am I his adversary." Very various interpretations have been given of this phrase. The Jews, with Aben Ezra, suppose it means, "for I am not such as you suppose me to be. You take me to be a guilty man; but I am innocent, and if I had a fair opportunity for trial, I could show that I am." Others suppose it to mean, "I am held to be guilty by the Most High, and am treated accordingly. But I am not so. I am conscious to myself that I am innocent." It seems to me that Dr. Good has come nearer the true sense than any other interpreter, and certainly his exposition accords with the connection. According to this the meaning is, "I am not able thus to vindicate myself in my present circumstances. I am oppressed and crushed beneath a lead of calamities. But if these were removed, and if I had a fair opportunity of trial, then I could so state my cause as to make it appear to be just."

In this whole chapter, there is evidently much insubmission and improper feeling. Job submits to power, not to truth and right. He sees and admits that God is able to overwhelm him, but he does not seem disposed to admit that he is right in doing it. He supposes that if he had a fair and full opportunity of trial, he could make his cause good, and that it would be seen that he did not deserve his heavy calamities. There is much of this kind of submission to God even among good people. It is submission because they cannot help it, not because they see the divine dealings to be right. There is nothing cheerful or confiding about it. There is often a secret feeling in the heart that the sufferings are beyond the deserts, and that if the case could be fairly tried, the dealings of God would be found to be harsh and severe. Let us not blame Job for his impatience and irreverent language, until we have carefully examined our own hearts in the times of trial like those which he endured. Let us not infer that he was worse than other men, until we are placed in similar circumstances, and are able to manifest better feelings than he did.

35. it is not so with me—As it now is, God not taking His rod away, I am not on such a footing of equality as to be able to vindicate myself. i.e. I would speak freely for myself, being freed from the dread of his majesty, which takes away my spirit and courage, and stoppeth my mouth.

But it is not so with me, i.e. I am not free from his terror, and therefore cannot and dare not plead my cause boldly with him; and so have no thing else to do but to case myself by renewing my complaints; as he doth in the next words. Others thus, but I am not so with myself, i.e. I am in a manner beside myself, distracted with the terrors of God upon me. Or rather thus, for I am not so with myself, or in my own conscience, as I perceive I am in your eyes, to wit, a hypocrite and ungodly man. So this is a reason why he could speak to God without slavish fear, because he was conscious to himself of his own integrity: I have a good conscience within myself, and therefore could use boldness in speaking to God, provided he would not deal with me in strict justice, but upon the terms of grace and mercy which he hath proposed to sinners, and with allowance to human infirmities. Then would I speak, and not fear him,.... With a servile fear, though with reverence and godly fear; meaning either at the throne of grace, having liberty of access, boldness of spirit, and freedom of speech through Christ the Mediator, and in the view of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; for when the rod of his law and the terror of his justice are removed, and his grace and favour in Christ shown, a believer can speak boldly and freely to God, and not be afraid before him: but rather Job's sense is, that were the rod of his anger taken off and the dread of his majesty, which so awed him that he could not tell his case as it was, and use the arguments he might to advantage; he should speak without fear, and so as to defend himself, and make his cause to appear to be just; to this the Lord seems to refer in Job 38:3; being bold and daring expressions, which Job blushed when made sensible of it, Job 42:5,

but it is not so with me; there was no daysman between the Lord and him; the rod was not taken off his back, nor the dread and terror of the Almighty removed from him; and so could not speak in his own defence, as otherwise he might: or it was not so with him as his friends thought of him; he was not the wicked hypocritical man they took him to be, or as the afflictive dispensations of God made him to appear to be, according to their judgment of them: or the words may be rendered, "I am not so with myself" (u); that is, he was not conscious to himself that he was such a person they judged him; or such were the troubles and afflictions that were upon him, that he was not himself, he was not "compos mentis", and so not capable on that account, as well as others, of pleading his own cause: or "I am not right in" or "with myself" (w); not in his right mind, being distracted with the terrors of God, and the arrows of the Almighty that stuck in him; or he was not righteous in himself; for though he was clear of hypocrisy he was charged with, he did not pretend to be without sin, or to have such a righteousness as would justify him before God; and therefore desires things might be put upon the foot of grace, and not of strict justice.

(u) "non sic ego apud me", Pagninus, Montanus, Beza, Vatablus, Mercerus, Schmidt, Schultens. (w) "Quia non probus ego apud me", Bolducius; "quod non sim rectus apud me", Cocceius.

Then would I speak, and not fear him; {b} but it is not so with me.

(b) Signifying that God's judgments keep him in awe.

35. If God would meet Job as a man, removing His afflicting rod and laying aside His awful majesty, Job would speak out his innocence and plead his own cause without fear.

but it is not so with me] Rather, for I am not so in myself—in my own consciousness I am not so, or such, that I should fear Him. “In myself” is lit. with myself, cf. ch. Job 10:13, Job 23:14, Job 27:11, and St Paul’s by myself, 1 Corinthians 4:4.Verse 35. - Then would I speak, and not fear him. Job has imagined conditions which are impossible (though they may, to some extent, be compensated for in the actual scheme of man's redemption); and says that, under the circumstances which he has imagined, he would not fear to justify himself before God. The assertion is over-daring, and, as Schultens says, shows the patriarch to be no longer master of himself, but carried away by the force of overwrought feeling. But it is not so with me; i.e. "I am not in such a position as to enter on my justification." I am weighted by my sufferings, and also by my fears. I therefore decline the contest.

29 If I am wicked, why do I exert myself in vain?

30 If I should wash myself with snow water,

And make my hands clean with lye,

31 Then thou wouldst plunge me into the pit,

And my clothes would abhor me.

32 For He is not a man as I, that I should answer Him,

That we should go together to judgment.

33 There is not an arbitrator between us

Who should lay his hand upon us both.

The clause with strongly accented "I" affirms that in relation to God is from the first, and unchangeably, a wicked, i.e., guilty, man (Psalm 109:7) (רשׁע, to be a wicked man, means either to act as such Job 10:15, or to appear as such, be accounted as such, as here and Job 10:7; Hiph., Job 9:20, to condemn). Why, therefore, should he vainly (הבל, acc. adv., like breath, useless) exert himself by crying for help, and basing his plaint on his innocence? In Job 9:30 the Chethib is במו, the Keri במי, as the reverse in Isaiah 25:10; mo itself appears in the signification water (Egyptian muau), in the proper names Moab and Moshe (according to Jablonsky, ex aqua servatus); in במו, however, the mo may be understood according to Ges. 103, 2. This is the meaning - no cleansing, even though he should use snow and בּר (a vegetable alkali), i.e., not even the best-grounded self-justification can avail him, for God would still bring it to pass, that his clearly proved innocence should change to the most horrible impurity. Ewald, Rdiger, and others translate incorrectly: my clothes would make me disgusting. The idea is tame. The Piel תּעב signifies elsewhere in the book (Job 19:19; Job 30:10) to abhor, not to make abhorrent; and the causative meaning is indeed questionable, for מתעב (Isaiah 49:7) signifies loathing, as מכסּה (Job 23:17) covering, and Ezekiel 16:25 certainly borders on the signification "to make detestable," but תעב may also be in the primary meaning, abominari, the strongest expression for that contempt of the beauty bestowed by God which manifests itself by prostitution. Translate: My clothes would abhor me; which does not mean: I should be disgusted with myself (Hirzel); Job is rather represented as naked; him, the naked one, God would - says he - so plunge into the pit that his clothes would conceive a horror of him, i.e., start back in terror at the idea of being put on and defiled by such a horrible creature (Schlottm., Oehler). For God is not his equal, standing on the same level with him: He, the Absolute Being, is accuser and judge in one person; there is between them no arbitrator who (or that he) should lay, etc. Mercier correctly explains: impositio manus est potestatis signum; the meaning therefore is: qui utrumque nostrum velut manu imposita coerceat.

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