Then Job answered and said,
Verses 1-35. - Job, in answer to Bildad, admits the truth of his arguments, but declines to attempt the justification which can alone entitle him to accept the favourable side of Bildad's alternative. Man cannot absolutely justify himself before God. It is in vain to attempt to do so. The contest is too unequal. On the one side perfect wisdom and absolute strength (ver. 4); on the other, weakness, imperfection, ignorance. guilt (vers. 17-20). And no "daysman," or umpire, between them; no third party to hold the balance even, and preside authoritatively over the controversy, and see that justice is done (vers. 33-35). Were it otherwise, Job would not shrink from the controversy; but he thinks it ill arguing with omnipotent power. What he seems to lack is the absolute conviction expressed by Abraham in the emphatic words'" Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). Verses 1, 2. - And Job answered and said, I know it is so of a truth. "I freely admit," is., "all that has been said." God would not cast away a perfectly righteous man (Job 8:20); and, of course, he punishes evil-doers. But, applied practically, what is the result? How should man be just with God? or, before God? Apart from any knowledge of the doctrine of original or inherited sin, each man feels, deep in his heart, that he is sinful - "a chief of sinners." Bradford looks upon the murderer as he mounts the scaffold, and says, "But for the grace of God, there goes John Bradford!" Job has a similar conviction, that in the sight of God, righteousness, such as it is, shrinks away into insignificance, and is as nothing, cannot anyhow be relied upon. Such must be the attitude before God of every human soul that is not puffed up with pride or utterly insensate and sunk in apathy.
I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?
If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.
Verse 3. - If he will contend with him; rather, if he should desire to contend with him; i.e. if, notwithstanding his knowledge of his own weakness and guilt, he should nevertheless be mad enough to desire to contend with God, then he will find that he cannot answer him one of a thousand. Of the charges which God might in his omniscience bring against him, he could not make a satisfactory reply to one in a thousand. It is not that Job admits any special guilt in himself; but such he feels to be the universal condition of humanity. "All have sinned in ten thousand ways, "and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?
Verse 4. - He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength. The sense is strengthened if we omit "he is," and render, Wise in heart, and mighty in strength, who hath hardened etc.? God's combination of perfect wisdom with infinite strength renders it hopeless for any man to contend with him. Who hath hardened himself against him; and hath prospered? Job fully admits the wisdom of all that Eliphaz (Job 4:17) and Bildad (Job 8:3-6) have said, or hinted, with respect to his inability wholly to justify himself. No one has ever taken this line of absolute self-justification, and prospered.
Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.
Verses 5-13. - A magnificent description of the might and majesty of God, transcending anything in the Psalms, and comparable to the grandest passages of Isaiah (see especially Isaiah 40:21-24; Isaiah 43:15-20). Verse 5. - Which removeth the mountains, and they know not; which overturneth them in his anger. Earthquakes are common in all the countries adjoining Syria and Palestine, and must always have been among the most striking manifestations of God's power. There are several allusions to them in the Psalms (Psalm 8:8, 104:32). and historical mention of them in Numbers 16:32; 1 Kings 19:1; Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:4, 5; Matthew 24:7. Josephus speaks of one which desolated Judaea in the reign of Herod the Great, and destroyed ten thousand people ('Ant. Jud.,' 15:5. § 2). There was another in 1181, which was felt over the whole of the Hauran, and did great damage. A still more violent convulsion occurred in 1837, when the area affected extended five hundred miles from north to south, and from eighty to a hundred miles east and west. Tiberias and Safed were overthrown. The earth gaped in various places, and closed again. Fearful oscillations were felt. The hot springs of Tiberias mounted up to a temperature that ordinary thermometers could not mark, and the loss of life was considerable (see the account given by Dr. Cunningham Geikie, in 'The Holy Land and the Bible,' vol. 2. pp. 317, 318). The phrases used by Job are, of course, poetical. Earthquakes do not literally "remove" mountains, nor "overturn" them. They produce fissures, elevations, depressions, and the like; but they rarely much alter local features or the general configuration of a district.
Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.
Verse 6. - Which shaketh the earth out of her place. This is a still more startling figure of speech; but comp. Psalm 46:2; Psalm 68:16; Psalm 114:4, 6. And the pillars thereof tremble. The earth is conceived of, poetically, as a huge edifice, supported on pillars (comp. Psalm 75:3), which in an earthquake are shaken, and impart their motion to the entire building. Rosenmuller's quotation of Seneca, 'Nat. Quaest.,' 6:20 - "Fortasse ex aliqua parle terra veluti columnis quibusdam et pills sustinetur, quibus vitiatis et recedentibus tremit pondus impositum" - is apposite.
Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
Verse 7. - Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not. A magnificent idea of God's power, and, of course, quite true. All the movements of the earth and of the heavenly bodies are movements which God causes, and could at any moment suspend. The sun only rises upon the earth each day because God causes it to rise. If he were once to intermit his hand, the whole universe would fall into confusion. And sealeth up the stars. Either covers them with a thick darkness, which their rays cannot penetrate, or otherwise renders them invisible. The idea is that God, if he pleases, can remove the stars out of man's sight, hide them away, seal them up.
Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
Verse 8. - Which alone spreadeth out the heavens (comp. Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22). The heavens are regarded as spread out over the whole earth, like a curtain or awning over a tent, everywhere overshadowing and promoting it. This "stretching" or "spreading out" is felt to be one of the mightiest and most marvellous of the Creater's works, and is constantly put forward in Scripture as a special evidence of his omnipotence (see, besides the pasages above quoted, Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 45:12; It. 13; Jeremiah 10:12). It adds to the marvellousness that God did it all "alone," or "by himself" (comp. Isaiah 44:24). And treadeth upon the waves of the sea; literally, the heights of the sea; i.e. the waves, which run mountains-high. God plants his feet upon these, to crush them in their proud might (comp. Psalm 93:5).
Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
Verse 9. - Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades; literally, which maketh 'Ash Kesil and Kimah. The rendering of the LXX. (ὁ ποιῶν Πλειάδα καὶ Ἕσπερον καὶ Ἀρκτοῦρον), supported, as it is, by most of the other ancient versions and by the Targums, has caused the stellar character of these names to be generally recognized; but the exact meaning of each term is, to some extent, still a matter of dispute. On the whole, it seems most probable that 'Ash or 'Aish (Job 38:32), designates "the Great Bear," called by the Arabs Nahsh while Kesil is the name of the constellation of Orion, and Kimah of that of the Pleiades. The word 'Ash means "a litter," and may be compared with the Greek ἅμαξα and our own" Charles's Wain," both of them names given to the Great Bear, from a fancied resemblance of its form to that of a vehicle. Kesil means "an insolent, rich man" (Lee); and is often translated by "fool" in the Book of Proverbs 14:16; Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 19:1; Proverbs 21:20, etc. It seems to have been an epitheton usitatum of Nimrod, who, according to Oriental tradition, made war upon the gods, and was bound in the sky for his impiety - the constellation being thenceforth called "the Giant" (Gibbor)' or "the insolent one' (Kesil), and later by the Greeks "Orion" (comp. Amos 5:8; and infra' Job 38:31). Kimah undoubtedly designates "the Pleiades." It occurs again, in connection with Kesil in Job 38:31, and in Amos 5:8 The meaning is probably "a heap," "a cluster" (Lee); which was also the Greek idea: Πλειάδες, ὅτι πλείους ὁμοοῦ κατὰ μίαν συναγωγήν (Eustath., 'Comment. in Hom. II.,' 18:488); and which has been also inimitably expressed by Tennyson in the line, "Like a swarm of dazzling fireflies tangled in a silver braid." And the chambers of the south. The Chaldeans called the zodiacal constellations "mansions of the sun" and "of the moon" ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. it. p. 575); but these do not seem to be here intended. Rather Job has in his mind those immense spaces of the sky which lie behind his southern horizon; how far extending, he knows not. Though the circumnavigation of Africa was not effected until about r c. 600, yet it is not improbable that he may have derived from travellers or merchants some knowledge of the Southern hemisphere.
Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
Verse 10. Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. An almost exact repetition of the words of Eliphaz in Job 5:9. The repetition may have been conscious or unconscious. Job may have meant to say, "My view of God embraces all that you can tell me of him, and goes further;" or he may simply have used words concerning the Divine unsearch-ableness which were common in the mouths of religious men in his time (comp. Psalm 72:18; and infra, Job 11:7).
Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
Verse 11. - Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not. Near as God is to us, close as he comes to us, we cannot directly see him, or feel him, or perceive his presence. We know it by faith, we may feel it in our inmost spirits; but there is no manifestation of it to our senses. A sharp line divides the visible and invisible worlds; and this line, if it is ever crossed, is very rarely crossed. Job possibly reflects upon the pretension of Eliphaz to have had a physical consciousness of the visitation of a spirit (Job 4:15, 16), and asserts, with a tinge of sarcasm, that it is otherwise with him - the spirit-worm passes him by, and he receives no light, no illumination, no miraculous direction from it. He passeth on also. The same verb is used by Eliphaz (Job 4:15) in speaking of his spiritual visitation. But I perceive him not. Eliphaz perceived the presence of the spirit (Job 4:15, 16) and heard its voice (Job 4:16-21). Job seems to mean that he is not so favoured.
Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?
Verse 12. - Behold, he taketh away; rather, he seizeth the prey (see the Revised Version). The expression is much stronger than that used in Job 1:21. Job seems to be smarting under the recollection of all that he has lost, and takes an aggrieved tone. Who can hinder him? (comp. Isaiah 45:9; Jeremiah 18:6; Romans 19:20). Who will say unto him, What doest thou? To have to do with such an irresistible Being, alone in his might, would indeed be terrible if, while absolutely powerful, unchecked and uncontrolled from without, he were not also absolutely good, and therefore controlled and checked by a law from within. This, however, Job, in his present mood, does not seem clearly to see.
If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.
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.
How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?
Verse 14. - How much less shall I answer him? If he be the Lord of earth and heaven, if he rule the sun and the stars, if he tread down the sea, if he be impalpable and irresistible, if he hold the evil power and his helpers under restraint, how should I dare to answer him? How should any mere man do so? And choose out my words to reason with him? Job feels that he would be too much overwhelmed to choose his terms carefully, and yet a careless word might be an unpardonable offence.
Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.
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.
If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.
Verse 16. - If I had called, and he had answered me. "If," that is, "I had challenged God to a controversy, and he had granted it, and bidden me to plead my cause at his bar, yet could I not suppose that he had really hearkened to me, and would allow me boldly to stand up before him and freely to challenge his doings. Such condescension on his part, such an abnegation of his supremacy, is inconceivable, and could not have acted on it." Yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice; rather, yet could I not believe. It was not that he would not have wished, but that he would not have been able, to believe.
For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.
Verse 17. - For he breaketh me with a tempest. "God" that is, "would not be likely patiently to hear my justification, and calmly to weigh it, when he is already overwhelming me with his wrath, breaking and crushing me (comp. Genesis 3:15, where the same word שׁוּפ is used) with a very storm of calamity." The sentiment can scarcely be justified, since it breathes something of a contamacious spirit. But this only shows that Job was not yet" made perfect through sufferings" (Hebrews 2:10). And multiplieth my wounds without cause. A further assertion, not of absolute sinlessness, but of comparative innocence - of the belief that he had done nothing to deserve such a terrible punishment as he is suffering (comp. Job 6:24, 29).
He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.
Verse 18. - He will not suffer me to take my breath. "He gives me no breathing-space," that is, "no time of relaxation or refreshment. My existence is one continual. misery." (comp. Job 7:3-6, 13-19). But filleth me with bitterness; literally, with bitter things or bitterness (Hebrew, מַמְּר ורִים).
If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?
Verse 19. - If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong. Still the idea is, "How can I contend with God? If it is to be a trial of strength, it is he who is strong, not I; if it is to be a suit, or pleading for justice, who will appoint me a day?" And if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead? (comp. below, ver 33).
If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
Verse 20. - If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me. Since he could not wholly justify himself. "All men have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Job has already admitted the utterance of "rash words" (Job 6:3), and, at least hypothetically, that he "has sinned" (Job 7:20), and needs "pardon" for his "transgression" (Job 7:24). Job, if he tried to "justify himself," would have to acknowledge such shortcomings, such imperfections, such sins - at any rate, of infirmity - as would make his attempted justification a real self-condemnation. If I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse; rather, even were I perfect it (i.e. my mouth) would prove me perverse; i.e. supposing I were actually perfect, and tried to prove it, my speech would be so hesitating and confused, that I should only seem to be perverse.
Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.
Verse 21. - Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life. The original is very elliptical and very obscure. The words run, I perfect - I know not myself - I abhor my life which some explain as meaning, "Were I perfect, I should not know it myself; I despise my life under such conditions" (Stanley Loathes); others, "I am perfect" (i.e. guiltless of any plain offence), "but do not understand myself, and care not what becomes of me" (Canon Cook); others again, "Were I perfect, should I not know myself, and, knowing myself, despise my own life?" (Professor Lee). The Septuagint gives us no help, as it plainly follows a different reading. Probably our present text is a corrupt one.
This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.
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.
If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.
Verse 23. - If the scourge slay suddenly. Such a "scourge" as war, or pestilence, or famine, is probably meant. If one of these be let loose upon a land, and slay, as it always does slay, indifferently the good and the bad, the innocent and the guilty, what is God's attitude? Does he interpose to save the righteous? By no means. He looks on passively, indifferently. Job even goes further, and says, with an audacity that borders on irreverence, if it does not even overstep the border, He will laugh at the trial of the innocent. St. Jerome says, "There is nothing in the whole book harsher than this." It may, perhaps, be excused, partly as rhetorical, partly as needful for the full expansion of Job's argument. But it is a fearful utterance. (Professor Lee's attempt to explain the whole passage differently is scarcely a successful one.)
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?
Verse 24. - The earth is given into the hand of the wicked. As a further proof of God's indifference to the sufferings of the innocent, Job adduces the fact that, in the high places of the earth, are mostly set wicked persons, who oppress and persecute the righteous. This has probably been true, in the East at any rate, at all times. He covereth the faces of the judges thereof. God covers up the eyes of those who have to judge between the oppressors and the oppressed, so that they pervert judgment, and side with the oppressors. He does this, since he permits it to be done. Corrupt judges are among the perennial curses of the East. If not, where, and who is he? rather, If it be not he who then is it? (see the Revised Version). Job argues that the established condition of things in human society must be ascribed to God, since (at least) he allows it. There is no one else to whom it can be ascribed.
Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.
Verse 25. - Now my days are swifter than a post. Life slips away so fast that before it is well begun, it is ended. Job compares it to the swift passage of the trained runner, or messenger, who carried despatches for kings and other great personages in the olden times (see 2 Chronicles 30:6; Esther 3:13; Esther 8:10, 14). Herodotus says of the trained runners employed by the Persians, "Nothing mortal travels so fast as these Persian messengers" (Herod., 8:98). There is abundant evidence of the employment of such persons in ancient Egypt. They flee away, they see no good. It seems to Job that his prosperity (Job 1:2-5) was only for a moment. He scarcely could look on it before it was gone.
They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.
Verse 26. - They are passed away as the swift ships; literally, like the ships of reed. The allusion is probably to the frail reed vessels of the Egyptians, of which many ancient writers speak (see Theophrastus, 'Hist. Plant.,' 4:9; Pithy, 'Hist. Nat.,' 6:56; 13:11; Luean, ' Pharsalis,' 4:36, etc.). They were long, light canoes, formed generally of the papyrus plant, and propelled either by a single paddle or by a punting-pole. They were fiat-bottomed and broad, like punts, with a stem and stern rising considerably above the level of the water (see the authofs 'History of Ancient Egypt,' vol. 1. pp. 507, 508). Isaiah speaks of them as "vessels of bulrushes," in which "swift messengers" were sent by the nations peopling the banks of the Nile (Isaiah 18:1, 2). The Euphrates boats described by Herodotus (1:194) were of an entirely different construction, and cannot be here intended. They consisted of a framework of wood, which was covered with skins, and then coated with bitumen, and resembled the Welsh "coracles." As the eagle that hasteth to the prey; or, as the eagle that swoopeth on the prey (Revised Version). Job's observation presents to him three types of swiftness - the trained runner upon the earth, the swift ships upon the waters, and the hungry eagle in the air. It seems to him that his life passes away as swiftly as any of these.
If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself:
Verse 27. - If I say, I will forget my complaint (comp. above, Job 7:13). Job represents himself as sometimes, for a moment, imagining that he might put aside his load of sorrow by not thinking of it. He tries, and says to himself, "I will forget," etc.; but in vain. The whole mass of his sufferings seems to rise up against him, and make even momentary forgetfulness impossible. I will leave off my heaviness; or, my black looks. And comfort myself (comp. Job 10:20 and Psalm 39:13, where the same verb is rendered "recover strength").
I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.
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.
If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?
Verse 29. - If I be wicked; rather, I am wicked; i.e. I am accounted so - I am already condemned. The extreme afflictions raider which I suffer indicate that God has passed sentence upon me, and awarded me my punishment. Why then labour I in vain? i.e. Why argue? Why seek to justify myself, since no result is likely to follow? Nothing that I can say will alter God's foregone conclusion.
If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;
Verse 30. - If I wash myself with snow-water (comp. Psalm 51:7). If I should succeed in purging myself of all guilt, and establishing, so far as words can do it, my spotless innocence even then what advantage should I gain? Snow-water does not really cleanse what is defiled better than any other water, but a lively fancy might suppose it to do so. Job indulges in this fancy, but then checks himself, and adds a prosaic alternative. And make my hands never so clean; rather, and make my hands clean with lye. Lye, or potash, is the principal and most essential ingredient in soap. and the readiest and best detergent. If Job cleanses himself to the very utmost, "Cut bone?" he asks.
Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.
Verse 31. - Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch. Yet would God with ease undo his work, show his purity to be impure, his righteousness to be filthy rags, and thus, as it were, replunge him in the mire and clay from which he had sought to free himself, and hold him forth a more loathsome wretch than ever. And mine own clothes shall abhor me. So loathsome would he be that his very garments, stained and fouled by his disease, would shrink away from him and hate to touch him.
For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.
Verse 32. - For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him; and we should come together in judgment (comp. vers. 2-14). On one of two conditions only, Job thinks, could the contest be even between himself and God.
(1) If God, divesting himself of all his Divine attributes, became man;
(2) if some thirdsman could be found, some umpire or arbitrator, to preside over the contest, and decide it. Neither condition, however, was (he thought) possible; and therefore no satisfactory judgment could take place. Recent commentators observe that the Christian scheme, which Job could not anticipate, provides almost a literal fulfilment of both conditions, since the God who is to judge us is "true Man," and is also a Mediator, or "Thirds-man," between us and the offended Father, with authority to make the final decision, 'the Father having committed all judgment unto the Son "(John 5:22), and" given him authority to execute judgment also'" for the very reason that he is "the Son of man" (John 5:27).
Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.
Verse 33. - Neither is there any daysman betwixt us; literally 'judge or arbitrator called a "daysman," since he appoints the day on which the arbitration is to come off. The LXX. renders by μεσίτης, "mediator." That might lay his hand upon us bosh. Moderate between us, that is; keep us both in cheek; assert an authority to which we must both submit.
Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:
Verse 34. - Let him take his rod away from me; rather, who would remove his rod from me. Job means that it would be a part of the duty of the "daysman" to see that God's rod was removed from him before he was called upon to plead, so that he might not labour under so erect a disadvantage as his sufferings would place him under. And let not his fear terrify me; or, and would not suffer his fear to terrify me; i.e. would not allow Job to be placed under the disadvantage, either of pain or of fear, either of actual or prospective suffering.
Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.
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.