New American Standard Bible
"Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one!
King James Bible
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
Darby Bible Translation
Who can bring a clean man out of the unclean? Not one!
World English Bible
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.
Young's Literal Translation
Who giveth a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
Job 14:4 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Who can bring a clean - thing "out of an unclean?" This is evidently a proverb or an adage; but its connection here is not very apparent. Probably, however, it is designed as a plea of mitigation for his conscious frailties and infirmities. He could not but admit that he had faults. But he asks, how could it be expected to be otherwise? He belonged to a race that was sinful and depraved. Connected with such a race, how could it be otherwise than that he should be prone to evil? Why then did God follow him with so much severity, and hold him with a grasp so close and so unrelenting? Why did he treat him as if he ought to be expected to be perfectly pure, or as if it were reasonable to suppose he would be otherwise than unholy? This passage is of great value as showing the early opinion of the world in regard to the native character of man. The sentiment was undoubtedly common - so common as to have passed into a proverb - that man was a sinner; and that it could not be expected that anyone of the race should be pure and holy.
The sentiment is as true as it is obvious - like will beget like all over the world. The nature of the lion, the tiger, the hyaena, the serpent is propagated, and so the same thing is true of man. It is a great law, that the offspring will resemble the parentage; and as the offspring of the lion is not a lamb but a young lion; of a wolf is not a kid but a young wolf, so the offspring of man is not an angel, but is a man with the same nature, the same moral character, the same proneness to evil with the parent. The Chaldee renders this: "Who will give one pure from a man polluted in sin, except God, who is one, and who forgiveth him?" But this is manifestly a departure from the sense of the passage. Jerome, however, has adopted nearly the same translation. As a historical record, this passage proves that the doctrine of original sin was early held in the world. Still it is true that the same great law prevails, that the off-spring of woman is a sinner - no matter where he may be born, or in what circumstances he may be placed. No art, no philosophy, no system of religion can prevent the operation of this great law under which we live, and by which we die; compare the notes at Romans 5:19.
LibraryOctober 19 Evening
Consolation in Christ, . . . comfort of love, . . . fellowship of the Spirit.--PHI. 2:1. Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.--My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. The Father . . . shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever: the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name.--Blessed be God, …
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path
A Voice from the Hartley Colliery
Whether a Man May Merit for Himself the First Grace?
Whether Christ's Body Rose Again Entire?
"What is man, that he should be pure, Or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
"How then can a man be just with God? Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin "?
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