For thou saidst, what advantage will it be unto thee?
&c.] Meaning that his righteousness, his holy life and conversation, were of no avail to him: he received no more benefit by being righteous than if he was wicked, since God destroyed one as well as another; and since his righteousness did not secure him from afflictions and calamities, it was of no advantage to him; he had not said so in so many words, but it is inferred from what he had said, ( Job 9:22 ) ( 10:15 ) . Man's own righteousness is of no advantage to him as to justification before God, and acceptance with him, nor in the business of salvation, or with respect to heaven and happiness, so as to give a right and title to it; bat is of great advantage in other respects; is for self-defence against the imputations and calumnies of wicked men; it makes a man honourable and respectable among men, when to live a vicious course of life is scandalous and reproachful; it gives pleasure and satisfaction to the mind, the testimony of a good conscience is matter of rejoicing; and such a man is free from the racks and tortures of an evil conscience others are distressed with; besides, good works are an evidence of the truth and genuineness of faith to others, and ornament the doctrines of the Gospel and a profession of them: and though a righteous man may be afflicted as others, yet in a different manner, in love and not in wrath, and always for his good;
[and], what profit shall one have, [if I be cleansed] from my sin?
The words, "if I be cleansed", are a supplement, and seem necessary; so Mr. Broughton supplies. Sin is of a defiling nature, yet man may be cleansed from it, not by anything he can do, but only by the grace of. God and blood of Christ; and from such a cleansing profit arises. This fits a man for the service and worship of God, and for communion with him; gives him peace of mind, and makes him meet for heaven. This Job had not expressly said, and not at all in this sense, but it seems to be inferred from ( Job 9:29-31 ) ; where he is speaking of outward purity of life, and yet was plunged into the ditch of afflictions. Some render the words to this sense, as if there was no profit "by expiation of atonement for sin" F21; the same word signifying both sin and atonement for it: there is none but by the blood and sacrifice of Christ, and much profit arises from that; pardon of sin proceeds upon it, and this furnishes out much solid peace, joy, and comfort, ( Romans 5:10 Romans 5:11 ) . Others, what profit by punishment for sin F23, unless to God? so sin is sometimes put for punishment; or through leaving sin and repenting of it F24. Now though these are not the causes of the pardon of sin, yet it is given and applied to such who do repent of it, confess and forsake it, ( Proverbs 28:13 ) ( Isaiah 55:7 ) . Or by being "without sin" F25: no man is without sin; but a man may be without any gross and enormous crime he is chargeable with, or without living a vicious course of life; and this is profitable, as has been before observed. Jarchi's paraphrase is,
``what shall I profit more by my righteousness than by my sin?''which sense is followed by others: I may as well be wicked as righteous; I am not the better for it, since I am afflicted in the manner I am: my righteousness is of no profit to me; if to any, it is to God. To this Elihu returns an answer in the following verses.
F21 (ytajxm) "de expiatione mea", Mercerus "in expiando peccatum", Grotius; (hajx) "pro piaculo venit", Cocceius; so Simeon Bar Tzemach in loc.
F23 "Supplicio meo", Junius & Tremellius; "mucta pro illo aut poena", Cocceius; "ex poena peccati mei", Drusius; so Ben Gersom.
F24 "Subaudi relicto", so Mercerus, Drusius; "remisso et per poenitentiam diluto", Munster.
F25 "Absque peccato", i.e. "ita vivendo ut non perccom"; so some in Michaelis.