What [is] man, that thou shouldest magnify him?
&c.] Man in his best estate, in his original state, was but of the earth, earthly; a mutable creature, and altogether vanity; so that it was wonderful God should magnify him as be did, raise him to such honour and dignity, as to set him over all the works of his hands, and bestow peculiar marks of his favour upon him in Eden's garden; but man in his low and fallen estate, being, as the word here used is generally observed to signify, a frail, feeble, weak, and mortal creature; yea, a sinful one; it is much more marvellous that God should magnify him, or make him great, that is, any of the human race, as he has some, so as "to set his heart upon them", as Jarchi connects this with the following clause; to think of them and provide for them in his purposes and decrees, in his council and covenant, to choose any of them to grace here, and glory hereafter: he has magnified them, by espousing them to his Son, whereby they share with him in his glory, and in all the blessings of his goodness; through the incarnation of Christ, by means of which the human nature is greatly advanced and honoured; and by their redemption through Christ, whereby they are raised to an higher dignity, and restored to a greater estate than they lost by the fall; by clothing them with the rich robe of Christ's righteousness, comparable to the gold of Ophir, and raiment of needlework; and by adorning them with the graces of the blessed Spirit; and, in a word, by taking them into his family, making them his children and his heirs, rich in grace, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven, and kings and priests unto him; taking them as beggars from the dunghill, to sit among princes, and to inherit the throne of glory. The words may be understood in a different sense, and more agreeably to the context, and to the scope of Job's discourse, as they are by some F15, of God's magnifying men by afflicting them; according to which, man is represented as a poor, weak, strengthless creature, a worm and clod of the earth; and the Lord as the mighty God, as of great and infinite power and strength, between whom there is no manner of proportion; God is not a man, that they should come together, or as if on equal foot; nor man a match for God; to wrestle with principalities and powers, which are not flesh and blood, is too much for men of themselves, and how much less able are they to contend with God? Now Job by this suggests, that his thought and sentiment of the matter was, and in which he has a particular view to himself, and his own case; that as on the one hand it was a demeaning the might and majesty of God, by making himself a combatant with man; so on the other hand it was doing man too much honour, as if he was one of more importance and consequence, and more mighty and powerful than he is; whereas he is unworthy of the divine notice in any respect, either to bestow his favours, or lay his afflicting hand upon him; compare with this ( 1 Samuel 24:14 ) . Hence a late learned writer F16, agreeably to the use of the word in the Arabic language, renders it, "what is mortal man, that thou shouldest wrestle with him?" strive and contend with him as if he was thy match, when thou couldest at one blow, and even at a touch, dispatch him at once?
and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
have an affection for him, love him, delight in him, highly value and esteem him; it is wonderful that God should have such a regard to any of the sons of men; and yet it is certain that he has, as appears by the good things he has provided and laid up for them in covenant, by sending his Son to die for them, by calling and quickening them by his Spirit and grace, and drawing them with loving kindness to himself; by taking continual care of them, and keeping them as the apple of his eye: though these words may be interpreted agreeably to the other sense, "that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?" or towards him, to afflict him and chastise him with afflictions, so Bar Tzemach; or to stir up himself against him, as Sephorno: and the above late learned writer chooses to render them, "that thou shouldest set thine heart against him?" F17 and so the Hebrew F18 particle is used in many other places; see ( Ezekiel 13:2 ) ( 21:3 ) ; compare with this ( Job 34:14 Job 34:15 ) , where R. Simeon Bar Tzemach F19 thinks Elihu has respect to this passage of Job, and reproves him for it.
F15 So Simeon Bar Tzemach, Sephorno, Mercerus, Diodati, Schultens.
F17 (Kbl wyla tyvt ykw) "et quod intendas cor tuum".
F18 "Adversus eum". ibid.
F19 Vid. Noldii Ebr. Partic. Concord. p. 57.