If I wash myself with snow water
As it came from heaven, or flowed from the mountains covered with snow, as Lebanon, see ( Jeremiah 18:14 ) ; or was kept in vessels for such use, as being judged the best for such a purpose; so it was used by the ancients F14, as being what whitens the skin, and strengthens the parts by contracting the pores, and hindering perspiration; it signifies, in a figurative sense, that let him take what methods he would to cleanse himself from sin, they were all in vain, his iniquity would be seen, and remain marked before God; and indeed there is nothing that a man can do that will make him pure and clean in the sight of an holy God; this is not to be done by ceremonial ablutions, such as might be in use in Job's time, before the law of Moses was given, and to which he may have some reference; these only sanctified to the purifying of the flesh, or only externally, but could not purify the heart, so as to have no more conscience of sin; nor by moral duties, not by repentance, as Sephorno; a fountain, a flood, an ocean of tears of humiliation and repentance, would not wash away sin; if, instead of ten thousand rivers of oil, so many rivers of brinish tears could be produced, they would be of no avail to cleanse the sinner; nor any works of righteousness done by man, for these themselves need washing in the blood of the Lamb; for nothing short of the blood of Christ, and the grace of God, can do it:
and make my hands never so clean;
the hands are what men work with, ( Ecclesiastes 9:10 ) ; and so may design good works, which are sometimes called clean hands; see ( Psalms 24:4 ) ; compared with ( Psalms 15:1 Psalms 15:2 ) ; and may be said to be so when they are done well, from a pare heart, and faith unfeigned, without selfish and sordid views, with a single eye to the glory of God; which is doing them as well, and making the hands as clean, as well can be; yet these are of no avail with respect to justification before God, and acceptance with him, or with regard to salvation, which is all of grace, and not of works, be they what they will; some render the words, "and cleanse my hands with soap" F15, which cleanses them best of anything, see ( Jeremiah 2:22 ) .
F14 "Discubuimus, pueris aquam nivalem in manus infundentibus", Petronius in Satyr.
F15 (rbb) Smegmate, Codurcus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt; so the Targum, and Mr. Broughton.