Job reproves his friends. (1-12) He professes his confidence in God. (13-22) Job entreats to know his sins. (23-28)
Verses 1-12 With self-preference, Job declared that he needed not to be taught by them. Those who dispute are tempted to magnify themselves, and lower their brethren, more than is fit. When dismayed or distressed with the fear of wrath, the force of temptation, or the weight of affliction, we should apply to the Physician of our souls, who never rejects any, never prescribes amiss, and never leaves any case uncured. To Him we may speak at all times. To broken hearts and wounded consciences, all creatures, without Christ, are physicians of no value. Job evidently speaks with a very angry spirit against his friends. They had advanced some truths which nearly concerned Job, but the heart unhumbled before God, never meekly receives the reproofs of men.
Verses 13-22 Job resolved to cleave to the testimony his own conscience gave of his uprightness. He depended upon God for justification and salvation, the two great things we hope for through Christ. Temporal salvation he little expected, but of his eternal salvation he was very confident; that God would not only be his Saviour to make him happy, but his salvation, in the sight and enjoyment of whom he should be happy. He knew himself not to be a hypocrite, and concluded that he should not be rejected. We should be well pleased with God as a Friend, even when he seems against us as an enemy. We must believe that all shall work for good to us, even when all seems to make against us. We must cleave to God, yea, though we cannot for the present find comfort in him. In a dying hour, we must derive from him living comforts; and this is to trust in him, though he slay us.
Verses 23-28 Job begs to have his sins discovered to him. A true penitent is willing to know the worst of himself; and we should all desire to know what our transgressions are, that we may confess them, and guard against them for the future. Job complains sorrowfully of God's severe dealings with him. Time does not wear out the guilt of sin. When God writes bitter things against us, his design is to make us bring forgotten sins to mind, and so to bring us to repent of them, as to break us off from them. Let young persons beware of indulging in sin. Even in this world they may so possess the sins of their youth, as to have months of sorrow for moments of pleasure. Their wisdom is to remember their Creator in their early days, that they may have assured hope, and sweet peace of conscience, as the solace of their declining years. Job also complains that his present mistakes are strictly noticed. So far from this, God deals not with us according to our deserts. This was the language of Job's melancholy views. If God marks our steps, and narrowly examines our paths, in judgment, both body and soul feel his righteous vengeance. This will be the awful case of unbelievers, yet there is salvation devised, provided, and made known in Christ.
Job 13:1-28 . JOB'S REPLY TO ZOPHAR CONTINUED.
1. all this--as to the dealings of Providence ( Job 12:3 ).
3. Job wishes to plead his cause before God ( Job 9:34 Job 9:35 ), as he is more and more convinced of the valueless character of his would-be "physicians" ( Job 16:2 ).
4. forgers of lies--literally, "artful twisters of vain speeches" [UMBREIT].
5. ( Proverbs 17:28 ). The Arabs say, "The wise are dumb; silence is wisdom."
7. deceitfully--use fallacies to vindicate God in His dealings; as if the end justified the means. Their "deceitfulness" for God, against Job, was that they asserted he was a sinner, because he was a sufferer.
8. accept his person--God's; that is, be partial for Him, as when a judge favors one party in a trial, because of personal considerations.
contend for God--namely, with fallacies and prepossessions against Job before judgment ( Judges 6:31 ). Partiality can never please the impartial God, nor the goodness of the cause excuse the unfairness of the arguments.
9. Will the issue to you be good, when He searches out you and your arguments? Will you be regarded by Him as pure and disinterested?
mock--( Galatians 6:7 ). Rather, "Can you deceive Him as one man?" &c.
10. If ye do, though secretly, act partially. God can successfully vindicate His acts, and needs no fallacious argument of man.
11. make you afraid?--namely, of employing sophisms in His name ( Jeremiah 10:7 Jeremiah 10:10 ).
12. remembrances--"proverbial maxims," so called because well remembered.
like unto ashes--or, "parables of ashes"; the image of lightness and nothingness ( Isaiah 44:20 ).
bodies--rather, "entrenchments"; those of clay, as opposed to those of stone, are easy to be destroyed; so the proverbs, behind which they entrench themselves, will not shelter them when God shall appear to reprove them for their injustice to Job.
13. Job would wish to be spared their speeches, so as to speak out all his mind as to his wretchedness ( Job 13:14 ), happen what will.
14. A proverb for, "Why should I anxiously desire to save my life?" [EICHORN]. The image in the first clause is that of a wild beast, which in order to preserve his prey, carries it in his teeth. That in the second refers to men who hold in the hand what they want to keep secure.
15. in him--So the margin or keri, reads. But the textual reading or chetib is "not," which agrees best with the context, and other passages wherein he says he has no hope ( Job 6:11 , 7:21 , 10:20 , 19:10 ). "Though He slay me, and I dare no more hope, yet I will maintain," &c., that is, "I desire to vindicate myself before Him," as not a hypocrite [UMBREIT and NOYES].
16. He--rather, "This also already speaks in my behalf (literally, 'for my saving acquittal') for an hypocrite would not wish to come before Him" (as I do) [UMBREIT]. (See last clause of Job 13:15 ).
17. my declaration--namely, that I wish to be permitted to justify myself immediately before God.
with your ears--that is, attentively.
18. ordered--implying a constant preparation for defense in his confidence of innocence.
19. if, &c.--Rather, "Then would I hold my tongue and give up the ghost"; that is, if any one can contend with me and prove me false, I have no more to say. "I will be silent and die." Like our "I would stake my life on it" [UMBREIT].
20. Address to God. Psalms 39:10
not hide--stand forth boldly to maintain my cause.
22. call--a challenge to the defendant to answer to the charges.
answer--the defense begun.
answer--to the plea of the plaintiff. Expressions from a trial.
23. The catalogue of my sins ought to be great, to judge from the severity with which God ever anew crushes one already bowed down. Would that He would reckon them up! He then would see how much my calamities outnumber them.
sin?--singular, "I am unconscious of a single particular sin, much less many" [UMBREIT].
24. hidest . . . face--a figure from the gloomy impression caused by the sudden clouding over of the sun.
enemy--God treated Job as an enemy who must be robbed of power by ceaseless sufferings ( Job 7:17 Job 7:21 ).
25. ( Leviticus 26:36 , Psalms 1:4 ). Job compares himself to a leaf already fallen, which the storm still chases hither and thither.
break--literally, "shake with (Thy) terrors." Jesus Christ does not "break the bruised reed" ( Isaiah 42:3 , 27:8 ).
26. writest--a judicial phrase, to note down the determined punishment. The sentence of the condemned used to be written down ( Isaiah 10:1 , Jeremiah 22:30 , Psalms 149:9 ) [UMBREIT].
bitter things--bitter punishments.
makest me to possess--or "inherit." In old age he receives possession of the inheritance of sin thoughtlessly acquired in youth. "To inherit sins" is to inherit the punishments inseparably connected with them in Hebrew ideas ( Psalms 25:7 ).
27. stocks--in which the prisoner's feet were made fast until the time of execution ( Jeremiah 20:2 ).
lookest narrowly--as an overseer would watch a prisoner.
print--Either the stocks, or his disease, marked his soles (Hebrew, "roots") as the bastinado would. Better, thou drawest (or diggest) [GESENIUS] a line (or trench) [GESENIUS] round my soles, beyond which I must not move [UMBREIT].
28. Job speaks of himself in the third person, thus forming the transition to the general lot of man ( Job 14:1 , Psalms 39:11 , Hosea 5:12 ).