Job 9 Study Notes

9:1-4 A judicial image occurs throughout chap. 9. Job would like to present his case for innocence before God in court (vv. 3,16,19,32). As a finite plaintiff his arguments were inadequate (vv. 3-4,14-15,20,32) before an omniscient and omnipotent judge (v. 15). Job needed a mediator to arbitrate his case (vv. 33-35; see note at 16:21).

9:5-10 Job called on a hymn extolling God’s sovereignty as Creator. The imagery is metaphorical and is not to be taken as a cosmology.

9:5-6 Mountains are sometimes portrayed as pillars for the sky (26:11).

9:8 The heavens could be viewed as a great tent stretched out over the earth (Ps 104:2; Is 40:22). The image of God treading on the waves of the sea pictures God as controlling the forces of nature (Mc 1:3) much as a conqueror defeats his foes (Is 63:3; Hab 3:8,15).

9:9 Ancients often identified stars and constellations as gods and goddesses, used them as navigational guides, and noted their changing positions to mark the seasons.

9:11-12 God’s mysterious and sovereign ways are often unnoticed or incomprehensible to man. Mere humans cannot fault God for what he does.

9:13-14 Job felt that if the forces of nature could not withstand God, how could he hope to win his case before him? Rahab suggests an ancient mythological sea monster. The image is that of God subduing and controlling the forces of nature (26:12-13; Ps 89:10; Is 51:9-10), a reminder that the Lord alone is truly God and sovereign over all forces that seem to oppose him.

9:15-16 Job suggested that if God should respond to his summons to court, he would have no chance of winning his case.

9:17-20 Job felt that God was mercilessly battering him. Since God is omnipotent, how could Job expect justice? His lack of eloquence would frustrate his defense.

9:21-24 Job displayed his hopelessness. He was certain of his innocence, but in his despair he imagined God to be capricious and an overbearing tyrant. Job felt Eliphaz (5:17-26) and Bildad (8:20) were wrong: God did not distinguish between the blameless and the wicked. Since there is only one sovereign God, everything must ultimately trace back to him.

9:25-26 Job’s imagery heightened his lament for his life, which was fast ebbing away (7:6-8).

9:27-29 Job accused God of prejudging his case. Job felt that God was determined to hold him guilty.

9:30-31 Job suggested Bildad’s views about repentance and self-purification were mistaken; Job felt these acts would be useless. Using lye rather than oil for cleansing indicates an extreme measure.

9:32-35 Job sensed the need for an arbitrator to adjudicate between himself and God (16:19-20; 19:25). Job had no angel or Mesopotamian personal god to aid him.

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