[Is] not [this] thy fear
The fear of God, that which is of him, comes from him, is a grace of his implanted in the hearts of his people at conversion, and is increased and encouraged, and drawn forth into fresh exercise through the grace and goodness of God displayed; for a slavish fear, or a fear of punishment, of wrath and damnation, is not the true grace of fear, which maybe in unregenerate men, and even in the devils; but this lies in a reverential affection for God on account of his goodness, and in a carefulness not to offend him on that account; in an hatred of sin, and a departure from it; in an attendance on the worship of God, and is sometimes put for the whole of it; and is accompanied with faith in God, joy in the Holy Ghost, humility of soul, and holiness of heart and life: now Job professed to have this fear of God in his heart, and was thought to have it; this was his general character, ( Job 1:1 ) ; but, in his present case and circumstances, Eliphaz asks what was become of it, where it was now, and in what it appeared? and jeers him about it, as if he should say, does it lie in this, in fainting and sinking under afflictions, in being troubled and terrified, and thrown into a consternation by them, and in breaking out into such rash expressions of God and his providence? is it come to this at last, or rather to nothing at all? for he suggests either that Job never had the true grace of fear in him, contrary to the character given of him, and confirmed by God himself, ( Job 1:1 Job 1:8 ) ( 2:3 ) ; or that he had cast it off and it was gone from him, and left, ( Job 15:4 ) ; which can never be, where it once is, it being the great security against a final and total apostasy from God, ( Jeremiah 32:40 ) ; or that what he had was merely hypocritical, like that which is taught by the precept of men, was only in appearance, and not in reality, as his conduct now showed; for had he had the true fear of God before his eyes, and on his heart, he could never have cursed the day of his birth, nor arraigned the providence of God, and charged him with injustice, as he supposed he did; whereby his fear, his piety, his religion he had professed, appeared to be just nothing at all F3: it follows,
that is, in God; for Job professed none in any other, in any creature or creature enjoyment, ( Job 31:24 ) ; this when right is a strong act of faith and trust in the Lord, a thorough persuasion and full assurance of interest in him as a covenant God, and in his love and favour, and in Christ as the living Redeemer, and of the truth of the work of grace upon the heart, and of the certainty of the performance of it; also a holy boldness in prayer to God, and a firm and assured belief of being heard and answered; as well as an open and courageous profession of him before men, without any fear of them; for all this Job had been famous, and now he is asked, where it all was? and what was become of it? how it appeared now? and intimates he never had any, or had cast it away, and that it was come to nothing; as was concluded from the rash expressions of his lips, and from the sinkings of his spirit under his present afflictions; but Job's trust and confidence in God and in Christ still continued; see ( Job 13:15 ) ( 19:25 ) ;
which also is a grace wrought in the heart, in regeneration; is of things unseen and future, yet to be enjoyed either here or hereafter; and that which is right has Christ for its object, ground, and foundation, and is of singular use to keep up the spirits of men under afflictive providences: and Eliphaz observing Job to be very impatient under them, inquires about his hope; and intimates that what he had professed to have was the hope of the hypocrite, and not real, and was now come to nothing; hope that is true, though it may become low, it cannot be lost; nor was Job's, especially with respect to spiritual and eternal things; see ( Job 14:7 Job 14:14 ) ( 19:25-27 ) ;
and the uprightness of thy ways?
before God and men, walking uprightly in the ways of God, according to the revelation of his will made unto him, and acting the just and upright part in all his dealings with men; and for which he was celebrated, and is a part of the character before given of him, ( Job 1:1 Job 1:8 ) ( 2:3 ) ; but it is insinuated by Eliphaz that there was nothing in it; it was only in show, in appearance, it was not from the heart; or it would not be thus with him as it was, nor would he behave in the manner he now did: some read the words as in the margin, and in some copies of our Bible, "is not thy fear thy confidence? and the uprightness of thy ways thy hope?" and with some little variation Mr. Broughton; "is not thy religion thy hope, and thy right ways thy confidence?" that is, didst thou not hope and expect, and even wert thou not confident of it, that because of thy fear of God, and of the uprightness of thy ways before men, that thou shouldest not only be increased in thy worldly substance, but be preserved and protected in the enjoyment of it? and were not these the reasons which induced thee to be religious, and make such a show of it? suggesting, that he was only religions from mercenary views and selfish principles, and so tacitly charges him with what the devil himself did, ( Job 1:9 ) ; and this way go many Jewish and Christian interpreters F4: some render the words much in the same way, but to a better sense, and more in favour of Job, and by way of instruction and comfort to him: "should not thy fear be thy confidence, and thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?" F5 shouldest thou not take encouragement from thy fear of God, and the uprightness of thine heart and ways, to expect deliverance and salvation, and not faint and sink as thou dost? or is not this the cause of all thine impatience, thy fear of God, trust and hope in him, and thine integrity? concluding thou shouldest have been dealt with after another manner for the sake of these things, and therefore art ready to think thou art hardly dealt with by God, having deserved better treatment; thus making Job to think highly of himself, and to entertain wrong notions of God; so Schmidt; but the first sense I have given of the words seems best.
F3 (Ktary alh) "adeone nihil pietas tua?" Schultens.
F4 Montanus, Mercerus, Piscator, some in Vatablus; so Ben Gersom and Bar Tzemach.
F5 So some in Michaelis.