Job 9:1-35 . REPLY OF JOB TO BILDAD.
19. UMBREIT takes these as the words of God, translating, "What availeth the might of the strong?" "Here (saith he) behold! what availeth justice? Who will appoint me a time to plead?" (So Jeremiah 49:19 ). The last words certainly apply better to God than to Job. The sense is substantially the same if we make "me" apply to Job. The "lo!" expresses God's swift readiness for battle when challenged.
21. Literally, here (and in Job 9:20 ), "I perfect! I should not know my soul! I would despise," [that is], "disown my life"; that is, Though conscious of innocence, I should be compelled, in contending with the infinite God, to ignore my own soul and despise my past life as if it were guilty [ROSENMULLER].
22. one thing--"It is all one; whether perfect or wicked--He destroyeth." This was the point Job maintained against his friends, that the righteous and wicked alike are afflicted, and that great sufferings here do not prove great guilt ( Luke 13:1-5 , Ecclesiastes 9:2 ).
23. If--Rather, "While (His) scourge slays suddenly (the wicked, Job 9:22 ), He laughs at (disregards; not derides) the pining away of the innocent." The only difference, says Job, between the innocent and guilty is, the latter are slain by a sudden stroke, the former pine away gradually. The translation, "trial," does not express the antithesis to "slay suddenly," as "pining away" does [UMBREIT].
24. Referring to righteous "judges," in antithesis to "the wicked" in the parallel first clause, whereas the wicked oppressor often has the earth given into his hand, the righteous judges are led to execution--culprits had their faces covered preparatory to execution ( Esther 7:8 ). Thus the contrast of the wicked and righteous here answers to that in Job 9:23 .
if not, where and who?--If God be not the cause of these anomalies, where is the cause to be found, and who is he?
25. a post--a courier. In the wide Persian empire such couriers, on dromedaries or on foot, were employed to carry the royal commands to the distant provinces ( Esther 3:13 Esther 3:15 , 8:14 ). "My days" are not like the slow caravan, but the fleet post. The "days" are themselves poetically said to "see no good," instead of Job in them ( 1 Peter 3:10 ).
26. swift ships--rather, canoes of reeds or papyrus skiffs, used on the Nile, swift from their lightness ( Isaiah 18:2 ).
28. The apodosis to Job 9:27 --"I still am afraid of all my sorrows (returning), for I know that thou wilt (dost) (by removing my sufferings) not hold or declare me innocent. How then can I leave off my heaviness?"
29. The "if" is better omitted; I (am treated by God as) wicked; why then labor I in vain (to disprove His charge)? Job submits, not so much because he is convinced that God is right, as because God is powerful and he weak [BARNES].
30. snow water--thought to be more cleansing than common water, owing to the whiteness of snow ( Psalms 51:7 , Isaiah 1:18 ).
never so clean--Better, to answer to the parallelism of the first clause which expresses the cleansing material, "lye:" the Arabs used alkali mixed with oil, as soap ( Psalms 73:13 , Jeremiah 2:22 ).
33. daysman--"mediator," or "umpire"; the imposition of whose hand expresses power to adjudicate between the persons. There might be one on a level with Job, the one party; but Job knew of none on a level with the Almighty, the other party ( 1 Samuel 2:25 ). We Christians know of such a Mediator (not, however, in the sense of umpire on a level with both)--the God-man, Christ Jesus ( 1 Timothy 2:5 ).
34. rod--not here the symbol of punishment, but of power. Job cannot meet God on fair terms so long as God deals with him on the footing of His almighty power.
35. it is not so with me--As it now is, God not taking His rod away, I am not on such a footing of equality as to be able to vindicate myself.