Job 25:4

4 How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?

Job 25:4 in Other Translations

4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
4 How then can man be in the right before God? How can he who is born of woman be pure?
4 How can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone born of a woman be pure?
4 How can a mere mortal presume to stand up to God? How can an ordinary person pretend to be guiltless?
4 How can a person be justified before God? How can one born of woman be pure?

Job 25:4 Meaning and Commentary

Job 25:4

How then can man be justified with God?
] Since he sees all his ways and works, his secret as well as open sins; either be more just than he, as Eliphaz expresses it, ( Job 4:17 ) ; which no man in his senses will say; or just as he is, and upon a level with him, or in comparison of him, or before him, and in his sight: and this is what Job himself denies, ( Job 9:2 ) ; for however righteous a man may be in his own sight, or in the sight of others, he cannot of himself be justified in the sight of God; nor can any be justified with him by his own righteousness, because the best righteousness of man is imperfect; and, if Bildad thought this was the sentiment of Job, he mistook him; for, what he meant by coming to the seat of God, and ordering his cause before him, ( Job 23:2 Job 23:3 ) ; to which Bildad seems to refer, and being judged by him, when he doubted not but he should be acquitted, was no other than the justification of his cause, and not of his person before God; or that he should be cleared of the imputation of hypocrisy, and of being the sinner and wicked man, and guilty of very bad things, though secret and private, for which he was afflicted; for otherwise Job knew full well that he could not be justified with God by his own personal righteousness, for he knew himself to be a sinner, and owns it; nor did he think himself perfect, and his righteousness a complete one; and therefore he expected not to be justified by it; he knew his living Redeemer, and believed in him for righteousness, and expected the justification of his person, and his acceptance with God, only by him; and in this way there are many that are justified with God secretly, "in foro Dei", in the court of God, and in his sight, who always beholds his people as righteous in Christ, and openly, "in foro conscientiae", in the court of conscience, when they believe in him; and who will be publicly justified, and declared righteous, at the day of judgment:

or how can he be clean [that is] born of a woman?
which suggests a doctrine that Job as firmly believed as Bildad did, that all men are unclean by natural generation, or as they are born into the world; their ancestors being such, the more immediate, and the more remote, which may be traced back to the first man and woman, ( Job 14:4 ) ; so that as no man is clean and pure as God is, or in comparison of him, or in his sight; they can neither be naturally clean, nor so of themselves, by any means or methods they can make use of; but then they may be, as many are, clean by the blood of Christ, and grace of God, through which his people are cleansed from all their sins, and all their iniquities, and are without spot before the throne and in the sight of God.

Job 25:4 In-Context

2 “Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
3 Can his forces be numbered? On whom does his light not rise?
4 How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?
5 If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
6 how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot— a human being, who is only a worm!”

Cross References 1

  • 1. S Job 4:17; Job 14:4
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.