Job 9


1 Then Job replied:
2 “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God?
3 Though they wished to dispute with him, they could not answer him one time out of a thousand.
4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?
5 He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger.
6 He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble.
7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars.
8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.
9 He is the Maker of the Bear[a] and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
11 When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.
12 If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
13 God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.
14 “How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him?
15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.
16 Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing.
17 He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason.
18 He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery.
19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him[b] ?
20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.
21 “Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life.
22 It is all the same; that is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it?
25 “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy.
26 They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey.
27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,’
28 I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent.
29 Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain?
30 Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with cleansing powder,
31 you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me.
32 “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.
33 If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together,
34 someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more.
35 Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

Job 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

Job acknowledges God's justice. (1-13) He is not able to contend with God. (14-21) Men not to be judged by outward condition. (22-24) Job complains of troubles. (25-35)

Verses 1-13 In this answer Job declared that he did not doubt the justice of God, when he denied himself to be a hypocrite; for how should man be just with God? Before him he pleaded guilty of sins more than could be counted; and if God should contend with him in judgment, he could not justify one out of a thousand, of all the thoughts, words, and actions of his life; therefore he deserved worse than all his present sufferings. When Job mentions the wisdom and power of God, he forgets his complaints. We are unfit to judge of God's proceedings, because we know not what he does, or what he designs. God acts with power which no creature can resist. Those who think they have strength enough to help others, will not be able to help themselves against it.

Verses 14-21 Job is still righteous in his own eyes, ch. 32:1 , and this answer, though it sets forth the power and majesty of God, implies that the question between the afflicted and the Lord of providence, is a question of might, and not of right; and we begin to discover the evil fruits of pride and of a self-righteous spirit. Job begins to manifest a disposition to condemn God, that he may justify himself, for which he is afterwards reproved. Still Job knew so much of himself, that he durst not stand a trial. If we say, We have no sin, we not only deceive ourselves, but we affront God; for we sin in saying so, and give the lie to the Scripture. But Job reflected on God's goodness and justice in saying his affliction was without cause.

Verses 22-24 Job touches briefly upon the main point now in dispute. His friends maintained that those who are righteous and good, always prosper in this world, and that none but the wicked are in misery and distress: he said, on the contrary, that it is a common thing for the wicked to prosper, and the righteous to be greatly afflicted. Yet there is too much passion in what Job here says, for God doth not afflict willingly. When the spirit is heated with dispute or with discontent, we have need to set a watch before our lips.

Verses 25-35 What little need have we of pastimes, and what great need to redeem time, when it runs on so fast towards eternity! How vain the enjoyments of time, which we may quite lose while yet time continues! The remembrance of having done our duty will be pleasing afterwards; so will not the remembrance of having got worldly wealth, when it is all lost and gone. Job's complaint of God, as one that could not be appeased and would not relent, was the language of his corruption. There is a Mediator, a Daysman, or Umpire, for us, even God's own beloved Son, who has purchased peace for us with the blood of his cross, who is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God through him. If we trust in his name, our sins will be buried in the depths of the sea, we shall be washed from all our filthiness, and made whiter than snow, so that none can lay any thing to our charge. We shall be clothed with the robes of righteousness and salvation, adorned with the graces of the Holy Spirit, and presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. May we learn the difference between justifying ourselves, and being thus justified by God himself. Let the tempest-tossed soul consider Job, and notice that others have passed this dreadful gulf; and though they found it hard to believe that God would hear or deliver them, yet he rebuked the storm, and brought them to the desired haven. Resist the devil; give not place to hard thoughts of God, or desperate conclusions about thyself. Come to Him who invites the weary and heavy laden; who promises in nowise to cast them out.

Cross References 70

  • 1. S Job 4:17; Psalms 143:2; Romans 3:20
  • 2. ver 32; Job 40:5
  • 3. ver 12,14,29,32; Job 10:2; Job 12:14; Job 13:9,14; Job 22:4; Job 23:7,13; Job 37:19; Job 40:2; Psalms 44:21; Isaiah 14:24
  • 4. Job 11:6; Job 28:12,20,23; Job 38:36; Psalms 51:6; Proverbs 2:6; Ecclesiastes 2:26
  • 5. ver 19; S Job 5:9; Job 12:13,16; Job 23:6; Job 24:22; Job 26:12; Job 30:18; Psalms 93:4; Psalms 95:3; Proverbs 8:14; Isaiah 40:26; Isaiah 63:1; Daniel 2:20; Daniel 4:35; Job 36:5
  • 6. Jeremiah 50:24
  • 7. S 2 Chronicles 13:12; S Job 5:13
  • 8. Matthew 17:20
  • 9. Psalms 18:7; Psalms 46:2-3; Isaiah 13:13; Micah 1:4
  • 10. S Exodus 19:18; Isaiah 2:21; Isaiah 13:13; Isaiah 24:18-20; Haggai 2:6; Amos 8:8; Hebrews 12:26
  • 11. S 2 Samuel 22:8; Job 26:14; Job 36:29; Job 37:4-5; Psalms 75:3; Habakkuk 3:4; Job 26:11
  • 12. Isaiah 34:4; Jeremiah 4:28; Joel 2:2,10,31; Joel 3:15; Zephaniah 1:15; Zechariah 14:6
  • 13. Isaiah 13:10; Jeremiah 4:23; Ezekiel 32:8
  • 14. S Genesis 1:1,8; S Isaiah 48:13; Genesis 1:6; Psalms 104:2-3
  • 15. Job 38:16; Psalms 77:19; Proverbs 8:28; Habakkuk 3:15; Matthew 14:25; Mark 6:48; John 6:19
  • 16. Job 32:22; Job 40:15,19
  • 17. S Genesis 1:16; Job 38:31; Amos 5:8
  • 18. Deuteronomy 6:22; Psalms 72:18; Psalms 136:4; Jeremiah 32:20; Psalms 71:15
  • 19. S Job 5:9
  • 20. Job 23:8-9; Job 35:14
  • 21. Numbers 23:20; Job 11:10; Isaiah 14:27; Isaiah 43:13
  • 22. S ver 3; S Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 29:16; Isaiah 45:9; Daniel 2:21; Daniel 4:32; Romans 9:20
  • 23. Numbers 14:18; Job 10:15; Psalms 78:38; Isaiah 3:11; Isaiah 6:5; Isaiah 48:9
  • 24. Job 26:12; Psalms 87:4; Psalms 89:10; Isaiah 30:7; Isaiah 51:9
  • 25. S ver 3
  • 26. Job 10:15; Job 13:19; Job 34:5-6; Job 40:5; Job 42:7
  • 27. Job 8:5
  • 28. S Genesis 18:25; 1 Samuel 24:12; Psalms 50:6; Psalms 96:13
  • 29. ver 20,29; Job 15:6; Job 23:4; Job 40:2
  • 30. Job 13:22; Romans 9:20-21
  • 31. Job 16:12; Job 30:16; Psalms 10:10; Isaiah 38:13
  • 32. Job 30:22; Psalms 83:15; John 1:4
  • 33. Job 16:14
  • 34. S Job 2:3
  • 35. S Job 7:19; S Job 10:1; Job 27:2
  • 36. S ver 4; S Nehemiah 9:32
  • 37. ver 33; Jeremiah 49:19
  • 38. S ver 15
  • 39. S Genesis 6:9; Job 34:6,7; Job 1:1
  • 40. ver 14; S Job 6:29; Job 10:1; Job 13:13
  • 41. S Numbers 11:15; S Job 7:16
  • 42. S Job 3:19; Job 10:8; Ecclesiastes 9:2,3; Ezekiel 21:3
  • 43. Hebrews 11:36
  • 44. Job 24:1,12; Psalms 64:4; Habakkuk 1:3; 1 Peter 1:7
  • 45. Job 1:15,17; Job 10:3; Job 16:11; Job 21:16; Job 22:18; Job 27:2; Job 40:8; Psalms 73:3
  • 46. S Job 3:14; Job 12:6; Job 19:7; Job 21:7; Job 24:23; Job 31:35; Job 35:15; Psalms 73:12; Ecclesiastes 8:11; Jeremiah 12:1; Lamentations 3:9
  • 47. Job 12:9; Job 13:1; Job 24:12; Isaiah 41:20
  • 48. S Job 7:6
  • 49. Job 7:7; Job 10:20
  • 50. Job 24:18; Psalms 46:3
  • 51. Isaiah 18:2
  • 52. Job 39:29; Habakkuk 1:8
  • 53. S Job 7:11
  • 54. S Job 3:25; Psalms 119:120
  • 55. S Exodus 34:7; S Job 7:21
  • 56. S ver 3,S 15; Psalms 37:33
  • 57. Malachi 3:2
  • 58. Job 17:9; Job 31:7; Isaiah 1:15
  • 59. Job 14:4,17; Job 33:9; Isaiah 1:18; Jeremiah 2:22; Hosea 13:12
  • 60. Psalms 35:7; Psalms 40:2; Psalms 51:9; Jeremiah 2:22; Nahum 3:6; Malachi 2:3
  • 61. S Job 7:20; Job 34:9; Job 35:3; Psalms 73:13
  • 62. S Numbers 23:19
  • 63. S ver 3; Romans 9:20
  • 64. Psalms 143:2; Ecclesiastes 6:10
  • 65. S 1 Samuel 2:25
  • 66. S ver 19
  • 67. Job 13:21; Job 21:9; Psalms 39:10; Psalms 73:5
  • 68. S Job 6:4; Job 7:14; Job 33:7; Psalms 32:4
  • 69. S Job 7:11
  • 70. Job 7:15; Job 13:21

Footnotes 2

Chapter Summary


This and the following chapter contain Job's answer to Bildad, and in this he asserts the strict justice at God; which is such, that no man can be just in his sight, not being able to answer to one charge, or for one sin, of a thousand he is guilty of, Job 9:1-3; and that such are his wisdom and power, that the most daring man cannot expect to succeed in an opposition to him, Job 9:4; instances are given of his power in the works of nature and providence, Job 9:5-10; notice is taken of the imperceptibleness of his actions and motions, and of his sovereignty in all his ways, Job 9:11,12; and of his fierce wrath and anger, which is such as obliges the proudest of men to stoop under him; and therefore Job chose not to contend in a judicial way with him, but in a suppliant manner would entreat him, since his hand was so heavy upon him, Job 9:13-21; he affirms, in direct opposition to Bildad and his friends, and insists upon it, that God afflicts both the righteous and the wicked; yea, gives the earth to the latter when he slays the former, Job 9:22-24; he then observes the shortness of his days, and complains of his heavy afflictions, Job 9:25-28; and concludes, that it was in vain for him to expect his cause to be heard before God, there being no daysman between them; and wishes that the dread of the Divine Majesty might be taken from him, and then he would freely and without fear speak unto him, Job 9:29-35.

Job 9 Commentaries

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