Job 9

Job Says There Is No Arbitrator between God and Man

1 Then Job answered,
2 "In truth I know that this is so; But how can a 1man be in the right before God?
3 "If one wished to 2dispute with Him, He could not answer Him once in a thousand times.
4 "3Wise in heart and 4mighty in strength, Who has 5defied * Him without harm?
5 "6It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how, When He overturns them in His anger;
6 Who 7shakes the earth out of its place, And its 8pillars tremble;
7 Who commands the 9sun not to shine, And sets a seal upon the stars;
8 Who alone 10stretches out the heavens And 11tramples down the waves of the sea;
9 Who makes the 12Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, And the 13chambers of the south;
10 Who 14does great things, unfathomable * *, And wondrous works without * number.
11 "Were He to pass by me, 15I would not see Him; Were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him.
12 "Were He to snatch away, who could 16restrain Him? Who could say to Him, '17What are You doing?'
13 "God will not turn back His anger; Beneath Him crouch the helpers of 18Rahab.
14 "How then * can 19I answer Him, And choose my words before Him?
15 "For 20though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to 21implore the mercy of my judge.
16 "If I called and He answered me, I could not believe that He was listening to my voice.
17 "For He 22bruises me with a tempest And multiplies my wounds without cause.
18 "He will 23not allow me to get my breath, But saturates me with 24bitterness.
19 "If it is a matter of power, 25behold, He is the strong one! And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him?
20 "26Though I am righteous, my mouth will 27condemn me; Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty.
21 "I am 28guiltless; I do not take notice of myself; I 29despise my life.
22 "It is all one; therefore * I say, 'He 30destroys the guiltless and the wicked.'
23 "If the scourge kills suddenly, He 31mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 "The earth 32is given into the hand of the wicked; He 33covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, then who is it?
25 "Now 34my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, 35they see no good.
26 "They slip by like 36reed boats, Like an 37eagle that swoops on its prey.
27 "Though I say, 'I will forget 38my complaint, I will leave off my sad countenance and be cheerful,'
28 I am 39afraid of all my pains, I know that 40You will not acquit me.
29 "I am accounted 41wicked, Why then should I toil in vain?
30 "If I should 42wash myself with snow And cleanse 43my hands with lye,
31 Yet You would plunge me into the pit, And my own clothes would abhor me.
32 "For 44He is not a man as I am that 45I may answer Him, That we may go to court together.
33 "There is no 46umpire between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both.
34 "Let Him 47remove His rod from me, And let not dread of Him terrify me.
35 "Then I 48would speak and not fear Him; But I am not like that in myself.

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 48

  • 1. Job 4:17; Job 25:4
  • 2. Job 10:2; Job 13:19; Job 23:6; Job 40:2
  • 3. Job 11:6; Job 12:13; Job 28:23; Job 38:36, 37
  • 4. Job 9:19; Job 23:6
  • 5. 2 Chronicles 13:12; Proverbs 29:1
  • 6. Job 9:5-10; Job 26:6-14; Job 41:11
  • 7. Isaiah 2:19, 21; Isaiah 13:13; Haggai 2:6
  • 8. Psalms 75:3
  • 9. Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel 32:7, 8
  • 10. Genesis 1:1; Job 37:18; Psalms 104:2; Isaiah 40:22
  • 11. Job 38:16; Psalms 77:19
  • 12. Job 38:31, 32; Amos 5:8
  • 13. Job 37:9
  • 14. Job 5:9
  • 15. Job 23:8, 9; Job 35:14
  • 16. Job 10:7; Job 11:10
  • 17. Isaiah 45:9
  • 18. Job 26:12; Psalms 89:10; Isaiah 30:7; Isaiah 51:9
  • 19. Job 9:3, 32
  • 20. Job 9:20, 21; Job 10:15
  • 21. Job 8:5
  • 22. Job 16:12, 14; Job 30:22
  • 23. Job 7:19; Job 10:20
  • 24. Job 13:26; Job 27:2
  • 25. Job 9:4
  • 26. Job 9:15
  • 27. Job 9:29; Job 15:6
  • 28. Job 1:1; Job 12:4; Job 13:18
  • 29. Job 7:16
  • 30. Job 10:7, 8
  • 31. Job 24:12
  • 32. Job 10:3; Job 12:6; Job 16:11
  • 33. Job 12:17
  • 34. Job 7:6
  • 35. Job 7:7
  • 36. Isaiah 18:2
  • 37. Job 39:29; Habakkuk 1:8
  • 38. Job 7:11
  • 39. Job 3:25
  • 40. Job 7:21; Job 10:14
  • 41. Job 10:2; Psalms 37:33
  • 42. Jeremiah 2:22
  • 43. Job 31:7
  • 44. Ecclesiastes 6:10
  • 45. Job 9:3; Romans 9:20
  • 46. 1 Samuel 2:25; Job 9:19; Isaiah 1:18
  • 47. Job 13:21
  • 48. Job 13:22

Footnotes 13

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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