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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Job 13

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The Book of Job

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET

CHAPTER 13

Job 13:1-28. JOB'S REPLY TO ZOPHAR CONTINUED.

      1. all this--as to the dealings of Providence ( Job 12:3 ).

      3. Job wishes to plead his cause before God ( Job 9:34, 35 ), as he is more and more convinced of the valueless character of his would-be "physicians" ( Job 16:2 ).

      4. forgers of lies--literally, "artful twisters of vain speeches" [UMBREIT].

      5. ( Pro 17:28 ). The Arabs say, "The wise are dumb; silence is wisdom."

      7. deceitfully--use fallacies to vindicate God in His dealings; as if the end justified the means. Their "deceitfulness" for God, against Job, was that they asserted he was a sinner, because he was a sufferer.

      8. accept his person--God's; that is, be partial for Him, as when a judge favors one party in a trial, because of personal considerations.
      contend for God--namely, with fallacies and prepossessions against Job before judgment ( Jdg 6:31 ). Partiality can never please the impartial God, nor the goodness of the cause excuse the unfairness of the arguments.

      9. Will the issue to you be good, when He searches out you and your arguments? Will you be regarded by Him as pure and disinterested?
      mock-- ( Gal 6:7 ). Rather, "Can you deceive Him as one man?" &c.

      10. If ye do, though secretly, act partially. (See on JF & B for Job 13:8; JF & B for Ps 82:1, 2). God can successfully vindicate His acts, and needs no fallacious argument of man.

      11. make you afraid?--namely, of employing sophisms in His name ( Jer 10:7, 10 ).

      12. remembrances--"proverbial maxims," so called because well remembered.
      like unto ashes--or, "parables of ashes"; the image of lightness and nothingness ( Isa 44:20 ).
      bodies--rather, "entrenchments"; those of clay, as opposed to those of stone, are easy to be destroyed; so the proverbs, behind which they entrench themselves, will not shelter them when God shall appear to reprove them for their injustice to Job.

      13. Job would wish to be spared their speeches, so as to speak out all his mind as to his wretchedness ( Job 13:14 ), happen what will.

      14. A proverb for, "Why should I anxiously desire to save my life?" [EICHORN]. The image in the first clause is that of a wild beast, which in order to preserve his prey, carries it in his teeth. That in the second refers to men who hold in the hand what they want to keep secure.

      15. in him--So the margin or keri, reads. But the textual reading or chetib is "not," which agrees best with the context, and other passages wherein he says he has no hope ( Job 6:11 7:21 10:20 19:10 ). "Though He slay me, and I dare no more hope, yet I will maintain," &c., that is, "I desire to vindicate myself before Him," as not a hypocrite [UMBREIT and NOYES].

      16. He--rather, "This also already speaks in my behalf (literally, 'for my saving acquittal') for an hypocrite would not wish to come before Him" (as I do) [UMBREIT]. (See last clause of Job 13:15 ).

      17. my declaration--namely, that I wish to be permitted to justify myself immediately before God.
      with your ears--that is, attentively.

      18. ordered--implying a constant preparation for defense in his confidence of innocence.

      19. if, &c.--Rather, "Then would I hold my tongue and give up the ghost"; that is, if any one can contend with me and prove me false, I have no more to say. "I will be silent and die." Like our "I would stake my life on it" [UMBREIT].

      20. Address to God.
      not hide--stand forth boldly to maintain my cause.

      21. (See on JF & B for Job 9:34 and see Psa 39:10 ).

      22. call--a challenge to the defendant to answer to the charges.
      answer--the defense begun.
      speak--as plaintiff.
      answer--to the plea of the plaintiff. Expressions from a trial.

      23. The catalogue of my sins ought to be great, to judge from the severity with which God ever anew crushes one already bowed down. Would that He would reckon them up! He then would see how much my calamities outnumber them.
      sin?--singular, "I am unconscious of a single particular sin, much less many" [UMBREIT].

      24. hidest. . . face--a figure from the gloomy impression caused by the sudden clouding over of the sun.
      enemy--God treated Job as an enemy who must be robbed of power by ceaseless sufferings ( Job 7:17, 21 ).

      25. ( Lev 26:36 Psa 1:4 ). Job compares himself to a leaf already fallen, which the storm still chases hither and thither.
      break--literally, "shake with (Thy) terrors." Jesus Christ does not "break the bruised reed" ( Isa 42:3 27:8 ).

      26. writest--a judicial phrase, to note down the determined punishment. The sentence of the condemned used to be written down ( Isa 10:1 Jer 22:30 Psa 149:9 ) [UMBREIT].
      bitter things--bitter punishments.
      makest me to possess--or "inherit." In old age he receives possession of the inheritance of sin thoughtlessly acquired in youth. "To inherit sins" is to inherit the punishments inseparably connected with them in Hebrew ideas ( Psa 25:7 ).

      27. stocks--in which the prisoner's feet were made fast until the time of execution ( Jer 20:2 ).
      lookest narrowly--as an overseer would watch a prisoner.
      print--Either the stocks, or his disease, marked his soles (Hebrew, "roots") as the bastinado would. Better, thou drawest (or diggest) [GESENIUS] a line (or trench) [GESENIUS] round my soles, beyond which I must not move [UMBREIT].

      28. Job speaks of himself in the third person, thus forming the transition to the general lot of man ( Job 14:1 Psa 39:11 Hsa 5:12 ).

Psalm 138:2

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