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JOB’S REPLY TO ELIPHAZ
I. Justifies his complaint (Job 6:2).
“O that my grief were thoroughly weighed,” &c. Job’s case neither apprehended nor appreciated by his friends. Desires fervently that his suffering and his complaining were weighed against each other; or that his calamity and the grief occasioned by it were thoroughly considered. The weight of it beyond that of the “sand” of the sea,—too numerous to be counted and too heavy to be weighed. The greatness of it beyond his ability to express, being also the cause why he had expressed himself so vehemently and inconsiderately;—“therefore my words are swallowed up,” or, “were rash” or “vehement.” Job’s outward trials accumulated and intense beyond all precedent. These at first endured with extraordinary meekness and patience. Now, through the nature of his disease and Satan operating on his mind in consequence of it, all viewed on the dark side. Our sufferings very much as we are made to view them. The bitterest part of Job’s sufferings now probably internal ones; his external trials being viewed as sent from God, not in love but in unaccountable anger.—Describes these sufferings (Job 6:4) according to his views and feelings:—
(1.) As “arrows:” Sharp and penetrating; coming swiftly, suddenly, and with great force; not one but many, coming in quick succession.
(2.) “Arrows of the Almighty.” Shot by Him as at an enemy, or as a mere butt for His archery. The Almighty’s arrows must be especially sharp and deadly. That they were the Almighty’s arrows the bitterest circumstance connected with them.
(3.) “Poisoned arrows.” Hence especially deadly, and discharged by a deadly foe. Indicates the intensely painful character of his sufferings; poisoned arrows inflicting especially painful and inflammatory wounds.
(4.) These arrows not only discharged against him, but abiding “within” him, or being “with” him. His distress unintermitting.
(5.) The effect of the arrows, their poison “drinking up his spirit”—exhausting his vital energy; or, his spirit drinking up their deadly poison.
The Arrows of the Almighty
No power of man or angel able to withstand these arrows. No shield but the shield of faith able to receive them. No hand but the pierced hand of Jesus able to extract them. No balm but the blood of the Cross able to heal their burning wounds. One of these arrows able to bring down the stoutest adversary. “O Galilæan, thou hast conquered,”—said by one of the most determined enemies of Christ, Julian the Apostate Emperor, while dying on the battle-field. Job’s miseries scarcely half-told in the preceding history. His outward calamities rather the occasion than the cause of his intensest suffering. A believer’s inward trouble in time of trial sometimes greater than the outward trouble which occasioned it. His greatest distress often from a cause entirely different from the outward trial. Heavy outward trouble often light in comparison with inward distress from spiritual and unseen causes. The rankling arrows of the Almighty much more dreadful than either the loss of property and children, or bodily affliction. A terrible aggravation of Job’s outward trouble. Apprehended wrath on the part of God the greatest of all troubles to a believer. The essence of the Redeemer’s suffering, as of that of the patriarch’s,—“My God, my God,” &c. The awful experience of the lost. No greater hell than these arrows, “sharp in the hearts of the King’s enemies” (Psalms 45:5). Fully discharged against the Son of God while standing as the Sinner’s Substitute. That Substitute accepted becomes Himself the Sinner’s Shield. The arrows felt in the conviction of sin (Acts 2:37). Bringing the sinner to the feet of the Saviour they become arrows of mercy. The arrows extracted and the wounds healed by simple trust in Jesus and His blood. Discharged against the believer rather in his own apprehension than in reality. The apprehension intended as a discipline and trial of faith (Isaiah 54:8; Isaiah 57:17-18). The experience removed when the object has been served (Jeremiah 31:18-20). Satan, working on our unbelief in time of trouble, able to make his own darts to be mistaken for the arrows of the Almighty. The Almighty’s arrows now in the Saviour’s hand (Psalms 45:5; Revelation 6:2).
Job’s condition sufficient to account for his complaint. Even beasts do not utter their cries when they have food. (Job 6:5)—“Doth the wild ass bray?” &c. The ass found in a wild state, large, fleet, and strong, in Arabia and west of the Euphrates. A hint at the want of sympathy on the part of his friends. It is easy to be quiet when suffering nothing. True sympathy makes us suffer in the distress of another (1 Corinthians 12:26). Natural to feel and utter complaint under severe suffering. Men cannot eat insipid and tasteless food without mixing salt with it. (Job 6:6)—“Can that which is unsavoury?” &c. Salt so important with the Arabs as to be used as a synonym for food, their diet being chiefly vegetable. Mentions, as an example of the insipid, the “white of an egg,” or perhaps the herb “purslain,” proverbial among the Arabs for its insipidity. Perhaps Job quotes a proverb in common use. Indicates not only the naturalness of complaint, but the need of sympathy and encouragement in time of trouble. Insipid things need salt to make them palatable. Speech to be with grace seasoned with salt for the benefit of others (Colossians 4:6). “A word spoken in season, how good is it.” “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop, but a good word maketh it glad” (Proverbs 12:25). The true humanity of Jesus seen in His craving for human sympathy in His distress (Matthew 26:37-40). A bitter aggravation of trouble when “lover and friend are put far from us” (Psalms 88:18). The deepest poverty is to be without a friend to sympathize with us in our sorrow.—Job reasserts his sad condition. (Job 6:6)—“The things which my soul refused to touch,” &c. Sad reverse when what we could not even touch before is now our daily but sorrowful and nauseous food. Job’s loathsome ulcers now as his daily bread. Similar sentiment (Psalms 102:9; Psalms 42:3; Psalms 80:5). Learn:
(1) Painful reverses to be prepared for.
(2) Moderation and humility our duty in prosperity. Sometimes but a short step from affluence to destitution (Proverbs 23:5; 1 Timothy 6:17). The beauty of health speedily exchanged for the loathsomeness of disease. A single day may put Dives in the place of Lazarus, or a worse.
(3) The uncertainty of earthly possessions and enjoyments to be improved to the securing of heavenly ones. Grace teaches the rich man to rejoice in that he is made low (James 1:10).
II. Repeats and justifies his desire for death (Job 6:8, &c)
“O that I might have my request,” &c. His request a release from present sufferings by death. Asked also as a favour from God by Elijah under the juniper tree, and by Jonah at Nineveh (1 Kings 19:4; Jonah 4:3; Jonah 4:8). God the arbiter of life and death. Job leaves his time in God’s hand (ch. Job 14:14). Satan and Job’s wife would have had him taking the matter into his own. Ancient heathens believed they had a right to end their life when they pleased. Desire for death a natural feeling under deep and protracted distress. Often, however, rather from the impatience of the flesh than the aspiration of the spirit. Only men’s waywardness and hardness of heart once awakened something of the feeling in Jesus (Matthew 17:17). Paul’s desire to depart was to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23). Desire for death no proof of fitness for it. The choice between life and death best referred to God Himself. Preparation for death implies some ability to glorify God in life. Soon enough to rest when our work is done. A favour to “cease at once to work and live.” Job’s request not granted. Some prayers better refused than answered. A sick child may be spared to die a felon’s death.
The reason of Job’s desire for death:—
(1) The comfort in the prospect of a speedy release from his extreme distress. (Job 6:10)—“Then should I yet have comfort (or, this should be my comfort); yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let Him not spare” (or, I would leap for joy in my unsparing sorrow).
(2) The consciousness of having been God’s faithful servant: “For I have not concealed (or denied) the words of the Holy One.” Implies—(i.) Fearlessness in confessing the truth; (ii.) Faithfulness in communicating it. The sin of the heathen that of “holding or keeping down the truth in unrighteousness.” Truth inwardly believed is to be outwardly professed (Romans 10:10). God honoured and the world benefited by a bold and consistent profession of the truth. The practice of God’s faithful servants in every age (Psalms 71:17; Psalms 119:46). Examples: Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Daniel. Truth received in order to be communicated (2 Corinthians 4:6; Philippians 2:15-16). The language of Job used by David and his great Antitype (Psalms 40:9-10). The testimony of a good and enlightened conscience a precious comfort in the midst of suffering and in the prospect of death (2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:6-8). The testimony of Job’s conscience, that he had neither by fearfulness nor faithlessness concealed
The Words of the Holy One
These words found in the shape of—
(3) Commands. They were God’s words, as—
(1) Communicated by Him to Adam and others, and handed down to their posterity;
(2) Revealed to Job himself. “God at sundry times and in divers manners spake to the fathers” (Hebrews 1:1). The Church of God in possession of such words from the beginning. Faint echoes and distorted forms of these words found everywhere among the heathen. Prominent among these was the proto-evangel of Genesis 3:15. These words the precious treasure of the children of God in every age. A light to their feet and a comfort to their heart. Employed by Job in instructing, sustaining, and comforting others (ch. Job 4:3-4). God known in Job’s time as “the Holy One.” So called, Isaiah 40:25; Hosea 11:9; Hebrews 3:3. His name Holy (Isaiah 57:15). God alone holy (Revelation 15:4). Peculiarly and essentially holy (1 Samuel 2:2). Thrice holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). Contrasted with the gods of the heathen. These acknowledged by their very worshippers to be impure and unworthy of imitation. The Greeks and Romans justified their own impurity by that of their gods. People naturally resemble the deities they worship. Solemn obligation resting on the worshippers of the true God to be holy (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16). His children made partakers of his holiness (Hebrews 12:10; 2 Peter 1:4).
Job justifies his desire for death on the ground of his grievous affliction. His strength unable to hold out under such accumulated evils (Job 6:11). “What is my strength,” (—or power of endurance—) “that I should hope,” (—indulge the slow protracted hope of recovery and the enjoyment of those temporal blessings held out by Eliphaz)? “And what is mine end” (—the end of these miseries)—“that I should prolong my life?” (—or continue to exercise patience). The language of the flesh. Spoken according to sense. Justified by appearance and carnal reasoning. Despondency and impatience natural in the absence of faith. Faith battles with appearances and triumphs over them (Psalms 42:11; Micah 7:7-8; Habakkuk 3:17-18). No time long to faith. Abraham’s faith held out twenty-five years for the promised birth, till his own and his wife’s body were as good as dead. Faith the mother of patience. Looks not at the weakness of the creature, but the power of the Creator. Difficulties and apparent impossibilities the true matter for faith. “Laughs at impossibilities,” because leaning on Omnipotence. Faith often to seek in a storm. “Every man is a believer in a fair day” [Rutherford]. No express promise of recovery and restoration given to Job. The fact of God’s omnipotence, and the truth that He is the hearer of prayer, that He interposes sooner or later in his servants’ behalf, and that He does all things well,—enough for faith to rest upon in time of trouble. Faith at times triumphant in Job, though not with reference to any temporal deliverance (ch. Job 19:25, &c.; Job 23:10).—Job 6:12. “Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh of brass?”—the symbol of hardness and durability. The nature of unbelief to dwell in personal weakness. Faith looks not on human weakness but on Divine strength. Hence makes its possessor strong in his weakness. Through faith, believers “out of weakness were made strong” (Hebrews 11:34). Faith enabled Paul rather to glory in his infirmities, and to say: “When I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Job justifies his despondency on the ground of his thorough and apparently hopeless prostration (Job 6:13). “Is not my help in me? And is wisdom driven quite from me?” (Rather,—Is it not the fact that no help for me is in myself, and that recovery (or health) is quite fled from me?). Expresses his real case as viewed by the eye of sense. Abraham’s faith, however, did not stagger even when the child of promise was to be offered on the altar. Our weakness and helplessness the proper theatre for the display of God’s power and Christ’s grace. Divine strength magnifies itself in realized weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). A higher experience than that attained by Job reserved for God’s children in the Gospel age (Hebrews 11:40; Matthew 11:11). The feeble to be then like David, and the House of David as God (Zechariah 12:8; Isaiah 30:26).
III. Complains of his friends’ want of sympathy (Job 6:14-21).
Kindness to the afflicted
1. Job states a moral truth (Job 6:14). “To him that is afflicted,” &c.
Compassionate kindness to the suffering a dictate of humanity, and one of the first principles of religion (James 1:27; Matthew 9:13). The good Samaritan Christ’s chosen example for His disciples, and His own commentary on the second table of the law. Mercy accompanied with truth the essence of moral perfection, and the true spirit of Christianity (Psalms 85:10; Psalms 89:14). Pity to be shown to the afflicted—
(1) In words of sympathy and kindness;
(2) In practical assistance, as far as in our power;
(3) In refraining from what may unnecessarily wound the feelings;
(4) In commending the sufferer’s case to God (Psalms 141:5; James 5:15-16). This to be done for any in affliction, especially for a friend (Luke 10:29-37; Luke 17:17).
2. Applies this truth to the case of his friends. “But he forsaketh the fear,” &c.,—viz., Eliphaz and the others, in their want of kindness and sympathy towards Job. Want of love to our neighbour proves want of love to God. Love to our neighbour enjoined by Divine authority as the second part of the law. The want of it, therefore, an evidence of the want of fear as well as love towards God. Pity is love to our neighbour in affliction. Our neighbour has always a claim on our love, and in affliction on our pity. That pity engendered by the fear of God, as—
(1) Our neighbour is God’s own offspring;
(2) Our suffering neighbour is the object of His special regard. Pity required by God towards a suffering neighbour as He has had pity on ourselves (Matthew 18:33-35). Mercy and compassion His own character, to be imitated by all His children (Luke 6:36). The fear of God therefore the guarantee of right feelings towards man. The guardian of all the social and relative duties. Love to God unable to dwell in the same heart with indifference to man. Selfishness incompatible with the fear of God. After God’s example, kindness and pity to be shown to the afflicted, whatever his character and religion. Illustrated by the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the legend of Abraham and the Idolater. As a motive to shew kindness to the poor and the afflicted, God has identified their cases with His own (Proverbs 14:31; Proverbs 19:17). Pity due to an afflicted fellow-creature, still more to an afflicted friend. Duties and obligations enhanced according to relationship (Malachi 1:6; Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24).
The disappointing conduct of the friends touchingly set forth by a continued simile (Job 6:15, &c.). “My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook,” (or wady—a narrow valley or bed of a stream between two rocky hills, filled with water in winter but usually dried up in summer)—“as the stream of brooks they (or, which) pass away,” viz. in the heat of summer. Three points in the comparison:—
(1) The former profession of friendship,—resembling the noisy, rushing wady-stream, full of water through the melted ice, and snow, and rains of winter, when less required. (Job 6:16).—
(2) The failure in real kindness and sympathy when needed,—like the drying up of the brook through the summer heat, and the entire disappearance of the waters, having vanished into vapour or been lost in the sands of the desert. (Job 6:17-18).—
(3) The bitter disappointment,—like that of the caravans of Tema or Ishmaelites, and the trading companies of Sheba or Arabia Felix, when, contrary to their expectation, they find the stream dried up, and are unable to obtain a supply of water (Job 6:19-20). Observe—
(1) The right of the afflicted to expect kindness and sympathy, especially from their friends.
(2) Care to be taken to make a visit of condolence to correspond with its profession.
(3) A great part of friendship, to be true in time of trouble. Affection not to be cooled by affliction. A brother born for adversity. False friends like vermin that abandon a sinking vessel, or swallows that depart at the approach of winter. True friends like ivy that adheres to the tree in its decay. Genuine friendship, like the light of phosphorus, brightest in the dark.
(4) Our views of a friend’s character not to be lightly changed, least of all by his circumstances. Base even to suspect a friend. Love “hopeth all things” and “thinketh no evil.”
The ground of his complaint (Job 6:21). “For now ye are nothing,”—are to me like the vanished wady-stream, as though you had never been. Friends by profession to prove themselves worthy of the name. Base to profess friendship and to be destitute of its feelings, or to withhold its offices. Love to be not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18).—“Ye have seen my casting down,” (my prostration and calamity) “and are afraid.” Their feelings read in their faces. Only one had spoken with his lips, all with their looks. Their fear as if a pious dread at the signal display of Divine judgment, and horror at the discovery of secret wickedness. Afraid—
(1) Of being found sympathizing with a guilty man;
(2) Of being involved in the same calamity;
(3) Of being called upon to relieve or defend the sufferer. Base to withhold sympathy and kindness from regard to our own comfort, credit, or convenience.
IV. Remonstrates with his friends on the baseness of their conduct (Job 6:22-24)
1. He had asked no favour at their hands (Job 6:22-23). “Did I say (or, is it because I said) Bring unto me (for my relief); or Give a reward for me of your substance (to repair my losses or obtain the favour of the judge); or, Deliver me from the enemy’s hand? Or, redeem me from the hand of the mighty?”—(who have robbed me of my property, or are now adding to my affliction). The right of the afflicted and suffering to receive not only sympathy but practical help. Afforded by Abraham to his captive nephew (Genesis 14:14). This a noble mind recoils from asking, though thankful in receiving. The favour Job refused to ask, afterwards liberally accorded (ch. Job 42:11). Sometimes the only service we can render is a cordial sympathy.
2. They had not attempted to show him his sin (Job 6:24). “Teach me and I will hold my tongue; and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.” Mark of an honest and ingenuous mind to be willing to be convinced of error or wrong-doing. A prejudice or superstition simply to infer sinning from suffering. Absurd to exhort to repentance without attempting to convince of sin. Job’s friends unable to point out any fault in his former life, except by inference. The language of his Antitype partially his—“Which of you couvinceth me of sin?” (John 8:46). All sin an erring or straying from the path of rectitude and the will of God. Found in all, Job not excepted; his friends only challenged to point out any breach of morality or religion as the cause of his peculiar suffering. To point out sin when we see it, is a duty we owe to our neighbour. Faithful and wise reproof required by the law of love (Leviticus 19:17). Job’s sense of the value of such reproof (Job 6:25).
“How forcible are right words!” (Heb. “words of uprightness”).
1. The form of such words—
2. The character of the words—“right.”
(1) Right and true in themselves—unmixed with error and falsehood—“sound speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8). In speaking to others we are to beware of daubing with untempered mortar (Ezekiel 13:10); or of corrupting the Word of God (2 Corinthians 2:17). To speak forth only “the words of truth and soberness” (Acts 26:25); “acceptable words,” but also “words of truth” (Ecclesiastes 12:10). Arguments to be sound,—premises true, and conclusions just. Our statements to be according to the law and the testimony (Isaiah 8:20).
(2) The whole truth, so far as necessary, in connection with the subject. Nothing profitable to be kept back, either from fear or favour. No mere one-sided view of the truth to be given. Teachers not to be partial in the law (Malachi 2:9). Truth to be exhibited in all its parts, and in their due propositions. The word of truth to be rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15). The mercy of God not to be enlarged upon to the ignoring of His justice, nor the converse. The promises not to be without the precepts, nor the precepts without the promises. Faith not to be urged without works as its fruits, nor works without faith as their foundation. Not morality without religion, nor religion without morality. Not the law without the Gospel, nor the Gospel without the law. Words, to be right words, must be evangelical words—“the truth as it is in Jesus.” Pardon not to be held out apart from Christ’s blood which procures it. Holiness not to be urged apart from Christ’s indwelling spirit as its author.
(3) Correct in their application. Truth may be so applied as to become practical error. The fault in Job’s friends. Pillows not to be sewed to all armholes; and those not to be made sad, even with truth, whom the Lord does not make sad (Ezekiel 13:18-22). Meat to be given in season as each requires and is able to bear it. Milk to babes, strong meat to those of mature age. Some to be sharply reproved. The bruised reed to be bound up with tender hand. Not only truth to be preached, but seasonable truth—“the present truth,” (2 Peter 1:12). Sound doctrine not to be so preached as to become a soporific. The words of the wise to be as goads, therefore to be wisely directed. “A word spoken in season, how good is it?”
(4) Spoken in uprightness and sincerity. Without fear or favour. Without prejudice or passion. Without self-seeking or time-serving. With simplicity and godly sincerity. As in the sight of God and in the view of eternity. The speaker to be, and therefore to appear, in earnest. Truth not to be spoken as if it were fiction, as if not believed by the speaker himself. To be spoken in love, in tenderness, sympathy, and concern for the hearer’s welfare. The speaker’s spirit to preach as well as his speech, his manner as well as his matter. The words of truth on the speaker’s lips not to be falsified by the manner in which they are spoken, or by the inconsistency of his life.
3. The efficacy of such words. “Forcible,”—powerful, efficacious.
(1.) In enlightening she understanding, discovering truth, and to producing faith. “So spake that a great multitude believed.” (Acts 14:1). A well-constructed argument having truth for its basis, irresistible [A. Clarke]. In awakening the conscience, convincing of sin, and so producing repentance. So Peter’s words at Pentecost, and Paul’s before Felix (Acts 2:37; Acts 24:25).
(3.) In moving the affections and will, and so restraining from sin, and persuading to duty. So with the awakened at Pentecost (Acts 2:41). The Ephesians burned their ungodly books (Acts 19:19). Herod heard John gladly and did many things (Mark 6:20).
(4.) In comforting the afflicted, sustaining the weak, and succouring the tempted. “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop—a good word maketh it glad” (Proverbs 12:25). The effect of Job’s own words in his former condition (chap. Job 4:3-4).
V. Complains of his friends’ reproof and their conduct towards him (Job 6:25-27)
1. Their argument and reproof had been pointless and profitless (Job 6:25). “What doth your arguing reprove? (or, “what conviction is there in the reproof you have administered?”) Eliphaz, their chief speaker, had
(1) shewn no sin on the part of Job as meriting his severe treatment;
(2) Exhorted to repentance without showing the grounds for its necessity. In discoursing to others we are to have a clear aim and definite purpose. That aim to be a right one and important in the circumstances. Our purpose to be prosecuted in a wise and suitable manner. The preacher not to speak “as uncertainly,” nor to preach “as one that beateth the air.”
2. Their reproof was directed only against words uttered in deep distress and great disquietude of spirit (Job 6:26). “Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?” (or, “and to scrutinize, sift, or ‘air’ the speeches of one that is desperate?”) The fault of Job’s friends that they had attacked the words of his complaint instead of showing the evil of his life. As a rule, by our words we shall be justified or condemned (Matthew 12:37). The reason, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Ordinarily, a man is as his speech. Allowance, however, to be made for words uttered under deep distress, and in exceptionally trying circumstances. A high offence in God’s sight to make a man an offender for a word (Isaiah 29:21). Observe—
(1.) Rash words, especially under provocation, an “easily besetting sin” (Hebrews 12:1). Great temptation to such words under excited feeling. The heart to be kept with all diligence, especially in time of trouble (Proverbs 4:23). The mouth to be kept as with a bridle when God’s hand is heavy on us (Psalms 39:1-10).
(2.) The case of a believer may appear “desperate” to himself and others, when it appears the very opposite to God. A child of God often writes bitter things against himself when his Father does not. A tried believer apt to judge of his case from feeling and appearance. The flesh a blind judge as to a man’s real case and character. That case can never be desperate which is linked to the Almighty’s throne. “Thou hast nothing to fear who hast Cæsar for thy friend.” A man’s case cannot be desperate who has—,(i) a place in the Almighty’s heart; (ii) his hand in His heavenly Father’s; (iii) an interest in the everlasting covenant (2 Samuel 2:3; 2 Samuel 2:5).
Job strongly inveighs against his friend’s conduct (Job 6:27). “Yea, ye overwhelm (margin, ‘cause [a net or noose] to fall upon’) the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend” (seeking to catch him in ungarded words, and to make him out to be a hypocrite and transgressor). Rightly or wrongly, Job construes his friends’ language and looks into malice. Their conduct harsh and unfeeling, but according to Job, diabolical. Strong language and exaggerated views of the conduct of others towards ourselves, a natural result of deep trouble and excited feeling. Men capable, however, of the conduct here ascribed by Job to his friends. Joseph’s brethren an example. The words strictly true of the enemies of Jesus, their truest and best friend. The conduct of Job’s friends all the guiltier as being—
(1) Under colour of friendship;
(2) Under profession of piety;
(3) With considerable knowledge of Divine truth. Cruellest feelings sometimes covered with the garb of greatest sanctity. Example: Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisitors. Important prayer—“Search me, O God, and know my heart” &c. (Psalms 139:23).
VI. Job’s challenge to his friends (Job 6:28-30)
1. Appeal of conscious integrity (Job 6:28). “Now, therefore, be content, look upon me: for it is evident unto you (margin, ‘it is before your face’) if I lie” (or, “shall I lie to your face?”) Observe:—
(1) Conscious innocence not only allows but solicits examination. A good conscience enables a man to live in a glass-house. So Jesus—“Which of you convinceth me of sin” (John 8:46). A mark of grace to come to the light that our deeds may be made manifest (John 3:21). Paul prays for believers that they may be “sincere,”—able, in heart and life, to bear the scrutiny of daylight (Philippians 1:10). A child of God is careful to be truthful both in lip and life. A Christian is one who is more concerned to be than to appear such.
(2) Truth and sincerity read in the countenance. The face the dial-plate of the soul. An upright heart makes an open countenance (Job 6:29). “Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity (or, ‘let there no injustice’—no unjust or partial judgment); yea, return again, my righteousness is in it” (margin, “in this matter”—I shall be found innocent in the trial). Truth and innocence court investigation. The consciously upright desire only impartial and unprejudiced trial. The language of Jesus, and of those wrapped in His righteousness—“Who is he that condemneth” (Isaiah 1:9; Romans 8:32-34). The believer a paradox—“Black but comely”—black in himself, comely in Christ; guilty and yet righteous—guilty in his own person, righteous in his righteous Head (2 Corinthians 5:21). Renounces all righteousness but Christ’s in the sight of God, yet careful to maintain a spotless character in the sight of men.
2. The ground of Job’s appeal—his ability to distinguish and judge of moral conduct (Job 6:30). “Is there iniquity (literally, or, a depraved taste) in my tongue? Cannot my taste (margin, ‘palate’) discern perverse things?” (am I not able to distinguish between right and wrong?) No small excellence to possess a correct moral judgment. Moral sense obscured and weakened by the fall and by a course of sin. The moral judgment becomes depraved by sin as the taste by disease. The character of the ungodly to call evil good, and good evil. The mature Christian, one who has his senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). A fruit of renewing grace to know and approve “the good, the perfect, and the acceptable” (Romans 12:2). “Judgment” to “approve things that are excellent,” or to “distinguish between things that differ,” a gift of grace (Philippians 1:9-10). A part of spiritual wisdom to understand what the will of the Lord is, and the opposite (Ephesians 5:17). Grace indicated not only by a tender, but an enlightened conscience. The ungodly know not what at they stumble. “They know not what they do.” In murdering Christ’s followers, men were to think they were doing God service (John 16:2). Paul’s former case (Acts 26:9-11). Important prayer—“Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk” (Psalms 143:8).
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Job 6". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26