Darby's Bible Synopsis
Then Job answered and said,
The following commentary covers Chapters 4 through 31.
As to the friends of Job, they do not call for any extended remarks. They urge the doctrine that God's earthly government is a full measure and manifestation of His righteousness, and of the righteousness of man, which would correspond with it: a doctrine which proves a total ignorance of what God's righteousness is, and of His ways; as well as the absence of all real knowledge of what God is, or man as a sinner. We do not see either that the feelings of their hearts were influenced by communion with God. Their argument is a false and cold estimate of the exact justice of His government as an adequate manifestation of His relationship with man, though they say many true commonplace things which even the Spirit of God adopts as just. Although Job was not before God in his estimate of himself, he judges rightly in these respects. He shews that although God shews His disapprobation of the wicked, yet the circumstances in which they are often found overthrow the arguments of his friends. We see in Job a heart which, although rebellious, depends upon God, and would rejoice to find Him. We see, too, that when he can extricate himself, by a few words, from his friends, who, he is quite sensible, understands nothing of his case, nor of the dealings of God, he turns to God (although he does not find Him, and although he complains that His hand is heavy upon him), as in that beautiful and touching chapter 23, and the reasonings as to divine government, chapters 24, 21. That is to say, we see one who has tasted that God is gracious, whose heart, wounded indeed and unsubdued, yet claims those qualities for God-because it knows Him-which the cold reasonings of his friends could not ascribe to Him; a heart which complains bitterly of God, but which knows that, could it once come near Him, it would find Him all that it had declared Him to be, and not such as they had declared Him to be, or were themselves-could he find Him, he would not be as they were, He would put words in his mouth; a heart which repelled indignantly the accusation of hypocrisy; for Job was conscious that he looked to God, and that he had known God and acted with reference to Him, though God thought fit to bring his sin to remembrance.
I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?
If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.
He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?
Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.
Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.
Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?
If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.
How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?
Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.
If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.
For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.
He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.
If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?
If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.
This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.
If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?
Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.
They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.
If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself:
I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.
If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?
If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;
Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.
For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.
Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.