Job 13:21
Withdraw your hand far from me: and let not your dread make me afraid.
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(21) Withdraw thine hand far from me.—That is, “Cease to torture me bodily, and to terrify me mentally; let me at least have freedom from physical pain and the undue apprehension of Thy terrors.”

13:13-22 Job resolved to cleave to the testimony his own conscience gave of his uprightness. He depended upon God for justification and salvation, the two great things we hope for through Christ. Temporal salvation he little expected, but of his eternal salvation he was very confident; that God would not only be his Saviour to make him happy, but his salvation, in the sight and enjoyment of whom he should be happy. He knew himself not to be a hypocrite, and concluded that he should not be rejected. We should be well pleased with God as a Friend, even when he seems against us as an enemy. We must believe that all shall work for good to us, even when all seems to make against us. We must cleave to God, yea, though we cannot for the present find comfort in him. In a dying hour, we must derive from him living comforts; and this is to trust in him, though he slay us.Withdraw thine hand far from me - Notes Job 9:34. The hand of God here is used to denote the calamity or affliction which Job was suffering. The meaning is, "Remove my affliction; restore me to health, and I will then enter on the argument in vindication of my cause. I am now oppressed, and broken down, and enfeebled by disease, and I cannot present it with the vigor which I might evince if I were in health."

And let not thy dread make me afraid - "Do not so overpower me by thy severe majesty, that I cannot present my cause in a calm and composed manner." See the notes at Job 9:34. Job felt that God had power to overawe him, and he asked, therefore, that he might have a calm and composed mind, and then he would be able to do justice to his own cause.

21. (See on [502]Job 9:34 and see Ps 39:10). i.e. Suspend my torments during the time of my pleading with thee, that my mind may be at liberty; and do not present thyself to me in terrible majesty, neither deal with me in rigorous justice; but hear me meekly, as one man heareth another, and plead with me upon those gracious terms wherewith thou usest to deal with mankind. Withdraw thine hand far from me,.... His afflicting hand, which pressed him; this he desires might be removed, or otherwise he could not have the command of himself, make use of his reasoning faculties, recollect his arguments, and give them in their due force and strength; for afflictions of body affect the soul and memory, understanding and judgment; this is one of the things he would have agreed unto before the dispute was entered on; the other follows:

and let not thy dread make me afraid; the terrors of his law, or the dreadful apprehensions of his wrath; he desires to be freed from all slavish fear of God, that now possessed his mind through the severity of his dispensations towards him, behaving as if he was his enemy; or he deprecates his appearance in any external visible way and manner, which might be frightening to him, and so hinder freedom of speech in his own defence; these two things are before requested, Job 9:34; which should they be granted, he proposes as follows.

{k} Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.

(k) He shows what these two things are.

Verse 21. - Withdraw thine hand far from me; i.e. "thy afflicting hand." Job views all his physical suffering as coming directly from the hand of God - momentarily caused by him, and therefore removable by him at any moment. He has no thought for secondary causes. And let not thy dread make me afraid. Job speaks here and elsewhere of spiritual terrors - those vague and impalpable fears which suggest themselves inwardly to the soul, and are tar more painful, far more dreadful, than any amount of bodily anguish. Unless he is free from these, as well as from physical pains, he cannot plead his cause freely and fully. This is one of eighteen passages in which the Chethib is לא and the Keri לו; Job 6:21 is another.

(Note: In Frst, Concord. p. 1367, Colossians 1, the following passages are wanting: 1 Samuel 2:3; 2 Kings 8:10; Psalm 100:3; Psalm 139:16; Proverbs 19:7; Proverbs 26:2; 1 Chronicles 11:20, which are to be supplied from Aurivillius, diss. p. 469, where, however, on the other hand, 2 Samuel 19:7 is wanting. Exodus 21:8 also belongs to these passages. In this last passage Mhlau proposes a transposition of the letters thus: לא ידעה (if she displease her master, so that he knows her not, does not like to make her his concubine, then he shall cause her to be redeemed, etc.). In his volume on Isaiah just published (1866), Dr. Delitzsch appends the following note on Isaiah 63:9 : - "There are fifteen passages in which the Keri substitutes לו for לא, vid., Masora magna on Leviticus 11:21 (Psalter, ii. 60). If we include Isaiah 49:5; 1 Chronicles 11:20; 1 Samuel 2:16 also, there are then eighteen (comp. on Job 13:15); but the first two of these passages are very doubtful, and are therefore intentionally omitted, and in the third it is לא that is substituted for לו (Ges. Thes. 735, b). 2 Samuel 19:7 also does not belong here, for in this passage the Keri is לוּ." - Tr.])

In the lxx, which moreover changes איחל into החל, ἄρχεσθαι, the rendering is doubtful, the Cod. Vat. Translating ἐάν με χειρώσηται, the Cod. Alex. ἐὰν μή με χειρ. The Mishna b. Sota, 27, b, refers to the passage with reference to the question whether Job had served God from love or fear, and in favour of the former appeals to Job 27:5, since here the matter is doubtful (הדבר שׁקול), as the present passage may be explained, "I hope in Him," or "I hope not." The Gemara, ib. 31, a, observes that the reading לא does not determine the sense, for Isaiah 63:9 is written לא, and is not necessarily to be understood as לו, but can be so understood.

(Note: Vid., Geiger, Lesestcke aus der Mischnah (1845), S. 37f.)

Among the ancient versions, the Targ., Syr., and Jerome (etiamsi occiderit me, in ipso sperabo) are in favour of לו. This translation of the Vulgate is followed by the French, English, Italian, and other versions. This utterance, in this interpretation, has a venerable history. The Electoress Louise Henriette von Oranien (died 1667), the authoress of the immortal hymn, "Jesus meine Zuversicht" the English translation begins, "Jesus Christ, my sure defence," chose these words, "Though the Lord should slay me, yet will I hope in Him," for the text of her funeral oration. And many in the hour of death have adopted the utterance of Job in this form as the expression of their faith and consolation.

(Note: Vid., Gschel, Die Kurfrstinnen zu Brandenburg aus dem Hause Hohenzollern (1857), S. 28-32.)

Among these we may mention a Jewess. The last movement of the wasted fingers of Grace Aguilar was to spell the words, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."

(Note: Marie Henriquez Morales, bearbeitet von Piza (1860), X. 12.)

The words, so understood, have an historic claim in their favour which we will not dispute. Even the apostles do not spurn the use of the Greek words of the Old Testament, though they do not accord with the proper connection in the original text, provided they are in accordance with sacred Scripture, and give brief and pregnant expression to a truth taught elsewhere in the Scriptures. Thus it is with this utterance, which, understood as the Vulgate understands it, is thoroughly Job-like, and in some measure the ultimate solution of the book of Job. It is also, according to its most evident meaning, an expression of perfect resignation. We admit that if it is translated: behold, He will slay me, I hope not, i.e., I await no other and happier issue, a thought is obtained that also agrees with the context. But יחל does not properly mean to hope, but to wait for; and even in Job 6:11; Job 14:14, where it stands as much without an object as here, it has no other meaning but that of waiting; and Luther is true to it when he translates: behold, He will destroy me, and I cannot expect it; it is, however, strange; and Bttch. translates: I will not wait to justify myself, which is odd. The proper meaning of יחל, praestolari, gives no suitable sense. Thus, therefore, the writer will have written or meant לו, since יחל ל is also elsewhere a familiar expression with him, Job 29:21, Job 29:23; Job 30:26. The meaning, then, which agrees both with the context and with the reality, is: behold, He will slay me, I wait for Him, i.e., I wait what He may do, even to smite with death, only I will (אך, as frequently, e.g., Psalm 49:16, does not belong to the word which immediately follows, but to the whole clause) prove my ways to Him, even before His face. He fears the extreme, but is also prepared for it. Hirzel, Heiligst., Vaihinger, and others, think that Job regards his wish for the appearing of God as the certain way of death, according to the belief that no one can behold God and not die. But יקטלני has reference to a different form of idea. He fears the risk of disputing with God, and being obliged to forfeit his life; but, as לו איחל implies, he resigns himself even to the worst, he waits for Him to whom he resigns himself, whatever He may do to him; nevertheless (אך restrictive, or as frequently אכן adversative, which is the same thing here) he cannot and will not keep down the inward testimony of his innocence, he is prepared to render Him an account of the ways in which he has walked (i.e., the way of His will) - he can succumb in all respects but that of his moral guiltlessness. And in Job 13:16 he adds what will prove a triumph for him, that a godless person, or (what is suitable, and if it does not correspond to the primary idea,

(Note: The verb חנף signifies in the Arabic to deviate, to go on one side (whence, e.g., ahhnaf, bandy-legged): hhanı̂f, which is derived from it, is a so-called Arab. ḍidd, ἐναντιόσημον, which may mean both one inclining to the good and true (one who is orthodox), and in this sense it is a surname of Abraham, and one inclining to evil. Beidhwi explains it by ml, inclining one's self to; the synonym, but used only in a good sense, is Arab. 'l-‛âdl, el-‛âdil.)

still accords with the use of the word) a hypocrite, one who judges thus of himself in his own heart, would not so come forward to answer for himself before God (Hahn). It can be explained: that a godless person has no access to God; but the other explanation givers a truer thought. הוא is here used as neuter, like Job 15:9; Job 31:28 comp. Job 41:3, Exodus 34:10. Correctly lxx, καὶ τοῦτό μοι ἀποβήσεται εἰς σωτηρίαν. ישׁוּעה here (comp. Job 30:15) has not, however, the usual deeper meaning which it has in the prophets and in Psalms. It means here salvation, as victory in a contest for the right. Job means that he has already as good as won the contest, by so urgently desiring to defend himself before God. This excites a feeling in favour of his innocence at the onset, and secures him an acquittal.

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