Will you accept his person? will you contend for God?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
They assumed that he was wrong, and that God was wholly right in all flyings. Of this position that God was right, no one could reasonably complain, and in his sober reflections Job himself would not be disposed to object to it; but his complaint is, that though the considerations which he urged were of the greatest weight, they would not allow their force, simply because they were determined to vindicate God. Their position was, that God dealt with people strictly according to their character; and that no matter what they suffered, their sufferings were the exact measure of their ill desert. Against this position, they would hear nothing that Job could say; and they maintained it by every kind of argument which was at their command - whether sound or unsound, sophistical or solid. Job says that this was showing partiality for God, and he felt that he had a right to complain. We need never show "partiality" even for God. He can be vindicated by just and equal arguments; and we need never injure others while we vindicate him. Our arguments for him should indeed be reverent, and we should desire to vindicate his character and government; but the considerations which we urge need not be those of mere partiality and favor.
Will ye contend for God? - Language taken from a court of justice, and referring to an argument in favor of a party or cause. Job asks whether they would undertake to maintain the cause of God, and he may mean to intimate that they were wholly disqualified for such an undertaking. He not only reproves them for a lack of candor and impartiality, as in the previous expressions, but he means to say that they were unfitted in all respects to be the advocates of God. They did not understand the principles of his administration. Their views were narrow, their information limited, and their arguments either common-place or unsound. According to this interpretation, the emphasis will be on the word "ye" - "will YE contend for God?" The whole verse may mean, "God is not to be defended by mere partiality, or favor. Solid arguments only should be employed in his cause. Such you have not used, and you have shown yourselves to be entirely unfitted for this great argument."
The practical inference which we should draw from this is, that our arguments in defense of the divine administration, should be solid and sound. They should not be mere declamation, or mere assertion. They should be such as will become the great theme, and such as will stand the test of any proper trial that can be applied to reasoning. There are arguments which will "vindicate all God's ways to men;" and to search them out should be one of the great employments of our lives. If ministers of the gospel would always abide by these principles, they would often do much more than they do now to commend religion to the sober views of mankind. No people are under greater temptations to use weak or unsound arguments than they are. They feel it to be their duty at all hazards to defend the divine administration. They are in circumstances where their arguments will not be subjected to the searching process which an argument at the bar will be, where a keen and interested opponent is on the alert, and will certainly sift every argument which is urged.
Either by inability to explain the difficulties of the divine government, or by indolence in searching out arguments, or by presuming on the ignorance and dullness of their hearers, or by a pride which will not allow them to confess their ignorance on any subject, they are in danger of attempting to hide a difficulty which they cannot explain, or of using arguments and resorting to reasoning, which would be regarded as unsound or worthless any where else. A minister should always remember that sound reasoning is as necessary in religion as in other things, and that there are always some people who can detect a fallacy or see through sophistry. With what diligent study then should the ministers of the gospel prepare for their work! How careful should they be, as the advocates of God and his cause in a world opposed to him, to find out solid arguments, to meet with candor every objection, and to convince people by sound reasoning, that God is right! Their work is to convince, not to denounce; and if there is any office of unspeakable responsibility on earth, it is that of undertaking to be the advocates of God.
contend for God—namely, with fallacies and prepossessions against Job before judgment (Jud 6:31). Partiality can never please the impartial God, nor the goodness of the cause excuse the unfairness of the arguments.Will ye accept his person? not judging according to the right of the cause, but the quality of the person, as corrupt judges do.
Will ye contend, i.e. wrangle and quarrel with me, and cavil at my speeches, and pervert my meaning?
For God, i.e. that you may gratify him, or defend his rights.
will ye contend for God? it is right to contend for God, for the being of God against atheists, for the perfections of God, his sovereignty, his omniscience, omnipresence, &c. against those that deny them, for his truths and doctrines, word, worship, and ordinances, against the corrupters of them; but then he and those are not to be contended for in a foolish and imprudent manner, or with a zeal, not according to knowledge, much less with an hypocritical one, as was Jehu's, 2 Kings 10:28; God needs no such advocates, he can plead his own cause, or make use of persons that can do it in a better manner, and to better purpose.Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. The same charge put more explicitly. To accept the person of one is to be partial on his side, cf. Job 13:10.
contend for God] i. e. will ye play the advocate for God? The charge made against his friends by Job is that they had no knowledge of his guilt, and merely took part for God against him out of servility to God. This servility was nothing but a superficial religiousness, allied to superstition, which did not form its conception of God from the broad facts of the universe.Verse 8. - Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God? Job intends to accuse his opponents of leaning unduly to God's side, and being prepared to justify him in the teeth of reason and justice. This is like the conduct of a judge who should allow his decision to be biassed by favour towards one or the other party in a suit.
Mine ear hath heard and marked it.
2 What ye know do I know also,
I do not stand back behind you.
Job has brought forward proof of what he has stated at the commencement of this speech (Job 12:3), that he is not inferior to them in the knowledge of God and divine things, and therefore he can now repeat as proved what he maintains. The plain כּל, which in other passages, with the force of הכּל, signifies omnes (Genesis 16:12; Isaiah 30:5; Jeremiah 44:12) and omnia (Job 42:2; Psalm 8:7; Isaiah 44:24), has the definite sense of haec omnia here. לה (v. 1b) is not after the Aramaic manner dat. pro acc. objecti: my ear has heard and comprehended it (id); but dat. commodi, or perhaps only dat. ethicus: and has made it intelligible to itself (sibi); בּין of the apprehension accompanying perception. He has a knowledge of the exalted and glorious majesty of God, acquired partly from his own observation and partly from the teachings of others. He also knows equal to (instar) their knowledge, i.e., he has a knowledge (ידע as the idea implied in it, e.g., like Psalm 82:5) which will bear comparison with theirs. But he will no longer contend with them.
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