But Job answered and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) Then answered Job.—Job himself has virtually said much the same as Bildad (Job 9:2; Job 14:4), so he makes no further comment on his remarks here, but merely asks how he has helped him thereby, or others like him in a weak and helpless condition.Job 26:1. But Job answered and said — Job, finding his friends quite driven from their strong hold, and reduced to give up the argument, now begins to triumph, Job 26:2-3. He tells them, if the business was to celebrate the power and wisdom of the Almighty, he could produce as many shining instances of it as they could; but, at the same time, he intimates that their behaviour was mean, after so great a parade of wisdom as they had exhibited, to shelter themselves at last behind the power of God, rather than generously give up an argument which they were unable to maintain, and acquit him of a suspicion which they were not capable of supporting by a conviction. — Heath.Job 4:19. Man is mentioned here as a worm; in Job 4:19 he is said to dwell in a house of clay and to be crushed before the moth. In both cases the design is to represent him as insignificant in comparison with God.
A worm - רמה rı̂mmâh; see Job 7:5. The word is commonly applied to such worms as are bred in putridity, and hence, the comparison is the more forcible.
And the son of man - Another mode of speaking of man. Any one of the children of man is the same. No one of them can be compared with God; compare the notes at Matthew 1:1.
Which is a worm - תולעה tôlê‛âh; compare the notes at Isaiah 1:18. This word frequently denotes the worm from which the scarlet or crimson color was obtained. It is, however, used to denote the worm that is bred on putrid substances, and is so used here; compare Exodus 16:20; Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 66:24. It is also applied to a worm that destroys plants. Jonah 4:7; Deuteronomy 28:39. Here it means, that man is poor, feeble, powerless. In comparison with God he is a crawling worm. All that is said in this chapter is true and beautiful, but it has nothing to do with the subject in debate. Job had appealed to the course of events in proof of the truth of his position. The true way to meet that was either to deny that the facts existed as he alleged, or to show that they did not prove what be had adduced them to establish. But Bildad did neither; nor did he ingenuously confess that the argument was against him and his friends. At this stage of the controversy, since they had nothing to reply to what Job had alleged, it would have been honorable in them to have acknowledged that they were in error, and to have yielded the palm of victory to him. But it requires extraordinary candor and humility to do that; and rather than do it, most people would prefer to say something - though it has nothing to do with the case in hand.
Job 26:1-14. Job's Reply.Job’s reply: this toucheth not Job, Job 26:1-4; who acknowledgeth God’ power and providence to be infinite and unsearchable, of which we have but small knowledge Job 26:5-14.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 1, 2. - But Job answered and said, How hast thou helped him that is without power? Assuming Bildad's benevolent intentions towards himself, Job asks, how he can suppose that what he has said will in any way be helpful to a person in so helpless a condition? He had told Job nothing that Job had not repeatedly allowed. How savest thou the arm that hath no strengtht? It could not invigorate Job's arm, any more than it could cheer his heart, to be told that man was a worm, or that he was wholly unclean in God's sight (Job 25:4, 6).
2 Dominion and terror are with Him,
He maketh peace in His high places.
3 Is there any number to His armies,
And whom doth not His light surpass?
4 How could a mortal be just with God,
And how could one born of woman be pure?
5 Behold, even the moon, it shineth not brightly,
And the stars are not pure in His eyes.
6 How much less mortal man, a worm,
And the son of man, a worm!
Ultimum hocce classicum, observes Schultens, quod a parte triumvirorum sonuit, magis receptui canentis videtur, quam praelium renovantis. Bildad only repeats the two commonplaces, that man cannot possibly maintain his supposedly perverted right before God, the all-just and all-controlling One, to whom, even in heaven above, all things cheerfully submit, and that man cannot possibly be accounted spotlessly pure, and consequently exalted above all punishment before Him, the most holy One, before whom even the brightest stars do not appear absolutely pure. המשׁל is an inf. abs. made into a substantive, like השׁקט; the Hiph. (to cause to rule), which is otherwise causative, can also, like Kal, signify to rule, or properly, without destroying the Hiphil-signification, to exercise authority (vid., on Job 31:18); המשׁל therefore signifies sovereign rule. עשׂה, with הוּא to be supplied, which is not unfrequently omitted both in participial principal clauses (Job 12:17., Psalm 22:29; Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 29:8; Isaiah 40:19, comp. Zechariah 9:12, where אני is to be supplied) and in partic. subordinate clauses (Psalm 7:10; Psalm 55:20; Habakkuk 2:10), is an expression of the simple praes., which is represented by the partic. used thus absolutely (including the personal pronoun) as a proper tense-form (Ew. 168, c, 306, d). Schlottman refers עשׂה to המשׁל ופהד; but the analogy of such attributive descriptions of God is against it. Umbreit and Hahn connect בּמרומיו with the subject: He in His heights, i.e., down from His throne in the heavens. But most expositors rightly take it as descriptive of the place and object of the action expressed: He establishes peace in His heights, i.e., among the celestial beings immediately surrounding Him. This, only assuming the abstract possibility of discord, might mean: facit magestate sua ut in summa pace et promptissima obedientia ipsi ministrent angeli ipsius in excelsis (Schmid). But although from Job 4:18; Job 15:15, nothing more than that even the holy ones above are neither removed from the possibility of sin nor the necessity of a judicial authority which is high above them, can be inferred; yet, on the other hand, from Job 3:8; Job 9:13 (comp. Job 26:12.), it is clear that the poet, in whose conception, as in scripture generally, the angels and the stars stand in the closest relation, knows of actual, and not merely past, but possibly recurring, instances of hostile dissension and titanic rebellion among the celestial powers; so that עשׂה שׁלום, therefore, is intended not merely of a harmonizing reconciliation among creatures which have been contending one against another, but of an actual restoration of the equilibrium that had been disturbed through self-will, by an act of mediation and the exercise of judicial authority on the part of God.
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