English Standard Version
How then can man be in the right before God? How can he who is born of woman be pure?
King James Bible
How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
American Standard Version
How then can man be just with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
Can man be justified compared with God, or he that is born of a woman appear clean?
English Revised Version
How then can man be just with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
Webster's Bible Translation
How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
Job 25:4 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
22 And He preserveth the mighty by His strength;
Such an one riseth again, though he despaired of life.
23 He giveth him rest, and he is sustained,
And His eyes are over their ways.
24 They are exalted - a little while, - then they are no more,
And they are sunken away, snatched away like all others,
And as the top of the stalk they are cut off. -
25 And if it is not so, who will charge me with lying,
And make my assertion worthless?
Though it becomes manifest after their death how little the ungodly, who were only feared by men, were beloved, the form of their death itself is by no means such as to reveal the retributive justice of God. And does it become at all manifest during their life? The Waw, with which the strophe begins, is, according to our rendering, not adversative, but progressive. God is the subject. משׁך, to extend in length, used elsewhere of love, Psalm 36:11; Psalm 109:12, and anger, Psalm 85:6, is here transferred to persons: to prolong, preserve long in life. אבּירים are the strong, who bid defiance not only to every danger (Psalm 76:6), but also to all divine influences and noble impulses (Isaiah 46:12). These, whose trust in their own strength God might smite down by His almighty power, He preserves alive even in critical positions by that very power: he (the אבּיר) stands up (again), whilst he does not trust to life, i.e., whilst he believes that he must succumb to death (האמין as Psalm 27:13, comp. Genesis, S. 368; חיּין, Aramaic form, like מלּין, Job 4:2; Job 12:11; the whole is a contracted circumstantial clause for והוא לא וגו). He (God) grants him לבטח, in security, viz., to live, or even directly: a secure peaceful existence, since לבטח is virtually an object, and the ל is that of condition (comp. לרב, Job 26:3). Thus Hahn, who, however, here is only to be followed in this one particular, takes it correctly: and that he can support himself, which would only be possible if an inf. with ל had preceded. Therefore: and he is supported or he can support himself, i.e., be comforted, though this absolute use of נשׁען cannot be supported; in this instance we miss על־טוּבו, or some such expression (Job 8:15). God sustains him and raises him up again: His eyes (עיניחוּ equals עיניו) are (rest) on the ways of these men, they stand as it were beneath His special protection, or, as it is expressed in Job 10:3 : He causes light to shine from above upon the doings of the wicked. "They are risen up, and are conscious of the height (of prosperity) - a little while, and they are no more." Thus Job 24:24 is to be explained. The accentuation רומו with Mahpach, מעט with Asla legarmeh (according to which it would have to be translated: they stand on high a short time), is erroneous. The verb רוּם signifies not merely to be high, but also to rise up, raise one's self, e.g., Proverbs 11:11, and to show one's self exalted, here extulerunt se in altum or exaltati sunt; according to the form of writing רומּוּ, רוּם is treated as an Ayin Waw verb med. O, and the Dagesh is a so-called Dag. affecuosum (Olsh. 83, b), while רמּוּ (like רבּוּ, Genesis 49:23) appears to assume the form of a double Ayin verb med. O, consequently רמם (Ges. 67, rem. 1).
מעט, followed by Waw of the conclusion, forms a clause of itself, as more frequently עוד מעט ו (yet a little while, then ... ), as, e.g., in an exactly similar connection in Psalm 37:10; here, however, not expressive of the sudden judgment of the ungodly, but of their easy death without a struggle (εὐθανασία): a little, then he is not (again a transition from the plur. to the distributive or individualizing sing.). They are, viz., as Job 24:24 further describes, bowed down all at once (an idea which is expressed by the perf.), are snatched off like all other men. המּכוּ is an Aramaizing Hophal-form, approaching the Hoph. of strong verbs, for הוּמכּוּ (Ges. 67, rem. 8), from מכך, to bow one's self (Psalm 106:43), to be brought low (Ecclesiastes 10:18); comp. Arab. mkk, to cause to vanish, to annul. יקּפצוּן (for which it is unnecessary with Olsh. to read יקּבצוּן, after Ezekiel 29:5) signifies, according to the primary signification of קפץ, comprehendere, constringere, contrahere (cogn. קבץ, קמץ, קמט, comp. supra, p. 481): they are hurried together, or snatched off, i.e., deprived of life, like the Arabic qbḍh allâh (קפצו אלהים) and passive qubiḍa, equivalent to, he has died. There is no reference in the phrase to the componere artus, Genesis 49:33; it is rather the figure of housing (gathering into the barn) that underlies it; the word, however, only implies seizing and drawing in. Thus the figure which follows is also naturally (comp. קמץ, Arab. qabḍat, manipulus) connected with what precedes, and, like the head of an ear of corn, i.e., the corn-bearing head of the wheat-stalk, they are cut off (by which one must bear in mind that the ears are reaped higher up than with us, and the standing stalk is usually burnt to make dressing for the field; vid., Ges. Thes. s.v. קשׁ).
(Note: Another figure is also presented here. It is a common thing for the Arabs (Beduins) in harvest-time to come down upon the fields of standing corn - especially barley, because during summer and autumn this grain is indispensable to them as food for their horses - of a district, chiefly at night, and not unfrequently hundreds of camels are laden at one time. As they have no sickles, they cut off the upper part of the stalk with the ‛aqfe (a knife very similar to the Roman sica) and with sabres, whence this theft is called qard קרץ, sabring off; and that which is cut off, as well as the uneven stubble that is left standing, is called qarid. - Wetzst.)).
On ימּלוּ (fut. Niph. equals ימּלּוּ), vid., on Job 14:2; Job 18:16; the signification praedicuntur, as observed above, is more suitable here than marcescunt (in connection with which signification Job 5:26 ought to be compared, and the form regarded as fut. Kal). Assured of the truth, in conformity with experience, of that which has been said, he appeals finally to the friends: if it be not so (on אפו equals אפוא in conditional clauses, vid., Job 9:24), who (by proving the opposite) is able to charge me with lying and bring to nought (לאל equals לאין, Ew. 321, b, perhaps by אל being conceived of as originally infin. from אלל (comp. אליל), in the sense of non-existence, Arab. 'l-‛adam) my assertion?
The bold accusations in the speech of Eliphaz, in which the uncharitableness of the friends attains its height, must penetrate most deeply into Job's spirit. But Job does not answer like by like. Even in this speech in opposition to the friends, he maintains the passionless repose which has once been gained. Although the misjudgment of his character has attained its height in the speech of Eliphaz, his answer does not contain a single bitter personal word. In general, he does not address them, not as though he did not wish to show respect to them, but because he has nothing to say concerning their unjust and wrong conduct that he would not already have said, and because he has lost all hope of his reproof taking effect, all hope of sympathy with his entreaty that they would spare him, all hope of understanding and information on their part.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?
"Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.
What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?
Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.