Job 8:5
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy,

King James Bible
If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;

American Standard Version
If thou wouldest seek diligently unto God, And make thy supplication to the Almighty;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Yet if thou wilt arise early to God, and wilt beseech the Almighty:

English Revised Version
If thou wouldest seek diligently unto God, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;

Webster's Bible Translation
If thou wouldst seek to God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;

Job 8:5 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

20 Have I sinned - what could I do to Thee?!

O Observer of men,

Why dost Thou make me a mark to Thee,

And am I become a burden to Thee?

21 And why dost Thou not forgive my transgression,

And put away my iniquity?

For now I will lay myself in the dust,

And Thou seekest for me, and I am no more.

"I have sinned" is hypothetical (Ges. 155, 4, a): granted that I have sinned. According to Ewald and Olsh., אפעל־לך מה defines it more particularly: I have sinned by what I have done to Thee, in my behaviour towards Thee; but how tame and meaningless such an addition would be! It is an inferential question: what could I do to Thee? i.e., what harm, or also, since the fut. may be regulated by the praet.: what injury have I thereby done to Thee? The thought that human sin, however, can detract nothing from the blessedness and glory of God, underlies this. With a measure of sinful bitterness, Job calls God האדם נצר, the strict and constant observer of men, per convicium fere, as Gesenius not untruly observes, nevertheless without a breach of decorum divinum (Renan: O Espion de l'homme), since the appellation, in itself worthy of God (Isaiah 27:3), is used here only somewhat unbecomingly. מפגּע is not the target for shooting at, which is rather מטּרה (Job 16:12; Lamentations 3:12), but the object on which one rushes with hostile violence (בּ פּגע). Why, says Job, hast Thou made me the mark of hostile attack, and why am I become a burden to Thee? It is not so in our text; but according to Jewish tradition, עלי, which we now have, is only a סופרים תקון, correctio scribarum,

(Note: Vid., the Commentary on Habakkuk, S. 206-208; comp. Geiger, Urschrift und Uebersetzungen der Bibel, S. 308ff.)

for אליך, which was removed as bordering on blasphemy: why am I become a burden to Thee, so that Thou shouldest seek to get rid of me? This reading I should not consider as the original, in spite of the tradition, if it were not confirmed by the lxx, εἰμὶ δὲ ἐπὶ σοὶ φορτίον.

It is not to be objected, that he who is fully conscious of sin cannot consider the strictest divine punishment even of the smallest sin unjust. The suffering of one whose habitual state is pleasing to God, and who is conscious of the divine favour, can never be explained from, and measured according to, his infirmities: the infirmities of one who trusts in God, or the believer, and the severity of the divine justice in the punishment of sin, have no connection with one another. Consequently, when Eliphaz bids Job regard his affliction as chastisement, Job is certainly in the wrong to dispute with God concerning the magnitude of it: he would rather patiently yield, if his faith could apprehend the salutary design of God in his affliction; but after his affliction once seems to him to spring from wrath and enmity, and not from the divine purpose of mercy, after the phantom of a hostile God is come between him and the brightness of the divine countenance, he cannot avoid falling into complaint of unmercifulness. For this the speech of Eliphaz is in itself not to blame: he had most feelingly described to him God's merciful purpose in this chastisement, but he is to blame for not having taken the right tone.

The speech of Job is directed against the unsympathetic and reproving tone which the friends, after their long silence, have assumed immediately upon his first manifestation of anguish. He justifies to them his complaint (ch. 3) as the natural and just outburst of his intense suffering, desires speedy death as the highest joy with which God could reward his piety, complains of his disappointment in his friends, from whom he had expected affectionate solace, but by whom he sees he is now forsaken, and earnestly exhorts them to acknowledge the justice of his complaint (ch. 6). But can they? Yes, they might and should. For Job thinks he is no longer an object of divine favour: an inward conflict, which is still more terrible than hell, is added to his outward suffering. For the damned must give glory to God, because they recognise their suffering as just punishment: Job, however, in his suffering sees the wrath of God, and still is at the same time conscious of his innocence. The faith which, in the midst of his exhaustion of body and soul, still knows and feels God to be merciful, and can call him "my God," like Asaph in Psalm 73, - this faith is well-nigh overwhelmed in Job by the thought that God is his enemy, his pains the arrows of God. The assumption is false, but on this assumption Job's complaints (ch. 3) are relatively just, including, what he himself says, that they are mistaken, thoughtless words of one in despair. But that despair is sin, and therefore also those curses and despairing inquiries!

Is not Eliphaz, therefore, in the right? His whole treatment is wrong. Instead of distinguishing between the complaint of his suffering and the complaint of God in Job's outburst of anguish, he puts them together, without recognising the complaint of his suffering to be the natural and unblamable result of its extraordinary magnitude, and as a sympathizing friend falling in with it. But with regard to the complaints of God, Eliphaz, acting as though careful for his spiritual welfare, ought not to have met them with his reproofs, especially as the words of one heavily afflicted deserve indulgence and delicate treatment; but he should have combated their false assumption. First, he should have said to Job, "Thy complaints of thy suffering are just, for thy suffering is incomparably great." In the next place, "Thy cursing thy birth, and thy complaint of God who has given thee thy life, might seem just if it were true that God has rejected thee; but that is not true: even in suffering He designs thy good; the greater the suffering, the greater the glory." By this means Eliphaz should have calmed Job's despondency, so as to destroy his false assumption; but he begins wrongly, and consequently what he says at last so truly and beautifully respecting the glorious issue of a patient endurance of chastisement, makes no impression on Job. He has not fanned the faintly burning wick, but his speech is a cold and violent breath which is calculated entirely to extinguish it.

continued...

Job 8:5 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

thou wouldest.

Job 5:8 I would seek to God, and to God would I commit my cause:

Job 11:13 If you prepare your heart, and stretch out your hands toward him;

Job 22:21-30 Acquaint now yourself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come to you...

2 Chronicles 33:12,13 And when he was in affliction, he sought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers...

Isaiah 55:6,7 Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near...

Matthew 7:7,8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you...

Hebrews 3:7,8 Why (as the Holy Ghost said, To day if you will hear his voice...

James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you...

Cross References
Job 5:17
"Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.

Job 9:15
Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.

Job 22:23
If you return to the Almighty you will be built up; if you remove injustice far from your tents,

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