Job 9:21
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself; I despise my life.

King James Bible
Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.

Darby Bible Translation
Were I perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.

World English Bible
I am blameless. I don't respect myself. I despise my life.

Young's Literal Translation
Perfect I am! -- I know not my soul, I despise my life.

Job 9:21 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Though I were perfect - The same mode of expression occurs here again. "I perfect! I would not know it, or recognize it. If this were my view, and God judged otherwise, I would seem to be ignorant of it. I would not mention it."

Yet would I not know my soul - Or, "I could not know my soul. If I should advance such a claim, it must be from my ignorance of myself." Is not this true of all the claims to perfection which have ever been set up by man? Do they not demonstrate that he is ignorant of his own nature and character? So clear does this seem to me, that I have no doubt that Job expressed more than three thousand years ago what will be found true to the end of time - that if a man advances the claim to absolute perfection, it is conclusive proof that he does not know his own heart. A superficial view of ourselves, mingled with pride and vanity, may lead us to think that we are wholly free from sin. But who can tell what he would be if placed in other circumstances? Who knows what latent depravity would be developed if he were thrown into temptations?

I would despise my life - Dr. Good, I think, has well expressed the sense of this. According to his interpretation, it means that the claim of perfection would be in fact disowning all the consciousness which he had of sinfulness; all the arguments and convictions pressed on him by his reason and conscience, that he was a guilty man. Schultens, however, has given an interpretation which slightly differs from this, and one which Rosenmuller prefers. "Although I should be wholly conscious of innocence, yet that clear consciousness could not sustain me against the infinite splendor of the divine glory and majesty; but I should be compelled to appear ignorant of my own soul, and to reprobate, condemn, and despise my life passed with integrity and virtue." This interpretation is in accordance with the connection, and may be sustained by the Hebrew.

Job 9:21 Parallel Commentaries

Washed to Greater Foulness
Turning to my text, let me say, that as one is startled by a shriek, or saddened by a groan, so these sharp utterances of Job astonish us at first, and then awake our pity. How much are we troubled with brotherly compassion as we read the words,--"If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me!" The sense of misery couched in this passage baffles description. Yet this is but one of a series, in which sentence
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

The Power of God
The next attribute is God's power. Job 9:19. If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong.' In this chapter is a magnificent description of God's power. Lo, he is strong.' The Hebrew word for strong signifies a conquering, prevailing strength. He is strong.' The superlative degree is intended here; viz., He is most strong. He is called El-shaddai, God almighty. Gen 17:7. His almightiness lies in this, that he can do whatever is feasible. Divines distinguish between authority and power. God has both.
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Whether Man Can Know that He Has Grace?
Objection 1: It would seem that man can know that he has grace. For grace by its physical reality is in the soul. Now the soul has most certain knowledge of those things that are in it by their physical reality, as appears from Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii, 31). Hence grace may be known most certainly by one who has grace. Objection 2: Further, as knowledge is a gift of God, so is grace. But whoever receives knowledge from God, knows that he has knowledge, according to Wis. 7:17: The Lord "hath given
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Opposition to Messiah in Vain
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. T he extent and efficacy [effects] of the depravity of mankind cannot be fully estimated by the conduct of heathens destitute of divine revelation. We may say of the Gospel, in one sense, what the Apostle says of the Law, It entered that sin might abound (Romans 5:20) . It afforded occasion for displaying the alienation of the heart of man from the blessed God, in the strongest light. The sensuality, oppression and
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Cross References
Job 1:1
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.

Job 6:9
"Would that God were willing to crush me, That He would loose His hand and cut me off!

Job 7:16
"I waste away; I will not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath.

Job 9:15
"For though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my judge.

Job 10:7
'According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty, Yet there is no deliverance from Your hand.

Job 12:4
"I am a joke to my friends, The one who called on God and He answered him; The just and blameless man is a joke.

Job 13:18
"Behold now, I have prepared my case; I know that I will be vindicated.

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