But Job answered and said,…
There is more logic and less passion in this address than in any of Job's preceding speeches. He felt the dogma of the friends to be opposed —
I. TO HIS CONSCIOUSNESS OF RECTITUDE. If their dogma was true, he must be a sinner above all the rest, for his sufferings were of the most aggravated character. But he knew that he was not a great sinner.
1. This consciousness urged him to speak.
2. It gave him confidence in speaking.
3. It inspired him with religious solemnity. The providential ways of God with man are often terribly mysterious. Under these mysterious events solemn silence rather than controversy is most befitting us.
II. TO HIS OBSERVATION OF FACTS.
1. He saw wicked men about him. He notes their hostility to God, and their devotion to self.
2. He saw such wicked men very prosperous. They prosper in their persons, their property, and their posterity.
3. He saw wicked men happy in living and dying. Job states these things as a refutation of the dogma that his friends held and urged against him.
III. TO HIS HISTORIC KNOWLEDGE. He refers to the testimony of other men.
1. They observed, as I have, that the wicked are often protected in common calamities.
2. That few, if any, are found to deal out punishment to wicked men in power.
3. That the Wicked man goes to his grave with as much peace and honour as other men.
IV. TO HIS THEORY OF PROVIDENCE. Though nothing here expresses Job's belief in a state of retribution beyond the grave, we think it is implied. I see not how there can be any real religion, which is supreme love to the Author of our being, where there is not a well-settled faith in a future state. Conclusion. God's system of governing the race has been the same from the beginning. He has never dealt with mankind here on the ground of character. True, there are occasional flashes of Divine retribution which reveal moral distinctions and require moral conduct; but they are only occasional, limited, and prophetic. No stronger argument for a future state of full and adequate retribution it would be possible to have, than that which is furnished by God's system of governing the world.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Job answered and said,
WEB: Then Job answered,