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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Job 27



Verse 18


‘As a moth.’

Job 27:18

The moth is best known by its destructive work upon garments. The little pest considers not the value or the beauty of the fur which comes in its way, but ruins it for its own purposes. It is remarkable that the ancient poet who wrote the book of Job should have noticed this and used it as a metaphor of ‘the wicked man’ who ‘buildeth his house as a moth.’

I. It is one phase of wickedness that it will recklessly ruin the character of others.—For character is the garment of the soul. It is a strange thing, but a fact, that as in the Church of God it is the grand aim to weave fair character, so in the world it is the unceasing effort to destroy it. And this, like the moth, by processes almost imperceptible until the ruin is accomplished. The conversation of society is made up of selfish considerations which undermine principle, and its customs present little temptations, to gambling, to drinking, to those wrong-doings which are the dry rot of holiness.

The Christian sometimes sings, ‘I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.’ And he knows that he has not only to keep his character unspotted from the world, but to watch lest it be eaten into by the wicked about him working secretly in the dark as a moth.

II. There is a sad emblem of the end of the wicked man in the sudden destruction which often befalls the winged moth.—It flies out in the darkness and, attracted by the artificial light, flies round the candle till at length its delicately feathered wings are caught in the flame and it perishes miserably. This illustrates the unhappy condition of thousands at the present day. They have neglected the glorious sunshine. They discover some taper and flutter around. Instead of noonday splendour, which they might have, their wings are burned and they perish. Oh! it is strange to see men, anxious it may be for the truth, hovering around some poor glimmer of criticism, or philosophy, going round and round some feeble idea which cannot save them, and dying without a hope, whilst all the time the clear, loving words of Jesus are heard: ‘I am the light of the world. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ Surely the Lord of love did not mock us in His promises. Which is the more probable truth, that the all-seeing God rejects the anxious cries of men and will not give them light, which is really the popular idea, or the Biblical statement, ‘Light is come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light’?


‘Summoning all the strength of his faith, Job declares that He will teach them concerning the hand of God, and he now practically takes hold of all that they have said about God’s visitation of the wicked, and hurls it back upon them as an anathema. He splendidly admits the truth of their philosophy, but denies its application to himself. He thus leaves the whole problem where it is, full of mystery. All the things they have said are true, but they are not true of him. There must be some other way to account for his suffering.’


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Job 27:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

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