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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Job 13

 

 

Verses 1-28

Job 13:4. Forgers of lies, misconstruing the ways of providence.

Job 13:10, He will surely reprove you, though under a specious veil you accept of persons.

Job 13:12. Your remembrances are like ashes. Your treasured wisdom is vain, and profiteth not. Your bodies—of clay; profecto dorsa vestra sunt dorsa luti; truly your backs are backs of clay. The sense is, If God touch you, nothing remains of your glory but ashes; if he lay his rod on your back, you are trampled as clay beneath his feet.

Job 13:15. Though he slay me. So the Vulgate reads; but the LXX read, Though he the Mighty oppress me—yet will I speak, and argue before him. This was a divine confidence, the most surprising in its character. It shows how faith can support the mind in the prospect of death.

Job 13:25. Wilt thou break a leaf. The ancients used the most impressive figures of humiliation in speaking to their Maker, and in addressing princes under afflictive circumstances. David calls himself, in the presence of Saul, a flea—a dead dog.

Job 13:27. In the stocks: clogs of wood and iron by which the feet of prisoners were held.

Job 13:28. And he, הוא ipse. The third person is here, used, in reference perhaps to Job 13:25, where man is like a leaf driven by the wind; or as in the next words, consumed like a garment.

REFLECTIONS.

We have here a specimen of the plain dealing which existed in early society. Truth was at all times more revered than men. Job having asserted his equality of knowledge with his friends, and boldly controverted their maxims, felt a consciousness of victory in his own breast; and the more so, as this embarrassment had made Zophar angry. He then longs to speak to God; for men by misconstruing providence were forgers of lies, and physicians of no value; they could neither comfort the mind, nor cure the body. In all cases of anguish and grief, recourse to God by faith and prayer is our best wisdom, and our first duty. We are here taught that God’s providence needs no falsehood or accommodating glosses to clear up its difficulties. Will ye speak wickedly and talk deceitfully for God? He will say, hold your peace. It is your wisdom so to do; for the paths of providence cannot be perceived till the dark clouds are cleared up. Wherefore, though he slay me I will trust in him, and plead my cause before him. Yes, for while we hope we have comfort; but on yielding to despair, nothing but gloom and terror prey upon the spirits. So David, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: and then we know that we shall be justified in the issue.

Job, on finding enlargement of soul, had two requests to make; the one for temporal, the other for spiritual good. He prayed that God would withdraw his afflicting hand from the body, and his terrors from the soul: yet surely the latter are far more grievous than the former. How valuable is a spotless confidence, and peculiarly so to afflicted souls. The good man’s faith is much encreased when he can say with Job, “God himself shall be my salvation.” Schultens.

Notwithstanding the confidence of Job, he ceased not the less to search for his sins: and in the hallowed language of ancient piety, afflictions and sins were synonimous words. Psalms 103:3. Isaiah 38:17. Though he resisted the arguments of his friends, as to the guilt of atrocious crimes; yet he ceased not to search his conscience for every smaller fault. Young men may learn here a good lesson. If they follow the stream, and give way to sin; notwithstanding reformation and repentance in the day of affliction, all these sins will come to their recollection, and greatly augment their trouble. Happy, thrice happy then is that youth who, guarded by a religious education, is preserved from the crimes and follies common to those who follow the passions and vanities of youth. He shall have the confidence of Job, and the comfort of Hezekiah, in the day of visitation.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 13:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/job-13.html. 1835.

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