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Bible Commentaries

Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible

Job 9

Verse 1

9:1-2 Job was certainly aware that the wicked perish and the righteous are protected, but that only furthered Job's dilemma, he was suffering and yet innocent! He goes back and repeats the comment that Eliphaz had made, "can mankind be just before God?" (4:17).

Verse 3

9:3 "If Job was to follow the Eliphaz's urging that he 'place his cause before God' (5:8), the problem to be faced would be 'how'? Because God had tormented Job, an upright man, how, he reasoned, could any man stand righteous before God? Job then proceeded to answer his own question by stating that man cannot dispute (debate in a court case) with God and expect to win. When God later appeared to Job, Job found that to be true (40:1-5; 42:2)" (Zuck pp. 46-47). Job asserts that God is simply too wise and powerful for a man to dispute with Him. The odds of winning such an argument would not even be once in a thousand times, and no one can challenge God and survive (9:4).

Verse 5

9:5-8 Here is a sample of God's might. He overturns mountains, shakes the earth, darkens the sun and stars, stretches out the heavens, tramples the waves of the sea, and creates the constellations.

Verse 9

9:9 "The Bear (the Big Dipper) in the north, Orion in the south, Pleiades in the east and west, and the 'chambers of the south', i.e. southern constellations" (Zuck p. 47).

Verse 10

9:10 God does great things that cannot be comprehended, works that cannot be numbered. Compare with 5:9.

Verse 11

9:11-12 God is incomprehensible. "No one can keep God from snatching someone away, and no one can force God to answer the question, 'What art Thou doing?'" (p. 47). The human eye cannot see Him, the senses cannot perceive Him, the human will cannot hinder Him and the human reason cannot question Him.

Verse 13

9:13 "Beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab": "The reference is to the Babylonian creation myth in which Markduk defeated Tiamat and then captured her helpers. God in His anger and power was able to conquer all the forces of evil, real and mythical. Rahab is another name for Tiamat, and for Leviathan, mentioned earlier (7:12)" (Zuck p. 48).

Verse 14

9:14-15 "How can Job expect to face God, if a sea monster cannot? Job would be so overwhelmed that he would be unable to choose his words in order to challenge God" (Strauss p. 88). Even though Job claims to be innocent, he still did not have a chance in such a court. "Since he would be speechless in God's presence, all he could hope for from such a Judge would be mercy" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 731).

Verse 16

9:16-18 Job complains that God seems bent on destroying him. "He bruised him with a tempest (Job's suffering is likened to his being buffeted in a storm), multiplied his wounds without cause (like an enemy attacking him)" (Zuck p. 48). He is convinced that he could not receive an impartial hearing from God, notice the expression, "without cause". He feels that God does not have a good reason for allowing this to happen. Job is not even given enough rest or breathing room from his sufferings that he is able to catch his breath, and as a result he is filled with bitterness.

Verse 19

9:19 Seeing that God is supreme in power and subject to no court, man has no grounds on which to contend with Him. "In either case, whether a show of strength or a case of justice, Job felt that he could not possibly win" (Zuck pp. 48-49).

Verse 20

9:20 Once again Job claims that he is righteous, but God is so overwhelming that Job was afraid he would become confused and end up witnessing against himself.

Verse 21

9:21 Here is another point of despair, he did not even care about himself anymore; he hated his life.

Verse 22

9:22 Job has reached the conclusion that it makes no difference to God, God destroys both the innocent and the guilty. In fact, in His impersonal concern, God mocks the innocent person who dies suddenly in a plague

Verse 23

(9:23). 9:24 "God gives the earth to the wicked (they are the ones possessing the earth's wealth and dominating others) and covers (blindfolds?) the judges so that they cannot be fair. Enraged at such inequities at the hand of God, Job cried out, 'If it is not He, then who is it?'" (Zuck p. 49). Notice that Job does not even ponder the thought that Satan might be to blame. Today, many feel that same way about God. "In this narrative the Lord wants us to see that even a good man, in a time of agonizing frustration, can weaken and utter some extremely foolish things. If you have felt as he did, that does not mean that you are without hope" (Jackson p. 40). The accusation is that God flouts justice indiscriminately. Modern authors such as B. Russell have denied that the universe contains any moral order, others have argued that God is indifferent to the human condition. Remember Eliphaz had said (5:22), that if Job repented, he would ultimately laugh at famine and destruction. Job's response is that it is God who laughs when calamities come. Job is arguing that God is not testing men with disaster but destroying them. "All this was in protest against the friends notion that God blesses the good man and punishes the wicked. Job could not accept that view because, as he saw it, God destroys both" (Zuck p. 49).

Verse 25

9:25-26 Here is another description of the brevity of life. The "runner" in 9:25 refers to a courier, that is a fast runner with the royal messenger service. The "reed boats" made of papyrus were the speedboats of the day, and birds like eagles or the peregrine falcon can reach speeds up to 120 mph as it swoops down. There is irony here, Job is suffering day and night and yet he is complaining that life is passing by too fast.

Verse 27

9:27-31 Job had thought about trying to forget his problems and cheer up, but considered this useless, because he would still know that God is against him. Even if he were to clean himself up, he thought that God was so against him that He would toss him into a cesspool. Trying to "look on the bright side" did not help. "If he puts on the smile of a happy face, God will condemn him for gladness. If he washes himself with the purest of water and the strongest of soap, God will dunk him in a slime pit" (McKenna p. 93). It seems Job is saying, "It is no use, no matter what I do, God will still be against me". "If I wash my body, God would make it so filthy that my clothes would refuse to cover me" (Strauss p. 92).

Verse 32

9:32 "He is not a man": "How does this square with the Mormon notion, as stated by Joseph Smith, that 'God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves?' (Job 33:12; Hosea 11:9)" (Jackson p. 40). (See: Millennial Star, V, 1844, pp. 88,89).

Verse 33

9:33 Job desires the services of someone who could become a mediator between himself and God. This cry for an umpire or mediator will be ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).

Verse 34

9:34 The same word for "rod" is used in Psalm 23:4. "To David, God's rod was his defense against his enemies; for Job, God's rod brings only violence and pain" (Strauss p. 93).

Verse 35

9:35 Job could only speak if he knew that God would not retaliate. "If there is no mediator, then I will speak for myself. But what shall I say that has not already been said?" (p. 93). The idea also may be, that if God would remove affliction, Job would confront God with confidence, but, he said in despair, "I cannot".

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 9". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dun/job-9.html. 1999-2014.