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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Job 9

 

 


Verses 1-35

Job 9:5. Removeth the mountains, by earthquakes. The great mountain ranges have continuous caverns, with interior rivers and lakes. Where liases, iron and sulphur abound, volcanoes form their beds of slumbering lavas, which on the sudden irruption of great waters, they being instantly converted into vapour, mountains burst asunder, and islands sink in a few moments.

There is however a geological idea of the removal, and new formations of the mountains, which was partially known to the ancients. Our chalkhills and coalfield ranges have all been formed by the flux and reflux of impetuous waters. Beds of gravel or of clay, with shells, are of constant occurrence at the base of those hills.

Job 9:7. Which commandeth the sun. See on Isaiah 38:8. Joshua 10. The rabbins refer this text to eclipses, or total obscurations of the solar orb.

Job 9:9. Arcturus, Orion, Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. The critics for the most part pass over this text; but it strongly intimates that the patriarchs had a considerable knowledge of astronomy. Arcturus is derived from a verb which signifies to meet together; and therefore it is applicable to a constellation. Orion, in the original, literally signifies a fool, and it is figuratively applied to stars which are entered by the sun when the tempestuous seasons begin, about the middle or end of autumn. The Pleiades, or as the Vulgate reads, Hyades, are the seven stars at the head of Taurus. The chambers of the south, are rendered the interior or secrets, or constellations of the south. Hence it is plain, that Job alludes here to the seasons of the year governed by the celestial bodies. The Egyptians have the praise of inventing the Zodiac, which signifies a belt; but the Zodiac being known in India, as in Egypt, it must have been known to Noah, and the antediluvian fathers. The husbandman and the shepherd, destitute of Almanacks, were unavoidably compelled to observe the heavens. The whole chain of society, dwelling in the vast line of country where the Nile overflows his banks, marked the constellation under which the waters began to rise, and called them stars of inundation, or of Aquarius, the waterman. When the plowing season came, which was done by oxen, they would denominate the stars which the sun then possessed by the name of Taurus, or the bull. When the droughty season arrived, which drove the lion from the desert to the banks of the river, they would call the stars which then appeared Leo, or the lion. The stars which appeared during the harvest, when the maids reaped, they would call Virgo, or virgin, having an ear of corn in her hand. The stars which presided when the goats brought forth their twins, they would call Gemini, and afterwards Castor and Pollux. Aries refers to the lambing season. When days and nights were equal, they would represent the stars by Libra, or the balance. When diseases affected the country at the fall of the leaf; they would represent the stars by a Scorpion, because of its venom. In like manner, the hunting season was distinguished by Sagitarius, or the archer; the fishing season by the Pisces, or fish. The decline of the sun they represented by Cancer, or the crab which walks sideways. And when the sun ascended the Zodiac, they designated it by Capricornus, or the goat which skips along the summit of the craggy rocks. So the Egyptians, accustomed to hieroglyphic writing, knew the approach of every season by appearances in the heavens.

Job 9:17. He—multiplieth my wounds without cause; without any specific cause, such as his friends alleged; or any particular cause known to Job himself. He had before, Job 9:14-15, confessed the righteousness of God, and his submission to his judge, for he admits that man can never be just or righteous before God; but he argues against the doctrine that every affliction was a proof or consequence of some particular sin. There was no such cause of his present afflictions.

Job 9:25. My days are swifter than a post. The swift-footed dromedary, trained for dispatch, will run a hundred and fifty miles in twenty four hours. Men also in India run with the mail-bag on their heads, and at intervals relieve one another.

Job 9:26. Swift ships. Harmer, following the opinion of oriental travellers, thinks Job alludes to vessels which sail very rapidly down the rivers; perhaps at the rate of ten or twelve knots or miles an hour. The Chaldaic reads, “As ships loaded with precious fruits.”

Job 9:33. Neither is there any daysman. Hebrews umpire or judge. The LXX, with many MSS. and versions, read, “Oh that there were a mediator betwixt us.” Sinners have now such a Mediator, and no man can plead with God but through HIM. 1 Timothy 2:5-6.

REFLECTIONS.

Job here replies to Bildad by granting what he had said, but with two grand exceptions; first, that no man, properly speaking, is just before his Maker; and secondly, that God sometimes destroys the innocent with the guilty, the perfect and the wicked, Job 9:22. No man can properly be accounted just before his Maker, when the grandeur of God is considered. If he shall sit in judgment, he may charge the holiest man with a thousand defects, and put him to silence. God is wise to search the heart. He darkens the sun, and veils the stars with a cloud. All the constellations of the spacious heavens are but as the sparks of a firebrand dashed at his feet. What mortal will then presume to justify himself in the presence of God?

We have next a fine discovery of Job’s self-knowledge, and great modesty. Many have blamed him, and commentators too, for having too high an opinion of his own righteousness; but here he corrects their error. Though I were righteous, yet would I not answer. I would adore, and suffer in silence, confident that he would do me no wrong.

Job had right views of the swiftness of life. The fleeting swiftness of the king’s messengers, the ships gliding with the stream before the wind, and the eagle reaching the distant forest, showed the rolling wastes of human life. Now therefore, though in some afflictions we have no daysman, or mediator for the removal of calamities, let us be comforted with the thought that life is short, and then we shall enjoy an everlasting repose.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 9:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/job-9.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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