Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 15:14

"What is man, that he should be pure, Or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Depravity of Man;   Man;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Fall of Man, the;   Man;   Righteousness;   Sin;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Eliphaz;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Nature, Natural;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Man;   Sin;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Man;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Heredity;   Sin;   Smith Bible Dictionary - El'iphaz;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Fall of Man;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Eliphaz (2);   Job, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Holiness;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

What is man, that he should be clean? - אנוש מה mah enosh ; what is weak, sickly, dying, miserable man, that he should be clean? This is the import of the original word enosh.

And - born of a woman, that he should be righteous? - It appears, from many passages in the sacred writings, that natural birth was supposed to be a defilement; and that every man born into the world was in a state of moral pollution. Perhaps the word יצדק yitsdak should be translated, that he should justify himself, and not that he should be righteous.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-15.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

What is man that he should be clean? - The object of Eliphaz in this is to overturn the positions of Job that he was righteous, and had been punished beyond his deserts. He had before maintained Job 4:7, that no one ever perished being innocent, and that the righteous were not cut off. This was with him a favorite position; and indeed the whole drift of the argument maintained by him and his friends was, to prove that uncommon calamities were proof of uncommon guilt. Job had insisted on it that he was a righteous man, and had not deserved the calamities which had come upon him - a position which Eliphaz seems to have regarded as an assertion of innocence. To meet this he now maintains that no one is righteous; that all that are born of women are guilty; and in proof of this he goes back to the oracle which had made so deep an impression on his mind, and to the declaration then made to him that no one was pure before God; Job 4: He does not repeat it exactly as the oracle was then delivered to him, but adverts to the substance of it, and regards it as final and indisputable. The meaning is, “What are all the pretensions of man to purity, when even the angels are regarded as impure and the heavens unclean?”

He which is born of a woman - Another mode of denoting man. No particular argument to maintain the doctrine of man‘s depravity is couched in the fact that he is born of a woman. The sense is, simply, how can anyone of the human family be pure?

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-15.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

What is man, that he should be clean?.... Frail, feeble, mortal man, or woeful man, as Mr. Broughton renders it; since he is sinful, whereby he is become such a weak and dying creature: this question, as well as the following, is put by way of contempt, and as lessening man in a comparative sense, and in order to abate any high conceit of himself; who is not naturally clean, but the reverse, being conceived and born in sin; nor can he be so of himself, nor by any means he is capable of; and however clean he may be in his own eyes, or in the eyes of others, yet is not clean in the sight of God, and still less pure than him, his Maker, as in Job 4:17; and indeed cannot be clean at all, but through the grace of God, and blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin:

and he which is born of a woman; a periphrasis of man, Job 14:1;

that he should be righteous? as no man is naturally; there is none righteous, no, not one; though man originally was made righteous, yet sinning he lost his righteousness, and all his posterity are without any; nor can they become righteous of themselves, or by any works of righteousness done by them; and though they may trust in themselves that they are righteous, and may appear outwardly so before men, yet by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified or accounted righteous in the sight of God, and much less be more just than he, as in Job 4:17; nor can any of the sons of men be made or reckoned righteous but by the obedience of Christ, or by that justifying righteousness that is in him: what Eliphaz here says concerning the impurity, imperfection, and unrighteousness of men, are very great truths; but if he aims at Job, as he seems to do he misses his mark, and mistakes the man, and it is in vain with respect to him, or as a refutation of any notions of his; for Job asserts the corruption and depravity of human nature as strongly as it is expressed here, Job 14:4; nor does he ever claim, but disclaims, sinless perfection, Job 9:20; nor did he expect to be personally justified before God by any righteousness of his own, the imperfection of which he was sensible of, but by the righteousness of his living Redeemer, Job 9:30; but what he pleaded for was the integrity and uprightness of his heart in opposition to hypocrisy he was charged with; and the holiness and righteousness of his life and conversation, in opposition to a course of living in sin, or to his being guilty of some notorious sin or sins for which he was afflicted, as was insinuated. Eliphaz here recurs to his oracle, Job 4:17; and expresses it much to the same sense.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-15.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

What [is] man, that he should be clean? and [he which is] born of a woman, that he should i be righteous?

(i) His purpose is to prove that Job, as an unjust man and a hypocrite, is punished for his sins, as he did before, (Job 4:8).
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-15.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Eliphaz repeats the revelation (Job 4:17) in substance, but using Job‘s own words (see on Job 14:1, on “born of a woman”) to strike him with his own weapons.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-15.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 15:14 What [is] man, that he should be clean? and [he which is] born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Ver. 14. What is man, that he should be clean?] Eliphaz hath now done chiding (it is but time he should), and falls to reasoning; wherein nevertheless he showeth himself an empty and troublesome disputer, urging again the same arguments as before, Job 14:17-19, and not resting satisfied in a sufficient answer. Did Job ever assert himself clean? Said he not the clean contrary in many places? See Job 14:4. Only as washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of his God, 1 Corinthians 6:11, he discoursed of his integrity and righteousness; not denying himself otherwise tainted with original sin, and guilty of actual; which he begged pardon for; according to the tenour of the covenant of grace. And therefore Eliphaz might have spared these words, and better bestowed his pains in comforting Job, and exhorting him to patience. The Jesuits have at this day a device in handling texts of Scripture by their nice distinctions to perplex and obscure the clearest places; and for those that are doubtful, not at all to distinguish or illustrate them. Again, in points of controversy they make a great putter about that which we deny not, but say little or nothing to the main business.

Haec quae desperant renitescere posse relinquunt.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 15:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-15.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

What is man, Heb. frail, or sick, or wretched man? his mean original and corrupt nature showeth him to be unclean.

Which is born of a woman; from whom he derives infirmity, and corruption, and guilt, and the curse consequent upon it.

Righteous, to wit, in his own eyes, as thou, O Job, art.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 15:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-15.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.Born of a woman — The words of Job are now turned upon him, and give point to the citations Eliphaz makes from his wonderful revelation, Job 4:17. Job’s admission “born of a woman,” (see note Job 14:1,) justifies Eliphaz in seizing again his fallen weapon — “Job a sinner.”

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-15.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Just. Few are free from all spot; but venial sins do not hinder a man from being styled truly virtuous. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-15.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"Sensing that Job did not assimilate what Eliphaz had said about man in his first talk, he repeated himself. Weak man is impure; and born of woman; he is unrighteous (4:17). God does not trust His angels, and the heavens are not pure, so how can man be trusted by God or stand in moral purity before Him" (Zuck p. 71). All of this is a response to Job"s claim of innocence (9:21; 12:4).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-15.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

man = a mortal. Hebrew. "enosh. App-14. See note on Job 14:1.

clean = pure.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-15.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Eliphaz repeats the revelation (Job 4:17) in substances but using Job's own words (Job 14:1, note on "born of a wonan") to strike him with his own weapons.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-15.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) What is man?—This is the ceaseless burden.·(See Job 4:17; Job 9:2; Job 25:4, &c.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-15.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
is man
9:2; 14:4; 25:4-6; 1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chronicles 6:36; Psalms 14:3; 51:5; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20,29; John 3:6; Romans 7:18; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 2:2,3; 1 John 1:8-10
Reciprocal: Genesis 5:3 - in his;  Genesis 8:21 - the imagination;  Leviticus 12:2 - If a woman;  Job 4:17 - shall a man;  Job 11:12 - man be;  Job 14:1 - born;  Psalm 58:3 - estranged;  Psalm 130:3 - shouldest mark;  Psalm 143:2 - in thy sight;  Psalm 144:3 - what is man;  Proverbs 21:8 - way;  Isaiah 64:6 - are all;  Jeremiah 17:9 - GeneralMatthew 1:18 - of the;  Matthew 11:11 - born;  Mark 7:21 - out;  Luke 11:13 - being;  Luke 18:19 - GeneralJohn 3:7 - Ye;  John 9:34 - wast;  Acts 4:27 - thy;  Romans 3:10 - none;  1 Corinthians 4:4 - yet;  Philippians 3:9 - not;  Titus 3:5 - by works;  Hebrews 2:6 - What

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 15:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-15.html.