Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 25:6

How much less man, that maggot, And the son of man, that worm!"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Depravity of Man;   Humility;   Man;   Worm;   Thompson Chain Reference - Insignificance of Man;   Man;   Worms;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Insects;   Man;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Bildad;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Son of Man;   Worm;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Son of Man;   Worm;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Insects;   Job, the Book of;   Maggot;   Son of Man;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Worm;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Worms;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Son of man;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Worm;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Anthropology;   Bildad;   Job, Book of;   Regeneration;   Worm;   Zophar;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Son of Man;   Worm;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for July 26;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

How much less man, that is a worm? - Or as the Targum - "How much more man, who in his life is a reptile; and the son of man, who in his death is a worm." Almost all the versions read, "Truly man is corruption, and the son of man a worm." The original is degradingly expressive: "Even because אנוש enosh, miserable man, is רמה rimmah, a crawling worm; and the son of Adam, who is תולעה toleah, a worm, or rather maggot, from its eating into and dividing certain substances." - Parkhurst. Thus endeth Bildad the Shuhite, who endeavored to speak on a subject which he did not understand; and, having got on bad ground, was soon confounded in his own mind, spoke incoherently, argued inconclusively, and came abruptly and suddenly to an end. Thus, his three friends being confounded, Job was left to pursue his own way; they trouble him no more; and he proceeds in triumph to the end of the thirty-first chapter.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-25.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

How much less man - See Job 4:19. Man is mentioned here as a worm; in Job 4:19 he is said to dwell in a house of clay and to be crushed before the moth. In both cases the design is to represent him as insignificant in comparison with God.

A worm - רמה rı̂mmâh see Job 7:5. The word is commonly applied to such worms as are bred in putridity, and hence, the comparison is the more forcible.

And the son of man - Another mode of speaking of man. Any one of the children of man is the same. No one of them can be compared with God; compare the notes at Matthew 1:1.

Which is a worm - תולעה tôlê‛âh compare the notes at Isaiah 1:18. This word frequently denotes the worm from which the scarlet or crimson color was obtained. It is, however, used to denote the worm that is bred on putrid substances, and is so used here; compare Exodus 16:20; Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 66:24. It is also applied to a worm that destroys plants. Jonah 4:7; Deuteronomy 28:39. Here it means, that man is poor, feeble, powerless. In comparison with God he is a crawling worm. All that is said in this chapter is true and beautiful, but it has nothing to do with the subject in debate. Job had appealed to the course of events in proof of the truth of his position. The true way to meet that was either to deny that the facts existed as he alleged, or to show that they did not prove what be had adduced them to establish. But Bildad did neither; nor did he ingenuously confess that the argument was against him and his friends. At this stage of the controversy, since they had nothing to reply to what Job had alleged, it would have been honorable in them to have acknowledged that they were in error, and to have yielded the palm of victory to him. But it requires extraordinary candor and humility to do that; and rather than do it, most people would prefer to say something - though it has nothing to do with the case in hand.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-25.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 25:6

Man, that is a worm-The worm

1. With peculiar emphasis we may say of the worm, it is “of the earth earthy.” Springing out of it, boring into it, and feeding on it, or on that which grows upon it,--it is a singular image of man, who was formed out of the dust of the ground, and is destined to return to it, and who, alas! feeds on it. All men may not be equally represented by that which belongs to the extremely gross in character.

2. In the naturally repulsive character of a worm we have an illustration of sin. The only thing that repels God from man is sin. To man’s weakness, ignorance, poverty, and sorrow, the Creator can and does graciously draw near; but from man’s sin He recoils. What sin is to God, it should be to us--a repulsive thing--that which we should hate and flee from.

3. The carrion-worm and canker-worm afford us an illustration of the injurious character of man as a sinner. What are the ravages of war but the dread results of human carrion-worms revelling in human blood? What are the restless activities, passions, and pursuits of men, but the ceaseless gnawing of pride, envy, ambition, lust, anger, malice, deceit, and suchlike things--the canker-worms of the soul, and the carrion-worms of the body?

4. Learn a lesson of humility from the different classes and pursuits of worms. Some are great and some small; some attractive and some unsightly.

5. Worms are not without their use in the world, and some--such as silkworms--are of great value. (Anon.)
.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 25:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-25.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

How much less man, that is a worm?.... Whose original is of the earth, dwells in it, and is supported by it, and creeps into it again; who is impure by nature and by practice, weak and impotent to do anything that is spiritually good, or to defend himself from his spiritual enemies; and is mean and despicable, as even the best of men are, in their own eyes, and in the eyes of the world: and, if the best of men are comparable to such creatures, and our Lord himself, in human nature, was content to be called a worm, and no man; what must the worst of men be, or man be in and of himself, without the grace of God and righteousness of Christ, by which he can be only clean and righteous? see Isaiah 41:14; and, if the celestial bodies above mentioned are eclipsed of all their brightness and glory, in the presence of God; what a contemptible figure must man make in the court of heaven, who, in comparison of them, is but a worm, and much more so, as appearing before God?

and the son of man, which is a worm; which is repeated with a little variation for the confirmation of it; or it may signify, that even the first man was no other than of the earth, earthy, and so are all his sons. The Targum is,

"how much more man, who in his life is a reptile, and the son of man, who in his death is a worm?'

to which may be added, that he is in his grave a companion for the worms; and indeed it appears by the observations made through microscopes, that man, in his first state of generation, is really a wormF16Lewenhoeck apud Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 721. Vid. Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 2. p. 912, 913. ; so that, as Pliny saysF17Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 7. , one that is a judge of things may pity and be ashamed of the sorry original of the proudest of animals. By this short reply of Bildad, and which contains little more than what had been before said, it is plain that he was tired of the controversy, and glad to give out.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-25.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Job 4:19-21; Job 15:16).

worm  …  worm — Two distinct Hebrew words. The first, a worm bred in putridity; alluding to man‘s corruption. The second a crawling worm; implying that man is weak and groveling.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-25.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

Worm — Mean, and vile, and impotent; proceeding from corruption, and returning to it.

The son — For miserable man in the last branch he here puts the son of any man, to shew that this is true even of the greatest and best of men. Let us then wonder at the condescension of God, in taking such worms into covenant and communion with himself!

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-25.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 25:6 How much less man, [that is] a worm? and the son of man, [which is] a worm?

Ver. 6. How much less man, that is a worm?] He saith not, as a worm, but a worm itself, so Psalms 22:6, "I am a worm, and no man"; nullificamen hominis, as Tertullian somewhere phraseth it. David in the Arabic signifieth a worm, saith one, to which he may seem in that psalm to allude. The word here rendered a worm, signifieth a small worm bred in cheese or flesh, a mite, a maggot, Vermis parvus in carne aut caseo nascens, Exodus 16:24. Others say, it signifieth rottenness, which hath no strength. Hereby man, convinced of his infirmity, vanity, and impurity, should learn Virium suarum ουδενειαν agnoscere, to give glory to God, and to take shame to himself.

And the son of man, which is a worm?] Lumbricus, quo vix quidquam contemptius nominari potest, So vile and abject a creature is man. The greater is God’s mercy to look upon such a walking dunghill: learn hereby to know God and thyself, which is the highest point of heavenly wisdom.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 25:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-25.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 25:6. How much less man, that is a worm, &c.— How much less mortal man, who is corruption? and the son of man, who is a worm? The Alexandrian edition of the LXX reads the 5th verse, He saith to the sun, Arise not, and it doth not arise; He commandeth the moon, and it shineth not, nor are the stars pure in his sight. In chap. Job 14:1-2. Job represents the miserable condition of man in strong colours; and, upon this representation, expostulates on his case with God, Job 25:3-4. Dost thou open thine eyes upon such a one, and bringest me into judgment with thee? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? These last words shew the ground of the expostulations in this and the 15th chapter. The sense of Job's expostulation seems to be this: "Why art thou extreme to mark all my errors? Is it reasonable to expect purity of a man born of a woman, who is by the very condition of his birth unclean?" I shall be easily persuaded that Job had not entered into all the niceties relating to this point; but I shall not easily believe that he charged God foolishly, by imputing uncleanness to the works of his creation: for, tell me upon what ground this expostulation stands; How shall man be clean, that is born of a woman? Why not clean? Did God make woman or man unclean at the beginning? If he did, the expostulation would have been more apposite, and much stronger, had the true cause been assigned, and Job had said, "How canst thou expect cleanness in man, whom thou createdst unclean?" But as the case now stands, the expostulation has a plain reference to the introduction of vanity and corruption by the sin of the woman, and is an evidence that this ancient writer was sensible of the evil consequences of the fall, upon the whole race of man. Moses tells us, Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image; and St. Paul, that we have borne the image of the earthy. The notion is the same as expressed by Job, Can a clean thing come out of an unclean? See Bishop Sherlock's use and Intent of Prophecy, Dissert. 2: p. 221.

REFLECTIONS.—Bildad, either convinced by Job's arguments of the prosperity of the wicked, was unable to reply: or, seeing him unshaken in his opinion, thinks it useless to attempt his conviction. One thing, however, he cannot but urge; and therein he is right, the majesty and holiness of God, as an argument to deter Job from his repeated appeals to him, and eagerness to plead for himself at his bar.

1. He would have Job observe how great and glorious God is. Dominion and fear are with him, his kingdom is absolute and universal, and reverence and godly fear are the bounden duty of every creature before the eternal majesty. He maketh peace in his high places; no jarring discord disturbs the repose of that bright world where he dwells. Is there any number of his armies? when all the hosts of heaven and earth, the elements, and all the powers of nature, stand ready to execute his commands; and upon whom doth not his light arise? his providential care, extensive as the sun's bright beams, fills the earth with his goodness. Therefore Job's noisy clamour is as unreasonable as his desire to plead with such an almighty and holy God is presumptuous.

2. How vile man is! How can man be justified with God, or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? his nature is corrupt, his ways perverse; and therefore what folly, what madness, to pretend to appear at his righteous bar! Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea the stars are not pure in his sight; his piercing eye can descry spots in the brightest luminaries of heaven; how much less then can man, that is a worm, dare stand in his presence as an appellant, or the son of man, the corrupted offspring of a fallen parent, which is a worm, a dying worm, and shortly to be food for worms, presume to vindicate himself? Note; (1.) A sense of our meanness as mortal worms, and our sinfulness as fallen creatures, should ever humble us low in the dust before God. (2.) Man is by nature as unfit for communion with God, through his corruption, as unable to stand before him by reason of his guilt; woe were unto us, if we should, unpardoned and unholy, be called to his bar. (3.) It is a mark of the amazing love and condescension of God, that, notwithstanding our vileness and sinfulness, he has in mercy had respect unto us, and sent his Son to wash us in his blood, and his Spirit to renew our hearts, that we might be enabled to appear righteous in his sight, and be made meet for the enjoyment of his blessed self.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 25:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-25.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

PAUSE, my soul, over this short but sweet chapter; for very great and important are the improvements, which, under GOD the HOLY GHOST, may be gathered out of it. And first, mark in strong and solemn characters what is here said, of the greatness, sovereignty, and holiness, of Almighty GOD. Can any language be stronger in proof, what an infinitely great and glorious GOD, this GOD is, with whom thou hast to do! This is He, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, neither can any evil dwell with him? Next, ponder over the marked and glaring nature of sin and transgression; for as the LORD is infinitely holy, so thou art altogether vile; and in thee, that is in thy flesh, dwelleth no good thing, Next consider, and let it be a most solemn consideration, what the Shuhite here saith, How can man be justified with GOD? How shall he be clean that is born of a woman? Are these questions, my soul, solemnly, seriously, anxiously, brought home to thee? Dost thou feel their vast importance, as if the HOLY GHOST, in his convincing thee of sin, had stamped them upon thee never to be worn out, until an answer of peace be found to them? Pause, my soul, over the inquiry. Wilt thou seek a qualification in any purifications of thine own? Can thy tears and repentance make thee clean? Will these, with all thy best promises of amendment, cause thee to appear justified before GOD? Wouldest thou trust in these now, much less depend upon them at the bar of GOD'S judgment? No, my soul, these are miserable comforters all, all physicians of no value. Look then to JESUS. His blood is a fountain to cleanse from all sin. And, what endears it still more, it is of GOD'S own appointing. In that day (saith GOD, speaking of the gospel day) there shall be opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a fountain for sin, and for uncleanness. Here then, and here only, seek a cleansing. As it is a fountain of GOD'S own appointing, how sure is it that the cleansing in it shall be effectual. And as it is an open fountain, why wouldest thou for a moment be prompted to fear that it is not open to thee. Beg of GOD the SPIRIT to do by thee as he did by Hagar at the well, and give thee to see that this fountain is both open and nigh to thee; that there thou mayest be cleansed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. And oh! the inconceivable rapture to a soul cleansed in JESUS'S blood, and made holy and bright in his righteousness: he shall shine forth (for so the promise runs) as the sun in the kingdom of his Father. Precious JESUS! is this thy grace, thy righteousness, thy favor, to poor guilty sinners? Didst thou, holy LORD, condescend to become a worm, and no man, that thy people, who are sons of men, and but worms indeed, might be made the righteousness of GOD in thee! Oh! then, I shall behold thy glory, Holy LORD, when clothed in thy holiness: and in that day, as the Prophet hath said, the Moon shall indeed be confounded, and the Sun ashamed, when thou, the LORD of Hosts, shalt reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before thine Ancients gloriously.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/job-25.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A worm, to wit, mean, and vile, and impotent; proceeding from corruption, and returning to it; and withal filthy and loathsome, and so every way a very unfit person to appear before the high and holy God, and much more to contend with him. The same thing is repeated in other words; only for miserable man in the last branch he here puts the son of any man, of what degree or quality soever, to show that this is true even of the greatest and best of men.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 25:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-25.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.Worm’ worm — Two distinct Hebrew words. The worms were both kinds bred in putridity. The latter, , was the insect from which the scarlet colour was obtained, and is used in Isaiah 1:18 as a symbol for sin of the deepest hue, and in Isaiah 41:14 as one of helplessness. It was this worm that destroyed Jonah’s gourd. The Jews say, “that if a man hold a worm in his hand, all the water in Jordan can not wash him clean while he holds it there.” — LIGHTFOOT, Works, 7:415. Hengstenberg observes it is very significant for the speech of Bildad that it should have consisted of just five verses, the signature of the half, the incomplete. A continuation of the speech might have led to the renewal of direct reproaches against Job. But these will not cross his lips.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-25.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 25:6. How much less man, that is a worm — Mean, vile, and impotent; proceeding from corruption, and returning to it. And the son of man — For miserable man, in the last clause, he here puts the son of any man, to show that this is true, even of the greatest and best of men. Let us then wonder at the condescension of God, in taking such worms into covenant and communion with himself!

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 25:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-25.html. 1857.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

By contrast, man is far smaller than the moon or the stars, and is like a maggot or worm in God"s sight. This entire speech seems designed to humiliate Job. Therefore, no man should ever be so brash to assert his innocence before God. "Certainly no "worm" should argue with God about his integrity or seek self-vindication" (Strauss p. 253). Job would agree that God is great and that man is to be humble. Yet, man isn"t worthless (Psalm 8:3ff). This speech doesn"t help Job, for he is seeking vindication and not purification. He is already innocent.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-25.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

How much less . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

worm. Hebrew. rimmah, put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6, for that which is corruptible.

man. Hebrew. "adam. App-14.

worm = maggot. Hebrew. tola", put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6, for that which is weak.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-25.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) How much less man . . .—Comp. Psalms 8:4; Psalms 22:6; Isaiah 41:14, &c.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-25.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?
How much less, etc
The original is degradingly expressive: "How much less enosh, miserable man, who is a worm; and the son of Adam, who is tolëäh, a maggot."
4:19; Genesis 18:27; Psalms 22:6; Isaiah 41:14 Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 6:9 - How shall;  1 Chronicles 13:12 - How;  Job 4:18 - he put;  Job 9:14 - How much;  Job 35:5 - Look;  Psalm 8:4 - What;  Isaiah 40:17 - as nothing;  Daniel 7:4 - and a;  Hebrews 2:6 - the son

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 25:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-25.html.