Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 40:2

"Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Blasphemy;   God;   Thompson Chain Reference - Striving with God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Leviathan;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - God;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Argue;   Job, Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that reproveth God, let him answer it - Let the man who has made so free with God and his government, answer to what he has now heard.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-40.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Shall he that contendeth with the A mighty instruct him? - Gesenius renders this, “Contending shall the reprover of God contend with the Almighty?” Prof. Lee, “Shall one by contending with the Almighty correct this?” On the grammatical construction, see Gesenius on the word יסור yissôr and Rosenmuller and Lee, in loc. The meaning seems to be this: “Will he who would enter into a controversy with the Almighty now presume to instruct him? He that was so desirous of arguing his cause with God, will he now answer?” All the language used here is taken from courts, and is such as I have had frequent occasion to explain in these notes. The reference is to the fact that Job had so often expressed a wish to carry his cause, as before a judicial tribunal, directly up to God. He had felt that if he could get it there, he could so argue it as to secure a verdict in his favor; that he could set arguments before the Almighty which would secure a reversal of the fearful sentence which had gone out against him, and which had caused him to be held as a guilty man. God now asks whether he who had been so anxious to have a legal argument, and to carry his cause himself before God - a man disposed to litigation before God (רוב rûb ) - was still of the same mind, and felt himself qualified to take upon himself the office of an instructor, a corrector, an admonisher (יסור yissôr ) of God? He had the opportunity now, and God here paused, after the sublime exhibition of his majesty and power in the previous chapters, to give him an opportunity, as he wished, to carry his cause directly before him. The result is stated in Job 40:3-4. Job had now nothing to say.

He that reproveth God - Or rather, “He that is disposed to carry his cause before God,” as Job had often expressed a wish to do. The word used here (יכח yâkach ) is often employed, especially in the Hiphil, in a “forensic sense,” and means “to argue, to show, to prove” anything; then “to argue down, to confute, to convict;” see Job 6:25; Job 13:15; Job 19:5; Job 32:12; Proverbs 9:7-8; Proverbs 15:12; Proverbs 19:25. It is evidently used in that sense here - a Hiphil participle מוכיח môkiyach - and refers, not to any man in general who reproves God, but to Job in particular, as having expressed a wish to carry his cause before him, and to argue it there.

Let him answer it - Or rather, “Let him answer him.” That is, Is he now ready to answer? There is now an opportunity for him to carry his cause, as he wished, directly before God. Is he ready to embrace the opportunity, and to answer now what the Almighty has said? This does not mean, then, as the common version would seem to imply, that the man who reproves God must be held responsible for it, but that Job, who had expressed the wish to carry his cause before God, had now an opportunity to do so. That this is the meaning, is apparent from the next verses, where Job says that he was confounded, and had nothing to say.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-40.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 40:2

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him?

The equality of God’s dealings

While Job is held up as the model of patience and resignation under God’s chastening hand, we are continually reminded of a certain irritability and restlessness which surprises and distresses us. But a similar difficulty is elsewhere found. David is the model of purity, while there is no saint whose memory is so stained with impurity. Moses is emphatically the type of meekness, while the salient point of his life which attracts our notice is extreme irritability. Manly straightforwardness is the leading feature in the character of Abraham, while a shuffling trick is the one fault by which his memory is marked. Examine this apparent inconsistency in Job. He is brought before our attention as a man deeply impressed with the sense of common fairness, and a dread at seeing success awarded to the wicked, and adversity to the good. His own ease fell under the latter clause, and with no selfish or interested view he makes his own position the opportunity of impugning God’s providence. The leading inconsistency which we have to reconcile is the fact that God should have suspended the law of His moral kingdom in Job’s case, and awarded suffering to the righteous. But if we look a little deeper, we shall see at once that the fairness and justice of God were vindicated and asserted, not infringed, in Job’s case. A challenge had been made by Satan which impugned the justice of God’s estimate of His servant in heaping upon him so many and such abundant blessings. No test could have been more severe than that to which Job was put, and in the end the entire and humble submission of the patriarch to the will of his Maker declared beyond controversy the justice of God’s estimate of His servant, and manifested before Satan and the world the power of saving grace. The object of God is not simply the reward of the good by prosperity, and the punishment of the wicked, but it is also the vindication of His grace and power by the subjection of man to His will, and the manifestation of the sanctity of His elect. There is a seeming inconsistency between Job’s actual life and the character given him. But it must be remembered that the character of the man is generally not the upper surface which catches the eye. It is not the irritated waves and billows of the sea, but that vast belt of waters which girdles the earth below the ever-moving and heaving bosom of the deep, which constitutes the nature of the ocean. That undercurrent of a man’s will and ways is the result of many a contradiction to his natural disposition, and he does not deserve the title of a peculiar character until he has vindicated his right to it by overcoming the influences which are contradictory to it. The natural tendency of Job was that of patient trust in God; it needed the contradiction of circumstances most adverse to that disposition to test and confirm its tendency. Lessons--

1. We little know the reason and cause of God’s dealing with us; we see the handwriting on the wall, but we see not the hand. We know nothing of remote and hidden causes; we only shall know them and understand them, when, at the end of the world, the handwriting is interpreted. We are inclined to blame God’s fairness. But He is fair, He is just. But it is in the whole and complete fulfilment of His scheme that fairness is to be manifested--in the integrity of the drama, not in the isolated scenes.

2. Note the apparent inconsistency of Job’s own character. He began with implicit, unquestioning resignation; his after conduct betrays impatience, and an inclination to argue against those who were apparently pleading the cause of God. The key is found in the last chapter. At the end, his resignation was the result of deep experience, of profound humiliation, and of personal intercourse with God. It is so with us all. A man’s character involves the whole octave--the highest note of it is played in youth, the deepest at the end of the journey of life; the whole is played together in the perfect harmony of heaven.

3. Where lay the fault of Job’s friends? They argued on false premises, and in an improper manner. Censoriousness and love of prejudging human actions are faults which interfere with God’s prerogative, and violate the spirit of true charity.

4. Learn the power of intercession.

5. Very beautiful is the end of Job. Job is a type of the resurrection. (E. Monte.)

Mystery in science and revelation

We may paraphrase the text as follows: Shall man, rebelling against the authority of God, assume to be wiser than the All-wise? Shall he pronounce the ways of God unequal in order to vindicate his own integrity? Is it wisdom in men, surrounded by mysteries and conscious of ill-desert, to fly in the face of heaven and lay their complaints against the God with whom they contend? In that ancient poem, the Book of Job, are embedded some of the profoundest discussions of the problems of life. Most of us are brought, at times, face to face with the question which troubled the man of Uz, “Why is this world one of sin and death?” Why is it that a loving and all-perfect God has permitted such wide-wasting woe? for the suffering is not limited to humankind, but reaches from the worm that crawls beneath our feet through all gradations of animal life, through human and angelic existences up to the right hand of the everlasting throne, where sitteth the crowned Sufferer who wept over Jerusalem, and is the exalted Lamb of Sacrifice, slain from eternity. The question, as I have said, is not new, but old as history. It has been turned over in unnumbered shapes. It has been answered by numberless sages, but reappears in the speculations of every thoughtful mind. It is the shadow that follows us toward the sun, and will disappear only when we walk into the sun, and know even as we are known. And I believe that sometimes nothing will quiet the mind, troubled by the perplexing riddles of evil and pain, so effectually as to consider why it is best for us not to know certain things, or to see how our ignorance in the department of moral evil is equalled by our ignorance in other spheres of truth. This is the lesson which the Lord taught Job. We are surrounded in this world by mysteries which baffle us, or, if we explain one, another lies back of it which defies explanation. These mysteries abound in the realm of science. Says Henry Drummond, “A science without mystery is unknown; a religion without mystery is absurd.” Modern investigation has answered many of the questions which the Lord put to Job; vast additions to human knowledge have been the spoils of hardy efforts; but the unknown is a vaster field now than even then. The circle of knowledge is surrounded by an ever-widening zone of mystery. Geology may have helped us to understand how the cornerstone of the earth was laid, but the question now is, “What is that cornerstone? Whence came it?” Every step backward leads us to mystery, where science closes her lips, and faith speaks out the name of God. Man thinks of the immensities of nature, and he is nothing. He thinks of the minuteness of atoms and molecules, and he seems almost everything. We trespass continually on the domain of the supernatural, the spiritual, the invisible, the Divine; and the Cross of Jesus may well be seen wherever His hand has wrought in the mysteries of creation. God does not think it best to give us completed knowledge, any more than He gives us complete bodily strength, or complete soul development. He demands work of us. Salvation is wrought out with fear and trembling, and we ought to thank God that we are not treated as some rich men treat their sons. God does not want spoiled and pampered children. (John H. Barrows, D. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 40:2". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-40.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?.... Is he capable of it? He ought to be that takes upon him to dispute with God, to object or reply to him; that brings a charge against him, enters the debate, and litigates a point with him; which Job wanted to do. But could he or any other instruct him, who is the God of knowledge, the all wise and only wise God; who gives man wisdom, and teaches him knowledge? What folly is it to pretend to instruct him! Or can such an one be "instructed?" as the Targum: he is not in the way of instruction; he that submits to the chastising hand of God may be instructed thereby, but not he that contends with him; see Psalm 94:12. Or should he be one that is instructed? no, he ought to be an instructor, and not one instructed; a teacher, and not one that is taught; he should be above all instruction from God or man that will dispute with the Almighty, The word for instruct has the signification of chastisement, because instruction sometimes comes that way; and then the sense either is, shall a man contend with the Almighty that chastises him? Does it become a son or a servant to strive against a parent or a master that corrects him? Or does not he deserve to be chastised that acts such a part? Some derive the word from one that signifies to remove or depart, and give the sense, shall the abundance, the all sufficiency of God, go from him to another, to a man; and so he, instead of God, be the all sufficient one? Or rather the meaning of the clause is, has there not been much, enough, and more than enough said, Job, to chastise thee, and convince thee of thy mistakes? must more be said? is there any need of it?

he that reproveth God, let him answer it; he that reproves God, for his words, or works, or ways, finding fault with either of them, ought to answer to the question now put; or to any or all of those in the preceding chapters, and not be silent as Job now was.

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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 40:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-40.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty q instruct [him]? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

(q) Is this the way for a man that will learn, to strive with God? which he reproves in Job.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-40.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

he that contendeth — as Job had so often expressed a wish to do. Or, rebuketh. Does Job now still (after seeing and hearing of God‘s majesty and wisdom) wish to set God right?

answer it — namely, the questions I have asked.

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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 40:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-40.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

Reproveth — That boldly censureth his ways or works; it is at his peril.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-40.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 40:2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct [him]? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

Ver. 2. Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?] Or, Is it wisdom to contend with the Almighty? An disputare cum Omnipotente est eruditio? No, but the greatest folly and sottishness. Job might think otherwise, so long as he compared himself with others; but being once set by God in his super excellencies considered, he shall see his own nothingness, and sit down in silence and patience, though severely tried and sharply afflicted.

He that reproveth God, let him answer it] Answer it if he can, or else yield the cause. Praestat herbam dare quam turpiter pugnare. But if Job have yet further a mind to question and quarrel God in any his ways and works, let it be heard what answer he can return to what hath been already spoken.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 40:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-40.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 40:2. Shall he that contendeth, &c.— He who disputeth with the Almighty shall be chastised; he that will argue the point with God ought to answer for it: Heath: who, subjoining this after Job's confession, chap. 42: takes the argument to be this: "It is not sufficient that thou repentest in dust and ashes: the contending with God is a crime which deserves chastisement; and, according to strict justice, thou oughtest to answer for it." The latter clause of the verse refers to chap. Job 13:3.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 40:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-40.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 490

SIN OF REPROVING GOD

Job 40:2. He that reproveth God, let him answer it.

JOB’S friends had failed of convincing his mind. And no wonder; for they adopted not any line of argument fitted to that end. Job was faulty, exceeding faulty, before God, though not in the way that his friends imagined. He had complained of God in very irreverent and unhallowed terms. He had complained of God as “multiplying his wounds without cause [Note: Job 9:17.].” He had even condemned God as an oppressor: “I will say unto God, Do not condemn me: shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldst oppress, that thou shouldst despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? Thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin. Thou knowest I am not wicked [Note: Job 10:2-3; Job 10:6-7.].” He even challenges God to a dispute respecting the equity of his own proceedings, not doubting but that, if God will only give him leave to plead his own cause, without oppressing him by his power, he shall prove God himself to be in error concerning him: “Withdraw thine hand far from me; and let not thy dread make me afraid: then call thou, and I will answer; or let me speak, and answer thou me [Note: Job 13:21-22.].” In reply to all this, God takes up the cause: and, with an immediate reference to such expressions as I have already cited, he says, “He that reproveth God, let him answer it.”

Now, as it may be thought that there are none at this day so presumptuous as to “reprove God,” I will inquire,

I. Who they are that are obnoxious to this charge—

Impious as such conduct is, there are multitudes who are guilty of it.

1. Those who dispute his word—

[None but the truly humble either do or will receive the word of God without gainsaying. To some it is too sublime, containing doctrines which human reason cannot comprehend: to others it is too simple, offering salvation by faith alone, without any deeds of the Law. To others, again, its precepts are too strict, requiring more than man can perform; whilst, on the other hand, its promises are too free, seeing that a man has nothing to do but to rest upon them, and they shall all be fulfilled to him.

But, of all people under heaven, there are none who so systematically and openly blaspheme the word of God as the Papists do. They deny its sufficiency for the instruction of men in the way of life, and put on a footing of equality with it their own unwritten traditions. And even its suitableness, also, do their deny; affirming that, if indiscriminately read by the laity, “it will do more harm than good.” If it be in any translation of the Protestants, they denounce it as “a deadly pasture,” that will destroy the flock; and as “the devil’s gospel,” which, whosoever has “the presumption to read without the permission of the priest, he shall never receive absolution from the priest; and, as far as the priest can prevail, he shall perish for ever under the guilt of all his sins [Note: All this is affirmed by the present Pope, in his charge to all the Popish Bishops and Clergy throughout the world, given in 1824.]. What is all this, but to “reprove God,” and to say to him, “Thou hast revealed thy word in away unsuitable to the necessities of thy people, and unfit for their perusal?” This the priests declare, even respecting their own translations of the Bible: and they accordingly take the Bible out of the hands of the laity, and suffer none to read it without their special permission. I marvel that there can be found upon the face of the whole earth persons that will submit to such impious, such deadly, tyranny as this. But this whole Church shall answer for it, ere long.]

2. Those who arraign his providence—

[Here, again, will every man be found guilty before God. It is no uncommon thing to hear even persons who bear the Christian name speaking of luck, and fortune, and chance, exactly as if there were no God in heaven, or as if there were things beyond his reach and control. And, when afflictions are multiplied upon us, how commonly do we repine and murmur against God, instead of saying, as we ought, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Perhaps it will be said, that our complaints are not so much made against God as against those who are the immediate instruments of our affliction. But the creature, whoever he may be, is only a “rod,” a “staff,” a “sword,” in Jehovah’s hands: and, though God leaves men to the unrestrained operation of their own corrupt hearts, he overrules every thing they do for the accomplishment of his own will. Even the crucifixion of our blessed Lord was “in accordance with God’s determinate counsel and will [Note: Acts 2:23; Acts 4:28.];” “nor is there evil in the city, but it must be traced to God as the doer of it [Note: Amos 3:6.],” so far, at least, at the sufferer is concerned. And us Moses, when the people murmured against him and Aaron, told them that their murmurings were in reality against God himself [Note: Exodus 16:7-8.], so must I say, that murmuring of every kind, against whomsoever or whatsoever it be directed, is,” in fact, a reproving of God himself, without whom not a sparrow falls to the ground, nor does so much as a hair fall from our heads.]

3. Those who condemn his grace—

[The sovereignty of God, in the disposal of his blessings, is more especially offensive to the proud heart of man. We arrogate to ourselves a right to dispense our favours to whomsoever we will: but we deny that right to God. St. Paul places this in a very striking point of view. God had said by the Prophet, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,” St. Paul, then, arguing with a proud objector, replies, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So, then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will, he hardeneth. Thou wilt say, then, unto me, Why, then, doth he yet find fault? for who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel to honour and another to dishonour [Note: Romans 9:13-21.]?” Here is the very point both stated and answered. Man’s proneness to call in question the grace of God is here affirmed, and is plainly declared to be a reproving of God himself.]

Seeing, then, that so many are obnoxious to the charge here exhibited, I will shew,

II. What is meant by the warning here given them—

I have before noticed Job’s challenge to Jehovah to answer him. Now God, in reply, bids the offender, if he can, to answer him. But there are only two ways in which any answer can be given: it must either be in a way of self-approving vindication, or in a way of self-abasing humiliation. Let the answer, then, be heard,

1. In a way of self-approving vindication—

[To return such an answer as this, a man must maintain these three points: God is bound to consult me in what he does—I am competent to sit in judgment on his proceedings—I know, better than God himself does, what it becomes him to do. But who can maintain these points, and make them good against God? Let the two preceding chapters be read, and it will soon appear what claim man has upon God: from whom he derived his very existence, and who keeps him in existence every breath he draws — — — As to judging of God’s ways, as well might a peasant sit in judgment on the works of the greatest statesman or philosopher. Who amongst us would submit to have all his views and pursuits criticised by a child that has just learned to speak? Yet, that were wise and commendable in comparison of our presuming to sit in judgment upon God. And, when a taper can add to the light of the meridian sun, then may we hope to counsel God, how best to govern the world, and how most effectually to advance his own glory.

If, then, we cannot make good our own cause against God, then must we answer him,]

2. In a way of self-abasing humiliation—

[It was in this way that Job replied. “Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer; yea, twice; but I will proceed no further [Note: ver. 3, 4.].” So again, afterwards; “I have uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes [Note: Job 42:3; Job 42:6.].” O Brethren! this is the answer for every one of us to give: for “God will assuredly be justified in all that he has done, and will be clear when he is judged [Note: Psalms 51:4.].” He will vindicate his own honour, and put to silence every proud objector — — —

Instead of reproving God, therefore, in future, let this be the habit of our minds: let us, under all circumstances, maintain an humble affiance in his goodness, and a meek submission to his will. This is our duty, our interest, our happiness. We expect as much as this from our own children: and shall we manifest less regard for God, than we, poor fallible creatures, exact from them? Let us lie as clay in the hands of our all-wise, all-gracious God, and leave him to perfect his work in his own way; having no anxiety in our minds, but to fulfil his will and to glorify his name. It was by a very circuitous route that he brought the Israelites to Canaan: but we are told, “He led them by the right way.” And we, whatever trials we may meet with in this wilderness, shall, in “the end,” have the same reason to glorify our God as Job himself had [Note: James 5:11.], and as all the saints have had from the beginning of the world.]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Job 40:2". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/job-40.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Shall Job, who presumed to contend with me in judgment, and to dispute the reasonableness and equity of my proceedings, give me instructions or directions how to manage my own affairs, and govern my creatures? He justly mentions his almightiness, as a convincing argument of his justice. For how can he be unjust to his creatures, who hath no obligation to them, and never did nor can receive any thing from them; and who hath an absolute, sovereign, and uncontrollable dominion over them; and who being infinitely and necessarily perfect, and all-sufficient within himself, can neither have any inclination to unrighteousness, which is an imperfection, nor any temptation to it from any need he hath of it to accomplish his designs, which he can do by his own omnipotence, or front any advantage accruing to him by it.

That reproveth God; that boldly censureth his ways or works; which thou hast done.

Let him answer it; let him answer my former and further questions at his peril.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 40:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-40.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

JEHOVAH’S SECOND ADDRESS TO JOB, Job 40:1-2.

After a suitable pause, that the impression of the discourse may be deepened, during which humbled Job ventures no response, Jehovah makes a pointed application of the preceding discourse to Job himself, Job 40:2.

2.Shall he that contendeth Will the censurer contend with the Almighty? Murmuring over the doings of God is nothing less than faultfinding with God himself. The censurer is summoned from his long-protracted silence by this terse and pungent, but kindly call, to answer the appeals of the Almighty. Job ought to be as ready to reason as he was to reprove; at least, to answer some one of the questions out of nature’s catechism. It is significant that the last words in this address. “let him answer,” are, in the original, the very verb that rang out so defiantly at the close of Job’s protracted defence (Job 31:35,) “Let the Almighty answer.” Compare Job 13:22; Job 23:5. He that reproveth , a hiphil form, is used in a forensic sense, and signifies to argue, (Proverbs 30:6,) prove; thence, in an offensive sense, to argue down, reprove, chastise. See note, Job 16:21; and for other forms of the verb, Job 6:25; Job 13:15; Job 19:5; Job 22:4; etc. Job, who at the outset bore the title in heaven of “God fearing,” (Job 1:1,) now hears the humiliating designation of “God’s accuser,” (Hitzig,) or “one that sets God right.” (Dillmann.)

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-40.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 40:2. Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? — Shall Job, who presumeth to contend with me in judgment, and to dispute the reasonableness and equity of my proceedings, give me instructions or directions how to govern my creatures? The Hebrew, however, may be rendered, Is it instruction, or learning, or does it indicate instruction or erudition, to contend with the Almighty? An eruditi est? Buxtorf. Is it the part of a well-instructed and wise man? This agrees with Ab. Ezra’s comment, which is, Is it the way of instruction for a man to contend with the Almighty? The words are also capable of being translated, He that disputeth with the Almighty shall be chastised: thus Heath. God’s almightiness is fitly mentioned as an argument of his justice. For how can he be unjust, who, having boundless power and every other perfection in an infinite degree, must necessarily be all-sufficient within himself, and therefore can neither have any inclination to unrighteousness, which is an imperfection, nor any temptation to it, from any need he can have of it to accomplish his designs, which his own omnipotence is sufficient to accomplish, or from any advantage that can accrue to him by it? He that reproveth God — That boldly censureth his ways or works; let him answer it — Or, answer for it; or, he shall answer for it, that is, it is at his peril.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 40:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-40.html. 1857.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?" The term "faultfinder" is only found here in the Old Testament and means "to admonish and correct". At least twice (10:2; 23:6), Job had accused God of contending with him. In addition, Elihu had rebuked Job for complaining against God (33:13). "Let him who reproves God answer it": Job had equally expressed the desire to argue with God and present his case (13:3,15). Notice that God eventually does defend Himself. This section should remind us to remain humble and trust God"s wisdom. If this is the type of rebuke that a righteous man like Job received for questioning God-what type of confrontation will the rebellious face?

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-40.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

he that contendeth = the caviller, or reprover.

THE ALMIGHTY. Hebrew Shaddai. App-4.

he that reproveth = contender with, or disputer.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-40.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

He that contendeth - as Job had so often expressed a wish to do (cf. Isaiah 45:9). Or, rebuketh [ rob (Hebrew #7230), the same as riyb (Hebrew #7378), to hold a law controversy with]. Does Job now still (after seeing and hearing of God's majesty and wisdom) wish to set God right! [ yicowr (Hebrew #3250) - literally, chastise, so teach, or instruct, with, however, the idea of reproof and rebuke added].

Answer it - namely, the questions I have asked.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-40.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XL.

(2) Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?—Rather, Can he that reproveth (e. g., Job) contend with the Almighty? or, Can the contending with the Almighty instruct Him? “Art thou prepared still to dispute and contend with God? or, if thou dost, is there any hope that thou wilt instruct (i.e., convince) Him in argument? Let him that argueth with God (i.e., Job) answer this question.” It might, perhaps, tend to make these verses (Job 40:4-5) more effective if we transposed them after Job 42:6, and regarded them as the very climax of the poem, as some have done. But this is not necessary, and is an arrangement that has no support from external evidence. If, however, it were adopted, Job’s resolution, “Once have I spoken; but I will speak no more: yea, twice; but I will not again” (Job 40:5), would not be literally inconsistent, as it now is, with what he says in Job 42:1-6.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-40.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
Shall
9:3; 33:13; Ecclesiastes 6:10; Isaiah 45:9-11; 50:8; 1 Corinthians 10:22
instruct
Isaiah 40:14; 1 Corinthians 2:16
he that reproveth
3:11,12,20,23; 7:12,19-21; 9:17,18,32-35; 10:3-7,14-17; 13:21-27; 14:16,17; 16:11-21; 19:6-11; 27:2; 30:21; Ezekiel 18:2; Matthew 20:11; Romans 9:19-23; 11:34-36
Reciprocal: Job 8:3 - Almighty;  Job 13:15 - but I will;  Job 21:22 - teach;  Job 33:12 - God;  Proverbs 25:2 - the glory;  Jeremiah 49:19 - appoint me the time;  Jeremiah 50:24 - because;  Daniel 4:35 - What;  Acts 11:17 - what;  Romans 9:20 - who art

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 40:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-40.html.