King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Job 9

Job acknowledges God’s justice. (1-13) He is not able to contend with God. (14-21) Men not to be judged by outward condition. (22-24) Job complains of troubles. (25-35)

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Job acknowledges God’s justice

1 Then Job answered and said,

2 I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?

3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.

4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?

5 Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.

6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.

7 Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.

8 Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.

9 Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.

10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.

11 Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.

12 Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?

13 If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.

He is not able to contend with God

14 How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?

15 Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.

16 If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.

17 For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.

18 He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.

19 If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?

20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.

21 Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.

Men not to be judged by outward condition

22 This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.

23 If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.

24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?

Job complains of troubles

25 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.

26 They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.

27 If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself:

28 I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.

29 If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?

30 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;

31 Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.

32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.

33 Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.

34 Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:

35 Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. God. Job answers both his friends, and with admirable humility acknowledges that in God’s sight he is full of defects; but not of such a nature as to fall (C.) under the cognizance of man. I am not conscious to myself of anything; but…God is the judge. 1 Cor. iv. 4. H.

Ver. 3. Thousand. Ps. cxlii. 2. “Woe even to the praise-worthy life of man, if God judge without mercy.” S. Aug. H.

Ver. 4. Resisted. Heb. and Sept. “hardened himself against him.”

Ver. 5. Removed, by earthquakes. Pliny ii. 83. C. — In Calabria, 5th Feb. &c. 1783, during the most destructive and dreadful earthquake, a level valley was removed entire about a mile, and a hill, with the trees still growing, was projected down a declivity half a mile, and another above four miles. Sir W. Hamilton. — Sept. “who makes the mountains grown old, and they know not who overturns them in his wrath.” H. — Kings and empires fall to ruin at his command. C.

Ver. 6. Pillars. These are represented as fixed in the waters. Prov. viii. 29. Ps. xxvii. 16. &c.

Ver. 7. Seal. So that they appear not. He alludes (C.) to masters confining their servants with seals, before locks were invented. Macrob. vii. 3. — From these noble effects of God’s power, Job takes occasion to humble himself. C.

Ver. 8. Heavens, like a tent. Ps. ciii. 2. These nations lived under tents; (C.) and beholding the magnificent one which God had spread over the heads of alol, Job, in rapture, (H.) wonders that he should have created such a pavilion for his servants.

Ver. 9. Arcturus, &c. These are names of stars or constellations. In Hebrew, Hash, Cesil, and Cima. Ch. — And chadre theman, (H.) the “bottom or seals of the south,” which were to him invisible, being the Antarctic constellations. The ancients were acquainted only with these four, (Homr, Virg. Æn. iii. &c.) which denoted the four quarters and seasons. C. — Ash, Arcturus, “the bear’s tail,” near the north pole, (H.) rules in autumn, when the year begins (C.) in Arabia. Cesil, (H.) or Orion, on the west, styled by astronomers “the heart of the scorpion,” rises about the autumnal equinox, and presides over winter; (C.) and Cima, (H.) the Hyades, or the seven “rainy” stars, do over spring, the “pleasing” season, as Cima denotes, (C. xxxviii. 31.) when navigation commences. “The Seals of the south,” designate summer. C. — We must not, however, imagine that Job countenances poetical fables; (S. Jerom in Amos v. 8.) or that he called the constellations by these names, Arcturus, &c. C. — Heb. “who makes the fire, the spirit, and the light,” Cima. C. xxxviii. 31. H. — The creation of these seems grander than the making of any constellation, and all the stars had been asserted to be the work of God, v. 7. What connection is there between the names assigned by the Rabbins and the Heb. terms? R. Abraham observes that the last is “a northern star, causing heat, and producing fruit.” Parkhurst. — The Arabs were convinced of the influence of the stars; (C. xxxviii. 31.) and living under a sky generally without clouds, could easily observe them. Roger. ii. 2. and 15. — Sanchez asserts, that the peasants in Spain can point out the stars by name. C. — Inner. Prot. “the chambers.” They agree with the Vulg. in the other names. Sept. “who makes the Pleiads, and Hesper, and Arcturus, and the store-rooms of the south? H. — They are styled inner with respect to us, who cannot see them.

Ver. 11. Understand, as he is a spirit; (M.) and not that God is changeable, but his works and judgments are above our comprehension, and we are always liable to change. Hence the proud erroneously think themselves to be in favour; while the humble, on the contrary, keep at a distance, and still sue for pardon, when their sins have been forgiven. Luke xviii. 13. Eccle. ii. 1. C.

Ver. 13. God. Prot. “If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.” Sept. “For he is not turned aside by wrath;” (or Rom. edit.) “God, whose anger cannot be averted,” (H.) unless we repent: (C.) “under him the whales below heaven bend.” H. — Perhaps they may have had some notions, like the Rabbins, respecting Leviathan; and S. Jerom may have alluded to the fable of the giants placed under mountains; (Æn. iii. and ix. C.) or to Atalas propping the skies. H. — World. Great heroes, (C.) Kings, (Pineda) angels, (M.) who move the spheres, (W.) or devils. Eph. vi. 12. Cajetan.

Ver. 14. What? Heb. “Much less shall I answer him, choosing even my words with him.” H. — This is the conclusion from the display of God’s power. C. — No eloquence will persuade him. H. — Though not conscious of any sin, Job will not justify himself (1 Cor. iv. W.) before God. H.

Ver. 16. Voice. So much am I beneath his notice. How unjust were the aspersions of Job’s friends, who accused him of presumption and blasphemy! C. — No one ever spoke with greater humility (H.) and respect of God’s absolute dominion. C. — He will attribute nothing to his own prayers, as he is still in the dark. M.

Ver. 17. Without cause. That is, without my knowing the cause; or without any crime of mine. Ch. — To argue from my afflictions, that I am a criminal, is unjust. C. ii. 3.

“Notions mistaken, reasonings ill apply’d,

And sophisms that conclude on either side.” Pope, Pleasures, &c.

Ver. 19. Equity. Heb. “if judgment, who will appoint me a time,” (H.) or “set me before him,” and undertake my defence? Who will dare to sit as judge between us?

Ver. 20. Condemn me, as this conduct would appear presumptuous. C. — Sept. “if I be just, my mouth will utter impiety,” (H.) in declaring it. Olymp.

Ver. 21. Life, under this uncertainty and affliction. M.

Ver. 22. Consumeth. Eccle. ix. 2. H. — This principle is incontrovertible. W. — I do not retract it. M. — The misery inflicted on the just, is not contrary to the goodness of the Almighty. Job perfectly discovered this truth, which puzzled his enlightened friends, and most of those who lived before Christ; (Ps. lxxii. 2. Jer. xii. 1. C.) and even Job himself was not fully convinced of the motives of the Providence, till God had explained them. Houbigant. C. xlii.

Ver. 23. Innocent. Having expressed his sentiments clearly, now he mentions what he could desire under the pressure of misery. M. — Seeing the danger of falling, to which he was exposed, he begged to be delivered by death. We are taught by our Saviour to pray, Lead us not into temptation. Matt. vi. 13. God does not laugh at our sufferings, but he acts like a surgeon, and cuts without minding our complaints. Ridere Dei est humanæ nolle afflictioni misereri. S. Greg. C. — Heb. “If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.” Prot. H.

Ver. 24. Wicked one, (H.) the devil, (M.) or any impious person who enjoys prosperity. He, (C.) or even God permissively, covered the face, (H.) by bribes; so that judges pass sentence unjustly. — Then. If it be not the devil, (M.) or God. C.

Ver. 25. Good, of late. Heb. “they see no good.”

Ver. 26. Carrying. Heb. lit. “of desire,” belonging to one person, or full of goods, which he desires to carry quickly to market. M. — Chal. agrees with us. But most interpreters var. Pagnin retains the original, ebe; (H.) supposing the rive Abeh, or Avah, is meant. It certainly implies expedition; “they have hastened like (C.) the eagle to its prey.” Sept. “Is there any trace of ships, or of an eagle flying in quest of food?” H.

Ver. 27. Sorrow. I cannot entirely repress it. C. — The more I strive, (H.) the greater is my pain. M.

Ver. 28. Works. Heb. “sorrows.” I dread their increase, and fear impatience. Even in the midst of prosperity, Job offered sacrifice, lest the sins of his children should be laid to his charge.

Ver. 29. Vain. Why have I endeavoured to repress my grief in silence? God does not forbid us to complain, but only to murmur. C. — Sept. “Since I am wicked, why did I not die?” H. — Should a wretch be even suffered to live” S. Chrys.

Ver. 30. Snow. Nitre bring off the dirt better. Chal. “soap.” Heb. bor, is supposed by many to be the Borith of Jer. ii. 22. Snow-water was also used through delicacy in summer. Petron. Sat.

Ver. 31. Abhor me. This striking expression intimates something extremely filthy. God will make his servants discern many stains, even when they have aimed at the greatest purity. C.

Ver. 33. There. Sept. “O that an umpire, (or mediator) were between us, and one arguing and giving ear in the midst of both!”

Ver. 35. Fear him. Sept. “and I shall not fear, but speak. For I am not conscious to myself of injustice.” H. — The dread of incurring God’s displeasure makes me prefer to be silent; and if I had no other reason, this fear would suffice, as I should not be master of myself under such anxiety and pain. C. — If my sufferings were at an end, I should take courage, and speak in my own defence, (M.) in answer to my false friends. H.