Job 9


‘Then Job replied: “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God? Though they wished to dispute with him, they could not answer him one time out of a thousand. His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him. If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.’ Job 9:1-13

Job’s Response

The things Job says are true but they are almost said sarcastically. He uses courtroom imagery to say that their arguments would not stand up in a court. There was some truth in the argument of Eliphaz and Bildad, but the punishment for sinful actions isn’t directly from God, Galatians 6:7-10.

Job admits that man is not ‘just’ before God, Romans 3:23. He sees himself being tormented by God, so how can man have a fair deal anyway. When man stands before God, he will always be the loser.

Job praises some of the virtues of God there is nobody who can contend against God because there is nobody wiser or stronger. This is evidenced by God’s operations in nature. He removes mountains and scales the earth.

He praises God’s strength, invincibility and power. God is the creator of Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, which are the constellations of stars. The Bear is Ursa Major, generally known as the Great Dipper. Orion dominates the winter skies, and the Pleiades are those of the spring.

Job’s conclusion was that God’s doings were beyond the perception of man. He says all these are truths but he doesn’t stop and think that this same God is working in his life for something Job’s eyes are blinded by anguish. He says nothing of the moral virtues of God, His holiness and purity. Perhaps he wasn’t ready to admit those in praise.

Job continues his claim and says no man can complain because God will not stop His anger.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following concerning Rahab.

‘The reference here is to an ancient Babylonian myth. Rahab here, like the dragon in Isaiah 51:9, is the ancient mythological name of Tiamat, the original Chaos, whom God conquered in the Creation.’

‘How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy. Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing.’ Job 9:14-16

If Job went to court he would lose. He says God wouldn’t listen to his argument anyway. In other words, Job says he couldn’t refute God if God had a charge against him.

Job said he would be surprised if God would even consider this plea. Job’s point is that God is so great in comparison to man that we wonder why He would consider the dilemma of anyone.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following concerning, Rahab.

‘Job’s argument here is that, in spite of his certainty that it is not his wickedness that has resulted in his distress, he nevertheless feels that he is too weak to contend with God about the matter.  `If great dragons like the helpers of Rahab were utterly crushed and destroyed by God, how could any mortal man hope to contend with God, regardless of the justice of his case?’

‘He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery. If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him? Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty. “Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life. It is all the same; that is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ Job 9:17-22

Here we get a poor resentful picture of Job. He says he would get an impartial judgement.

If one approached God with strength, he would be crushed. If someone tried to justify themselves before God, they would be legally condemned because no man is without sin before God, Romans 3:23. Job’s point is that though man would approach unto God with perfection, he would still be only as a breath of wind that quickly vanishes away.

We can look retrospectively at God and understand now. Job’s understanding and knowledge of God are so limited. Even the best men and women can weaken to utter foolish things. But even if you felt like Job, it doesn’t mean you are without hope.

‘When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent. When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it? “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey.’ Job 9:23-26

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘God gave unto men the freedom of the will and therefore, when evil men will do that which is contrary to God’s will, they are, of course, permitted to do it. It was that freedom of the human will that led to Adam’s election to forsake the government of God and accept in the place of it the government of the devil. The scholars who do not understand that, will never be able to make any sense out of Job. Due to Satan and to wicked men who follow him, countless things contrary to God’s will occur constantly. Yes, God could prevent such things, but not within the context of the freedom of the human will.’

Job now turns to the brevity of his life and he uses three figures to do this. His life was fleeing away faster than a runner, swifter than the fastest ship, and quicker than the eagle that swoops down upon its prey.

‘If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,’ I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent. Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain? Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with cleansing powder, you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me. “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.’ Job 9:27-35

Job knows that if he stopped complaining, and smiled, he would still be held accountable for his behaviour. He knows even if he cleansed himself with soap, he still wouldn’t be innocent. If he were to cleanse himself, God would still plunge him into the filth of the ditch.

Because he knew that he wouldn’t stand innocent before God, he remained fearful when considering his complaints. There is no man in the same position as him to go to court and act as a mediator for him. Because there isn’t a mediator he is distraught.

Job sees the need for this mediator between God and man, 1 Timothy 2:5.

Go To Job 10