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hasty words, which a sudden and great affliction may extort from him ? A small degree of charity would have made an excuse, at least it would have prevented such severe censures you would not like to have been served so. He next states two things that aggravated their unkind treatment.
“ Verse 27. · Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.'
“ Thus he sets forth their cruelty towards him, in a very odious light. Orphans and fatherless are usually full of sorrows, and therefore to be left fatherless, and to be comfortless are the same. In this large sense, Job says, ye overwhelm me, who am poor and desolate, without a friend to succour or sympathize with
“ The sin of oppression is greatly aggravated, when it is practised upon the fatherless and helpless, who are not able to defend themselves.
“ The more duty or respect we owe to any man, the greater is our sin when we neglect or contemn him.
“ You are not only unkind to me; but, under colour of friendship, you ensnare me; when you came to see me, I thought I might speak freely, and that the more bitter my complaints were, you would have the more readily sympathized with and tried to comfort me. And this freedom of speech which their apparent concern for him made him use, exposed him to their censures ; and so they might be said to dig a pit for him.
“ Job seems to suppose that his friends intended to cast him down into the pit of despair, by charging him with hypocrisy.
“ Verse 28. · Now, therefore, be content to look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie.'
“ To lie, is to speak what is false, with intent to deceive, or to fail and come short of that which we have given others reason to expect from us.
Truth is the daughter of time, and so is a lie; for time will bring to light that work of darkness.
“ I am not afraid to look you in the face; you shall read nothing in my countenance either of fear or falsehood. Integrity is very bold.
“ Or rather, look upon my ulcers, and see that I do not lie; that is, that I do not complain without cause, nor quarrel with God, by calling my condition worse than it is; therefore do not turn away from me in disgust; let us have a little more discourse, and the truth
“ Verse 29. • Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it.
“ Return, that is, weigh the matter better; consider whether I speak not as one constrain. ed to this seeming impatience from real sorrow, rather than professed hypocrisy.
• Some translate there shall not be iniquity, that is, in my words, or in what I shall speak; so it is connected with my righteousness is in it ; that is, that I am in the right, and free
from blame in this business ; yea return again. He doubles his advice, to show his earnest desire that they would coolly consider his case, and what he had yet to say in his own defence. Job doth not rail upon his friends ; but beseeches them to be better advised: and, seeing we must give an account of every idle word, much more of every unjust censure, it is necessary to give strict attention to what we have said ; for the more a good cause is searched into, the better it will appear. A godly man is not gilded, but gold: whereas an hypocrite may be gilded over with good words ; but search him to the bottom, and all is rottenness.
“My righteousness is in it,' that is, I am in the right in this matter; and that, though I have not kept my temper as I ought, yet I keep my integrity, and have not said, or done, or suffered any thing, that will prove me not an honest man.
“ Verse 30. Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things ?'
“ This concludes the directory to his friends, and is a preparatory to what he intends in the next chapter.
• Is there iniquity in my tongue ? Have I spoken any thing that could infect or poison you, or dishonour God ?'
“ The taste, or palate, is that faculty of the soul whereby we distinguish truth from falsehood. Here Job speaks of doctrines or actions. If a thing be perversely or properly spoken, cannot I taste it quickly? Hence the word of God is compared to milk and strong meat; that is, casy and more mysterious parts of truth. False doctrine, or true doctrine falsely applied, is a perverse thing; it perverts reason, scripture, and the souls of men.
Holy doctrine draws men to God, but that which is perverse in its nature is perverting in its effect.
“ • Is there iniquity in my tongue ?' This is an assertion, that there is no iniquity in my tongue, that is, none of that iniquity that you
charge me with. The tongue often discovers · the iniquity of the heart. Job perseveres in justifying himself against men, though he had not a word to plead for himself against God.
« Job, having refuted Eliphaz's arguments, and expostulated with his friends about their unkindness, and admonished them, proceeds to confirm his request to die : 1st, From the general condition of man's life, verse 1. 2dly, From the peculiar condition of some men. 3dly, From his own condition; from which he apprehends nothing but death could relieve him, verse 3-6. He turns to his former complaints, and abases himself before God; and concludes confessing his sin, and desiring pardon.
“ Verse 1. • Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth ? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling?'
- Heb. Is there not a warfare to man upon earth ? Our life is fitly compared to a warfare,
on account of the travails, dangers, and either victory and triumph, or slavery and death, as the issue of our lives.
“ The life of man is a continual bickering with a world of enemies. Observe, That the life of man is measured out by the will of God. That man, Luke xii. is termed a fool, who resolved
upon many years to live, and yet could not live till next morning. But this must not lessen our care to preserve our lives. As it is in spirituals, so also in temporals. Though only the elect are saved, yet none are saved by their election. Infants are not saved barely by election ; they must be united to Christ, or else they cannot be saved. But they who grow
in years must also grow in the graces of sanctification, otherwise they are not saved by the grace of election.
“Since there is an appointed time, we should learn patiently to wait upon God; willing to die at his call. As to disobey what God commands, so to be unwilling to live all the time God pleases, is equally sinful.
“ An hireling is one who works a certain time for a specified reward. This clause is much the same in sense with the former. He speaks of mankind in general ; of the master as well as the servant. His days are like the days of an hireling. « When I have so many
symptoms of death before me, why should I not think the period of my life at hand, and desire that my days were summed up, and that I may see the end of these troubles?