Job 9:1 ¶ Then Job answered and said,
Job 9:2 I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?
Job 9:3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.
Job 9:4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?
As Job responds to Bildad, you can hear his frustration. Though phrased in questions, Job is making statements. He agrees with the principle truths they have expressed—yet he can’t reconcile those truths with his experience. In light of that, he wonders how any man can clear himself and be declared righteous before God. He notes that no man would be able to answer Him satisfactorily even one time in a thousand. God is wise, full of understanding, strong and powerful. No one can stand against Him and succeed.
We are so blessed to be able to stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Jesus!
2 Corinthians 5:19–21 “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation….For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Though not stated as such, context shows that in describing God, Job believes Him to be superior to any mere human in all of these respects. The following section goes on to provide examples of that difference and God’s power.
Job 9:5 Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.
Job 9:6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.
Job 9:7 Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
Job 9:8 Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
Job 9:9 Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
Job 9:10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
Job describes God in no uncertain terms as the Creator. He can move mountains and destroy them in his anger though we cannot understand how. He can make the earth shake and its very foundation tremble. He can forbid the sun to rise and the stars to shine. God alone stretched out the heavens and can control the waters as a man bends a bow. He created the stars and constellations we see in the sky. In fact, He does many great things that we can’t understand and more miracles than can ever be counted.
Interestingly, God will reference this very truth, using some of the statements made by Job in this section when He makes His address at the end of this book.
Coffman notes: He maketh the Bear, Orion, and Pleiades “These are among the best known constellations. The Bear is Ursa Major, generally known as the Great Dipper. Orion dominates the winter skies, and the Pleiades those of the spring.”
Job 9:11 Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
Job 9:12 Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?
Job 9:13 If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.
Job continues; God can go right by me and I would not be able to see Him. He can take what He wants and no one can prevent it. No one would dare ask Him what He is doing. God does not back off from His anger and no one can stand against Him.
Job 9:14 ¶ How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?
Job 9:15 Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.
Job 9:16 If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.
Job 9:17 For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.
In light of all that, Job declares that he could never figure out what words to use to reason with Him. Even though he feels he is innocent before God, he does not know how to defend himself before Him. He declared that even if he could get an audience with God, He would not pay attention to him since He had already dealt with him, overwhelming him with trouble and continuing to increase those wounds without reason.
Job is stating the facts as he sees them. He admits that no one dares question God as to His actions, yet continues to maintain his innocence before Him. He does not blaspheme God, but he is very clear in stating that he cannot make sense of what is happening to him.
I liked this quote Guzik used from Lawson: “When Job says he is guiltless, he is not claiming to be sinless. He’s not espousing moral perfection. Just relative innocence. He doesn’t believe he’s done anything to deserve this kind of treatment.”
I think this is a valid statement considering what I learned in chapter 1.
Job 1:5 “And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”
The wording seems to indicate that Job interceded daily for his children thinking they might have sinned against God unaware (from the Hebrew for “hearts”). So Job was aware that one could sin unintentionally. I think that is why he keeps expressing the desire for God to identify his sin.
Job 9:18 He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.
Job 9:19 If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?
Job 9:20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
Job 9:21 Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.
Once again Job attributes his suffering to God. He is technically right since it is by God’s permission that Satan has been able to attack him. However, he is entirely wrong in thinking that God is angry with him.
Job describes his affliction as making it hard for him to breathe and filling him with grief. Job knows he is incapable of standing in strength to challenge God. If he tried to justify himself, his own words would be used against him. If he declared himself blameless before God, that very statement would make him guilty. Job maintains that he is innocent, but he recognizes that there may be sin within him of which he is unaware. He wishes he could just disappear (from the Hebrew for “despise”).
Reminder: Words in italics are added to help our understanding, but sometimes I think we are better off without them.
Job 9:22 ¶ This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.
Job 9:23 If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.
Job 9:24 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 basically declares that in the end God causes both the righteous and the wicked to die physically. True.
In verse 23 Job seems to be saying that God scorns the testing (from the Hebrew for “trial”) of the righteous—in other words, God doesn’t really care. In fact, He is the one that puts the wicked in power. If not God, who?
It is true that God establishes and puts down kings and often allows the wicked to prosper under the rule of Satan—truths that are hard for us to understand with our limited abilities. Yes, God is sovereign over all that occurs in His creation. However, He isn’t the causative factor behind all the bad things that happen. Sin is the causative factor along with the spiritual forces of evil. Man is responsible for that sin because he fell for the deception of the enemy in Adam. Still, God often uses the wicked choices of man and even the actions of Satan and his cohorts in accomplishing His purposes—as He is doing in the life of Job.
I don’t know if Job realizes that God will one day establish His kingdom in righteousness and eliminate the presence of evil.
Job 9:25 ¶ Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.
Job 9:26 They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.
Job 9:27 If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself:
Job 9:28 I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.
Job describes his days as passing quickly by with nothing good about them. He compares them to ships moving quickly over the sea and eagles pouncing on their prey. Even if he decided to try to put on a happy face, it would change nothing; he would still fear his sorrows and the fact that God does not judge him to be innocent.
Even though Job has said that he wishes he were dead, it seems like he knows that death is approaching; and he really doesn’t want to die without being proven innocent.
Job 9:29 If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?
Job 9:30 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;
Job 9:31 Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.
Job continues to reason that if he is guilty, why should he continue to exhaust himself with life. He could wash with the purest water and try to make himself as clean as possible, but God would thrust him into a pit of destruction (from the Hebrew for “ditch”) and even his clothing would loathe to be on him.
Job 9:32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.
Job 9:33 Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.
Job 9:34 Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:
Job 9:35 Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.
Job notes that God is not a common man that he could confront in court. There is no arbitrator that could deal with both of them as equals. If God would remove His rod of judgment from him, he would not live in terror. Maybe then he could speak to Him in his defense—but that is not possible.
I really liked Stedman’s observation: “For the first time in this book we begin to see what God is after with this man, why he is putting him through this protracted trial. For now Job begins to feel, deep in his bones, the nature of reality: the terrible gulf between man and God that must be bridged by another party. We who live in the full light of the New Testament know that he is crying out, and feeling deep within, the need for just such a mediator as Jesus himself.”