Bible Commentary

Job 8

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Job 8)

Verse 2

[2] How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?

Strong wind — Boisterous and violent.

Verse 3

[3] Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?

Doth God — Heb. The might God, as this word signifies, the Almighty, or All-sufficient God, as the next name of God implies. These names are emphatically used, to prove that God cannot deal unjustly or falsely with men, because he hath no need of it, nor temptation to it, being self-sufficient for his own happiness, and being able by his own invincible power to do whatsoever pleaseth him.

Pervert — Judge unrighteously? No, this is inconsistent with God's nature, and with his office of governor of the world.

Verse 4

[4] If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;

If — If thou wast innocent, thy children, upon whom a great part of these calamities fell, might be guilty; and therefore God is not unrighteous in these proceedings.

Verse 5

[5] If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;

Betimes — Heb. rise early to seek him, if thou wouldest seek him speedily, early and diligently.

Verse 6

[6] If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.

Habitation — The concerns of thy house and family; which thou hast got and managed with righteousness.

Verse 8

[8] For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:

Search — Seriously and industriously search the ancient records.

Verse 9

[9] (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)

We, … — But lately born, and therefore have but little knowledge and experience. We live not so long as they did, to make observations on the methods of Divine Providence.

Verse 10

[10] Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?

Utter — Not partially, but sincerely, speaking their inward thoughts; not rashly, but from deep consideration; not by hearsay, but their own knowledge.

Verse 11

[11] Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?

Can, … — The hypocrite cannot build his hope, without some false, rotten ground or other, any more than the rush can grow without mire, or the flag without water.

Verse 12

[12] Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.

Greenness — Whereby it promises long continuance. Tho' no man cut it down, it withers of itself, sooner than other herbs.

Verse 13

[13] So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish:

Paths — Of wicked men. By their paths he doth not understand their manner of living, but the events which befall them, God's manner of dealing with them.

Verse 14

[14] Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web.

Hope — Whose wealth and outward glory, the matter of his hope, and trust, shall be cut off suddenly and violently taken away from him.

Web — Which tho' it be formed with great art and industry, is easily swept down, or pulled in pieces.

Verse 15

[15] He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.

House — He shall trust to the multitude of his children and servants, and to his wealth, all which come under the name of a man's house in scripture.

Hold it — To uphold himself by it. But his web, that refuge of lies, will be swept away, and he crushed in it.

Verse 16

[16] He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden.

He — The secure and prosperous sinner may think himself wronged, when he is compared to a rush or flag. Compare him then to a flourishing and well-rooted tree. Yet even then shall he be suddenly cut off.

Green — Flourisheth in the world.

Before the sun — Publickly and in the view of all men.

Branch — His children, who are here mentioned as additions not only to his comfort, but also to his strength and safety.

Garden — A place where it is defended from those injuries to which the trees of the field are subject, and where, besides the advantages common to all trees, it hath peculiar helps from the art and industry of men. So he supposes this man to be placed in the most desirable circumstances.

Verse 17

[17] His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones.

Heap — Of stones. This circumstance is added, to signify its firmness and strength, that it was not in loose and sandy ground, which a violent wind might overthrow, but in solid ground, within which were many stones, which its numerous and spreading roots embrace, folding and interweaving themselves about them.

Seeth — The tree reacheth thither, takes the advantage of that place for the strengthening of itself.

Verse 18

[18] If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.

He — God, who is the saviour of good men, and the destroyer of the wicked.

It — The place; to which denying him, and seeing him, are here ascribed figuratively.

Not seen — He shall be so utterly extirpated and destroyed, that there shall be no memorial of him left.

Verse 19

[19] Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.

Behold — This is the issue of the flourishing state. This all his joy comes to.

And, … — Out of the same earth or place shall another tree grow.

Verse 20

[20] Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:

Behold — God who will not help the evildoer, will not cast away a good man, tho he may be cast down. Yet it may be, he will not be lifted up in this world: and therefore Bildad could not infer, that if Job was not restored to temporal prosperity, he was not a good man. Let us judge nothing before the time, but wait 'till the secrets of all hearts are revealed, and the present difficulties of providence solved, to universal and everlasting satisfaction.

Verse 21

[21] Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.

'Till, … — And what I have said in general of good men, shall be made good to thee, if thou art such: God will not forsake thee, nor desist from doing thee good, 'till he give thee abundant matter of rejoicing.

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