on Job 17 :9
The righteous also shall hold on his way - There shall be no doubt concerning the dispensations of the Divine providence. My case shall illustrate all seemingly intricate displays of God's government. None shall be stumbled at seeing a godly man under oppression, knowing that God never permits any thing of the kind but for the good of the subject, and the manifestation of his own mercy, wisdom, and love. Therefore whatever occurs to the righteous man, he will take it for granted that all is well and justly managed, and that the end will be glorious.
Shall be stronger and stronger - He shall take encouragement from my case, stay himself on the Lord, and thus gain strength by every blast of adversity. This is one grand use of the book of Job. It casts much light on seemingly partial displays of Divine providence: and has ever been the great text-book of godly men in a state of persecution and affliction. This is what Job seems prophetically to declare.
on Job 17 :9
The righteous also shall hold on his way - The meaning of this verse is plain; but the connection is not so apparent. It seems to me that it refers to "Job himself," and is a declaration that "he," a righteous man, who had been so grievously calumniated, would hold on his way, and become stronger and stronger, while "they" would sink in the public esteem, and be compelled to abandon their position. It is the expression of a confident assurance that "he" would be more and more confirmed in his integrity, and would become stronger and stronger in God. Though Job intended, probably, that this should be applied to himself, yet he has expressed it in a general manner, and indeed the whole passage has a proverbial cast; and it shows that even then it was the settled belief that the righteous would persevere. As an expression of the early faith of the pious in one of the now settled doctrines of Christianity, "the perseverance of the saints," this doctrine is invaluable. It shows that that doctrine has traveled down from the earliest ages. It was one of the elementary doctrines of religion in the earliest times. It became a proverb; and was admitted among the undisputed maxims of the wise and good, and it was such a sentiment as was just adapted to the circumstances of Job - a much tried and persecuted man. He was in all the danger of apostasy to which the pious are usually exposed; he was tempted to forsake his confidence in God; he was afflicted for reasons which he could not comprehend; he was without an earthly friend to sustain him, and he seemed to be forsaken by God himself; yet he had the fullest conviction that he would be enabled to persevere. The great principle was settled, that if there was true religion in the heart, it would abide; that if the path of righteousness had been entered, he who trod it would keep on his way.
And he that hath clean hands - The innocent; the friend of God; the man of pure life; see the notes at Job 9:30; compare Psalm 24:4. "Clean hands" here, are designed to denote a pure and holy life. Among the ancients they were regarded as indicative of purity of heart. Porphyry remarks (de antro Nympharum) that in the "mysteries," those who were initiated were accustomed to wash their hands with honey instead of water, as a pledge that they would preserve themselves from every impure and unholy thing; see Burder, in Rosenmuller's Alte u. neue Morgenland, in loc.
Shall be stronger and stronger - Margin, as in Hebrew add strength. He shall advance in the strength of his attachment to God. This is true. The man of pure and blameless life shall become more and more established in virtue; more confirmed in his principles; more convinced of the value and the truth of religion. Piety, like everything else, becomes stronger by exercise. The man who speaks truth only, becomes more and more attached to truth; the principle of benevolence is strengthened by being practiced; honesty, the more it is exhibited, becomes more the settled rule of the life; and he who prays, delights more and more in his appoaches to God. The tendency of religion in the heart is to grow stronger and stronger; and God intends that he who has once loved him, shall continue to love him forever.
on Job 17 :9