on Job 9 :35
But it is not so with me - I am not in such circumstances as to plead with my Judge. I believe the sense of these words is nearly as Coverdale has expressed it: - For as longe as I am in soch fearfulnesse, I can make no answere. A natural picture of the state of a penitent soul, which needs no additional coloring.
On the names of the constellations mentioned Job 9:9, and again Job 38:31, etc., much has been written, and to little effect. I have already, in the notes, expressed my doubts whether any constellation be intended. Dr. Hales, however, finds in these names, as he thinks, astronomical data, by which he ascertains the time of Job. I shall give his words: -
"The cardinal constellations of spring and autumn, in Job's time, were Chimah, and Chesil or Taurus, and Scorpio; noticed Job 9:9, and again, Job 38:31, Job 38:32; of which the principal stars are, Aldebaran, the bull's eye, and Antares, the scorpion's heart. Knowing, therefore, the longitudes of these stars, at present, the interval of time from thence to the assumed date of Job's trial will give the difference of the longitudes; and ascertain their positions then, with respect to the vernal and autumnal points of intersection of the equinoctial and ecliptic; according to the usual rate of the precession of the equinoxes, one degree in 71 years. See that article, vol. i. p. 185.
"The following calculations I owe to the kindness and skill of the respectable Dr. Brinkley, Andrew's Professor of Astronomy in the University of Dublin.
"In a.d. 1800 Aldebaran was in 2 signs, 7 degrees, east longitude. But since the date of Job's trial, b.c. 2338, i.e., 4138 years, the precession of the equinoxes amounted to 1 sign, 27 degrees, 53 minutes; which, being subtracted from the former quantity, left Aldebaran in only 9 degrees, 7 minutes longitude, or distance from the vernal intersection; which, falling within the constellation Taurus, consequently rendered it the cardinal constellation of spring, as Pisces is at present.
"In a.d. 1800 Antares was in 8 signs, 6 degrees, 58 minutes, east longitude; or 2 signs, 6 degrees, 58 minutes, east of the autumnal intersection: from which subtracting as before the amount of the precession, Antares was left only 9 degrees, 5 minutes east. Since then, the autumnal equinox was found within Scorpio, this was the cardinal constellation of autumn, as Virgo is at present.
"Such a combination and coincidence of various rays of evidence, derived from widely different sources, history, sacred and profane, chronology, and astronomy, and all converging to the same focus, tend strongly to establish the time of Job's trial, as rightly assigned to the year b.c. 2337, or 818 years after the deluge, 184 years before the birth of Abram; 474 years before the settlement of Jacob's family in Egypt; and 689 years before their exode or departure from thence." New Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii., p. 57.
Now all this is specious; and, were the foundation sound, we might rely on the permanence of the building, though the rains should descend, the floods come, and the winds blow and beat on that house. But all these deductions and conclusions are founded on the assumption that Chimah and Chesil mean Taurus and Scorpio: but this is the very point that is to be proved; for proof of this is not offered, nor, indeed, can be offered; and such assumptions are palpably nugatory. That עש ash has been generally understood to signify the Great Bear; כסיל Kesil, Orion; and כימה Kimah, the Pleiades; may be seen everywhere: but that they do signify these constellations is perfectly uncertain. We have only conjectures concerning their meaning; and on such conjectures no system can be built. Genuine data, in Dr. Hales's hands, are sure to be conducted to legitimate conclusions: but neither he nor any one else can construct an astronomical fabric in the limbus of conjecture. When Job 54ed is perfectly uncertain: but that this book was written 818 years after the deluge; 184 years before the birth of Abram, and 689 years before the exodus; and that all this is demonstrable from Chimah and Chesil signifying Taurus and Scorpio, whence the positions of the equinoxes at the time of Job's trial can be ascertained; can never be proved, and should never be credited. In what many learned men have written on this subject, I find as much solidity and satisfaction as from what is piously and gravely stated in the Glossa Ordinaria: -
Qui facit Arcturum. Diversae sunt constellationes, varios status ecclesiae signantes. Per Arcturum, qui semper super orizontem nostrum apparet, significatur status apostolorum qui in episcopis remanet. Per Oriona, qui est tempestatis signum, significatur status martyrum. Per Hyadas, quae significant pluvios, status doctorum doctrinae pluvium effundentium. Per interiora austri, quae sunt nobis occulta, status Anachoretarum, hominum aspectus declinantium. "These different constellations signify various states of the Church. By Arcturus, which always appears above our horizon, is signified the apostolic state, which still remains in episcopacy. By Orion, which is a tempestuous sign, is signified the state of the martyrs. By the Hyades, (kids), which indicate rain, the state of the doctors, pouring out the rain of doctrine, is signified. And by the inner chambers of the south, which are hidden from us, the state of the Anchorets (hermits) is signified, who always shun the sight of men."
Much more of the same allegorical matter may be found in the same place, the Glossa Ordinaria of Strabus of Fulda, on the ninth chapter of Job. But how unreal and empty are all these things! What an uncertain sound do such trumpets give!
on Job 9 :35
Then would I speak, and not fear him - I should then be able to maintain my cause on equal terms, and with equal advantages.
But it is not so with me - Margin, I am not so with myself. Noyes, "I am not so at heart." Good, "but not thus could I in my present state." Literally, "for not thus I with myself." The Syriac renders it, "for neither am I his adversary." Very various interpretations have been given of this phrase. The Jews, with Aben Ezra, suppose it means, "for I am not such as you suppose me to be. You take me to be a guilty man; but I am innocent, and if I had a fair opportunity for trial, I could show that I am." Others suppose it to mean, "I am held to be guilty by the Most High, and am treated accordingly. But I am not so. I am conscious to myself that I am innocent." It seems to me that Dr. Good has come nearer the true sense than any other interpreter, and certainly his exposition accords with the connection. According to this the meaning is, "I am not able thus to vindicate myself in my present circumstances. I am oppressed and crushed beneath a lead of calamities. But if these were removed, and if I had a fair opportunity of trial, then I could so state my cause as to make it appear to be just."
In this whole chapter, there is evidently much insubmission and improper feeling. Job submits to power, not to truth and right. He sees and admits that God is able to overwhelm him, but he does not seem disposed to admit that he is right in doing it. He supposes that if he had a fair and full opportunity of trial, he could make his cause good, and that it would be seen that he did not deserve his heavy calamities. There is much of this kind of submission to God even among good people. It is submission because they cannot help it, not because they see the divine dealings to be right. There is nothing cheerful or confiding about it. There is often a secret feeling in the heart that the sufferings are beyond the deserts, and that if the case could be fairly tried, the dealings of God would be found to be harsh and severe. Let us not blame Job for his impatience and irreverent language, until we have carefully examined our own hearts in the times of trial like those which he endured. Let us not infer that he was worse than other men, until we are placed in similar circumstances, and are able to manifest better feelings than he did.
on Job 9 :35
9:35 Then - I would speak freely for myself, being freed from that dread, which takes away my spirit and courage. It is not - I am not free from his terror, and therefore cannot plead my cause with him.