The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleJob 4:17
Shall mortal man be more just than God?
&c.] Poor, weak,
frail, dying man, and so sinful, as his mortality shows, which is the
effect of sin; how should such a man be more righteous than God? who is
so originally and essentially of himself, completely, perfectly, yea,
infinitely righteous in his nature, and in his works, both of
providence and grace; in chastising his people, punishing the wicked,
and bestowing favours upon his friends, even in their election,
redemption, justification, pardon, and eternal happiness: yea, not only
profane wicked sinners can make no pretensions to anything of this
kind, but even the best of men, none being without sin, no, not man in
his best estate; for the righteousness he had then was of God, and
therefore he could not be more just than he that made him upright. This
comparative sense, which our version leads to, is more generally
received; but it seems not to be the sense of the passage, since this
is a truth clear from reason, and needed no vision or revelation to
discover it; nor can it be thought that God would send an angelic
spirit in such an awful and pompous manner, to declare that which every
one knew, and no man would contradict; even the most self-righteous and
self-sufficient man would never be so daring and insolent as to say he
was more righteous than God; but the words should be rather rendered,
"shall mortal man be justified by God, or be just from God?" or "with"
him, or "before" him F20, in his sight, by any righteousness in him, or
done by him? shall he enter into his presence, stand at his bar, and be
examined there, and go away from thence, in the sight and account of
God, as a righteous person of himself? no, he cannot; now this is a
doctrine opposed to carnal reasoning and the common sentiments of men,
a doctrine of divine revelation, a precious truth: this is the string
of pearls Eliphaz received, see (Job 4:12) ; that mortal man is of
himself an unrighteous creature; that he cannot be justified by his own
righteousness in the sight of God; and that he must look and seek out
for a better righteousness than his own, to justify him before God; and
this agrees with Eliphaz's interpretation of the vision, (Job 15:14) ;
with the sentiments of his friend Bildad, who seems to have some
respect to it, (Job 25:4) ; and also of Job himself, (Job 9:2) ; and in
like manner are we to understand the following clause:
shall a man be more pure than his Maker?
even the greatest and best of
men, since what purity was in Adam, in a state of innocence, was from
God; and what good men have, in a state of grace, is from the grace of
God and blood of Christ, without which no man is pure at all, and
therefore cannot be purer than him from whom they have it: or rather
"be pure from", or "with", or "before his Maker" F21, or be so
accounted by him; every man is impure by his first birth, and in his
nature state, and therefore cannot stand before a pure and holy God,
who of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; or go away his presence, and
be reckoned by him a pure and holy creature of himself; nor can any
thing that he can do, in a moral or ceremonial manner, cleanse him from
his impurity; and therefore it is necessary he should apply to the
grace of God, and blood of Christ, for his purification.
F20 (qduy hwlam vwnah) "an mortalis a Deo justificabitur?" Codurcus'
Bolducius, Deodatus, Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 709. "Num mortalis
a numine justus erit?" Schultens; so Mr. Broughton, "can the
sorrowful man be holden just before the Puissant?"
F21 (rbg rhjy whvem) "an quisquam vir a factore suo mundus habebitur?"
Codurcus; "an a conditore suo purus erit vir?" Schultens; so Mr.
Broughton, "can the human being be clear before him that was his
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 4:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=job&chapter=004&verse=017>. 1999.