As God liveth,.... Which is an oath, as Jarchi observes, and is a form of one frequently used, see 2 Samuel 2:27; and is used by God himself, who, because he can swear by no greater, swears by himself, and by his life, which ever continues, as in Ezekiel 18:3; and many other places; and so the Angel of the Lord, even the uncreated Angel, Daniel 12:7; and so should men, when they swear at all, it should be in this manner, see Jeremiah 4:2; though this ought not to be but in cases of moment and importance, for the confirmation of the truth, and to put an end to strife, when it cannot be done any other way than by an appeal to God; as was the present case with Job, it being about hypocrisy, and want of integrity his friends charged him with; and such a case can only be determined truly and fully by God, who is here described as the living God, by whom men swear, in opposition to the idols of the Gentiles, which are of gold, silver, wood, and stone, and without life and breath, or to their deified heroes, who were dead men; but the true God is the living God, has life in and of himself, and is the fountain of life to others, the author and giver of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal, and who himself lives for ever and ever; and as such is the object of faith and confidence, of fear and reverence, of love and affection; all which swearing by him supposes and implies; it is a saying of R. Joshuah, as Jarchi on the place relates it,
"that Job from love served God, for no man swears by the life of a king but who loves the king;'
the object swore by is further described,
who hath taken away my judgment; not the judgment of his mind, or his sense of judging things, which remained with him quick and strong, notwithstanding his afflictions; nor correction with judgment, which continued with him; but, as the Targum paraphrases it,
"he hath taken away the rule of my judgment;'
that is, among men, his substance, wealth, and riches, his former affluence and prosperity, which while he enjoyed, he was reckoned a good man; but now all this being taken away by the hand of God as it was, he was censured as a wicked man, and even by his friends; or rather it is a complaint, that God had neglected the judgment of him, like that of the church in Isaiah 40:27; that he did not stir up himself to his judgment, even to his cause; did not vindicate him, though he appealed to him; did not admit him to his judgment seat, nor give his cause a hearing, and decide it, though he had most earnestly desired it; nor did he let him know the reason of his thus dealing and contending with him; yea, he afflicted him severely, though righteous and innocent, in which Job obliquely reflects upon the dealings of God with him; though he does not charge him with injustice, or break out into blasphemy of him; yet this seems to be one of those speeches which God disapproved of, and is taken notice of by Elihu with a censure, Job 34:5;
and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; with whom nothing is impossible, and who could easily have relieved him from his distresses; and who was "Shaddai", the all-sufficient Being, who could have supplied him with all things temporal and spiritual he wanted; yet instead of this "vexed his soul" with adversity, with afflictions very grievous to him, his hand touching and pressing him sore: or, "hath made my soul bitter"F2המר נפשי "affecit amaritudine animam meam", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Michaelis; so Sept. ; dealt bitterly with him, as the Almighty did with Naomi, 1:20. Afflictions are bitter things, they are like the waters of Marah, they are wormwood and gall, they cause bitter distress and sorrow, and make a man go and speak in the bitterness of his soul; and these are of God, to whom job ascribes his, and not to chance and fortune; they were bitter things God appointed for him and wrote against him.