Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
2. This chapter is addressed also to the "friends" as the
thirty-third chapter to Job alone.
3. palate--(See on
4. judgment--Let us select among the conflicting sentiments
advanced, what will stand the test of examination.
5. judgment--my right. Job's own words
(Job 13:18; 27:2).
6. Were I to renounce my right (that is, confess myself guilty), I
should die. Job virtually had said so
(Job 27:4, 5; 6:28).
MAURER, not so well, "Notwithstanding my right
(innocence) I am treated as a liar," by God, by His afflicting me.
my wound--literally, "mine arrow," namely, by which I am pierced.
So "my stroke" ("hand,"
Margin). My sickness
(Job 6:4; 16:13).
without transgression--without fault of mine to deserve it
Image from the camel.
8. Job virtually goes in company (makes common cause) with the wicked,
by taking up their sentiments
(Job 9:22, 23, 30; 21:7-15),
or at least by saying, that those who act on such sentiments are
To deny God's righteous government because we do not see the reasons of
His acts, is virtually to take part with the ungodly.
9. with God--in intimacy
10. The true answer to Job, which God follows up
Man is to believe God's ways are right, because they are His, not
because we fully see they are so
11. Partly here; fully, hereafter
In opposition to Job,
13. If the world were not God's property, as having been made by
Him, but committed to His charge by some superior, it might be possible
for Him to act unjustly, as He would not thereby be injuring Himself;
but as it is, for God to act unjustly would undermine the whole order
of the world, and so would injure God's own property
established the circle of the globe.
14, 15. "If He were to set His heart on man," either to injure him,
or to take strict account of his sins. The connection supports rather
"If He had regard to himself (only), and were to gather unto
man's spirit, &c. (which he sends forth,
all flesh must perish together," &c.
God's loving preservation of His creatures proves He cannot be selfish,
and therefore cannot be unjust.
Elihu had spoken to all in general, now he calls Job's special
17. "Can even He who (in thy view) hateth right (justice) govern?"
The government of the world would be impossible if injustice were
sanctioned. God must be just, because He governs
govern--literally, "bind," namely, by authority (so "reign,"
Margin). UMBREIT translates for "govern,
repress wrath, namely, against Job for his accusations.
most just--rather, "Him who is at once mighty and just" (in His
government of the world).
18. Literally, (Is it fit) to be said to a king? It would be a
gross outrage to reproach thus an earthly monarch, much more the King
But MAURER with the Septuagint and
Vulgate reads, (It is not fit to accuse of injustice Him) who
says to a king, Thou art wicked; to princes, Ye are ungodly; that
is, who punishes impartially the great, as the small. This accords with
20. they--"the rich" and "princes" who offend God.
the people--namely, of the guilty princes: guilty also themselves.
at midnight--image from a night attack of an enemy on a camp, which
becomes an easy prey
(Ex 12:29, 30).
without hand--without visible agency, by the mere word of
21. God's omniscience and omnipotence enable Him to execute immediate
justice. He needs not to be long on the "watch," as Job thought
22. shadow of death--thick darkness
(Am 9:2, 3;
Better, as UMBREIT, "He does not (needs not to)
regard (as in
man long (so Hebrew,
in order that he may go (be brought by God) into judgment." Literally,
"lest his (attention) upon men"
(Job 11:10, 11).
"without number" ought to be translated, "without [needing any]
searching out," such as has to be made in human judgments.
24. break in pieces--
25. Therefore--because He knows all things
He knows their works, without a formal investigation
in the night--suddenly, unexpectedly
Fitly in the night, as it was in it that the godless hid
UMBREIT, less simply, for "overturneth,"
translates, "walketh"; that is, God is ever on the alert, discovering
26. He striketh them--chasteneth.
as--that is, because they are wicked.
sight of others--Sinners hid themselves in darkness; therefore they
are punished before all, in open day. Image from the place of public
27, 28. The grounds of their punishment in
states in what respect they "considered not God's ways," namely, by
oppression, whereby "they caused the cry," &c.
make trouble--rather, "condemn"
(Ro 8:33, 34).
the reference being only to the godless, in the next clause, and
translates, "When God keeps quiet" (leaves men to perish)
[UMBREIT] from the Arabic (strikes to
the earth), "who shall condemn Him as unjust?"
hideth . . . face--
(Job 23:8, 9;
it be done--Whether it be against a guilty nation
or an individual, that God acts so.
30. Ensnared--into sin
(1Ki 12:28, 30).
Or rather, "enthralled by further oppression,"
31. Job accordingly says so
It was to lead him to this that Elihu was sent. Though no hypocrite,
Job, like all, had sin; therefore through affliction he was to be
brought to humble himself under God. All sorrow is a proof of the
common heritage of sin, in which the godly shares; and therefore he
ought to regard it as a merciful correction. UMBREIT and MAURER lose this by
translating, as the Hebrew will bear, "Has any a right to say to
God, I have borne chastisement and yet have not sinned?" (so
borne--namely, the penalty of sin, as in
Le 5:1, 17.
offend--literally, "to deal destructively or corruptly"
Ps 32:8; 19:12; 139:23, 24).
33. Rather, "should God recompense (sinners) according to thy mind?
Then it is for thee to reject and to choose, and not me"
"For thou hast rejected God's way of recompensing; state
therefore thy way, for thou must choose, not I," that is, it is thy
part, not mine, to show a better way than God's.
34, 35. Rather, "men . . . will say to me, and the wise man
(Job 34:2, 10)
who hearkens to me (will say), 'Job hath spoken,'" &c.
36. Margin, not so well, "My father," Elihu addressing God. This
title does not elsewhere occur in Job.
answers for wicked men--(See on
Trials of the godly are not removed until they produce the effect
37. clappeth . . . hands--in scorn
multiplieth . . . words--
(Job 11:2; 35:16).
To his original "sin" to correct which trials have been sent, "he adds
rebellion," that is, words arraigning God's justice.