- Sin occasions destruction, verse 1-5.
- Affliction is the common lot of mankind, verse 6-7.
- In affliction we should fly to God, who is both able and willing to help, verse 8-16.
- He will deliver them that trust in him, verse 17-27.
Call - Call them all as it were by their names: will not every good man confirm what I say? If - Try if there be any one saint that will defend thee in these bold expostulations with God. Thou mayst find fools or wicked men, to do it: but not one of the children of God.
Killeth - A man's wrath, and impatience, preys upon his spirit, and so hastens his death; and provokes God to cut him off. The foolish - The rash and inconsiderate man, who does not weigh things impartially. Envy, &c. - I perceive thou art full of envy at wicked men, who seem to be in a happier condition than thou, and of wrath against God; and this shews thee to be a foolish and weak man. For those men, notwithstanding their present prosperity, are doomed to great and certain misery. I have myself seen the proof of this.
Foolish - The wicked man. Root - Not only prosperous for the present, but, as it seemed, firm and secure for the future. Suddenly - In a moment, beyond mine, and his own, and all other mens expectation. Cursed - l saw by the event which followed his prosperity, that he was a man accursed of God.
Children - Whose greatness he designed in all his enterprizes, supposing his family would be established for ever. Safely - Are exposed to dangers and calamities, and can neither preserve themselves, nor the inheritance which their fathers left them. There is no question but he glances here, at the death of Job's children.
Harvest - Which they confidently expect to reap after all their cost and labour, but are sadly and suddenly disappointed. The hungry - The hungry Sabeans eat it up. Thorns - Out of the fields: in spite of all dangers or difficulties in their way.
The dust - It springs not up by merely natural causes, as herbs grow out of the earth: but from God. Eliphaz here begins to change his voice, as if he would atone for the hard words he had spoken.
Is born - He is so commonly exposed to various troubles, as if he were born to no other end: affliction is become natural to man, and is transmitted from parents, to children, as their constant inheritance; God having allotted this portion to mankind for their sins. And therefore thou takest a wrong course in complaining so bitterly of that which thou shouldest patiently bear, as the common lot of mankind. As - As naturally, and as generally, as the sparks of fire fly upward. Why then should we be surprized at our afflictions as strange, or quarrel with them, as hard?
I would - If I were in thy condition. Seek - By prayer, and humiliation, and submission, imploring his pardon, and favour.
Who, &c. - Here Eliphaz enters upon a discourse of the infinite perfection of God's nature and works; which he doth as an argument to enforce the exhortation to seek and commit his cause to God, verse 8, because God was infinitely able either to punish him yet far worse, if he continued to provoke him; or to raise him from the dust, if he humbly addressed himself to him: and that by a representation of God's excellency and glory, and of that vast disproportion which was between God and Job, he might convince Job of his great sin in speaking so boldly and irreverently of him. Marvellous - Which (though common, and therefore neglected and despised, yet) are matter of wonder to the wisest men. The works of nature are mysteries: the most curious searches come far short of full discoveries: and the works of Providence are still more deep and unaccountable.
Rain - He begins with this ordinary work of God, in which he implies that there is something wonderful, as indeed there is in the rise of it from the earth, in the strange hanging of that heavy body in the air, and in the distribution of it as God sees fit; and how much more in the hidden paths of Divine Providence?
To set up - That is, he setteth up. Another example of God's great and wonderful works. He gives this instance to comfort and encourage Job to seek to God, because he can raise him out of his greatest depths.
The wise - Men wise to do evil, and wise in the opinion of the world, he not only deceives in their hopes and counsels, but turns them against themselves. Froward - Or, wrestlers: such as wind and turn every way, as wrestlers do, and will leave no means untried to accomplish their counsels. Is carried - Is tumbled down and broken, and that by their own precipitation.
Meet - In plain things they run into gross mistakes, and chuse those courses which are worst for themselves. Darkness often notes misery, but here ignorance or error. Grope - Like blind men to find their way, not knowing what to do.
Mouth - Which was ready to swallow them up.
So - So he obtains what he hoped for from God, to whom he committed his cause. Iniquity - Wicked men. Stoppeth - They are silenced and confounded, finding that not only the poor are got out of their snares, but the oppressors themselves are ensnared in them.
Behold - Eliphaz concludes his discourse, with giving Job a comfortable hope, if he humbled himself before God. Happy - Heb. Blessednesses (various and great happiness) belong to that man whom God rebukes. The reason is plain, because afflictions are pledges of God's love, which no man can buy too dear; and are necessary to purge out sin, and thereby to prevent infinite and eternal miseries. Without respect to this, the proposition could not be true. And therefore it plainly shews, that good men in those ancient times, had the belief, and hope of everlasting blessedness. Despise not - Do not abhor it as a thing pernicious, refuse it as a thing useless, or slight it as an unnecessary thing. But more is designed than is exprest. Reverence the chastening of the Lord: have an humble, aweful regard to his correcting hand, and study to answer the design of it. The Almighty - Who is able to support and comfort thee in thy troubles, and deliver thee out of them: and also to add more calamities to them, if thou art obstinate and incorrigible.
For he, &c. - God's usual method is, first to humble, and then to exalt. And he never makes a wound too great, too deep for his own cure.
Deliver - If thou seekest to him by prayer and repentance. Here he applies himself to Job directly. Six - Manifold and repeated. Touch - So as to destroy thee. Thou shalt have a good issue out of all thy troubles, though they are both great and many.
He shall - These things he utters with more confidence, because the rewards or punishments of this life, were more constantly distributed to men in the Old Testament according to their good or bad behaviour, than they are now: and because it was his opinion, that great afflictions were the certain evidences of wickedness; and consequently, that great deliverances would infallibly follow upon true repentance.
Laugh - With a laughter of joy and triumph, arising from a just security and confidence in God's watchful and gracious providence.
League - Thou shalt be free from annoyance thereby, as if they had made an inviolable league with thee. This is a bold metaphor, but such as are frequent both in scripture and other authors. This is an addition to the former privilege; they shall not hurt thee, verse 22, nay, they shall befriend thee, as being at peace with thee. Our covenant with God is a covenant with all the creatures, that they shall do us no hurt, but serve and be ready to do us good.
Know - By certain experience.
Know - By assurance from God's promises, and the impressions of his Spirit; and by experience in due time.
Full age - In a mature and old, but vigorous age, as the word implies. It is a great blessing, to live to a full age, and not to have the number of our years cut short. Much more, to be willing to die, to come chearfully to the grave: and to die seasonably, just in the bed-time, when our souls are ripe for God.
Searched - This is no rash or hasty conceit, but what both I and my brethren have learned by deep consideration, long experience, and diligent observation. Know thou - Know it for thyself; (So the word is) with application to thy own case. That which we thus hear and know for ourselves, we hear and know for our good.