Book of Job Chapter 33:11-22, 36:8-12 Antique Commentary Quotes

Pulpit Commentary

Job_33:13

Why dost thou strive against him? Why dost thou insist on taking the attitude of one who contends with God, who would fain enter into a controversy with him, and force him to plead in his own defence? It is not alone his omnipotence that makes such conduct folly, but his remoteness, his inaccessibility. He cannot be forced to make answer; it is not his wont to do so; he giveth not account of any of his matters. It is presumptuous to suppose that God will condescend to reveal himself from heaven and make answer to thy overbold challenges.

Albert Barnes

Job 33:13

Why dost thou strive against him? – By refusing to submit to him, and by calling in question his wisdom and goodness.

For he giveth not account of any of his matters – Margin, as in Hebrew “answereth not.” The idea is, that it is as useless as it is improper to contend with God. He does his own pleasure, and deals with man as he deems best and right. The reason of his doings he does not state, nor has man any power to extort from him a statement of the causes why he afflicts us. This is still true. The reason of his doings he does not often make known to the afflicted, and it is impossible to know now the causes why he has brought on us the calamity with which we are visited. The general reasons why men are afflicted may be better known now than they were in the time of Elihu, for successive revelations have thrown much light on that subject. But when he comes and afflicts us as individuals; when he takes away a beloved child; when he cuts down the young, the vigorous, the useful, and the pious, it is often impossible to understand why he has done it.

All that we can do then is to submit to his sovereign will, and to believe that though we cannot see the reasons why he has done it, yet that does not prove that there are no reasons, or that we may never be permitted to understand them. We are required to submit to his will, not to our own reason; to acquiesce because he does it, not because we see it to be right. If we always understood the reasons why he afflicts us, our resignation would be not to the will of God, but to our own knowledge of what is right; and God, therefore, often passes before us in clouds and thick darkness to see whether we have sufficient confidence in him to believe that he does right, even when we cannot see or understand the reason of his doings. So a child reposes the highest confidence in a parent, when he believes that the parent will do right, though he cannot understand why he does it, and the parent does not choose to let him know. May not a father see reasons for what he does which a child could not understand, or which it might be proper for him to withhold from him?

Adam Clarke

Job 33:14

For God speaketh once – Though he will not be summoned to the bar of his creatures, nor condescend to detail the reasons of his conduct, which they could not comprehend, yet he so acts, in the main, that the operation of his hand and the designs of his counsel may sufficiently appear, provided men had their eyes open upon his ways, and their hearts open to receive his influence. Elihu, having made the general statement that God would not come to the bar of his creatures to give account of his conduct, shows the general means which he uses to bring men to an acquaintance with themselves and with him: he states these in the six following particulars, which may be collected from Job_33:15-24.

Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown

Job 33:14

Translate, “Yet, man regardeth it not”; or rather, as Umbreit, “Yea, twice (He repeats the warning) – if man gives no heed” to the first warning. Elihu implies that God’s reason for sending affliction is because, when God has communicated His will in various ways, man in prosperity has not heeded it; God therefore must try what affliction will effect (Joh_15:2; Psa_62:11; Isa_28:10, Isa_28:13).

Pulpit Commentary

Job_33:14

For God speaketh once, yea twice. God has his own ways of speaking to man, which are not those that Job has been expecting. He speaks silently and secretly, not in thunders and lightnings, as at Sinai (Exo_19:16-20), not by extraordinary theophanies, but nevertheless quite as effectually. Yet man perceiveth it not. Man often does net recognize God’s action in this silent teaching of his. Man wants something more startling, more sensational. In our Lord’s time, the Jews demanded “a sign”—”a sign from heaven;” but no sign of the kind was given them. Job now did not understand that God, whom he called upon to answer him (Job_10:2; Job_13:22; Job_23:5, etc.), was already speaking to him in various ways—by his judgments, by thoughts suggested inwardly to his heart, by the dreams and visions whereof he complained (Job_7:14).

Albert Barnes

Job 33:14

For God speaketh once – The object of what is here said is, to show the reason why God brings affliction upon people, or to explain the principles of his government which Elihu supposed had been sadly misunder stood by Job and his friends. The reason why he brings affliction, Elihu says, is because all other means of reclaiming and restraining people fail. He communicates his will to them; he speaks to them again and again in dreams and visions; he warns them of the error of their course Job_33:14-17, and when this is all ineffectual he brings upon them affliction. He lays them upon their bed where they must reflect, and where there is hope that they may be reclaimed and reformed, Job_33:18-28.

Yea, twice – He does not merely admonish him once. He repeats the admonition when man refuses to hear him the first time, and takes all the methods which he can by admonition and warning to withdraw him from his wicked purpose, and to keep him from ruin.

Yet man perceiveth it not – Or, rather, “Although he does not perceive it or attend to it.” Though the sinner is regardless of the admonition, yet still God repeats it, and endeavors to save him from the commission of the crimes which would lead him to ruin. This is designed to show the patience and forbearance of God, and how many means he takes to save the sinner from ruin. Of the truth of what Elihu here says, there can be no difference of opinion. It is one of the great principles of the divine administration that the sinner is often warned, though he heeds it not; and that God sends repeated admonitions even when people will not regard them, but are bent on their own ruin.

Pulpit Commentary

Job_33:15

In a dream, in a vision of the sight. So God spoke to Abimelech (Gen_20:3-7), to Jacob (Gen_31:11), to Laban (Gen_31:24), to Joseph (Gen_38:5, Gen_38:9), to the Pharaoh whom Joseph served (Gen_41:1-7), to Solomon (1Ki_3:5), to Daniel (Dan_2:19), to Nebuchadnezzar (Dan_2:28; Dan_4:5-18), and to many others. Sometimes men recognized such visions as Divine communications; but sometimes, probably quite as often, they regarded them as mere dreams, fancies, phantasies, unworthy of any attention. Elihu seems to hold that Divine visions came only when deep sleep falleth upon men; and similarly Eliphaz, in Job_4:13. This method of revelation seems to belong especially to the more primitive times, and the earlier stages of God’s dealings with men. In the New Testament dreams scarcely form any part of the economy of grace. In slumberings upon the bed. A pleonastic addition, which must not be regarded as diminishing from the force of the precedent clause.

Albert Barnes

Job 33:15

In a dream – This was one of the methods by which the will of God was made known in the early periods of the world; see the notes at Job_4:12-17. And for a fuller account of this method of communicating the divine will, see the introduction to Isaiah, Section 7 (2).

In a vision of the night – Notes, Job_4:13; compare the introduction to Isaiah, Section 7 (4).

When deep sleep falleth upon men – This may be designed to intimate more distinctly that it was from God. It was not the effect of disturbed and broken rest; not such fancies as come into the mind between sleeping and waking, but the visitations of the divine Spirit in the profoundest repose of the night. The word rendered “deep sleep” (תרדמה tardêmâh) is one that denotes the most profound repose. It is not merely sleep, but it is sleep of the soundest kind – that kind when we do not usually dream; see the notes at Job_4:13. The Chaldee has here rendered it correctly, עמקתא שינתא – sleep that is deep. The Septuagint renders it, δεινὸς φόβος deinos phobos – dread horror. The Syriac renders this verse, “Not by the lips does he teach; by dreams and visions of the night,” etc.

In slumberings upon the bed – The word rendered “slumberings” (בתנומה bitenûmâh) means a light sleep, as contradistinguished from very profound repose. Our word slumber conveys the exact idea. The meaning of the whole is, that God speaks to people when their senses are locked in repose – alike in the profound sleep when they do not ordinarily dream, and in the gentle and light slumbers when the sleep is easily broken. In what way, however, they were to distinguish such communications from ordinary dreams, we have no information. It is scarcely necessary to remark that what is here and elsewhere said in the Scriptures about dreams, is no warrant for putting any confidence in them now as if they were revelations from heaven.

Pulpit Commentary

Job_33:16

Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction. At such times, Elihu holds, God gives men spiritual wisdom, instructs them, makes them understand his dealings with them and his purposes with respect to them. If Job is perplexed concerning the Almighty’s ways with himself, and desires explanations, let him have his ear open to the Divine teaching on such occasions, and seriously lay it to heart. He will thus, it may be, find his perplexity diminished.

Albert Barnes

Job 33:16

Then he openeth the ears of men – Margin, as in Hebrew “revealeth,” or “uncovereth.” The idea is, that he then reveals to the ear of man important admonitions or counsels. He communicates valuable truth. We are not to understand this as saying that the sleeper actually hears God speak, but as the ear is the organ of hearing, it is employed here to denote that God then communicates His will to human beinigs. In what way he had access to the souls of people by dreams, it is impossible to explain.

And sealeth their instruction – literally, “In their admonition he seals;” or he affixes a seal. The idea is, that he makes the admonition or instruction as secure as if a seal were affixed to it. A seal ratified or confirmed a contract, a will, or a deed, and the sense here is, that the communications of God to the soul were as firm as if they had been ratified in like manner. Or possibly it may mean, that the warnings of God were communicated to the soul like a sealed letter or message unknown to any other; that is, were made privately to the individual himself in the slumbers of the night. Others have understood the word rendered instruction, as denoting castigation, or punishment, and according to that explanation the meaning would be, that he announces to them certain punishment if they continued in sin; he made it as certain to them as if it were ratified by a seal. So Rosenmuller and Mercer. Schultens supposes it to be equivalent to inspires them, or communicates instruction by inspiration as if it were confirmed and ratified by a seal. He observes that the Arabic word hhatham is often used in the Koran, meaning to inspire. The Septuagint renders it, ἀυτοὺς ἐξεφόβησεν autous exephobēsen – “he terrifies them” – where they evidently read יחתם yechathēm instead of יחתם yachthom. The sense is, that God communicates warnings to people on their beds, in a manner as solemn and impressive as if it were ratified with a seal, and made as secure as possible.

Pulpit Commentary

Job_33:17

That he (i.e. God) may withdraw man from his purpose; literally, from his work, assumed to be a wrongful work. Elihu regards the Divine teaching through visions as intended to elevate and purify men. Sometimes God so works upon them as to make them abandon an evil course on which they had entered. Sometimes his object is to save them from indulgence in an evil temper into which, without his help, they might have fallen. In this latter case he may occasionally hide pride from man. Elihu, perhaps, thinks that Job is unduly proud of his integrity.

Daniel Whedon

Job 33:17

17.Purpose — מעשׂה, deed; used, like the Latin facinus, in the sense of evil deed. Of the two words employed for man, the second, geber, expresses might, and thus forms an antithesis. For “weak man,” (adham,) God interposes obstacles to the commission of sin, and from “the man of might” covers up (hides) the dazzling object of temptation. No one can estimate the restraint God thus exercises over the soul. Were there no protecting grace there would be but little, if any, human virtue. Pride is specially mentioned, because it is a sin to which human beings are most easily subjected, a kind of leader among temptations, and a vice, too, when once in possession, which cleaveth with a tenaciousness greater than that of all other sins.

Albert Barnes

Job 33:17

That he may withdraw man from his purpose – Margin, “work.” The sense is plain. God designs to warn him of the consequences of executing a plan of iniquity. He alarms him by showing him that his course will lead to punishment, and by representing to him in the night visions, the dreadful woes of the future world into which he is about to plunge. The object is to deter him from committing the deed of guilt which he had contemplated, and to turn him to the paths of righteousness. Is it unreasonable to suppose that the same thing may occur now, and that God may have a purpose in the dreams which often visit the man who has formed a plan of iniquity, or who is living a life of sin? It cannot be doubted that such people often have alarming dreams; that these dreams are such as are fitted to deter them from the commission of their contemplated wickedness; and that in fact they not unfrequently do it.

What shall hinder us from supposing that God intends that the workings of the mind when the senses are locked in repose, shall be the means of alarming the guilty, and of leading them to reflection? Why should not mind thus be its own admonisher, and be made the instrument of restraining the guilty then, as really as by its sober reasonings and reflections when awake? Many a wicked man has been checked in a career of wickedness by a frightful dream; and not a few have been brought to a degree of reflection which has resulted in sound conversion by the alarm caused on the mind by having the consequences of a career of wickedness traced out in the visions of the night. The case of Colonel Gardiner cannot be forgotten – though in that instance it was rather “a vision of the night” than a dream. He was meditating an act of wickedness. and was alone in his room awaiting the appointed hour. In the silence of the night, and in the solitude of his room, he seemed to see the Savior on the cross. This view, however, it may be accounted for, restrained him from the contemplated act of wickedness, and he became an eminently pious man; see Doddridge’s Life of Col. Gardiner. The mind, with all its faculties, is under the control of God, and no one can demonstrate that he does not make its actings, even in the wanderings of a dream, the designed means of checking the sinner, and of saving the soul.

And hide pride from man – Probably the particular thing which Elihu here referred to, was pride and arrogance toward God; or an insolent bearing toward him, and a reliance on one’s own merits. This was the particular thing in Job which Elihu seems to have thought required animadversion, and probably he meant to intimate that all people had such communications from God by dreams as to save them from such arrogance.

Albert Barnes

Job 33:18

He keepeth back his soul from the pit – The word soul in the Hebrew is often equivalent to self, and the idea is, that he keeps the man from the pit in this manner. The object of these warnings is to keep him from rushing on to his own destruction. The word rendered “pit” – שׁחת shachath, properly means a pit, or pitfall, in which traps are laid for wild animals; Psa_7:15; Psa_9:15; then a cistern that is miry; Job_9:31; a prison, Isa_51:14; then the grave, or sepulchre, as being often a cavern; Job_17:13; Psa_30:9; see Job_33:28, Job_33:30. It evidently means here the grave, and the sense is, that God thus warns people against pursuing a course of conduct which would lead them to destruction, or would speedily terminate their lives.

And his life from perishing by the sword – Margin, “passing by.” The meaning of the Hebrew may be, “to keep his life from passing away by the sword;” as if the sword were the means by which the life or soul passed from the body. The word rendered sword here – שׁלח shelach is from שׁלח shâlach – to send, cast, hurl, and the reference is rather to something sent, as of an arrow, dart, javelin, than to a sword. The sense is not materially varied, and the idea referred to is that of a violent death. The meaning is, that God by these warnings would keep a man from such a course of life as would lead to a death by violence – either by punishment for his crime, or by being cut off in war.

Adam Clarke

Job 33:19

IV. By Afflictions

He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, etc. – Afflictions are a fourth means which God makes use of to awaken and convert sinners. In the hand of God these were the cause of the salvation of David, as himself testifies: Before I was afflicted, I went astray, Psa_119:67, Psa_119:71, Psa_119:75.

The multitude of his bones – By such diseases, especially those of a rheumatic kind, when to the patient’s apprehension every bone is diseased, broken, or out of joint.

Some render the passage, When the multitude of his bones is yet strong; meaning those sudden afflictions which fall upon men when in a state of great firmness and vigor. The original, ורוב עצמיו אתן verob atsamaiv ethan, may be translated, And the strong multitude of his bones. Even the strong multitude of his bones is chastened with pain upon his bed; the place of rest and ease affording him no peace, quiet, or comfort.

The bones may be well termed multitudinous, as there are no less than 10 in the cranium, or skull; upper jaw, 13; lower jaw, 1; teeth, 32; tongue, 1; vertebrae, or back-bone, 24; ribs, 24; sternum, or breast-bone, 3; os innominatum, 1; scapula, or shoulder-blades, 2; arms, 6; hands, 54; thigh-bones, 2; knee-bones, 2; legs, 4; feet, 54: in all, not less than 233 bones, without reckoning the ossa sethamoides; because, though often numerous, they are found only in hard laborers, or elderly persons.

Daniel Whedon

Job 33: 19.He is chastened — For the enlightened views of Eliphaz on the subject of afflictions, see Job_5:17-18. The difference between the two is, that Eliphaz fails to recognize their purifying and sanctifying influence on the heart. “He sees in them a fire that scorches and burns, not one that refines and clarifies, as the furnace refines silver.” — WORDSWORTH. Comp. 1Pe_1:6; 1Pe_4:19. The multitude of his bones — Rather as in the Kethib, and with a conflict in his bones continually. Justin (xxiii, 2) says of the last sickness of Agathocles, that “a pestilential humour spreading through all his nerves and joints, he was tormented, as it were, by an intestine war among all his members.” With the ancient Hebrew, health meant “soundness,” “peace;” and the same word, shalom, was used for all three. On the contrary, disease entailed a disharmony, conflict, and strife in the whole being, here represented by the bones, the framework of man.

Albert Barnes

Job 33:19

He is chastened also with pain – As another means of checking and restraining him from the commission of sin. When the warnings of the night fail, and when he is bent on a life of sin, then God lays him on a bed of pain, and he is brought to reflection there. There he has an opportunity to think of his life, and of all the consequences which must follow from a career of iniquity. This involves the main inquiry before the disputants. It was, why people were afflicted. The three friends of Job had said that it was a full proof of wickedness, and that when the professedly pious were afflicted it was demonstrative of insincerity and hypocrisy. Job had called this position in question, and proved that it could not be so, but still was at a loss why it was. Elihu now says, that affliction is a part of a disciplinary government; that it is one of the means which God adopts, when warnings are ineffectual, to restrain people and to bring them to reflection and repentance. This appears to have been a view which was almost entirely new to them.

And the multitude of his bones with strong pain – The bones, as has before been remarked, it was supposed might be the seat of the acutest pain; see the notes at Job_30:17; compare Job_20:11; Job_7:15; Job_30:30. The meaning here is, that the frame was racked with intense suffering in order to admonish men of sin, to save them from plunging into deeper transgression, and to bring them to repentance.

Albert Barnes

Job 33:20

So that his life abhorreth bread – It is a common effect of sickness to take away the appetite. Elihu here regards it as a part of the wholesome discipline of the sufferer. He has no relish for the comforts of life.

And his soul dainty meat – Margin, “meat of desire.” The Hebrew is, “food of desire.” The word rendered “meat” (מאכל ma’ăkâl) does not denote animal food only, but any kind of food. So the Old English word meat was used. The idea is, that the sick man loathes the most delicate food. It is a part of his discipline that the pleasure which he had in the days of his health is now taken away.

Pulpit Commentary

Job_33:21

His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; literally, from the sight; but the Authorized Version gives probably the correct meaning. And his bones that were not seen stick out. These are general features of a wasting illness. Such illness gives the sufferer time to review thoroughly his life and cow duct, and see to it “if there be any way of wickedness in him,” or any particular form of sin to which he is tempted.

Albert Barnes

Job 33:21

His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen – He wastes away. His flesh, once vigorous, beautiful, and fair, now disappears. This is not a mere description of the nature of his sickness, but it is a description of the disciplinary arrangements of God. It is an important part of his affliction, as a part of the discipline, that his flesh vanishes, and that his appearance is so changed that he becomes repulsive to the view.

And his bones that were not seen, stick out – His bones were before invisible. They were carefully concealed by the rounded muscle, and by the fat which filled up the interstices, so that they were not offensive to the view. But now the protuberances of his bones can be seen, for God has reduced him to the condition of a skeleton. This is one of the common effects of disease, and this shows the strength of the discipline which God contemplates. The parts of the human frame which in health are carefully hid from the view, as being unsightly, become now prominent, and can be hidden no longer. One design is to humble us; to take away the pride which delighted in the round and polished limb, the rose on the cheek, the ruby lip, and the smooth forehead; and to show us what we shall soon be in the grave.

Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown

Job 33:22

destroyers — angels of death commissioned by God to end man’s life (2Sa_24:16; Psa_78:49). The death pains personified may, however, be meant; so “gnawers” (see on Job_30:17).

Daniel Whedon

Job 33:22

22.The destroyers — Many commentators understand them to be angelic powers, to whom is intrusted the work of death. Aben Ezra and Ewald call them “angels of death.” The Septuagint renders the clause, “his life [is] in hades.” Compare Psa_78:49; 2Sa_24:16. Others (Rosenmuller, Schlottman, etc.) understand simply mortal pains; but this explanation, as Delitzsch well says, “does not commend itself, because the Elihu section has a strong angelogical colouring in common with the book of Job.” True penitence may stay the execution of the decree of death. Comp. 1Ch_21:15 and Luk_13:9.

Albert Barnes

Job 33:22

Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave – That is, he himself does, for the word soul is often used to denote self.

And his life to the destroyers – – לממתים lammitiym. literally, “to those causing death.” The interpretation commonly given of this is, “the angels of death” who were supposed to come to close human life; compare 2Sa_24:16-17. But it probably refers to diseases and pangs as having power to terminate life, and being the cause of the close of life. The meaning is, that the afflicted man comes very near to those acute sufferings which terminate life, and which by personification are here represented as the authors of death.

Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown

Job 36:8-10

If they be afflicted, it is no proof that they are hypocrites, as the friends maintain, or that God disregards them, and is indifferent whether men are good or bad, as Job asserts: God is thereby “disciplining them,” and “showing them their sins,” and if they bow in a right spirit under God’s visiting hand, the greatest blessings ensue.

Pulpit Commentary

Job_36:8

And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction. On the other hand, there are doubtless eases where the righteous suffer adversity—are even “bound in fetters,” and “holden in cords of affliction” (Gen_39:20; Jer_40:1 : Dan_3:21; Mat_14:3; Act_12:6; Act_16:24; Act_24:27, etc.). But even here God’s vigilance is not relaxed. On the contrary, he watches with the utmost care over their afflictions, apportioning them according to the needs of each, and making every possible effort, by means of them, to work their reformation (see the two following verses).

Daniel Whedon

Job 36:8

8.Fetters and cords are used in a figurative sense. Arab writers, cited by Hitzig, formulate the thought thus: — “Sickness is God’s prison on the earth.” However lofty the elevation of the righteous, he is not beyond the afflictive hand of God; nay, quite as certainly as upon the lowliest shall the gathered clouds of adversity burst upon the heads of the highest, in order that their souls may also be severed and won from the deleterious influences of worldly prosperity. These glowing words (Job_36:8-12) have an oblique reference to Job. In the view of Elihu affliction is the voice of God to the soul, “not in anger, nor in wrath,” but in love. The contrast between the views of Elihu and those of “the friends,” as to the design of affliction, is most marked.

Albert Barnes

Job 36:8

And if they be bound in fetters – That is, if the righteous are thrown into prison, and are subjected to oppressions and trials, or if they are chained down, as it were, on a bed of pain, or crushed by heavy calamities, the eye of God is still upon them. Their sufferings should not be regarded either as proof that they are hypocrites, or that God is regardless of them, and is indifferent whether people are good or evil. The true solution of the difficulty was, that God was then accomplishing purposes of discipline, and that happy results would follow if they would receive affliction in a proper manner.

Pulpit Commentary

Job_36:9

Then he sheweth them their work. God, by his chastisements, makes men see what has been faulty in their life’s work, in what respects they have been negligent, where they have lapsed into actual sin. Signal afflictions are a call to men to “consider their ways,” and search out the nature of their offences. Some afflictions, as sickness and imprisonment, by depriving men of active employment, almost force them to engage in such a retrospect. And their transgressions that they have exceeded; rather, and their transgressions’ wherein they have behaved themselves proudly (compare the Revised Version). In all sin, as it is a contempt of God’s Law, there is an element of pride. The temptation to pride especially besets those whose conduct is, in outward appearance, correct and virtuous.

Albert Barnes

Job 36:9

Then he showeth them their work – What their lives have been. This he does either by a messenger sent to them Job_33:23, or by their own reflections Job_33:27, or by the influences of his Spirit leading them to a proper review of their lives. The object of their affliction, Elihu says, is to bring them to see what their conduct has been, and to reform what has been amiss. It should not be interpreted either as proof that the afflicted are eminently wicked, as the friends of Job maintained, or as furnishing an occasion for severe reflections on the divine government, such as Job had indulged in. It is all consistent with an equitable and kind administration; with the belief that the afflicted have true piety – though they have wandered and erred; and with the conviction that God is dealing with them in mercy, and not in the severity of wrath. They need only recal the errors of their lives; humble themselves, and exercise true repentance, and they would find afflictions to be among even their richest blessings.

Transgressions that they have exceeded – Or, rather, “he shows them their transgressions that they have been very great”; that they have made themselves great, mighty, strong – יתגברוּ yitgâbarû. The idea is, that their transgressions had been allowed to accumulate, or to become strong, until it was necessary to interpose in this manner, and check them by severe affliction. All this was consistent, however, with the belief that the sufferer was truly pious and might find favor if he would repent.

Pulpit Commentary

Job_36:10

He openeth also their ear to discipline. It is the especial merit of Elihu’s theory of suffering that he views it as far less penal than disciplinary and restorative. Job’s sufferings especially he views in this light. Instead of looking upon Job, like his other friends, as a heinous sinner, upon whom Go, I is taking vengeance, he regards him as a person who is being chastised, in love, for some fault or faults that he has committed, to his ultimate advantage and improvement. This, though not exactly the truth, is far nearer the truth than the view taken by the other three “friends.” And commandeth that they return from iniquity. God’s chastisements are to be viewed as commands to men to “go and sin no more.”

Daniel Whedon

Job 36:10

10.Openeth… ear — As in Job_33:16. Iniquity — Vanity, און. Its root idea is to be “empty,” “worthless.” See note on Job_5:12, and Job_21:19. Elihu, with profound insight, more like that of the New Testament, (1Jn_2:15-17,) penetrates to the root of Job’s trouble, and finds it to be the incipient love of an “empty” world, (worldliness,) — the first side-steppings of a soul that otherwise retains its faith in God.

Pulpit Commentary

Job_36:11

If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures (comp. Job_12:13-19; Jer_7:23; Jer_26:13). Under the old covenant, prosperity was promised to the righteous, and even to the repentant, frequently, and in the most definite terms. Under the new, when any such promise is made, it is carefully guarded (Mar_10:30); while in many passages the promise is of an opposite character—the righteous are told to expect tribulations and persecutions (Joh_16:33; Act_14:22; 2Ti_3:12 : Heb_12:1-11; 1Pe_4:12, 1Pe_4:13, etc.).

Albert Barnes

Job 36:11

If they obey and serve him – That is, if, as the result of their afflictions, they repent of their sins, seek his mercy, and serve him in time to come, they shall be prospered still. The design of affliction, Elihu says, is, not to cut them off, but to bring them to repentance. This sentiment he had advanced and illustrated before at greater length; see the notes at Job_33:23-28. The object of all this is, doubtless, to assure Job that he should not regard his calamities either as proof that he had never understood religion – as his friends maintained; or that God was severe, and did not regard those that loved and obeyed him – as Job had seemed to suppose; but that there was something in his life and conduct which made discipline necessary, and that if he would repcnt of that, he would find returning prosperity, and end his days in happiness and peace.

Adam Clarke

Job 36:12

But if they obey not – This also is a general rule, from which, in the course of Providence, there are only few, and those only apparent, deviations. Instead of they shall perish by the sword, the meaning of the Hebrew בשלח יעברו beshelach yaaboru, is, “By a dart they shall pass by.” They shall be in continual dangers, and often fall before they have lived out half their days. Mr. Good translates: They pass by as an arrow. The Vulgate: Transibunt per gladium. “They shall pass away by the sword.”

Albert Barnes

Job 36:12

But if they obey not – If those who are afflicted do not turn to God, and yield him obedience, they must expect that he will continue their calamities until they are cut off.

They shall perish by the sword – Margin, as in Hebrew “pass away.” The word rendered “sword” (שׁלח shelach) means properly “anything sent” – as a spear or an arrow – “a missile” – and then an instrument of war in general. It may be applied to any weapon that is used to produce death. The idea here is, that the man who was afflicted on account of the sins which he had committed, and who did not repent of them and turn to God, would be cut off. God would not withdraw his hand unless he acknowledged his offences. As he had undertaken the work of discipline, he could not consistently do it, for it would be in fact “yielding” the point to him whom he chastised. This “may” be the case now, and the statement here made by Elihu may involve a principle which will explain the cause of the death of many persons, even of the professedly pious. They are devoted to gain or amusement; they seek the honors of the world for their families or themselves, and in fact they make no advances in piety, and are doing nothing for the cause of religion. God lays his hand upon them at first gently. They lose their health, or a part of their property. But the discipline is not effectual. He then lays his band on them with more severity, and takes from them an endeared child. Still, all is ineffectual. The sorrow of the affliction passes away, and they mingle again in the frivolous and busy scenes of life as worldly as ever, and exert no influence in favor of religion. Another blow is needful, and blow after blow is struck; but nothing overcomes their worldliness, nothing makes them devotedly and sincerely useful, and it becomes necessary to remove them from the world.

They shall die without knowledge – That is, without any true knowledge of the plans and government of God, or of the reasons why he brought these afflictions upon them. In all their sufferings they never “saw” the design. They complained, and murmured, and charged God with severity, but they never understood that the affliction was intended for their own benefit.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s