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THEN Eliphaz the Themanite answered, and said: 2 Can man be compared with God, even though he were of perfect knowledge?

Ver. 2.  Knowledge.  How then canst thou dispute with God?


3 What doth it profit God if thou be just? or what dost thou give him if thy way be unspotted?

Ver. 3.  Profit.  God rules all with justice or with mercy: since, therefore, he punishes, it must be for some guilt, and not for his own advantage.  But he might still chastise for the good of man, or to manifest his own power.   Jo. ix. 3.  God also punishes the sinner for the wrong which he does to himself.  S. Aug. Conf. iii. 8.  Any one may discover the sophism of Eliphaz.  If God were indifferent with regard to our virtue, who would be able to advance one step towards him?  C.

 

--- Man is unprofitable indeed to God, but he may reap great advantage from piety himself; and this is what God desires, as well as his own glory.  Mat. v. 17.  W.


4 Shall he reprove thee for fear, and come with thee into judgment:

Ver. 4.  Fear.  Thus malefactors are condemned, that they may no longer disturb society.  But may not God afflict the just, though he have nothing to fear?  C.


5 And not for thy manifold wickedness, and thy infinite iniquities?

Ver. 5.  Iniquities.  He adduces no fresh arguments, but boldly taxes Job with many crimes, which a person in his station might have committed.  He rashly concludes that he must have fallen into some of them at least.  C.


6 For thou hast taken away the pledge of thy brethren without cause, and stripped the naked of their clothing.

Ver. 6.  Pledge.  Heb. "person."  Debtors might be sold.  Matt. xviii. 30.


7 Thou hast not given water to the weary, thou hast withdrawn bread from the hungry.

Ver. 7.  Water.  Job's disposition was the reverse.  C. xxix. 15.  Such inhumanity would hardly be conceived possible among us.  But he Idumeans were guilty of it; (Num. xx. 18.  Isai. xxi. 14.) and if it had not been probable, Eliphaz would not have dared to speak thus.  C.


8 In the strength of thy arm thou didst possess the land, and being the most mighty thou holdest it.

Ver. 8.  It.  Heb. and Sept. intimate that Job accepted persons, and gave sentence in favour of his rich friends.  H.


9 Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless thou hast broken in pieces.

Ver. 9.  Arms; possessions, condemning orphans unjustly.


10 Therefore art thou surrounded with snares, and sudden fear troubleth thee. 11 And didst thou think that thou shouldst not see darkness, and that thou shouldst not be covered with the violence of overflowing waters?

Ver. 11.  Waters, and misery, (C.) which such conduct deserved.  H.


12 Dost not thou think that God is higher than heaven, and is elevated above the height of the stars?

Ver. 12.  Stars: and of course, that his Providence regardeth not human affairs.  C.

 

--- When an infidel observed, "I think the gods are too great to want my adoration," Socrates well replied, "The greater they appear to thee, the more oughtest thou to treat them with respect and honour."  Xenophon, Memor.


13 And thou sayst: What doth God know? and he judgeth as it were through a mist. 14 The clouds are his covert, and he doth not consider our things, and he walketh about the poles of heaven.

Ver. 14.  Doth.  Heb. "seeth not."  Sept. "is not seen."

 

--- Poles, on which the whole machine seems to turn.  C.

 

--- "Hipparchus intimated that there would be a time when the hinges, or poles of heaven, would be moved out of their places."  Colum. i. 1.  Heb. and Sept. (according to Origen's edition, v. 13 to 16) "he walketh about in the circuit of heaven."  H.

                        Immortali ævo summâ cum pace fruatur

                        Semota a nostris rebus, sejunctaque longè.  Lucret.

This was the error of the Egyptians, (Arist. Mun. 84.) which Eliphaz unjustly lays to the charge of Job, as heretics often impute condemned tenets to Catholics.  W.


15 Dost thou desire to keep the path of ages, which wicked men have trodden?

Ver. 15.  Wicked.  Sept. Alex. "just."  But Grabe substitutes unjust; (H.) as otherwise, Eliphaz would argue against his own principles: unless just be put ironically for hypocrites.  C.

 

--- Wilt thou imitate the ancient giants, before the deluge?  C.


16 Who were taken away before their time, and a flood hath overthrown their foundation.

Ver. 16.  Flood.  Heb. "river," (Sept.  C.) or "flood."  Prot.  This does not certainly allude to the deluge, though Job could not be unacquainted with an event (H.) which appears in the writings of the most ancient pagan authors.  Grot. Relig.


17 Who said to God: Depart from us: and looked upon the Almighty as if he could do nothing: 18 Whereas he had filled their houses with good things: whose way of thinking be far from me.

Ver. 18.  From me.  He thus insinuates that Job entertained such sentiments, though he seemed to condemn them.  C. xxi. 16.  C.

 

--- Sept. "is far from him," God.


19 The just shall see, and shall rejoice, and the innocent shall laugh them to scorn.

Ver. 19.  Shall.  Sept. "saw."  The Jews explain this of Noe, who saw the ruin of the giants with pity, mixed with joy, as he approved of the divine judgments.  Vatab. &c.

 

--- The just can thus rejoice, only on this account; as they would not be just if they were devoid of charity.  S. Greg.  Ps. lvii. 11. and cvi. 42.  C.



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20 Is not their exaltation cut down, and hath not fire devoured the remnants of them?

Ver. 20.  Their.  Heb. "our."  C.

 

--- "Whereas our substance is not cut down."  Prot.  H.

 

--- But the Sept. and Chal. agree with the Vulg. which gives a better sense.

 

--- Fire, which consumed Sodom, &c.  C.


21 Submit thyself then to him, and be at peace: and thereby thou shalt have the best fruits. 22 Receive the law of his mouth, and lay up his words in thy heart.

Ver. 22.  Law of Moses, (Rabbins) or rather (H.) the natural law, which teaches that God is just, and deserves to be adored.  He addresses Job, as if he had acknowledged no law or restraint.


23 If thou wilt return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, and shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacle. 24 He shall give for earth flint, and for flint torrents of gold.

Ver. 24.  Gold, to build and adorn thy habitation, v. 23.  Heb. "He will give thee gold instead of dust; (or more abundant) yea, gold of the torrents of Ophir."  The Phasis is said to roll gold dust, which is of the purest kind.  Gen. ii. 11.  C.

 

--- "Thou shalt lay upon gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir, as the stones of the brooks."  Prot.  H.

 

--- This is an exaggeration, (3 K. x. 27.  C.) and a sort of proverb, intimating that strength and plenty should succeed to infirmity.  The foundations should be the hard rock, instead of earth, &c.


25 And the Almighty shall be against thy enemies, and silver shall be heaped together for thee.

Ver. 25.  Silver.  Sept. "But he shall purify thee, as silver, which has passed the fire."  H.


26 Then shalt thou abound in delights in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face to God.

Ver. 26.  Face, with confidence of being in favour and accepted.  C.


27 Thou shalt pray to him, and he will hear thee, and thou shalt pay vows.

Ver. 27.  Vows, after obtaining thy requests.  M.

 

---

                        Et positis aris jam vota in littore solves.  Æn. iii.


28 Thou shalt decree a thing, and it I shall come to thee, and light shall shine in thy ways.

Ver. 28.  Decree.  Thy projects shall succeed.  Sept. "But he shall appoint for thee the rule of justice."  H.


29 For he that hath been humbled, shall be in glory: and he that shall bow down his eyes, he shall be saved.

Ver. 29.  Glory, as the gospel declares.  Mat. xxiii. 12.  The Heb. is more perplexed.  "When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, there is lifting up."  Prot. (H.) or "when thy eyes shall be cast down, they shall say to thee, Arise."  C.



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30 The innocent shall be saved, and he shall be saved by the cleanness of his hands.

Ver. 30.  Innocent.  Heb. "He shall deliver even the man who is not innocent, and that for the sake of the purity of thy hands."  Chal. Jun. &c.

 

--- God will even spare the guilty, to manifest the regard which he has for the intercession of the saints.  These interpreters have taken ai in the same sense as ain, which is the case, 1 K. iv. 21.  C.

 

--- Others explain, "He shall deliver the island of the innocent, and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands."  Prot.  This also would shew the merit and protection of the saints, as a whole island may owe its safety to one of God's servants.  In effect, the would stands by the prayers of the saints.  H.

 

--- All that has been said from v. 21. tends to shew that God favours his friends; and, consequently, that he would never have punish Job, if he had not been guilty.  C.


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