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Sin occasions destruction, ver. 1 - 5.
Affliction is the common lot of mankind, ver. 6 - 7.
In affliction we should fly to God, who is both able and
willing to help, ver. 8 - 16.
He will deliver them that trust in him, ver. 17 - 27.
1: 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.
2: 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.
3: 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.
4: 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.
5: 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.
6: 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.
7: 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?
8: I would - If I were in thy condition. Seek - By prayer, and
humiliation, and submission, imploring his pardon, and favour.
9: 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, ver.(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.
10: 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?
11: 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
13: 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.
14: 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.
15: Mouth - Which was ready to swallow them up.
16: 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.
17: 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
18: 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.
19: 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.
20: 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
22: Laugh - With a laughter of joy and triumph, arising from a just
security and confidence in God's watchful and gracious providence.
23: 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, ver.(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.
24: Know - By certain experience.
25: Know - By assurance from God's promises, and the impressions of
his Spirit; and by experience in due time.
26: 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.
27: 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.