Job 37:24
Men do therefore fear him: he respects not any that are wise of heart.
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(24) Men do therefore fear him.—Or, “Therefore men may fear Him; but as for the wise in heart, no one even of them shall see Him.” This may be, and probably is, the meaning, though the literal rendering is that of the Authorised Version, which, however, involves a somewhat doubtful sentiment in itself, for God, we may believe, does regard or respect those who are truly wise. In the original there is a very manifest play on the words, which it is impossible to preserve, between yĕre’u and yireh—men shall fear, but none shall see.

37:21-24 Elihu concludes his discourse with some great sayings concerning the glory of God. Light always is, but is not always to be seen. When clouds come between, the sun is darkened in the clear day. The light of God's favour shines ever towards his faithful servants, though it be not always seen. Sins are clouds, and often hinder us from seeing that bright light which is in the face of God. Also, as to those thick clouds of sorrow which often darken our minds, the Lord hath a wind which passes and clears them away. What is that wind? It is his Holy Spirit. As the wind dispels and sweeps away the clouds which are gathered in the air, so the Spirit of God clears our souls from the clouds and fogs of ignorance and unbelief, of sin and lust. From all these clouds the Holy Spirit of God frees us in the work of regeneration. And from all the clouds which trouble our consciences, the Holy Spirit sets us free in the work of consolation. Now that God is about to speak, Elihu delivers a few words, as the sum of all his discourse. With God is terrible majesty. Sooner or later all men shall fear him.Men do therefore fear him - There is reason why they should fear him, or why they should treat him with reverence.

He respecteth not any that are wise of heart - He pursues his own plans, and forms and executes his own counsels. He is not dependent upon the suggestions of people, and does not listen to their advice. In his schemes he is original and independent, and people should therefore regard him with profound veneration. This is the sum of all that Elihu had to say - that God was original and independent; that he did not ask counsel of people in his dealings; that he was great, and glorious, and inscrutable in his plans; and that people therefore should bow before him with profound submission and adoration. It was to be presumed that he was wise and good in all that he did, and to this independent and almighty Sovereign man ought to submit his understanding and his heart. Having illustrated and enforced this sentiment, Elihu, overwhelmed with the awful symbols of the approaching Deity, is silent, and God is introduced to close the controversy.

24. do—rather, "ought."

wise—in their own conceits.

Men do therefore fear him; for this cause, to wit, because of God’s infinite and excellent perfections, and especially those mentioned in the foregoing verse, men do or should (for the future tense is oft used potentially, as Hebricians know) fear or reverence him, and humbly submit to him, and not presume to quarrel or dispute with him, as thou, O Job, hast done.

He respecteth not, Heb. he doth not, or will not behold, to wit, with respect or approbation; he beholdeth them afar off with scorn and contempt.

Any that are wise of heart, i. e. such as are wise in their own eyes, that lean to their own understandings, and despise all other men in comparison of themselves, and scorn all their counsels; that are so puffed up with the opinion of their own wisdom, that they dare contend with their Maker, and presume to censure his counsels and actions; which he hereby intimates to be Job’s fault, and to be the true reason why God did not respect nor regard him, nor his prayers and tears, as Job complained. And so this is also a tacit advice and exhortation to Job to be humble and little ill his own eyes, if ever he expected or desired any favour from God. Men do therefore fear him,.... Or should, because of his greatness in power, judgment, and justice; and because of his goodness, in not afflicting for his pleasure's sake, but for the profit of men; and therefore they should reverence and adore him, submit to his will, patiently bear afflictions, serve him internally and externally, with reverence and godly fear;

he respecteth not any that are wise of heart; that are wise in a natural sense: these are not always regarded by God, or are his favourites; neither temporal blessings, nor special grace, or the knowledge of spiritual things, are always given to the wise and prudent, Ecclesiastes 9:11. Or that are wise in their own conceit; there is a woe to such; and there is more hope of a fool than of him, Isaiah 5:21. Or he is not "afraid" of them (c), as some choose to render the word; he fears not to reprove them and correct them for their faults, or the schemes they form to counterwork him; for he can take them in their craftiness, and carry their counsel headlong. Or "every wise in heart shall not see him" (d): the world by wisdom knows him not; nor can any look into his heart, his thoughts, purposes, and designs, and into the causes and reasons of his actions; nor have those that are truly wise perfect vision and knowledge of him now, 1 Corinthians 13:9.

(c) "non timebit", Osiander. (d) "Non videbit eum omuis sapiens corde"; so some in Drusius.

Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.
24. wise of heart] That is, wise in their own thoughts. God has respect unto the humble—a final exhortation to Job to abstain from presumptuous complaints of God, and to unite with mankind everywhere in fearing Him.Verse 24. - Men do therefore fear him; or, let men therefore fear him. Let them see in his unsearchableness, his almighty power, his absolute moral perfection, and his superiority to all human questioning, ample grounds for the profoundest reverence and fear. And let them remember that he respecteth not any that are wise of heart. However "wise of heart" men may be, God does not "respect" them, at any rate to the extent of submitting his conduct to their judgment, and answering their clues-tionings (see ver. 20).

17 Thou whose garments became hot,

When the land is sultry from the south:

18 Dost thou with Him spread out the sky,

The strong, as it were molten, mirror?

19 Let us know what we shall say to Him! -

We can arrange nothing by reason of darkness.

20 Shall it be told Him that Ispeak,

Or shall one wish to be destroyed?

Most expositors connect Job 37:17 with Job 37:16 : (Dost thou know) how it comes to pass that ... ; but אשׁר after ידע signifies quod, Exodus 11:7, not quomodo, as it sometimes occurs in a comparing antecedent clause, instead of כאשׁר, Exodus 14:13; Jeremiah 33:22. We therefore translate: thou whose ... , - connecting this, however, not with Job 37:16 (vid., e.g., Carey), but as Bolduc. and Ew., with Job 37:18 (where ה before תרקיע is then the less missed): thou who, when the land (the part of the earth where thou art) keeps rest, i.e., in sultriness, when oppressive heat comes (on this Hiph. vid., Ges. 53, 2) from the south (i.e., by means of the currents of air which come thence, without דּרום signifying directly the south wind), - thou who, when this happens, canst endure so little, that on the contrary the heat from without becomes perceptible to thee through thy clothes: dost thou now and then with Him keep the sky spread out, which for firmness is like a molten mirror? Elsewhere the hemispheric firmament, which spans the earth with its sub-celestial waters, is likened to a clear sapphire Exodus 24:10, a covering Psalm 104:2, a gauze Isaiah 40:22; the comparison with a metallic mirror (מוּצק here not from צוּק, Job 37:10; Job 36:16, but from יצק) is therefore to be understood according to Petavius: Coelum areum στερέωμα dicitur non a naturae propria conditione, sed ab effectu, quod perinde aquas separet, ac si murus esset solidissimus. Also in תרקיע lies the notion both of firmness and thinness; the primary notion (root רק) is to beat, make thick, stipare (Arab. rq‛, to stop up in the sense of resarcire, e.g., to mend stockings), to make thick by pressure. The ל joined with תרקיע is nota acc.; we must not comp. Job 8:8; Job 21:22, as well as Job 5:2; Job 19:3.

Therefore: As God is the only Creator (Job 9:8), so He is the all-provident Preserver of the world - make us know (הודיענוּ, according to the text of the Babylonians, Keri of הודיעני) what we shall say to Him, viz., in order to show that we can cope with Him! We cannot arrange, viz., anything whatever (to be explained according to ערך מלּין, Job 32:14, comp. "to place," Job 36:19), by reason of darkness, viz., the darkness of our understanding, σκότος τῆς διανοίας; מפּני is much the same as Job 23:17, but different from Job 17:12, and חשׁך different from both passages, viz., as it is often used in the New Testament, of intellectual darkness (comp. Ecclesiastes 2:14; Isaiah 60:2). The meaning of Job 37:20 cannot now be mistaken, if, with Hirz., Hahn, and Schlottm., we call to mind Job 36:10 in connection with אמר כּי: can I, a short-sighted man, enshrouded in darkness, wish that what I have arrogantly said concerning and against Him may be told to God, or should one earnestly desire (אמר, a modal perf., as Job 35:15) that (an jusserit s. dixerit quis ut) he may be swallowed up, i.e., destroyed (comp. לבלעו, Job 2:3)? He would, by challenging a recognition of his unbecoming arguing about God, desire a tribunal that would be destructive to himself.

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