Men do therefore fear him: he respects not any that are wise of heart.
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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.
He respecteth not any - No man is valuable in his sight on account of his wisdom; for what is his wisdom when compared with that of the Omniscient? Whatever good is in man, God alone is the author of it. Let him, therefore, that glorieth, glory in the Lord.
Thus ends the speech of Elihu; a speech of a widely different description, on the whole, from that of the three friends of Job who had spoken so largely before him. In the speeches of Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad, there is little besides a tissue of borrowed wise sayings, and ancient proverbs and maxims, relative to the nature of God, and his moral government of the world. In the speech of Elihu every thing appears to be original; he speaks from a deep and comprehensive mind, that had profoundly studied the subjects on which he discoursed. His descriptions of the Divine attributes, and of the wonderful works of God, are correct, splendid, impressive, and inimitable. Elihu, having now come nearly to a close, and knowing that the Almighty would appear and speak for himself, judiciously prepares for and announces his coming by the thunder and lightning of which he has given so terrific and majestic a description in this and the preceding chapter. The evidences of the Divine presence throng on his eyes and mind; the incomprehensible glory and excellency of God confound all his powers of reasoning and description; he cannot arrange his words by reason of darkness; and he concludes with stating, that to poor weak man God must for ever be incomprehensible, and to him a subject of deep religious fear and reverence. Just then the terrible majesty of the Lord appears! Elihu is silent! The rushing mighty wind, for which the description of the thunder and lightning had prepared poor, confounded, astonished Job, proclaims the presence of Jehovah: and out of this whirlwind God answers for and proclaims himself! Reader, canst thou not conceive something of what these men felt? Art thou not astonished, perplexed, confounded, in reading over these descriptions of the thunder of God's power? Prepare, then, to hear the voice of God himself out of this whirlwind.
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.Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.
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.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).
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