|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:10-15 Elihu had showed Job, that God meant him no hurt by afflicting him, but intended his spiritual benefit. Here he shows, that God did him no wrong by afflicting him. If the former did not satisfy him, this ought to silence him. God cannot do wickedness, nor the Almighty commit wrong. If services now go unrewarded, and sins now go unpunished, yet there is a day coming, when God will fully render to every man according to his works. Further, though the believer's final condemnation is done away through the Saviour's ransom, yet he has merited worse than any outward afflictions; so that no wrong is done to him, however he may be tried.
Verse 14. - If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath. Two renderings are proposed, both supported By about equal authority:
(1) "If he (i.e. God) set his heart upon himself, if he should gather to himself his own spirit, and breath," then all flesh would perish, etc.
(2) "If he [i.e. God] set his heart upon [or, 'against'] man, if he were to gather to himself man's spirit and man's breath," then, etc. The difference is not great. God could, either by withdrawing from man the breath and spirit which he has given him, or simply by withholding from man the quickening and sustaining influences which he is perpetually putting forth, reduce all humankind to nothingness. Being so completely master of man, he would surely not condescend to treat him with injustice. Injustice implies something of opposition, struggle, rivalry.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If he set his heart upon man,.... Not his love and affections; though there are some he does in this sense set his heart on, and whose souls at death he gathers to himself, but with this sense the next verse will not agree; but to destroy him, as Jarchi adds by way of explanation; if he gives his mind to it, is set upon it and resolved to do it, none can hinder him; or sets himself against him in an hostile way, the issue must be entire ruin and destruction to the race of men; but it is plain this is not the case, or otherwise all must have perished long ago: or if he severely marks the ways and works of men, and deals with them according to the strictness of his justice, which yet he might do without any charge of injustice, none could stand before him; but this he does not, so far is he from any injustice, or any appearance of it;
if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; not his own spirit and breath, drawing in and retaining that within himself, and withholding the influence of it from his creatures, which the Septuagint version seems to favour; but the spirit and breath of man, which are of God, and which, as he gives, he can gather when he pleases. The spirit or rational soul of man is put in him by the Lord; this at death is separated from the body, yet dies not with it, but is gathered to the Lord: and the breath which he breathes into man, and is in his nostrils, and which, as he gives, he can take away, and then man dies. But in doing this he does no injustice; indeed, should he in anger and resentment rise up and deal thus with men in general, the consequence must be as follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14, 15. "If He were to set His heart on man," either to injure him, or to take strict account of his sins. The connection supports rather [Umbreit], "If He had regard to himself (only), and were to gather unto Himself (Ps 104:29) man's spirit, &c. (which he sends forth, Ps 104:30; Ec 12:7), all flesh must perish together," &c. (Ge 3:19). God's loving preservation of His creatures proves He cannot be selfish, and therefore cannot be unjust.
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