|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:16-30 Elihu appeals directly to Job himself. Could he suppose that God was like those earthly princes, who hate right, who are unfit to rule, and prove the scourges of mankind? It is daring presumption to condemn God's proceedings, as Job had done by his discontents. Elihu suggests divers considerations to Job, to produce in him high thoughts of God, and so to persuade him to submit. Job had often wished to plead his cause before God. Elihu asks, To what purpose? All is well that God does, and will be found so. What can make those uneasy, whose souls dwell at ease in God? The smiles of all the world cannot quiet those on whom God frowns.
Verse 20. - In a moment shall they die. All lie under the same law of death -
"Pallida Mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
(Horace,'Od.,' 1:4, 11. 13, 14.) In a moment, whenever God wills, they pass from life and disappear, the rich equally with the needy, the powerful prince as much as the outcast and the beggar. And the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away. (comp. Exodus 12:29; 2 Kings 19:35). Such sudden catastrophes are infrequent; but it is within the power of God to produce them at any time. When they occur, they strikingly exemplify the equality of his dealings with all classes of men, since none escape (Exodus 11:5; Exodus 12:29). And the mighty shall be taken away without hand; i.e. without human agency (comp. Daniel 2:34).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In a moment shall they die,.... Princes as well as the common people, rich men as well as poor; all must and do die, great and small, high and low, kings and peasants, rich and poor men, and sometimes suddenly; are struck dead at once, and without any previous notice, that night, that hour, that moment their souls are required of them. The Targum interprets this of the men of Sodom. And Mr. Broughton, in his margin, refers to the history of them in Genesis 19:1;
and the people shall be troubled at midnight; either the common people, when their kings and governors die; or the relations and friends of persons deceased; and this circumstance "at midnight" is added, which makes the scene more melancholy, awful, and shocking, when it happens at such a time. The above Targum understands it of the Egyptians, when their firstborn were slain, which was in the middle of the night; and Mr. Broughton refers in his margin to the same instance: but it is a question whether this affair ever came to the knowledge of Job and his friends, at least not so early as this controversy;
and pass away; not into another country, being taken and carried away captive; but pass away by death into their graves, and into another world. Sephorno interprets it of the destroying angel's passing over the tents of the Israelites, and not entering into them to smite them when they smote the firstborn of Egypt. But the former sense is best, see Psalm 37:36;
and the mighty shall be taken away without hand: without the hand of men, but by the immediate hand of God; not falling in battle, or in a common natural way by diseases, but by some judgment of God upon them: and the whole verse seems to be understood not of a natural death, or in the common way, but of sudden death in a way of judgment, from the immediate hand of God, and that upon the mighty and great men of the earth; which shows that he is no respecter of princes, see Daniel 8:25.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. they—"the rich" and "princes" who offend God.
the people—namely, of the guilty princes: guilty also themselves.
at midnight—image from a night attack of an enemy on a camp, which becomes an easy prey (Ex 12:29, 30).
without hand—without visible agency, by the mere word of God (so Job 20:26; Zec 4:6; Da 2:34).
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