|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
35:9-13 Job complained that God did not regard the cries of the oppressed against their oppressors. This he knew not how to reconcile the justice of God and his government. Elihu solves the difficulty. Men do not notice the mercies they enjoy in and under their afflictions, nor are thankful for them, therefore they cannot expect that God should deliver them out of affliction. He gives songs in the night; when our condition is dark and melancholy, there is that in God's providence and promise, which is sufficient to support us, and to enable us even to rejoice in tribulation. When we only pore upon our afflictions, and neglect the consolations of God which are treasured up for us, it is just in God to reject our prayers. Even the things that will kill the body, cannot hurt the soul. If we cry to God for the removal of an affliction, and it is not removed, the reason is, not because the Lord's hand is shortened, or his ear heavy; but because we are not sufficiently humbled.
Verse 13. - Surely God will not hear vanity. God will not hear prayers that are rendered "vain" by sin or defect in those who offer them, as by a want of faith, piety, humility, or resignation. Neither will the Almighty regard any such petitions.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Surely God will not hear vanity,.... Or "a lie" (z), than which nothing is more an abomination to him; if men come to him with a lie in their mouths, they cannot expect to be heard by him; he is only nigh to those who call upon him in truth: or that which is "rash" (a); which is rashly uttered, and in a passionate wrathful manner, savouring of a revengeful spirit, too often the case of those that cry under oppression; see Ecclesiastes 5:2; or vain and empty prayers, a speech of vanity, as Aben Ezra; which as to the matter of them are about vain and empty things; only for outward mercies, worldly goods; and not for spiritual mercies, or such things as are according to the will of God; but what are pleasing to the flesh, and sought for to consume on the lusts of it, and therefore such prayers are not heard, Psalm 4:6; and as to the manner of them, they are not put up in the name of Christ, nor under the influence of the spirit of Christ, nor in the exercise of any grace, nor with reverence of God, nor with sincerity of soul, not in faith, nor with fervency: or "vanity" is put for vain men, as sin for sinners; such as are proud men, and are vainly puffed up in their fleshly mind. God hears humble penitent sinners, who find mercy with him; and humble saints, to whom he gives more grace; but not proud Pharisees, or men not humbled by afflictions; see Luke 18:11; nor light and empty persons, who are without God and Christ, destitute of the spirit, devoid of all grace, and full of all unrighteousness; unstable ones, who are vanity itself, and lighter than vanity, tossed to and fro like a wave of the sea, and double minded, James 1:6; nor men of vain conversations, that walk in the vanity of their minds, whose words are vain, and especially such as take the name of God in vain; and all whose actions are vain, or such that live a vain and sinful course of life; God hears not sinners, John 9:31;
neither will the Almighty regard it; vanity, vain prayers and vain persons; he regards the prayer of the destitute, the lowly, and the humble, but not the prayer of such as before described; he cannot "look" at, it (b), nor at them: he looks to the poor and contrite, and desires to see their countenance and hear their voice in prayer; but he is of purer eyes thou to look on vain persons and their vain prayers; and a greater contempt cannot be shown to petitioners and their petitions than when those to whom they apply will not so much as look at them, but turn both a deaf ear to them, and their eyes away from them.
(z) "falsitatem", Beza; "mendacium", Pagninus, Montanus. (a) "Quod temerarium est", Cocceius. (b) "non intuatur illud", Pagninus, Montanus; "non videt illud", Cocceius; so Michaelis and Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. vanity—that is, cries uttered in an unhumbled spirit, Job 35:12, which applies in some degree to Job's cries; still more to those of the wicked (Job 27:9; Pr 15:29).
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