|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:5-14 Elihu here shows that God acts as righteous Governor. He is always ready to defend those that are injured. If our eye is ever toward God in duty, his eye will be ever upon us in mercy, and, when we are at the lowest, will not overlook us. God intends, when he afflicts us, to discover past sins to us, and to bring them to our remembrance. Also, to dispose our hearts to be taught: affliction makes people willing to learn, through the grace of God working with and by it. And further, to deter us from sinning for the future. It is a command, to have no more to do with sin. If we faithfully serve God, we have the promise of the life that now is, and the comforts of it, as far as is for God's glory and our good: and who would desire them any further? We have the possession of inward pleasures, the great peace which those have that love God's law. If the affliction fail in its work, let men expect the furnace to be heated till they are consumed. Those that die without knowledge, die without grace, and are undone for ever. See the nature of hypocrisy; it lies in the heart: that is for the world and the flesh, while perhaps the outside seems to be for God and religion. Whether sinners die in youth, or live long to heap up wrath, their case is dreadful. The souls of the wicked live after death, but it is in everlasting misery.
Verse 12. - But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword. Not, necessarily, by a material sword, but by the sword of God's vengeance, which slays in a thousand different manners, piercing through all obstacles, and reaching to the heart and spirit. And they shall die without knowledge. Either without knowing that they are about to die, or in their wilful ignorance of God's intentions in chastising them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But if they obey not,.... Who seem to be righteous and are not; and when afflicted are not submissive to the will of God; attend not to the voice of his providence; receive no instruction thereby; but kick against the pricks, and rebel, against God; complain of him, and murmur at his dealings with them:
they shall perish by the sword; or they shall pass away out of the world by it, or by some missive weapon: they shall die a violent death, by the sword of justice, of the civil magistrate, or by the sword of men; or, as a Jewish commentator (r) paraphrases it, by the dart of death, by the sword of Satan, they shall pass out of this world;
and they shall die without knowledge; without knowledge of their death being near, it coming upon them suddenly and at unawares; or without knowledge of themselves and of their miserable and lost estate; and without knowledge of Christ, and of God in Christ, and of the way of salvation by him. Or they shall perish for lack of knowledge; because they have none; through ignorance and that affected; they know not nor will they understand, but despise the means of knowledge, and hate instruction.
(r) R. Simeon, Bar Tzemach.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. (Job 33:18).
without knowledge—that is, on account of their foolishness (Job 4:20, 21).
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