|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:15-23 Elihu shows that Job caused the continuance of his own trouble. He cautions him not to persist in frowardness. Even good men need to be kept to their duty by the fear of God's wrath; the wisest and best have enough in them to deserve his stroke. Let not Job continue his unjust quarrel with God and his providence. And let us never dare to think favourably of sin, never indulge it, nor allow ourselves in it. Elihu thinks Job needed this caution, he having chosen rather to gratify his pride and humour by contending with God, than to mortify them by submitting, and accepting the punishment. It is absurd for us to think to teach Him who is himself the Fountain of light, truth, knowledge, and instruction. He teaches by the Bible, and that is the best book; teaches by his Son, and he is the best Master. He is just in all proceedings.
Verse 19. - Will he esteem thy riches! rather, Will thy riches suffice? (Revised Version); or Will they stand the shock of battle? (Schultens). Will they be a sufficient strength to thee in the time of trouble? No, not gold. This rendering is now generally given up, and the words, lo betsar (לא בצר), are taken in connection with the preceding sentence, thus: Will thy riches suffice that thou be not in distress? or, in other words, Will they keep thee out of trouble? If not, will all the forces of thy strength suffice to do so? Assuredly, nothing will avail against the "stroke" of God (ver. 18).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength. Riches can be of no account, nor bear any weight with God; for they are of him and come from him, and what he has a right to take away and dispose of as he pleases. These cannot ward off the stroke of death, or secure from it; nor can a man possessed of them carry them with him into the other world; nor will they profit in the day of wrath. Mr. Broughton renders it, "will he esteem thy nobleness?" so Junius and Tremellius; thy noble birth, rank and station, thou hast had among men? Not at all. God is no respecter of persons; he regards not the noble and the rich more than the poor: and as for gold, the same may be said of that, which, though the most valuable among men, is of no esteem with God; and besides it is his: "the gold is mine", says he, "and the silver is mine", Haggai 2:8. Nor is death to be bribed with it, or put off by it; nor is a "munition" (z) fortress or castle, as some render the word, any defence against it: "nor all the forces of strength". Had a man at his command ever such numerous and powerful armies, they could not protect him from the stroke of death, or deliver him from eternal punishment, the demerit of sin. Though as Job had no riches, no gold, nor troops of soldiers about him; nor was there any great likelihood that this would be his case at death; I should think the words might be better rendered, "will he regard thy cry? no, not in distress; not even the most strong and forcible" cries or entreaties: when the stroke of death is given, the sentence of wrath is passed, and eternal destruction takes place; weeping and wailing will signify nothing: the cries and howlings of the damned in hell are of no avail; their strong cryings, and most intense and earnest entreaties, will have no effect on the Lord; though he is a God of great pity and compassion, and has sympathy with his people in distress, and in all their afflictions is afflicted; yet will have no regard to cries and tears, when the decree is gone forth and carried into execution: the verb from whence the first word is derived is used for "crying" in this chapter, Job 36:13; and the Targum renders it here by supplication and petition; so some other Jewish writers (a) interpret it of crying: and the second word is by several rendered "in straits" (b) and distress; and Cocceius has observed the notion of intense and fervent prayer in the third, and renders the whole pretty near to what has been observed (c).
(z) "non munitionem", Tigurine version. (a) Vid. Aben Ezra, Bar Tzemach, Sephorno. (b) "In angustia", Mercerus, Drusius, Piscator; "in arcto", Cocceius, Schultens. (c) "Num aequalis esset imploration tua non in arcto et omnes contentiones virium", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. forces of strength—that is, resources of wealth (Ps 49:7; Pr 11:4).
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