|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:12-21 Eliphaz relates a vision. When we are communing with our own hearts, and are still, Ps 4:4, then is a time for the Holy Spirit to commune with us. This vision put him into very great fear. Ever since man sinned, it has been terrible to him to receive communications from Heaven, conscious that he can expect no good tidings thence. Sinful man! shall he pretend to be more just, more pure, than God, who being his Maker, is his Lord and Owner? How dreadful, then, the pride and presumption of man! How great the patience of God! Look upon man in his life. The very foundation of that cottage of clay in which man dwells, is in the dust, and it will sink with its own weight. We stand but upon the dust. Some have a higher heap of dust to stand upon than others but still it is the earth that stays us up, and will shortly swallow us up. Man is soon crushed; or if some lingering distemper, which consumes like a moth, be sent to destroy him, he cannot resist it. Shall such a creature pretend to blame the appointments of God? Look upon man in his death. Life is short, and in a little time men are cut off. Beauty, strength, learning, not only cannot secure them from death, but these things die with them; nor shall their pomp, their wealth, or power, continue after them. Shall a weak, sinful, dying creature, pretend to be more just than God, and more pure than his Maker? No: instead of quarrelling with his afflictions, let him wonder that he is out of hell. Can a man be cleansed without his Maker? Will God justify sinful mortals, and clear them from guilt? or will he do so without their having an interest in the righteousness and gracious help of their promised Redeemer, when angels, once ministering spirits before his throne, receive the just recompence of their sins? Notwithstanding the seeming impunity of men for a short time, though living without God in the world, their doom is as certain as that of the fallen angels, and is continually overtaking them. Yet careless sinners note it so little, that they expect not the change, nor are wise to consider their latter end.
Verse 13. - In thoughts from the visions of the night; literally, in the perplexities of the visions of night; i.e. "in that perplexing time when - how, they know not - visions come to men." The word translated "thoughts" occurs only here and in Job 20:2. When deep sleep falleth on men. Something more than ordinary sleep seems to be meant - something more approaching to what we call "trance" (comp. Genesis 2:21; Genesis 15:12; 1 Samuel 26:12, where the same word is used).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In thoughts from the visions of the night,.... While Eliphaz was thinking of and meditating upon divine things, or while he was revolving in his mind some night visions he had, before this was made unto him, see Daniel 2:29; in meditation the Lord is often pleased to make known more of his mind and will to his people; and this is one way in which he was wont to do it in former times, in a vision either in the day, as sometimes, or in the night, as at others, and as here, see Numbers 12:6,
when deep sleep falleth on men; on sorrowful men, as Mr. Broughton renders it; such who have been laborious all the day, and getting their bread with sorrow and trouble, and are weary; who as soon as they lie down fall asleep, and sleep falls on them, and to such it is sweet, as the wise man says, Ecclesiastes 5:12; now it was at such a time when men ordinarily and commonly are asleep that this vision was had.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. In thoughts from the visions of the night—[So Winer]. While revolving night visions previously made to him (Da 2:29). Rather, "In my manifold (Hebrew, divided) thoughts, before the visions of the night commenced"; therefore not a delusive dream (Ps 4:4) [Umbreit].
deep sleep—(Ge 2:21; 15:12).
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