|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 16. - It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof. Canon Cook quotes, very appositely, Milton's representation of Death as a fearful shape,
"If shape it could be called that shape had none
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed." An image was before mine eyes; or, on appearance (LXX., μορφή). There was silence; or, a hush - "status aeris nullo motu turbati, et tranquillissimus" (Schulteus). And I heard a voice, saying. After a while the silence was broken by a voice, which whispered in Eliphaz's ear (setup. ver. 12).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It stood still,.... That is, the spirit, or the angel in a visible form; it was before going to and fro, but now it stood still right against Eliphaz, as if it had something to say to him, and so preparing him to attend to it; which he might do the better, it standing before him while speaking to him, that he might have the opportunity of taking more notice of it:
but, notwithstanding this advantageous position of it:
I could not discern the form thereof; what it was, whether human or any other:
an image was before mine eyes; he saw something, some appearance and likeness, but could not tell what it was; perhaps the fear and surprise he was in hindered him from taking in any distinct idea of it, or that particular notice of it, so as to be able to form in his own mind any suitable notion of it, or to describe it to others:
there was silence both in the spirit or image, which, standing still, made no rushing noise, and in Eliphaz himself, who kept in his breath, and listened with all the attention he could to it; or a small low voice, as Ben Melech interprets it: so it follows:
and I heard a voice; a distinct articulate voice or sound of words, very audibly delivered by the spirit or image that stood before him:
saying; as follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. It stood still—At first the apparition glides before Eliphaz, then stands still, but with that shadowy indistinctness of form which creates such an impression of awe; a gentle murmur: not (English Version): there was silence; for in 1Ki 19:12, the voice, as opposed to the previous storm, denotes a gentle, still murmur.
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