|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:17-27 Eliphaz gives to Job a word of caution and exhortation: Despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. Call it a chastening, which comes from the Father's love, and is for the child's good; and notice it as a messenger from Heaven. Eliphaz also encourages Job to submit to his condition. A good man is happy though he be afflicted, for he has not lost his enjoyment of God, nor his title to heaven; nay, he is happy because he is afflicted. Correction mortifies his corruptions, weans his heart from the world, draws him nearer to God, brings him to his Bible, brings him to his knees. Though God wounds, yet he supports his people under afflictions, and in due time delivers them. Making a wound is sometimes part of a cure. Eliphaz gives Job precious promises of what God would do for him, if he humbled himself. Whatever troubles good men may be in, they shall do them no real harm. Being kept from sin, they are kept from the evil of trouble. And if the servants of Christ are not delivered from outward troubles, they are delivered by them, and while overcome by one trouble, they conquer all. Whatever is maliciously said against them shall not hurt them. They shall have wisdom and grace to manage their concerns. The greatest blessing, both in our employments and in our enjoyments, is to be kept from sin. They shall finish their course with joy and honour. That man lives long enough who has done his work, and is fit for another world. It is a mercy to die seasonably, as the corn is cut and housed when fully ripe; not till then, but then not suffered to stand any longer. Our times are in God's hands; it is well they are so. Believers are not to expect great wealth, long life, or to be free from trials. But all will be ordered for the best. And remark from Job's history, that steadiness of mind and heart under trial, is one of the highest attainments of faith. There is little exercise for faith when all things go well. But if God raises a storm, permits the enemy to send wave after wave, and seemingly stands aloof from our prayers, then, still to hang on and trust God, when we cannot trace him, this is the patience of the saints. Blessed Saviour! how sweet it is to look unto thee, the Author and Finisher of faith, in such moments!
Verse 17. - Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth! This "opens," as Professor Lee observes, "a new view of the subject." Hitherto Eliphaz has regarded afflictions as simply punitive. Now it occurs to him that they are sometimes chastisements. The difference is that punishment has regard only to the past, to the breach of the moral law committed, and the retribution which has to follow it. Chastisement looks to the future. It aims at producing an effect in the mind of the person chastised, at benefiting him, and raising him in the scale of moral being. In this point of view afflictions are blessings (see Hebrews 12:5-11). Recognizing this, Eliphaz suddenly bursts out with the acknowledgment, "Happy is the man [or, 'blessings on the man'] whom God correcteth!" (Comp. Proverbs 3:11, 12; Psalm 94:12; 1 Corinthians 11:32). He suggests to Job the idea that his sufferings are not punishments, but chastisements - that they may be but for a time. Let him receive them in a proper spirit; let him humble himself under them, and they may work altogether for his good, his latter end may surpass his early promise. Therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. Words quoted by the authors of Proverbs (Proverb s3:11), and of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 12:5), and well deserving to be laid up in the recollection of all faithful souls. They remind us that God's chastenings are blessings or the contrary, as we make them. Accepted humbly, they improve men, exalt the moral character, purge it of its dross, and bring it nearer to the perfection at which God would have us aim (Matthew 5:48). Rejected, chafed against, received with discontent and murmurings, they injure us, cause our characters to deteriorate, sink us instead of raising us in the moral scale. Job was now undergoing the ordeal - with what result remained to be determined.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth,.... Reproves, rebukes, convinces by his word, which is profitable for correction of men's minds and manners; and by his messengers, the prophets and ministers, who are sent as reprovers of the people, and to rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in their principles, and sober in their conversation; and by his Spirit, which makes the correction of the word and ministers effectual, and who reproves and convinces of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and sometimes this is done by afflictive providences, by blows as well as words, which are the rod of correction God makes use of with his children; for this is not the correction of a judge reproving, condemning, and chastising malefactors and criminals, but of a father correcting his children, in love, in judgment, and in measure, for faults committed; Proverbs 3:12; so God's corrections are for sin, to bring his people to a sense of it, to humiliation and repentance for it, and to an acknowledgment of it; and often for remissness in duty, private or public, and when they set too high a value on the creature, and creature enjoyments, trust in them, and glory of them, to the neglect of the best things: now such persons are happy who are corrected by God in this manner; for these corrections are fruits and evidences of the love of God to them, and of their relation to God as children; he grants them his presence in them, he sympathizes with them, supplies and supports them under them, and delivers out of them; he makes them work for their good, spiritual and eternal; by these he prevents and purges sin, tries and brightens their graces; makes them more partakers of his holiness; weans them from this world, and fits them for another: and this account is introduced with a "behold", as a note of attention, exciting it in Job and others; thereby suggesting that it was worthy of notice and regard, and a matter of moment and importance; and as a note of admiration, it being a wonderful thing, a mere paradox with natural men especially, and contrary to all their notions and things, that an afflicted man should be a happy man, who generally reckon good men to be unhappy men, because of their afflictions, reproaches, and persecutions; and as a note of asseveration, affirming the truth and certainty of the assertion, and which is confirmed by after testimonies, and by the experience of the saints, Psalm 94:19; the Targum restrains this to Abraham; but it is true of every good man whom God afflicts in a fatherly way:
therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty; who is able to save and to destroy to take off his hand, or lay it heavier it not regarded, to bear up his people under all their afflictions, or to deliver them out of them; or of Shaddai (z), God all sufficient, who has a sufficiency in himself, and needs not anything from his creatures; whose grace is sufficient for his people, to supply them in all their straits and difficulties; or of him who is all nourishing, who has breasts of consolation to draw out to his people in distress, the word (a) used coming from one that signifies a pap, or breast, as some think; hence mention is made of the blessings of the breast, when he is spoken of under this character, Genesis 49:25; now this chastising of his is not to be understood of chastisement in a way of vindictive wrath and justice, and as a proper punishment for sin, for this is laid on Christ, the surety of his people, Isaiah 53:5; and to inflict this on them would be a depreciating the satisfaction of Christ, be contrary to the justice of God, and to his everlasting and unchangeable love; but this is the chastening of a father, and in love, and for the good of his people, in when he deals with them as with children: the word signifies "instruction" (b); affliction is a school of instruction, in which the saints learn much of the mind and will of God, and more of his love, grace, and kindness to them; and are enriched with a larger experience of divine and spiritual things: and therefore such chastening should not be "despised" or rejected as nauseous and loathsome, as the word signifies: indeed no affliction is joyous; the bread of affliction, and water of adversity, are not palatable or grateful to flesh and blood; yea, are even a bitter and disagreeable potion, as the cup of sorrow was to the human nature of Christ; but yet should not be rejected, but drank, for the same reason he gives, it being the cup given by his heavenly Father, ; nor should it be despised as useless and unprofitable, as the word is used in Psalm 118:22; seeing afflictions are of great use for humiliation for sin, for the increase of grace and holiness; the chastening of the Father of spirits is for profit now, and works a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, Hebrews 12:10; this passage seems to be referred to by Solomon, Proverbs 3:11; and is quoted by the apostle, in Hebrews 12:5; where he uses a word (c) by which he translates this, which signifies to "make little of"; and as on the one hand afflictions should not be magnified too much, as if there were none, nor ever had been any but them; so, on the other hand, they should not be slighted and overlooked, and no notice taken of them, as if they were trifling and insignificant, and answered no end or purpose; the hand of God should be observed in them, and acknowledged; and men should humble themselves under his mighty hand, and quietly and patiently bear it; and, instead of despising, should bless him for it, it being for their good, and many salutary ends being answered by it.
(z) Symmachus; Saddai, Montanus, Drusius; "omnisufficientis", Cocceius. (a) "Alii a mamma deducunt quae" Ebraeis, "q. mammosum dieas, quod omnia alat", Drusius. (b) Sept. "eruditionem", Cocceius. (c)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. happy—not that the actual suffering is joyous; but the consideration of the righteousness of Him who sends it, and the end for which it is sent, make it a cause for thankfulness, not for complaints, such as Job had uttered (Heb 12:11). Eliphaz implies that the end in this case is to call back Job from the particular sin of which he takes for granted that Job is guilty. Paul seems to allude to this passage in Heb 12:5; so Jas 1:12; Pr 3:12. Eliphaz does not give due prominence to this truth, but rather to Job's sin. It is Elihu alone (Job 32:1-37:24) who fully dwells upon the truth, that affliction is mercy and justice in disguise, for the good of the sufferer.
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