Job 11:10
If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?
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(10) If he cut off.—It is the same word as “a spirit passed before me” (Job 4:15); and as Job himself used (Job 9:11): “he passeth on, but I perceive him not.” “If, then,” says Zophar, “God acteth thus, or if He delivers up a man into the hands of his enemies, or if He calls together a multitude against him—alluding apparently to Job 9:11-12; Job 10:17, where the word rendered changes is a derivative of the word here rendered “cut off”—then who can turn Him back from His intent?” adopting Job’s own question at Job 9:12 : “Who can hinder Him?” Some understand the three terms forensically: “if He arrest, and imprison, and hold assize; “but it is probable that Job’s own statements are alluded to.

Job 11:10. If he cut off — Namely, a person or family; and shut up — In prison, or in the hands of an enemy, or in the net of affliction and trouble, Psalm 66:11. Or gather together — Make our condition strait and narrow, as some interpret it; or, gather together as tares to the fire, or gather to himself man’s breath and spirit, Job 34:14. Then who can hinder him? — From doing what he pleaseth with his creatures? Who can either arrest the sentence, or oppose the execution? Who can control his power or arraign his wisdom and justice? If he, who made all out of nothing, think fit to reduce all to nothing; if he that separated between light and darkness, dry land and sea, at first, please to gather them together again; if he that made, think proper to unmake, מי ישׁיבנו, mi jeshibennu, who can turn him; alter his mind, or stay his hand, impede or impeach his proceedings?11:7-12 Zophar speaks well concerning God and his greatness and glory, concerning man and his vanity and folly. See here what man is; and let him be humbled. God sees this concerning vain man, that he would be wise, would be thought so, though he is born like a wild ass's colt, so unteachable and untameable. Man is a vain creature; empty, so the word is. Yet he is a proud creature, and self-conceited. He would be wise, would be thought so, though he will not submit to the laws of wisdom. He would be wise, he reaches after forbidden wisdom, and, like his first parents, aiming to be wise above what is written, loses the tree of life for the tree of knowledge. Is such a creature as this fit to contend with God?If he cut off - Margin, "Make a change." But neither of these phrases properly expresses the sense of the original. The whole image here is probably that of arresting a criminal and bringing him to trial, and the language is taken from the mode of conducting a prosecution. The word rendered "cut off" - יחלף yachâlop, from חלף châlaph - means properly to pass along; to pass on; then to pass against anyone, to rush on, to assail; and in a remote sense in the Piel and the Hiphil, to cause to pass on or away, that is, to change. This is the sense expressed in the margin. The idea is not that of cutting off, but is that of making a rush upon a man, for the purpose of arresting him and bringing him to trial. There are frequent references to such trials in the book of Job. The Chaldee renders this, "if he pass on and shut up the heavens with clouds" - but the paraphrasist evidently did not understand the passage.

And shut up - That is, imprison or detain with a view to trial. Some such detention is always practiced of necessity before trial.

Or gather together - Gather together the parties for trial; or rather call the individual into court for trial. The word קהל qâhal means properly to call together, to convoke, as a people; and is used to denote the custom of assembling the people for a trial - or, as we would say, to "call the court," which is now the office of a crier.

Then who can hinder him? - Margin, "Who can turn him away?" He has all power, and no one can resist him. No one can deliver the criminal from his hands. Zophar here is in fact repeating in another form what Job had himself said (Job 9:3 ff), and the sentiment seems to be proverbial. The idea here is, that if God should call a man into judgment, and hold him guilty, he could neither answer nor resist him. God is so great; he so intimately knows the human heart; he has so thorough an acquaintance with all our past sins, that we cannot hope to answer him or escape. Zophar argues on this principle: "God holds you to be guilty. He is punishing you accordingly. You do not feel it so, or suppose that you deserve all this. But he sees your heart, and knows all your life. If he holds you to be guilty, it is so. You cannot answer him, and you should so regard it, and submit."

10. cut off—Rather, as in Job 9:11, "pass over," as a storm; namely, rush upon in anger.

shut up—in prison, with a view to trial.

gather together—the parties for judgment: hold a judicial assembly; to pass sentence on the prisoners.

If he cut off, to wit, a person or a family. Shut up in a prison, or in the hands of an enemy. This shutting up is opposed to the opening of the prison doors, and to that enlargement which God is elsewhere said to give to men.

Gather together; either,

1. In a way of judgment, as a like word is used, Psalm 26:9, Gather not my soul with sinners. Or rather,

2. In a way of mercy, as this word is generally used in Scripture; this being every where promised by God to his people as an eminent mercy, that he would gather them together. So this is opposed to the former actions, and the sense of the place is, whether it pleaseth God to scatter a family, or to gather them together from their dispersions.

Who can hinder him from doing what he pleaseth and designeth with his own creatures? who can restrain him, either by giving law to him, or by force and power? or, who can contradict or answer him, or object against him, or retort or return upon him, i.e. charge him with injustice in such proceedings? which sense may seem to agree best both with the scope of the place and state of the question between him and Job; which was not whether any man could resist God’s power, but whether he could question his justice; and with the following verse. If he cut off,.... The horns, power, dominion, and authority of the wicked; or the spirits of princes, or kingdoms and states, whole nations, as he did the seven nations of Canaan; or families, as Job's, his servants, and his children; or particular persons, by diseases, or by judgments, by famine, sword, and pestilence; there is none can hinder him; he will do what he pleases: or, as others render it, "if he changes" (l); if he makes revolutions in governments, changes in families, and in the estates of men, as in Job's; or changes men's countenances by death, and sends them out of time into eternity, there is no opposing him: or, "if he passes through" (m), as the word is sometimes used; see Isaiah 8:8; if he comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth, and goes through a kingdom and nation, making or suffering to be made devastations everywhere, as he went through the land of Egypt and smote all the firstborn in it, there is no stopping him: or, "if he passes on" (n), or "from" hence, or goes away; see 1 Samuel 11:3; or departs from a people or particular person, even his own people, and hides his face from them, and is long, at least as they think, before he returns; who can behold him, or find him out, or cause him to show himself? see Job 23:3; or, "if he subverts" (o) and overturns things, or should reduce the world and all things in it to a chaos, as at the deluge, or as he overturned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, or should set on fire the whole course of nature, and burn up the whole world and all in it, and reduce it to ashes, as he will; there is none can stay his hand, and obstruct him in his designs and measures:

and shut up; should he do so; shut up in a civil sense, either in a prison, as Gersom, or in the hands of an enemy, by giving them unto them, to be enclosed and straitened by them, there is none can deliver; Psalm 31:8; or to shut them up as he did Noah in the ark, by protecting them by his power and providence, and so appear to be on their side, and for them; who then can be against them? or what does it signify if any are, if the Lord shuts them up and keeps them close? or in a spiritual sense, if he concludes men in sin, and shuts them up in unbelief, and under the law; who but himself can set them free? or, if good men are shut up in their frames, and straitened in their souls, that they cannot come forth in the lively exercise of grace, and free discharge of duty; there is no opening for them till he pleases, Psalm 88:8,

or gather together, then who can hinder him? either gathers them into one place, in a civil sense; or in a gracious manner, with great mercies and everlasting kindness to himself, to have communion with him; to his son, to participate of the blessings of his grace, and to his church and people, to enjoy all spiritual privileges with them; or, gathers men at and by death; see Job 34:14; and as he will gather them at the last day, even all nations, before him, the tares, and burn them and his wheat, and put them into his garner; and when he does any and every of these things, who can hinder him or turn him back from doing what he pleases: Job says much the same in Job 9:12; the Targum is,

"if he passes through and shuts up the heavens with clouds, and gathers armies, who can turn him back?"

(l) "si permutet proprie", Mercerus, Heb. "si mutabit locum", Piscator. (m) "Si transmeabit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "si pervadat", Cocceius; "si transiverit", Michaelis. (n) "Si abierit", Schmidt. (o) "Si subverterit omnia", V. L.

If he cut off, and {e} shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?

(e) If God should turn the state of things and establish a new order in nature, who could control him?

10. This omniscience in its operation among sinful men.

If he cut off] if he pass by. Zophar uses Job’s own word and illustration, ch. Job 9:11 (passeth on).

and shut up] i. e. arrest, and put in ward.

or gather together] i. e. call an assembly for judgment, which took place in full concourse of the people; cf. the graphic picture Proverbs 5:3 seq., esp. Job 11:14.

who can hinder him] Or, turn him back, again Job’s own words, ch. Job 9:12.Verse 10. - If he cut off; rather, if he advance (comp. Job 9:11). And shut up; or, imprison. Or gather together; rather, and call to judgment (see the Revised Version). If God, that is, advance against a man in hostile fashion, seize and imprison him, and then call him to judgment, what is to be said or done? who can interfere with him? Matters must take their course. There is no ground for complaint It is simply God's mode of administering justice on the earth. Who can hinder him? literally, who can turn him sway? i.e. interfere with his action, interrupt it, divert it. 1 Then began Zophar the Naamathite, and said:

2 Shall the torrent of words remain unanswered,

And shall the prater be in the right?

3 Shall thy vain talking silence the people,

So that thou mockest without any one putting thee to shame,

4 And sayest: my doctrine is pure,

And I am guiltless in Thine eyes?

5 But oh that Eloah would speak,

And open His lips against thee,

6 And make known to thee the secrets of wisdom,

That she is twofold in her nature -

Know then that Eloah forgetteth much of thy guilt.

When Job has concluded his long speech, Zophar, the third and most impetuous of the friends, begins. His name, if it is to be explained according to the Arabic Esauitish name el-assfar,

(Note: Vid., Abulfeda's Historia anteislamica ed. Fleischer, p. 168.)


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