Receive, I pray you, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The law from his mouth.—It would be highly interesting to know whether by this law (Torah), the Law, the Torah, was in any way alluded to. One is naturally disposed to think that since Job seems to be the one Gentile book of the Old Testament, the one book in which the literature of Israel touches the world at large, it must, therefore, be prior to the Law, or else have been written in independence and ignorance of it. The former seems by far the more reasonable supposition, and certainly the life depicted appears to be that of the patriarchal times before the giving of the Law. And yet, on the other hand, it is hard to know what could be meant by “His words” prior to the Mosaic Revelation, unless, indeed, the expression is a witness to the consciousness of that inner revelation of the voice of God in the conscience which the holy in all ages have never wanted.Job 22:22. Receive the law from his mouth — Take the rule, whereby thou mayest govern thy thoughts, and words, and whole life, not from idolaters and profane heathen, whose opinion concerning God’s providence thou appearest to have embraced, nor from thy own imaginations or violent passions, which have led thee into thy present errors; but from God, and from his law, which is written in thy own mind, and from the doctrines and instructions of the wise and holy men of God, who are all of our mind in this matter. And lay up his words in thy heart — Not only hear them with thine ears, but let them sink into thy heart, being received there with hearty affection, and fixed by the serious, frequent, and practical consideration of them.
Lay up his words in thine heart, i.e. do not only hear them with thine ears, but let them sink into thy heart being received there by hearty affection, and fixed by serious, and frequent, and practical consideration of them, Psalm 119:11 Matthew 13:9 Luke 2:19,51.
and lay up his words in thine heart: as a rich treasure, very valuable, and preferable to gold, silver, and precious stones, laid up in chests and cabinets because of their value, and that they might not be lost, but be preserved safe and sure, and that they might be come at, and made use of on proper occasions; as the words of God and doctrines of the Scriptures may be, against the temptations of Satan, the lusts of the flesh, and for the instruction of ourselves and others; and therefore should be retained in our minds, hid in our hearts, and dwell richly in us; and, unless they are in the heart, and have a place there, they will be of little avail to have them in the head or on the tongue; but if they come with power into the heart, and have a place there, they work effectually, and influence the life and conversation: these Job had, and had a great value for them; see Job 6:10.Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. the law] Or, instruction. The word is a general expression for “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” as the parallel “his words” in the next clause indicates. Comp. Job’s reply to this advice, ch. Job 23:11-12.Verse 22. - Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth; or, receive now instruction from his mouth. The supposition of some commentators, that the "Law of Moses" is intended, is negatived by the entire absence from the Book of any allusion to the details of the Mosaic legislation, as well as by the primitive character of the life depicted in the book, and the certainty that no one of the interlocutors is an Israelite. The Hebrew תּורה, without the article prefixed, is properly "instruction," and is only to be assumed as meaning "the Law" when the context shows this meaning to be probable. The "instruction" to which Eliphaz here points, and which he regards as instruction from God's mouth, is probably the teaching of religious men, such as himself, which he considered to have come from God originally, though, perhaps, he could not have explained how. And lay up his words in thine heart. This is a mere variant of the preceding clause, and adds no fresh idea.
Which evil men have trodden,
16 Who were withered up before their time,
Their foundation was poured out as a stream,
17 Who said unto God: Depart from us!
And what can the Almighty do to them?
18 And notwithstanding He had filled their houses with good-
The counsel of the wicked be far from me!
While in Psalm 139:24 דרך עולם prospectively signifies a way of eternal duration (comp. Ezekiel 26:20, עם עולם, of the people who sleep the interminably long sleep of the grave), ארח עולם signifies here retrospectively the way of the ancient world, but not, as in Jeremiah 6:16; Jeremiah 18:15, the way of thinking and acting of the pious forefathers which put their posterity to shame, but of a godless race of the ancient world which stands out as a terrible example to posterity. Eliphaz asks if Job will observe, i.e., keep (שׁמר as in Psalm 18:22), this way trodden by people (מתי, comp. אנשׁי, Job 34:36) of wickedness. Those worthless ones were withered up, i.e., forcibly seized and crushed, ולא־עת, when it was not yet time (ולא after the manner of a circumstantial clause: quum nondum, as Psalm 139:16), i.e., when according to God's creative order their time was not yet come. On קמּטוּ,
(Note: This קמטו, according to the Masora, is the middle word of the book of Job (חצי הספר).)
vid., on Job 16:8; lxx correctly, συνελήφθησαν ἄωροι, nevertheless συλλαμβάνειν is too feeble as a translation of קמט; for as Arab. qbṣ signifies to take with the tip of the finer, whereas Arab. qbḍ signifies to take with the whole bent hand, so קמט, in conformity to the dull, emphatic final consonant, signifies "to bind firmly together." In Job 22:16 יוּצק is not perf. Pual for יצּק (Ew. 83, b), for this exchange, contrary to the law of vowels, of the sharp form with the lengthened form is without example; it must at least have been written יוּצּק (comp. Judges 18:29). It is fut. Hoph., which, according to Job 11:15, might be יצּק; here, however, it is with a resolving, not assimilation, of the Jod, as in Leviticus 21:10. The fut. has the signification of the imperfect which it acquires in an historic connection. It is not to be translated: their place became a stream which has flowed away (Hirz.), for the היה which would be required by such an interpretation could not be omitted; also not: flumen effusum est in fundamentum eorum (Rosenm., Hahn, and others), which would be ליסודם, and would still be very liable to be misunderstood; also not: whose foundation was a poured-out stream (Umbr., Olsh.), for then there would be one attributive clause inserted in the other; but: their solid ground became fluid like a stream (Ew., Hlgst., Schlottm.), so that נהר, after the analogy of the verbs with two accusative, Ges. 139, 2, is a so-called second acc. of the obj. which by the passive becomes a nominative (comp. Job 28:2), although it might also be an apposition of the following subj. placed first: a stream (as such, like such a one) their solid ground was brought into a river; the ground on which they and their habitations stood was placed under water and floated away: without doubt the flood is intended; reference to this perfectly accords with the patriarchal pre-and extra-Israelitish standpoint of the book of Job; and the generation of the time of the flood (דור המבול) is accounted in the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament as a paragon of godlessness, the contemporaries of Noah are the απειθοῦντες, סוררים, κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν (comp. 1 Peter 3:20 with Psalm 68:19).
Accordingly they are now here also further described (Job 22:17) as those who said to God, "Depart from us," and what could the Almighty do to them (למו instead of לנוּ, which was to be expected, since, as in Job 19:28, there is a change from the oratio directa to obliqua)! Olshausen explains with Hahn: "with respect to what thou sayest: and what then does the Almighty do to them (for it)? He fills their houses with prosperity, while the counsel of the wicked is far from me (notwithstanding I am unfortunate)." But this explanation is as forced (since ומה without a אמרת or תאמר standing with it is taken as the word of Job) as it is contrary to the syntax (since the circumstantial clause with והוא is not recognised, and on the other hand ועצת וגו, instead of which it ought at least to have been וּממּנּי וגו, is regarded as such an one). No indeed, just this is an exceedingly powerful effect, that Eliphaz describes those godless ones who dismiss God with סור ממנו, to whom, according to Job's assertion, Job 21:13., undimmed prosperity is portioned out, by referring to a memorable fact as that which has fallen under the strict judgment of God; and that with the very same words with which Job, Job 21:16, declines communion with such prosperous evil-doers: "the counsel of the wicked be far from me," he will have nothing more to do, not with the wicked alone, but, with a side glance at Job, even with those who place themselves on a level with them by a denial of the just government of God in the world. פּעל ל, as the following circumstantial clause shows, is intended like Psalm 68:29, comp. Job 31:20; Isaiah 26:12 : how can the Almighty then help or profit them? Thus they asked, while He had filled their houses with wealth - Eliphaz will have nothing to do with this contemptible misconstruction of the God who proves himself so kind to those who dwell below on the earth, but who, though He is rewarded with ingratitude, is so just. The truly godly are not terrified like Job 17:8, that retributive justice is not to be found in God's government of the world; on the contrary, they rejoice over its actual manifestation in their own case, which makes them free, and therefore so joyous.
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