Job 22:4
Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?
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(4) Will he reprove thee.—That is, Because He standeth in awe of thee. Will He justify his dealings with thee?

Job 22:4. Will he reprove thee — That is, rebuke, chastise, or punish thee; for fear of thee? — Because he is afraid lest, if he should let thee alone, thou wouldst grow too great and powerful for him: surely no. As thy righteousness cannot profit him, so thy wickedness can do him no hurt.

22:1-4 Eliphaz considers that, because Job complained so much of his afflictions, he thought God was unjust in afflicting him; but Job was far from thinking so. What Eliphaz says, is unjustly applied to Job, but it is very true, that when God does us good it is not because he is indebted to us. Man's piety is no profit to God, no gain. The gains of religion to men are infinitely greater than the losses of it. God is a Sovereign, who gives no account of his conduct; but he is perfectly wise, just, faithful, good, and merciful. He approves the likeness of his own holiness, and delights in the fruits of his Spirit; he accepts the thankful services of the humble believer, while he rejects the proud claim of the self-confident.Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? - Or, rather, will he come into trial, and argue his cause before a tribunal, because he is afraid that his character will suffer, or because he feels himself bound to appear, and answer to the charges which may be brought? The language is all taken from courts of justice, and the object is, to reprove Job as if he felt that it was necessary that God should appear and answer to what he alleged against him.

Will he enter with thee into judgment? - Will he condescend to enter on a trial with one like thee? Will he submit his cause to a trial with man, as if he were an equal, or as if man had any right to such an investigation? It is to be remembered, that Job had repeatedly expressed a desire to carry his cause before God, and that God would meet him as an equal, and not take advantage of his majesty and power to overwhelm him; see Job 13:3, note; Job 13:20-21, notes. Eliphaz here asks, whether God could be expected to meet "a man," one of his own creatures, in this manner, and to go into a trial of the cause. He says that God was supreme; that no one could bring him into court; and that he could not be restrained from doing his pleasure by any dread of man. These sentiments are all noble and correct, and worthy of a sage. Soon, however, he changes the style, and utters the language of severe reproach, because Job had presumed to make such a suggestion. Perhaps, also, in this verse, a special emphasis should be placed on "thee." "Will God enter into trial with thee ... a man whose wickedness is so great, and whose sin is infinite?" Job 22:4-5.

4. Is the punishment inflicted on thee from fear of thee, in order to disarm thee? as Job had implied (see on [512]Job 7:12; [513]Job 7:20; and [514]Job 10:17).

will he enter … into judgment?—Job had desired this (Job 13:3, 21). He ought rather to have spoken as in Ps 143:2.

Will, or doth, or

would he reprove thee, i.e. punish thee? For this word is frequently used of real rebukes or chastisements, as hath been oft noted.

For fear of thee; because he is afraid, lest if he should let thee alone, thou wouldst grow too great and powerful for him, as princes ofttimes crush those subjects of whom they are afraid. Surely no. As thy righteousness cannot profit him, so thy wickedness can do him no hurt. Or, for thy piety or religion, which is commonly called by the name of fear. Doth he punish thee because thou fearest and servest him, as thou dost insinuate? No surely, but for thy sins, as it follows.

Will he enter with thee into judgment, and condemn thee? to wit, for the reason last mentioned, as appears from the Hebrew text, where the words lie thus, Will he for fear of thee

reprove thee, or

enter with thee into judgment?

Will he reprove thee for fear of thee?.... That is, chastise, correct, and afflict, for fear that hurt should be done unto him; no, he will not; for as the goodness of men does not profit him, the sinfulness of men does not hurt him, see Job 35:6. Kings and civil magistrates sometimes chastise offenders, not only to do justice to them, but through fear of them, lest, if spared or connived at, they should be hurtful to the state, and overturn it; but though sin is an act of hostility against God, and strikes at his being and government, yet he is in no fear of being ruined or dethroned, or of having his government taken out of his hands, and therefore does not chastise men on that account: or "for thy fear" (m), for thy fear of God, thy piety; or "for thy religion", as Mr. Broughton translates the word. Job had often suggested that good men, such that truly feared God, are afflicted by him, and therefore his own afflictions were no objection to his character, as a man that feared God, and eschewed evil, Job 1:1; and in this sense Eliphaz uses the word, Job 4:6; and here he intimates, as if, according to the notion of Job, that God afflicted him, and other good men, because they feared him, and which he observes, as a great absurdity; whereas, on the contrary, he chastised him for his sins, as Job 22:5 shows; but though God does not afflict men for their goodness, but for sins, yet they are only such that fear him, and whom he loves, that he chastises in a fatherly way, see Hebrews 12:6;

will he enter with thee into judgment? that is, will he, in reverence to thee, out of respect to so great a person (speaking ironically), in condescension to one of so much consequence, will he regard thy request, so often made, as to come into judgment with thee, and to admit of thy cause being pleaded before him, and to give the hearing of it, and decide the affair in controversy? or rather, will he not plead against thee, and condemn thee for thy sins, as follow? in this sense it is to be deprecated, and not desired, see Psalm 143:2.

(m) "an de religione tua", Junius & Tremellius; "ob timorem tuum", so some in Drusius; "num ob pietatem tuam", others in Michaelis.

Will he reprove thee for fear {b} of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?

(b) Lest you should reprove or hurt him?

4. God’s treatment of men being for their sakes and according to what they are, it is inconceivable that He should chastise them for their piety.

for fear of thee] Rather, for thy (godly) fear, thy piety; comp. ch. Job 4:6, Job 15:4 for this use of the word fear by Eliphaz. The words scarcely contain the idea that if God derived advantage from men’s piety He might be supposed to afflict them in order to increase their godliness (Ew.). The simple thought is that man’s conduct does not affect God. If God deals with man it is on account of man himself. Can it be supposed then that God would afflict a man because he is pious? (Job 22:4). This is too extravagant a suggestion, therefore if Job is afflicted it is for his sins (Job 22:5). Job 22:4 forms a mere foreground to Job 22:5 seq., in order to suggest by contrast the real cause of Job’s calamities.

Verse 4. - Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? rather, Is it for thy fear of him that he reproveth thee? Surely not. If he reproves thee, it must be because thou fearest him not. The fact of thy reproof is sure evidence of the fact of thy guilt. Will he enter with thee into judgment? rather, that he entereth with thee into judgment (see the Revised Version). Job 22:4 1 Then began Eliphaz the Temanite, and said:

2 Is a man profitable unto God?

No, indeed! the intelligent man is profitable to himself.

3 Hath the Almighty any profit if thou art righteous,

Or gain if thou strivest to walk uprightly?

4 Will He reprove thee for thy fear of God,

Will He go with thee into judgment?

5 Is not thy wickedness great,

Thine iniquities infinite?

The verb סכן, in the signification to be profitable, is peculiar to the book of Job (although also סכן and סכנת elsewhere, according to its primary signification, does not differ from מועיל, מועילה, by which it is explained by Kimchi); the correct development of the notion of this verb is to be perceived from the Hiph., which occurs in Job 21:21 in this speech of Eliphaz (vid., Ges. Thes.): it signifies originally, like שׁכן, Arab. skn, to rest, dwell, especially to dwell beside one another, then to become accustomed to one another (comp. שׁכן, a neighbour, and Arab. sakanun, a friend, confidant), and to assist one another, to be serviceable, to be profitable; we can say both סכנתּי, I have profit, Job 34:9, and סכן, it is profitable, Job 15:3; Job 35:3, here twice with a personal subj., and first followed by ל, then with the על usual also elsewhere in later prose (e.g., טוב על, 1 Chronicles 13:2, comp. supra, Job 10:3, to be pleasant) and poetry, which gladly adopts Aramaisms (as here and Psalm 16:6, שׁפר על, well-pleased), instead of ל, whence here עלימו, as Job 20:23, pathetic for עליו. The question, which is intended as a negative, is followed by the negative answer (which establishes its negative meaning) with כּי; משׂכּיל is, like Psalm 14:2, the intelligent, who wills and does what is good, with an insight into the nature of the extremes in morality, as in Proverbs 1:3 independent morality which rests not merely on blind custom is called מוסר השׂכל. היה חפץ ל, it is to the interest of any one (different from 1 Samuel 15:22, vid., on Job 21:21), and היה בצע ל, it is to the gain of any one (prop. the act of cutting, cutting off, i.e., what one tears in pieces), follow as synonyms of סכן. On the Aramaizing doubling of the first radical in the Hiph. תתּם (instead of תתם), vid., Ges. 67, rem. 8, comp. 3. It is translated an lucrum (ei) si integras facias vias tuas. The meaning of the whole strophe is mainly determined according to the rendering of המיּראתך (like המבינתך, Job 39:26, with Dech, and as an exception with Munach, not removed to the place of the Metheg; vid., Psalter, ii. 491, Anm. 1). If the suff. is taken objectively (from fear of thee), e.g., Hirz., we have the following line of thought: God is neither benefited by human virtue nor injured by human sin, so that when He corrects the sinner He is turning danger from himself; He neither rewards the godly because He is benefited by his piety, nor punishes the sinner because by his sinning he threatens Him with injury. Since, therefore, if God chastises a man, the reason of it is not to be found in any selfish purpose of God, it must be in the sin of the man, which is on its own account worthy of punishment. But the logical relation in which Job 22:5 stands to Job 22:4 does not suit this: perhaps from fear of thee ... ? no, rather because of thy many and great sins! Hahn is more just to this relation when he explains: "God has no personal profit to expect from man, so that, somewhat from fear, to prevent him from being injurious, He should have any occasion to torment him with sufferings unjustly." But if the personal profit, which is denied, is one that grows out of the piety of the man, the personal harm, which is denied as one which God by punishment will keep far from Himself, is to be thought of as growing out of the sin of the man; and the logical relation of Job 22:5 to Job 22:4 is not suited to this, for. Job 22:5 assigns the reason of the chastisement to the sin, and denies, as it runs, not merely any motive whatever in connection with the sin, but that the reason can lie in the opposite of sin, as it appears according to Job's assertion that, although guiltless, he is still suffering from the wrath of God.

Thus, then, the suff. of המיראתך is to be taken subjectively: on account of thy fear of God, as Eliphaz has used יראתך twice already, Job 4:6; Job 15:4. By this subjective rendering Job 22:4 and Job 22:5 form a true antithesis: Does God perhaps punish thee on account of thy fear of God? Does He go (on that account) with thee into judgment? No (it would be absurd to suppose that); therefore thy wickedness must be great (in proportion to the greatness of thy suffering), and thy misdeeds infinitely many. If we now look at what precedes, we shall have to put aside the thought drawn into Job 22:2 and Job 22:3 by Ewald (and also by Hahn): whether God, perhaps with the purpose of gaining greater advantage from piety, seeks to raise it by unjustly decreed suffering; for this thought has nothing to indicate it, and is indeed certainly false, but on account of the force of truth which lies in it (there is a decreeing of suffering for the godly to raise their piety) is only perplexing.

First of all, we must inquire how it is that Eliphaz begins his speech thus. All the exhortations to penitence in which the three exhaust themselves, rebound from Job without affecting him. Even Eliphaz, the oldest among them, full of a lofty, almost prophetic consciousness, has with the utmost solicitude allured and terrified him, but in vain. And it is the cause of God which he brings against him, or rather his own well-being that he seeks, without making an impression upon him. Then he reminds him that God is in Himself the all-sufficient One; that no advantage accrues to Him from human uprightness, since His nature, existing before and transcending all created things, can suffer neither diminution nor increase from the creature; that Job therefore, since he remains inaccessible to that well-meant call to penitent humiliation, has refused not to benefit Him, but himself; or, what is the reverse side of this thought (which is not, however, expressed), that he does no injury to Him, only to himself. And yet in what except in Job's sin should this decree of suffering have its ground? If it is a self-contradiction that God should chastise a man because he fears Him, there must be sin on the side of Job; and indeed, since the nature of the sin is to be measured according to the nature of the suffering, great and measureless sin. This logical necessity Eliphaz now regards as real, without further investigation, by opening out this bundle of sins in the next strophe, and reproaching Job directly with that which Zophar, Job 20:19-21, aiming at Job, has said of the רשׁע. In the next strophe he continues, with כי explic.:

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