Job 32:13
Lest you should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusts him down, not man.
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(13) Lest ye should say.—That is, “I resolved to speak, lest ye should think yourselves wise, and that God was afflicting him on account of his sins.” God is declaring his guilt in such a way that man’s opinion matters little.

32:6-14 Elihu professes to speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and corrects both parties. He allowed that those who had the longest experience should speak first. But God gives wisdom as he pleases; this encouraged him to state his opinion. By attention to the word of God, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit, young men may become wiser than the aged; but this wisdom will render them swift to hear, slow to speak, and disposed to give others a patient hearing.Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom - That is, this has been permitted and ordered in such a manner that it might be manifest that the truths which are to convince him come from God and not from man. You were not permitted to refute or convince him, for if you had been you would have been lifted up with pride, and would have attributed to yourselves what belongs to God. This is in accordance with the entire drift of the book, which is to introduce the Almighty himself to settle the controversy when human wisdom failed. They could not arrogate to themselves the claim that they had found out wisdom. They had been completely silenced by Job; they had no power to drive him from his positions; they could not explain the divine dealings so as to settle the great inquiry in which they had been engaged. Elihu proposes to do it, and to do it in such a way as to show that it could be accomplished only by that wisdom which is from above.

God thrusteth him down, not man - These are the words of Elihu. The meaning is, "God only can drive Job from his position, and show him the truth, and humble him. The wisdom of man fails. The aged, the experienced, and the wise have been unable to meet his arguments and bring him down from the positions which he has taken. That work can be done only by God himself, or by the wisdom which he only can give." Accordingly Elihu, who proposes to meet the arguments of Job, makes no appeal to experience or observation; he does not ground what he says on the maxims of sages or the results of reflection, but proposes to adduce the precepts of wisdom which God had imparted to him; Job 33:4, Job 33:6. Other interpretations have, however, been given of this verse, but the above seems to me the most simple, and most in accordance with the scope of the passage.

13. This has been so ordered, "lest you should" pride yourselves on having overcome him by your "wisdom" (Jer 9:23, the great aim of the Book of Job); and that you may see, "God alone can thrust him down," that is, confute him, "not man." So Elihu grounds his confutation, not on the maxims of sages, as the friends did, but on his special commission from God (Job 32:8; 33:4, 6). Lest ye should say; it is a defective speech, and may be thus supplied: Thus it was, or God thus left you to your own weakness, and mistakes, and impertinent discourses, lest ye should say, &c., i.e. lest you should ascribe the conquering or silencing of Job to your own wisdom, age, and experience; or lest you should boastingly say, We have discovered and said all that can or need be said in the cause, the sum and substance of the thing, that which may fully and finally end the controversy, which is contained in the following words.

God thrusteth him down, not man: these are alleged by Elihu, in the person of Job’s three friends, or as their words. The sense is, The stupendous judgments which are upon Job have not been brought upon him by man solely and originally, for then there might have been some ground for Job’s complaints, there might have been injustice or cruelty in them; but immediately by the hand of God, of that God, who being omniscient, and just, and true, and merciful, would never have dealt thus hardly with Job if he were not a hypocrite, and guilty of some very gross, though secret, sins; which is the ground-work of our discourses. But, saith Elihu, this argument doth not satisfy me, and therefore bear with me if I seek for better. Lest ye should say, we have found out wisdom,.... They were left to themselves, and not directed to take the proper methods of convincing Job, and answering his arguments; lest they should be wise in their own conceits, and attribute too much to themselves; or Elihu told them this, that they had not convicted Job, though they had condemned him, nor answered his arguments, though they had left off speaking; and this he was obliged to say, and that for the reason before observed: for all wisdom is of God, and not to be found out or acquired by men; not natural wisdom, that is not of men, but of God, and especially supernatural wisdom, or the knowledge of divine and spiritual things, and the reason of God's dealings with the sons of men in the different manner he does, see Job 28:12;

God thrusteth him down, not man: some think Elihu says this in reference to himself, whom God would make use of as an instrument to convince Job and answer his arguments; and that he would ascribe this not to himself, but to God; they took a natural way to convince Job, which failed, that they might not be proud of their own wisdom; he should take a more divine and spiritual method, and, if he succeeded, he should give all the glory to God, and ascribe nothing to himself: as in the conviction and conversion of a sinner, though ministers are instruments, it is not by might or power of men, but by the Spirit of the Lord of Hosts; it is God that thrusts down man from a vain opinion he has of himself; that convinces him of sin, that takes him off of his own righteousness, and humbles him, and lays him low at his feet: but they rather seem to be the words of Job's friends, as related by Elihu; and the sense is in connection with the former, either that they found it was the wisest method they could take with Job to be silent, and leave him to himself, lest they should add to his afflict; on; to which Jarchi inclines, who paraphrases it,

"we found wisdom by our silence, that we may not provoke him any more;''

which, if their sense, shows more tenderness and compassion than they had hitherto expressed, and answers pretty much to the advice given 2 Corinthians 2:6; or else their meaning is, that they found it the best and wisest way to leave him with God, he being so obstinate and incorrigible that none but God could move him; it was not in the power of men, or of words used by men, to make him sensible of things; or rather the meaning is, Elihu was obliged to tell them, that none of them had convinced Job, or answered his arguments, lest they should say, we have found out a wise and strong argument, proving the charge brought against him, that he must be a wicked man and an hypocrite, since God has so sorely afflicted him, and thrust him down from all his grandeur and dignity; which no man could ever have done, and God would not, if he had not been the man we suppose him to be; now Elihu's view is to observe to them, that there was nothing in this argument convincing, in which they imagined so much wisdom lay. Job's afflictions, indeed, were of God, and not men; and which he often owns himself; but this was no proof or argument of his being a wicked man: Mr. Broughton renders the words,

"the Omnipotent doth toss him, not man.''

Lest ye should say, We have {h} found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.

(h) Flatter yourselves as though you had overcome him.

13–14. These verses mean,

13.  Say not, We have found wisdom,

God may thrust him down, not man;

14.  For he hath not directed his words against me, &c.

Elihu refuses to let the three friends excuse themselves for their failure to answer Job by the plea that they had found an unexpected wisdom in him, against which human logic was of no avail, and which only God could overcome. Job’s wisdom was not so invincible. It remained to be seen how it would come out of the encounter with another wisdom, different from that of the Friends:—Job had not yet replied to Elihu’s arguments, he has not directed his words against me (Job 32:14, cf. ch. Job 33:5), and these arguments would be found of another kind from those of the three friends.Verse 13. - Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom; or, beware lest ye say, We have found wisdom (see the Revised Version). "Do not suppose, i.e., that you have triumphed in the controversy, that your mode of meeting Job's complaints is the wise and right one. The exact reverse is the case. You have not vanquished Job. On the contrary, he is unvanquished, and remains master of the field. If he is ever to be vanquished, it will not be by you. God thrusteth (rather, may thrust) him down, not man. A true prophecy! (see Job 40:1-14). 6b I am young in days, and ye are hoary,

Therefore I stood back and was afraid

To show you my knowledge.

7 I:thought: Let age speak,

And the multitude of years teach wisdom.

It becomes manifest even here that the Elihu section has in part a peculiar usage of the language. זחל in the signification of Arab. zḥl, cogn. with Arab. dḥl, דּחל, to frighten back;

(Note: The lexicographers explain the Arab. zḥl by zâla (זול), to stand away from, back, to retreat, or tanahha, to step aside; Piel, Hiph., to push any one aside, place anything back; Hithpa., to keep one's self on one side; adj. זחל, זחיל, זחוּל, etc., standing back. Thus the town of Zahla in the plain of the Lebanon takes its name from the fact that it does not stand out in the plain, but is built close at the foot of the mountain in a corner, and consequently retreats. And zuhale (according to the Kamus) is an animal that creeps backwards into its hole, e.g., the scorpion; and hence, improperly, a man who, as we say with a similar figure, never comes out of his hole, always keeps in his hole, i.e., never leaves his dwelling, as zuhal in general signifies a man who retires or keeps far from active life; in connection with which also the planet Saturn is called Zuhal, the retreating one, on account of its great distance from the rest. Slippery (of ground) is זחלוּל, because it draws the foot backwards (muzhil) by its smoothness, and thus causes the walker to fall. A further formation is זחלק, to be slippery, and to slip in a slippery place; beside which, זלק, a word of similar meaning, is no longer used in Syria. According to this Arabic primary notion of zḥl, it appears זחלי ארץ, Micah 7:17, is intended to describe the serpents not as creeping upon the earth, but as creeping into the earth (comp. the name of the serpent, achbi' at el-ard, those that hide themselves in the earth); but in Talmud. and Aram. זחל used of animals has the general signification to creep, and of water, to glide (flow gently down). The primary notion, to glide (to slip, creep, flow gently, labi), is combined both in the derivatives of the root זח and in those of the root זל with the notion of a departing and retreating motion. - Wetzst. and Fl.)

and דּע for דּעת (here and Job 32:10, Job 32:17; Job 36:3; Job 37:16) occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament; על־כּן (comp. לכן, Job 42:3) is used only by Elihu within the book of Job. ימים, days equals fulness of days, is equivalent to advanced age, old age with its rich experience. רב with its plural genitive is followed (as כל sa( d usually is) by the predicate in the plur.; it is the attraction already described by מספר, Job 15:10; Job 21:21, Ges. 148, 1.

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