Job 33:12
Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
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(12) Behold, in this thou art not just.—But had not Job said the same thing? (Job 9:2, &c., Job 9:14, &c.); and is it possible to conceive that any one could think otherwise, more especially as Elihu used the word which specially means man in his frailty?

Job 33:12. Behold, in this — Hebrew, הן זאת, hen zoth, Behold this; that is, attend to this; mark what I say to thee; thou art not just — Or justified. This thy complaining language cannot be excused. Though I do not accuse thee, as thy friends have done, of other sins, yet in this thou art blameable, and I must reprehend thee for it, by reminding thee, that God is greater than man — Not only in majesty and power, which thou acknowledgest, but also in justice, wisdom, and goodness; and, therefore, he ought to be treated by thee with greater reverence; and thou actest very foolishly and presumptuously in contending with him, and censuring his judgments. Thou forgettest thy distance from him, and castest off that veneration and awe which thou oughtest constantly to maintain toward thy sovereign Lord. Elihu’s argument is, “Notwithstanding all thy pretensions to purity and innocence, thou art far from perfection; there is human frailty enough in thee, and all mankind, to justify the dealings of God with thee or them, however severe they are; give him therefore the glory: acknowledge the justice of his proceedings.” This, in Scripture phrase, is giving God the glory.

33:8-13 Elihu charges Job with reflecting upon the justice and goodness of God. When we hear any thing said to God's dishonour, we ought to bear our testimony against it. Job had represented God as severe in marking what he did amiss. Elihu urges that he had spoken wrong, and that he ought to humble himself before God, and by repentance to unsay it. God is not accountable to us. It is unreasonable for weak, sinful creatures, to strive with a God of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness. He acts with perfect justice, wisdom, and goodness, where we cannot perceive it.Behold, in this thou art not just - In this view of God, and in these reflections on his character and government. Such language in regard to the Deity cannot be vindicated; such views cannot be right. It cannot be that he wishes to be the foe of man; that he watches with a jealous eye every movement with a view to find something that will justify him in bringing heavy calamities upon his creatures, or that he sets himself as a spy upon the way in which man goes, in order to find out something that shall make it proper for him to treat him as an enemy. It cannot be denied that Job had indulged in language making substantially such representations of God, and that he had thus given occasion for the reproof of Elihu. It can as little be denied that such thoughts frequently pass through the minds of the afflicted, though they do not express them in words, nor is it less doubtful that they should be at once banished from the soul. They cannot be true. It cannot be that God thus regards and treats his crea tures; that he wishes to find "occasion" in them to make it proper for him to bring calamity upon them, or that he desires to regard them as his foes.

I will answer thee - That is, I will show that this view is unjust." This he does in the subsequent verses by stating what he supposes to be the real design of afflictions, and by showing that God in these trials had a good and benevolent object.

That - - כי kı̂y. Rather, "because," or "for." The object is not to show that God was greater than man - for that could not be a matter of information, but to show that because he was far above man he had great and elevated objects in his dealings with him, and man should submit to him without a complaint.

God is greater than man - The meaning of this is, that man should suppose that God has good reasons for all that he does, and that he might not be qualified to understand the reason of his doings. He should therefore acquiesce in his arrangements, and not call in question the equity of the divine dealings. In all our trials it is well to remember that God is greater than we are. He knows what is best; and though we may not be able to see the reason of his doings, yet it becomes us to acquiesce in his superior wisdom.

12. in this—view of God and His government. It cannot be that God should jealously "watch" man, though "spotless," as an "enemy," or as one afraid of him as an equal. For "God is greater than man!" There must be sin in man, even though he be no hypocrite, which needs correction by suffering for the sufferer's good. I do not accuse thee of hypocrisy, nor rip up the former errors of thy life; but in this thou art unjust and much to blame, that thou boastest so much of thine own integrity, and chargest God with rigorous dealing, and callest him to an account before thy tribunal, and offerest to dispute the matter with him.

That God is greater than man; not only in power and majesty, which thou acknowledgest, but also in justice, and wisdom, and goodness; and therefore thou dost very foolishly, and presumptuously, and wickedly in contending with him, and censuring his judgments: thou forgettest thy distance from him, and castest off that awe and reverence which thou shouldst constantly maintain towards thy sovereign Lord.

Behold, in this thou art not just,.... Here begins Elihu's answer, who does not deny that Job was a just man, both before God in an evangelic sense, and before men in a moral sense; he did not go about to detract from Job's general character, as a man that lived soberly, righteously, and godly in the world; but in this he was not just, nor is it to be justified, with respect to this thing, he could not acquit him of doing what was wrong; namely, insisting so much on his own innocence, and tacking therewith such unbecoming and undue reflections on the dealings of God with him; he did not give to God his due, he did not do him justice in representing him in this light; he did not say nor do the right thing, so Mr. Broughton translates the words,

"lo, here thou art not in the right;''

see Job 32:2;

I will answer thee; or "I must tell thee"; as the same writer renders the words, being able to make it clear and plain:

that God is greater than man: than any man, than the greatest of men, most famous for power, wisdom, or justice; he is not only greater in his power, faithfulness, goodness, grace, and mercy, but in his holiness and righteousness, wisdom and knowledge; and therefore can never do either an unjust thing, or an unwise one; and for man, who is both sinful and ignorant, even the best in comparison of him, to arraign him at his bar, is very arrogant and presumptuous; since he knows best what to do, and what are his reasons for so doing, and is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
12. The verse probably reads,

Behold in this thou art not in the right, I will answer thee,

For God is greater than man.

The words I will answer thee are equivalent to, “Behold, my answer is, in this thou art not right,” &c. The answer to Job’s charges which Elihu contents himself with giving meantime is simply: “in this thou art not in the right, for God is greater than man.” Elihu, as he does often, e.g. ch. Job 24:10, Job 36:3-5; Job 36:24-25, falls back on man’s necessary thoughts of God. Job’s charges are incompatible with just conceptions of God. The three friends had argued in the same way, though they hardly gave the idea the same important place that Elihu does; comp. ch. Job 8:3.

Verse 12. - Behold, in this thou art not just. It would certainly not have been a just charge to make against God, that he counted Job as an enemy; and, so far as Job's statements go, it must be admitted that he had laid himself open to Elihu's rebuke. But it is no logical "answer" to Job's charge to say, in reply to it, I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Might does not constitute right, and it is a poor way of justifying God to urge that he is all-powerful, and may do what he likes. So Cambyses was justified in his worst acts by the royal judges (Herod., 3:31); and so in an absolute monarchy it is always possible to justify the extremest acts of tyranny. Certainly God cannot act unjustly; but this is not because his doing a thing makes it right, but because his justice, is a law to his will, and he never wills to do anything that he has not previously seen to be just (see Cudworth's 'Immutable Morality,' which deserves the careful study, not alone of moralists, but also of theologians). Job 33:12 8 Verily thou hast said in mine ears,

And I heard the sound of thy words:

9 "I am pure, without transgression;

"Spotless am I, and I have no guilt.

10 "Behold, He findeth malicious things against me,

"He regardeth me as His enemy;

11 "He putteth my feet in the stocks,

"He observeth all my paths."

12 Behold, therein thou art not right, I will answer thee,

For Eloah is too exalted for man.

With אך אמרתּ Elihu establishes the undeniable fact, whether it be that אך is intended as restrictive (only thou hast said, it is not otherwise than that thou ... ), or as we have translated, according to its primary meaning, affirmative (forsooth, it is undeniable). To say anything בּאזני of another is in Hebrew equivalent to not saying it secretly, and so as to be liable to misconstruction, but aloud and distinctly. In Job 33:9, Elihu falls back on Job's own utterances, as Job 9:21, תם אני; Job 16:17, תפלתי זכה; Job 12:4, where he calls himself צדיק תמים, comp. Job 10:7; Job 13:18, Job 13:23; Job 23:10, Job 27:5, Job 29:1, Job 31:1. The expression חף, tersus, did not occur in the mouth of Job; Geiger connects חף with the Arab. hanı̂f (vid., on Job 13:15); it is, however, the adj. of the Semitic verb חף, Arab. ḥff, to rub off, scrape off; Arab. to make smooth by scraping off the hair; Targ., Talm., Syr., to make smooth by washing and rubbing (after which Targ. שׁזיג, lotus).

(Note: Vid., Nldecke in Genfey's Zeitschrift, 1863, S. 383.)

אנכי has here, as an exception, retained its accentuation of the final syllable in pause. In Job 33:10 Elihu also makes use of a word that does not occur in Job's mouth, viz., תּנוּאות, which, according to Numbers 14:34, signifies "alienation," from נוּא (הניא), to hinder, restrain, turn aside, abalienare, Numbers 32:7; and according to the Arab. na'a (to rise heavily),

(Note: Nevertheless Zamachschari does not derive Arab. nâwâ, to treat with enmity, from Arab. n', but from nwy, so that nâwa fulânan signifies "to have evil designs against any one, to meditate evil against one." The phrases iluh ‛alêji nijât, he has evil intentions (wicked designs) against me, nı̂jetuh zerı̂je aleik, he has evil intentions against thee, and similar, are very common. - Wetzst.)


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