Job 33:15
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, in slumberings on the bed;
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Job 33:15. In a dream, in a vision, or, in a vision of the night — This he mentions as one usual way of God’s revealing his mind and will to men in those days, before God’s word was committed to writing; (Genesis 20:6; Genesis 41:1; Genesis 41:28;) when deep sleep falleth upon men — When men’s outward senses are bound up, and their minds are free from all distracting cares and business of the world, and wholly at leisure to receive divine impressions; in slumberings upon the bed — This is added because, in this case, man is like one that slumbereth, or is between sleeping and waking, or uncertain in which state he is, as Paul, when he was in his ecstasy, could not tell whether he was in the body or out of the body.33:14-18 God speaks to us by conscience, by providences, and by ministers; of all these Elihu discourses. There was not then, that we know of, any Divine revelation in writing, though now it is our principal guide. When God designs men's good, by the convictions and dictates of their own consciences, he opens the heart, as Lydia's, and opens the ears, so that conviction finds or forces its way in. The end and design of these admonitions are to keep men from sin, particularly the sin of pride. While sinners are pursuing evil purposes, and indulging their pride, their souls are hastening to destruction. That which turns men from sin, saves them from hell. What a mercy it is to be under the restraints of an awakened conscience!In a dream - This was one of the methods by which the will of God was made known in the early periods of the world; see the notes at Job 4:12-17. And for a fuller account of this method of communicating the divine will, see the introduction to Isaiah, Section 7 (2).

In a vision of the night - Notes, Job 4:13; compare the introduction to Isaiah, Section 7 (4).

When deep sleep falleth upon men - This may be designed to intimate more distinctly that it was from God. It was not the effect of disturbed and broken rest; not such fancies as come into the mind between sleeping and waking, but the visitations of the divine Spirit in the profoundest repose of the night. The word rendered "deep sleep" (תרדמה tardêmâh) is one that denotes the most profound repose. It is not merely sleep, but it is sleep of the soundest kind - that kind when we do not usually dream; see the notes at Job 4:13. The Chaldee has here rendered it correctly, עמקתא שינתא - sleep that is deep. The Septuagint renders it, δεινὸς φόβος deinos phobos - dread horror. The Syriac renders this verse, "Not by the lips does he teach; by dreams and visions of the night," etc.

In slumberings upon the bed - The word rendered "slumberings" (בתנומה bitenûmâh) means a light sleep, as contradistinguished from very profound repose. Our word slumber conveys the exact idea. The meaning of the whole is, that God speaks to people when their senses are locked in repose - alike in the profound sleep when they do not ordinarily dream, and in the gentle and light slumbers when the sleep is easily broken. In what way, however, they were to distinguish such communications from ordinary dreams, we have no information. It is scarcely necessary to remark that what is here and elsewhere said in the Scriptures about dreams, is no warrant for putting any confidence in them now as if they were revelations from heaven.

15. slumberings—light is opposed to "deep sleep." Elihu has in view Eliphaz (Job 4:13), and also Job himself (Job 7:14). "Dreams" in sleep, and "visions" of actual apparitions, were among the ways whereby God then spake to man (Ge 20:3). In a dream: this he mentions, as the usual way of God’s revealing his mind and will to men in those days, before God’s word was committed to writing, as Genesis 20:6 41:1,28.

In a vision of the night: this is added by way of explication and limitation, to show that he speaks not of every dream, but of those Divine dreams in which God was pleased to vouchsafe some vision or representation of his will to the mind of a man.

When deep sleep falleth upon men; when men’s senses are bound up, and their minds free from all distracting cares and business of the world, and wholly at leisure to receive Divine impressions.

In slumberings: this is added, because in this case the man is like one that slumbereth, or between sleeping and waking, or uncertain in which state he is, as Paul could not tell whether he was in the body, or out of the body, when he was in his ecstasy, 2 Corinthians 12:1,2. In a dream, in a vision of the night,.... That is, God speaks to men in this way, and which in those times was his most usual way; see Job 4:12; sometimes he spake to a prophet, a person in public office, and made known his mind and will in this manner to him, that he might deliver it to others, Numbers 12:6; and sometimes directly and immediately to persons themselves, as he did to Abimelech and Laban, Genesis 20:3;

when deep sleep lieth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; the former denotes a fast, heavy, and sound sleep, when the senses are all locked up, and there is not the least attention to any outward object; the latter a slight sleep, when a man is between sleeping and waking; and now at such a time, when he was laid on his bed in the night season, it was usual for God to come to him in a visionary way, and impress things on his mind; when it was called off front worldly and earthly thoughts and cares, and was calm and serene, and so fit to receive what intimations and instructions might be given this way; see Psalm 4:4. Job had his dreams and night visions, though he seems not to have had any benefit by them, or to have understood them, but was scared and terrified with them, Job 7:14; to which Elihu may have some respect.

In a dream, in a {g} vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

(g) God, he says, speaks commonly, either by visions to teach us the cause of his judgments, of else by affliction or by his messenger.

15. The language recalls the vision of Eliphaz, ch. Job 4:13 seq.Verse 15. - In a dream, in a vision of the sight. So God spoke to Abimelech (Genesis 20:3-7), to Jacob (Genesis 31:11), to Laban (Genesis 31:24), to Joseph (Genesis 38:5, 9), to the Pharaoh whom Joseph served (Genesis 41:1-7), to Solomon (1 Kings 3:5), to Daniel (Daniel 2:19), to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:28; Daniel 4:5-18), and to many others. Sometimes men recognized such visions as Divine communications; but sometimes, probably quite as often, they regarded them as mere dreams, fancies, phantasies, unworthy of any attention. Elihu seems to hold that Divine visions came only when deep sleep falleth upon men; and similarly Eliphaz, in Job 4:13. This method of revelation seems to belong especially to the more primitive times, and the earlier stages of God's dealings with men. In the New Testament dreams scarcely form any part of the economy of grace. In slumberings upon the bed. A pleonastic addition, which must not be regarded as diminishing from the force of the precedent clause. 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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