Job 33:20
So that his life abhors bread, and his soul dainty meat.
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33:19-28 Job complained of his diseases, and judged by them that God was angry with him; his friends did so too: but Elihu shows that God often afflicts the body for good to the soul. This thought will be of great use for our getting good from sickness, in and by which God speaks to men. Pain is the fruit of sin; yet, by the grace of God, the pain of the body is often made a means of good to the soul. When afflictions have done their work, they shall be removed. A ransom or propitiation is found. Jesus Christ is the Messenger and the Ransom, so Elihu calls him, as Job had called him his Redeemer, for he is both the Purchaser and the Price, the Priest and the sacrifice. So high was the value of souls, that nothing less would redeem them; and so great the hurt done by sin, that nothing less would atone for it, than the blood of the Son of God, who gave his life a ransom for many. A blessed change follows. Recovery from sickness is a mercy indeed, when it proceeds from the remission of sin. All that truly repent of their sins, shall find mercy with God. The works of darkness are unfruitful works; all the gains of sin will come far short of the damage. We must, with a broken and contrite heart, confess our sins to God, 1Jo 1:9. We must confess the fact of sin; and not try to justify or excuse ourselves. We must confess the fault of sin; I have perverted that which was right. We must confess the folly of sin; So foolish have I been and ignorant. Is there not good reason why we should make such a confession?So that his life abhorreth bread - It is a common effect of sickness to take away the appetite. Elihu here regards it as a part of the wholesome discipline of the sufferer. He has no relish for the comforts of life.

And his soul dainty meat - Margin, "meat of desire." The Hebrew is, "food of desire." The word rendered "meat" (מאכל ma'ăkâl) does not denote animal food only, but any kind of food. So the Old English word meat was used. The idea is, that the sick man loathes the most delicate food. It is a part of his discipline that the pleasure which he had in the days of his health is now taken away.

20. life—that is, the appetite, which ordinarily sustains "life" (Job 38:39; Ps 107:18; Ec 12:5). The taking away of desire for food by sickness symbolizes the removal by affliction of lust, for things which foster the spiritual fever of pride.


His life, i.e. his soul, as the next clause explains it; or his appetite, which is a sign and an act of life.

Bread, i.e. common and necessary food.

Dainty meat; such as others do, and he formerly did, much desire and prize. So that his life abhorreth bread,.... Through the force of pain he loses his appetite for food, and even a nausea of it takes place; he loathes it as the most abominable and filthy thing that can be thought of; even bread, so necessary to the support of human life, so strengthening to the heart of man, and what he every day stands in need of, and should pray for, and in health is never weary of; it may be put for all common and useful food:

and his soul dainty meat; the most rich and delicious; such as the tables of the great and rich are furnished with: "food of desire" (p); or desirable food, as it may be rendered; see Daniel 10:3; such as in the time of health the appetite craves and desires, and is fed on with delight and pleasure, but now had in the utmost aversion. Pains and diseases of body often produce such a nausea in men, Psalm 107:17, and was Job's case, Job 3:24.

(p) "cibum desiderii", Vatablus, Drusius, Michaelis; "cibum appetentiae", Mercerus.

So that his {k} life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.

(k) That is, his painful and miserable life.

20. his life] Or, desire (appetite, ch. Job 38:39). The words mean lit. his desire maketh him abhor.Verse 20 - Be that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. Eating and drinking are detestable to the man who is stretched on a bed of sickness (comp. Psalm 107:18, "Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death"). The chains that bind to earth fall off, and the soul is left open to loftier influences. 13 Why hast thou contended against Him,

That He answereth not concerning all His doings?

14 Yet no-in one way God speaketh,

And in two, only one perceiveth it not.

15 In the dream, in a vision of the night,

When deep sleep falleth upon men,

In slumberings upon the bed:

16 Then He openeth the ear of men,

And sealeth admonition for them,

17 That He may withdraw man from mischief,

And hide pride from man;

18 That He may keep back his soul from the pit,

And his life from the overthrow of the sword.

Knowing himself to be righteous, and still considering himself treated as an enemy by God, Job has frequently inquired of God, Why then does He treat him thus with enmity, Job 7:20, and why has He brought him into being to be the mark of His attack? Job 10:18. He has longed for God's answer to these questions; and because God has veiled Himself in silence, he has fallen into complain against Him, as a ruler who governs according to His own sovereign arbitrary will. This is what Elihu has before his mind in Job 33:13. ריב (elsewhere in the book of Job with עם or the acc. of the person with whom one contends) is here, as Jeremiah 12:1 and freq., joined with אל and conjugated as a contracted Hiph. (ריבות instead of רבתּ, Ges. 73, 1); and ענה with the acc. signifies here: to answer anything (comp. Job 32:12; Job 40:2, and especially Job 9:3); the suff. does not refer back to אנושׁ of the preceding strophe (Hirz., Hahn), but to God. דּבריו are the things, i.e., facts and circumstances of His rule; all those things which are mysterious in it He answers not, i.e., He answers concerning nothing in this respect (comp. כל לא, Job 34:27), He gives no kind of account of them (Schnurr., Ges., and others). כּי, Job 33:14, in the sense of imo, is attached to this negative thought, which has become a ground of contention for Job: yet no, God does really speak with men, although not as Job desires when challenged and in His own defence. Many expositors take באחת and בּשׁתּים after lxx, Syr., and Jer., in the signification semel, secundo (thus also Hahn, Schlottm.); but semel is אחת, whereas באחת is nowhere equivalent to בפעם אחת, for in Numbers 10:4 it signifies with one, viz., trumpet; Proverbs 28:18, on one, viz., of the many ways; Jeremiah 10:8, in one, i.e., in like folly (not: altogether, at once, which כּאחד, Syr. bachdo, signifies); then further on it is not twice, but two different modes or means of divine attestation, viz., dreams and sicknesses, that are spoken of; wherefore it is rightly translated by the Targ. una loquela, by Pagn. uno modo, by Vatabl., Merc., una via. The form of the declaration: by one - by two, is that of the so-called number-proverbs, like Job 5:19. In diverse ways or by different means God speaks to mortal man - he does not believe it, it is his own fault if he does perceive it. לא ישׁוּרנּה, which is correctly denoted as a separate clause by Rebia mugrasch, is neither with Schlottm. to be regarded as a circumstantial clause (without one's ... ), nor with Vatablus and Hahn as a conditional clause (if one does not attend to it), nor with Montanus and Piscator as a relative clause (to him who does not observe it), but with Tremellius as a co-ordinate second predicative clause without a particle (one might expect אך): he (mortal man) or one observes it not (שׁוּר with neut. suff. exactly like Job 35:13).

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