Job 33:27
He looks on men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
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(27) He looketh upon men, and if any say.—Rather, He looketh upon men, and saith, I have sinned, &c.: that is the confession of the restored sinner. Some render it, He shall sing before men, but hardly so probably or appropriately.

Job 33:27-28. He looketh upon men — God diligently observes all mankind, and the conduct of every one, especially of every one in sickness and distress. If any say, I have sinned — If any one sincerely, humbly, and penitently confess and forsake his sins: I have perverted that which was right — I have judged perversely of the just and righteous ways of God, censuring his proceedings against me, as too rigorous and severe; whereas, in truth, I only was to be blamed; or I have swerved from the right and good way of God’s commands, and have made to myself crooked paths; and it profited me not — I got no good by so doing, as I vainly supposed I should, but got much hurt by it, and that both in body and mind, which was the just fruit of my sins. He will deliver his soul from going into the pit — The pit of hell: iniquity shall not be his everlasting ruin; and his life shall see the light — The light of this world, the light of the living, Job 33:30. His life, which was endangered, shall be restored and continued: yea, further, his life, his ever living and immortal soul, shall see and enjoy light, all good in the vision and fruition of God for ever. 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?He looketh upon men - Margin, "or, he shall look upon men, and say, I have sinned." Umbreit renders this, Nun singt er jubelnd zu den Menschen - "now he sings joyfully among men." So Noyes, "He shall sing among men, and say." Prof. Lee "He shall fully consider or pronounce right to men, so that one shall say, I have sinned." Coverdale, "Such a respect hath he unto men. Therefore let a man confess and say, I have offended." The Septuagint renders it, Εἷτα τὸτε άπιμέμψεται ἄνθρωπος άυτος ἑαυτῳ Eita tote apomempsetai anthrōpos autos heautō, "then shall a man blame himself," etc. These various renderings arise from the difference of signification attached to the Hebrew word ישׁר yāshor. According to our interpretation, it is derived from שׁיר shı̂yr, "to sing," and then the meaning would be, "he sings before men," and thus the reference would be to the sufferer, meaning that he would have occasion to rejoice among men. See Gesenius on the word. According to the other view, the word is derived from שׁור shûr, "to look round"; "to care for, or regard"; and according to this, the reference is to God, meaning that he carefully and attentively observes people in such circumstances, and, if he sees evidence that there is true penitence, he has compassion and saves. This idea certainly accords better with the scope of the passage than the former, and it seems to me is to be regarded as correct.

And if any say, I have sinned - Hebrew "And says," that is, if the sufferer, under the pressure of his afflictions, is willing to confess his faults, then God is ready to show him mercy. This accords with what Elihu purposed to state of the design of afflictions, that they were intended to bring people to reflection, and to be a means of wholesome discipline. There is no doubt that he meant that all this should be understood by Job as applicable to himself, for he manifestly means to be understood as saying that he had not seen in him the evidence of a penitent mind, such as he supposed afflictions were designed to produce.

And perverted that which was right - That is, in regard to operations and views of the divine government. He had held error, or had cherished wrong apprehensions of the divine character. Or it may mean, that he had dealt unjustly with people in his contact with them.

And it profited me not - The word used here (שׁוה shâvâh) means properly to be even or level; then to be equal, or of like value; and here may mean, that he now saw that it was no advantage to him to have done wickedly, since it brought upon him such a punishment, or the benefit which he received from his life of wickedness was no equivalent for the pain which he had been called to suffer in consequence of it. This is the common interpretation. Rosenmuller, however, suggests another, which is, that he designs by this language to express his sense of the divine mercy, and that it means "my afflictions are in no sense equal to my deserts. I have not been punished as I might justly have been, for God has interposed to spare me." It seems to me, however, that the former interpretation accords best with the meaning of the words and the scope of the passage. It would then be the reflection of a man on the bed of suffering, that the course of life which brought him there had been attended with no advantage, but had been the means of plunging him into deserved sorrows. from which he could be rescued only by the grace of God.

27. he looketh—God. Rather, with Umbreit, "Now he (the restored penitent) singeth joyfully (answering to "joy," Job 33:26; Ps 51:12) before men, and saith," &c. (Pr 25:20; Ps 66:16; 116:14).

perverted—made the straight crooked: as Job had misrepresented God's character.

profited—literally, "was made even" to me; rather, "My punishment was not commensurate with my sin" (so Zophar, Job 11:6); the reverse of what Job heretofore said (Job 16:17; Ps 103:10; Ezr 9:13).

He looketh upon men; either,

1. The sick man shall look upon and converse with mankind, his friends, or others, as he did before, and shall say, (as the following word is and may be rendered,)

I have sinned, & c., i.e. he shall confess to them that God was not to be blamed, but that he, by his own sin and folly, did bring that evil upon himself. And then he shall acknowledge God’s great goodness to him, and shall add what follows in the next verse, He hath delivered my soul, &c., and my life, &c., as they render it. Or rather,

2. God diligently observes all mankind, and their several carriages, especially in sickness and distress.

If any say, I have sinned; if there be any man that sincerely saith thus, God hears it, and will pardon and heal him, as it follows.

Perverted that which was right; either,

1. I have judged perversely of the just and right ways of God, censuring his proceedings against me as too severe and rigorous, whereas in truth I only was to be blamed. Or,

2. I have perverted God’s righteous law by bending it, and making it comply with my crooked ways; or, I have swerved from the right and good way of God’s commands; or, I have made crooked paths. So he repeats in other words what he said in the former branch of the verse, I have sinned. It profited me not; I got no good by so doing, as I vainly promised myself; but I got much hurt by it, even diseases, and griefs, and extreme dangers. This was the just fruit of my sins. It is a meiosis, whereby less is said, and more is understood, of which we have seen many examples before. He looketh upon men,.... According to our version, and other interpreters, the sense is, God looks upon men as he does on all men in general, their ways and their works; and particularly he takes notice of men under affliction, and observes how they behave; if they are penitent and confess their sins, he restores them to health, and does them good both in body and soul. But most carry the sense another way, and interpret it of the sick man recovered, who looks upon his friends and relations about him, and any others that come within his reach; of he goes about them, as Aben Ezra explains the word; or will accompany with men, as Mr. Broughton; or sets them in rows, as Gersom, in order, as at a levee, that he may the better address them; or he shall direct himself to them, as the Targum; or shall sing over them or before them, so Schultens (t); in a joyful manner, in an exulting strain, express himself, as follows; for the phrase,

and if any say (u), should be rendered, "and he shall say"; make the following confession of his acknowledgment of the goodness of God unto him;

I have sinned; against God and man, and that has been the cause of all my afflictions; I am now sensible of it, and ingenuously own it:

and perverted that which was right: have not done that which is right in the sight of God, nor what is just and right between man and man; have perverted the right ways of God, swerved from his commandments, and gone into crooked paths, with the workers of iniquity; and declined from, or perverted, justice and judgment among men;

and it profiteth me not; as sin does not in the issue; though it promises profit and advantage, it does not yield it; but, on the contrary, much harm and mischief come by it.

(t) "cantabit super vel coram", Schultens. (u) "et dicat", V. L. Beza, Montanus, Mercerus, Michaelis, Schultens.

He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and {s} perverted that which was right, and it profited {t} me not;

(s) That is, done wickedly.

(t) But my sins have been the cause of God's wrath toward me.

27, 28. The restored sinner’s thankfulness:

27.  He singeth before men and saith,

I sinned and perverted that which was right,

And it was not requited unto me;

28.  He hath redeemed my soul from going into the pit,

And my life shall see the light.

On account of the construction the sense “singeth” is more probable than looketh upon of A. V., though the form of the word is unusual.Verse 27. - He looketh upon men; rather, he (i.e. the restored penitent) singeth before men. He is jubilant, and confesses his former offences with a light heart, feeling that now he is pardoned and restored to God's favour. And if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right. This is altogether a mistranslation. The construction of the Hebrew is simple enough, and runs thus: And he (the penitent) saith, I have sinned and perverted that which was right. And it profited me not; i.e. "I gained nothing by my transgressions - they brought me us advantage." Compare St. Paul's inquiry (Romans 6:21), "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?" Some, however, translate, "And it was not requited to me," which also gives a good meaning° The contracted future form יכל, again, like ישׂם, Job 33:11, is poetic instead of the full form: his flesh vanishes מראי, from sight, i.s. so that it is seen no longer; or from comeliness, i.e., so that it becomes unsightly; the latter (comp. 1 Samuel 16:12 with Isaiah 53:2, ולא־מראה) might be preferred. In Job 33:21 the Keri corrects the text to ושׁפּוּ, et contrita sunt, whereas the Chethib is to be read וּשׁפי, et contritio. The verb שׁפה, which has been explained by Saadia from the Talmudic,

(Note: He refers to b. Aboda zara 42a: If a heathen have broken an idol to pieces (שׁפּה) to derive advantage from the pieces, both the (shattered) idol and the fragments (שׁפּוּיין) are permitted (since both are deprived of their heathenish character).)

signifies conterere, comminuere; Abulwald (in Ges. Thes.) interprets it here by suhifet wa-baradet, they are consumed and wasted away, and explains it by כּתּתוּ. The radical notion is that of scraping, scratching, rubbing away (not to be interchanged with Arab. sf', ספה, which, starting from the radical notion of sweeping away, vanishing, comes to have that of wasting away; cognate, however, with the above Arab. sḥf, whence suhâf, consumption, prop. a rasure of the plumpness of the body). According to the Keri, Job 33:21 runs: and his bones (limbs) are shattered (fallen away), they are not seen, i.e., in their wasting away and shrivelling up they have lost their former pleasing form. Others, taking the bones in their strict sense, and שׁפה in the signification to scrape away equals lay bare, take לא ראו as a relative clause, as Jer. has done: ossa quae tecta fuerant nudabuntur (rather nudata sunt), but this ought with a change of mood to be לא ראו...וישׁפּוּ. To the former interpretation corresponds the unexceptionable Chethib: and the falling away of his limbs are not seen, i.e., (per attractionem) his wasting limbs are diminished until they are become invisible. ראוּ is one of the four Old Testament words (Genesis 43:26; Ezra 8:18; Leviticus 23:17) which have a Dagesh in the Aleph; in all four the Aleph stands between two vowels, and the dageshing (probably the remains of a custom in the system of pointing which has become the prevailing one, which, with these few exceptions, has been suffered to fall away) is intended to indicate that the Aleph is here to be carefully pronounced as a guttural (to use an Arabic expression, as Hamza), therefore in this passage ru-'û.

(Note: Vid., Luzzatto's Grammatica della Lingua Ebraica (1853), 54. Ewald's (21) view, that in these instances the pointed Aleph is to be read as j (therefore ruju), is unfounded; moreover, the point over the Aleph is certainly only improperly called Dagesh, it might at least just as suitably be called Mappik.)

Thus, then, the soul (the bearer of the life of the body) of the sick man, at last succumbing to this process of decay, comes near to the pit, and his life to the ממתים, destroying angels (comp. Psalm 78:49; 2 Samuel 24:16), i.e., the angels who are commissioned by God to slay the man, if he does not anticipate the decree of death by penitence. To understand the powers of death in general, with Rosenm., or the pains of death, with Schlottm. and others, does not commend itself, because the Elihu section has a strong angelological colouring in common with the book of Job. The following strophe, indeed, in contrast to the ממיתים, speaks of an angel that effects deliverance from death.

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