Job 33:29
Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
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Job 33:29-30. All these things worketh God — All these ways and methods does God take to awaken, convince, and save sinners; oftentimes with man — One way with one man, and another with another; or, using these several methods with the same man, trying by various means, one after another, to lead him to repentance, and prepare him for deliverance. To bring back his soul from the pit — That he may save men from being for ever miserable, and make them for ever happy. “Lord, what is man, that thou shouldest thus visit him? This should engage us to comply with God’s designs, to work with him for our own good, and not to counterwork him. And this will render those that perish inexcusable, that so much was done to save them and they would not be healed.” So Mr. Henry. Excellent words! But utterly irreconcileable with the doctrine of absolute, unconditional predestination.

33:29-33 Elihu shows that God's great and gracious design toward the children of men, is, to save them from being for ever miserable, and to bring them to be for ever happy. By whatever means we are kept back from the we shall bless the Lord for them at least, and should bless him for them though they be painful and distressing. Those that perish for ever are without excuse, for they would not be healed.Lo, all these things worketh God - That is, he takes all these methods to warn people, and to reclaim them from their evil ways.

Oftentimes - Hebrew as in the margin, twice, thrice. This may be taken either as it is by our translators, to denote an indefinite number, meaning that God takes frequent occasion to warn people, and repeats the admonition when they disregard it, or more probably Elihu refers here to the particular methods which he had specified, and which were three in number. First, warnings in the visions of the night, Job 33:14-17. Second, afflictions, Job 33:19-22. Third, the messenger which God sent to make the sufferer acquainted with the design of the affliction, and to assure him that he might return to God, Job 33:23-26. So the Septuagint understands it, which rendered it, ὁδοὺς τρεῖς hodous treis - three ways, referring to the three methods which Elihu had specified.

29. Margin, "twice and thrice," alluding to Job 33:14; once, by visions, Job 33:15-17; secondly, by afflictions, Job 33:19-22; now, by the "messenger," thirdly, Job 33:23. All these ways and methods doth God use to awaken, and convince, and save sinners.

Oftentimes with man; either severally, one way with one, and another way with another; or with the same man, trying several means one after another to bring him to repentance, and prepare him for deliverance.

Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man. This is a summary or recapitulation of what goes before, from Job 33:15; God is an operating Being, he is always at work in a providential way: "my father worketh hitherto", John 5:17; sometimes on the minds of men in dreams and visions; and sometimes by affliction; and sometimes by his prophets, messengers and ministers of the word; he works with and by these, and all according to the internal workings and actings of his mind, his eternal purposes and decrees, which are hereby brought about: and these he works "oftentimes", or, as in the original, "twice" (w); therefore when once is not sufficient, he repeats it in dreams and visions; when men are not admonished by one, he comes to them in another: and afflictions, when one does not bring men to repentance, or answer a good purpose, he sends another; and continues the ministry of the word, in which he waits to be gracious, till all his people are brought to repentance, and all his ends answered by it: and all this he works "with man", his darling object, the special care of his providence; and for whom his great concern is in redemption and salvation. He works with men distributively considered, with various men, in the several ways before expressed; and with men personally and individually; to one and the same man he has often appeared in dreams and visions, and on the same person has laid his afflicting hand again and again; and to the same individual has given line upon line, and precept upon precept. And because this is certain and to be depended upon as truth, and is worthy of notice and consideration, as well as is very wonderful and astonishing, that God should thus be mindful of man, and work with him and for him, "lo", or "behold", is prefixed unto it: the ends for which all this is done follow.

(w) "bis aut ter", Tigurine version; "bis et ter", Beza; "bis, ter", Mercerus, Cocceius.

Lo, all these things worketh God {x} oftentimes with man,

(x) Meaning, as often as a sinner repents.

29, 30. Elihu sums up his doctrine regarding the gracious purpose and effect of God’s methods of speaking unto man.

Verse 29. - Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes (literally, twice and thrice) with man. Elihu, from this point to the end of the chapter, speaks in his own person. God, he says, thus works with man, through visions or through chastisements oftentimes - not in the latter case, taking vengeance on them for their sins, but graciously leading them on to a better mind and a higher spiritual condition. This is part of God's ordinary moral government, and Job has no need to suppose himself exceptionally dealt with. Elihu has reason on his side in all this, and his words may have given Job some comfort. But they did not exactly fit Job's ease. Elihu, unless supernaturally enlightened, could not possibly penetrate into the special circumstances of Job's trial. He could only try to bring his case under general laws, of which it was not an illustration; and so, though well-meant and probably of some service, his argument was no complete answer to Job's difficulties. Job 33:2929 Behold, God doeth all

Twice, thrice with man,

30 To bring back his soul from the pit,

That it may become light in the light of life.

31 Listen, O Job, hearken to me;

Be silent and let me speak on.

32 Yet if thou hast words, answer me;

Speak, for I desire thy justification.

33 If not, hearken thou to me;

Be silent and I will teach thee wisdom.

After having described two prominent modes of divine interposition for the moral restoration and welfare of man, he adds, Job 33:29, that God undertakes (observe the want of parallelism in the distich, Job 33:29) everything with a man twice or thrice (asyndeton, as e.g., Isaiah 17:6, in the sense of bis terve) in order to bring back his soul from the pit (שׁחת, here for the fifth time in this speech, without being anywhere interchanged with שׁאול or another synonym, which is remarkable), that it, having hitherto been encompassed by the darkness of death, may be, or become, light (לאור, inf. Niph., syncopated from להאור, Ew. 244, b) in the light of life (as it were bask in the new and restored light of life) - it does not always happen, for these are experiences of no ordinary kind, which interrupt the daily course of life; and it is not even repeated again and again constantly, for if it is without effect the first time, it is repeated a second or third time, but it has an end if the man trifles constantly with the disciplinary work of grace which designs his good. Finally, Elihu calls upon Job quietly to ponder this, that he may proceed; nevertheless, if he has words, i.e., if he thinks he is able to advance any appropriate objections, he is continually to answer him (השׁיב with acc. of the person, as Job 33:5), for he (Elihu) would willingly justify him, i.e., he would gladly be in the position to be able to acknowledge Job to be right, and to have the accusation dispensed with. Hirz. and others render falsely: I wish thy justification, i.e., thou shouldst justify thyself; in this case נפשׁך ought to be supplied, which is unnecessary: חפץ, without a change of subject, has the inf. constr. here without ל, as it has the inf. absol. in Job 13:3, and צדּק signifies to vindicate (as Job 32:2), or acknowledge to be in the right (as the Piel of צדק, Job 33:12), both of which are blended here. The lxx, which translates θέλω γὰρ δικαιωθῆναί σε, has probably read צדקך (Psalm 35:27). If it is not so (אם־אין as Genesis 30:1), viz., that he does not intend to defend himself with reference to his expostulation with God on account of the affliction decreed for him, he shall on his part (אתּה) listen, shall be silent and be further taught wisdom.

Quasi hac ratione Heliu sanctum Iob convicerit! exclaims Beda, after a complete exposition of this speech. He regards Elihu as the type of the false wisdom of the heathen, which fails to recognise and persecutes the servant of God: Sunt alii extra ecclesiam, qui Christo ejusque ecclesiae similiter adversantur, quorum imaginem praetulit Balaam ille ariolus, qui et Elieu sicut patrum traditio habet (Balaam and Elihu, one person - a worthless conceit repeated in the Talmud and Midrash), qui contra ipsum sanctum Iob multa improbe et injuriose locutus est, in tantum ut etiam displiceret in una ejus et indisciplinata loquacitas.

(Note: Bedae Opp. ed. Basil. iii. col. 602f. 786. The commentary also bears the false name of Jerome Hieronymus, and as a writing attributed to him is contained in tom. v. Opp. ed. Vallarsi.)

Gregory the Great, in his Moralia, expresses himself no less unfavourably at the conclusion of this speech:


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