Job 33:29
See, all these things works 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. 23 If there is an angel as mediator for him,

One of a thousand,

To declare to man what is for his profit:

24 He is gracious to him, and saith:

Deliver him, that he go not down to the pit -

I have found a ransom.

The former case, Job 33:15, was the easier; there a strengthening of the testimony of man's conscience by a divine warning, given under remarkable circumstances, suffices. This second case, which the lxx correctly distinguishes from the former (it translates Job 33:19, πάλιν δὲ ἤλεγξεν αὐτὸν ἐν μαλακίᾳ ἐπὶ κοίτης), is the more difficult: it treats not merely of a warning against sin and its wages of death, but of a deliverance from the death itself, to which the man is almost abandoned in consequence of sin. This deliverance, as Elihu says, requires a mediator. This course of thought does not admit of our understanding the מלאך of a human messenger of God, such as Job has before him in Elihu (Schult., Schnurr., Boullier, Eichh., Rosenm., Welte), an "interpreter of the divine will, such as one finds one man among a thousand to be, a God-commissioned speaker, in one word: a prophet" (von Hofmann in Schriftbew. i. 335f.). The מלך appears not merely as a declarer of the conditions of the deliverance, but as a mediator of this deliverance itself. And if the ממתים, Job 33:22, are angels by whom the man is threatened with the execution of death, the מלאך who comes forward here for him who is upon the brink of the abyss cannot be a man. We must therefore understand מלאך not as in Job 1:14, but as in Job 4:18; and the more surely so, since we are within the extra-Israelitish circle of a patriarchal history. In the extra-Israelitish world a far more developed doctrine of angels and demons is everywhere found than in Israel, which is to be understood not only subjectively, but also objectively; and within the patriarchal history after Genesis 16, that (אלהים) מלאך יהוה appears, who is instrumental in effecting the progress of the history of redemption, and has so much the appearance of the God of revelation, that He even calls himself God, and is called God. He it is whom Jacob means, when (Genesis 48:15.), blessing Joseph, he distinguishes God the Invisible, God the Shepherd, i.e., Leader and Ruler, and "the Angel who delivered (הגּאל) me from all evil;" it is the Angel who, according to Psalm 34:8, encampeth round about them that fear God, and delivereth them; "the Angel of the presence" whom Isaiah in the Thephilla, ch. lxiii. 7ff., places beside Jehovah and His Holy Spirit as a third hypostasis. Taking up this perception, Elihu demands for the deliverance of man from the death which he has incurred by his sins, a superhuman angelic mediator. The "Angel of Jehovah" of primeval history is the oldest prefigurement in the history of redemption of the future incarnation, without which the Old Testament history would be a confused quodlibet of premises and radii, without a conclusion and a centre; and the angelic form is accordingly the oldest form which gives the hope of a deliverer, and to which it recurs, in conformity to the law of the circular connection between the beginning and end, in Malachi 3:1.

The strophe begins without any indication of connection with the preceding: one would expect ואם or אז אם, as we felt the absence of אך fo e in Job 33:14, and לכן in Job 32:17. We might take מלאך מליץ together as substantive and epitheton; the accentuation, however, which marks both מלאך and מליץ with Rebia magnum (in which case, according to Br's Psalterium, p. xiv., the second distinctive has somewhat less value than the first), takes מלאך as subj., and מליץ as predicate: If there is then for him (עליו, pro eo, Ew. 217, 9) an angel as מליץ, i.e., mediator; for מליץ signifies elsewhere an interpreter, Genesis 42:23; a negotiator, 2 Chronicles 32:31; a God-commissioned speaker, i.e., prophet, Isaiah 43:27; - everywhere (if it is not used as in Job 16:20, in malam parte) the shades of the notion of this word are summarized under the general notion of internuncius, and therefore of mediator (as the Jewish name of the mediating angel מטטרון, probably equivalent to mediator, not μετάθρονος, which is no usable Greek word). The Targ. translates by פרקליטא, παράκλητος (opp. קטיגור, κατήγορος, κατήγωρ). Therefore: if an angel undertakes the mediatorial office for the man, and indeed one of a thousand, i.e., not any one whatever of the thousands of the angels (Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:18; Daniel 7:10, comp. Tobit 12:15, εἶς ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ), but one who soars above the thousands, and has not his equal among them (as Ecclesiastes 7:28). Hirz. and Hahn altogether falsely combine: one of the thousands, whose business it is to announce ... . The accentuation is correct, and that forced mode of connection is without reason or occasion. It is the function of the מלאך itself as מליץ, which the clause which expresses the purpose affirms: if an angel appears for the good of the man as a mediator, to declare to him ישׁרו, his uprightness, i.e., the right, straight way (comp. Proverbs 14:2), in one word: the way of salvation, which he has to take to get free of sin and death, viz., the way of repentance and of faith (trust in God): God takes pity on the man ... . Here the conclusion begins; Rosenm. and others erroneously continue the antecedent here, so that what follows is the intercession of the angel; the angel, however, is just as a mediator who brings about the favour of God, and therefore not the חנן himself. He renders pardon possible, and brings the man into the state for receiving it.

Therefore: then God pardons, and says to His angel: Deliver him from the descent to the pit, I have found a ransom. Instead of פּדעהוּ, it would be admissible to read פּרעהוּ, let him free (from פרע, Arab. frg), if the angel to whom the command is given were the angel of death. פּדע is a cognate form, perhaps dialectic, with hdfp@f, root פד (as יפע, יפה, Arab. wf‛, wfy, from the common root יף, וף).

(Note: Wetzstein is inclined to regard פדע as a metathesis of דפע, Arab. df‛: thrust (tear, hold) him back from the gave. A proper name, fed‛ân, which often occurs among the Beduins, is of uncertain signification; perhaps it would serve as an explanation of פדעהו.)

The verb מצא (מטא) signifies to come at, Job 11:7, to attain something, and has its first signification here, starting from which it signifies the finding on the part of the seeker, and then when weakened finding without seeking. One is here reminded of Hebrews 9:12, αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος. כּפר (on this word, vid., Hebrerbrief, S. 385, 740), according to its primary notion, is not a covering equals making good, more readily a covering equals cancelling (from כּפר, Talmud. to wipe out, away), but, as the usual combination with על shows, a covering of sin and guilt before wrath, punishment, or execution on account of guilt, and in this sense λύτρον, a means of getting free, ransom-money. The connection is satisfied if the repentance of the chastened one (thus e.g., also von Hofm.) is understood by this ransom, or better, his affliction, inasmuch as it has brought him to repentance. But wherefore should the mediatorship of the angel be excluded from the notion of the כּפר. Just this mediatorship is meant, inasmuch as it puts to right him who by his sins had worked death, i.e., places him in a condition in which no further hindrance stands in the way of the divine pardon. If we connect the mediating angel, like the angel of Jehovah of the primeval history, with God Himself, as then the logos of this mediating angel to man can be God's own logos communicated by him, and he therefore as מליץ, God's speaker (if we consider Elihu's disclosure in the light of the New Testament), can be the divine Logos himself, we shall here readily recognise a presage of the mystery which is unveiled in the New Testament: "God was in Christ, and reconciled the world unto Himself." A presage of this mystery, flashing through the darkness, we have already read in Job 17:3 (comp. Job 16:21; and, on the other hand, in order to see how this anticipation is kindled by the thought of the opposite, Job 9:33). The presage which meets us here is like another in Psalm 107 - a psalm which has many points of coincidence with the book of Job - where in Job 33:20 we find, "He sent His word, and healed them."

(Note: In his introduction, p. 76, Schlottmann says: "The conceptions of Wisdom and of the Revealing Angel were already united in that of the Eternal Word in the ante-Christian, Jewish theology. Therein the fact of the divine revelation in Christ found the forms in which it could accommodate itself to the understanding, and stimulate succeeding ages to further thought and penetration." Thus it is: between the Chokma of the canonical books and the post-biblical development of the philosophy of religion (dogmatism) which culminates in Philo, there is an historical connection, and, indeed, one that has to do with the development of redemption. Vid., Luth. Zeitschrift, 1863, S. 219ff.)

At any rate, Elihu expresses it as a postulate, that the deliverance of man can only be effected by a superhuman being, as it is in reality accomplished by the man who is at the same time God, and from all eternity the Lord of the angels of light.

The following strophe (Job 33:25) now describes the results of the favour wrought out for man by the מלאך מליץ.

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