Job 34:10
Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.
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(10) Ye men of understanding.—Elihu now appeals to the men of understanding, by whom he can hardly mean the three friends of whom he has already spoken disparagingly, but seems rather to appeal to an audience, real or imagined, who are to decide on the merits of what he says. This is an incidental indication that we are scarcely intended to understand the long-continued argument as the record of an actual discussion. Elihu begins to take broader ground than the friends of Job, inasmuch as he concerns himself, not with the problems of God’s government, but with the impossibility of His acting unjustly (Genesis 18:25), and the reason he gives is somewhat strange—it is the fact that God is irresponsible, He has not been put in charge over the earth; but His authority is ultimate and original, and being so, He can have no personal interests to secure at all risks; He can only have in view the ultimate good of all His creatures, for, on the other hand, if He really desired to slay them, their breath is in His hands, and He would only have to recall it. The earth and all that is in it belongs to God: it is His own, and not another’s entrusted to Him; His self-interest, therefore, cannot come into collision with the welfare of His creatures, because their welfare is the welfare of that which is His—of that, therefore, in which He Himself has the largest interest. The argument is a somewhat strange one to us, but it is sound at bottom, for it recognises God as the prime origin and final hope of all His creatures, and assumes that His will can only be good, and that it must be the best because it is His. (Comp. St. John 10:12-13.)

Job 34:10-12. Hearken to me, ye men of understanding — Ye who are present, and understand these things, do you judge between Job and me. Far be it from God that he should do wickedness — This I must lay down as a principle, that the righteous and holy God neither does nor can deal unjustly with Job, or with any man, as Job insinuates that God hath dealt with him. For the work of a man — That is, the reward of his work; shall he render unto him, &c. — Job’s afflictions, though great and distressing, are not undeserved, but justly inflicted upon him, both for the original corruption of his nature, and for many actual transgressions, which are known to God, though Job, through partiality, may not see them. And Job’s piety shall be recompensed, it may be, in this life, but undoubtedly in the next; and therefore piety is not unprofitable, as Job signifies. Neither will the Almighty pervert judgment — As Job hath erroneously affirmed.

34:10-15 Elihu had showed Job, that God meant him no hurt by afflicting him, but intended his spiritual benefit. Here he shows, that God did him no wrong by afflicting him. If the former did not satisfy him, this ought to silence him. God cannot do wickedness, nor the Almighty commit wrong. If services now go unrewarded, and sins now go unpunished, yet there is a day coming, when God will fully render to every man according to his works. Further, though the believer's final condemnation is done away through the Saviour's ransom, yet he has merited worse than any outward afflictions; so that no wrong is done to him, however he may be tried.Therefore hearken unto me - Elihu proceeds now to reply to what he regarded as the erroneous sentiments of Job, and to show the impropriety of language which reflected so much on God and his government. Instead, however, of meeting the facts in the case, and showing how the actual course of events could be reconciled with justice, he resolves it all into a matter of sovereignty, and maintains that it is wrong to doubt the rectitude of the dealings of one so mighty as God. In this he pursues the same course substantially which the friends of Job had done, and does little more to solve the real difficulties in the case than they had. The facts to which Job had referred are scarcely adverted to; the perplexing questions are still unsolved, and the amount of all that Elihu says is, that God is a sovereign, and that there must be an improper spirit when people presume to pronounce on his dealings.

Ye men of understanding - Margin, as in Hebrew men of "heart." The word heart is used here as it was uniformly among the Hebrews; the Jewish view of physiology being that the heart was the seat of all the mental operations. They never speak of the head as the seat of the intellect, as we do. The meaning here is, that Elihu regarded them as sages, qualified to comprehend and appreciate the truth on the subject under discussion.

Far be it from God - Hebrew חלילה châlı̂ylâh - "profane, unholy." It is an expression of abhorrence, as if the thing proposed were profane or unholy: 1 Samuel 20:2; Genesis 18:25; Joshua 24:16. The meaning here is, that the very idea that God would do wrong, or could patronize iniquity, was a profane conception, and was not to be tolerated for a moment. This is true enough, and in this general sentiment, no doubt, Job would himself have concurred.

10. The true answer to Job, which God follows up (Job 38:1-41). Man is to believe God's ways are right, because they are His, not because we fully see they are so (Ro 9:14; De 32:4; Ge 18:25). Ye men of understanding; you who are present, and understand these things, do you judge between Job and me.

Far be it from God that he should do wickedness: this I must lay down as a principle, that the righteous and holy God neither doth nor can deal unjustly with Job, or with any man, as Job insinuates that God had dealt with him.

Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding,.... The same persons he addresses as wise men and men of knowledge, Job 34:2; and here as men of understanding, or "heart" (z); the heart being the seat of wisdom and knowledge; and such Elihu desired to be his hearers, to attend to what he was about to say; which was to refute the words of Job, or his sense expressed in the preceding verses;

far be it from God that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity; do any injustice or injury to any person, there being no unrighteousness in him, nor in any of his ways and works; which Job tacitly seemed to charge God with, at least as Elihu understood him. But sin is contrary to his pure and holy nature; he cannot look upon it with pleasure, much less commit it; it is forbidden by his holy righteous law, and therefore would never he done by him the lawgiver; nor can anyone single instance be given of wickedness and unrighteousness committed by him in any of his works of nature, or providence, or grace. He is the author of the evil of afflictions, whether as punishments or fatherly corrections; and in neither case does he commit or do any injustice; not in punishing wicked men less than they deserve, as he does in this life; nor in correcting his own people, which is always for their good: but not of the evil of sin; this may be concluded from the titles here given, of "Almighty and All-sufficient"; for being so he can be under no temptation of doing an unjust thing; and which is expressed with the like abhorrence and indignation by Elihu as the same sentiment is by the Apostle Paul, Romans 9:14.

(z) "viri cordis", Pagninus, Montanus, Michaelis.

Therefore hearken unto me ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.
10–12. Elihu’s argument in these verses is the truest answer that can be given: injustice on the part of God is inconsistent with the idea of God. The three friends had urged the same plea. And Job would have accepted the argument had his friends or himself been able to take it up as a general principle and keep it clear from complications with the events of actual providence. When, however, they combined it with their other theory that good and evil befell men solely according to the principle of retribution, and that this latter principle was that according to which God’s actual providence was entirely administered, Job could not consent to their reasoning. And as he agreed with them that retributive righteousness was or ought to be the principle of God’s rule of the world, he was obliged, as he entirely failed to perceive such a principle adhered to, to charge God with injustice. It is not easy to see how Elihu differs from the friends in the position which he takes up here and in Job 34:20-33. He is concerned in the meantime, however, with a theoretical defence of God’s justice.

10–19. This charge of injustice Elihu rebuts, first, on the general ground of its impiety: God cannot be thought of as acting in the way Job asserted—He rewardeth every man according to his works (Job 34:10-12); and second, he then resolves the general idea into two distinct thoughts, Job 34:13-15, and Job 34:16-19.

Verse 10. - Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding (comp. ver. 2). Elihu repeats himself, wishing to call special attention to his justification of God (vers. 10-30). Far be it from God, that he should do wickedness. Elihu probably means that to do wickedness is contrary to the very nature and idea of God; but he does not express himself very clearly. And from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. An evil God, a God who can do wrong, is a contradiction in terms - an impossible, inconceivable idea. Devil-worshippers, if there are or ever have been such persons, do not conceive of the object of their worship as really God, but as a powerful malignant spirit. Once rise to the height of the conception of a Power absolutely supreme, omniscient, omnipresent, the Author of all things, and it is impossible to imagine him as less than perfectly good. Job 34:1010 Therefore, men of understanding, hearken to me!

Far be it from god to do evil,

And the Almighty to act wrongfully.

11 No indeed, man's work He recompenseth to him,

And according to man's walk He causeth it to be with him.

"Men of heart," according to Psychol. S. 249, comp. 254, is equivalent to noee'mones or noeeroi' (lxx συνετοὶ καρδίας). The clause which Elihu makes prominent in the following reply is the very axiom which the three defend, perfectly true in itself, but falsely applied by them: evil, wrong, are inconceivable on the part of God; instead of וּלשׁדּי it is only ושׁדּי in the second member of the verse, with the omission of the praep. - a frequent form of ellipsis, particularly in Isaiah (Isaiah 15:8; Isaiah 28:6; Isaiah 48:14; Isaiah 61:7, comp. Ezekiel 25:15). Far removed from acting wickedly and wrongfully, on the contrary He practises recompense exactly apportioned to man's deeds, and ever according to the walk of each one (ארח like דּרך or דּרכי, e.g., Jeremiah 32:19, in an ethical sense) He causes it to overtake him, i.e., to happen to him (המציא only here and Job 37:13). The general assertion brought forward against Job is now proved.

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