Who has given him a charge over the earth? or who has disposed the whole world?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Who hath disposed the whole world?—Or, Who hath set the whole world upon Him? i.e., entrusted it to His care; in the other sense it means, “Who but He hath made the whole world, and who, therefore, can have the interest in it which He must have?”Job 34:13. Who hath given him a charge over the earth? — Over the inhabitants of the earth, to rule them according to his laws, and to give an account to him thereof? Who or where is his superior, that made the world, and then delivered the government of it to God? There is no such person. God himself is the sole Creator, the supreme, absolute Lord of all, and therefore cannot act unjustly; because the Creator and Lord of the world must needs have all possible perfections in himself, and, among others, perfect justice; and because he is of himself all-sufficient, and independent of all other beings, and able to do and procure whatsoever he pleaseth; and therefore as he hath no inclination, so he hath no temptation to any unrighteous action; this being generally the reason of all the unrighteous actions in the world, that the persons who do them either are obliged to do them to gratify some superior who commands them, or else they want or desire something which they cannot justly obtain. For he would be a monster, and not a man, who would take away any thing by injustice or violence which he might have by right. Or who hath disposed the whole world? — “He did not receive the government of the world from any above himself; nor is there any higher being, whose authority he may be thought to dread, and for fear of whom he may be tempted to act unjustly.” — Bishop Patrick. The Hebrew of the former clause, מי פקד עליו ארצה, mi pakad gnalaiv artzah, the phraseology of which is rather peculiar, is rendered by Chappelow, Who enjoined him to create the earth? and by some others, Who on earth can be his overseer? The meaning evidently is, as Dr. Dodd observes from Schultens and Heath, “Who on earth hath authority sufficient to examine into and control his proceedings.”
Or who hath disposed the whole world? - Who has arranged the affairs of the universe? The word rendered "world," usually means the habitable earth, but it is employed here in the sense of the universe, and the idea is, that God has arranged and ordered all things, and that he is the supreme and absolute Sovereign.
disposed—hath founded (Isa 44:7), established the circle of the globe.Over the earth, i.e. over the inhabitants of the earth, to rule them according to his laws, and to give an account to him of it. Who or where is his superior that made the world, and then delivered the government of it to God? There is no such person. God himself is the sole Creator, the absolute and supreme Lord and Governor, of all the world, and therefore cannot do unjustly. The reason is, partly, because all unrighteousness is a transgression of some law, and God hath no law to bound him but his own nature and will; partly, because the Creator and Lord of the world must needs have all possible perfections in himself, and, amongst others, perfect justice, and must needs be free from all imperfections and obliquities, and therefore from injustice; and partly, because he is of himself all-sufficient, and independent upon all other persons, and able to do and procure whatsoever pleaseth him; and therefore as he hath no inclination, so he hath no temptation, to any unrighteous actions; this being generally the reason of all unrighteous actions in the world, because the persons who do them either are obliged to do it, to gratify some superior authority who commands them to do it, or else do want or desire something which they cannot justly obtain; for he is a monster, and not a man, who will take away any thing by injustice or violence which he may have by right.
Who hath disposed, or committed, to wit, to him, to be governed by him, in the name and for the use and service of his superior Lord, to whom he must give an account.
or who hath disposed the whole world? or created it, as Aben Ezra; that stored it with all the good things in it for the use of men? or put it in the beautiful order it is, so suitable and convenient for the good of his creatures? or made it the habitable earth it is for man and beast? so Mr. Broughton renders the whole,
"who before him looked to the earth, or who settled all the dwelt land?''
Or who made it the fruitful earth it is, abounding with plenty of food for man and beast? or who disposes of all things in it by his wise providence, so that everything is beautiful in its season? None but the Lord has done all this; how then can it be thought that he who has filled the earth with his goodness should do wickedly or pervert judgment?Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13–15. The first thought of Elihu is that the earth, the world, is not entrusted to God by another; He himself arranged it all as it is; there is therefore no motive to injustice. This is one side of his idea; the other (Job 34:14) is that the fact of the creation and sustaining of all things and creatures by God is proof of unselfish benevolence, for if God thought of Himself and ceased to send forth His spirit, all flesh would perish.
The Oriental thinker was not a pessimist; to his mind life was not an evil but the highest good, and its continuance proof of goodness in God who gave it and continued it. Neither would it occur to such a thinker, when he argued that there was no temptation to injustice in the Creator, that a temptation might be found in His own malevolent nature. A first cause that was evil could not be supposed by any one in the position of the speakers in this Book. Even when Job touches upon such an idea, as in ch. Job 7:17 seq., Job 10:3 seq., it is for the purpose of shewing the inconsistency of malevolence with God’s necessary attributes. Comp. remarks at the end of ch. 10.Verse 13. - Who hath given him a charge over the earth? The argument seems to be that if God had "received a charge," and were in possession of a mere delegated authority, like the subordinate gods of heathen nations, he might have an interest apart from that of those whom he governs, and so be tempted to be unjust; but as he is the Author of all and the sole Ruler of all, his interest must be bound up with the true interests of his creatures, and cannot clash with them. He can thus never be unjust, since he can have no temptation to be unjust. Or who hath disposed the whole world? rather, Who hath laid upon him the whole world? (see the margin of the Revised Version). Elihu repeats the idea of the previous clause in other words.
"And God hath put aside my right.
6 "Shall I lie in spite of my right,
"Incurable is mine arrow without transgression."
7 Where is there a man like Job,
Who drinketh scorning like water,
8 And keepeth company with the workers of iniquity,
And walketh with wicked men,
9 So that he saith: "A man hath no profit
"From entering into fellowship with God"?!
That in relation to God, thinking of Him as a punishing judge, he is righteous or in the right, i.e., guiltless (צדקתּי with Pathach in pause, according to Ew. 93, c, from צדק equals צדק, but perhaps, comp. Proverbs 24:30; Psalm 102:26, because the Athnach is taken only as of the value of Zakeph), Job has said verbatim in Job 13:18, and according to meaning, Job 23:10; Job 27:7, and throughout; that He puts aside his right (the right of the guiltless, and therefore not of one coming under punishment): Job 27:2. That in spite of his right (על, to be interpreted, according to Schultens' example, just like Job 10:7; Job 16:17), i.e., although right is on his side, yet he must be accounted a liar, since his own testimony is belied by the wrathful form of his affliction, that therefore the appearance of wrong remains inalienably attached to him, we find in idea in Job 9:20 and freq. Elihu makes Job call his affliction חצּי, i.e., an arrow sticking in him, viz., the arrow of the wrath of God (on the objective suff. comp. on Job 23:2), after Job 6:4; Job 16:9; Job 19:11; and that this his arrow, i.e., the pain which it causes him, is incurably bad, desperately malignant without (בּלי as Job 8:11) פּשׁע, i.e., sins existing as the ground of it, from which he would be obliged to suppose they had thrust him out of the condition of favour, is Job's constant complaint (vid., e.g., Job 13:23.). Another utterance of Job closely connected with it has so roused Elihu's indignation, that he prefaces it with the exclamation of astonishment: Who is a man like Job, i.e., where in all the world (מי as 2 Samuel 7:23) has this Job his equal, who ... . The attributive clause refers to Job; "to drink scorn (here: blasphemy) like water," is, according to Job 15:16, equivalent to to give one's self up to mockery with delight, and to find satisfaction in it. ארח לחברה, to go over to any one's side, looks like a poeticized prose expression. ללכת is a continuation of the ארח, according to Ew. 351, c, but not directly in the sense "and he goes," but, as in the similar examples, Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 44:19; 2 Chronicles 7:17, and freq., in the sense of: "he is in the act of going;" comp. on Job 36:20 and Habakkuk 1:17. The utterance runs: a man does not profit, viz., himself (on the use of סכן of persons as well as of things, vid., on Job 22:2), by his having joyous and familiar intercourse (בּרצתו, as little equivalent to בּרוּץ as in Psalm 50:18) with God. Job has nowhere expressly said this, but certainly the declaration in Job 9:22, in connection with the repeated complaints concerning the anomalous distribution of human destinies (vid., especially Job 21:7, Job 24:1), are the premises for such a conclusion. That Elihu, in Job 34:7, is more harsh against Job than the friends ever were (comp. e.g., the well-measured reproach of Eliphaz, Job 15:4), and that he puts words into Job's moth which occur nowhere verbatim in his speeches, is worked up by the Latin fathers (Jer., Philippus Presbyter, Beda,
(Note: Philippus Presbyter was a disciple of Jerome. His Comm. in Iobum is extant in many forms, partly epitomized, partly interpolated (on this subject, vid., Hieronymi Opp. ed. Vallarsi, iii. 895ff.). The commentary of Beda, dedicated to a certain Nectarius (Vecterius), is fundamentally that of this Philippus.)
Gregory) in favour of their unfavourable judgment of Elihu; the Greek fathers, however, are deprived of all opportunity of understanding him by the translation of the lxx (in which μυκτηρισμόν signifies the scorn of others which Job must swallow down, comp. Proverbs 26:6), which here perverts everything.
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