Job 34:29
When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:
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(29) When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?—This is probably the meaning, but literally it is, Who can condemn?

Or against a man only.—Rather, against a man alike: i.e., it is all one in either case. He judges nations as He judges individuals, and individuals as He does nations.

Job 34:29-30. When he giveth quietness — Either to the poor and oppressed persons last mentioned, or to any other persons or people, as it follows; who then can make trouble? — No man or creature can hinder God’s design; and when he hideth his face — Withdraws his favour and help from them, and thereby exposes them to oppressions and calamities; who then can behold him? — Who can enjoy the light of his countenance, or look up to him with cheerfulness and confidence, to desire or expect his help? whether it be done against a nation or a man only — God can carry on his work, either of mercy or justice, as easily and as irresistibly upon a whole nation as upon one particular person. That the hypocrite reign not May not continue his tyranny; lest the people be insnared — Lest the people should be longer kept in the snares of oppression; God doth this to free poor oppressed people from the snares which ungodly men lay for them.

34:16-30 Elihu appeals directly to Job himself. Could he suppose that God was like those earthly princes, who hate right, who are unfit to rule, and prove the scourges of mankind? It is daring presumption to condemn God's proceedings, as Job had done by his discontents. Elihu suggests divers considerations to Job, to produce in him high thoughts of God, and so to persuade him to submit. Job had often wished to plead his cause before God. Elihu asks, To what purpose? All is well that God does, and will be found so. What can make those uneasy, whose souls dwell at ease in God? The smiles of all the world cannot quiet those on whom God frowns.When he giveth quietness - That is, when God designs to give rest, comfort, ease, or prosperity in any way to a man. The Hebrew word used here may refer to any kind of ease, rest, or peace. The idea which Elihu intends to convey is, that God has all things under his control, and that he can bring prosperity or adversity upon an individual or a nation at his own pleasure.

Who then can make trouble? - literally, "Who can condemn, or hold guilty" - ירשׁע yarâsha‛. The sense is, that no one can overwhelm him with the consciousness of guilt, to whom God intends to give the peace resulting from his favor and friendship. Or, no one can bring calamities upon a man "as if" he were guilty, or so as to "show" that he is guilty, when God intends to treat him as if he were not. This is as true now as it was in the time of Elihu. When God designs to give peace to a man's soul, and to impart to him the evidence that his sins are forgiven, there is no one who can excite in his mind the conviction of guilt, or take away the comfort that God gives. When he designs to "treat" a man as if he were his friend, and to impart to him such evidences of his favor as shall convince the world that he is his friend, there is no one who can prevent it. No one can so calumniate him, or so prejudice the world against him, or so arrest the descending tokens of the divine favor, as to turn back the proof of the favor of God; compare Proverbs 16:7.

And when he hideth his face - To "hide the face," is a common expression in the Scriptures to denote calamity, distress, and the lack of spiritual comfort, as the expression "to lift up the light of the countenance" is a common phrase to denote the opposite; compare Job 13:24.

Who then can behold him? - An expression denoting that no one can then have cheering and elevating views of God. No one can then have those clear conceptions of his character and government which will give peace to the soul. "This" is also as true now as it was in the time of Elihu. We are dependent on God himself for any just views of his own character, for any elevating and purifying conceptions of his government and plans, and for any consolation flowing in upon our souls from the evidence that he is our friend.

Whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only - The same truth pertains to nations and to individuals. The same laws respecting the sources of peace and happiness apply to both. Both are alike dependent on God, and neither can secure permanent peace and prosperity without him. Both are alike at his sovereign disposal; and neither can originate permanent sources of prosperity. This, too, is as true now as it was in the time of Elihu. Nations are more prone to forget it than individuals are, but still it is a great truth which should never be forgotten, that neither have power to originate or perpetuate the means of happiness, but that both are alike dependent on God.

29. (Pr 16:7; Isa 26:3).

make trouble—rather, "condemn" (Ro 8:33, 34). Maurer, from the reference being only to the godless, in the next clause, and Job 34:20 translates, "When God keeps quiet" (leaves men to perish) Ps 83:1; [Umbreit] from the Arabic (strikes to the earth), "who shall condemn Him as unjust?" Job 34:17.

hideth … face—(Job 23:8, 9; Ps 13:1).

it be done—Whether it be against a guilty nation (2Ki 18:9-12) or an individual, that God acts so.

When he giveth quietness; either to the poor and oppressed persons last mentioned, or to any other person or people, as it follows.

Who then can make trouble? no man or creature can hinder God’s design and work.

When he hideth his face, i.e. withdraws his favour and help from them, and thereby exposeth them to all oppressions or calamities.

Who then can behold him? i.e. who can look up to God with cheerfulness or confidence, to desire or expect his help? Or rather, who then will look upon him, or regard him, to wit, so as to pity or succour him? If God be against him, what man will or dare be for him? all men will forsake and oppose him, and so he will be utterly lost. For this who answers to the who in the former branch of the verse, and both of them speak of man and his act as opposed unto God and to his act. The case is the same in both: God can carry on his work, either of mercy or justice, as easily and as irresistibly upon a whole nation or people as upon one particular person.

When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?.... Quietness or peace is of God; external peace to bodies of men, to communities, civil and religious, and to particular persons; quietness and contentment in outward enjoyments, peace and safety at home, and from enemies abroad; inward spiritual peace, this is of God, is in Christ, and from him; is the fruit of his righteousness, spoke by his blood, comes through faith in Christ, and is enjoyed in his ordinances, and continues as long as it is the pleasure of God to give it, and cannot be disturbed by men or devils; a national peace, when God gives it, cannot be broke in upon; nor the peace of churches, though there are always some inclined to be troublers of the Israel of God; nor the peace of particular persons, not their outward peace and quietness, when God sets an hedge of providence about them; nor their inward peace, not by all the afflictions and persecutions they meet with in the world; nor by all the temptations of Satan, and the corruptions of their own hearts. The Targum is, "who shall condemn?" and so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; when God acquits, absolves, and justifies men, who can condemn them? see Romans 8:33. When God pronounces the sentence of justification by the righteousness of Christ in the conscience of a sinner, it produces peace solid and substantial, and this being done, who shall condemn? or of what avail will their condemnation be? whether of the law, or of Satan, or of the world, or of themselves, of their own hearts;

and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only; whether God hides his face from a nation, as he sometimes did from the nation of Israel, because of their sins; when he would not hear their prayers, nor assist them against their enemies, nor arise for their help and deliverance out of their hands: or from his church and people, his spiritual Jacob and Israel, as when they complain, their way is hid from the Lord, and the Lord has forgotten and forsaken them; or from particular persons, as from David, Heman, and others; and who, of the Lord's people, but at one time or another are under the hidings of his face? and then there is no finding him, no looking to him with comfort and confidence; no looking into and beholding the works and ways of God, and the causes of his dealings with them; these are out of sight, his ways are in the deep, and his footsteps are not known. Some refer this to men; who will show favour to him whom God frowns upon? who will look at him in a pleasant manner, when God hides his face from him?

When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:
29. Here he, God, is emphatic. Elihu while upholding the rectitude Of God conjoins with it His sovereignty. To give quietness or rest seems to mean to give peace and security from oppression, when the oppressed cry unto Him (Jdg 5:31; Isaiah 14:7). The antithesis to this is He hides His face, words which always mean, He withdraws His favour or help in anger, ch. Job 13:24; and to behold Him has of course a sense the opposite of this, viz. to obtain His favour, to make Him gracious. God acts in both ways in His sovereign rule, and when He acts in the one way who shall condemn Him, and in the other who shall compel Him to alter His aspect? And thus He acts on the widest stage and in the most particular instance, with nations and men alike.

29–33. The connexion of the following verses is rather uncertain. The sense of Job 34:30 might suggest the connexion of Job 34:29-30 with the preceding. In this case Job 34:31 would make a new start, and the connexion would be maintained to the end of the chapter. It is probable, however, that Job 34:34-37 should be taken by themselves. In Job 34:29 the word he is emphatic; similarly in Job 34:31 an emphasis falls on God. This common emphasis, in Job 34:29-30 on the absoluteness of God’s operation and in Job 34:31-33 on the presumption of any one who questions it, seems to bind these two groups of verses together. The verses read as a whole,

29.  When he giveth quietness, who shall condemn him?

And when he hideth his face, who shall behold him?

Whether it be done to a nation or to a man alike:

30.  That the godless man reign not,

That the people be not ensnared.

31.  For hath any said unto God,

I have borne (chastisement) though I offend not,

32.  That which I see not teach thou me,

If I have done iniquity I will do it no more?—

33.  Shall God’s recompense be according to thy mind

That thou dost reject it?

For thou must choose, and not I;

Therefore speak what thou knowest.

Verse 29. - When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? literally, Who then can condemn? The sentiment is the same as that of St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans, "If God be for us, who can be against us?... Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?" (Romans 8:31-34). And when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? When God hideth away his face, then all flesh is troubled (Psalm 104:29); man shrinks into himself, and despairs of happiness; nature itself seems to fail and fade. None nan behold him when he hides himself; none can do more than deprecate his anger, and pray, "Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us" (Psalm 4:6). Whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only. The results are similar, whether God withdraws the light of his countenance from a nation or from an individual. In either case, there is no help from without; ruin and destruction follow. Job 34:2929 If He, however, maketh peace, who will then condemn?

And if He hideth His countenance - who then can behold Him? -

Both concerning numbers and individuals together:

30 That godless men reign not,

That they be not nets to the people.

31 For one, indeed, saith to God,

"I have been proud, I will not do evil;

32 "What I see not, show Thou me;

"If I have done wrong, I will do it no more"!? -

If God makes peace (ישׁקיט as Psalm 94:13, comp. Isaiah 14:7, הארץ שׁקטה כל־, viz., after the overthrow of the tyrant) in connection with such crying oppression of the poor, who will then condemn Him without the rather recognising therein His comprehensive justice? The conjecture ירעשׁ

(Note: Vid., Grtz in Frankel's Monatsschrift, 1861, i.)

is not required either here or 1 Samuel 14:47 (where הרשׁיע signifies to punish the guilty); ירשׁע is also not to be translated turbabit (Rosenm.), since רשׁע (Arab. rs‛, rsg) according to its primitive notion does not signify "to be restless, to rage," but "to be relaxed, hollow" (opposite of צדק, Arab. ṣdq, to be hard, firm, tight). Further: If God hides His countenance, i.e., is angry and punishes, who can then behold Him, i.e., make Him, the veiled One, visible and claim back the favour withdrawn? The Waw of וּמי, if one marks off the periods of the paratactic expression, is in both cases the Waw of conclusion after hypothetical antecedents, and. Job 34:29 refers to Job's impetuous challenging of God. Thus exalted above human controversy and defiance, God rules both over the mass and over individuals alike. יחד gives intensity of the equality thus correlatively (et-et) expressed (Targ., Syr.); to refer it to אדם as generalizing (lxx, Jer. et super omnes homines), is forbidden by the antithesis of peoples and individuals. To the thought, that God giveth rest (from oppressors) and hides His countenance (from the oppressors and in general those who act wrongly), two co-ordinate negative final clauses are attached: in order that godless men may not rule (ממּלך, as e.g., 2 Kings 23:33, Keri), in order that they may no longer be (מ( e equals מהיות, under the influence of the notion of putting aside contained in the preceding final clause, therefore like Isaiah 7:8 מעם, Isaiah 24:2 מעיר, Jeremiah 48:2 מגוי, and the like) snares of the people, i.e., those whose evil example and bad government become the ruin of the community.

In Job 34:31 the view of those who by some jugglery concerning the laws of the vowel sounds explain האמר as imper. Niph. ( equals האמר), be it in the sense of להאמר, dicendum est (Rosenm., Schlottm., and others, after Raschi), or even in the unheard-of reflexive signification: express thyself (Stick., Hahn), is to be rejected. The syncopated form of the infin. בּהרג, Ezekiel 26:15, does not serve as a palliation of this adventurous imperative. It is, on the contrary, אמר with ה interrog., as Ezekiel 28:9 האמר, and probably also העמוּר Micah 2:7 (vid., Hitz.). A direct exhortation to Job to penitence would also not be in place here, although what Elihu says is levelled against Job. The כּי is confirmatory. Thus God acts with that class of unscrupulous men who abuse their power for the destruction of their subjects: for he (one of them) says (or: has said, from the standpoint of the execution of punishment) to God, etc. Ew. differently: "for one says thus to God even: I expiate what I do not commit," by understanding the speech quoted of a defiance which reproachfully demands an explanation. It is, however, manifestly a compendious model confession. And since Elihu with כי establishes the execution of punishment from this, that it never entered the mind of the עדם חנף thus to humble himself before God, so נשׂאתי here cannot signify: I have repented (put up with and had to bear what I have deserved); on the contrary, the confession begins with the avowal: I have exalted myself (נשׂא, se efferre, in Hosea 13:1; Psalm 89:10), which is then followed by the vow: I will not (in the future) do evil (חבל synon. עוה, as Nehemiah 1:7, and probably also supra, Job 24:9), and the entreaty, Job 34:32 : beside that which I behold (elliptical object-clause, Ew. 333, b), i.e., what lies beyond my vision ( equals נסתּרות or עלמים, Psalm 19:13; Psalm 90:8, unacknowledged sins), teach me; and the present vow has reference to acknowledged sins and sins that have still to be acknowledged: if I have done wrong, I will do it no more. Thus speaking - Elihu means - those high ones might have anticipated the punishment of the All-just God, for favour instead of wrath cannot be extorted, it is only reached by the way of lowly penitence.

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