Job 34:30
That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) That the hypocrite reign not.—Rather, (whether God is provoked), on account of an ungodly man reigning, or by the snares of a whole people: i.e., the corruption of a nation, e.g., Sodom, &c.

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.That the hypocrite reign not - All this is done to prevent wicked men from ruling over the people. The remarks of Elihu had had respect much to princes and kings, and he had shown that however great they were, they were in the hands of God, and were wholly at his disposal. He "now" says that the design of his dealings with them was to prevent their oppressing their fellow-men. The general scope of the remarks of Elihu is, that God is the universal Sovereign; that he has all people under his control, and that there are none so powerful as to be able to resist his will. The remark in this verse is thrown in, not as illustrating this general sentiment, but to show what was "in fact" the aim for which he thus interposed - to save people from being oppressed and crushed by those in authority.

Lest the people be ensnared - Hebrew "From their being snarers of the people." He thrusts down the mighty, in order that they may not be left to take the people as wild beasts are taken in the toils. They were disposed to make use of their power to oppress others, but God interposes, and the people are saved. For a fuller view of this verse, see the remarks of Rosenmuller.

30. Ensnared—into sin (1Ki 12:28, 30). Or rather, "enthralled by further oppression," Job 34:26-28. Having said that God could and would carry on his own work and design effectually, whether against one man, or against a whole people, he now proceeds to give a further instance of God’s mighty power above and against the greatest monarchs, in whom their own and the people’s strength seem to be united, yet all together cannot oppose God in his work. God when he pleaseth can and doth so order affairs,

that the hypocrite (i.e. the profane wicked prince, as one of the kings of Judah is called, Ezekiel 21:25; bad princes being called hypocrites, because they do commonly cover all their oppressions, and injuries, and impieties too, with the specious pretence of justice and the public good, and the discharge of their trust and duty) may not reign, (i.e. may not continue his reign and tyranny, that he may and shall by his sovereign power and omnipotent providence be deprived of his kingdom,)

lest the people be insnared, i.e. lest the people should be longer and more and more kept and held in the snares or fetters of tyranny and oppression, i.e. God doth this to free poor oppressed people from the snares which ungodly and unrighteous princes lay for them. Or, that the people be not insnared any longer, Heb. that there be no snares of or for the people. Or, for the snares, or scandals, or sins (which are oft so called) of the people. So the sense is, that such a wicked prince may not continue to reign over that people, although by their sins they had provoked God to give them such a prince, and to continue his power over them. That the hypocrite reign not,.... These words seem to be connected with Job 34:24, "he breaketh in pieces mighty men", &c. the whole of Job 34:29 being read in a parenthesis; or with the phrase "he hideth his face"; as God is said to be in the destruction of mighty wicked men, who oppress the poor, and cause their cry to come to God, to prevent the reign of an hypocrite, or however to shorten it. By "an hypocrite" is not meant a common hypocrite in religion, but an hypocrite in politics; who pretends to great humanity and goodness, to a tender care of the people, and a preservation of them in their rights and liberties, and promises to support and establish the constitution, and observe the laws of the nation, with a show of zeal for the religion professed in it. But when he has ascended the throne, and got the power into his hands, he throws off the mask and becomes a tyrant; and men of such a temper, either God does not suffer to ascend the throne, but if they do get on it through artifice and deceit, he suffers them not to continue, but deposes them, and cuts their reign short: and this he does

lest the people be ensnared; be brought into bondage, and lose their rights, privileges, and liberties; or lest they be drawn into sin by their precepts or examples. Some take the sense of the words to be, that God suffers not such to reign, but when he does it is because of the offences or sins of the people; he gives them such kings in his wrath, to punish them for their iniquities.

That the {y} hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.

(y) When tyrants sit in the throne of justice which under pretence of executing justice are hypocrites and oppress the people, it is a sign that God has drawn back his countenance of favour from that place.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. His operations are directed by the great purpose of the good of men, that the nations be righteously and mercifully ruled.Verse 30. - That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared; rather, that an ungodly man reign not, that a people be not a snare. (So Schultens, Professor Lee, and others.) The passage is obscure from its brevity; but this seems to be the best sense. God withdraws his favour from an ungodly king or from a wicked nation, that the king may cease to injure men by his rule, and the nation cease to be a snare to its neighbours. 24 He breaketh the mighty in pieces without investigation

And setteth others in their place.

25 Thus He seeth through their works,

And causeth their overthrow by night, thus they are crushed.

26 He smiteth them after the manner of evil-doers

In the sight of the public.

27 For for such purpose are they fallen away from Him

And have not considered any of His ways,

28 To cause the cry of the poor to come up to Him,

And that He should hear the cry of the needy.

He makes short work (לא־חקר for בּלא, as Job 12:24; Job 38:26 : without research, viz., into their conduct, which is at once manifest to Him; not: in an incomprehensible manner, which is unsuitable, and still less: innumerabiles, as Jer., Syr.) with the mighty (כּבּירים, Arab. kibâr, kubarâ), and in consequence of this (fut. consec.) sets up (constituit) others, i.e., better and worthier rulers (comp. אהר, Job 8:19; Isaiah 55:1-13 :15), in their stead. The following לכן is not equivalent to לכן אשׁר, for which no satisfactory instance exists; on the contrary, לכן here, as more frequently, introduces not the real consequence (Job 20:2), but a logical inference, something that directly follows in and with what precedes (corresponding to the Greek ἄρα, just so, consequently), comp. Job 42:3; Isaiah 26:14; Isaiah 61:7; Jeremiah 2:33; Jeremiah 5:2; Zechariah 11:7 (vid., Khler in loc.). Thus, then, as He hereby proves, He is thoroughly acquainted with their actions (מעבּד, nowhere besides in the book of Job, an Aramaizing expression for מעשׂה). This abiding fact of divine omniscience, inferred from the previously-mentioned facts, then serves again in its turn, in Job 34:25, as the source of facts by which it is verified. לילה is by no means an obj. The expositions: et inducit noctem (Jer.), He walks in the night in which He has veiled Himself (Umbr.), convertit eos in noctem (Syr., Arab.), and such like, all read in the two words what they do not imply. It is either to be translated: He throws them by night (לילה as Job 27:20) upon the heaps (הפך as Proverbs 12:7), or, since the verb has no objective suff.: He maketh a reformation or overthrow during the night, i.e., creates during the night a new order of things, and they who stood at the head of the former affairs are crushed by the catastrophe.

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