Job 34:37
For he adds rebellion to his sin, he clapps his hands among us, and multiplies his words against God.
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(37) He clappeth his hands among us.—As though he were confident of victory in argument.

Job 34:37. He addeth rebellion unto his sin — He sinned before by impatience under his afflictions, but now he is grown obstinate, and, instead of humbling himself for his sins, he justifies himself, and accuses the blessed God. He clappeth his hands among us — In token of victory, insulting and triumphing; and multiplieth his words against God — In effect, though not directly. 34:31-37 When we reprove for what is amiss, we must direct to what is good. Job's friends would have had him own himself a wicked man. Let will only oblige him to own that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips. Let us, in giving reproof, not make a matter worse than it is. Elihu directs Job to humble himself before God for his sins, and to accept the punishment. Also to pray to God to discover his sins to him. A good man is willing to know the worst of himself; particularly, under affliction, he desires to be told wherefore God contends with him. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins, but we must go and sin no more. And if we are affectionate children, we shall love to speak with our Father, and to tell him all our mind. Elihu reasons with Job concerning his discontent under affliction. We are ready to think every thing that concerns us should be just as we would have it; but it is not reasonable to expect this. Elihu asks whether there was not sin and folly in what Job said. God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, Ps 145:17. The believer saith, Let my Saviour, my wise and loving Lord, choose every thing for me. I am sure that will be wisest, and the best for his glory and my good.For he addeth rebellion unto his sin - To the sin which he has formerly committed and which bas brought these trials upon him, he now adds the sin of complaining and rebellion against God. Of Job, this was certainly not true to the extent which Elihu intended, but it is a very common case in afflictions. A man is visited with calamity as a chastisement for his sins. Instead of searching out the cause why he is afflicted, or bowing with resignation to the superior wisdom of God when he cannot "see" any cause, he regards himself as unjustly dealt with; complains of the government of God as severe, and gives "occasion" for a severer calamity in some other form. The result is often that he is visited with severe affliction, and is made to see both his original offence and the accumulated guilt which has made a new form of punishment necessary.

He clappeth his hands amongst us - To clap the hands is either a signal of applause or triumph, or a mark of indignation, Numbers 24:10, or of derision, Job 27:23. It seems to be used in some such sense here, as expressing contempt or derision for the sentiments of his friends. The meaning is, that instead of treating the subject under discussion with a calm spirit and a disposition to learn the truth and profit by it, he had manifested in relation to the whole matter great disrespect, and had conductcd like one who attempts to silence others, or who shows his contempt for them by clapping his hands at them. It is scarcely necessary to say, that, notwithstanding all the professed candor and impartiality of Elihu, this is a most unfair representation of the general spirit of Job. That he had sometimes given vent to improper feelings there can be no doubt, but nothing had occurred to justify this statement.

And multiplieth his words against God - That is, his arguments are against the justice of his government and dealings. In the special phrase used here - "he multiplieth "words,"" Elihu means, probably, to say, that there was more of "words" than of argument in what Job had said, and that he was not content even with expressing his improper feelings once, but that he piled words on words, and epithet on epithet, that he might more fully give utterance to his reproachful feelings against his Maker.

37. clappeth … hands—in scorn (Job 27:23; Eze 21:17).

multiplieth … words—(Job 11:2; 35:16). To his original "sin" to correct which trials have been sent, "he adds rebellion," that is, words arraigning God's justice.

He sinned before, as other ways, so by impatience under his afflictions, which may be ascribed to human infirmity; but now he is grown obstinate and incorrigible, and instead of repenting and humbling himself for his sins, he excuseth them, and justifieth himself, and accuseth the blessed God. Or thus,

For otherwise, unless he be thoroughly tried and rebuked, he will add rebellion unto his sin; he will break forth into open rebellion against God, and (as it follows) he will clap, &c. For the Hebrew words are of the future tense, although such are oft rendered by the past tense.

He clappeth his hands, in token of joy and victory, as this phrase is used, Psalm 47:1 98:8; insulting and triumphing, not only over us, as if none of us were able to answer him, but in a sort over God himself, inasmuch as he hath again and again desired leave of God to debate his cause with or before him, and in that case did not doubt to maintain it, but could not obtain the favour or justice of a fair hearing.

Multiplieth his words against God: whereas the reverence which he oweth to God, and his infinite distance from him, should teach him to be very modest and sparing in his speeches of God, Job on the contrary poureth forth whole floods of bold and presumptuous expostulations with God, and reflections upon God’s proceedings with him. For he addeth rebellion unto his sin,.... Or he "may" or "will" add (u), if he is suffered to go on at this rate, and is not stopped; as yet he has only committed, it may be charitably hoped, some sins through ignorance, error, and mistake, but if he is let alone he will proceed from evil to evil, to more ungodliness; to be guilty of presumptuous sins, of open treason and rebellion against God;

he clappeth his hands amongst us, or "he will clap"; he will either clap his hands together as expressive of extreme grief and sorrow, of the agonies of his mind; showing extravagant impatience, and pouring out his complaints in the most bitter manner, see Ezekiel 21:14; or rather by way of joy and triumph, as having got the victory over us, see Psalm 47:1;

and multiplieth his words against God, or "will multiply"; he has said too many things already against God, his justice in his dealings with him, Job 34:5; he will say more if he is not restrained. These are the reasons Elihu gives for a thorough trial and strict examination of Job; and they are taken partly from a concern for the good of Job, and partly on their account, that they might not be triumphed over, and chiefly for the glory of God.

(u) "addet"; Montanus, Mercerus, Drusius, Cocceius, so in the next clauses.

For he {e} addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.

(e) He stands stubbornly to the maintenance of his cause.

37. Job’s sin is that of his former life, for which he has been cast into afflictions; his rebellion is his unsubmissive, defiant demeanour against God in his speeches. This “rebellion” is further described as clapping of the hands, a gesture of open mockery and contempt. The next clause, “multiplieth his words against God”, that is, his rebellious speeches, indicates that it is against God that Job “claps his hands,” not against his friends and counsellors—he shews his defiant scorn of God among them.

The passage is decisive as to the position taken by Elihu towards Job. His judgment of Job extends far beyond the mere bearing of the latter under his afflictions; it embraces Job’s former life. And the language exceeds in harshness almost anything that the three friends had said.Verse 37. - For he addeth rebellion unto his sin. Elihu holds that it is Job's "sin" which has brought on him his chastisement, and regards his expostulations and complaints as flagrant "rebellion" against the Most High. He clappeth his hands among us; i.e. he applauds himself, approves of his own conduct, and, instead of repenting, makes a boast of it. And multiplieth his words against God. Job had continued to the last (Job 31.) to justify himself and protest his integrity; which, in the view of Elihu, was to tax God with injustice.

29 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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