Job 34:9
For he has said, It profits a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) It profiteth a man nothing.—Comp. what Job had said (Job 9:20-22; Job 9:30-31; Job 10:6-7; Job 10:14-15). Eliphaz had virtually said the same thing, though the form in which he cast it was the converse of this (see Job 22:3), for he had represented it as a matter of indifference to God whether man was righteous or not, which was, of course, to sap the foundations of all morality; for if God cares not whether man is righteous or not, it certainly cannot profit man to be righteous. On the other hand, Eliphaz had in form uttered the opposite doctrine (Job 22:21).

34:1-9 Elihu calls upon those present to decide with him upon Job's words. The plainest Christian, whose mind is enlightened, whose heart is sanctified by the Spirit of God, and who is versed in the Scriptures, can say how far matters, words, or actions, agree with true religion, better than any that lean to their own understandings. Job had spoken as if he meant wholly to justify himself. He that say, I have cleansed my hands in vain, does not only offend against God's children, Ps 73:13-15, but gratifies his enemies, and says as they say.For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself in God - That is, there is no advantage in piety, and in endeavoring to serve God. It will make no difference in the divine dealings with him. He will be treated just as well if he lives a life of sin, as if he undertakes to live after the severest rules of piety. Job had not used precisely this language, but in Job 9:22, he had expressed nearly the same sentiment. It is probable, however, that Elihu refers to what he regarded as the general scope and tendency of his remarks, as implying that there was no respect paid to character in the divine dealings with mankind. It was easy to pervert the views which Job actually entertained, so as to make him appear to maintain this sentiment, and it was probably with a special view to this charge that Job uttered the sentiments recorded in Job 21; see the notes at that chapter. 9. with God—in intimacy (Ps 50:18, Margin). He hath said; not absolutely and in express terms, but by unforced consequence, and as concerning this life, and with reference to himself; because he said that good men were no less, nay, sometimes more, miserable here than the wicked, Job 9:22 30:26, and that for his part he was no gainer as to this life by his piety, but a loser, and that God showed him no more kindness and compassion than he usually did to the vilest of men; which was a very unthankful and ungodly opinion and expression, seeing godliness hath the promise of this life as well as of that to come, and Job had such supports, and such assurances of his own uprightness, and of his future happiness, as he confesseth, as were and should have been accounted even for the present a greater comfort and profit than all which this world can afford.

That he should delight himself with God; that he should choose and delight to walk with God, and make it his chief care and business to please him, and to do his commandments; which is the true and proper character of a godly man. For he hath said,.... Not plainly and expressly, but consequentially; what it was thought might be inferred from what he had said, particularly in Job 9:22;

it profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God; in his house and ordinances, ways and worship; he may as well indulge himself in the pleasures of sin, and in the delights of the world, if God destroys the perfect and the wicked, as Job had said in the place referred to; if this be the case, it is in vain to serve God, and pray unto him, or keep his ordinances; which are the language and sentiments of wicked men, and according to which they act, see Job 21:14, Malachi 3:14. Mr. Broughton renders it,

"when he would walk with God;''

and so the Targum,

"in his walking with God;''

and another Targum,

"in his running with God:''

though he walks and even runs in the way of his commandments, yet it is of no advantage to him; or he does the will of God, as Aben Ezra; or seeks to please him or be acceptable to him, and to find grace in his sight. Whereas though love and hatred are not known by prosperity and adversity, but both come to good and bad men, which seems to be Job's meaning in the above place, from whence this inference is deduced; yet it is certain that godliness is profitable to all, 1 Timothy 4:8.

For he hath said, {h} It profiteth a man nothing that he should {i} delight himself with God.

(h) He wrests Job's words who said that God's children are often punished in this world, and the wicked go free.

(i) That is, live godly, Ge 5:22.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. Job had nowhere used this precise language, though the idea is not an unnatural inference from much that he had said; comp. ch. Job 9:12, Job 21:7, Job 24:1, and ch. 21 throughout. This charge that a man is nothing bettered by being religious Elihu refutes in ch. 35, directing his attention in the meantime to the general charge of in justice so far as it bore on God Himself.Verse 9. - For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God. Again it must be remarked that Job had not said this. The nearest approach to it is to be found in Job 9:22, where this passage occurs: "It is all one; therefore I say, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked" (Revised Version). Elsewhere Job speaks, not generally, but of his own individual case, remarking that his righteousness has not saved him from calamity (Job 9:17, 18; Job 10:15; Job 17:9-17, etc.). And the fact is one that causes him the deepest perplexity. 1 Then began Elihu and said:

2 Hear, ye wise men, my words,

And ye experienced ones, give ear to me!

3 For the ear trieth words,

As the palate tasteth by eating.

4 Let us find out what is right,

Let us explore among ourselves what is good.

After his first speech Elihu has made a brief pause; now since Job is silent, he begins anew. ויען ויאמר, lxx correctly, here as in all other instances where the phrase occurs: ὑπολαβὼν λέγει, taking up the word he said. The wise and the knowing (Arab. ‛ulamâ), whose attention he bespeaks, are not Job and the three (Umbr., Hahn), who are indeed a party, and as such a subject for the arbitrative appearance of Elihu; also not every one capable of forming a judgment (Hirz.); but those in the circle of spectators and listeners which, as is assumed, has assembled round the disputants (Schlottm.). In Job 33:4 Elihu does not expressly mean his own ear, but that of the persons addressed: he establishes his summons to prove what he says by the general thought brought over from Job 12:11, and as there (comp. Job 5:7; Job 11:12), clothed in the form of the emblematic proverb, - that as there is a bodily, so there is also a mental organ of sense which tries its perceptions. לאכל is not intended as expressing a purpose (ad vescendum), but as a gerundive (vescendo). The phrase בּחר משׁפּט, occurring only here, signifies neither to institute a search for the purpose of decision (Schult. and others), since בחר does not signify to decide upon anything, nor to investigate a cause (Hahn), which would be נבחנה, but to test and choose what is right, δοκιμάζειν καὶ τὸ καλὸν κατέχειν, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, after which the parallel runs: cognoscamus inter nos (i.e., in common) quid bonum.

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