But none said, Where is God my maker, who gives songs in the night;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But none saith.—Some render this, “But he who giveth songs in the night saith not, Where is God my Maker,” i.e., the selfish and luxurious oppressor, who spendeth the night in feasting and revelry. This is an intelligible meaning. On the other hand, though the phrase, “who giveth songs in the night,” has become proverbial, and, with the meaning assigned to it, is very beautiful, it may be doubted whether it is so obvious or natural in this place. This is a matter for individual taste and judgment to decide. If it is understood of God, it ascribes to Him the turning of sorrow into gladness, and the night of affliction into joy—an office which is, indeed, frequently assigned to God, but of which the appropriateness is not so manifest here. The decision of this question will perhaps partly depend upon the view we take of the words which follow—“Where is God my Maker?”—whether they are part of the cry of the oppressed or whether they are the words of Elihu. If the latter, then they become more intelligible; if otherwise, it is difficult to see their special appropriateness in this particular place. Perhaps it is better to regard them as the words of Elihu.Job 33:19-26. This Elihu now says, was not done by the oppressed, and this, according to him, is the reason why the hand of God is still upon them.
Where is God my Maker - That is, they do not appeal to God for relief. They do not inquire for him who alone can help them. This is the reason why they are not relieved.
Who giveth songs in the night - Night, in the Scriptures, is an emblem of sin, ignorance, and calamity. Here "calamity" is particularly referred to; and the idea is, that God can give joy, or impart consolation, in the darkest season of trial. He can impart such views of himself and his government as to cause the afflicted even to rejoice in his dealings; he can raise the song of praise even when all external things are gloomy and sad; compare Acts 16:25. There is great beauty in this expression. It has been verified in thousands of instances where the afflicted have looked up through tears to God, and their mourning has been turned into joy. Especially is it true under the gospel, that in the day of darkness and calamity, God puts into the mouth the language of praise, and fills the heart with thanksgiving. No one who has sought comfort in affliction with a right spirit has found it withheld, and all the sad and sorrowful may come to God with the assurance that he can put songs of praise into their lips in the night of calamity; compare Psalm 126:1-2.
Where, &c.—(Jer 2:6, 8; Isa 51:13).
songs—of joy at deliverance (Ps 42:8; 149:5; Ac 16:25).
in the night—unexpectedly (Job 34:20, 25). Rather, "in calamity."None, i.e. few or none (for few are oft called and accounted as none, both in Scripture and other authors) of the great numbers of oppressed persons.
None saith, to wit, seriously or sincerely, and it may be not so much as in word and profession.
Where is God? they howl and cry out of men, and to men, but they seek not after God; they do not acknowledge him in all their ways; they praise him not for that ease, and liberty, and estate, and other mercies which God gave them; and by this unthankfulness they forfeit their mercies; and therefore if God suffer oppressors to take them away, they have no cause to complain of God, but only of themselves: they will not vouchsafe to pray to God seriously and fervently, either to continue or to restore their lost mercies; and therefore if God do not hear nor regard their brutish cries, arising only from a natural sense of their misery, it is not strange nor unjust.
My Maker; who alone made me, and whose power and providence preserveth me every day, and who only can protect and deliver me; all which were obligations upon them to praise God, and pray to him, and depend upon him, and aggravations of their gross neglect of God. Heb. my Makers, in the plural number; which being used not only here, but also Ecclesiastes 12:1 Isaiah 44:5, and that without any necessity, when it might as well have been put in the singular number, yea, though Elohim be plural, as it is Genesis 1:1, plainly implies a plurality of persons in the Divine essence, of which see on Genesis 1:26. Songs, i.e. matter of songs; great occasion to rejoice and praise God.
In the night; either,
1. Metaphorically taken, i.e. in the night of affliction; implying that they want not cause to bless God even in their afflictions. Or rather,
2. Properly, as this word is always used in Job, one place excepted, which is doubtful, to wit, Job 36:20; which he may mention rather than the day, either because oppressed persons, who in the day time are cruelly used by their oppressors, are permitted to rest in the night; or because the hand and mercy of God is more manifest in the preservation, and rest, and sleep of the night, than in the blessings of the day, which are procured by man’s industry; or because the day is the time of action, the night of contemplation, when we do and ought to remember God’s mercies with thanksgiving: compare Psalm 42:8 119:62. Psalm 149:2; for there are more concerned in the formation of man, Genesis 1:26; even the Father, Son, and Spirit, who are the one God that has made all men, Malachi 2:10. Now not one of the oppressed ones that cry by reason of their oppression, or very few of them, inquire after God, seek unto him for help and deliverance from their oppressions, or desire to enjoy him and his gracious presence under their afflictions and distresses; and that is one reason why they are not heard: they do not so much as consider him as the author of their beings, and be thankful to him for them; nor as the preserver of them in their beings; nor as their kind benefactor, who gives them all that they enjoy, and who is the disposer of all their affairs in providence: and if they are new creatures, or are remade, they are his workmanship; and therefore should upon all accounts seek him and submit to his will, and patiently bear all their afflictions, waiting his time to deliver them out of them: but there are few or none that regard him in this light, or make an inquiry after him, even though he has not only made them, but is he
who giveth songs in the night; which respects not the praises of the angels in the night, as the Targum; nor the shining of the moon and stars in the night, which cause praise and thankfulness; nor the singing of birds in the night, as of the nightingale; senses some give into: but matter and cause of rejoicing in the night, either taken literally, as the mercies of the day, which, when reflected upon when men come to lie down on their beds at night, and commune with their hearts there, afford them songs of praise, see Psalm 42:8. Or the mercies of the night, as sweet refreshing sleep, and preservation in safety from all dangers by fire, thieves, &c. all which are of God; and, when duly considered, will direct to encompass him with songs of deliverance, see Psalm 137:2. Or, figuratively, the night sometimes signifying a time of calamity, affliction, and distress, either on temporal or spiritual accounts; and when men seek to him in such a night with their whole hearts, and he is pleased to visit them in a gracious manner, and favour them with his presence and the discoveries of his love, this occasions songs of praise to him, Isaiah 26:9. But when men are unconcerned about and not thankful for the mercies of the day and of the night, though these administer songs unto them, it is no wonder that, when they cry through oppression, they are not heard.But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. The explanation of the anomaly.
Where is God] The language of one devoutly seeking God.
songs in the night] They seek not God in truth, who by sudden deliverances (comp. ch. Job 34:20; Job 34:25) fills the mouth of the afflicted with singing, Psalm 32:7.Verse 10. - But none saith, Where is God my Maker? The oppressed, in many cases, do not appeal to God at all. They mutter and complain and groan because of their afflictions; but they have not enough faith in God to cry to him. Or, if they do so cry, it is not in a right spirit; it is despondingly, despairingly, not confidently or cheerfully. God is one who giveth songs in the night. The truly pious man sings hymns of praise in his affliction, as Paul and Silas did in the jail at Philippi, looking to God with faith and a lively hope for deliverance.
2 Dost thou consider this to be right,
Sayest thou: my righteousness exceedeth God's,
3 That thou sayest, what advantage is it to thee,
What doth it profit me more than my sin?
4 I will answer thee words,
And thy companions with thee.
The neutral זאת, Job 35:2, refers prospectively to כּי־תאמר, Job 35:3: this that thou sayest. חשׁב with acc. of the obj. and ל of the predicate, as Job 33:10, comp. Job 13:24, and freq. The second interrogative clause, Job 35:2, is co-ordinate with the first, and the collective thought of this ponderous construction, Job 35:2, Job 35:3, is this: Considerest thou this to be right, and thinkest thou on this account to be able to put thy righteousness above the divine, that, as thou maintainest, no righteousness on the side of God corresponds to this thy righteousness, because God makes no distinction between righteousness and the sin of man, and allows the former to go unrewarded? צדקי (for which Olsh. wishes to read צדקתּי, as Job 9:27 אמרתי for אמרי) forms with מאל a substantival clause: justitia mea est prae Deo (prae divina); מן comparative as Job 32:2, comp. on the matter Job 34:5, not equivalent to ἀπό as Job 4:17. כי־תאמר is first followed by the oratio obliqua: what it (viz., צדקך) advantageth thee, then by the or. directa (on this change vid., Ew. 338, a): what profit have I((viz., בצדקי), prae peccato meo; this מן is also comparative; the constantly ambiguous combination would be allowable from the fact that, according to the usage of the language, "to obtain profit from anything" is expressed by הועיל בּ, not by הועיל מן. Moreover, prae peccato meo is equivalent to plus quam inde quod pecco, comp. Psalm 18:24, מעוני, Hosea 4:8 אל־עונם. We have already on Job 34:9 observed that Job has not directly said (he cites it, Job 21:15, as the saying of the ungodly) what Elihu in Job 35:3 puts into his mouth, but as an inference it certainly is implied in such utterances as Job 9:22. Elihu's polemic against Job and his companions (רעיך are not the three, as lxx and Jer. translate, but the אנשׁי און, to whom Job is likened by such words as Job 34:8, Job 34:36) is therefore not unauthorized; especially since he assails the conclusion together with its premises. In the second strophe the vindication of the conclusion is now refuted.
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