Job 35:10
But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
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(10) 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.

35:9-13 Job complained that God did not regard the cries of the oppressed against their oppressors. This he knew not how to reconcile the justice of God and his government. Elihu solves the difficulty. Men do not notice the mercies they enjoy in and under their afflictions, nor are thankful for them, therefore they cannot expect that God should deliver them out of affliction. He gives songs in the night; when our condition is dark and melancholy, there is that in God's providence and promise, which is sufficient to support us, and to enable us even to rejoice in tribulation. When we only pore upon our afflictions, and neglect the consolations of God which are treasured up for us, it is just in God to reject our prayers. Even the things that will kill the body, cannot hurt the soul. If we cry to God for the removal of an affliction, and it is not removed, the reason is, not because the Lord's hand is shortened, or his ear heavy; but because we are not sufficiently humbled.But none saith - That is, none of the oppressed and down-trodden say. This is the solution which Elihu gives of what appeared so mysterious to Job, and of what Elihu regarded as the source of the bitter complaints of Job. The solution is, that when people are oppressed they do not apply to God with a proper spirit, and look to him that they may find relief. It was a principle with Elihu, that if when a man was afflicted he would apply to God with a humble and penitent heart, he would hear him, and would withdraw his hand; see this principle fully stated in 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.

10-13. But the reason is that the innocent sufferers often do not humbly seek God for succor; so to their "pride" is to be laid the blame of their ruin; also because (Job 35:13-16) they, as Job, instead of waiting God's time in pious trust, are prone to despair of His justice, when it is not immediately visible (Job 33:19-26). If the sufferer would apply to God with a humbled, penitent spirit, He would hear.

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.

But none saith, where is God my Maker?.... Or "Makers" (y), as in 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.

(y) "factores mei"; Drusius, Mercerus, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens; so Broughton.

But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
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. Job 35:10 9 By reason of the multitude of oppressions they raise a cry,

They call for help by reason of the arm of the great,

10 But none saith: Where is Eloah my Creator,

Who giveth songs of praise in the night,

11 Who teacheth us by the beasts of the earth,

And maketh us wise by the fowls of heaven?

12 Then they cry, yet He answereth not,

Because of the pride of evil men.

13 Vanity alone God heareth not,

And the Almighty observeth it not.

In Job 35:9 the accentuation of מרוב with Dech, according to which Dachselt interprets: prae multitudine (oppressionum) oppressi clamabunt, is erroneous; it is to be written מרב, as everywhere else, and this (according to Codd. and the editions of Jablonski, Majus, Michaelis, and others) is to be accented with Munach, which is followed by עשׁוּקים with a vicarious Munach: prae multitudine oppressionum (עשׁוקים like Ecclesiastes 4:1, and probably also Amos 3:9) edunt clamorem (Hiph. in the intensive Kal signification, as e.g., הזנה, to commit fornication, Hosea 4:10). On זרוע, Job 35:9; רבּים are the great or lords (Arab. arbâb). The plur. with a general subj. is followed by the sing. in Job 35:10: and no one says (exactly as in האמר, Job 34:31). Elihu weakens the doubt expressed by Job in Job 24:12, that God allows injustice to prevail, and oppressed innocence remains without vindication. The failure of the latter arises from the fact of the sufferers complaining, but not seeking earnestly the only true helper, God their maker (עשׂים, intensive plur., as Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 54:5; Psalm 149:2), who gives (to which may be compared a passage of the Edda: "Wuodan gives songs to the Scalds") songs (זמרות, from the onomatopoetic זמר) in the night, i.e., who in the night of sorrow puts songs of praise concerning the dawning light of help into the mouth of the sufferers. The singing of the glory of the nightly heavens (Stick., Hahn) is to be as little thought of as the music of the spheres; the night is, as Job 34:20, Job 34:25, the time of unexpectedly sudden change.

In Job 35:11 most expositors (last of all Schlottm.) take the two מן as comparative. Elihu would then, since he feels the absence of the asking after this God on the part of the sufferers, mean the conscious relation in which He has placed us to Himself, and in accordance with which the sufferer should not merely instinctively complain, but humbly bow himself and earnestly offer up prayer. But according to Job 12:7 (comp. Proverbs 6:6, וחכם), it is to be translated: who teaches (מלּפנוּ equals מאלּפנוּ, comp. 2 Samuel 22:40, Psalter i. 160) us from the beasts of the earth (so that from them as a means of instruction teaching comes to us), and makes us wise from the birds of heaven. The fut. interchanging with the part. better accords with this translation, according to which Job 35:11 is a continuation of the assertion of a divine instruction, by means of the animal creation; the thought also suits the connection better, for of the many things that may be learned from the animal creation, prayer here comes under consideration, - the lions roar, Psalm 104:21; the thirsty cattle cry to God, Joel 1:20; the ravens call upon God, Psalm 147:9. It we now determine the collective thought of Job 35:10, that affliction does not drive most men to God the almighty Helper, who will be humbly entreated for help: it is more natural to take שׁם (vid., on Job 23:7) in the sense of then (τότε), than, with reference to the scene of oppression, in the sense of there (lxx, Jer.: ibi). The division of the verse is correct, and H. B. Starcke has correctly interpreted: Tunc clamabunt (sed non respondebit) propter superbiam (insolentiam) malorum. מפּני is not to be connected with יענה in the sense of non exaudiet et servabit, by which constr. praegnans one would expect מן, Psalm 22:22, instead of מפני, nor in the sense of non exaudiet propter (Hirz., Schlottm.), for the arrogant רעים are not those who complain unheard: but, as the connection shows, those from whom the occasion of complaint proceeds. Therefore: not allowing themselves to be driven to God by oppression, they cry then, without, however, being heard of God, by reason of the arrogance of evil men which they have to endure. Job 35:13 gives the reason of their obtaining no answer: Only emptiness (i.e., mere motion of the lips without the true spirit of prayer) God heareth not, and the Almighty observeth it not. Hahn wrongly denies אך the significations certo and verumtamen; but we prefer the restrictive signification (sheer emptiness or hollowness) which proceeds from the affirmative primary signification

(Note: Vid., Hupfeld in the Zeitschr. fr Kunde des Morgenl. ii.441f.)


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