Job 35:11
Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Who teacheth us.—Or it may be, Who teacheth us by, and maketh us wise by, &c. Then the sense will be that the oppression is so severe that the victims of it forget that God can give songs in the night, and that He has favoured men more than the beasts of the field, and that, as not one sparrow can fall to the ground without Him, so He has even numbered the hairs of those who are of more value to Him than many sparrows.

Job 35:11. Who teacheth us more than the beasts — This is mentioned as a further aggravation of men’s neglect of God in their misery. God hath given to men those gifts which he hath denied to beasts, reason and understanding, whereby they might become acquainted with God and themselves, and with their obligations to him, and their dependance upon him. And therefore they are inexcusable for not using that reason and understanding, by calling on God, and seeking help of him in the time of trouble. If they thus take no notice of God, it is no wonder if God takes no notice of them.

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.Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth - Who is able to teach us mere than the irrational creation; that is, in regard to the nature and design of affliction. They suffer without knowing why. They are subjected to toil and hardships; endure pain, and die, without any knowledge why all this occurs, and without any rational view of the government and plans of God. It is not, or need not be so, says Elihu, when man suffers. He is intelligent. He can understand why he is afflicted. He has only to make use of his superior endowments, and apply to his Maker, and he will see so much of the reason of his doings that he will acquiesce in the wise arrangement. Perhaps there is an implied reflection here on those who suffered generally, as if they manifested no more intelligence than the brute creation. They make no use of intellectual endowments. They do not examine the nature of the divine administration, and they do not apply to God for instruction and help. If they should do so, he would teach them so that they would acquiesce and rejoice in his government and dealings. According to this view, the meaning is, that if people suffer without relief and consolation, it is to be attributed to their stupidity and unwillingness to look to God for light and aid, and not at all to his injustice. 11. Man's spirit, which distinguishes him from the brute, is the strongest proof of God's beneficence; by the use of it we may understand that God is the Almighty helper of all sufferers who humbly seek Him; and that they err who do not so seek Him.

fowls—(see on [539]Job 28:21).

This is mentioned as a further aggravation of men’s neglect of God in their misery. God hath given to men those gifts which he hath denied to beasts, reason and religion, wisdom to know God and themselves, and their obligations to God, and their dependence upon him. And therefore it ill becometh them to lie like brute creatures, roaring and crying out in their miseries, without taking any notice of God in way of prayer or praise; and if they do so, it is no wonder if God takes no notice of them.

Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth?.... Who are taught and know much, especially some of them; but not so much as man, see Isaiah 1:3;

and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? who are wise to provide food and nests for themselves and their young; and such as are birds of passage, as the turtledove, the crane, the stork, and the swallow, to know the time of their coming and returning, see Jeremiah 8:7. But then neither the beasts not; the fowls, though they are endowed with much knowledge and sagacity, according to their natures, yet not with reason and understanding, as men are, so as to make reflections on things they see and hear, and reason and discourse about them; nor are they capable of being taught and attaining to knowledge and wisdom as men are, by the works of God, of creation, and providence; and by the word of God, the Scriptures of truth, which are able to make men wise unto salvation; and by the Spirit of God, who teaches all things of a spiritual nature. God not only endows men with reason, but with sentiments of religion, which brutes are incapable of: he gives to men wisdom in the hidden part; he puts in them his fear, which is the beginning of wisdom; he makes them wise to know God in Christ, and to know his Son Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal; and he gives them knowledge of a future state, and hope of immortality and eternal life. Wherefore it becomes them to bear afflictions and oppressions with a fortitude of mind, and patiently submit to the will of God, and wait his time for deliverance, having called upon him in faith, and left their case with him; but if they only cry, as the brutes do under their burdens, it need not seem strange they are not heard and answered; since God has given them more wisdom and knowledge than they, and therefore should behave after another manner; though sometimes they act a part inferior to them, Jde 1:10.

Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. God has given to men a higher wisdom than to the beasts, and communicates to them a continuous instruction through His fellowship and ways. Their appeal to heaven should not be the mere instinctive cry of suffering, but the voice of trust and submission.

Verse 11. - Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven. Elihu probably alludes to Job's defence of his complaints as natural, like the instinctive cries of beasts and birds (Job 6:5). God, he says, has given to man a higher nature than he has bestowal on the brutes; and this nature should teach him to carry his griefs to God in a proper spirit- a spirit of faith, piety, humility, and resignation. If men cried to him in this spirit, they would obtain an answer. If they do not obtain an answer, it must be that the proper spirit is lacking (comp. James 4:3). Job 35:11 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.)

continued...

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