Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)God will not hear vanity.—Some understand this as part of the cry in Job 35:12 : “Seeing it is all in vain, God doth not hear, neither doth the Almighty regard it.”Job 35:13. Surely God will not hear vanity — Either, 1st, Vain and light persons, that have no true wisdom nor solid piety in them: but are wholly addicted to vain and worldly things, rejoicing immoderately when they have them, and crying out in distress when they have them not. Or, 2d, Vain cries; which proceed not from true penitence, faith, or piety, but only from self-love, and such a sense of misery as is common to men with brute beasts. Neither will the Almighty regard it — Though God be able to help them, as this title of God, the Almighty, implies; and though he be the Judge of the world, as the former name of God, אל, eel, signifies, to whom therefore it belongs to right the oppressed against the oppressor; yet, in this case, he justly refuseth to help them.
1. Vain and light persons, that have no true wisdom or solid piety in them, but are wholly addicted to vain and worldly things, rejoicing immoderately when they have them, and crying out for want of them, as here they do. Or,
2. Vain cries, which proceed not from faith or piety, but only from self-love and a natural sense of their misery; which is common to them with brute beasts. The abstract is here put for the concrete, as wickedness is oft put for wicked men, and pride for proud persons, and the like.
Neither will the Almighty regard it: though God be able to help them, as this title of God implies, and though he be the Judge of the world, as the former name of God signifies, to whom therefore it belongs to right the oppressed against the oppressor, yet in this case he justly refuseth to help them. Ecclesiastes 5:2; or vain and empty prayers, a speech of vanity, as Aben Ezra; which as to the matter of them are about vain and empty things; only for outward mercies, worldly goods; and not for spiritual mercies, or such things as are according to the will of God; but what are pleasing to the flesh, and sought for to consume on the lusts of it, and therefore such prayers are not heard, Psalm 4:6; and as to the manner of them, they are not put up in the name of Christ, nor under the influence of the spirit of Christ, nor in the exercise of any grace, nor with reverence of God, nor with sincerity of soul, not in faith, nor with fervency: or "vanity" is put for vain men, as sin for sinners; such as are proud men, and are vainly puffed up in their fleshly mind. God hears humble penitent sinners, who find mercy with him; and humble saints, to whom he gives more grace; but not proud Pharisees, or men not humbled by afflictions; see Luke 18:11; nor light and empty persons, who are without God and Christ, destitute of the spirit, devoid of all grace, and full of all unrighteousness; unstable ones, who are vanity itself, and lighter than vanity, tossed to and fro like a wave of the sea, and double minded, James 1:6; nor men of vain conversations, that walk in the vanity of their minds, whose words are vain, and especially such as take the name of God in vain; and all whose actions are vain, or such that live a vain and sinful course of life; God hears not sinners, John 9:31;
neither will the Almighty regard it; vanity, vain prayers and vain persons; he regards the prayer of the destitute, the lowly, and the humble, but not the prayer of such as before described; he cannot "look" at, it (b), nor at them: he looks to the poor and contrite, and desires to see their countenance and hear their voice in prayer; but he is of purer eyes thou to look on vain persons and their vain prayers; and a greater contempt cannot be shown to petitioners and their petitions than when those to whom they apply will not so much as look at them, but turn both a deaf ear to them, and their eyes away from them.Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 13. - Surely God will not hear vanity. God will not hear prayers that are rendered "vain" by sin or defect in those who offer them, as by a want of faith, piety, humility, or resignation. Neither will the Almighty regard any such petitions.
And behold the ethereal heights: they are high above thee.
6 If thou sinnest, what dost thou effect with Him?
And if thy transgressions are many, what doest thou to Him?
7 If thou art righteous, what dost thou give Him,
Or what doth He take from thy hand?
8 To man like thee thy godlessness availeth,
And to thee, a son of man, thy righteousness.
Towards heaven he is to direct his gaze, to obtain from the height of heaven a notion of the exaltation of God who dwells above the heavens. The combination הבּיט וראה is like Psalm 80:15 and freq. שׁחקים (שׁחק, Arab. sḥq, to rub in pieces, make thin, therefore the opposite of עבים) are the thin transparent strata of the atmosphere above the hanging clouds. מן after גּבהּ denotes the height that is on the opposite side to the beholder. From the exaltation of God it is then further inferred that it is impossible to exercise any human influence upon Him, by which He might suffer. The pointing wavers here between תּפעל (the common fut. form) and תּפעל(as a contraction of תּפעל after the form אזעם, Numbers 23:8). Human wrong or right doing neither diminishes nor increases His blessedness; injury or advantage is only on the side of man, from whom it proceeds. Others, whom his conduct affect, are not included in Job 35:8 : righteous or ungodly doing, Elihu means to say, as such and with its consequences, belongs solely to the doer himself, the man "like thee" (לאישׁ with Munach, כּמוך with Munach), the son of man, i.e., man, capable of evil as of good, and who always, after deciding in favour of the latter or the former, determines his fortune or misfortune, in distinction from God, who ever remains unchangeably the same in His perfect righteousness. What Elihu here says we have already heard from Eliphaz, Job 22:2., and Job even expresses himself similarly in Job 7:20; but to Elihu's mind it all becomes for Job new and powerful motives to quiet submission, for what objection should Job raise in justification of his complaints concerning his affliction against such sentiments as these, that goodness bears its reward and evil its punishment in itself, and that God's reward of goodness is not a work of indebtedness, nor His punishment of evil a work of necessity? Before such truth he must really hold his peace.
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