Job 35:16
Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
35:14-26 As in prosperity we are ready to think our mountain will never be brought low; so when in adversity, we are ready to think our valley will never be filled up. But to conclude that to-morrow must be as this day, is as absurd as to think that the weather, when either fair or foul, will be always so. When Job looked up to God, he had no reason to speak despairingly. There is a day of judgment, when all that seems amiss will be found to be right, and all that seems dark and difficult will be cleared up and set straight. And if there is Divine wrath in our troubles, it is because we quarrel with God, are fretful, and distrust Divine Providence. This was Job's case. Elihu was directed by God to humble Job, for as to some things he had both opened his mouth in vain, and had multiplied words without knowledge. Let us be admonished, in our afflictions, not so much to set forth the greatness of our suffering, as the greatness of the mercy of God.Therefore - In view of all that Elihu had now said, be came to the conclusion that the views of Job were erroneous, and that he had no just cause of complaint. He had suffered no more than he had deserved; he might have obtained a release or mitigation if he had applied to God; and the government of God was just, and was every way worthy of confidence. The remarks of Job, therefore, complaining of the severity of his sufferings and of the government of God, were not based on knowledge, and had in fact no solid foundation. 16. Apodosis to Job 35:15.

in vain—rashly.

Therefore; hence it is manifest.

Open his mouth in vain, i.e. pour forth his complaints without any success, and gets no ease by them.

He multiplieth words without knowledge, thereby discovering his ignorance of God and of himself.

Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain,.... In uttering such unbecoming expressions, observed, and refuted, in his loud complaints of God, and of his dealings with him, and in defence of himself;

he multiplieth words without knowledge; both against God and in answer to others; being in a great measure ignorant of the nature and number of his sins, and of his afflictions; and of the end of God in them, and of the right he had to lay them upon him; us well as of his duty patiently to bear them, and trust in God, and wait his own time for deliverance out of them; and or the truth of this he was afterwards convinced, and acknowledged it, Job 42:3.

Therefore doth Job {h} open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.

(h) For if he punished you as you deserved, you would not be able to open your mouth.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 16. - Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; or, in vanity (comp. ver. 13). He multiplieth words without knowledge; i.e. he is bold to speak words that are vain and insensate, because God has not, as he might have done, punished him for his previous utterances.



Job 35:1614 Although thou sayest, thou seest Him not:

The cause lieth before Him, and thou mayest wait for Him.

15 Now, then, if His wrath hath not yet punished,

Should He not be well acquainted with sullenness?

16 While Job openeth his mouth without reason,

Without knowledge multiplieth words.

The address is not direct to Job exclusively, for it here treats first of the acts of injustice which prevail among men and remain apparently unpunished; but to Job, however, also, so far as he has, Job 23:8-10, comp. Job 19:7; Job 30:20, thus complained concerning his prayer being unanswered. אף כּי signifies elsewhere quanto minus, Job 4:19, or also quanto magis, Proverbs 15:11, but nowhere quanto minus si (Hirz., Hlgst.) or quanto magis si (Hahn), also not Ezekiel 15:5, where it signifies etiamne quum. As it can, however, naturally signify etiam quum, it can also signify etiamsi, etsi, as here and Nehemiah 9:18. This quamvis dicas (opineris) is followed by the oratio obliqua, as Job 35:3. The relation of the matter - says the conclusion, Job 35:14 - is other than thou thinkest: the matter to be decided lies before Him, is therefore well known to Him, and thou mightest only wait for Him (חולל instead of יחל or הוחיל only here, comp. Psalm 37:7, והתחולל לו); the decision, though it pass by, will not fail. In Job 35:15, Job 35:15 is taken by most modern commentators as antecedent to Job 35:16, in which case, apart from the distortions introduced, two interpretations are possible: (1) However now, because His (God's) wrath does not visit ... Job opens his mouth; (2) However now, because He (God) does not visit his (Job's) wrath (comp. on this reference of the אפּו to Job, Job 18:4; Job 36:13, Job 36:18)...Job opens, etc. That a clause with a confirmatory כי is made to precede its principal clause is not without example, Genesis 3:14, Genesis 3:17; but in connection with this arrangement the verb is accustomed always, in the principal clause or in the conclusion, to stand prominent (so that consequently we should expect ויפצה איוב), although in Arabic this position of the words, ואיוב יפצה, and in fact Arab. fâyûb instead of wâyûb (in connection with a difference of the subj. in the antecedent and in the conclusion, vid., De Sacy, Gramm. Arabe, 1201, 2), is regular. Therefore for a long time I thought that Job 35:15 was to be taken interrogatively: And now (ועתּה as logical inference and conclusion, which is here its most probable function, Ew. 353, b) should His wrath not punish (פּקד as absolute as Job 31:14), and should He not take notice, etc., כּי interrogative as 1 Samuel 24:20; 1 Samuel 28:1; 1 Kings 11:22, as הכי (is it so that, or: should it be so that), Job 6:22, and freq., in connection with which, what is said on Genesis 21:7 concerning the modal use of the praet. might be compared on the two praett. But by this rendering the connection of Job 35:16 with what precedes is awkward. Ewald has given the correct rendering (apart from the misunderstanding of פּשׁ): Therefore, because His wrath has not yet punished, He does not know much about foolishness! Job 35:15 requires to be taken as the conclusion to Job 35:15, yet not as an exclamation, but as an interrogative. The interrogative use of ולא is not unusual, 2 Samuel 20:1; Ezekiel 16:43, Ezekiel 16:47, Ezekiel 16:56; Ezekiel 32:27; and just as here, this interrogative ולא is found after a hypothetical antecedent clause, 1 Samuel 20:9; Exodus 8:22.

In connection with this interrogative rendering of Job 35:15, it still remains questionable whether it refers to Job's sin, or sin which prevails among men. The theme of this third speech of Elihu requires the latter reference, although perhaps not without a side-glance at Job's won arrogant behaviour. The translation shows how suitably Job 35:16 is connected with what precedes: Job 35:16 is a circumstantial clause, or, if one is not willing to take it as a subordinate clause, but prefers to take it as standing on a level with Job 35:15, an adversative clause attached with Waw, as is frequently the case: but (nevertheless) Job ... ; פּצה פּה of opening the mouth in derision, as Lamentations 2:16; Lamentations 3:46; הבל is the acc. of closer definition to it ( equals בּהבל), and the הכבּיר, which occurs only here and Job 36:31, signifies without distinction magnificare and multiplicare: Job multiplies high emotional words. As this יכבּיר is, so to speak, Hebraeo-Arabic (Arab. akbara), so is Job 35:15 full of Arabisims: (1) The combination אין פּקד, which has not its like in the Hebrew language (whether it be originally intended as relative or not: non est quod visitaverit, Ew. 321, b), corresponds to the popular Arabic use of lys for lâ, Ges. Thes. i. 82, b; probably אין has the value of an intensive negation (Carey: not at all). (2) The combination ידע בּ, to know about anything, to take knowledge of anything (differently Job 12:9, but comp. Job 24:12 on the idea), is like the Arab. construction of the verb (alima with bi (concerning) or bianna (because that) of the obj.; מאד (on this vid., on Psalm 31:12) belongs not to בפשׁ (which is indeed possible), but, according to Psalm 139:14, to ידע. (3) פּשׁ is especially to be explained from the Arabic. The signification a multitude (Jewish expositors, after פּוּשׁ, Niph. se diffundere, Nahum 3:18) is not suitable; the signification evil (lxx, Jer., and others: פשׁ equals פשׁע) presents a forcibly mutilated word, and moreover one devoid of significance in this connection; whereas the Arab. fšš (but not in its derivatives, fashsh, empty-headed; fâshûsh, empty-headedness, imbecility, with its metaphorical sense) indicates a development of signification which leads to the desired end, especially in the Syro-Arabic usage most natural here. The Arab. verb fšš (פשׁשׁ, cogn. Arab. fšr, frš, to extend, expandere) is used originally of water (fashsh el-mâ): to overflow its dam, to overflow its banks, whence a valley by the lake of el-Hgne, into which the waters of the lake flow after the winter rains, is called el-mefeshsh; then of a leathern bottle: to run out (tarf mefshûsh, an emptied bottle), of a tumour (waram): to disperse, disappear, and tropically of anger (el-chulq): to break forth, vent itself on anything, hence the phrase: dost thou make me a mefeshshe (an object for the venting) of thine anger? From this Arab. fšš (distinct from Arab. faš med. Waw, to swim on the surface, trop. to be above, not to allow one's self to be kept down, and med. Je, comp. פושׁ, Habakkuk 1:8, Jeremiah 50:11, Malachi 4:2, signifies to be proud) is פּשׁ, formed after the forms בּד, מד, מס, a synon. of זדון, or even of עברה in the signification of excessive haughtiness, pride that bursts forth violently.

(Note: The signification expandere also underlies the noun fishshe, the lungs (in Egypt.); the signification discutere (especially carminare, to card wool), which the Talmud. פשׁפשׁ also has, is only a shade of the same signification; the origin of the trop. signification fatuum esse is clear from 'gaus fashûsh, empty nuts. The rice from the Palestine valley of Hle, it is somewhere said, is worse than the Egyptian, because (what is a fault in the East) in cooking tufeshfish, i.e., it bursts, breaks in pieces (comp. on the other hand: if the seed for sowing sinks to the bottom when put into water, it is good; if it swims on the surface, jefûsh, it is bad). The Piel of this fashsha signifies to cause the water to overflow, trop. fashshasha qalbahu, he gave air to his heart, i.e., he revealed a secret which burdened him. A proverb says: the market (with its life and changing scenes) is a feshshâsh of cares, i.e., consoles a trouble heart. In the Hiph. one says in like manner proverbially, el-bukâ jufishsh, weeping removes the anguish of the soul. - Wetzst.)

Thus, even at the close of this third speech of Elihu, the Arabic, and in fact Syro-Arabic colouring, common to this section with the rest of the book, is confirmed; while, on the other hand, we miss the bold, original figures which up to Job 31:1 followed like waves one upon another, and we perceive a deficiency of skill, as now and then between Koheleth and Solomon. The chief thought of the speech we have also heard already from the three friends and Job himself. That the piety of the pious profits himself without involving God in any obligation to him, Eliphaz has already said, Job 22:2.; and that prayer that is heard in time of need and the unanswered cry of the godly and the ungodly are distinct, Job said, Job 27:9. Elihu, however, deprives these thoughts of their hitherto erroneous application. If piety gives nothing to God which He ought to reward, Job dare not regard his affliction, mysterious as it is to him, as unjust; and if the godly do not directly experience the avenging wrath of God on the haughtiness of their oppressors, the question, whether then their prayer for help is of the right kind, is more natural than the complain of a want of justice in God's government of the world. Job is silent also after this speech. It does not contain the right consolation; it contains, however, censure which he ought humbly to receive. It touches his heart. But whether it touches the heart of the idea of the book, is another question.

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