Your wickedness may hurt a man as you are; and your righteousness may profit the son of man.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 35:6-8 is, to show that God is independent of people, and is not governed in his dealings with them on the principles which regulate their conduct with each other. One man may be greatly benefited by the conduct of another, and may feel under obligation to reward him for it; or he maybe greatly injured in his person, property, or reputation, by another, and will endeavor to avenge himself. But nothing of this kind can happen to God. If he rewards, therefore, it must be of his grace and mercy, not because he is laid under obligation; if he inflicts chastisement, it must be because people deserve it, and not because God has been injured. In this reasoning Elihu undoubtedly refers to Job, whom he regards as having urged a "claim" to a different kind of treatment, because he supposed that he "deserved" it. The general principle of Elihu is clearly correct, that God is entirely independent of human beings; that neither our good nor evil conduct can effect his happiness, and that consequently his dealings with us are those of impartial justice.
and thy righteousness may profit the son of man; may profit a man himself (, Job 35:3), and others, but neither for justification before God; but godliness is profitable to a man's self, both for this life and that to come, and good works are profitable to other men; for what reasons they are to be performed and maintained, see 1 Timothy 4:8. Some are of real and direct profit to men, as acts of beneficence to them, and all as being examples to them; but then no works of righteousness can be profitable to God, they adding nothing to him; which is what Elihu undertook to answer to.Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. The verse reads literally: thy wickedness is to (touches, affects) a man as thou art, and thy righteousness is to one of mankind, i. e. thyself who art a man; for it cannot touch God who is exalted above such influence.Verse 8. - Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son (rather, a son) of man. Job must not think, Elihu means, that, because his good actions benefit and his bad actions injure his fellow men, therefore they must also in the one case injure and in the other benefit God. The cases are not parallel. God is too remote, too powerful, too great, to be touched by his actions. Job has done wrong, therefore, to expect that God would necessarily reward his righteousness by prosper us, happy life, and worse to complain because his expectations have been disappointed. It is of his mere spontaneous goodness and bounty that God rewards the godly.
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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