Job 36:12
But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.
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36:5-14 Elihu here shows that God acts as righteous Governor. He is always ready to defend those that are injured. If our eye is ever toward God in duty, his eye will be ever upon us in mercy, and, when we are at the lowest, will not overlook us. God intends, when he afflicts us, to discover past sins to us, and to bring them to our remembrance. Also, to dispose our hearts to be taught: affliction makes people willing to learn, through the grace of God working with and by it. And further, to deter us from sinning for the future. It is a command, to have no more to do with sin. If we faithfully serve God, we have the promise of the life that now is, and the comforts of it, as far as is for God's glory and our good: and who would desire them any further? We have the possession of inward pleasures, the great peace which those have that love God's law. If the affliction fail in its work, let men expect the furnace to be heated till they are consumed. Those that die without knowledge, die without grace, and are undone for ever. See the nature of hypocrisy; it lies in the heart: that is for the world and the flesh, while perhaps the outside seems to be for God and religion. Whether sinners die in youth, or live long to heap up wrath, their case is dreadful. The souls of the wicked live after death, but it is in everlasting misery.But if they obey not - If those who are afflicted do not turn to God, and yield him obedience, they must expect that he will continue their calamities until they are cut off.

They shall perish by the sword - Margin, as in Hebrew "pass away." The word rendered "sword" (שׁלח shelach) means properly "anything sent" - as a spear or an arrow - "a missile" - and then an instrument of war in general. It may be applied to any weapon that is used to produce death. The idea here is, that the man who was afflicted on account of the sins which he had committed, and who did not repent of them and turn to God, would be cut off. God would not withdraw his hand unless he acknowledged his offences. As he had undertaken the work of discipline, he could not consistently do it, for it would be in fact "yielding" the point to him whom he chastised. This "may" be the case now, and the statement here made by Elihu may involve a principle which will explain the cause of the death of many persons, even of the professedly pious. They are devoted to gain or amusement; they seek the honors of the world for their families or themselves, and in fact they make no advances in piety, and are doing nothing for the cause of religion. God lays his hand upon them at first gently. They lose their health, or a part of their property. But the discipline is not effectual. He then lays his band on them with more severity, and takes from them an endeared child. Still, all is ineffectual. The sorrow of the affliction passes away, and they mingle again in the frivolous and busy scenes of life as worldly as ever, and exert no influence in favor of religion. Another blow is needful, and blow after blow is struck; but nothing overcomes their worldliness, nothing makes them devotedly and sincerely useful, and it becomes necessary to remove them from the world.

They shall die without knowledge - That is, without any true knowledge of the plans and government of God, or of the reasons why he brought these afflictions upon them. In all their sufferings they never "saw" the design. They complained, and murmured, and charged God with severity, but they never understood that the affliction was intended for their own benefit.

12. (Job 33:18).

without knowledge—that is, on account of their foolishness (Job 4:20, 21).

If they; the righteous, spoken of Job 35:7, opposed to the hypocrites here following, Job 35:13; for even good men may sometimes be disobedient to Divine admonitions, and may suffer deeply, yea, even death itself, for their folly: see 1 Corinthians 11:30.

Without knowledge; in or for their ignorance, or inadvertency, or folly. Or, because they are without knowledge; because they are foolish, or brutish, and will not learn the lessons which God so plainly teacheth them. But if they obey not,.... Who seem to be righteous and are not; and when afflicted are not submissive to the will of God; attend not to the voice of his providence; receive no instruction thereby; but kick against the pricks, and rebel, against God; complain of him, and murmur at his dealings with them:

they shall perish by the sword; or they shall pass away out of the world by it, or by some missive weapon: they shall die a violent death, by the sword of justice, of the civil magistrate, or by the sword of men; or, as a Jewish commentator (r) paraphrases it, by the dart of death, by the sword of Satan, they shall pass out of this world;

and they shall die without knowledge; without knowledge of their death being near, it coming upon them suddenly and at unawares; or without knowledge of themselves and of their miserable and lost estate; and without knowledge of Christ, and of God in Christ, and of the way of salvation by him. Or they shall perish for lack of knowledge; because they have none; through ignorance and that affected; they know not nor will they understand, but despise the means of knowledge, and hate instruction.

(r) R. Simeon, Bar Tzemach.

But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die {g} without knowledge.

(g) That is, in their folly or obstinacy, and so shall cause their own destruction.

Verse 12. - But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword. Not, necessarily, by a material sword, but by the sword of God's vengeance, which slays in a thousand different manners, piercing through all obstacles, and reaching to the heart and spirit. And they shall die without knowledge. Either without knowing that they are about to die, or in their wilful ignorance of God's intentions in chastising them. 5 Behold, God is mighty, and yet doth not act scornfully,

Mighty in power of understanding.

6 He preserveth not the life of the ungodly,

And to the afflicted He giveth right.

7 He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous,

But with kings on the throne

He establisheth them for ever, and they are exalted.

The obj. that must be mentally supplied to ימאס ולא is, as in Job 42:6, to be derived from the connection. The idea of the verb is, as in Job 8:20 : He is exalted, without however looking down disdainfully (non despicit) from His height, or more definitely: without setting Himself above the justice due to even the meanest of His creatures - great in power of heart (comp. Job 34:33 אנשׁי לבב, Arab. ûlû-l-elbâb), i.e., understanding (νοῦς πνεῦμα), to see through right and wrong everywhere and altogether. Job 36:6, Job 36:7 describe how His rule among men evinces this not merely outward but spiritual superiority coupled with condescension to the lowly. The notion of the object, ואת־מלכים לכּסּא (as Isaiah 9:11 the subject), becomes the more distinctly prominent by virtue of the fut. consec. which follows like a conclusion, and takes it up again. Ewald thinks this explanation contrary to the accents and the structure of the sentence itself; but it is perfectly consistent with the former, and indisputably syntactic (Ges. 129, 2, b, and Ew. himself, 344, b). Psalm 9:5, comp. Psalm 132:12, Isaiah 47:1, shows how לכסא is intended (He causes them to sit upon the throne). Job 5:11; 1 Samuel 2:8; Psalm 113:7. are parallel passages.

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