Job 36:15
He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.
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(15) He delivereth the poor in his affliction.—The point of Elihu’s discourse is rather that He delivereth the afflicted by his affliction; He makes use of the very affliction to deliver him by it as a means, “and openeth their ears by oppression.”

Job 36:15-16. And openeth their ears — That is, causeth them to hear, and understand, and do the will of God; hearing being often put for obeying; in oppression — That is, in the time of their oppression; or, by oppression, or tribulation, as the means of opening their ears and hearts. He will not deliver all afflicted persons, but only those whose ears he openeth to receive his counsels. Even so would he have removed thee — If thou hadst opened thine ear to God’s counsels, humbled thyself under his correcting hand, and sued to him for mercy; out of the strait into a broad place — Hebrew, מפי צר, mippi tzar, out of the mouth or jaws of tribulation; which, like a wild beast, is ready to swallow thee up, into a state of ease and freedom. That which should be set on thy table — Thy dishes, or the food in them; should be full of fatness — Should be rich, nourishing, agreeable, and delicious. Such are the expressions which Elihu uses to denote that liberty and plenty to which he thought the righteous were entitled; in opposition to confinement and scarcity, the portion of the wicked.

36:15-23 Elihu shows that Job caused the continuance of his own trouble. He cautions him not to persist in frowardness. Even good men need to be kept to their duty by the fear of God's wrath; the wisest and best have enough in them to deserve his stroke. Let not Job continue his unjust quarrel with God and his providence. And let us never dare to think favourably of sin, never indulge it, nor allow ourselves in it. Elihu thinks Job needed this caution, he having chosen rather to gratify his pride and humour by contending with God, than to mortify them by submitting, and accepting the punishment. It is absurd for us to think to teach Him who is himself the Fountain of light, truth, knowledge, and instruction. He teaches by the Bible, and that is the best book; teaches by his Son, and he is the best Master. He is just in all proceedings.He delivereth the poor in his affliction - Margin, "or afflicted." This accords better with the usual meaning of the Hebrew word (עני ‛ânı̂y) and with the connection. The inquiry was not particularly respecting the "poor," but the "afflicted," and the sentiment which Elihu is illustrating is, that when the afflicted call upon God he will deliver them. The object is to induce Job to make such an application to God that he might be rescued from his calamities, and be permitted yet to enjoy life and happiness.

And openeth their ears - Causes them to understand the nature of his government, and the reasons why he visits them in this manner: compare Job 33:16, Job 33:23-27. The sentiment here is a mere repetition of what Elihu had more than once before advanced. It is his leading thought; the "principle" on which he undertakes to explain the reason why God afflicts people, and by which he proposes to remove the difference between Job and his friends.

In oppression - This word expresses too much. It refers to God, and implies that there was something oppressive, harsh, or cruel in his dealings. This is not the idea of Elihu in the language which he uses. The word which he uses here (לחץ lachats) means "that which crushes"; then straits, distress. affliction. Jerome, "in tribulatione." The word "affliction" would express the thought.

15. poor—the afflicted pious.

openeth … ears—(Job 36:10); so as to be admonished in their straits ("oppression") to seek God penitently, and so be "delivered" (Job 33:16, 17, 23-27).

i.e. Causeth them to hear, and understand, and do the will of God; hearing being oft put for obeying. And this latter clause seems to be added, to intimate that he will not deliver all afflicted persons, but only those whose ears he openeth to receive his counsels.

In oppression, i.e. in the time of their oppression. Or, by oppression or tribulation, as the means of opening their ears and hearts.

He delivereth the poor in his affliction,.... The righteous or godly poor; who are not only poor in worldly things, but poor in spirit; who are humbled, brought low, and made contrite, through the afflicting hand of God: these, though the Lord does sooner or later deliver "out" of their afflictions, yet that is not intended here, but a deliverance "in" them; which is done by supporting them under them, by supplying them with his grace to bear them patiently, by granting them his gracious presence for their comfort in them, by stilling the enemy and the avenger, keeping Satan from disturbing them, and freeing them from doubts and fears and unbelief, and by drawing their hearts and affections off of the world, and the things of it, to himself;

and openeth their ears in oppression; while they are oppressed; not only to discipline, correction, and instruction, Job 36:10; but to hear comfortable words spoken, to them by the Lord; who, in the midst of their affliction and oppression, whispers in their ears, and tells them how he loves them, though they are rebuked and chastened by him; how he has chosen them to everlasting life and happiness, though now in the furnace of affliction; that he is their covenant God and Father, and knows and owns their souls in adversity that he has pardoned all their sins, though he takes vengeance on their inventions; and in a little time will free them from all their afflictions and oppressions.

He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.
15. The verse goes back to the great general principle of the use of affliction in God’s hand (Job 36:8 seq.), in order to connect with it the case of Job, and to found an exhortation to him upon it (Job 36:16 seq.). The word in affliction, in oppression, might mean through affliction, &c.

Verse 15. - He delivereth the poor in his affliction; rather, he delivereth the afflicted by his affliction (see the Revised Version). Elihu recurs to what he had said in ver. 10 with respect to the discipline of affliction. The bulk of the afflictions sent by God are, according to him, intended to act medicinally. If the afflicted man receives them aright, they are the very means of his deliverance (comp. Psalm 119:67, 71; Hebrews 12:11). And openeth their ears in oppression; rather, by suffering. Their sufferings lead them to God, cause them to pay more attention to his Word, lead them to open their ears to his inward voice. Job 36:1513 Yet the hypocrites in heart cherish wrath,

They cry not when He hath chained them.

14 Thus their soul dieth in the vigour of youth,

And their life is like that of the unclean.

15 Yet He delivereth the sufferer by his affliction,

And openeth their ear by oppression.

He who is angry with God in his affliction, and does not humbly pray to Him, shows thereby that he is a חנף, one estranged from God (on the idea of the root, vid., i. 216), and not a צדיק. This connection renders it natural to understand not the divine wrath by אף: θησαυρίζουσιν ὀργήν (Rosenm. after Romans 2:5), or: they heap up wrath upon themselves (Wolfson, who supplies עליהם), but the impatience, discontent, and murmuring of man himself: they cherish or harbour wrath, viz., בּלבּם (comp. Job 22:22, where שׁים בלב signifies to take to heart, but at the same time to preserve in the heart). Used thus absolutely, שׂים signifies elsewhere in the book, to give attention to, Job 4:20; Job 24:12; Job 34:23, or (as Arab. wḍ‛) to lay down a pledge; here it signifies reponunt s. recondunt (with an implied in ipsis), as also Arab. šâm, fut. i, to conceal with the idea of sinking into (immittentem), e.g., the sword in the sheath. With תּמת, for ותּמת (Isaiah 50:2) or ותמת, the punishment which issues forth undistinguished from this frustration of the divine purpose of grace follows ἀσυνδέτως, as e.g., Hosea 7:16. חיּה interchanges with נפשׁ, as Job 33:22, Job 33:28; נער (likewise a favourite word with Elihu) is intended just as Job 33:25, and in the Psalm 88:16, which resembles both the Elihu section and the rest of the book. The Beth of בּקּדשׁים has the sense of aeque ac (Targ. היך), as Job 34:36, comp. תּחת, Job 34:26. Jer. translates inter effeminatos; for קדשׁים (heathenish, equivalent to קדושׁים, as כּמרים, heathenish, equivalent to כּהנים) are the consecrated men, who yielded themselves up, like the women in honour of the deity, to passive, prematurely-enervating incontinence (vid., Keil on Deuteronomy 23:18), a heathenish abomination prevailing now and again even in Israel (1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:47), which was connected with the worship of Astarte and Baal that was transferred from Syria, and to which allusion is here made, in accordance with the scene of the book. For the sufferer, on the other hand, who suffers not merely of necessity, but willingly, this his suffering is a means of rescue and moral purification. Observe the play upon the words יחלּץ and בּלחץ. The Beth in both instances is, in accordance with Elihu's fundamental thought, the Beth instrum.

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