Will he esteem your riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)No, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.—The words here are doubtful. Some render, “Will He esteem thy riches, that thou be not in distress?” or, “all the forces of thy strength;” others, “Will thy cry avail, that thou be not in distress?” &c.; but there is authority for the Authorised Version.
Nor all the forces of his strength - Not all that gives power and influence to a man - wealth, age, wisdom, reputation, authority, and rank. The meaning is, that God would not regard any of these when a man was rebellious in affliction, and refused in a proper manner to acknowledge his Maker. Of the truth of what is here affirmed, there can be no doubt. Riches, rank, and honors cannot redeem the life of a man. They do not save him from the grave, and from all that is gloomy and revolting there. When God comes forth to deal with mankind, he does not regard their gold, their rank, their splendid robes or palaces, but he deals with them as "men" - and the "happy," the beautiful, the rich, the noble, moulder back, under his hand, to their native dust in the same manner as the most humble peasant. How forcibly should this teach us not to set our hearts on wealth, and not to seek the honors and wealth of the world as our portion!Haggai 2:8. Nor is death to be bribed with it, or put off by it; nor is a "munition" (z) fortress or castle, as some render the word, any defence against it: "nor all the forces of strength". Had a man at his command ever such numerous and powerful armies, they could not protect him from the stroke of death, or deliver him from eternal punishment, the demerit of sin. Though as Job had no riches, no gold, nor troops of soldiers about him; nor was there any great likelihood that this would be his case at death; I should think the words might be better rendered, "will he regard thy cry? no, not in distress; not even the most strong and forcible" cries or entreaties: when the stroke of death is given, the sentence of wrath is passed, and eternal destruction takes place; weeping and wailing will signify nothing: the cries and howlings of the damned in hell are of no avail; their strong cryings, and most intense and earnest entreaties, will have no effect on the Lord; though he is a God of great pity and compassion, and has sympathy with his people in distress, and in all their afflictions is afflicted; yet will have no regard to cries and tears, when the decree is gone forth and carried into execution: the verb from whence the first word is derived is used for "crying" in this chapter, Job 36:13; and the Targum renders it here by supplication and petition; so some other Jewish writers (a) interpret it of crying: and the second word is by several rendered "in straits" (b) and distress; and Cocceius has observed the notion of intense and fervent prayer in the third, and renders the whole pretty near to what has been observed (c).
(z) "non munitionem", Tigurine version. (a) Vid. Aben Ezra, Bar Tzemach, Sephorno. (b) "In angustia", Mercerus, Drusius, Piscator; "in arcto", Cocceius, Schultens. (c) "Num aequalis esset imploration tua non in arcto et omnes contentiones virium", Cocceius.Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. No other ransom will avail,—not riches nor all the power of wealth. Only the purification of suffering will cleanse him from his evil (cf. ch. Job 34:36), and deliver him. Elihu demands with emphasis whether all his riches will be accepted as a ransom? It need not be said that the question is put merely for the purpose of heightening the effect of the idea in Job 36:18, that suffering is the only ransom possible. A similar thought is expressed in Psalm 49:7 : “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; for the redemption of their soul is too precious and it ceaseth for ever.”
The word translated “without stint” (Conant) is lit. without straitness. The word is often used for distress (Job 36:16), and the clause might be rendered: will thy riches suffice (lit. be equal to it, ch. Job 28:19), without distress, i.e. such afflictions as those now suffered? This is rather flat. The A. V. assumes that the expression is the word ore or gold, ch. Job 22:24, differently spelled. This assumption is both improbable in itself and contrary to the balance of the verse.Verse 19. - Will he esteem thy riches! rather, Will thy riches suffice? (Revised Version); or Will they stand the shock of battle? (Schultens). Will they be a sufficient strength to thee in the time of trouble? No, not gold. This rendering is now generally given up, and the words, lo betsar (לא בצר), are taken in connection with the preceding sentence, thus: Will thy riches suffice that thou be not in distress? or, in other words, Will they keep thee out of trouble? If not, will all the forces of thy strength suffice to do so? Assuredly, nothing will avail against the "stroke" of God (ver. 18).
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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