Who has enjoined him his way? or who can say, You have worked iniquity?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity? - Thou hast done wrong. The object of Elihu is here to show that no one has a right to say this; no one could, in fact, say it. It was to be regarded as an indisputable point that God is always right, and that however dark his dealings with people may seem, the "reason" why they are mysterious "never is, that God is wrong."His way, wherein he would walk, i.e. what courses and methods he should use in the administration of human affairs. If he had a superior Lord who gave him laws for his actions, he might be accountable to him, and questionable for what he did; but he is supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable, who hath no law to regulate him but his own holy nature and blessed will. And therefore how rash, and impudent, and absurd a thing is it for any man to censure his proceedings!
Thou hast wrought iniquity; thou hast swerved from the law and rule given to thee. Isaiah 40:14; and particularly whom he should afflict, in what manner he should do it, when and how long he should continue it; all which he does according to his sovereign will, and is not to be controlled: and, in a spiritual sense, no man can or ought to enjoin and prescribe to him whom he should save, and in what way; he saves whom he pleases, and in his own way, even by his Son Jesus Christ, and no other; or "who hath visited", or "should visit on him", or "with him his way" (e)? who can take upon him to examine into his ways, and scrutinize them, and call him to an account for what he does? no man can overlook his ways and works, or censure him for any of his actions:
or, who can say, thou hast wrought iniquity? this may be said of every man, but it cannot be said of God by any without sin; for, as there is no iniquity in his nature, there can be none in his works; not any in his works of providence, no, not in the afflictions of his people; just and true are all his ways.Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)23. The verse expresses the idea that God is supreme; none enjoins or appoints Him His way; He is “God over all;” and hence none can pass judgment upon His doings.Verse 23. - Who hath enjoined him his way? (comp. Job 34:13). While God is thus the universal and all-perfect Teacher, there are some who would fain instruct him, dictate the course which he ought to pursue, improve and amend his universe. Something of this spirit has appeared in Job's remonstrances, which seem to insinuate that the Divine government of the world might be carried on better than it is (see Job 9:22-24; Job 10:3; Job 13:20-26; Job 16:11-17, etc.). Elihu's intention is to reprove Job for his presumption. Or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity? Job has not said this; but he has gone near to saying it (Job 9:24; Job 10:3; Job 21:7-26; Job 24:2-12, etc.); compare the comment on Job 34:5-12.
To a broad place, whose ground hath no straitness,
And the adorning of thy table shall be full of fatness.
17 Yet thou art become full of the judging of the evil-doer:
Judging and judgment lay hold on one another!
18 For let not anger indeed entice thee to scorning,
And let not the greatness of the ransom mislead thee.
With Job 36:16 Elihu passes over to the application to Job of what he said in the preceding strophe. Since it is usual to place אף (like גּם and אך) at the beginning of the sentence, although not belonging to the member of the sentence which immediately follows, ואף הסיתך for והסית אף אתך cannot be remarkable. The praet. הסיתך is not promissory, but Elihu says with what design God has decreed the present suffering for Job. הסית מן is like 2 Chronicles 18:31 : out of distress (צר for צר by Rebia magnum), which has him in its jaws, and threatens to swallow him, God brings him away to great prosperity; a thought which Elihu expresses in the imagery of the Psalms of a broad place and a bountiful table (comp. e.g., Psalm 4:2; Psalm 23:5). רחב is locative, and לא־מוּצק תּחתּיה is either a relative clause: whose beneath (ground) is not straitened, no-straitness (in which case מוּצק would not be constr. from the n. hophal. מוּצק, Isa.Isa 9:1, but absol. after the form מחנק, Job 7:15, Ew. 160, c, Anm. 4), Saad. Arab. lâ ḍı̂q fı̂ mûḍ‛hâ (cujus in loco non angustiae); or it is virtually an adj.: without (לא equals בּלא, as Job 34:24), comp. on Job 12:24) straitness of what is beneath them, eorum quae sub se habet (comp. on Job 28:5). רחב is fem., like רחוב, Daniel 9:25. A special clause takes the place of the locative, Job 36:16 : and the settling or spreading, i.e., the provision (from נוּח, to come down gradually, to seat one's self) of thy table shall be full of fatness. מלא (whether it be adj. or verb) is treated by attraction, according to the gender of the governed noun; and it is unnecessary, with Rosenm. and others, to derive נחת from נחת (Aram. for ירד).
In Job 36:17, דּין is intended of Job's negative judgment concerning God and His dealings (comp. Psalm 76:9, where it signifies a judicial decision, and Proverbs 22:10, where it signifies a wrangling refusal of a fair decision). Job 36:17 is not a conditional clause (Hahn), in which case the praet. hypothet. would have a prominent position, but an adversative predicative clause: but (nevertheless) thou art full of the judging of the evil-doer (evil judging); after which, just as ἀσυνδέτως as Job 36:14, the sad issue in which this judging after the manner of evil-doers results is expressed: such judging and judgment border closely upon one another. Rd., Dietr., and Schlottm. have wrongly reproduced this idea, discerned by Ges., when they translate: judgment and sentence (guilt and punishment) shall seize thee. יתמכוּ, prehendunt scil. se (Ebr.: put forth the hand), is used like the Aram. סמך, to draw nearer, fasten together (Rabb. סמוּך, near at hand), Arab. tamâsaka (from Arab. msk equals סמך, as e.g., hanash equals נחשׁ). In Job 36:18 we leave the signification thick milk or cream (חמה equals חמאה, as Job 29:6) to those who persuade themselves that cream can be metaphorically equivalent to superfluity (Ew., Hirz., Vaih., Hlgst.). Renan's translation: N'espre pas dtourner la colre de Dieu par une amende, we also leave as a simple puzzle to its discoverer, who, with this one exception, is destitute of thoughts proper to the book of Job. In general, the thought, "do not imagine by riches, by a great ransom, to be able to satisfy the claims of God," is altogether out of place here. Moreover, חמה, which, as e.g., דּאגה, Proverbs 12:25 (Ew. 174, g), is construed as masc., cannot be understood of God's wrath, since the poet by הסית will not at one time have ascribed to God a well-meant incitation, at another an enticement in malam partem. That which allures is Job's own חמה, and that not the excitement of his affliction (Hahn), but of his passion; comp. אף, Job 36:13. שׂפק is, however, to be explained according to Job 34:37, comp. Job 27:23 (clapping of hands equals derision); and כּפר signifies reconciliation or expiation, as Job 33:24. Elihu admonishes Job not to allow himself to be drawn by the heat of passion into derision, or to deride; nor to be allured from the right way by the ransom which is required of him as the price of restoration to happiness, viz., humble submission to the divine chastisement, as though this ransom were exceeding great. The connection is clear: an adverse verdict (דּין) and condemnation (משׁפּט) are closely connected; for (כּי) hastiness of temper, let it not (פּן( ton ti ) lead thee astray ... thou wouldst not escape the judgment of God!
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