Job 36:26
Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.
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Job 36:26. Behold, God is great — Infinite in majesty, and power, and wisdom, and all perfections, and therefore just in all his ways; and we know him not — Namely, perfectly. Though we see something of him in his works, it is but little in comparison of that which is in him. He is incomprehensibly great in his essence, in his attributes, in his works, and in his ways; and therefore be not so inconsiderate and rash, O Job, as to censure those of his dispensations which thou canst not fully understand. Neither can the number of his years be searched out — He is eternal, as in his being, so in all his counsels, which must be infinitely wise, and therefore above the comprehension of short-lived men.36:24-33 Elihu endeavours to fill Job with high thought of God, and so to persuade him into cheerful submission to his providence. Man may see God's works, and is capable of discerning his hand in them, which the beasts are not, therefore they ought to give him the glory. But while the worker of iniquity ought to tremble, the true believer should rejoice. Children should hear with pleasure their Father's voice, even when he speaks in terror to his enemies. There is no light but there may be a cloud to intercept it. The light of the favour of God, the light of his countenance, the most blessed light of all, even that light has many a cloud. The clouds of our sins cause the Lord to his face, and hinder the light of his loving-kindness from shining on our souls.Behold, God is great, and we know him not - That is, we cannot fully comprehend him; see the notes at Job 11:7-9.

Neither can the number of his years be searched out - That is, he is eternal. The object of what is said here is to impress the mind with a sense of the greatness of God, and with the folly of attempting fully to comprehend the reason of what he does. Man is of a few days, and it is presumption in him to sit in judgment on the doings of one who is from eternity. We may here remark that the doctrine that there is an Eternal Being presiding over the universe, was a doctrine fully held by the speakers in this book - a doctrine far in advance of all that philosophy ever taught, and which was unknown for ages in the lands on which the light of revelation never shone.

26. (Job 37:13). God's greatness in heaven and earth: a reason why Job should bow under His afflicting hand.

know him not—only in part (Job 36:25; 1Co 13:12).

his years—(Ps 90:2; 102:24, 27); applied to Jesus Christ (Heb 1:12).

God is great; infinite in majesty, and power, and wisdom, and all perfections, and therefore just in all his ways. We

know him not, to wit, perfectly. Though we see something of him in his works, as was now said, yet we see and know but little of him in comparison of that which is in him. He is incomprehensibly great in his essence and in his works, and therefore be not so rash, O Job, as to censure those ways of God which thou canst not fully understand. He is from everlasting to everlasting, eternal, as in his being, so in all his counsels; which therefore must be infinitely wise, and above the comprehension of short-lived men. Behold, God is great,.... In his power and might, in his wisdom and knowledge, in his truth and faithfulness, in his love, grace, and mercy, and that to admiration; and it is worthy of notice and attention, which the word "behold", prefixed hereunto, is expressive of: or is "much" or "many" (f); as he is in his persons: for though his essence is one, his persons are more, they are three, Father, Son, and Spirit; in his perfections, of which there is a fulness; in his thoughts, counsels, purposes? and decrees, which respect other persons and things; in his works of creation, providence, and grace, and in the blessings of his goodness, which are so many as not to be reckoned up;

and we know him not; God is to be known by the works of creation, and even by the very Heathen; though such is their inattention to them, that they are said not to know God; yea, even the wisest among them, by all their wisdom, knew not God, 1 Corinthians 1:21; for though they might know there was a God, they knew not who and what he was. God is known by his word among those who are favoured with a divine revelation of him, and especially by true believers in Christ, who know God in Christ, whom to know is life eternal; and yet these know but in part, there is no finding out the Almighty to perfection; God is not known clearly, fully, and perfectly, by any: or "we know it not"; the greatness of God; he is great, but we know not how great he is; his greatness is beyond all conception and expression;

neither can the number of his years be searched out; years are ascribed to God, after the manner of men, otherwise, properly speaking, they are not applicable to him; by which time is measured, and which belongs not to the eternal God; however, the number of his years in an eternity past, and of those to come, cannot be searched out and reckoned up: it requires no great skill in arithmetic to reckon up the years of the oldest man that ever lived; yea, the months, the days, the hours, and minutes, of his life may be counted; but the years of the Most High cannot; this is a phrase expressive of the eternity of him which is, and was, and is to come, and who from everlasting to everlasting is God. He was before the world was, as the creation of it out of nothing shows. Jehovah the Father had a Son, and he loved him before the foundation of the world, and all his people in him; he made an everlasting choice of them in him, before the world began; he made an everlasting covenant with them in him, and gave them grace in him as early as that; he set him up as Mediator from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was; and will be the everlasting and unchangeable portion of his people to all eternity. Cocceius thinks that these words are expressive of the constant love of God to the church, and the continuance of his kingdom in it; and of his most fixed purpose of love to men, and indefatigable care of them.

(f) Sept. "multus", Mercerus, Drusius.

Behold, God is great, {r} and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

(r) Our infirmity hinders us so that we cannot attain the perfect knowledge of God.

26. we know him not] He is so great as to transcend all knowledge of man. The Eternity of God is referred to in the second clause in order to fill the mind more completely with the sense of His greatness.

Chap. Job 36:26-33. The greatness and unsearchableness of God, seen in His marvellous operations in the skies; and exhortation to Job to allow these wonders duly to impress him, and to bow beneath the greatness of God, who surpasses all comprehension

The passage has two sections:

First, ch. Job 36:26 to Job 37:13, the incomprehensible greatness of God, seen in the phenomena of the atmosphere: in the formation of the rain-drops (ch. Job 36:26-28); in the thunder-storm (ch. Job 36:29 to Job 37:5); in snow and ice, which seals up the hand of man and makes him powerless before the mighty power of God (Job 36:6-10); in His lading the cloud with moisture, and guiding it to the fulfilment of His varied behests upon the whole earth (Job 36:11-13).

Second, ch. Job 37:14-21, Elihu exhorts Job to consider these marvels of Him which is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working, and to let them duly impress him; bidding him behold the wonderful balancing of the summer cloud in the heavens, when the earth is still with the south wind (Job 36:14-17), and the burnished sky is stretched out like a molten mirror (Job 36:18). With what words shall man come before the Omnipotent to contend with Him! Man, who is dazzled by the light of the sky, how should he behold the terrible glory around God! Therefore all men do fear Him; and He hath not respect to those that are wise in their own understanding (Job 36:19-21).

Ch. Job 36:26 to Job 37:13, The greatness of God and the wonderfulness of His operations in the phenomena of the atmosphere.Verses 26-33. - Elihu passes now to a description, which must be allowed to be eloquent, of the power and providence of God, and especially of his power in the natural world. It is suggested that the storm, which ultimately broke at the theophania (Job 38:1), was already beginning to gather, and turned the thoughts of Elihu in this direction. He begins with the consideration of how rain is generated, passes rapidly to the gathering of the clouds from all quarters, and thence to the loud crashing of the thunder, and the dazzling flashes of the lightning, which illumine even the lowest depths of the sea (ver. 30). The effects of the storm are then spoken of, in words the exact meaning of which is very obscure (vers. 31-33). Verse 26. - Behold, God is great, and we know him not. This is the final lesson which Elihu seeks to impress on his hearers. God is so great their fully to comprehend him transcends the power of the human understanding. However much we know of him, there is more that we do not know. His nature is unsearchable; his depths (1 Corinthians 2:10) are inscrutable; try as we may, we can never "find him out" (Job 37:23). Neither can the number of his years be searched out. Even his duration, being eternal, is beyond us. We cannot realize the thought of pre- and post-eternity. Elihu calls upon Job to consider the uselessness of his vehement contending with God, and then warns him against his dreadful provocation of divine judgment: ne anheles (Job 7:2) noctem illam (with the emphatic art.) sublaturam populos loco suo. לעלות is equivalent to futuram (ההוה or העתידה) ut tollat equals sublaturam (vid., on Job 5:11, לשׂוּם, collocaturus; Job 30:6, לשׁכּן, habitandum est), syncopated from להעלות, in the sense of Psalm 102:25; and תּחתּם signifies, as Job 40:12 (comp. on Habakkuk 3:16), nothing but that just where they are, firmly fixed without the possibility of escape, they are deprived of being. If whole peoples are overtaken by such a fate, how much less shall the individual be able to escape it! And yet Job presses forward on to the tribunal of the terrible Judge, instead of humbling himself under His mighty hand. Oh that in time he would shrink back from this absolute wickedness (און), for he has given it the preference before עני, quiet, resigned endurance. בּחר על signifies, 2 Samuel 19:39, to choose to lay anything on any one; here as בחר בּ, elsewhere to extend one's choice to something, to make something an object of choice; perhaps also under the influence of the phrase התענּג על, and similar phrases. The construction is remarkable, since one would sooner have expected על־עני זה בחרת, hanc elegisti prae toleratione.
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