Job 36:4
For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with you.
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(4) He that is perfect in knowledge.—We may presume that he meant God; but in the Authorised Version it looks very much as though he meant himself. (Comp. Job 37:16.) So apparently Vulg., “perfecta scientia probabitur tibi.”

36:1-4 Elihu only maintained that the affliction was sent for his trial; and lengthened because Job was not yet thoroughly humbled under it. He sought to ascribe righteousness to his Maker; to clear this truth, that God is righteous in all his ways. Such knowledge must be learned from the word and Spirit of God, for naturally we are estranged from it. The fitness of Elihu's discourse to the dispute between Job and his friends is plain. It pointed out to Job the true reason of those trials with which he had been pointed out to Job the true reason of those trials with which he had been visited. It taught that God had acted in mercy towards him, and the spiritual benefit he was to derive from them. It corrected the mistake of his friends, and showed that Job's calamities were for good.For truly my words shall not be false - This is designed to conciliate attention. It is a professed purpose to state nothing but truth. Even in order to vindicate the ways of God he would state nothing but what would bear the most rigid examination. Job had charged on his friends a purpose "to speak wickedly for God;" to make use of unsound arguments in vindicating his cause, (see the notes at Job 13:7-8), and Elihu now says that "he" will make use of no such reasoning, but that all that he says shall be founded in strict truth.

He that is perfect in knowledge is with thee - This refers undoubtedly to Elihu himself, and is a claim to a clear understanding of the subject. He did not doubt that he was right, and that he had some views which were worthy of their attention. The main idea is, that he was of "sound" knowledge; that his views were not sophistical and captious; that they were founded in truth, and were worthy, therefore. of their profound attention.

4. I will not "speak wickedly for God," as the friends (Job 13:4, 7, 8)—that is, vindicate God by unsound arguments.

he that is perfect, &c.—Rather, as the parallelism requires, "a man of integrity in sentiments is with thee" (is he with whom thou hast to do). Elihu means himself, as opposed to the dishonest reasonings of the friends (Job 21:34).

I will not speak any thing against my own conscience, nor against truth, either to flatter God, or to vex thee, as thou supposest thy other friends have done, Job 13:7, and elsewhere.

He that is perfect in knowledge is with thee. This is meant either,

1. Of God. Thou hast to do with a God of perfect knowledge, by whom all Shy words and actions. are weighed; and therefore hast need to be more wary and circumspect in thy expressions and behaviour. Or rather,

2. Of himself, as the former part of the verse is. And he speaketh of himself in the third person, for modesty’s sake. He speaks not of absolute, but of comparative perfection. And whatsoever perfection of knowledge he had, he doth not ascribe it to himself, but to God’s Spirit, Job 32:8. And the meaning may be this, Thou hast not to do with a novice, but with one who hath accurately considered, and through God’s grace doth fully understand, these matters; therefore hearken to me. But the word rendered

perfect signifieth also sincere, or upright, or right. And this may seem best to agree with the former clause, wherein he saith that he would not speak what he knew to be false; and now he adds, that he was and would be upright in the use of his knowledge, or in the delivery of his opinion in this matter, and not be biassed by any passion or prejudice, either to speak otherwise than he thought, or to judge otherwise than he should. For truly my words shall not be false,.... But strictly true; he would take the utmost care to say nothing but the truth, with the greatest impartiality and sincerity, so that what was said might be depended upon; truth spoken briefly, clearly, and on so important a subject as the righteousness of God, deserved attention;

he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee; meaning either God, whose knowledge is perfect, who knows all persons and things; knows himself, his nature, persons, and perfections; his thoughts, counsels, and purposes; all his creatures, angels and men; the hearts of all men, their thoughts, words, and works; he, the omniscient and omnipresent God was with Job, from whose presence there is no fleeing; and therefore it became him to be careful of his thoughts, words, and actions; that he did not entertain any unbecoming thoughts of God, and say anything unworthy of him, or do anything that tended to his dishonour; since he was present with him, and nothing could escape his notice: or else Elihu means himself; suggesting, that he who undertook to speak for God and plead his cause, and clear him from the charge of unrighteousness, was no novice, but one that thoroughly understood the point in hand; and though no man is perfect in knowledge in an absolute sense, yet may be in comparison of others; or however may be upright and sincere in his knowledge; which sense the word used often has; and so it may signify, that as he was a sincere searcher after knowledge, and had through divine goodness attained to a competent share of it, even of sound and not superficial knowledge, he should be honest and upright in the communication of it; and this he might choose to observe the more, to excite the attention of Job to what he had to say; though it may be the truest reading of the words is, "perfect knowledge" or "perfection of knowledge is with thee" (k), that is, in his own apprehension, so Jarchi; and may be understood either ironically, or rather really, insinuating that Job was a man of such consummate wisdom and knowledge, that he would easily see the force of his reasonings, and the justness of them, and acquiesce in them; and having thus prefaced his discourse, he next enters upon his subject.

(k) "scientiae perfectae tecum"; so some in Bar Tzemach.

For truly my words shall not be false: he that is {b} perfect in knowledge is with thee.

(b) You will perceive that I am a faithful instructor, and that I speak to you in the name of God.

4. The speaker makes a higher claim than to sincerity here; he claims the character of absolute truth for his teaching—he is perfect in knowledge. In a slightly different form the phrase “perfect in knowledge” is applied to God, ch. Job 37:16; cf. 1 Samuel 2:3.Verse 4. - For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee. The words sound arrogant; but perhaps Elihu does not mean any more than W pledge himself to speak truthfully, and to say only what he has perfect knowledge cf. It is clear that he speaks of himself, net of God (Stanley Loathes). in the second clause of the verse, as in the first. 14 Although thou sayest, thou seest Him not:

The cause lieth before Him, and thou mayest wait for Him.

15 Now, then, if His wrath hath not yet punished,

Should He not be well acquainted with sullenness?

16 While Job openeth his mouth without reason,

Without knowledge multiplieth words.

The address is not direct to Job exclusively, for it here treats first of the acts of injustice which prevail among men and remain apparently unpunished; but to Job, however, also, so far as he has, Job 23:8-10, comp. Job 19:7; Job 30:20, thus complained concerning his prayer being unanswered. אף כּי signifies elsewhere quanto minus, Job 4:19, or also quanto magis, Proverbs 15:11, but nowhere quanto minus si (Hirz., Hlgst.) or quanto magis si (Hahn), also not Ezekiel 15:5, where it signifies etiamne quum. As it can, however, naturally signify etiam quum, it can also signify etiamsi, etsi, as here and Nehemiah 9:18. This quamvis dicas (opineris) is followed by the oratio obliqua, as Job 35:3. The relation of the matter - says the conclusion, Job 35:14 - is other than thou thinkest: the matter to be decided lies before Him, is therefore well known to Him, and thou mightest only wait for Him (חולל instead of יחל or הוחיל only here, comp. Psalm 37:7, והתחולל לו); the decision, though it pass by, will not fail. In Job 35:15, Job 35:15 is taken by most modern commentators as antecedent to Job 35:16, in which case, apart from the distortions introduced, two interpretations are possible: (1) However now, because His (God's) wrath does not visit ... Job opens his mouth; (2) However now, because He (God) does not visit his (Job's) wrath (comp. on this reference of the אפּו to Job, Job 18:4; Job 36:13, Job 36:18)...Job opens, etc. That a clause with a confirmatory כי is made to precede its principal clause is not without example, Genesis 3:14, Genesis 3:17; but in connection with this arrangement the verb is accustomed always, in the principal clause or in the conclusion, to stand prominent (so that consequently we should expect ויפצה איוב), although in Arabic this position of the words, ואיוב יפצה, and in fact Arab. fâyûb instead of wâyûb (in connection with a difference of the subj. in the antecedent and in the conclusion, vid., De Sacy, Gramm. Arabe, 1201, 2), is regular. Therefore for a long time I thought that Job 35:15 was to be taken interrogatively: And now (ועתּה as logical inference and conclusion, which is here its most probable function, Ew. 353, b) should His wrath not punish (פּקד as absolute as Job 31:14), and should He not take notice, etc., כּי interrogative as 1 Samuel 24:20; 1 Samuel 28:1; 1 Kings 11:22, as הכי (is it so that, or: should it be so that), Job 6:22, and freq., in connection with which, what is said on Genesis 21:7 concerning the modal use of the praet. might be compared on the two praett. But by this rendering the connection of Job 35:16 with what precedes is awkward. Ewald has given the correct rendering (apart from the misunderstanding of פּשׁ): Therefore, because His wrath has not yet punished, He does not know much about foolishness! Job 35:15 requires to be taken as the conclusion to Job 35:15, yet not as an exclamation, but as an interrogative. The interrogative use of ולא is not unusual, 2 Samuel 20:1; Ezekiel 16:43, Ezekiel 16:47, Ezekiel 16:56; Ezekiel 32:27; and just as here, this interrogative ולא is found after a hypothetical antecedent clause, 1 Samuel 20:9; Exodus 8:22.

In connection with this interrogative rendering of Job 35:15, it still remains questionable whether it refers to Job's sin, or sin which prevails among men. The theme of this third speech of Elihu requires the latter reference, although perhaps not without a side-glance at Job's won arrogant behaviour. The translation shows how suitably Job 35:16 is connected with what precedes: Job 35:16 is a circumstantial clause, or, if one is not willing to take it as a subordinate clause, but prefers to take it as standing on a level with Job 35:15, an adversative clause attached with Waw, as is frequently the case: but (nevertheless) Job ... ; פּצה פּה of opening the mouth in derision, as Lamentations 2:16; Lamentations 3:46; הבל is the acc. of closer definition to it ( equals בּהבל), and the הכבּיר, which occurs only here and Job 36:31, signifies without distinction magnificare and multiplicare: Job multiplies high emotional words. As this יכבּיר is, so to speak, Hebraeo-Arabic (Arab. akbara), so is Job 35:15 full of Arabisims: (1) The combination אין פּקד, which has not its like in the Hebrew language (whether it be originally intended as relative or not: non est quod visitaverit, Ew. 321, b), corresponds to the popular Arabic use of lys for lâ, Ges. Thes. i. 82, b; probably אין has the value of an intensive negation (Carey: not at all). (2) The combination ידע בּ, to know about anything, to take knowledge of anything (differently Job 12:9, but comp. Job 24:12 on the idea), is like the Arab. construction of the verb (alima with bi (concerning) or bianna (because that) of the obj.; מאד (on this vid., on Psalm 31:12) belongs not to בפשׁ (which is indeed possible), but, according to Psalm 139:14, to ידע. (3) פּשׁ is especially to be explained from the Arabic. The signification a multitude (Jewish expositors, after פּוּשׁ, Niph. se diffundere, Nahum 3:18) is not suitable; the signification evil (lxx, Jer., and others: פשׁ equals פשׁע) presents a forcibly mutilated word, and moreover one devoid of significance in this connection; whereas the Arab. fšš (but not in its derivatives, fashsh, empty-headed; fâshûsh, empty-headedness, imbecility, with its metaphorical sense) indicates a development of signification which leads to the desired end, especially in the Syro-Arabic usage most natural here. The Arab. verb fšš (פשׁשׁ, cogn. Arab. fšr, frš, to extend, expandere) is used originally of water (fashsh el-mâ): to overflow its dam, to overflow its banks, whence a valley by the lake of el-Hgne, into which the waters of the lake flow after the winter rains, is called el-mefeshsh; then of a leathern bottle: to run out (tarf mefshûsh, an emptied bottle), of a tumour (waram): to disperse, disappear, and tropically of anger (el-chulq): to break forth, vent itself on anything, hence the phrase: dost thou make me a mefeshshe (an object for the venting) of thine anger? From this Arab. fšš (distinct from Arab. faš med. Waw, to swim on the surface, trop. to be above, not to allow one's self to be kept down, and med. Je, comp. פושׁ, Habakkuk 1:8, Jeremiah 50:11, Malachi 4:2, signifies to be proud) is פּשׁ, formed after the forms בּד, מד, מס, a synon. of זדון, or even of עברה in the signification of excessive haughtiness, pride that bursts forth violently.

(Note: The signification expandere also underlies the noun fishshe, the lungs (in Egypt.); the signification discutere (especially carminare, to card wool), which the Talmud. פשׁפשׁ also has, is only a shade of the same signification; the origin of the trop. signification fatuum esse is clear from 'gaus fashûsh, empty nuts. The rice from the Palestine valley of Hle, it is somewhere said, is worse than the Egyptian, because (what is a fault in the East) in cooking tufeshfish, i.e., it bursts, breaks in pieces (comp. on the other hand: if the seed for sowing sinks to the bottom when put into water, it is good; if it swims on the surface, jefûsh, it is bad). The Piel of this fashsha signifies to cause the water to overflow, trop. fashshasha qalbahu, he gave air to his heart, i.e., he revealed a secret which burdened him. A proverb says: the market (with its life and changing scenes) is a feshshâsh of cares, i.e., consoles a trouble heart. In the Hiph. one says in like manner proverbially, el-bukâ jufishsh, weeping removes the anguish of the soul. - Wetzst.)

Thus, even at the close of this third speech of Elihu, the Arabic, and in fact Syro-Arabic colouring, common to this section with the rest of the book, is confirmed; while, on the other hand, we miss the bold, original figures which up to Job 31:1 followed like waves one upon another, and we perceive a deficiency of skill, as now and then between Koheleth and Solomon. The chief thought of the speech we have also heard already from the three friends and Job himself. That the piety of the pious profits himself without involving God in any obligation to him, Eliphaz has already said, Job 22:2.; and that prayer that is heard in time of need and the unanswered cry of the godly and the ungodly are distinct, Job said, Job 27:9. Elihu, however, deprives these thoughts of their hitherto erroneous application. If piety gives nothing to God which He ought to reward, Job dare not regard his affliction, mysterious as it is to him, as unjust; and if the godly do not directly experience the avenging wrath of God on the haughtiness of their oppressors, the question, whether then their prayer for help is of the right kind, is more natural than the complain of a want of justice in God's government of the world. Job is silent also after this speech. It does not contain the right consolation; it contains, however, censure which he ought humbly to receive. It touches his heart. But whether it touches the heart of the idea of the book, is another question.

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