Job 36:5
Behold, God is mighty, and despises not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 36:5. God is mighty, and despiseth not any — His greatness doth not cause him (as the greatness of men causeth them) to despise or oppress such as are mean. He is mighty in strength and wisdom — His strength is guided by wisdom, and therefore cannot be employed to do any thing unbecoming him, or unjust toward his creatures, either of which would be an instance of folly.36:5-14 Elihu here shows that God acts as righteous Governor. He is always ready to defend those that are injured. If our eye is ever toward God in duty, his eye will be ever upon us in mercy, and, when we are at the lowest, will not overlook us. God intends, when he afflicts us, to discover past sins to us, and to bring them to our remembrance. Also, to dispose our hearts to be taught: affliction makes people willing to learn, through the grace of God working with and by it. And further, to deter us from sinning for the future. It is a command, to have no more to do with sin. If we faithfully serve God, we have the promise of the life that now is, and the comforts of it, as far as is for God's glory and our good: and who would desire them any further? We have the possession of inward pleasures, the great peace which those have that love God's law. If the affliction fail in its work, let men expect the furnace to be heated till they are consumed. Those that die without knowledge, die without grace, and are undone for ever. See the nature of hypocrisy; it lies in the heart: that is for the world and the flesh, while perhaps the outside seems to be for God and religion. Whether sinners die in youth, or live long to heap up wrath, their case is dreadful. The souls of the wicked live after death, but it is in everlasting misery.Behold, God is Mighty - This is the first consideration which Elihu urges, and the purpose seems to be to affirm that God is so great that he has no occasion to modify his treatment of any class of people from a reference to himself. He is wholly independent of all, and can therefore be impartial in his dealings. If it were otherwise; if he were dependent upon human beings for any share of his happiness, he might be tempted to show special favor to the great and to the rich; to spare the mighty who are wicked, though he cut off the poor. But he has no such inducement, as he is wholly independent; and it is to be presumed, therefore, that he treats all impartially; see the notes at Job 35:5-8.

And despiseth not any - None who are poor and humble. He does not pass them by with cold neglect because they are poor and power. less, and turn his attention to the great and mighty because he is dependent on them.

He is mighty in wisdom - Margin, "heart." The word "heart" in Hebrew is often used to denote the intellectual powers; and the idea here is, that God has perfect wisdom in the management of his affairs. He is acquainted with all the circumstances of his creatures, and passes by none from a defect of knowledge, or frown a lack of wisdom to know how to adopt his dealings to their condition.

5. Rather, "strength of understanding" (heart) the force of the repetition of "mighty"; as "mighty" as God is, none is too low to be "despised" by Him; for His "might" lies especially in "His strength of understanding," whereby He searches out the most minute things, so as to give to each his right. Elihu confirms his exhortation (Job 35:14). His greatness doth not make him (as it doth men) to scorn, or despise, or oppress the meanest. Though he may do what he pleaseth, and none can hinder him, yet he will not use it to do any man wrong, as Job seemed to insinuate, Job 10:3 19:7 23:13. His strength is guided by wisdom, and therefore cannot be employed to do any thing unbecoming God, or unjust to his creatures; for either of these is folly. Or,

in strength, or virtue of heart; for the and is not in the Hebrew. So the sense is, He is truly magnanimous, of a great and generous mind or heart, and therefore not unrighteous; for all injustice proceeds from littleness or weakness of heart. Truly great souls scorn unjust actions. Behold, God is mighty,.... This is a clear plain truth, easy to be discerned, and worthy of notice, and therefore introduced with a "behold"; that God is mighty, the most mighty, the Almighty, as appears from his works of nature and providence; making all things out of nothing, upholding them by the word of his power, and governing and overruling all things in the world, and doing in it whatever he pleases: and from the works of redemption and grace; ransoming his people out of the hands of them that are stronger than they; converting them by the power of his grace; assisting them to do all they do in a spiritual way; supporting them under all their troubles; protecting and defending them from all their enemies; supplying all their wants, and preserving them safe to his kingdom and glory;

and despises not any; not the meanest of his creatures, clothing the grass of the field, feeding the fowls of the air, and preserving man and beast; and particularly he despises not any of the sons of men: not the mighty through fear of them, nor envy at them, whose power and grandeur are from him, which he gives and can take away at his pleasure; nor the mean and miserable the poor and the afflicted, to whom he has a merciful regard; much less the innocent and harmless, as the Septuagint; or the just and righteous man, as the Targum: he does not despise his own people, whom he has loved and chosen, redeemed and called; nor any, as Aben Ezra observes, without a cause; for though there are some whose image he will despise, it is because of their own sins and transgressions; and since, therefore, though he is mighty, yet despises not any of his creatures, he cannot do any unrighteous thing; he does not and cannot use or abuse his power to the in jury of any of his creatures;

he is mighty in strength and wisdom, as there is a pleonasm, a redundancy in the expression, "mighty in strength", it denotes the abundance of his strength, that he is exceeding strong, superlatively and all expression so; and also strong in wisdom, his strength is tempered with wisdom, so that he cannot employ it to any bad purpose, or be guilty of any unrighteousness. Some men have strength, but not wisdom to make a right use of it; but God abounds as much in wisdom as in strength; he is the only wise and the all wise God, and therefore can do no injustice; and thus Elihu, as he promised, ascribes righteousness to his almighty Maker.

Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is {c} mighty in strength and wisdom.

(c) Strong and constant, and of understanding: for these are the gifts of God, and he loves them in man: but as much as God punished Job now, it is a sign that these are not in him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. and despiseth not] Though God is mighty He despiseth or dis-daineth not, He gives the weakest his rights as much as the most powerful, for they are all the work of His hand, ch. Job 34:19. The words express Elihu’s conception of God, which He opposes to the conception of Job (e.g. ch. 7 and often).

in strength and wisdom] Rather, in strength of understanding; lit of heart. It is this perfection of understanding, in which God’s greatness consists, that makes it impossible that He should “despise” any. To know life, however mean, is to love it.

5–25. Elihu’s doctrine is in a word: God is great and despiseth not, He is great in strength of heart. His greatness is that of understanding, which enables Him to estimate all rightly, to see through all right and wrong, and to adapt His providence to the strong and to the weak, the evil and the good. This thought with the illustrations of it, Job 36:6-15, and the application of it to Job , vv16-25, exhaust the first half of this concluding speech.Verse 5. - Behold, God is mighty. The preface over, the argument to prove God's justice begins. First, he "is mighty." How unlikely that any one who is mighty - nay, almighty - should be unjust! Next, he despiseth not any. Job has wrongly charged him with "despising the work of his own hands." In truth, he despises nothing that he has made. "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:29, 30). Much less, then, is any man despised. Moreover, God is mighty in strength and wisdom; or rather, in strength of undertaking and therefore above the weakness of being unjust. 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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