Job 36:6
He preserves not the life of the wicked: but gives right to the poor.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 36:6-7. He preserveth not the life of the wicked — Namely, for ever: but will in due time forsake them, and give them up to the destroyer. Ab. Ezra interprets it, The years of the wicked shall be shortened. But giveth right to the poor — He upholds, and will certainly, at the proper time, deliver his poor, oppressed ones, from all their oppressors. He will avenge their quarrel upon their persecutors, and force them to make restitution of what they have unjustly robbed them of. For if men will not right the injured poor, God will. He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous — He never ceases to care for and watch over them; no, not when they are afflicted or persecuted, when he may seem to neglect them. If our eye be 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. With kings are they on the throne — He sometimes raises them to the highest offices that kings can confer upon them; yea, he doth establish them for ever — Their felicity is more stable and permanent than that of the wicked; they are established as long as they live. And they are exalted — Above the power of their enemies, that would pull them down: or, they continue to be exalted, and are not cast down from their dignity, as the wicked commonly are.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.He preserveth not the life of the wicked - Elihu here maintains substantially the same sentiment which the three friends of Job had done, that the dealings of God in this life are in accordance with character, and that strict justice is thus maintained.

But giveth right to the poor - Margin, "or afflicted." The Hebrew word often refers to the afflicted, to the humble, or the lowly; and the reference here is to the "lower classes" of society. The idea is, that God deals justly with them, and does not overlook them because they are so poor and feeble that they cannot contribute anything to him. In this sentiment Elihu was undoubtedly right, though, like the three friends of Job, he seems to have adopted the principle that the dealings of God here are according to the "characters" of people. He had some views in advance of theirs. He saw that affliction is designed for "discipline" Job 33; that God is willing to show mercy to the sufferer on repentance; that he is not dependent upon human beings, and that his dealings "cannot" be graduated by any reference to what he would receive or suffer from people; but still he clung to the idea that the dealings of God here are a proof of the character of the afflicted. What was mysterious about it he resolved into sovereignty, and showed that man "ought" to be submissive to God, and to "believe" that he was qualified to govern. He lacked the views which Christianity has furnished, that the inequalities that appear in the divine dealings here will be made clear in the retributions of another world.

6. right … poor—He espouses the cause of the afflicted. He preserveth not the life of the wicked, to wit, for ever; but will in his due time forsake them, and give them up to the destroyer. Or, he doth not or will not preserve, is put for he will certainly and dreadfully destroy, by the figure called meiosis, used Proverbs 17:21, and oft elsewhere.

Giveth right to the poor; he doth uphold, and he certainly will in his time deliver, his poor oppressed ones from all their oppressors. He preserveth not the life of the wicked,.... He makes a difference between wicked and righteous men, which shows him to be a holy and righteous God; though he preserves the life of all men so long as they live, yet not in the same way; he preserves the lives of wicked men in the common course of his providence, but not in a special way and manner, as he does the lives of the righteous, which are dear and precious to him; nor does he preserve to any great length such as are notorious sinners, who are guilty of capital crimes, as murder, &c. their lives are shortened, and they do not live out half their days: or he does not quicken them, bestow his spiritual favour upon them, in which only is life; and though they will be quickened and raised at the last day, as well as the righteous, yet not to the resurrection of life, but to the resurrection of damnation;

but giveth right to the poor; pleads their cause and rights their wrongs, administers justice to them, especially to the poor in spirit, who hunger and thirst after righteousness; to these he gives freely the righteousness of his son, which only denominates persons truly righteous: of whom in Job 36:7.

He {d} preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.

(d) Therefore he will not preserve the wicked, but to the humble and afflicted heart he will show grace.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Illustration of the operation of God’s understanding, giving to all conditions of men their due.

right to the poor] Rather, his right; poor may be, as marg., afflicted.Verse 6. - He preserveth not the life of the wicked. There is no special providence over the life of the wicked, as Job had supposed, or pretended to suppose (Job 21:7; comp. Job 12:6). On the contrary, God "overturneth" wicked men "in the night, so that they are destroyed; he striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others" (Job 34:25, 26). But giveth right to the poor. The poor and afflicted, the meek and humble, God vindicates. They are his special charge. So far is he from favouring the ungodly. 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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