Job 36:8
And if they be bound in fetters, and be held in cords of affliction;
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Job 36:8-10. If they be bound in fetters — If, through the vicissitude of worldly affairs, they are brought from their throne into a prison, as sometimes hath been done. Then he showeth them their work — Their evil works: by these afflictions he brings them to a sight of their sins; that then have exceeded — That they have greatly sinned by abusing their power and prosperity, which even good men are too prone to do. He openeth also, &c. — He inclines them to hearken to what God speaks by his rod, who would not hear in the time of their prosperity; namely, to hear the rod and him that hath appointed it; and commandeth — Either by his word or Spirit accompanying this affliction, and discovering the design of God in this dispensation; that they return from iniquity — The chief cause of their calamity and trouble.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.And if they be bound in fetters - That is, if the righteous are thrown into prison, and are subjected to oppressions and trials, or if they are chained down, as it were, on a bed of pain, or crushed by heavy calamities, the eye of God is still upon them. Their sufferings should not be regarded either as proof that they are hypocrites, or that God is regardless of them, and is indifferent whether people are good or evil. The true solution of the difficulty was, that God was then accomplishing purposes of discipline, and that happy results would follow if they would receive affliction in a proper manner. 8-10. If they be afflicted, it is no proof that they are hypocrites, as the friends maintain, or that God disregards them, and is indifferent whether men are good or bad, as Job asserts: God is thereby "disciplining them," and "showing them their sins," and if they bow in a right spirit under God's visiting hand, the greatest blessings ensue. If through the vicissitude of worldly affairs, and the righteous judgment of God upon them for their sins, they be brought from their throne into a prison, as sometimes hath been done. And if they be bound in fetters,.... Not the wicked, as the Targum, but the righteous spoken of in Job 36:7, with which this is closely connected; and this is not to be understood of righteous kings on the throne in particular, or their special favourites, but of the righteous in general; and not in a literal sense, of their bonds and imprisonment for religion and righteousness sake, which is sometimes their lot; but in a figurative sense, of afflictions, as chastenings and corrections for sin, as appears by the next clause; and the design is to obviate an objection, and to show that the eye of God is upon them, and his heart towards them; and they are not the less objects of his love and delight, of his value and esteem, care and protection, though they are afflicted by him, and, as it may seem, used with some severity; seeing he has gracious ends and designs in all this, which are suggested in the following verses;

and be holden in cords of affliction; righteous men are not exempt from afflictions; the afflictions of the righteous are many, according to divine appointment, the covenant of grace, the declaration of God, the constant experience of good men, it being the way in which they are all led, and must enter into the kingdom; and the metaphor here used shows that afflictions are sometimes heavy upon them, like fetters and chains, and those made heavy by the hand of God pressing them sore, Lamentations 3:7; no affliction is joyous, but grievous and heavy in itself; it is indeed comparatively light when viewed with the weight of glory; and God can make a heavy affliction light with his presence, and the discoveries of his love; but they are heavy to the flesh, as Job felt his to be, Job 6:2; and, like fetters and cords, they cannot free themselves from them, or loose them, until it is the pleasure of God to take them off; and moreover by these they are sometimes held and restrained from going into more or greater sins, which is one use of them: as they are with afflictions hedged about that they cannot come out, any more than a person bound fast in a prison; so they are hedged up with thorns that they cannot go out after their lovers, Lamentations 3:7, Hosea 2:6. Some render the phrase, "cords of poverty" (l); it is oftentimes the case of righteous persons to be poor, and to be sadly hampered with poverty, and out of which, by all that they can do, cannot extricate themselves; and sometimes they fall into it, and are held in it, after they have enjoyed much worldly prosperity, which was the case of Job. Mr. Broughton renders it, cords of anguish; and indeed the word for "cords" is used of the pains of a woman in travail, who has then great anguish and trouble; and anguish on various accounts lays hold on the righteous, and they are holden thereby, and cannot relieve themselves, Psalm 119:143; and yet this is all in mercy, and to answer some good ends and purposes, as follow.

(l) "funibus paupertatis", Mercerus, Drusius; "funibus inopiae", Cocceius.

And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;
8. The expression “fetters” is rather to be taken figuratively, meaning affliction or adversity, as “cords of affliction” in the next clause suggests.

8–10. If life often appears to present a different picture and men are seen in affliction, this affliction is a discipline, needful to warn them and bring their evil before them.Verse 8. - And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction. On the other hand, there are doubtless cases where the righteous suffer adversity - are even "bound in fetters," and "holden in cords of affliction" (Genesis 39:20; Jeremiah 40:1: Daniel 3:21; Matthew 14:3; Acts 12:6; Acts 16:24; Acts 24:27, etc.). But even here God's vigilance is not relaxed. On the contrary, he watches with the utmost care over their afflictions, apportioning them according to the needs of each, and making every possible effort, by means of them, to work their reformation (see the two following verses). 1 Then Elihu continued and said:

2 Suffer me a little, and I will inform thee,

For there is something still to be said for Eloah.

3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar,

And to my Creator will I ascribe right.

4 For truly my words are not lies,

One perfect in knowledge stands before thee.

Elihu's preceding three speeches were introduced by ויּען; this fourth, in honour of the number three, is introduced only as a continuation of the others. Job is to wait yet a little while, for he still has ( equals עוד לּי), or: there still are, words in favour of Eloah; i.e., what may be said in vindication of God against Job's complaints and accusations is not yet exhausted. This appears to be the only instance of the Aramaic כּתּר being taken up as Hebr.; whereas הוּה, nunciare (Arab. wḥâ, I, IV), is a poetic Aramaism occurring even in Psalm 19:3 (comp. on the construction Job 32:6); and זעיר (a diminutive form, after the manner of the Arab. zu‛air) belongs in Isaiah 28:10, Isaiah 28:13 to the popular language (of Jerusalem), but is here used poetically. The verb נשׂא, Job 36:3, is not to be understood according to נשׂא משׁל, but according to 1 Kings 10:11; and למרחוק signifies, as also Job 39:29; Isaiah 37:26, e longinquo, viz., out of the wide realm of history and nature. The expression נתן צדק follows the analogy of (עז) נתן כבוד. דּעה, Job 36:4, interchanges with the דּע which belongs exclusively to Elihu, since Elihu styles himself תּמים דּעות, as Job 37:16 God תּמים דּעים (comp. 1 Samuel 2:3, אל דּעות). תמים in this combination with דעות cannot be intended of purity of character; but as Elihu there attributes absolute perfection of knowledge in every direction to God, so here, in reference to the theodicy which he opposes to Job, he claims faultlessness and clearness of perception.

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