Job 37:19
Teach us what we shall say to him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.
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(19) Teach us what we shall say unto (or, concerning) himi.e., the sun. “He is altogether hidden by the clouds; but is he gone? is he not still there behind them?”

37:14-20 Due thoughts of the works of God will help to reconcile us to all his providences. As God has a powerful, freezing north wind, so he has a thawing, composing south wind: the Spirit is compared to both, because he both convinces and comforts, So 4:16. The best of men are much in the dark concerning the glorious perfections of the Divine nature and the Divine government. Those who, through grace, know much of God, know nothing, in comparison with what is to be known, and of what will be known, when that which is perfect is come.Teach us what we shall say unto him - This seems to be addressed to Job. It is the language of Elihu, implying that he was overawed with a sense of the majesty and glory of such a God. He knew not in what manner, or with what words to approach such a Being, and he asks Job to inform him, if he knew.

We cannot order our speech by reason of darkness - Job had repeatedly professed a desire to bring his cause directly before God, and to argue it in his presence. He felt assured that if he could do that, he should be able so to present it as to obtain a decision in his favor; see Job 13:3, note; Job 13:18-22, notes. Elihu now designs, indirectly, to censure that confidence. He says that he and his friends were so overawed by the majesty of God, and felt themselves so ignorant and so ill qualified to judge of him and his works, that they would not know what to say. They were in darkness. They could not understand even the works of his hands which were directly before them, and the most common operations of nature were inscrutable to them. How then could they presume to arraign God? How could they manage a cause before him with any hope of success? It is scarcely necessary to say, that the state of mind referred to here by Elihu is that which should be cultivated, and that the feelings which he expresses are those with which we should approach the Creator. We need someone to teach us. We are surrounded by mysteries which we cannot comprehend, and we should, therefore, approach our Maker with profound reverence and submission

19. Men cannot explain God's wonders; we ought, therefore, to be dumb and not contend with God. If Job thinks we ought, "let him teach us, what we shall say."


darkness—of mind; ignorance. "The eyes are bewilderingly blinded, when turned in bold controversy with God towards the sunny heavens" (Job 37:18) [Umbreit].

Unto him, i.e. unto God, either by way of apology for thee; or rather, by way of debate and disputation with him about his counsels and ways: about which we know not what to say, and therefore are willing to be taught by thee, who pretendest to such exquisite knowledge of these matters. So it is a reproof of his presumption and arrogance.

We cannot order our speech; we know neither with what words or matter, nor in what method and manner, to maintain discourse with him, or plead against him. The words our speech are easily understood out of the former clause of the verse.

By reason of darkness; both because of the darkness of the matter, God’s counsels and ways being a great depth, and far out of our reach; and because of the darkness or blindness of our minds. Teach us what we shall say unto him,.... To this wonder working God, of whose common works of nature we know so little; how we should reason with him about his works of Providence, when we know so little of these:

for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness; by reason of darkness in themselves, which is in all men naturally, and even in the saints in this state of imperfection; and by reason of the clouds and darkness which are about the Lord himself, who is incomprehensible in his nature and perfections; and by reason of the darkness cast about his providential dealings with men, so that they are unsearchable and past finding out; and the best of men are at a loss how to order their speech, or discourse with God concerning these things.

Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of {p} darkness.

(p) That is, our ignorance: signifying that Job was so presumptuous, that he would control the works of God.

19. This thought of the strong expanse of heaven stretched out by God suggests to Elihu His unspeakable greatness and unsearchableness, and he demands of Job with what words of man such a Being is to be addressed, if one sought to contend with Him.

by reason of darkness] That is, of understanding—in presence of the unsearchableness of God.Verse 19. - Teach us what we shall say unto him. Elihu indulges in irony. If thou art so wise as thou pretendest to be, then he pleased to "teach us." We acknowledge our ignorance - we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness. Enlighten us, if thou canst. 11 Also He loadeth the clouds with water,

He spreadeth far and wide the cloud of His light,

12 And these turn themselves round about,

Directed by Him, that they execute

All that He hath commanded them

Over the wide earth.

13 Whether for a scourge, or for the good of His earth,

Or for mercy, He causeth it to discharge itself.

With אף extending the description, Elihu, in the presence of the storm that is in the sky, continually returns to this one marvel of nature. The old versions connect בּרי partly with בּר, electus (lxx, Syr., Theod.) or frumentum (Symm., Jer.), partly with בּרה equals בּרר in the signification puritas, serenitas (Targ.); but בּרי is, as Schultens has already perceived, the Hebr.-Arabic רי, Arab. rı̂yun, rı̂j-un (from רוה equals riwj), abundant irrigation, with בּ; and יטריח does not signify, according to the Arab. atraha, "to hurl down," so that what is spoken of would be the bursting of the clouds (Stick.),

(Note: This "atraha" is, moreover, a pure invention of our ordinary Arabic lexicons instead of ittaraha (VIII form): (1) to throw one's self, (2) to throw anything from one's self, with an acc. of the thing. - Fl.)

but, according to טרח, a burden (comp. Arab. taraha ala, to load), "to burden;" with fluidity (Ew., Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm.), better: fulness of water, He burdens the clouds (comp. rawij-un as a designation of cloud as the place of rain). ענן אורו, His cloud of light, is that that is charged with lightning, and הפיץ has here its Hebr.-Arab. radical signification effundere, diffundere, with a preponderance of the idea not of scattering, but of spreading out wide (Arab. faid, abundance). והוּא, Job 37:12, refers to the cloud pregnant with lightning; this turns round about (מסבּות, adv. as מסב, round about, 1 Kings 6:29) seeking a place, where it shall unburden itself by virtue of His (God's) direction or disposing (תחבּוּלת, a word belonging to the book of Proverbs; lxx, Cod. Vat. and Alex., untranslated: εν θεεβουλαθωθ, Cod. Sinait. still more monstrous), in order that they (the clouds full of lightning) may accomplish everything that He commands them over the surface of the earth; ארצה as Job 34:13, and the combination תּבל ארצה as Proverbs 8:31, comp. ארץ ותבל, Psalm 90:2. The reference of the pronominal suff. to men is as inadmissible here as in Job 37:4. In Job 37:13 two אם have certainly, as Job 34:29, two ו, the correlative signification sive ... sive (Arab. in ... wa-in), in a third, as appears, a conditional, but which? According to Ew., Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm., and others, the middle one: if it (the rod) belongs to His land, i.e., if it has deserved it. But even the possessive suff. of לארצו shows that the ל is to be taken as dat. commodi: be it for a rod, be it for the good of His land; which is then followed by a conditional verbal clause: in case He mercifully causes it (the storm) to come, i.e., causes this His land to be overtaken by it (המציא here with the acc., the thing coming, whereas in Job 34:11 of the thing to be overtaken). The accentuation, indeed, appears to assume a threefold sive: whether He causeth it to discharge itself upon man for punishment, man for mercy, or His earth for good with reference to man. Then Elihu would think of the uninhabited steppe in connection with אם לארצו. Since a conditional אם by the side of two correlatives is hazardous, we decide finally with the lxx, Targ., and all the old versions, in favour of the same rendering of the threefold אם, especially since it corresponds to the circumstances of the case.

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