Job 37:22
Fair weather comes out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 37:22-24. Fair weather cometh out of the north — From the northern winds, which scatter the clouds and clear the sky. Elihu concludes with some short, but great sayings, concerning the glory of God. He speaks abruptly and in haste, because, it should seem, he perceived God was approaching, and presumed he was about to take the work into his own hands. With God is terrible majesty — Those glorious works of his, which I have described, are testimonies of that great and terrible majesty which is in him; which should cause us to fear and adore him, and not to behave ourselves so irreverently and insolently toward him as Job hath done. We cannot find high out — Namely, to perfection, as it is expressed Job 11:7. We cannot comprehend him; his power, wisdom, justice, and his counsels proceeding from them, are past our finding out. He is excellent in power — Therefore as he doth not need any unrighteous action to advance himself, so he cannot do any, because all such things are acts and evidences of weakness. And in judgment — In the just administration of judgment, he never did nor can exercise that power unjustly, as Job seemed to insinuate. And in plenty of justice — In great and perfect justice, such as no man can justly reproach. He will not afflict — Namely, without just cause, or above measure. He doth not afflict willingly, or from his heart, Lamentations 3:33. He takes no pleasure in doing it. It is his work, indeed, but a strange work, as Isaiah elegantly terms it, Job 28:21. Men do therefore fear him — Hebrew, לכן, lachen, for this cause, namely, because of God’s infinite and excellent perfections, and especially those mentioned in the foregoing verse, men do, or should, fear, or reverence him, and humbly submit to him, and not presume to quarrel or dispute with him. He respecteth not — Hebrew, לא יראה, lo jireh, he doth not, or will not, behold, namely, with respect or approbation; any that are wise of heart — That is, such as are wise in their own eyes, that lean to their own understanding, and despise other men in comparison of themselves, and reject their counsels; or, that are so puffed up with the opinion of their own wisdom, that they dare contend with their Maker, and presume to censure his counsels and actions: which he hereby intimates to be Job’s fault, and to be the true reason why God did not respect nor regard him, nor his prayers and tears, as Job complained. And so this is also a tacit advice and exhortation to Job to be humble and little in his own eyes, if ever he expected any favour from God.

Thus Elihu, having set forth God’s omnipotence in the strongest colours he was able, concludes with an observation very applicable to the subject of dispute before them. “As this speaker,” says Dr. Dodd, “performs the part of a moderator, he seems to have observed the errors on both sides, and to have hit upon the point where the controversy ought to rest, namely, the unsearchable depth of the divine wisdom; with a persuasion that God, who is acknowledged on all hands to be infinitely powerful and just, will certainly find a way to clear up all the irregularities, as they now appear to us, in the methods of his providence, and bring this intricate and perplexed scene, at last, to a beautiful and regular close. The great fault of the speech seems to be this; that he bears too hard upon Job; and his reproofs, though there were some grounds for them, are nevertheless too harsh and severe. Nay, where he endeavours to repeat what Job had said, he gives it, for the most part, a wrong turn, or sets it in some very disadvantageous light. The silence of this good man, therefore, during this long speech of Elihu, may be considered as none of the least instances of his patience; but as he was convinced that one part of the charge brought against him was but too true, namely, that he had been now and then too hasty and intemperate in his expressions, he was resolved not to increase the fault by entering anew into the controversy; but by his silence and attention here, and suffering his passions to subside, he was the better prepared to receive the following speech from Jehovah with that profound humility, and that absolute submission, which became him.” 37:21-24 Elihu concludes his discourse with some great sayings concerning the glory of God. Light always is, but is not always to be seen. When clouds come between, the sun is darkened in the clear day. The light of God's favour shines ever towards his faithful servants, though it be not always seen. Sins are clouds, and often hinder us from seeing that bright light which is in the face of God. Also, as to those thick clouds of sorrow which often darken our minds, the Lord hath a wind which passes and clears them away. What is that wind? It is his Holy Spirit. As the wind dispels and sweeps away the clouds which are gathered in the air, so the Spirit of God clears our souls from the clouds and fogs of ignorance and unbelief, of sin and lust. From all these clouds the Holy Spirit of God frees us in the work of regeneration. And from all the clouds which trouble our consciences, the Holy Spirit sets us free in the work of consolation. Now that God is about to speak, Elihu delivers a few words, as the sum of all his discourse. With God is terrible majesty. Sooner or later all men shall fear him.Fair weather - Margin, "gold," The Hebrew word (זהב zâhâb) properly means "gold," and is so rendered by the Vulgate, the Syriac, and by most versions. The Septuagint renders it, νέψη χρυσαυγουντα nepsē chrusaugounta, "clouds shining like gold." The Chaldee, אסתניא, the north wind, Boreas. Many expositors have endeavored to show that gold was found in the northern regions (see Schultens, in loc.); and it is not difficult so to establish that fact as to be a confirmation of what is here said, on the supposition that it refers literally to gold. But it is difficult to see why Elihu should here make a reference to the source where gold was found, or how such a reference should be connected with the description of the approaching tempest, and the light which was already seen on the opening clouds. It seems probable to me that the idea is wholly different and that Elihu means to say that a bright, dazzling light was seen in the northern sky like burnished gold, which was a fit symbol of the approaching Deity. This idea is hinted at in the Septuagint, but it has not seemed to occur to expositors. The image is that of the heavens darkened with the tempest, the lightnings playing, the thunder rolling, and then the wind seeming to brush away the clouds in the north, and disclosing in the opening a bright, dazzling appearance like burnished gold, that bespoke the approach of God. The word is never used in the sense of "fair weather." An ancient Greek tragedian, mentioned by Grotius, speaks of golden air - χρυσωπός αἰθήρ chrusōpos aithēr. Varro also uses a similar expression - aurescit aer, "the air becomes like gold." So Thomson, in his Seasons:

But yonder comes the powerful king of day

Rejoicing in the east. The lessening cloud.

The kindling azure, and the mountain's brow,

Illumed with fluid gold, his near approach

Betoken glad.

Summer

Out of the north - That is, the symbol of the approaching Deity appears in that quarter, or God was seen to approach from the north. It may serve to explain this, to remark that among the ancients the northern regions were regarded as the residence of the gods, and that on the mountains in the north it was supposed they were accustomed to assemble. In proof of this, and for the reasons of it, see the notes at Isaiah 14:13. From that region Elihu sees God now approaching, and directs the attention of his companions to the symbols of his advent. It is this which fills his mind with so much consternation, and which renders his discourse so broken and disconnected. Having, in a manner evincing great alarm, directed their attention to these symbols, he concludes what he has to say in a hurried manner, and God appears, to close the controversy.

With God is terrible majesty - This is not a declaration asserting this of God in general, but as he then appeared. It is the language of one who was overwhelmed with his awful majesty, as the brightness of his presence was seen on the tempest.

22. Rather, "golden splendor." Maurer translates "gold." It is found in northern regions. But God cannot be "found out," because of His "Majesty" (Job 37:23). Thus the twenty-eighth chapter corresponds; English Version is simpler.

the north—Brightness is chiefly associated with it (see on [546]Job 23:9). Here, perhaps, because the north wind clears the air (Pr 25:23). Thus this clause answers to the last of Job 37:21; as the second of this verse to the first of Job 37:21. Inverted parallelism. (See Isa 14:13; Ps 48:2).

with God—rather, "upon God," as a garment (Ps 104:1, 2).

majesty—splendor.

Fair weather; or, when (which particle may well be understood out of, the foregoing verse; and so this may be a further description of the time when men cannot see or gaze upon the sun, namely, when) fair weather, &c. Heb. gold; either,

1. Properly. And so this may be noted as another wonderful work of God, that the choicest of metals, to wit, gold, should be found in and fetched out of the bowels of cold northern countries. Or,

2. Metaphorically, as this word is oft used of bright and shining things; as we read of golden oil, Zechariah 4:12, and we call happy times golden days. And so bright and fair weather may well be called golden, because then the sun gilds the air and earth with its beams, which also are called by poets golden beams.

Out of the north, i.e. from the northern winds, which scatter the clouds, and clear the sky, Proverbs 25:23.

With God is terrible majesty; and therefore we neither can nor may approach too near to him, nor speak presumptuously or irreverently to him, or of him. And so this is the application of what he had now said, that we could not see the sun, &c, much less God; and withal it is an epiphonema or conclusion of the whole foregoing discourse. Those glorious works of his which I have described, are testimonies of that great and terrible majesty which is in him; which should cause us to fear and reverence him, and not to behave ourselves so insolently towards him, as Job hath done. Fair weather cometh out of the north,.... Or "gold" (x), which some understand literally; this being found in northern climates as well as southern, as Pliny relates (y); particularly in Colchis and Scythia, which lay to the north of Palestine and Arabia; and is thought by a learned man (z) to be here intended: though to understand it figuratively of the serenity of the air, bright and pure as gold, or of fair weather, which is golden weather, as Mr. Broughton renders it,

"through the north the golden cometh,''

seems best to agree with the subject Elihu is upon; and such weather comes from the north, through the north winds, which drive away rain, Proverbs 25:23;

with God is terrible majesty; majesty belongs to him as he is King of kings, whose the kingdom of nature and providence is; and he is the Governor among and over the nations of the world. His throne is prepared in the heavens; that is his throne, and his kingdom ruleth over all: and this majesty of his is "terrible", commanding awe and reverence among all men, who are his subjects; and especially among his saints and peculiar people; and strikes a terror to others, even to great personages, the kings and princes of the earth; to whom the Lord is sometimes terrible now, and will be hereafter; see Psalm 76:12, Revelation 6:15; and to all Christless sinners, especially when he comes to judgment; see Isaiah 2:19. Or "terrible praise" (a); for God is "fearful in praises", Exodus 15:11; which may respect the subject of praise, terrible things, and the manner of praising him with fear and reverence, Psalm 106:22.

(x) "aurum", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (y) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 11. & l. 33. c. 3, 4. (z) Reland. de Paradiso, s. 9, 10. p. 22, 23, 24. And, in the countries farthest north were mines of gold formerly, as Olaus Magnus relates, though now destroyed. De Ritu Gent. Septent. l. 6, 11. Vid. l. 3, 5. (a) , Symmachus, "formidolosa laudatio", V. L. "terribilem laude", Vatablus.

{t} Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.

(t) In Hebrew, gold, meaning fair weather and clear as gold.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. fair weather] lit. gold, that is, probably, golden brightness or splendour, the reference being to the light (Job 37:21). This is said to come from the North because the north wind (Job 37:21) clears away the clouds and reveals it. With this sense the verse carries on the thought of Job 37:21, and the antithesis is expressed in the second clause of Job 37:22, with God is terrible glory—if men cannot look upon the light when it shines in the cloudless heaven, how much less shall they bear to look upon the majesty of God, surrounded with terrible glory.

Others adhere to the literal sense of gold, considering the general meaning to be, that men may penetrate into the furthest and darkest regions of the earth and bring out to view whatever precious things they contain, but around God is a terrible majesty which exalts Him above all comprehension. However good this meaning be in itself, it leaves Job 37:21 isolated and incomplete in sense. And although to Classical Antiquity the North may have been the region of gold, no trace of such a conception appears in the Old Testament, for any identification of Havilah (Genesis 2:11) with Colchis is more than adventurous. The comparison too of the light to gold is common in the poetry of all languages.Verse 22. - Fair weather cometh out of the north; literally, out of the north cometh gold. The bearing of this is very obscure, whether we suppose actual gold to he meant, or the golden splendours of the sun, or any other bright radiance. No commentator has hit on a satisfactory explanation. With God is terrible majesty. This is sufficiently plain, and it is the point whereto all Elihu's later argument has been directed (see Job 36:22-33; Job 37:1-18). God's majesty is so great that men can only tremble before him. 14 Hearken unto this, O Job;

Stand still and consider the wonderful works of God!

15 Dost thou know when God designeth

To cause the light of His clouds to shine?

16 Dost thou understand the balancings of the clouds,

The wondrous things of Him who is perfect in knowledge?

Job is to stand still, instead of dictating to God, in order to draw from His wondrous acts in nature a conclusion with reference to his mystery of suffering. In Job 37:15 ידע בּ does not, as Job 35:15 (Ew. 217, S. 557), belong together, but בּ is the temporal Beth. שׂוּם is equivalent to שׂים לבּו (vid., on Job 34:23); עליהם does not refer to נפלאות (Hirz.) or the phenomena of the storm (Ew.), but is intended as neuter (as בּם Job 36:31, בּהם Job 22:21), and finds in Job 37:15 its distinctive development: "the light of His clouds" is their effulgent splendour. Without further support, ידע על is to have knowledge concerning anything, Job 37:16; מפלשׂי is also ἁπ. γεγρ.. It is unnecessary to consider it as wrongly written from מפרשׂי, Job 36:29, or as from it by change of letter (as אלמנות equals ארמנות, Isaiah 13:22). The verb פּלּס signifies to make level, prepare (viz., a way, also weakened: to take a certain way, Proverbs 5:6), once: to weigh, Psalm 58:3, as denom. from פּלס, a balance (and indeed a steelyard, statera), which is thus mentioned as the means of adjustment. מפלשׂי accordingly signifies either, as synon. of משׁקלי (thus the Midrash, vid., Jalkut, 522), weights (the relations of weight), or even equipoised balancings (Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, and others), Lat. quomodo librentur nubes in are.

(Note: The word is therefore a metaphor taken from the balance, and it may be observed that the Syro-Arabic, on account of the most extensive application of the balance, is unusually rich in such metaphors. Moreover, the Arabic has no corresponding noun: the teflı̂s (a balance) brought forward by Ges. in his Thes. and Handwrterbuch from Schindler's Pentaglotton, is a word devoid of all evidence from original sources and from the modern usage of the language, in this signification.)

מפלאות is also a word that does not occur elsewhere; in like manner דּע belongs exclusively to Elihu. God is called תּמים דּעים (comp. Job 36:4) as the Omniscient One, whose knowledge is absolute as to its depth as well as its circumference.

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