Job 42:3
Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XLII.

(3) Who is he that hideth counsel?—It is quite obvious that the right way of understanding these verses is, as in Isaiah 63:1-6, after the manner of a dialogue, in which Job and the Lord alternately reply. “Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge?” were the words with which God Himself joined the debate in Job 38:2; and therefore, unless we assign them to Him here also, we must regard them as quoted by Job, and applied reflectively to himself; but it is far better to consider them as part of a dialogue.

Job 42:3. Who is he that hideth counsel? — What am I, that I should be guilty of such madness? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not — Because my mind was without knowledge, therefore my speech was ignorant and foolish; things which I knew not — I have spoken foolishly and unadvisedly of things far above my reach. “The recollection of Job,” says Dr. Dodd, “in this and the two following verses, is inimitably fine, and begins the catastrophe of the book, which is truly worthy of what precedes. The interrogatory clause in the beginning of this verse is a repetition of what Jehovah had said; the latter part of this verse, and the fourth and fifth verses, are Job’s conclusions.”

42:1-6 Job was now sensible of his guilt; he would no longer speak in his own excuse; he abhorred himself as a sinner in heart and life, especially for murmuring against God, and took shame to himself. When the understanding is enlightened by the Spirit of grace, our knowledge of Divine things as far exceeds what we had before, as the sight of the eyes excels report and common fame. By the teachings of men, God reveals his Son to us; but by the teachings of his Spirit he reveals his Son in us, Ga 1:16, and changes us into the same image, 2Co 3:18. It concerns us to be deeply humbled for the sins of which we are convinced. Self-loathing is ever the companion of true repentance. The Lord will bring those whom he loveth, to adore him in self-abasement; while true grace will always lead them to confess their sins without self-justifying.Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? - This is repeated from Job 38:2. As used there these are the words of the Almighty, uttered as a reproof of Job for the manner in which he had undertaken to explain the dealings of God; see the notes at that verse. As repeated here by Job, they are an acknowledgment of the truth of what is there implied, that "he" had been guilty of hiding counsel in this manner, and the repetition here is a part of his confession. He acknowledges that he "had" entertained and expressed such views of God as were in fact clothing the whole subject in darkness instead of explaining it. The meaning is, "Who indeed is it, as thou saidst, that undertakes to judge of great and profound purposes without knowledge? I am that presumptuous man? Ilgen."

Therefore have I uttered that I understood not - I have pronounced an opinion on subjects altogether too profound for my comprehension. This is the language of true humility and penitence, and shows that Job had at heart a profound veneration for God, however much he had been led away by the severity of his sufferings to give vent to improper expressions. It is no uncommon thing for even good people to be brought to see that they have spoken presumptuously of God, and have engaged, in discussions and ventured to pronounce opinions on matters pertaining to the divine administration, that were wholly beyond their comprehension.

3. I am the man! Job in God's own words (Job 38:2) expresses his deep and humble penitence. God's word concerning our guilt should be engraven on our hearts and form the groundwork of our confession. Most men in confessing sin palliate rather than confess. Job in omitting "by words" (Job 38:2), goes even further than God's accusation. Not merely my words, but my whole thoughts and ways were "without knowledge."

too wonderful—I rashly denied that Thou hast any fixed plan in governing human affairs, merely because Thy plan was "too wonderful" for my comprehension.

Who is he? i.e. what am I, that I should dare to do so? Ah silly audacious wretch that I am, that I should be guilty of such madness!

That hideth counsel without knowledge; which words are repeated out of Job 38:2, where they are explained.

Therefore; because my mind was without knowledge, therefore my speech was ignorant and foolish. Or, being sensible of my ignorance and rashness, I think fit to make this humble and ingenuous confession.

Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not; I have spoken foolishly and unadvisedly of things far above my reach, even of God’s infinite and sovereign majesty, and of his deep and unsearchable counsels and providence.

Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?.... It may be understood, and supplied, as it is by Cocceius, "thou didst say"; as the Lord had said, or to this purpose; see Gill on Job 38:2; to which Job here replies, I am the foolish man that has done it, I own it with sorrow, shame, and confusion: or it may be interpreted as condemning every other man that should act the like part. Schultens understands this as spoken by Job of God, and renders the words,

"who is this that seals up counsel, which cannot be known?''

the counsels, purposes, and decrees of God are sealed up by him, among his treasures, in the cabinet of his own breast, and are not to be unsealed and unlocked by creatures, but are impenetrable to them, past finding out by them, and not to be searched and pried into; and so the secret springs of Providence are not to be known, which Job had attempted, and for which he condemns himself;

therefore have I uttered that I understood not; concerning the providential dealings of God with men, afflicting the righteous, and suffering the wicked to prosper, particularly relating to his own afflictions; in which he arraigned the wisdom, justice, and goodness of God, as if things might have been better done than they were; but now he owns his ignorance and folly, as Asaph did in a like case, Psalm 73:22;

things too wonderful for me, which I knew not; things out of his reach to search into, and beyond his capacity to comprehend; what he should have gazed upon with admiration, and there have stopped. The judgments of God are a great deep, not to be fathomed with the line of human understanding, of which it should be said with the apostle, "O the depth", Romans 11:33, &c. Job ought to have done as David did, Psalm 131:1; of which he was now convinced, and laments and confesses his folly.

Who is he that hideth counsel without {b} knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, {c} which I knew not.

(b) Is there any but I? for this God laid to his charge, Job 38:2.

(c) I confess in this my ignorance, and that I spoke of what I did not know.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. who is he that hideth] That is, that obscures counsel. The words of the Almighty (ch. Job 38:2) echo through Job’s mind, and he repeats them, speaking of himself. The rest of the verse expands the idea of “obscuring counsel,” or states its consequence. As one that obscured counsel Job had uttered that which he understood not. The reference is to his former judgments regarding God’s operations in the world, and the rashness of his own language.

Verse 3. - Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? As these are nearly the words of God in Job 38:2, some suppose that they must be his words again here, and imagine a short dialogue in this place between Job and the Almighty, assigning to Job ver. 2, the latter half of ver. 8, and the whole of vers. 5 and 6, while they assign to God ver. 4 and the first clause of ver. 8. But it is far more natural to regard Job as bringing up the words which God had spoken to him, to ponder on them and answer them, or at any rate to hang his reply upon them, than to imagine God twice interrupting Job in the humble confession that he was anxious to make. We must understand, then, after the word "knowledge," an ellipse of "thou sayest." Therefore have I uttered that I understood not. Therefore, because of that reproof of thine, I perceive that, in what I said to my friends, I "darkened counsel," - I "uttered that I understood not," words which did not clear the matter in controversy, but obscured it. I dealt, in fact, with things too wonderful for me - beyond my compre-hension - which I knew not, of which I had no real knowledge, but only a semblance of knowledge, and on which, therefore, I had better have been silent. Job 42:3 1 Then Job answered Jehovah, and said:

2 Now I know that Thou canst do all things,

And no plan is impracticable to Thee.

3 "Who then hideth counsel -

Without knowledge?"

Thus have I judged without understanding,

What was too wonderful for me, without knowing.

He indeed knew previously what he acknowledges in Job 42:2, but now this knowledge has risen upon him in a new divinely-worked clearness, such as he has not hitherto experienced. Those strange but wondrous monsters are a proof to him that God is able to put everything into operation, and that the plans according to which He acts are beyond the reach of human comprehension. If even that which is apparently most contradictory, rightly perceived, is so glorious, his affliction is also no such monstrous injustice as he thinks; on the contrary, it is a profoundly elaborated מזמּה, a well-digested, wise עצה of God. In Job 42:3 he repeats to himself the chastening word of Jehovah, Job 38:2, while he chastens himself with it; for he now perceives that his judgment was wrong, and that he consequently has merited the reproof. With לכן he draws a conclusion from this confession which the chastening word of Jehovah has presented to him: he has rashly pronounced an opinion upon things that lie beyond his power of comprehension, without possessing the necessary capacity of judging and perception. On the mode of writing ידעתּ, Cheth., which recalls the Syriac form med'et (with the pronominal suff. cast off), vid., Ges. 44, rem. 4; on the expression Job 42:2, comp. Genesis 11:6. The repetition of Job 38:2 in Job 42:3 is not without some variations according to the custom of authors noticed in Psalter, i. 330. הגּדתּי, "I have affirmed," i.e., judged, is, Job 42:3, so that the notion of judging goes over into that of pronouncing a judgment. The clauses with ולא are circumstantial clauses, Ew. 341, a.

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