Job 5:11
To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.
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(11) To set up on high those that be low.—Thus his doctrine is that man’s exaltation must come from God, and not from his own vain strivings. (Comp. Psalm 75:4-10, and the prayer of Hannah, 1Samuel 2:6-8; also Psalm 113:7, &c.)

Job 5:11. To set up on high those that be low — The consequences which proceed from the fore-mentioned happy change, from God’s sending a refreshing rain upon the earth, after a long drought are inexpressibly great and beneficial. Those who had been reduced to straits and difficulties, and, by the pressing necessities arising therefrom, had been brought very low, and obliged to submit to mean and laborious employments, are now enabled to lift up their heads with joy, and appear in a very different condition. That those who mourn may be exalted to safety — That through the blessings of Providence flowing in upon them, like a plentiful stream of water upon a barren and thirsty land, they may be raised from their former state of extreme poverty and want, and may find themselves placed in a comparatively safe and comfortable situation, without any apparent reason to fear a relapse into their former difficulties and distresses. Thus he gives Job another example of God’s great and wonderful works, to comfort and encourage him to seek unto him, forasmuch as he could easily raise him from the depth of his distress, however great, as he was wont to raise others in the like condition.5:6-16 Eliphaz reminds Job, that no affliction comes by chance, nor is to be placed to second causes. The difference between prosperity and adversity is not so exactly observed, as that between day and night, summer and winter; but it is according to the will and counsel of God. We must not attribute our afflictions to fortune, for they are from God; nor our sins to fate, for they are from ourselves. Man is born in sin, and therefore born to trouble. There is nothing in this world we are born to, and can truly call our own, but sin and trouble. Actual transgressions are sparks that fly out of the furnace of original corruption. Such is the frailty of our bodies, and the vanity of all our enjoyments, that our troubles arise thence as the sparks fly upward; so many are they, and so fast does one follow another. Eliphaz reproves Job for not seeking God, instead of quarrelling with him. Is any afflicted? let him pray. It is heart's ease, a salve for every sore. Eliphaz speaks of rain, which we are apt to look upon as a little thing; but if we consider how it is produced, and what is produced by it, we shall see it to be a great work of power and goodness. Too often the great Author of all our comforts, and the manner in which they are conveyed to us, are not noticed, because they are received as things of course. In the ways of Providence, the experiences of some are encouragements to others, to hope the best in the worst of times; for it is the glory of God to send help to the helpless, and hope to the hopeless. And daring sinners are confounded, and forced to acknowledge the justice of God's proceedings.To set up on high - That is, who sets up on high; or God exalts those who are low. From the works of nature, Eliphaz passes to the dealings of God with people, as designed to show that he was worthy of confidence. The first proof is, that he showed himself to be the friend of the humble and the afflicted, and often exalted those who were in lowly circumstances, in a manner which evinced his direct interposition. It is to be remembered here, that Eliphaz is detailing the result of his own observation, and stating the reasons which he had observed for putting confidence in God; and the meaning here is, that he had so often seen this done as to show that God was the friend of the humble and the poor. This sentiment was afterward expressed with great beauty by Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus:

He hath put down the mighty from their seats,

And exalted them of low degree;

He hath filled the hungry with good things,

And the rich he hath sent empty away.

11. Connected with Job 5:9. His "unsearchable" dealings are with a view to raise the humble and abase the proud (Lu 1:52). Therefore Job ought to turn humbly to Him. These words contain either,

1. A declaration of God’s end in giving rain, which is to enrich those who were poor, or mourning for the drought, by sending rain, and making their lands fruitful; or rather,

2. Another example of God’s great and wonderful works. And the infinitive verb is here put for the indicative, he setteth up, &c., which is very frequent in the Hebrew, as Psalm 56:13 Zechariah 3:4 12:10. He giveth this instance to comfort and encourage Job to seek to God, because he can raise him out of his greatest depths, and useth to raise others in the like condition.

That those which mourn may be exalted to safety, notwithstanding all the craft and power of their enemies. To set up on high those that be low,.... Not the low plants, which, through rain, are made to run up on high, though there is a truth in that; but husbandmen and gardeners, and such like persons, in low circumstances, who, by means of showers of rain, which make their gardens, fields, and lands fruitful, are raised to enjoy good estates, and large possessions:

that those which mourn may be exalted to safety; or "are black" (l), that are clothed in black, as a token of mourning; or whose faces are black with famine, see Lamentations 4:8; or are in very distressed circumstances, and black through poverty, as the Targum, and mourn over and grieve at their sad and deplorable case; those, through rain and fruitful seasons, are brought out of such an uncomfortable situation, and put into a better condition of life, where they are as in a fortress, out of the reach of such sad calamities: some connect the words with the following, that in order to do this, to raise up the humble and exalt mourners, "he disappoints the devices of the crafty", &c. Job 5:12.

(l) "denigrati", Montanus, Bolducius; "atrati", Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis; "pullati", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Beza; "sordidati", Schultens.

To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.
11. to set up] If this construction be adopted, the watering of the earth, Job 5:10, must be regarded as the means to this which is effected in Job 5:11. He watereth the fields, giving abundant pasture and harvest, that the humble may be set on high. God’s operations in the lower creation, though instances of goodness to it, have the wider end of blessing man in view. The words, however, may mean, setting up, and be another operation of benevolence parallel to that in Job 5:10. This view is rather confirmed by the second clause of the verse.

that those which mourn may be] Or, and those which mourn are.Verse 11. - To set up on high those that be low. God's physical blessings are intended to subserve moral ends. He gives his rain, both the former and the latter, to raise up men from despair, to enable them to see in him a God of mercy as well as a God of vengeance; and with the same object, after withholding it from us for a while, he pours into our parched hearts the dew of his Holy Spirit. That those which mourn may be exalted to safety; or, "raised to safety" (Lee). 1 Call now, - is there any one who will answer thee?

And to whom of the holy ones wilt thou turn?

2 For he is a fool who is destroyed by complaining,

And envy slays the simple one.

3 I, even I, have seen a fool taking root:

Then I had to curse his habitation suddenly.

4 His children were far from help,

And were crushed in the gate, without a rescuer;

5 While the hungry ate his harvest,

And even from among thorns they took it away,

And the intriguer snatched after his wealth.

The chief thought of the oracle was that God is the absolutely just One, and infinitely exalted above men and angels. Resuming his speech from this point, Eliphaz tells Job that no cry for help can avail him unless he submits to the all-just One as being himself unrighteous; nor can any cry addressed to the angels avail. This thought, although it is rejected, certainly shows that the writer of the book, as of the prologue, is impressed with the fundamental intuition, that good, like evil, spirits are implicated in the affairs of men; for the "holy ones," as in Psalm 89, are the angels. כּי supports the negation implied in Job 5:1 : If God does not help thee, no creature can help thee; for he who complains and chafes at his lot brings down upon himself the extremest destruction, since he excites the anger of God still more. Such a surly murmurer against God is here called אויל. ל is the Aramaic sign of the object, having the force of quod attinet ad, quoad (Ew. 310, a).

Eliphaz justifies what he has said (Job 5:2) by an example. He had seen such a complainer in increasing prosperity; then he cursed his habitation suddenly, i.e., not: he uttered forthwith a prophetic curse over it, which, though פּתאם might have this meaning (not subito, but illico; cf. Numbers 12:4), the following futt., equivalent to imperff., do not allow, but: I had then, since his discontent had brought on his destruction, suddenly to mark and abhor his habitation as one overtaken by a curse: the cursing is a recognition of the divine curse, as the echo of which it is intended. This curse of God manifests itself also on his children and his property (Job 5:4.). שׁער is the gate of the city as a court of justice: the phrase, to oppress in the gate, is like Proverbs 22:22; and the form Hithpa. is according to the rule given in Ges. 54, 2, b. The relative אשׁר, Job 5:5, is here conj. relativa, according to Ges. 155, 1, c. In the connection אל־מצּנּים, אל is equivalent to עד, adeo e spinis, the hungry fall so eagerly upon what the father of those now orphans has reaped, that even the thorny fence does not hold them back. צנּים, as Proverbs 22:5 : the double praepos. אל־מן is also found elsewhere, but with another meaning. עמּים has only the appearance of being plur.: it is sing. after the form צדּיק, from the verb צמם, nectere, and signifies, Job 18:9, a snare; here, however, not judicii laqueus (Bttch.), but what, besides the form, comes still nearer - the snaremaker, intriguer. The Targ. translates לסטיסין, i.e., λησταί. Most modern critics (Rosenm. to Ebr.) translate: the thirsty (needy), as do all the old translations, except the Targ.; this, however, is not possible without changing the form. The meaning is, that intriguing persons catch up (שׁאף, as Amos 2:7) their wealth.

Eliphaz now tells why it thus befell this fool in his own person and his children.

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