Job 34:21
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
“For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.

King James Bible
For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.

American Standard Version
For his eyes are upon the ways of a man, And he seeth all his goings.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For his eyes are upon the ways of men, and he considereth all their steps.

English Revised Version
For his eyes are upon the ways of a man, and he seeth all his goings.

Webster's Bible Translation
For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.

Job 34:21 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

12 Yea verily God acteth not wickedly,

And the Almighty perverteth not the right.

13 Who hath given the earth in charge to Him?

And who hath disposed the whole globe?

14 If He only set His heart upon Himself,

If He took back His breath and His inspiration to Himself:

15 All flesh would expire together,

And man would return to dust.

With אף אמנם (Yea verily, as Job 19:4, "and really") the counter-assertion of Job 34:11 is repeated, but negatively expressed (comp. Job 8:3). הרשׁיע signifies sometimes to act as רשׁע, and at others to be set forth and condemned as a רשׁע; here, as the connection requires, it is the former. Job 34:13 begins the proof. Ewald's interpretation: who searcheth, and Hahn's: who careth for the earth beside Him, are hazardous and unnecessary. פּקד with על of the person and the acc. of the thing signifies: to enjoin anything as a duty on any one, to entrust anything to any one, Job 36:23; Numbers 4:27; 2 Chronicles 36:23; therefore: who has made the earth, i.e., the care of it, a duty to Him? ארצה (Milel) is not to be refined into the meaning "to the earth" (as here by Schultens and a few others, Isaiah 9:1 by Luzzatto: he hath smitten down, better: dishonoured, to the earth with a light stroke), but is poetically equivalent to ארץ, as לילה (comp. modern Greek ἡ νύχθα) is in prose equivalent to ליל. Job 34:13 is by no means, with Ew. and Hahn, to be translated: who observes (considers) the whole globe, שׂים as Job 34:23; Job 4:20; Job 24:12 - the expression would be too contracted to affirm that no one but God bestowed providential attention upon the earth; and if we have understood Job 34:13 correctly, the thought is also inappropriate. A more appropriate thought is gained, if עליו is supplied from Job 34:13: who has enjoined upon Him the whole circle of the earth (Saad., Gecat., Hirz., Schlottm.); but this continued force of the עליו into the second independent question is improbable in connection with the repetition of מי. Therefore: who has appointed, i.e., established (שׂם as Job 38:5; Isaiah 44:7), - a still somewhat more suitable thought, going logically further, since the one giving the charge ought to be the lord of him who receives the commission, and therefore the Creator of the world. This is just God alone, by whose רוּח and נשׁמה the animal world as well as the world of men (vid., Job 32:8; Job 33:4) has its life, Job 34:14 : if He should direct His heart, i.e., His attention (שׂים לב אל, as Job 2:3), to Himself (emphatic: Himself alone), draw in (אסף as Psalm 104:29; comp. for the matter Ecclesiastes 12:7, Psychol. S. 406) to Himself His inspiration and breath (which emanated from Him or was effected by Him), all flesh would sink together, i.e., die off at once (this, as it appears, has reference to the taking back of the animal life, רוח), and man would return (this has reference to the taking back of the human spirit, נשׁמה) to dust (על instead of אל, perhaps with reference to the usual use of the על־עפר, Job 17:16; Job 20:11; Job 21:26).

Only a few modern expositors refer אליו, as Targ. Jer. and Syr., to man instead of reflexively to God; the majority rightly decide in favour of the idea which even Grotius perceived: si sibi ipsi tantum bonus esse (sui unius curam habere) vellet. אם followed by the fut. signifies either si velit (lxx ει ̓ βούλοιτο), as here, or as more frequently, si vellet, Psalm 50:12; Psalm 139:8, Obadiah 1:4, Isaiah 10:22; Amos 9:2-4. It is worthy of remark that, according to Norzi's statement, the Babylonian texts presented ישׁיב, Job 34:14, as Chethb, ישׂים as Ker (like our Palestine text, Daniel 11:18), which a MS of De Rossi, with a Persian translation, confirms; the reading gives a fine idea: that God's heart is turned towards the world, and is unclosed; its ethical condition of life would then be like its physical ground of life, that God's spirit dwells in it; the drawing back of the heart, and the taking back to Himself of the spirit, would be equivalent to the exclusion of the world from God's love and life. However, ישׂים implies the same; for a reference of God's thinking and willing to Himself, with the exclusion of the world, would be just a removal of His love. Elihu's proof is this: God does not act wrongly, for the government of the world is not a duty imposed upon Him from without, but a relation entered into freely by Him: the world is not the property of another, but of His free creative appointment; and how unselfishly, how devoid of self-seeking He governs it, is clear from the fact, that by the impartation of His living creative breath He sustains every living thing, and does not, as He easily might, allow them to fall away into nothingness. There is therefore a divine love which has called the world into being and keeps it in being; and this love, as the perfect opposite of sovereign caprice, is a pledge for the absolute righteousness of the divine rule.

Job 34:21 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Job 31:4 Does not he see my ways, and count all my steps?

Genesis 16:13 And she called the name of the LORD that spoke to her, You God see me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that sees me?

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth...

Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.

Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his goings.

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Jeremiah 16:17 For my eyes are on all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from my eyes.

Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Jeremiah 32:19 Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for your eyes are open on all the ways of the sons of men...

Amos 9:8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth...

Cross References
Job 10:4
Have you eyes of flesh? Do you see as man sees?

Job 11:11
For he knows worthless men; when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it?

Job 13:16
This will be my salvation, that the godless shall not come before him.

Job 14:16
For then you would number my steps; you would not keep watch over my sin;

Job 24:23
He gives them security, and they are supported, and his eyes are upon their ways.

Job 31:4
Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?

Psalm 33:15
he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.

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