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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Job 37

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.

At this also my heart trembleth — At this? At what? at the thunder, whereof he had spoken before, and more meant to speak; and which he heard at that instant (as it may seem by the next verse), and therefore no wonder that his heart trembled, and was moved out of its place by an extraordinary palpitation, or, as the Tigurines have it, luxation. Thunder is so terrible, that it hath forced from the greatest atheist an acknowledgment of a deity. Suetonius telleth us of Caligula (that monster, who dared his Jove to a duel), that if it thundered and lightened but a little, he would hoodwink himself; but if much, he would creep under a bed, and be ready to run into a mouse hole, as we say. Augustus Caesar also was so afraid of thunder and lightning, that always and everywhere he carried about him the skin of a sea calf, which those heathens fondly held to be a preservative in such cases, and if at any time there arose a great storm he ran into a dark vault. The Romans held it unlawful to keep court, Iove tonante, fulgurante, in a time of thunder and lightning, as Cicero telleth us (De Divin. l. 2). And Isidore deriveth tonitru a terrendo, thunder from its terror; and others from its tone, or rushing, crashing noise, frightening all creatures. At the voice of thy thunder they are afraid, Psalms 104:7 , which one, not unfitly, calls David’s medicine.

Verse 2

Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound [that] goeth out of his mouth.

Hear attentively the noise of his voiceConiunctam commotione vocem eius, the great thunder crack that now is; that angry noise, as the word signifieth. Hear in hearing; you cannot but hear it with the ears of your bodies, hear it also with the ears of your minds; tremble and sin not; contrary to the course of most men, who sin and tremble not, drowning the noise of their consciences, as the old Italians did the thunder, by ringing their greatest bells, discharging their Roaring Megs, a huge piece of ordnance. … But what saith Elihu here to his hearers? Audite, audite, audite etiam atque etiam, contremiscetis et vos, vos testes adhibeo, as Mercer paraphraseth it out of Kimchi: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye again and again, and then ye also will tremble. I take you to witness; whether ye consider his greater thunder claps ringing and roaring in your ears, see Psalms 29:4 ; Psalms 87:7 , or the lesser rumblings, called here Murmur vel mussitationem, vel habitum, citra quem sermo non profertur; the sound, or breath, that goeth out of his mouth. All is ascribed to God; though naturalists tell us, and truly, that there are second causes of thunder and lightning (Aristot. Pliny); wherein, nevertheless, we must not stick, but give God the glory of his majesty, as David teacheth, Psalms 29:1-3 , and as blind heathens did, when they called their Iove Altitonantem, the high thunderer. The best philosophy in this point is to hear God Almighty by his thunder speaking to us from heaven as if he were present; and to see him in his lightnings, as if he cast his eyes upon us to see what we had been doing. His eyes are as a flaming fire, Revelation 1:14 , and the school of nature teacheth, that the fiery eye seeth extra mittendo, by sending out a ray.

Verse 3

He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.

He directeth it under the whole heaven — Heb. He maketh it to go right forward, meaning the thunder, the vehement noise or sound whereof (not altogether unlike that of cloth violently torn, or of air thrust out of bellows, or of a chestnut burst in the fire, but far louder) is brought through the air to our ears with such a mighty force, that it drowns all noises, clappings, clatterings, roarings even of many waters; making the earth to shake again, and all things tremble, non secus quam siquis currum onustum per plateam lapidibus stratum ducat (Lavat.). And this dreadful noise is by God directed to this or that place under the heavens, at his pleasure. The word rendered directeth signifieth also beholdeth; whence some interpret this text of God’s seeing all things under heaven. But the former sense is better.

And his lightning unto the ends of the earth — God commands the lightning to cleave the clouds, and to scatter its flames through the world. Lightning is the brightness of a shining flame, running through the whole air in a moment, rising of a small and thin exhalation kindled in a cloud. See Psalms 18:13 . The natural end and effect of thunder and lightning is to clear the air, by wasting poisonous vapours. The supernatural is, to show God’s excellent majesty and might, which the mightiest must acknowledge, Psalms 29:1-2 ; to be his officers about him to make room for him, Psalms 97:1 ; Psalms 97:4 , to execute his wrath upon his enemies, Exodus 9:23 ; Exodus 9:27 Psalms 77:18-19 1 Samuel 2:10 Isaiah 29:6 , and his mercy toward his people for the humbling of them, 1 Samuel 12:18-20 , …, raising them again to an assured confidence, Psalms 29:11 , … But that God can shoot these arrows of his so far, Matthew 24:27 Psalms 77:18 ; Psalms 97:3-4 , and here; yea, and that at the same time when it rains, when one would think that the one should quench the other, Psalms 135:7 ; this is a just wonder, and Jeremiah urgeth it twice as such, Jeremiah 10:13 ; Jeremiah 51:16 .

Verse 4

After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.

After it a voice roareth — After it, that is, after the lightning, it thundereth; indeed, before, or at least together with it; but the lightning is seen before the thunder is heard, because the sense of hearing is slower than the sense of seeing, thus fire is first seen in a gun ere the report is heard; the axe of the wood cutter is up for a second blow ere we hear the first, if any way distant, Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures (Horat.). And besides, as R. Levi well observeth here, that the sight of the lightning may come from heaven to us, there needeth no time; because our eyes reach up thither in an instant; but that a sound may come there hence to us (in regard to the distance, and because the air must be beaten and many times impressed as into so many circles) there must be some space of time; neither can it be done so suddenly.

He thundereth with the voice of his excellency — Or, of his height, or of his pride. Proud persons think themselves high, and use to speak big swollen words of vanity, bubbles of words, as St Peter calls them. If they be crossed never so little, verbis bacchantur, et cum quodam vocis impetu loquuntur, oh the tragedies, the blusters, the terrible thunderous cracks of fierce and furious language that follow thereupon. Some have been threatened to death, as Cornelius Gallus was by Augustus Caesar; and Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor, by Queen Elizabeth. How much more should men quake and even expire before the thunder of the Most High, or wriggle as worms do into their holes, the corners of the earth!

And he will not stay them when his voice is heard — Them, that is, new flashes of lightning; or rain and hail, which usually break out either while it thundereth, or presently after, in a most vehement and impetuous manner.

Verse 5

God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.

God thundereth marvellousIy with his voice — Or, God thundereth out marvellous things with his voice. Marvellous indeed, if we consider the effects of thunder, lightning, and lightnig bolts, which differ from lightning in form only, and not in matter; and for the effects thereof naturalists tell us strange things; as that by them the money hath been melted without hurting the purse; the sword hath been broken within the scabbard, the wine hath been exhausted within the barrel, the bones broke within the flesh, … How various and marvellous the nature, generation, matter, form, effects of the thunder and thunderbolt are, not only Seneca, Pliny, and other meteorologists testify, but daily experience sealeth to the truth of it.

Great things doth he, which we cannot comprehend — As being above the reach of our shallow capacity; or, which we will not know; so the Hebrew hath it; such is our oscitance, or obstinace, that we will not take knowledge of God’s works of wonder, though they do even run into our senses. This he construeth for a high contempt; as a skilful artificer would do when he hath set forth a curious piece to public view, and none will take notice of it. God seemeth to have made the meteors in such great variety, that therein he might show his own skill, and their imperfection.

Verse 6

For he saith to the snow, Be thou [on] the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.

For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth — He commandeth it, and it is done; for together with his word there goeth forth a power. Dixisse Dei, est fecisse. Psalms 147:1-20 , God giveth snow like wool. Many wonders there are in snow; as that it should be made in the lowest part of the air, and not above where it is coldest; that it should snow upon the earth, but never upon the sea, as Pliny saith; that snow should lie continually, not only upon the Alps, but upon Mount Aetna, where fire flames out; that no snow falleth in Egypt; but in Tartary, a hot country, sometimes it snoweth in the heat of summer; that it serves for a cover to preserve the earth’s heat, though itself be cold; that being white, it should sometimes bring forth red worms, …

Likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength — Not a drop of rain, whether it come leisurely or hastily, but falleth by a divine decree, Job 28:26 , See Trapp on " Job 28:26 " The Chaldee paraphrast understandeth here the summer and winter rains. God showeth his strength in a thing so weak and diffluent of itself, that thereby he may overturn and break in pieces the proudest of men’s spirits; for whom also, if they repent not, he hath a more terrible rain, Psalms 11:6 , overflowing with fire and brimstone, Ezekiel 38:22

Verse 7

He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.

He sealeth up the hand of every mani.e. He, by his great showers, sendeth men home for shelter, glad to intermit their work till better weather. See Exodus 9:19 . The Hebrews call rain Sagrir, Proverbs 27:15 , from shutting up; because it keeps men at home, from travelling or working abroad. Chiromancy palmistry finds here no footing, whatever some have doted; as if God had set certain signs and notes in men’s hands of what should hereafter befall them, and this text is alleged for proof; but absurdly (Vide Joan de Indeg.).

That all men may know his worki.e. That they may take notice of God’s handiwork in ordering the seasons; and have time to think on their domestic affairs.

Verse 8

Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.

Then the beasts go into dens — In rainy and snowy weather, the very wild beasts (as lively and lusty as they are, whence also they have their name in the original) are glad to take harbour, and there to hold them till the storm be over.

Verse 9

Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.

Out of the south cometh the whirlwind — Which is a wonderful wind indeed; τυφων the Greeks call it (as they do a like wind at sea ευροκλυδων , the mariner’s mischief), the Latins, vortex, because it turns up trees by the roots, houses by the foundation, Job 1:19 , and turbo, as breeding great trouble; for which cause also Pope Urban was called Turban. It suddenly ariseth and as suddenly ceaseth, but doth much mischief, and especially in strait and narrow places. In allusion whereunto the apostle would not have people to be wherried and whirled about with every wind of doctrine, Ephesians 4:14 , as unstable souls use to be. Illebius, for instance; who, as a Protestant, first turned Antinomian, and afterwards a Papist. So the old Illuminati, boasting at first of a certain angelic purity, fell suddenly to the very counterpoint of justifying beastiality (Spec. Europ.). For prevention of this pernicious lightness, "It is good" (saith the apostle) "that the heart be established with grace," Hebrews 13:9 . That men be sound in the faith, well principled, bottomed and ballasted.

And cold out of the north — Heb. out of the scattered winds. North winds scatter the clouds, clear the sky, and so bring on fair cold weather, Kαι Bορεης αιθρηγενετης (Hom. Odyss.). By mezerim here some understand certain stars toward the north pole; Arcturus, the Vulgate Latin rendereth it.

Verse 10

By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.

By the breath of God frost is given — Frost is the excess of cold by the blowing of the coldest winds, which are here called, "The breath of God"; these congeal the waters, and turn them into ice, contracting them into a narrower room. Hence it is, that as any country is more northerly, so it is colder; the sea also is frozen and impassable.

And the breadth of the waters is straitened — This the same again in other words, though some understand it to be hail; when the broad flowing water in the clouds by the force of the cold is narrowed up into hail. All this is of the Lord. Fides non in ordinem operis, sed in authorem oculos suos dirigit, saith Brentius upon the text; faith seeth God in all.

Verse 11

Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:

Also by watering he wearieth the thick clouds — That is, by showering down of much rain he disburdeneth and dissipateth them, seem they never so thick and large. These seem to be troubled and tired out when, as they are watering the earth, they are wasted and drawn dry by the heat of the sun.

He scattereth his bright cloud — Heb. the cloud of his light; that is, the cloud by dissolving whereof he restoreth light and fair weather, or the cloud which was covered over with lightning before, Job 36:30 .

Verse 12

And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.

And it is turned round about by his counselsVertit Dominus et revertit, The Lord turneth and returneth; letteth out, and bringeth back the clouds, as it were by a rope, at his own pleasure; a metaphor from mariners, who skilfully manage the ropes of the ship to best advantage. In like sort the clouds are by God’s cunning turned about in a circuit (as Beza rendereth it), that is, in a round compass or circle; they are not carried up and down the air by any wandering and inconstant motion; but they are, as it were, by certain engines (so he maketh the metaphor) of Almighty God, turned about at his own pleasure, when and where he thinketh good to use them; for he best knoweth where is most need of rain, snow, …, and therefore he by his wisdom driveth them hither and thither, for the fulfilling of his purpose. Some refer this text to the revolution of the heavenly orbs, which is also done by God.

That they may do whatsoever he commandeth them — A metaphor like that, Leviticus 25:21 , where God saith that he will command his blessing upon the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. Now if the senseless creature so readily obey God, how much more should we! And if he be Lord of tempests, he is also of diseases and disasters. Cheer up, therefore, and ply the throne of grace. He will see that all shall go well with his supplicants.

Verse 13

He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

He causeth it to come, whether for correction — Heb. For a rod, εις παιδειαν (Sept.). God hath his rods sticking up in every corner of his house for chastisement of his children, and they shall take it for a favour too, Hebrews 12:7 1 Corinthians 11:32 . Sinite virgam corripientem, ne sentiatis malleum conterentem, saith Bernard. Be content with the rod of correction, that ye feel not the maul of confusion. Better suffer immoderate rains and lightnings, than that terrible tempest, Job 27:21 , and the black flashes of hell fire, that πυριφλεγεθων , as Plato calleth it; the fiery lake, as the Scripture.

Or of his landi.e. His Church, Hosea 9:3 . A land that he watereth and watcheth over from one end of the year to the other, Deuteronomy 28:12 . His vineyard cared for, and kept to himself night and day, Isaiah 27:3 . Or, the earth at large, which is God’s great field, Psalms 24:1 (as the Church is his fold, Psalms 100:3 ), and especially that part of it which is desert and uninhabited. There also God causeth his sun to shine, and his rain to fall, Matthew 5:45 Job 38:26-27 , that the wild beasts also may have food.

Or for mercy — Some singular and extraordinary mercy, as 2 Samuel 21:10 1 Kings 18:45 . Sive ad faciendum beneflcentiam; or to bestow his bounty, and to bestow a largess; as princes sometimes make a scatter of monies among the multitude. Clouds are God’s storehouses, which he soon opens to our profit, Deuteronomy 28:12 ; by them he maketh them a scatter of riches upon the earth, which good men gather, and bad men scramble for.

Verse 14

Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

Hearken unto this, O Job — Here Elihu by little and little draweth to a most wise conclusion, bringing Job to this point, that as the wisdom of God in these daily and ordinary works of nature doth far exceed the reach and capacity of man, so he should much more consider the same in this grievous calamity, which was now befallen him. And forasmuch as he could not come to the knowledge of any other secondary and middle causes, he should rather adore and reverence the secret counsel and purpose of God herein than labour in vain, and without any profit at all to torment himself in searching out that which is not possible for any man to understand. Which argument God himself doth at large most truly and divinely prosecute in the four following chapters.

Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of GodConsiste, considera, and that thou mayest see into these divine secrets, Non arrigendae sunt aures carnis, sed fidei, Prick up the ears of thy faith, which alone can skill of these mysteries; whereinto if thou hast yet no insight, and canst not yet feel the justice, wisdom, and goodness of God in thy present sufferings, it is for want of judgment (as I shall evince in that which follows), it is because thou hast not mine eyes, senses habitually exercised to discern good and evil, Hebrews 5:14 . Nicostratus in Elian, himself being a skilled artist, finding a curious piece of work, and being wondered at by one, and asked, What pleasure he could take to stand gazing as he did on the picture? answered, Hadst thou mine eyes thou wouldst not wonder, but rather be ravished, as I am, at the inimitable art of this rare piece. Elihu seemeth here to say as much to Job.

Verse 15

Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?

Dost thou know when God disposed them — viz. Those wondrous works of God in the air especially; those varieties of meteors, the generation and motions whereof the greatest philosophers cannot perfectly find out by their natural causes, neither do they well agree among themselves concerning those causes. For Anaximander holdeth one thing, Metrodorus another, Anaxagoras a third, Aristotle a fourth; let those that have a mind to it read their janglings and disputes in Plutarch, De placitis philosophorum. Now if no man (though never so wise) can understand the wondrous works of God in these common things of nature, how can he comprehend his hidden works, hoc est, crucem? saith Brentius.

And caused the light of his cloud to shine? — Or, That he may cause the light of his cloud to shine. Hereby he meaneth lightnings, issuing out of the moist and cold cloud, say some; the rainbow, say others, that wonderful work of God (feigned therefore by the heathens to be the daughter of Thaumantias, or of wonderment), which is full of wonders, witness the beautiful shape thereof and various colours, with their several significations, as some conceive (Plato); the several prognostics; viz. of rain in the morning, of fair weather in the evening, as Scaliger concludeth; the form of it, a bow, which yet never shooteth any man unless it be with astonishment and love, … God puts his bow in his hand (saith Ambrose on Genesis 9:13 ), not his arrow, but his bow, and the string of the bow is to us ward. The Jews conceit that the name Jehovah is written on the rainbow, and therefore they no sooner see it, but they hide their eyes, confess their sins, that deserve a second deluge, celebrate God’s great goodness to mankind, … Some by the light of God’s cloud here understand the sunshine through the clouds, causing it to clear up. Now who can certainly foretell rain or fair weather? Some learned men have spent much time and pains in astronomy to get skill in prognosticating, but could do little good of it; when they foretell a fair day it commonly raineth, and the contrary. The countryman’s prognostics, the shepherd’s calendar, hold better, for the most part, than the predictions of these artisans.

Verse 16

Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds?i.e. How they are hung up even in the air, like Architas’ or Archimedes’ pigeon, equally poised with their own weight. But how they are upheld, and why they fall here, and now, we know not, and wonder. Some naturalists tell us that the clouds are upheld by the heat of the sun but that is more than they can tell, and there is much to be said against it. Wherefore it is better for men to confess their ignorance than so peremptorily to pronounce things they know not. Let it be proper to God to be perfect in knowledge. It was too much that some ascribed to Tertullian, to Jerome, to Tostatus, and some others, that they knew all that was knowable.

Verse 17

How thy garments [are] warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south [wind]?

How thy garments are warm, when he, … — Canst thou give a reason of the extreme heat that is about the summer solstice, when the warm south winds blow so gently, that they are scarce felt at all, and thy clothes heated by thy body are a burden to thee, so that thou art ready to cast them off, and, but for common honesty, thou couldst go naked? Brentius thinks, that although one of the winds only is here instanced, yet the disposing of them all is intended; wherein much of God may be seen; for it is he alone who holdeth them in his fist, hideth them in his treasures, sendeth them out as his posts, rideth upon them, as his chariot, 2 Samuel 22:10 Psalms 104:3 , checks them at his pleasure (whence they concluded Christ’s Deity, Matthew 8:27 ), makes them pace orderly, appointing them their motion, …, Job 28:24-27 Nos motum sentimus, modum nescimus. John 3:8 , Thou hearest the sound of the wind, but knowest not whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth. Now if in these common matters men are so blind, how much more in the deep judgments of the Most High.

Verse 18

Hast thou with him spread out the sky, [which is] strong, [and] as a molten looking glass?

Hast thou with him spread out the sky — He had convinced Job of his ignorance, and now he will of his impotence and imbecility; and this by an irony; q.d. Tune ille gigas es? Art thou indeed that giant, or demi-god, that helped the Almighty when he spread the heavens, when he laid the foundation of the earth? … Age itaque si tantus vires, quantum te ostentas, …, Go to, then, if thou be indeed such a one as thou wouldst seem to be, while thou takest upon thee to be, viz. to contend with God, and to complain of his hard dealing with thee. "Teach us what we shall say unto him," …, as Job 37:19 , for we dare not, as thou hast done, dare him to come into the lists with us, as hoping to have the better of him.

Which is strong — Not by reason of any hard massy elemental thickness, but by reason of their airy, incorruptible, indissoluble nature, composed of very thin and even parts (Diodati). Hence the Greeks call it στερεωμα , and the Latins firmamentum. See Trapp on " Genesis 1:7 "

And as a molten looking glass?Perspicuum et sapphirinum, dear and transparent as a mirror wherein God maketh himself visible, as it were; who of himself is too subtile for sight or sinew to seize upon (R. Levi). The Hebrew hath it, which is strong as a molten looking glass; i.e. as a polished brazen looking glass, being more solid than brass, more transparent than crystal.

Verse 19

Teach us what we shall say unto him; [for] we cannot order [our speech] by reason of darkness.

Teach us what we shall say unto him — A notable scoff, a sharp sarcasm. Verba sunt urgentis et insultantis; q.d. Velim ut e tot argumentis, Job 23:4 , aliqua nunc proferas, I would that thou wouldst bring out some of those many arguments thou didst brag of; for we are at a fault; neither can we (such is our ignorance) find what to say in thy just defence, had we never so good a mind to it.

For we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness — We are benighted and word bound; forced to acknowledge our ignorance, our infancy, and to complain (as Anaxagoras afterwards did), omnia esse circumfusa tenebris; and (as Empedocles) angustas esse sensuum semitas, that we are far to seek of what to say in this case, and ready to think that silence would be our safest eloquence.

Verse 20

Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.

Shall it be told him that I speak?An in acta referetur ei, si loquar? Shall it be recorded before him? … q.d. Then woe be to me, for I am sure to rue it; yea, and (without mercy) to be ruined for it. Did not Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesy long since, saying, "Behold, the Lord cometh to execute judgment upon all, and to convince them of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him," Judges 1:14-15 .

If a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up — If he speak in thy behalf, or after thine example, presuming to control God’s works, and to quarrel his proceedings, as thou hast done, he is sure to be undone. Some read the words thus, For if he speak man shall be devoured; that is, if God speak, man (who, before he cometh to speak, thinks that he shall be able to reason with him) shall be quite confounded, and his words, as it were, swallowed up by his profound wisdom; and be made unable to speak one word for himself. Wherefore let all flesh be silent before the Lord; for if any presume to chat against his judgments, he shall have his words driven down his throat again by a divine vengeance. Cave ne lingua feriat collum, Take heed thy tongue cut not thy throat, say the Arabian’s wise proverb.

Verse 21

And now [men] see not the bright light which [is] in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.

And now men see not the bright light that is in the clouds — It seemeth, saith an expositor, that at that very instant the cloudy weather did begin to clear up, and that thereupon Elihu took occasion to speak these words: q.d. Thou art not able to look into the body of the shining sun, quia nimium sensibile laedit sensum; how much less canst thou behold God in his glory, in comparison to whom the sun in his strength is but as a clod of clay! The sun is called light by an excellency; the Egyptians call him Orus, from the Hebrew, Or. Hereafter we shall see God as he is, see him face to face, 1 John 3:1-2 ; see as we are seen, …; but here we can see his back parts only and live, Exodus 33:20-23 Surely out of what Elihu had hitherto said Job should have reasoned thus with himself, I cannot bear the force of a flash of lightning, of a clap of thunder, of a violent shower, of an overturning whirlwind, of an extreme frost of the outshining sun, …, how much less of God in his majesty!

Verse 22

Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God [is] terrible majesty.

Fair weather cometh out of the north — Heb. Gold cometh, …, that is, the golden beams of the sun, as golden oil, Zechariah 4:12 , Serenitas aura similis (Tit.). The north wind also cleanseth the clouds, and shows us the pleasant face of the sun, that gold maker; all whose rays come tipped and gilt with a glistering glory upon them.

With God is terrible majesty — Far beyond that of the sun or of the most dread sovereign upon earth; be it an Augustus Caesar, or a terrible Tamerlane, in whose eyes sate such a rare and reverend majesty as a man could hardly endure to behold them without closing his own. The Tigurines render it, Ad Deum reverendissimum pertinet confessio, To the most reverend God belongeth praise. Others, by way of doxology, Unto God be reverend majesty; a fit perclose of Elihu’s excellent discourse. It was the last speech of dying Chrysostom, Glory be to God from all creatures. Let it be the badge of the beast, Laus Deo, et beatae Virgini. Cry we, Deus terribilis landetur, as Brentius rendereth this text, Let God alone be praised.

Verse 23

[Touching] the Almighty, we cannot find him out: [he is] excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.

Touching the Almighty we cannot find him out — Heb. The Almighty. The nominative case put absolute; q.d. in short, as for the Almighty (that nomen Maiestativum, majestic name, as Tertullian phraseth it), we cannot comprehend him, any more than we can the main ocean in a cockle shell. And whereas we can say, as here, that he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice, Ista de Deo dicimus, quia non invenimus melius quod dicamus (August.); We say these things of God, because we have nothing better to say of him, and must owe the rest unto our thoughts, although, indeed, he is above all name and above all notion. In searching after God, saith Chrysostom, I am like a man digging in a deep spring, I stand here, and the water riseth upon me, and I stand there, and still the water riseth upon me. To Thomas Aquinas, busy in this search, was showed (they say) a deep pit in the edge of the sea (which empty it, and carry away the water as oft as they will), it is still filled with other. It is a knowledge that passeth knowledge, Ephesians 3:19 . That which in measure is pleasant and profitable, being too much inquired into, proves unsavoury and unsafe.

He will not afflict — viz. Willingly, Lamentations 3:33 , or causelessly, 1 Peter 1:6 ; or, He will not answer; viz. every one that questioneth the justice of his proceedings, as Job, in his heat, had done. The Seventy render the question, Will he not answer? sc. those that call upon him in truth, since he is excellent in power and in judgment? … Sure he will.

Verse 24

Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any [that are] wise of heart.

Men do therefore fear him — They do, or should do, for his excellent greatness and goodness, Psalms 130:4 Matthew 10:28 . But in case they do not,

He respecteth not any that are wise of heart — That out of a conceit of their own wisdom stand it out against him, and think to reason it out with him, as thou hast done. Or, But he seeth not all wise in heart; he findeth not all wise, whom he beholdeth here upon earth. Stultorum plena sunt omnia, and thou also hast dealt very foolishly, as God hath seen, and wilt shortly show thee better than I can do.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 37". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/job-37.html. 1865-1868.
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