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1 But nevertheless, O Job, hear my speeches,
And hearken to all my words.
2 Behold now, I have opened my mouth,
My tongue speaketh in my palate.
3 Sincere as my heart are my utterances,
And knowledge that is pure my lips declare.
The issue of the impartial discussion which Elihu designs to effect, is subject to this one condition, that Job listens to it, and observes not merely this or that, but the whole of its connected contents; and in this sense ואוּלם , which is used just as in Job 1:11; Job 11:5; Job 12:7; Job 13:4; Job 14:18; Job 17:10, in the signification verumtamen , stands at the head of this new turn in his speech. Elihu addresses Job, as none of the previous speakers have done, by name. With הנּה־נא (as Job 13:18), he directs Job's observation to that which he is about to say: he has already opened his mouth, his tongue is already in motion, - circumstantial statement, which solemnly inaugurate what follows with a consciousness of its importance. Job has felt the absence of אמרי־ישׁר , Job 6:25, in the speeches of the three; but Elihu can at the outset ensure his word being “the sincerity of his heart,” i.e., altogether heartily well meant: and - thus it would be to be translated according to the accentuation - the knowledge of my lips, they (my lips) utter purely. But “the knowledge of the lips” is a notion that seems strange with this translation, and בּרוּר is hardly intended thus adverbially. דּעת , contrary to the accentuation, is either taken as the accusative of the obj., and בּרוּר as the acc. of the predicate ( masc. as Proverbs 2:10; Proverbs 14:6): knowledge my lips utter pure; or interpreted, if one is not willing to depart from the accentuation, with Seb. Schmid: scientiam labiorum meorum quod attinet (the knowledge proceeding from my lips), puram loquentur sc. labia mea . The notions of purity and choice coincide in ברור (comp. Arab. ibtarra , to separate one's self; asfa , to prove one's self pure, and to select). The perff., Job 33:2, describe what is begun, and so, as relatively past, extending into the present.
4 The Spirit of God hath made me,
And the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
5 If thou canst, answer me,
Prepare in my presence, take thy stand!
6 Behold, I am like thyself, of God,
Formed out of clay am I also.
7 Behold, my terror shall not affright thee,
And my pressure shall not be heavy upon thee.
He has both in common with Job: the spirituality as well as the earthliness of man's nature; but by virtue of the former he does not, indeed, feel himself exalted above Job's person, but above the present standpoint taken up by Job; and in consideration of this, Job need not fear any unequal contest, nor as before God, Job 9:34; Job 13:21, in order that he may be able to defend himself against Him, make it a stipulation that His majesty may not terrify him. It is man's twofold origin which Elihu, Job 33:4, Job 33:6, gives utterance to in harmony with Genesis 2:7: the mode of man's origin, which is exalted above that of all other earthly beings that have life; for the life of the animal is only the individualizing of the breath of the Divine Spirit already existing in matter. The spirit of man, on the contrary (for which the language has reserved the name נשׁמה ), is an inspiration directly coming forth from God the personal being, transferred into the bodily frame, and therefore forming a person.
(Note: God took a small piece of His own life - says the tradition among the Karens, a scattered tribe of Eastern India - blew into the nostrils of His son and daughter, and they became living beings, and were really human.)
In the exalted consciousness of having been originated by the Spirit of God, and being endowed with life from the inbreathed breath of the Almighty, Elihu stands invincible before Job: if thou canst, refute me ( השׁיב with acc. of the person, as Job 33:32); array thyself ( ערכה for ערכה , according to Ges. 63, rem. 1) before me (here with the additional thought of מלחמה , as Job 23:4, in a forensic sense with משׁפּט ), place thyself in position, or take thy post ( imper. Hithpa. with the ah less frequent by longer forms, Ew. §228, a).
On the other side, he also, like Job, belongs to God, i.e., is dependent and conditioned. הן־אני is to be written with Segol (not Ssere); לאל is intended like לו , Job 12:16; and כּפיך signifies properly, according to thine utterance, i.e., standard, in accordance with, i.e., like thee, and is used even in the Pentateuch (e.g., Exodus 16:21) in this sense pro ratione ; כפי , Job 30:18, we took differently. He, Elihu, is also nipped from the clay, i.e., taken from the earth, as when the potter nips off a piece of his clay (comp. Aram. קרץ , a piece, Arab. qurs , a bread-cake, or a dung-cake, vid., supra, p. 449, from qarasa , to pinch off, take off, cogn. qarada , to gnaw off, cut off, p. 512). Thus, therefore, no terribleness in his appearing will disconcert Job, and his pressure will not be a burden upon him. By a comparison of Job 13:21, it might seem that אכפּי is equivalent to כּפּי (lxx ἡ χείρ μου ), but כּבד is everywhere connected only with יד , never with כּף ; and the ἁπ. γεγρ. is explained according to Proverbs 16:26, where אכף signifies to oppress, drive (Jer. compulit ), and from the dialects differently, for in Syr. ecaf signifies to be anxious about anything ( ecaf li , it causes me anxiety, curae mihi est ), and in Arab. accafa , to saddle, ucâf , Talmud. אוּכּף , a saddle, so that consequently the Targ. translation of אכפּי by טוּני , my burden, and the Syr. by אוכפני , my pressing forward (Arabic version iqbâl i, my touch), are supported, since אכף signifies pressure, heavy weight, load, and burden; according to which it is also translated by Saad. (my constraint), Gecat. (my might). It is therefore not an opponent who is not on an equality with him by nature, with whom Job has to do. If he is not able to answer him, he will have to be considered as beaten.
8 Verily thou hast said in mine ears,
And I heard the sound of thy words:
9 “I am pure, without transgression;
“Spotless am I, and I have no guilt.
10 “Behold, He findeth malicious things against me,
“He regardeth me as His enemy;
11 “He putteth my feet in the stocks,
“He observeth all my paths.”
12 Behold, therein thou art not right, I will answer thee,
For Eloah is too exalted for man.
With אך אמרתּ Elihu establishes the undeniable fact, whether it be that אך is intended as restrictive (only thou hast said, it is not otherwise than that thou ... ), or as we have translated, according to its primary meaning, affirmative (forsooth, it is undeniable). To say anything בּאזני of another is in Hebrew equivalent to not saying it secretly, and so as to be liable to misconstruction, but aloud and distinctly. In Job 33:9, Elihu falls back on Job's own utterances, as Job 9:21, תם אני ; Job 16:17, תפלתי זכה ; Job 12:4, where he calls himself צדיק תמים , comp. Job 10:7; Job 13:18, Job 13:23; Job 23:10, Job 27:5, Job 29:1, Job 31:1. The expression חף , tersus , did not occur in the mouth of Job; Geiger connects חף with the Arab. hanı̂f (vid., on Job 13:15); it is, however, the adj. of the Semitic verb חף , Arab. ḥff , to rub off, scrape off; Arab. to make smooth by scraping off the hair; Targ., Talm., Syr., to make smooth by washing and rubbing (after which Targ. שׁזיג , lotus).
(Note: Vid., Nöldecke in Genfey's Zeitschrift, 1863, S. 383.)
אנכי has here, as an exception, retained its accentuation of the final syllable in pause. In Job 33:10 Elihu also makes use of a word that does not occur in Job's mouth, viz., תּנוּאות , which, according to Numbers 14:34, signifies “alienation,” from נוּא הניא ), to hinder, restrain, turn aside, abalienare, Numbers 32:7; and according to the Arab. na'a (to rise heavily),
(Note: Nevertheless Zamachschari does not derive Arab. nâwâ , to treat with enmity, from Arab. n' , but from nwy , so that nâwa fulânan signifies “to have evil designs against any one, to meditate evil against one.” The phrases iluh ‛alêji nijât , he has evil intentions (wicked designs) against me, nı̂jetuh zerı̂je aleik , he has evil intentions against thee, and similar, are very common. - Wetzst.)
III to lean one's self upon, to oppose any one; it might also signify directly, “hostile risings;” but according to the Hebr. it signifies grounds and occasions for hostile aversion. Moreover, Elihu here recapitulates what Job has in reality often in meaning said, e.g., Job 10:13-17; and Job 33:10 are his own words, Job 13:24, ותחשׁבני לאויב לך ; Job 19:11, ויחשׁבני לו כצריו ; Job 30:21, תהפך לאכזר לי . In like manner, Job 33:11 is a verbatim quotation from Job 13:27; ישׁם is poetic contracted fut. for ישׂים rof . . It is a principal trait of Job's speeches which Elihu here makes prominent: his maintenance of his own righteousness at the expense of the divine justice. In Job 33:12 he first of all refutes this צשּׁק נפשׁו מאלהים in general. The verb צדק does not here signify to be righteous, but to be in the right (as Job 11:2; Job 13:18) - the prevailing signification in Arabic ( sadaqa , to speak the truth, be truthful). זאת (with Munach, not Dechâ) is acc. adv.: herein, in this case, comp. on Job 19:26. רבה מן is like Deuteronomy 14:24 (of the length of the way exceeding any one's strength), but used, as nowhere else, of God's superhuman greatness; the Arabic version has the preposition Arab. ‛an in this instance for מן . God is too exalted to enter into a defence of Himself against such vainglorying interwoven with accusations against Him. And for this reason Elihu will enter the lists for God.
Elihu now describes the first mode in which God speaks to man: He Himself comes forward as a witness in man's sleep, He makes use of dreams or dream-like visions, which come upon one suddenly within the realm of nocturnal thought (vid., Psychol. S. 282f.), as a medium of revelation - a usual form of divine revelation, especially in the heathen world, to which positive revelation is wanting. The reading בּחזיון (Codd., lxx, Syr., Symm., Jer.), as also the accentuation of the בחלום with Mehupach Legarme, proceeds from the correct assumption, that vision of the night and dream are not coincident notions; moreover, the detailing Job 33:15, is formed according to Job 4:13. In this condition of deep or half sleep, revelat aurem hominum , a phrase used of the preparation of the ear for the purpose of hearing by the removal of hindrances, and, in general, of confidential communication, therefore: He opens the ear of men, and seals their admonition, i.e., the admonition that is wholesome and necessary for them. Elihu uses חתם בּ here and Job 37:7 as חתם בּעד is used in Job 9:7: to seal anything (to seal up), comp. Arab. ḥı̂m , σφραγίζειν , in the sense of infallible attestation and confirmation (John 6:27), especially (with Arab. b) of divine revelation or inspiration, distinct in meaning from Arab. chtm , σφραγίζειν , in the proper sense. Elihu means that by such dreams and visions, as rare overpowering facts not to be forgotten, God puts the seal upon the warning directed to them which, sent forth in any other way, would make no such impression. Most ancient versions (also Luther) translate as though it were יחתּם (lxx ἐξεφόβησεν αὐτούς ). מסר is a secondary form to מוּסר , Job 36:10, which occurs only here. Next comes the fuller statement of the object of the admonition or warning delivered in such an impressive manner. According to the text before us, it is to be explained: in order that man may remove (put from himself) mischief from himself (Ges. §133, 3); but this inconvenient change of subject is avoided, if we supply a מ to the second, and read אדם ממעשׂה , as lxx ἀποστρέψαι ἄνθρωπον ἀπὸ ἀδικίας αὐτοῦ (which does not necessarily presuppose the reading ממעשׂהו ), Targ. ab opere malo ; Jer. not so good; ab his quae fecit . מעשׂה signifies facinus, an evil deed, as 1 Samuel 20:19, and פּעל , Job 36:9, evil-doing. The infin. constr. now passes into the v. fin., which would be very liable to misconstruction with different subjects: and in order that He (God) may conceal arrogance from man, i.e., altogether remove from him, unaccustom him to, render him weary of. the sin of pride ( גּוה from גּוה גּאה , as Job 22:29, according to Ges., Ew., Olsh., for גּאוה גּאוה ). Here everything in thought and expression is peculiar. Also חיּה , Job 33:18 (as Job 33:22, Job 33:28), for חיּים rof ,) (Job 33:30) does not occur elsewhere in the book of Job, and the phrase עבר בּשּׁלח here and Job 36:12 (comp. עבר בּשּׁחת , Job 33:28) nowhere else in the Old Testament. שׁלח (Arab. silâh , a weapon of offence, opp. metâ‛ , a weapon of defence) is the engine for shooting, from שׁלח , emmittere , to shoot; and עבר בשׁלח is equivalent to נפל בעד השׁלח ot tnelaviuqe s , Joel 2:8, to pass away by (precipitate one's self into) the weapon for shooting. To deliver man from sin, viz., sins of carnal security and imaginary self-importance, and at the same time from an early death, whether natural or violent, this is the disciplinary design which God has in view in connection with this first mode of speaking to him; but there is also a second mode.
The contracted future form יכל , again, like ישׂם , Job 33:11, is poetic instead of the full form: his flesh vanishes מראי , from sight, i.s. so that it is seen no longer; or from comeliness, i.e., so that it becomes unsightly; the latter (comp. 1 Samuel 16:12 with Isaiah 53:2, ולא־מראה ) might be preferred. In Job 33:21 the Keri corrects the text to ושׁפּוּ , et contrita sunt , whereas the Chethib is to be read וּשׁפי , et contritio . The verb שׁפה , which has been explained by Saadia from the Talmudic,
(Note: He refers to b. Aboda zara 42 a: If a heathen have broken an idol to pieces ( שׁפּה ) to derive advantage from the pieces, both the (shattered) idol and the fragments ( שׁפּוּיין ) are permitted (since both are deprived of their heathenish character).)
signifies conterere, comminuere ; Abulwalîd (in Ges. Thes.) interprets it here by suhifet wa - baradet , they are consumed and wasted away, and explains it by כּתּתוּ . The radical notion is that of scraping, scratching, rubbing away (not to be interchanged with Arab. sf' , ספה , which, starting from the radical notion of sweeping away, vanishing, comes to have that of wasting away; cognate, however, with the above Arab. sḥf , whence suhâf , consumption, prop. a rasure of the plumpness of the body). According to the Keri, Job 33:21 runs: and his bones (limbs) are shattered (fallen away), they are not seen, i.e., in their wasting away and shrivelling up they have lost their former pleasing form. Others, taking the bones in their strict sense, and שׁפה in the signification to scrape away = lay bare, take לא ראו as a relative clause, as Jer. has done: ossa quae tecta fuerant nudabuntur (rather nudata sunt ), but this ought with a change of mood to be לא ראו ... וישׁפּוּ . To the former interpretation corresponds the unexceptionable Chethib: and the falling away of his limbs are not seen, i.e., ( per attractionem ) his wasting limbs are diminished until they are become invisible. ראוּ is one of the four Old Testament words (Genesis 43:26; Ezra 8:18; Leviticus 23:17) which have a Dagesh in the Aleph; in all four the Aleph stands between two vowels, and the dageshing (probably the remains of a custom in the system of pointing which has become the prevailing one, which, with these few exceptions, has been suffered to fall away) is intended to indicate that the Aleph is here to be carefully pronounced as a guttural (to use an Arabic expression, as Hamza), therefore in this passage ru - 'û .
(Note: Vid., Luzzatto's Grammatica della Lingua Ebraica (1853), §54. Ewald's (§21) view, that in these instances the pointed Aleph is to be read as j (therefore ruju ), is unfounded; moreover, the point over the Aleph is certainly only improperly called Dagesh, it might at least just as suitably be called Mappik.)
Thus, then, the soul (the bearer of the life of the body) of the sick man, at last succumbing to this process of decay, comes near to the pit, and his life to the ממתים , destroying angels (comp. Psalms 78:49; 2 Samuel 24:16), i.e., the angels who are commissioned by God to slay the man, if he does not anticipate the decree of death by penitence. To understand the powers of death in general, with Rosenm., or the pains of death, with Schlottm. and others, does not commend itself, because the Elihu section has a strong angelological colouring in common with the book of Job. The following strophe, indeed, in contrast to the ממיתים , speaks of an angel that effects deliverance from death.
23 If there is an angel as mediator for him,
One of a thousand,
To declare to man what is for his profit:
24 He is gracious to him, and saith:
Deliver him, that he go not down to the pit -
I have found a ransom.
The former case, Job 33:15, was the easier; there a strengthening of the testimony of man's conscience by a divine warning, given under remarkable circumstances, suffices. This second case, which the lxx correctly distinguishes from the former (it translates Job 33:19, πάλιν δὲ ἤλεγξεν αὐτὸν ἐν μαλακίᾳ ἐπὶ κοίτης ), is the more difficult: it treats not merely of a warning against sin and its wages of death, but of a deliverance from the death itself, to which the man is almost abandoned in consequence of sin. This deliverance, as Elihu says, requires a mediator. This course of thought does not admit of our understanding the מלאך of a human messenger of God, such as Job has before him in Elihu (Schult., Schnurr., Boullier, Eichh., Rosenm., Welte), an “interpreter of the divine will, such as one finds one man among a thousand to be, a God-commissioned speaker, in one word: a prophet” (von Hofmann in Schriftbew. i. 335f.). The מלך appears not merely as a declarer of the conditions of the deliverance, but as a mediator of this deliverance itself. And if the ממתים , Job 33:22, are angels by whom the man is threatened with the execution of death, the מלאך who comes forward here for him who is upon the brink of the abyss cannot be a man. We must therefore understand מלאך not as in Job 1:14, but as in Job 4:18; and the more surely so, since we are within the extra-Israelitish circle of a patriarchal history. In the extra-Israelitish world a far more developed doctrine of angels and demons is everywhere found than in Israel, which is to be understood not only subjectively, but also objectively; and within the patriarchal history after Gen 16, that ( אלהים מלאך יהוה appears, who is instrumental in effecting the progress of the history of redemption, and has so much the appearance of the God of revelation, that He even calls himself God, and is called God. He it is whom Jacob means, when (Genesis 48:15.), blessing Joseph, he distinguishes God the Invisible, God the Shepherd, i.e., Leader and Ruler, and “the Angel who delivered ( הגּאל ) me from all evil;” it is the Angel who, according to Psalms 34:8, encampeth round about them that fear God, and delivereth them; ”the Angel of the presence” whom Isaiah in the Thephilla, ch. lxiii. 7ff., places beside Jehovah and His Holy Spirit as a third hypostasis. Taking up this perception, Elihu demands for the deliverance of man from the death which he has incurred by his sins, a superhuman angelic mediator. The “Angel of Jehovah” of primeval history is the oldest prefigurement in the history of redemption of the future incarnation, without which the Old Testament history would be a confused quodlibet of premises and radii, without a conclusion and a centre; and the angelic form is accordingly the oldest form which gives the hope of a deliverer, and to which it recurs, in conformity to the law of the circular connection between the beginning and end, in Malachi 3:1.
The strophe begins without any indication of connection with the preceding: one would expect ואם or אז אם , as we felt the absence of אך fo e in Job 33:14, and לכן in Job 32:17. We might take מלאך מליץ together as substantive and epitheton; the accentuation, however, which marks both מלאך and מליץ with Rebia magnum (in which case, according to Bär's Psalterium, p. xiv., the second distinctive has somewhat less value than the first), takes מלאך as subj., and מליץ as predicate: If there is then for him ( עליו , pro eo, Ew. §217, 9) an angel as מליץ , i.e., mediator; for מליץ signifies elsewhere an interpreter, Genesis 42:23; a negotiator, 2 Chronicles 32:31; a God-commissioned speaker, i.e., prophet, Isaiah 43:27; - everywhere (if it is not used as in Job 16:20, in malam parte ) the shades of the notion of this word are summarized under the general notion of internuncius , and therefore of mediator (as the Jewish name of the mediating angel מטטרון , probably equivalent to mediator, not μετάθρονος , which is no usable Greek word). The Targ. translates by פרקליטא , παράκλητος ( opp. קטיגור , κατήγορος, κατήγωρ ). Therefore: if an angel undertakes the mediatorial office for the man, and indeed one of a thousand, i.e., not any one whatever of the thousands of the angels (Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 68:18; Daniel 7:10, comp. Tobit 12:15, εἶς ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ ), but one who soars above the thousands, and has not his equal among them (as Ecclesiastes 7:28). Hirz. and Hahn altogether falsely combine: one of the thousands, whose business it is to announce ... . The accentuation is correct, and that forced mode of connection is without reason or occasion. It is the function of the מלאך itself as מליץ , which the clause which expresses the purpose affirms: if an angel appears for the good of the man as a mediator, to declare to him ישׁרו , his uprightness, i.e., the right, straight way (comp. Proverbs 14:2), in one word: the way of salvation, which he has to take to get free of sin and death, viz., the way of repentance and of faith (trust in God): God takes pity on the man ... . Here the conclusion begins; Rosenm. and others erroneously continue the antecedent here, so that what follows is the intercession of the angel; the angel, however, is just as a mediator who brings about the favour of God, and therefore not the חנן himself. He renders pardon possible, and brings the man into the state for receiving it.
Therefore: then God pardons, and says to His angel: Deliver him from the descent to the pit, I have found a ransom. Instead of פּדעהוּ , it would be admissible to read פּרעהוּ , let him free (from פרע , Arab. frg ), if the angel to whom the command is given were the angel of death. פּדע is a cognate form, perhaps dialectic, with hdfp@f , root פד (as יפע יפה , Arab. wf‛ , wfy , from the common root יף וף ).
(Note: Wetzstein is inclined to regard פדע as a metathesis of דפע , Arab. df‛ : thrust (tear, hold) him back from the gave. A proper name, fed‛ân , which often occurs among the Beduins, is of uncertain signification; perhaps it would serve as an explanation of פדעהו .)
The verb מצא מטא ) signifies to come at, Job 11:7, to attain something, and has its first signification here, starting from which it signifies the finding on the part of the seeker, and then when weakened finding without seeking. One is here reminded of Hebrews 9:12, αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος . כּפר (on this word, vid., Hebräerbrief, S. 385, 740), according to its primary notion, is not a covering = making good, more readily a covering = cancelling (from כּפר , Talmud. to wipe out, away), but, as the usual combination with על shows, a covering of sin and guilt before wrath, punishment, or execution on account of guilt, and in this sense λύτρον , a means of getting free, ransom-money. The connection is satisfied if the repentance of the chastened one (thus e.g., also von Hofm.) is understood by this ransom, or better, his affliction, inasmuch as it has brought him to repentance. But wherefore should the mediatorship of the angel be excluded from the notion of the כּפר . Just this mediatorship is meant, inasmuch as it puts to right him who by his sins had worked death, i.e., places him in a condition in which no further hindrance stands in the way of the divine pardon. If we connect the mediating angel, like the angel of Jehovah of the primeval history, with God Himself, as then the logos of this mediating angel to man can be God's own logos communicated by him, and he therefore as מליץ , God's speaker (if we consider Elihu's disclosure in the light of the New Testament), can be the divine Logos himself, we shall here readily recognise a presage of the mystery which is unveiled in the New Testament: “God was in Christ, and reconciled the world unto Himself.” A presage of this mystery, flashing through the darkness, we have already read in Job 17:3 (comp. Job 16:21; and, on the other hand, in order to see how this anticipation is kindled by the thought of the opposite, Job 9:33). The presage which meets us here is like another in Ps 107 - a psalm which has many points of coincidence with the book of Job - where in Job 33:20 we find, “He sent His word, and healed them.”
(Note: In his introduction, p. 76, Schlottmann says: “The conceptions of Wisdom and of the Revealing Angel were already united in that of the Eternal Word in the ante-Christian, Jewish theology. Therein the fact of the divine revelation in Christ found the forms in which it could accommodate itself to the understanding, and stimulate succeeding ages to further thought and penetration.” Thus it is: between the Chokma of the canonical books and the post-biblical development of the philosophy of religion (dogmatism) which culminates in Philo, there is an historical connection, and, indeed, one that has to do with the development of redemption. Vid., Luth. Zeitschrift, 1863, S. 219ff.)
At any rate, Elihu expresses it as a postulate, that the deliverance of man can only be effected by a superhuman being, as it is in reality accomplished by the man who is at the same time God, and from all eternity the Lord of the angels of light.
The following strophe (Job 33:25) now describes the results of the favour wrought out for man by the מלאך מליץ .
25 His flesh swelleth with the freshness of youth,
He returneth to the days of his youth.
26 If he prayeth to Eloah, He showeth him favour,
So that he seeth His face with joy,
And thus He recompenseth to man his uprightness.
27 He singeth to men and saith:
“I had sinned and perverted what was straight,
“And it was not recompensed to me.
28 “He hath delivered my soul from going down into the pit,
“And my life rejoiceth in the light.”
Misled by the change of the perf. and fut. in Job 33:25, Jer. translates Job 33:25: consumta est caro ejus a suppliciis ; Targ.: His flesh had been weakened ( אתחלישׁ ), or made thin ( אתקלישׁ ), more than the flesh of a child; Raschi: it had become burst (French אשקושא , in connection with which only פשׁ appears to have been in his mind, in the sense of springing up, prendre son escousse ) from the shaking (of disease). All these interpretations are worthless; נער , peculiar to the Elihu section in the book of Job (here and Job 36:14), does not signify shaking, but is equivalent to נערים (Job 13:26; Job 31:18); and רטפשׁ is in the perf. only because the passive quadriliteral would not so easily accommodate itself to inflexion (by which all those asserted significations, which suit only the perf. sense, fall to the ground). The Chateph instead of the simple Sehevâ is only in order to give greater importance to the passive u. But as to the origin of the quadriliteral (on the four modes of the origin of roots of more than three radicals, vid., Jesurun, pp. 160-166), there is no reason for regarding it as a mixed form derived from two different verbs: it is formed just like פּרשׁז (from פּרשׁ , by Arabizing = פּרשׂ ) with a sibilant termination from רטף רטב , and therefore signifies to be (to have been made) over moist or juicy. However, there is yet another almost more commendable explanation possible. In Arab. ṭrfš signifies to recover, prop. to grow green, become fresh (perhaps from tarufa , as in the signification to blink, from tarafa ). From this Arab. tarfasha , or even from a Hebr. טרפּשׁ ,
(Note: The Talmud. טרפשׁא דליבא ( Chullin, 49 b) signifies, according to the customary rendering, the pericardium, and טרפשׁא דכבדא ( ib. 46 a) the diaphragm, or rather the little net ( omentum minus ). Originally, however, the former signified the cushion of fat under the pericardium on which the heart rests, especially in the crossing of the furrows; the latter the accumulation of fat on the porta ( πύλη ) and between the laminae of the little net. For טרפשׁ is correctly explained by שׁומן , fat. It has nothing to do with τράπεζα (an old name for a part of the liver), with which Ges. after Buxtorf connects it.)
pinguefacere (which may with Fürst be regarded as springing from טפשׁ , to be fleshy, like כּרבּל כּרסם ), רטפשׁ might have sprung by transposition. In a remarkable manner one and the same idea is attained by all these ways: whether we regard וטפשׁ as a mixed form from רטב and טפשׁ , or as an extended root-form from one or other of these verbs, it is always according to the idea: a superabundance of fresh healthfulness. The מן or מנּער is chiefly regarded as comparative: more than youth, i.e., leaving this behind, or exceeding it, Ew. §221, a; but Job 33:25, according to which he who was hitherto sick unto death actually renews his youth, makes it more natural to take the מן as causal: it swells from youth or youthfulness. In this description of the renovation which the man experiences, it is everywhere assumed that he has taken the right way announced to him by the mediating angel. Accordingly, Job 33:26 is not intended of prayer that is heard, which resulted in pardon, but of prayer that may be heard continually, which results from the pardon: if he prays to Eloah ( fut. hypotheticum as Job 22:27, vid., on Job 29:24), He receives him favourably ( רצה , Arab. raḍiya , with ב , Arab. b, to have pleasure in any one, with the acc. eum gratum vel acceptum habere ), and he (whose state of favour is now established anew) sees God's countenance (which has been hitherto veiled from him, Job 34:29) with rejoicing (as Psalms 33:3 and freq.), and He (God) recompenses to the man his uprightness (in his prolonged course of life), or prop., since it is not ויּשׁלּם , but ויּשׁב , He restores on His part his relation in accordance with the order of redemption, for that is the idea of צדקה ; the word has either a legal or a so-to-speak evangelical meaning, in which latter, used of God (as so frequently in Isaiah II), it describes His rule in accordance with His counsel and order of redemption; the primary notion is strict observance of a given rule.
In Job 33:27 the favoured one is again the subj. This change of person, without any indication of the same, belongs to the peculiarities of the Hebrew, and, in general, of the Oriental style, described in the Geschichte der jüd. Poesie, S. 189 [ History of Jewish Poetry; ] the reference of ויּרא , as Hiph., to God, which is preferred by most expositors, is consequently unnecessary. Moreover, the interpretation: He causes his (the favoured one's) countenance to behold joy (Umbr., Ew.), is improbable as regards the phrase ( נראה ראה פני ה , and also syntactically lame; and the interpretation: He causes (him, the favoured one) to behold His (the divine) countenance with joy (Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm., and others), halts in like manner, since this would be expressed by ויּראהוּ ויּראנּוּ ). By the reference to psalmody which follows in Job 33:27 (comp. Job 36:24), it becomes natural that we should understand Job 33:26 according to such passages in the Psalms as Psalms 90:2; Psalms 67:2; Psalms 17:15. ישׂר is a poetically contracted fut. after the manner of a jussive, for ישׁוּר ; and perhaps it is a dialectic form, for the Kal שׁוּר שׁיר occurs only besides in 1 Samuel 18:6 as Chethîb. With על (comp. Proverbs 25:20) it signifies to address a song to any one, to sing to him. Now follows the psalm of the favoured one in outline; Job 33:28 also belongs to it, where the Keri (Targ. Jer.), without any evident reason whatever, gets rid of the 1 pers. (lxx, Syr.). I had sinned - he says, as he looks back ashamed and thankful - and perverted what was straight (comp. the confession of the penitent, Psalms 106:6), ולא שׁוה לי , et non aequale factum s. non aequatum est mihi ,
(Note: In Arabic swy ( sawa ) is the most general expression for “to be worth, to cost,” usually with the acc. of price, but also with li, e.g., in the proverb hal ka‛ke mâ tiswe li - hal da‛ke , this (wretched) bite of bread (of subsistence) is not worth this (excessive) pressure after it. Accordingly ולא שׁוה לי would signify: it (what I suffered) came not equal to me (did not balance me), which at any rate is equivalent to ”it did not cost my life” (Wetzst.), but would be indistinctly expressed.)
i.e., it has not been recompensed to me according to my deserts, favour instead of right is come upon me. שׁוה (Arab. sawâ ) is intended neutrally, not so that God would be the subj. (lxx καὶ οὐκ ἄξια ἤτασέ με ὧν ἥμαρτον ). Now follows, Job 33:28, the positive expression of the favour experienced. The phrase עבר בשׁחת , after the analogy of עבר בשׁלח above, and also חיּה for חיּים , are characteristic of the Elihu section. Beautiful is the close of this psalm in nuce : “and my life refreshes itself ( ראה בּ as Job 20:17 and freq.) in the light,” viz., in the light of the divine countenance, which has again risen upon me, i.e., in the gracious presence of God, which I am again become fully conscious of.
29 Behold, God doeth all
Twice, thrice with man,
30 To bring back his soul from the pit,
That it may become light in the light of life.
31 Listen, O Job, hearken to me;
Be silent and let me speak on.
32 Yet if thou hast words, answer me;
Speak, for I desire thy justification.
33 If not, hearken thou to me;
Be silent and I will teach thee wisdom.
After having described two prominent modes of divine interposition for the moral restoration and welfare of man, he adds, Job 33:29, that God undertakes (observe the want of parallelism in the distich, Job 33:29) everything with a man twice or thrice (asyndeton, as e.g., Isaiah 17:6, in the sense of bis terve) in order to bring back his soul from the pit ( שׁחת , here for the fifth time in this speech, without being anywhere interchanged with שׁאול or another synonym, which is remarkable), that it, having hitherto been encompassed by the darkness of death, may be, or become, light ( לאור , inf. Niph., syncopated from להאור , Ew. §244, b) in the light of life (as it were bask in the new and restored light of life) - it does not always happen, for these are experiences of no ordinary kind, which interrupt the daily course of life; and it is not even repeated again and again constantly, for if it is without effect the first time, it is repeated a second or third time, but it has an end if the man trifles constantly with the disciplinary work of grace which designs his good. Finally, Elihu calls upon Job quietly to ponder this, that he may proceed; nevertheless, if he has words, i.e., if he thinks he is able to advance any appropriate objections, he is continually to answer him ( השׁיב with acc. of the person, as Job 33:5), for he (Elihu) would willingly justify him, i.e., he would gladly be in the position to be able to acknowledge Job to be right, and to have the accusation dispensed with. Hirz. and others render falsely: I wish thy justification, i.e., thou shouldst justify thyself; in this case נפשׁך ought to be supplied, which is unnecessary: חפץ , without a change of subject, has the inf. constr. here without ל , as it has the inf. absol. in Job 13:3, and צדּק signifies to vindicate (as Job 32:2), or acknowledge to be in the right (as the Piel of צדק , Job 33:12), both of which are blended here. The lxx, which translates θέλω γὰρ δικαιωθῆναί σε , has probably read צדקך (Psalms 35:27). If it is not so ( אם־אין as Genesis 30:1), viz., that he does not intend to defend himself with reference to his expostulation with God on account of the affliction decreed for him, he shall on his part ( אתּה ) listen, shall be silent and be further taught wisdom.
Quasi hac ratione Heliu sanctum Iob convicerit! exclaims Beda, after a complete exposition of this speech. He regards Elihu as the type of the false wisdom of the heathen, which fails to recognise and persecutes the servant of God: Sunt alii extra ecclesiam, qui Christo ejusque ecclesiae similiter adversantur, quorum imaginem praetulit Balaam ille ariolus, qui et Elieu sicut patrum traditio habet (Balaam and Elihu, one person - a worthless conceit repeated in the Talmud and Midrash), qui contra ipsum sanctum Iob multa improbe et injuriose locutus est, in tantum ut etiam displiceret in una ejus et indisciplinata loquacitas .
(Note: Bedae Opp. ed. Basil. iii. col. 602f. 786. The commentary also bears the false name of Jerome Hieronymus, and as a writing attributed to him is contained in tom. v. Opp. ed. Vallarsi.)
Gregory the Great, in his Moralia, expresses himself no less unfavourably at the conclusion of this speech:
(Note: Opp. ed. Prais, i. col. 777.)
Magna Eliu ac valde fortia protulit, sed hoc unusquisque arrogans habere proprium solet, quod dum vera ac mystica loquitur subito per tumorem cordis quaedam inania et superba permiscet . He also regards Elihu as an emblem of confident arrogance, yet not as a type of a heathen philosopher, but of a believing yet vain and arrogant teacher. This tone in judging of Elihu, first started by Jerome, has spread somewhat extensively in the Western Church. In the age of the Reformation, e.g., Victorin Strigel takes this side: Elihu is regarded by him as exemplum ambitiosi oratoris qui plenus sit ostentatione et audacia inusitate sine mente . Also in the Greek Eastern Church such views are not wanting. Elihu says much that is good, and excels the friends in this, that he does not condemn Job; Olympiodorus adds, πλὴν οὐκ ἐνόησε τοῦ δικαίου τῆν διάνοιαν , but he has not understood the true idea of the servant of God!
(Note: Catena in Job. Londin. p. 484, where it is further said, Ὅθεν λογιζόμεθα καὶ τόν θεὸν μήτε ἐπαινέσαι τὸν Ελιοὺς, ἐπειδὴ μὴ νενόηκε τοῦ Ἰὼβ τοὺς λόγους, μήτε μὴν καταδικάσαι, ἐπειδὴ μὴ ἀσεβείας αὐτὸν κατέκρινε .)
In modern times, Herder entertains the same judgment. Elihu's speech, in comparison with the short, majestic, solemn language of the Creator, he calls “the weak rambling speech of a boy.” “Elihu, a young prophet” - he says further on his Geist der Ebr. Poesie, where he expounds the book of Job as a composition - “arrogant, bold, alone wise, draws fine pictures without end or aim; hence no one answers him, and he stands there merely as a shadow.”
(Note: Edition 1805, S. 101, 142.)
Among the latest expositors, Umbreit (Edition 2, 1832) consider's Elihu's appearance as “an uncalled-for stumbling in of a conceited young philosopher into the conflict that is already properly ended; the silent contempt with which one allows him to speak is the merited reward of a babbler.” In later years Umbreit gave up this depreciation of Elihu.
(Note: Vid., Riehm, Blätter der Erinnerung an F. W. C. Umbreit (1862), S. 58.)
Nevertheless Hahn, in his Comm. zu Iob (1850), has sought anew to prove that Elihu's speeches are meant indeed to furnish a solution, but do not really do so: on the contrary, the poet intentionally represents the character of Elihu as that “of a most conceited and arrogant young man, boastful and officious in his undeniable knowingness.” The unfavourable judgments have been carried still further, inasmuch as an attempt has even been made to regard Elihu as a disguise for Satan in the organism of the drama;
(Note: Thus the writer of a treatise in the 3rd vol. of Bernstein's Analekten, entitled: Der Satan als Irrgeist und Engel des Lichts.)
but it may be more suitable to break off this unpleasant subject than to continue it.
In fact this dogmatic criticism of Elihu's character and speeches produces a painful impression. For, granted that it might be otherwise, and the poet really had designed to bring forward in these speeches of Elihu respecting God's own appearing an incontrovertible apology for His holy love, as a love which is at work even in such dispensations of affliction as that of Job: what offence against the deep earnestness of this portion of Holy Scripture would there be in this degradation of Elihu to an absurd character, in that depreciation of him to a babbler promising much and performing little! But that the poet is really in earnest in everything he puts into Elihu's mouth, is at once shown by the description, Job 33:13-30, which forms the kernel of the contents of the first speech. This description of the manifold ways of the divine communication to man, upon a contrite attention to which his rescue from destruction depends, belongs to the most comprehensive passages of the Old Testament; and I know instances of the powerful effect which it can produce in arousing from the sleep of security and awakening penitence. If one, further, casts a glance at the historical introduction of Elihu, Job 32:1-5, the poet there gives no indication that he intends in Elihu to bring the odd character of a young poltroon before us. The motive and aim of his coming forward, as they are there given, are fully authorized. If one considers, further, that the poet makes Job keep silence at the speeches of Elihu, it may also be inferred therefrom that he believes he has put answers into Elihu's mouth by which he must feel himself most deeply smitten; such truths as Job 32:13-22, drawn from the depths of moral experience, could not have been put forth if Job's silence were intended to be the punishment of contempt.
These counter-considerations also really affect another possible and milder apprehension of the young speaker, inasmuch as, with von Hofmann, the gravitating point of the book of Job is transferred to the fact of the Theophany as the only satisfactory practical solution of the mystery of affliction: it is solved by God Himself coming down and acknowledging Job as His servant. Elihu - thus one can say from this point of view - is not one of Job's friends, whose duty it was to comfort him; but the moral judgment of man's perception of God is made known by this teacher, but without any other effect than that Job is silent. There is one duty towards Job which he has not violated, for he has not to fulfil the duty of friendship: The only art of correct theorizing is to put an opponent to silence, and to have spoken to the wind is the one punishment appropriate to it. This milder rendering also does not satisfy; for, in the idea of the poet, Elihu's speeches are not only a thus negative, but the positive preparation for Jehovah's appearing. In the idea of the poet, Job is silent because he does not know how to answer Elihu, and therefore feels himself overcome.
(Note: The preparation is negative only so far as Elihu causes Job to be silent and to cease to murmur; but Jehovah drawn from him a confession of penitence on account of his murmuring. This positive relation of the appearing of Jehovah to that for which Elihu negatively prepares the way, is rightly emphasized by Schlottm., Räbiger ( De l. Iobi sententia primaria, 1860, 4), and others, as favourable to the authenticity.)
And, in fact, what answer should he give to this first speech? Elihu wishes to dispute Job's self-justification, which places God's justice in the shade, but not indeed in the friends' judging, condemnatory manner: he wishes to dispute Job's notion that his affliction proceeds from a hostile purpose on the part of God, and sets himself here, as there, a perfectly correct task, which he seeks to accomplish by directing Job to regard his affliction, not indeed as a punishment from the angry God, but as a chastisement of the God who desires his highest good, as disciplinary affliction which is intended to secure him against hurtful temptation to sin, especially to pride, by salutary humiliation, and will have a glorious issue, as soon as it has in itself accomplished that at which it aims.
It is true one must listen very closely to discover the difference between the tone which Elihu takes and the tone in which Eliphaz began his first speech. But there is a difference notwithstanding: both designate Job's affliction as a chastisement ( מוסר ), which will end gloriously, if he receives it without murmuring; but Eliphaz at once demands of him humiliation under the mighty hand of God; Elihu, on the contrary, makes this humiliation lighter to him, by setting over against his longing for God to answer him, the pleasing teaching that his affliction in itself is already the speech of God to him, - a speech designed to educate him, and to bring about his spiritual well-being. What objection could Job, who has hitherto maintained his own righteousness in opposition to affliction as a hostile decree, now raise, when it is represented to him as a wholesome medicine reached forth to him by the holy God of love? What objection could Job now raise, without, in common, offensive self-righteousness, falling into contradiction with his own confession that he is a sinful man, Job 14:4, comp. Job 13:26? Therefore Elihu has not spoken to the wind, and it cannot have been the design of the poet to represent the feebleness of theory and rhetoric in contrast with the convincing power which there is in the fact of Jehovah's appearing.
But would it be possible, that from the earliest times one could form such a condemnatory, depreciating judgment concerning Elihu's speeches, if it had not been a matter of certainty with them? If of two such enlightened men as Augustine and Jerome, the former can say of Elihu: ut primas partes modestiae habuit, ita et sapientiae , while the latter, and after his example Bede, can consider him as a type of a heathen philosophy hostile to the faith, or of a selfishly perverted spirit of prophecy: they must surely have two sides which make it possible to form directly opposite opinions concerning them. Thus is it also in reality. On the one side, they express great, earnest, humiliating truths, which even the holiest man in his affliction must suffer himself to be told, especially if he has fallen into such vainglorying and such murmuring against God as Job did; on the other side, they do not give such sharply-defined expression to that which is intended characteristically to distinguish them from the speeches of the friends, viz., that they regard Job not as רשׁע , and his affliction not as just retribution, but as a wholesome means of discipline, that all misunderstanding would be excluded, as all the expositors who acknowledge themselves unable to perceive an essential difference between Elihu's standpoint and the original standpoint of the friends, show. But the most surprising thing is, that the peculiar, true aim of Job's affliction, viz., his being proved as God's servant, is by no means thoroughly clear in them. From the prologue we know that Job's affliction is designed to show that there is a piety which also retains its hold on God amid the loss of all earthly goods, and even in the face of death in the midst of the darkest night of affliction; that it is designed to justify God's choice before Satan, and bring the latter to ruin; that it is a part of the conflict with the serpent, whose head cannot be crushed without its sting being felt in the heel of the conqueror; in fine, expressed in New Testament language, that it falls under the point of view of the cross ( σταυρός ), which has its ground not so much in the sinfulness of the sufferer, as in the share which is assigned to him in the conflict of good with evil that exists in the world. It cannot be supposed that the poet would, in the speeches of Elihu, set another design in opposition to the design of Job's affliction expressed in the prologue; on the contrary, he started from the assumption that the one design does not exclude the other, and in connection with the imperfectness of the righteousness even of the holiest man, the one is easily added to the other; but it was not in his power to give expression to both grounds of explanation of Job's affliction side by side, and thus to make this intermediate section “the beating heart”
(Note: Vid., Hengstenberg, Lecture on the Book of Job.)
of the whole. The aspect of the affliction as a chastisement so greatly preponderates, that the other, viz., as a trial or proving, is as it were swallowed up by it. One of the old writers
(Note: Jacob Hoffmann (of St. Gallen), Gedult Iobs, Basel, 1663 (a rare little book which I became acquainted with in the town library of St. Gallen).)
says, “Elihu proves that it can indeed be that a man may fear and honour God from the heart, and consequently be in favour with God, and still be heavily visited by God, either for a trial of faith, hope, and patience, or for the revelation and improvement of the sinful blemishes which now and then are also hidden from the pious.” According to this, both aspects are found united in Elihu's speeches; but in this first speech, at least, we cannot find it.
There is another poet, whose charisma does not come up to that of the older poet, who in this speech pursues the well-authorized purpose not only of moderating what is extreme in Job's speeches, but also of bringing out what is true in the speeches of the friends.
(Note: On this subject see my Art. Hiob in Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie, vi. 116-119, and comp. Kahnis, Dogmatik, i. 306-309, and my Für und wider Kahnis (1863), S. 19-21.)
While the book of Job, apart from these speeches, presents in the Old Testament way the great truth which Paul, Romans 8:1, expresses in the words, οὐδέν κατάκριμα τοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ , this other poet has given expression at the same time, in the connection of the drama, to the great truth, 1 Corinthians 11:32, κρινόμενοι ὑπὸ τοῦ δυρίου παιδευόμεθα, ἵνα μὴ σὺν τῷ κόσμῳ κατακριθῶμεν . That it is another poet, is already manifest from his inferior, or if it is preferred, different, poetic gift. True, A. B. Davidson has again recently asserted, that by supporting it by such observations, the critical question is made “a question of subjective taste.” But if these speeches and the other parts of the book are said to have been written by one poet, there is an end to all critical judgment in such questions generally. One cannot avoid the impression of the distance between them; and if it be suppressed for a time, it will nevertheless make itself constantly felt. But do the prophecies of Malachi stand lower in the scale of the historical development of revelation, because the Salomonic glory of prophetic speech which we admire in Isaiah is wanting in them? Just as little do we depreciate the spiritual glory of these speeches, when we find the outward glory of the rest of the book wanting in them. They occupy a position of the highest worth in the historical development of revelation and redemption. They are a perfecting part of the canonical Scriptures. In their origin, also, they are not much later;
(Note: Seinecke ( Der Grundgedanke des B. Hiob, 1863) places it, with Ewald, 100-200 years later; and, moreover, asserts that the book of Job has no foundation whatever in oral tradition - Job is the Israel of the exile, Uz is Judaea, etc.)
indeed, I venture to assert that they are by a contemporary member even of the Chokma-fellowship from which the book of Job has its rise. For they stand in like intimate relation with the rest of the book to the two Ezrahite Psalms, 88, 89; they have, as to their doctrinal contents, the fundamental features of the Israelitish Chokma in common; they speak another and still similar Aramaizing and Arabizing language ( hebraicum arabicumque sermonem et interdum syrum , as Jerome expresses it in his Praef. in l. Iobi); in fact, we shall further on meet with linguistic signs that the poet who wrote this addition has lived together with the poet of the book of Job in one spot beyond the Holy Land, and speaks a Hebrew bearing traces of a like dialectic influence.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Job 33". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter