Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 33:12

"Behold, let me tell you, you are not right in this, For God is greater than man.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - God;   Murmuring;   Philosophy;   The Topic Concordance - God;   Man;  
Dictionaries:
Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Evil;   Pit;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elihu;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

In this thou art not just - Thou hast laid charges against God's dealings, but thou hast not been able to justify those charges; and were there nothing else against thee, these irreverent speeches are so many proofs that thou art not clear in the sight of God.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-33.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Behold, in this thou art not just - In this view of God, and in these reflections on his character and government. Such language in regard to the Deity cannot be vindicated; such views cannot be right. It cannot be that he wishes to be the foe of man; that he watches with a jealous eye every movement with a view to find something that will justify him in bringing heavy calamities upon his creatures, or that he sets himself as a spy upon the way in which man goes, in order to find out something that shall make it proper for him to treat him as an enemy. It cannot be denied that Job had indulged in language making substantially such representations of God, and that he had thus given occasion for the reproof of Elihu. It can as little be denied that such thoughts frequently pass through the minds of the afflicted, though they do not express them in words, nor is it less doubtful that they should be at once banished from the soul. They cannot be true. It cannot be that God thus regards and treats his crea tures; that he wishes to find “occasion” in them to make it proper for him to bring calamity upon them, or that he desires to regard them as his foes.

I will answer thee - That is, I will show that this view is unjust.” This he does in the subsequent verses by stating what he supposes to be the real design of afflictions, and by showing that God in these trials had a good and benevolent object.

That - - כי kı̂y Rather, “because,” or “for.” The object is not to show that God was greater than man - for that could not be a matter of information, but to show that because he was far above man he had great and elevated objects in his dealings with him, and man should submit to him without a complaint.

God is greater than man - The meaning of this is, that man should suppose that God has good reasons for all that he does, and that he might not be qualified to understand the reason of his doings. He should therefore acquiesce in his arrangements, and not call in question the equity of the divine dealings. In all our trials it is well to remember that God is greater than we are. He knows what is best; and though we may not be able to see the reason of his doings, yet it becomes us to acquiesce in his superior wisdom.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-33.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Behold, in this thou art not just,.... Here begins Elihu's answer, who does not deny that Job was a just man, both before God in an evangelic sense, and before men in a moral sense; he did not go about to detract from Job's general character, as a man that lived soberly, righteously, and godly in the world; but in this he was not just, nor is it to be justified, with respect to this thing, he could not acquit him of doing what was wrong; namely, insisting so much on his own innocence, and tacking therewith such unbecoming and undue reflections on the dealings of God with him; he did not give to God his due, he did not do him justice in representing him in this light; he did not say nor do the right thing, so Mr. Broughton translates the words,

"lo, here thou art not in the right;'

see Job 32:2;

I will answer thee; or "I must tell thee"; as the same writer renders the words, being able to make it clear and plain:

that God is greater than man: than any man, than the greatest of men, most famous for power, wisdom, or justice; he is not only greater in his power, faithfulness, goodness, grace, and mercy, but in his holiness and righteousness, wisdom and knowledge; and therefore can never do either an unjust thing, or an unwise one; and for man, who is both sinful and ignorant, even the best in comparison of him, to arraign him at his bar, is very arrogant and presumptuous; since he knows best what to do, and what are his reasons for so doing, and is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-33.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

in this — view of God and His government. It cannot be that God should jealously “watch” man, though “spotless,” as an “enemy,” or as one afraid of him as an equal. For “God is greater than man!” There must be sin in man, even though he be no hypocrite, which needs correction by suffering for the sufferer‘s good.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-33.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

Not just — Thou art in the wrong.

Greater — Not only in power and majesty, but also in justice, and wisdom, and goodness, and therefore thou dost foolishly, in censuring his judgments, thou castest off that awe and reverence which thou shouldest constantly maintain towards thy sovereign Lord.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-33.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 33:12 Behold, [in] this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

Ver. 12. Behold, in this thou art not just] In this thy expostulation with God, as if he had dealt unjustly with thee (think the same of thy postulation, or unreasonable request, that God should give thee a reason why he so grievously afflicteth thee, Job 33:13), thou art nothing less than what thou holdest thyself to be, viz. just, pure, innocent. Sorex suo perit indicio, the mole betrays himself by casting up the mould; and so dost thou, good Job, by throwing forth words without wisdom, as God himself will once tell thee, Job 38:2. Canst thou be just, whose words are thus unjust? Never think of it. Thus Elihu is as nimble with Job (but far more ingenuous) as that Jesuit was with Drusius; whom when he had called heretic, and Drusius in his own defence alleged that heresy must be in fundamentis fidei; the fundamentals of the faith, the Jesuit replied, that even that assertion of his was heresy.

I will answer thee, that God is greater than man] Longe superat frivolum hominem, say the Tigurines, is far above sorry man; the distance and disproportion is infinite. But how is this an answer to Job’s justifying himself, and complaining of God as overly rigid? God’s greatness here is not to be understood to be his power only (which yet should overawe us when ready to rise up against him), but also of his truth, wisdom, justice, goodness, &c., all of which Job, by his complaints, seemed to question and quarrel with; and is therefore fitly minded of this attribute of Almighty God, who is "glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders," Exodus 15:11. Great he is, without quantity; good, without quality; everlasting, without time; omnipresent, without place; containing all things, without extent. He is not only great, Psalms 77:13, but greater, as here; greatest, Psalms 95:3; greatness itself, Psalms 145:3. So he is not only good, Psalms 106:1, but better, Psalms 108:9; best of all, Philippians 1:23; goodness itself, Matthew 19:17. The least glimpse of this knowledge is worth all the gleams of human wisdom. And albeit this is a truth commonly known and acknowledged, yet very few are affected with it aright, as appears by their cross carriages toward this great God, and persumptuous misdemeanors, as if he were such another as themselves, Psalms 50:21. Certainly, if we were thoroughly persuaded of God’s infinite greatness, so as it is set forth, Deuteronomy 10:17 and elsewhere, we would much more fear to offend him and care to please him than we do. The truth is, all the exorbitances in men’s lives proceed from the weakness of this spring; and were they but well assured that God is Almighty they would walk before him, and be upright, Genesis 17:1. But to this none can attain but by the help of supernatural grace.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 33:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-33.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 33:12. Behold, in this thou art not just Lo, this I will answer thee, thou art not perfect: therefore, let God be justified, rather than mortal man; Job 33:13. Why dost thou contend against him, since he will not give account of any of his matters? The word צדק tzedek, signifies not only just, but perfect; a signification which it hath also transmitted to the Greek word δικαιος . The argument is, "Notwithstanding all thy pretences to purity and innocence, thou art far from perfection. There is human frailty enough in thee and all mankind, to justify the dealings of God with thee or them, however severe they are. Give him, therefore, the glory, acknowledge the justice of his proceedings." See Joshua 7:9 and Heath.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 33:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-33.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I do not accuse thee of hypocrisy, nor rip up the former errors of thy life; but in this thou art unjust and much to blame, that thou boastest so much of thine own integrity, and chargest God with rigorous dealing, and callest him to an account before thy tribunal, and offerest to dispute the matter with him.

That God is greater than man; not only in power and majesty, which thou acknowledgest, but also in justice, and wisdom, and goodness; and therefore thou dost very foolishly, and presumptuously, and wickedly in contending with him, and censuring his judgments: thou forgettest thy distance from him, and castest off that awe and reverence which thou shouldst constantly maintain towards thy sovereign Lord.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 33:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-33.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Second division — GOD’S THREE MODES OF AFFECTIONATE VISITATION OF MEN FURNISH A SUFFICIENT REPLICATION TO JOB’S FIRST CHARGE OF DIVINE INDIFFERENCE, Job 33:12-28.

a. FIRST MODE OF VISITATION IS BY THE VOICE OF CONSCIENCE IN DREAMS, Job 33:12-18. Postulate: God is greater than mortal man, (enosh,) and must do right because he is great, 12, 13. This infinite superiority of God is displayed in his visitations to men in dreams. These God makes, in order that, coming close to the soul, he may awaken a consciousness of guilt, withdraw man from the commission of sin, and save him from utter destruction, Job 33:14-18.

12.God’ greater than man — Infinite in knowledge, God fathoms the depths of the heart, and takes cognizance of evil and of transgressions that man dreams not of. “Suffering serves to bring sin to the surface, to drive it forth, that we may know it, repent, and conquer.” — Ebrard. Sin developes a moral phenomenon — even this, that it is the ground and occasion of divine and affectionate visitation.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-33.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 33:12. Behold, in this — Hebrew, הן זאת, hen zoth, Behold this; that is, attend to this; mark what I say to thee; thou art not just — Or justified. This thy complaining language cannot be excused. Though I do not accuse thee, as thy friends have done, of other sins, yet in this thou art blameable, and I must reprehend thee for it, by reminding thee, that God is greater than man — Not only in majesty and power, which thou acknowledgest, but also in justice, wisdom, and goodness; and, therefore, he ought to be treated by thee with greater reverence; and thou actest very foolishly and presumptuously in contending with him, and censuring his judgments. Thou forgettest thy distance from him, and castest off that veneration and awe which thou oughtest constantly to maintain toward thy sovereign Lord. Elihu’s argument is, “Notwithstanding all thy pretensions to purity and innocence, thou art far from perfection; there is human frailty enough in thee, and all mankind, to justify the dealings of God with thee or them, however severe they are; give him therefore the glory: acknowledge the justice of his proceedings.” This, in Scripture phrase, is giving God the glory.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 33:12". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-33.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Man: so that he is not obliged to explain his reasons. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-33.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Right here, Elihu is not afraid to be blunt with Job, for he argues that Job is not right, "for his charges are incompatible with the moral greatness of God" (Jackson p. 70).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-33.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

GOD. Hebrew Eloah. App-4.

greater than man. This is the theme of Elihu"s addresses.

man = mortal man. Hebrew. "enosh. App-14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-33.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

In this - view of God and His government. It cannot be that God should jealously 'watch' man, though 'spotless' as an 'enemy,' or as one afraid of Him as an equal. For "God is greater than man." There must be sin in man, even though he be no hypocrite, which needs correction by suffering for the sufferer's good.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-33.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) Behold, in this thou art not just.—But had not Job said the same thing? (Job 9:2, &c., Job 9:14, &c.); and is it possible to conceive that any one could think otherwise, more especially as Elihu used the word which specially means man in his frailty?

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-33.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
thou
1:22; 34:10-12,17-19,23; 35:2; 36:22,23; Ezekiel 18:25; Romans 9:19-21
I will
32:17; 35:4
God
9:4; 26:14; 36:5; 40:2,8,9; Jeremiah 18:6
Reciprocal: Job 9:32 - not a man;  Ecclesiastes 8:4 - What;  Daniel 4:35 - What;  1 John 3:20 - God

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 33:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-33.html.