Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 33:13

"Why do you complain against Him That He does not give an account of all His doings?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - God;   Murmuring;   Philosophy;   Thompson Chain Reference - Mysteries-Revelations;   Striving with God;   Unsearchable, God;  
Dictionaries:
Fausset Bible Dictionary - Providence;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Pit;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elihu;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Footsteps;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for March 19;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Why dost thou strive against him? - Is it not useless to contend with God? Can he do any thing that is not right? As to his giving thee any account of the reasons why he deals thus and thus with thee, or any one else, thou needest not expect it; he is sovereign, and is not to be called to the bar of his creatures. It is sufficient for thee to know that "he is too wise to err, and too good to be unkind."

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-33.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Why dost thou strive against him? - By refusing to submit to him, and by calling in question his wisdom and goodness.

For he giveth not account of any of his matters - Margin, as in Hebrew “answereth not.” The idea is, that it is as useless as it is improper to contend with God. He does his own pleasure, and deals with man as he deems best and right. The reason of his doings he does not state, nor has man any power to extort from him a statement of the causes why he afflicts us. This is still true. The reason of his doings he does not often make known to the afflicted, and it is impossible to know now the causes why he has brought on us the calamity with which we are visited. The general reasons why men are afflicted may be better known now than they were in the time of Elihu, for successive revelations have thrown much light on that subject. But when he comes and afflicts us as individuals; when he takes away a beloved child; when he cuts down the young, the vigorous, the useful, and the pious, it is often impossible to understand why he has done it.

All that we can do then is to submit to his sovereign will, and to believe that though we cannot see the reasons why he has done it, yet that does not prove that there are no reasons, or that we may never be permitted to understand them. We are required to submit to his will, not to our own reason; to acquiesce because he does it, not because we see it to be right. If we always understood the reasons why he afflicts us, our resignation would be not to the will of God, but to our own knowledge of what is right; and God, therefore, often passes before us in clouds and thick darkness to see whether we have sufficient confidence in him to believe that he does right, even when we cannot see or understand the reason of his doings. So a child reposes the highest confidence in a parent, when he believes that the parent will do right, though he cannot understand why he does it, and the parent does not choose to let him know. May not a father see reasons for what he does which a child could not understand, or which it might be proper for him to withhold from him?

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-33.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ELIHU THINKS GOD IS CHASTENING JOB

"Why dost thou strive against him,

For that he giveth not account of any of his matters?

For God speaketh once,

Yea twice, though man regardeth it not.

In a dream, in a vision of the night,

When deep sleep falleth upon men,

In slumberings upon the bed;

Then he openeth the ears of men.

And sealeth their instruction,

That he may withdraw man from his purpose,

And hide pride from men;

He keepeth back his soul from the pit,

And his life from perishing by the sword.

He is chastened also with pain upon his bed,

And with continual strife in his bones;

So that his life abhorreth bread,

And his soul dainty food.

His flesh is consumed away that it cannot be seen;

And his bones that were not seen stick out.

Yea, his soul draweth near unto the pit,

And his life to the destroyers."

The only original thing we have been able to find in Elihu's words is the viewpoint expressed in this paragraph that God's purpose in punishing Job was designed for Job's benefit, a divine chastening, to prevent his utter ruin. The New Testament doctrine of chastening (Hebrews 12:5-13) is indeed the explanation of some sufferings of God's people; but in the light of the prologue, Elihu was not correct in this explanation of Job's sorrows.

Job had challenged God to "show me" (Job 10:2) or "Give me an answer." Elihu is here saying that, "God has been speaking to you all the time, and you are not listening: He has been speaking in dreams (Job 33:15) (Job had mentioned such things as nightmares) and in severe judgments against you" (Job 33:19-22). God's purpose in this, according to Elihu, was stated in Job 33:17.

"That he may withdraw man from his purpose" (Job 33:17). The impact of these words upon Job was this: "All of the terrible things that have happened unto you are merely God's way of trying to get you to withdraw from those evil purposes you have in your heart. And hide pride from man (Job 33:17). "Elihu perhaps thinks that Job is unduly proud of his integrity."[6] It would be difficult to imagine any words that could have been spoken which might have been any more distasteful or repulsive to Job than these things that Elihu was saying here.

"He is chastened also with pain upon his bed" (Job 33:19). From here to the end of the chapter, Elihu describes how God speaks to men in the judgments sent upon them; and, of course, he vividly describes the very things that have happened to Job! God's message for Job in all this suffering, according to Elihu, is "Repent!" -- exactly the same message the three friends had been pounding into Job's ears.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/job-33.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Why dost thou strive against him?.... A creature against the Creator, a man against his Maker, the clay against the potter; how absurd and stupid is this! and a piece of weakness and folly it was in him to desire to litigate the point with God, and dispute with him, as he often did, when men cannot answer him one of a thousand, as he himself owned, Job 9:3; and very sinful and criminal it is to chide with God, or complain of him, on account of any of his dealings with the sons of men, as well as it is vain and fruitless:

for he giveth not account of any of his matters; he is a sovereign Being, and does what he pleases in nature, providence, and grace, and is not accountable to any for what he does; in things temporal, he does all after the counsel of his will; he bestows riches and honours, wealth and health, gifts of natural wisdom and knowledge on some, and withholds them from others; and each of these are his own, and he may do with them as he pleases: so likewise in things spiritual, he loves, chooses, redeems, regenerates, calls by his grace, and brings to glory whom he thinks fit; the blessings of grace and glory are his own, and he disposes of them as seems good in his sight; and in all respects he acts according to his will in heaven and in earth; none can stay his hand, or hinder him from doing his pleasure; and none ought to say to him, what dost thou? or why dost thou thus? or, if they do, he is not obliged to give any reasons for his so doing. Some take this to be the thing Job strove and contended with God about, that he did not, and because he did not give an account of all his matters, or answer all his words; and particularly he did not show to him wherefore he contended with him; and others think the meaning is, that God does not reveal all his secrets to men, but only as much as he thinks fit to acquaint them with; secret things belong to him, and things revealed to men; the secrets of his own nature, and the modes of subsistence of the divine Persons in the Godhead, the secret reasons of divine predestination of men to life or death, and of his dealings with men in a providential way, afflicting the righteous, and suffering the wicked to prosper.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-33.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not e account of any of his matters.

(e) The cause of his judgments is not always declared to man.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-33.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Isaiah 45:9).

his matters — ways. Our part is, not to “strive” with God, but to submit. To believe it is right because He does it, not because we see all the reasons for His doing it.

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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 33:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-33.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

He — Useth not to give an account to his creatures of the grounds and reasons of his judgments or dispensations as being the supreme governor of all persons and things, in whose will it becometh all men to acquiesce.

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-33.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 33:13 Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

Ver. 13. Why dost thou strive against him?] Why dost thou wrangle and reason it thus irreverently with God, whose will alone is the supreme reason, nec recta solum, sed et ipsa regula; and not only right, but the very rule of right? He may better say, than any Constantine, that Arian emperor, Quod ego volo, pro Canone sit, Let my will be your sovereign rule; since things are therefore right because I will them; I will them not, because they are right. Who then art thou, O man, that repliest against God? saith St Paul; that chattest and wordest it with him, that answereth again, and thinkest to hold him to it, and be hard enough for him? Romans 9:20. "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth," Isaiah 45:9. Let men learn to meddle with their match, and not to contend with God, who is much mightier than they, Ecclesiastes 6:10, and hath assured them that with the froward he will wrestle, Psalms 18:26. Jeremiah, who in his distemper would needs reason the cause with God concerning his judgments (which are sometimes secret, but always just), did well and wisely to preface thus: "Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee," Jeremiah 12:1.

For he giveth not account of any of his matters] Heb. of all his matters; for he is ανυπευθυνος, the most highest; and therefore not to be reckoned with by any for aught he doth. If he so far abase himself as to give account of any of his proceedings for our satisfaction, it is dignatio stupenda, a wonderful condescension. Vatablus rendereth the text thus, Non enim omnia verba sua loquitur; for he uttereth not all his words; that is, he revealeth not all his secrets, q.d. he doth all for our good, though we for present understand it not. He oft answereth us as the echo doth the voice, cutting off the one half of it; but stand a while and see the salvation of the Lord, he is usually better to his people than their conceits, and delighteth to help those that are forsaken in their hopes.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 33:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-33.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Why? upon what grounds and for what ends? What advantage dost thou expect from it?

Dost thou strive against him, to wit, in a judicial way? See Job 8:6.

He giveth not account of any of his matters; he neither useth, nor is by any law obliged, to give an account to any of his creatures of the grounds and reasons of his judgments or dispensations, as being the supreme and absolute Governor of all persons and things, in whose will and pleasure it becometh all men to acquiesce. And therefore, O Job, thou exceedest all bounds of modesty, and humility, and reverence, and submission, which thou owest to thy Maker, in that thou presumest to demand a reason for his dealings with thee, and to quarrel with him for not giving it to thee at thy desire. Or, he answereth not all his words, i.e. he doth not say, or hath not said, all that he can to justify his actions, which he can do many more ways than we can imagine; but hath revealed so much of his will and ways to mankind as he hath thought meet, and as their narrow capacity can comprehend; as he declareth in the following verses.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 33:13". 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

13.For he giveth not account, etc. — God is not accountable for his doings, least of all to man; yet he condescends to communicate with man, as is seen in the following verses.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "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 33:13. Why dost thou strive against him? — Upon what grounds, and for what ends? What advantage dost thou expect from it? Why dost thou presume to dispute with him, and call him to an account for his actions? for he giveth not account of any of his matters — He revealeth not to us the secrets of his providence. He neither useth, nor is, by any law, obliged to give an account to any of his creatures, of the reasons of his judgments and dispensations, as being the supreme and absolute Governor of all persons and things, in whose will it becomes all men to acquiesce.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 33:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-33.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Because. Septuagint, "Thou hast said, Why has not He heard every word of my pleading or judgment." Aquila and Theodotion, "for all his words are unanswerable." Protestants, "He giveth not account of any of his matters." (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-33.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Job has complained that God will not answer him. "Well, He is not required to give account to humanity" (Jackson p. 70). It seems that Elihu thinks that Job is being childish for thinking that God must give account for everything He does and that He must answer everyone"s question.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-33.html. 1999-2014.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

Why dost thou strive against him? (Isaiah 45:9.)

His matters - ways; literally, words. The Hebrew idiom uses "word" [ d

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "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

(13) Why dost thou strive against him?—Job had not striven against God, he had only expressed his longing to come into judgment with Him (Job 23:3, &c.). Job was striving with and against the darkness that was round about His throne, not with the justice of God, which he entirely trusted. Some render the last clause of the verse, “For none can answer any of His words,” but the Authorised Version seems preferable.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-33.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.
strive
9:14; 15:25,26; Isaiah 45:9; Jeremiah 50:24; Ezekiel 22:14; Acts 5:39; 9:4,5; 1 Corinthians 10:22
giveth not account
Heb. answereth not.
40:2; Deuteronomy 29:29; Psalms 62:11; Isaiah 46:10; Daniel 4:35; Matthew 20:15; Acts 1:7; Romans 11:34
Reciprocal: Job 9:3 - he will contend;  Job 9:12 - What;  Job 40:9 - Hast;  Ecclesiastes 6:10 - neither;  Ecclesiastes 8:4 - What;  Matthew 11:26 - for;  Luke 4:27 - Naaman;  John 21:23 - what;  Acts 11:17 - what;  Romans 9:20 - who art;  Romans 11:33 - how

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 33:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-33.html.