Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 33:14

"Indeed God speaks once, Or twice, yet no one notices it.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Agency;   Conviction;   God;   God Continued...;   Impenitence;   Philosophy;   Prophets;   Wicked (People);   The Topic Concordance - Hearing;  
Dictionaries:
Fausset Bible Dictionary - Job;   Samuel;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Suffering;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Pit;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Dreams;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elihu;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Job, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Dreams;   Numbers and Numerals;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for March 19;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

For God speaketh once - Though he will not be summoned to the bar of his creatures, nor condescend to detail the reasons of his conduct, which they could not comprehend, yet he so acts, in the main, that the operation of his hand and the designs of his counsel may sufficiently appear, provided men had their eyes open upon his ways, and their hearts open to receive his influence. Elihu, having made the general statement that God would not come to the bar of his creatures to give account of his conduct, shows the general means which he uses to bring men to an acquaintance with themselves and with him: he states these in the six following particulars, which may be collected from Job 33:15-24.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-33.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For God speaketh once - The object of what is here said is, to show the reason why God brings affliction upon people, or to explain the principles of his government which Elihu supposed had been sadly misunder stood by Job and his friends. The reason why he brings affliction, Elihu says, is because all other means of reclaiming and restraining people fail. He communicates his will to them; he speaks to them again and again in dreams and visions; he warns them of the error of their course Job 33:14-17, and when this is all ineffectual he brings upon them affliction. He lays them upon their bed where they must reflect, and where there is hope that they may be reclaimed and reformed, Job 33:18-28.

Yea, twice - He does not merely admonish him once. He repeats the admonition when man refuses to hear him the first time, and takes all the methods which he can by admonition and warning to withdraw him from his wicked purpose, and to keep him from ruin.

Yet man perceiveth it not - Or, rather, “Although he does not perceive it or attend to it.” Though the sinner is regardless of the admonition, yet still God repeats it, and endeavors to save him from the commission of the crimes which would lead him to ruin. This is designed to show the patience and forbearance of God, and how many means he takes to save the sinner from ruin. Of the truth of what Elihu here says, there can be no difference of opinion. It is one of the great principles of the divine administration that the sinner is often warned, though he heeds it not; and that God sends repeated admonitions even when people will not regard them, but are bent on their own ruin.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-33.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 33:14

For God speaketh once.

Elihu’s first discourse

Elihu says, God does speak to men in various ways. It is not true that He gives no account of Himself, and of His dealings with men. Two or three of God’s ways Elihu specifies.

1. God quickens men to thought and moral emotion in the silence and slumber of the night; deep religious intuitions and yearnings take form in visions. One method of Divine approach is through the Gate of Dreams. By such solemn visitations God has in all ages “uncovered the ear” of men otherwise deaf to their instructions, and sealed or stamped on their minds the special admonition of which they stood in need; or--for this may be the force of the image--conveyed to them, in this sealed and private way, the confidential hint or warning He wished them to receive.

2. God speaks to men by pain, when he corrects and chastens them through suffering. In expounding this, Elihu certainly has Job in his eye. Is there no hope even for such a sufferer as this? There is no school in which men learn so much, or so fast, as in the school of suffering; there is no experience by which the soul is so purged and chastened as by the experience of pain and loss. The Divine rebuke is as the ploughing up of the hardened and weed-stained soil, that it may bring forth more and better fruit.

3. If even these fail God sends a messenger--man or spirit--to interpret their thoughts and emotions to them. As he describes this third way, it may be that Elihu, who has already generalised the experience of Job and Eliphaz, turns his eye upon himself. For he himself had been moved and taught by God. The deep “conviction” to which he was now giving utterance, was, as he more than once insists, an “inspiration” from above. And this inspiration, this new interpretation of the facts of human life, probably came to him through one of the thousand messengers whom God employs to “show man what is right.” But while he claims a Divine teaching and inspiration for himself, Elihu does not claim to be favoured above his fellows. God’s messengers come to all, and come with the same end in view--to show us what is right, and to pour the light and peace of heaven on our darkened and distracted hearts. Even grave and sober commentators, however, have found in these verses the whole mystery of redemption. In the “angel” of verse 23, they see “the Angel of the presence,” the “Angel Jehovah”; and in the “ransom” of verse 24, “the Sacrifice of the Cross”; and hence they attribute to Elihu at least some “provision” of the “great mystery of godliness.” Such a method of interpretation is, in my judgment, forced and unnatural. (Samuel Cox, D. D.)

Divine communications

Here it is said that God sometimes addresses men without their perceiving it,--not certainly from any want of clearness in the communication, but because they are wanting in reverence. Three ways in which we may believe the Deity to hold communications with His children. One is through the visible world around us; another, by direct communion with the human Spirit; and yet another, by commissioned interpreters of His mind and will.

I. In the works of nature. There can be no direct intercourse of mind with mind. The only way that I can intimate to another what is passing in my mind, is by pointing to some other visible object, which shall represent to him the unseen thought. Language consists of images either naturally suggestive of certain thoughts and emotions, or appropriated to that purpose, which are brought up before us by letters or sounds differing according to the dialect of the country. Since this is the language of nature, we might suppose that God would communicate with His children in this way; and most certainly He does, to a far greater extent than is generally understood. There must be very few who, in looking on the natural world, have not been conscious of strong impressions made upon them at times. We ought then to regard the natural world as a medium of communication.

II. By direct action on the spirit of man. This is reasonable; but it cannot be proved to the satisfaction of anyone who doubts it, for the same reason that we cannot demonstrate any of our sentiments and emotions. Still, this unseen communication of the Spirit of God with our spirits is believed by every religious mind. It is true the measure of such communications cannot be ascertained, nor can they be distinguished, as a rule, from the operation of our own minds. We should extend our faith, and believe this to be common, and in the usual order of providence, and not a mysterious and unusual thing. To those who can see God in all things where His agency is present, the moral world becomes more deeply interesting, more sublime and beautiful, than the visible.. We can look through human nature up to the God of nature.

III. Through the scriptures, written by commissioned interpreters of His mind and will,--particularly those who have recorded the life and character of Jesus Christ. In Him the Divine was blended with the human, so as to present at once the perfection of Divine and human character, giving us a living image of that union which we could not otherwise understand. It may be asked, “Why should God address men again? Is not the voice of nature clear enough?” It was not the defect of God’s previous communications, but the faithlessness of men to their destiny, their worldliness and corruption, which darkened their spiritual vision, and made it necessary to give new light from on high. It was, as the Bible teaches, in concession to human sin, not on account of the want of other original means of light, that the Christian revelation was made. It is not everyone who understands how God communicates with us through the Scriptures. It is not by the letter alone. To this must be added the suggestions which they give, the trains of thought which they awaken. The direct information which the words convey to us, seems to be of little worth compared with the life-giving power of the Spirit which works through the Word. (W. B. O. Peabody.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 33:14". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-33.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For God speaketh once, yea, twice,.... Or, "but God speaketh"F9כי "sed", Beza, Piscator. ; though he is not bound to give an account of his matters, and the reasons of his proceedings in a way of providence or grace; yet such is his condescension and goodness, that he makes use of various ways and means to make known his mind and will in his dispensations, if men were but attentive to them; he speaks once, in dreams and visions, as in Job 33:15; and twice, or a second time, by chastisements, as in Job 33:18; or he speaks frequently, again and again, see Psalm 62:11; gives line upon line, and precept upon precept; if one way is without effect, he will take another; and if one warning and admonition is not sufficient, he will give another; so that though he is a sovereign Being, and not accountable to any, yet he does not act the unkind and unfriendly part Job had suggested:

yet man perceiveth it not: the voice of God speaking in one way or another; hearkens not to the admonition given in a dream or vision, nor hears the chastising rod, and him that has appointed it; he is deaf to all instructions; he understands not the mind and meaning of God in his dispensations; which is not owing to want of means of knowledge, but to the blindness and ignorance of his mind, to dulness of hearing, to negligence and inattention, and to the prevalence of sin and corruption: the words, "yet man", are a supplement to the text, and not in it, and some versions are without it, and understand the whole of God, rendering the words thus, "God speaketh once, and a second time he does not repeat it"; so the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions: or "does not revise it", or "will not see it"F11ובשתים לא ישורנה "secundo non revidet", Schmidt & Maius apud Michaelis; "et secunda vice non videbit illud", Schultens. ; to which agrees the Targum,

"and a second time he needs not to look upon it;'

and which rendering, as it suits with the context, so is more agreeable to the accents; but is differently applied, by some to the sufficiency of the word of God, that God has at once made known all truth, and there is no need to do it a second time; but certain it is, that God did at sundry times, and in divers manners, speak unto the fathers by the prophets; though indeed in these last days he hath spoken at once all his mind and will by his Son, so that no future revelation is to be expected; but though this is true now, it was not in the times of Elihu: by others it is referred to God's dealings with a proud man, that calls him to an account for his actions, to whom he speaks once, and reproves him for his boldness; but a second time he will not look at him, nor bear his pride and insolence: and by others to the unalterable decrees and purposes of God; what he has said or determined in his eternal mind is done at once, and remains invariably fixed; he has no need to look over a second time, or revise his first thoughts and designs, or reconsider them, whether it is proper to make any alteration in them or not, they are at once so wisely formed; and he has all things before him in one view in his all comprehending mind, so that there cannot possibly anything turn up unforeseen by him, to hinder the execution of his purposes, or cause him to make any change in them; no new thoughts, resolutions, or purposes, can arise in his mind, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning. This agrees well with his sovereignty, expressed in Job 33:13, and carries in it a strong reason enforcing what is there said. Though some take the meaning to be this, that God speaks once to a man, and admonishes and reproves him as he used to do, in the way expressed in the following verse; and if he regards it not, he do not speak to him a second time in that way, or no more by words, but now by blows or chastisements.

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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 33:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-33.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For God speaketh f once, yea twice, [yet man] perceiveth it not.

(f) Though God by various examples of his judgments speak to man, yet the reason for it is not known, yea and though God should speak yet is he not understood.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-33.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Translate, “Yet, man regardeth it not”; or rather, as Umbreit, “Yea, twice (He repeats the warning) - if man gives no heed” to the first warning. Elihu implies that God‘s reason for sending affliction is because, when God has communicated His will in various ways, man in prosperity has not heeded it; God therefore must try what affliction will effect (John 15:2; Psalm 62:11; Isaiah 28:10, Isaiah 28:13).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-33.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

Yet — Although he doth not give men an account of his matters, yet he doth that which is sufficient for them.

Twice — When once speaking doth not awaken men, God is graciously pleased to give them another admonition: though he will not gratify men's curiosity in enquiring into his hidden judgments, yet he will acquaint them with their duty. God speaks to us by conscience, by providence, and by ministers, of all which Elihu here treats at large, to shew Job, that God was now telling him his mind, and endeavouring to do him good. He shews first, how God admonishes men by their own consciences.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-33.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 33:14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, [yet man] perceiveth it not.

Ver. 14. For God speaketh once, yea twice] He loveth to foresignify; and although not bound to it, yet he usually gives warning; as "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance," 2 Peter 3:9. For which purpose God saith Elihu here useth two ways to nurture his children; the one more mild, to keep them from falling into sin, Job 33:15-18, the other more rigorous, when they have committed wickedness, to bring them to ammendment of life, Job 33:19-21, &c.

Yet man perceiveth it not] Prae crassitie, et supinitate (ut ita dicam) sua; through his forlorn dullness and heedlessness, his singular inattention and inadvertence. Though God say, as once, "O generation, see ye the word of the Lord," Jeremiah 2:31, "Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it," Micah 6:9, yet man is not only naturally averse, but adverse, to listen, or lay to heart anything, till it light on his hide, to believe till he feeleth; yea, to his natural dullness he soon addeth a habitual hardness; to his sinews of iron brows of brass, Isaiah 48:4. This is fearful, Acts 28:27, and yet common to all, whose hard hearts God is not pleased to soften with the oil of his grace and to soak in the blood of his Son, that they may be supple and soluble.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 33:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-33.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

For; or, nevertheless, as this particle is sometimes used. Although God doth not give men an account of his matters, yet he doth that for them which is much better, and which is sufficient for them.

God speaketh, to wit, unto men by way of instruction or admonition, as appears from the following verses.

Once, yea twice, again and again, or ofttimes, this number being sometimes put indefinitely, as below, Job 33:29 2 Kings 6:10 Psalms 62:11. When one speaking doth not awaken men, God is graciously pleased to give them another admonition. So God, though he will not gratify men’s curiosity in inquiring into his hidden judgments, yet he will supply their necessity, and acquaint them with their duty and interest so far as is fit, and they are concerned to know.

Yet man; which is easily and fitly understood here from the former branch of this verse, as being the person to whom God speaketh, as appears from the next verse. And such supplements are not unusual in the Hebrew language, and especially in these poetical books, where the style is very concise and short, and many things to be understood.

Perceiveth it not; through his inadvertency, or negligence, or dulness. Man therefore hath no reason to charge God as if he were deficient in his notices and manifestations of his will, but to accuse himself for not improving revealed things to his own advantage, but desiring rather to pry into God’s secret counsels, which was Job’s error.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 33:14". 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

14.God speaketh — The reproof is a delicate one. Job’s complaints of the divine indifference are groundless: for God admonishes men, speaketh once, twice, and renews his admonitions when man is inattentive. Let the reader recount the number and various modes of the divine appeals to himself. Each day, like the changes in a kaleidoscope, presents a new combination of goodness, mercy, and love. On the other hand, “Sorrow dogging sin, afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes,” are no less tender voices of God to the children of men.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "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 33:14. For — Or, as כי, chi, should be rather rendered, nevertheless God speaketh — Namely, unto men, by way of instruction or admonition, as appears from the following verses. Although he doth not give men an account of his matters, yet he doth that for them which is much better, and more necessary and important: though he be so high, yet he condescends to teach and admonish them in various ways, that he may withdraw them from such courses as are mischievous and sinful, and bring them to an humble dependance on himself. Once yea twice — Again and again, or ofttimes. When his speaking once does not awaken men, God is pleased to give them another admonition: though he will not gratify their curiosity, by laying open to their view his secret judgments, yet he will acquaint them with their duty and interest, as far as is proper; what he requires of them, and what they may expect from him. Yet man perceiveth it not — He doth not regard it, he doth not discern or understand it; he is not aware that it is the voice of God, nor doth he receive the things revealed, for they are foolishness to him: he stops his ears, stands in his own light, rejects the counsel of God against himself, and is not the wiser, no, not for the dictates of wisdom itself. God speaks to us by conscience, by providence, and by ministers, of all which Elihu here treats at large, to show Job that God was now telling him his mind, and endeavouring to do him good. He shows first, how God admonishes men by their own consciences.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 33:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-33.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Time. One decision ought to suffice; and God had declared Job innocent, chap. i. 8., &c. (Worthington) --- His decrees are immutable; and yet thou wouldst have him to explain his conduct, as if he could be under a mistake, and correct it. He manifests his will, and it is our business to be attentive. We cannot expect that he should speak twice, though he does so frequently in his great mercy. Hebrew, "God speaketh once, and he regardeth not a second time." (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "But the second time, (15) a dream," &c. (Haydock) --- Eliu specifies three methods by which God declares his will; (ver. 26) 1. By vision; 2. by afflictions; 3. by the voice of angels, or of preachers, ver. 19, 23.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-33.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Yet God has been speaking to Job, but Job had not been listening. Elihu claims that God speaks in various ways (Hebrews 1:1-2). God speaks in dreams and visions (33:15). God no longer uses this method of communication seeing that He has revealed all truth through His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2; John 16:13).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "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

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

Translate, 'Yet man regardeth it not:' or, rather, as Umbreit, 'Yea twice (he repeats the warning), (if) man gives no heed' to the first warning. Elihu implies that God's reason for sending affliction is because, when God has communicated His will in various ways, man in prosperity has not heeded it: God therefore must try what affliction will effect (John 15:2; Psalms 62:11; Isaiah 28:10; Isaiah 28:13).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "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

(14) For God speaketh once, yea twice.—The two ways are dilated upon (Job 33:15-26). Abimelech (Genesis 20:3) and Daniel (Daniel 4:5) were instances of this first method. (Comp. also Genesis 15:12. &c., Genesis 28:12, &c.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-33.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
God
40:5; Psalms 62:11
perceiveth
2 Chronicles 33:10; Proverbs 1:24,29; Isaiah 6:9; Matthew 13:14; Mark 8:17,18; Luke 24:25; John 3:19
Reciprocal: Genesis 28:16 - and I;  Genesis 41:32 - doubled;  Genesis 46:2 - in the visions;  1 Samuel 3:8 - the third;  1 Samuel 28:6 - by dreams;  1 Kings 3:5 - in a dream;  Job 4:13 - thoughts;  Job 33:29 - all;  Daniel 7:1 - Daniel;  Matthew 27:19 - his;  1 Thessalonians 2:18 - once

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 33:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-33.html.