Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 33:23

"If there is an angel as mediator for him, One out of a thousand, To remind a man what is right for him,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Agency;   Ambassadors;   Conviction;   God;   God Continued...;   Interpreter;   Jesus Continued;   Philosophy;   Wicked (People);   The Topic Concordance - Deliverance;   Grace;   Prayer;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Sickness;  
Dictionaries:
Fausset Bible Dictionary - Job;   Proverbs, the Book of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Angel;   Interpretation;   Job;   Pit;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Advocate ;   Eschatology (2);   Messenger;   Paraclete ;   Ransom;   Ransom (2);   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Interpreter;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elihu;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Angel;   Job, Book of;   Messenger;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Angelology;   Kapparah;   Media;   Paraclete;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

V. The Messengers

If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, etc. - The Messengers of righteousness; this is a Fifth method, מליץ מלאך עליו יש אם im yesh alaiv malach melits, "If there be over him an interpreting or mediatorial angel or messenger." One among a thousand, אלף מני אחד echad minni aleph . "One from the Chief, Head, or Teacher."

To show unto man his uprightness - ישרו לאדם להגיד lehaggid leadam yoshro, "to manifest or cause to be declared to man his righteousness:" to show unto Adam - men in general, the descendants of the first man - his purity and holiness; to convince him of sin, righteousness, and judgment, that he may be prepared for the discovery of what is next to be exhibited.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-33.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

If there be a messenger with him - This part of the speech of Elihu has given rise to scarcely less diversity of opinion, and to scarcely less discussion, than the celebrated passage in Job 19:25-27. Almost every interpreter has had a special view of its meaning, and of course it is very difficult, if not impossible, to determine its true sense. Before the opinions which have been entertained are specified, and an attempt made to determine the true sense of the passage, it may be of interest to see how it is presented in the ancient versions, and what light they throw on it. The Vulgate renders it, “If there is for him an angel speaking, one of thousands, that he may announce the righteousness of the man; he will pity him, and say, Deliver him that he descends not into corruption: I have found him in whom I will be propitious to him” - inveni in quo ei propitier. The Septuagint translators render it, “If there be a thousand angels of death ( ἄγγελοι θανατηφόροι angeloi thanatēforoi ), not one of them can mortally wound him ( τρώσῃ ἀυτόν trōsē auton ). If he determine in his heart to turn to the Lord, when he shall have shown man his charge against him, and shown his folly, he will support him that he may not fall to death, and renew his body, like plastering on a wall ( ὥσπερ ἀλοιφην ἐπὶ τοίχου hōsper aloifēn epi toichou ), and will fill his bones with marrow, and make his flesh soft like an infant.” The Chaldee renders it, “If there is merit זכותא z-k-w-t-'in him, an angel is prepared, a comforter (פרקליטא, Paraclete, Gr. παρύκλητος paraklētos ), one among a thousand accusers (קטיגוריא, Gr. κατήγορός katēgoros ), that he may announce to man his rectitude. And he spares him, and says, Redeem him, that he may not descend to corruption; I have found a ransom.” Schultens has divided the opinions which have been entertained of the passage into three classes. They are,

I. The opinions of those who suppose that by the messenger, or angel, here, there is reference to a man. Of those who hold this opinion, he enumerates no less than seven classes. They are such as these:

(1) those who hold that the man referred to is some distinguished instructor sent to the sick to teach them the will of God, an opinion held by Munster and Isidorus;

(2) those who refer it to a prophet, as Junius et Tremillius:

(3) Codurcus supposes that there is reference to the case of Abimelech, who was made sick on account of Sarah, and that the man referred to was a prophet, who announced to him that God was righteous; Job 1:14; compare 1 Samuel 16:19;

(2) to a messenger sent from God, as e. g.,

(a) to angels, since angels were employed on messages of mercy or judgment to mankind, Exodus 23:20; 2 Samuel 24:16,

(b) to a prophet as sent from God, Haggai 1:13; Malachi 3:1;

(c) to a priest; Ecclesiastes 5:6; Malachi 2:7. It is rendered here by Jerome, angel, and by the Septuagint, angels bringing death.

So far as the word is concerned, it may apply to any messenger sent from God - whether an angel, a prophet, or the Messiah; anyone who should be commissioned to explain to man the reason why afflictions were sent, and to communicate the assurance that God was ready to pardon.

An interpreter - That is, an angel-interpreter, or a messenger who should be an interpreter. The word מליץ mēliyts is from לוץ lûts “to stammer”; to speak in a barbarous tongue; and then in the Hiphil, to cause to understand a foreign language, or to explain; to interpret. Hence, it means one who explains or interprets that which was obscure; and may mean here one who explains to the sufferer the true principles of the divine administration, or who interprets the design of the divine dealings. In 2 Chronicles 32:31, it is rendered “ambassadors” - referring to the ambassadors that came from Babylon to Hezekiah - rendered in the margin, interpreters; in Isaiah 43:27, it is rendered teachers, in the margin interpreters, referring to the religions teachers of the Jews, or those who were appointed to explain the law of God. Gesenius supposes that it means here the same as intercessor, or internuncius, and that the phrase denotes an interceding angel, or one interceding with God for people. But there is no instance in which the word מליץ mēliyts is so employed, and such an interpretation is not demanded by the connection here. The idea involved in the word here is immediately explained by Elihu himself. The word denotes one who would “show unto man his uprightness;” that is, who would be able to vindicate the righteousness of God, and explain his dealings. This word, also, may therefore be applicable to a prophet, a sage, an angel, or the Messiah - to anyone who would be able to explain and interpret the divine dealings. So far as the language is concerned, there is no reason why it should not be applied to Elihu himself.

One among a thousand - Such an one as you would scarcely hope to find among a thousand; that is, one who was endowed with a knowledge of the ways of God, and who was qualified for this work in a much more eminent manner than the mass of people. We have now a similar phrase to denote a man eminent for wisdom, learning, skill, or moral worth. This language is such as would most properly be applicable to a human messenger. One would hardly think of making such distinctions among angelic beings, or of implying that any one of them might not be qualified to bear a message to man, or that it was necessary to make such a selection as is implied by the phrase here to explain the dealings of God.

To show unto man his uprightness - This is the office which the interpreting-messenger was to perform. The “uprightness” referred to here, I suppose, is that of God, and means the rectitude of his doings; or, in a more general sense, the justness of his character, the equity of his administration. So explained, it would mean that the messenger would come to show that God is worthy of confidence; that he is not harsh, stern, severe, and cruel. The afflicted person is supposed to have no clear views on this point, but to regard God as severe and unmerciful. Elihu in this undoubtedly had Job in his eye, as entertaining views of God which were far from correct. What was necessary, he said, was, that someone would come who could show to the sufferer that God is worthy of confidence, and that his character is wholly upright. Prof. Lee interprets this as referring wholly to the Messiah, and as denoting the “righteousness which this Mediator is empowered to give or impute to those who duly seek it; and thus, as a Mediator, between God and man, to make it out as their due, by means of the ransom so found, offered, and accepted.”

Noyes explains it as meaning “his duty;” that is, “what reason and religion require of a man in his situation; repentance, submission, and prayer to God for pardon.” But it seems to me more natural to refer it to the great principles of the divine government, as being worthy of confidence. Those principles it was desirable should be so explained as to inspire such confidence, and particularly this was what Elihu supposed was needed by Job. On the whole, then, it seems probable that Elihu, in this passage, by the messenger which he mentions, referred to someone who should perform the office which he himself purposed to perform - some man well acquainted with the principles of the divine administration; who could explain the reasons why people suffer; who could present such considerations as should lead the sufferer to true repentance; and who could assure him of the divine mercy. The reasons for this interpretation may be summed up in few words. They are:

(1) That this is all that is fairly and necessarily implied in the language, or such an interpretation meets the obvious import of all the expressions, and leaves nothing unexplained.

(2) It accords with what Elihu supposed to be the views of Job. He regarded him as having improper apprehensions of the government of God, and of the reasons why afflictions were sent upon him. He had patiently listened to all that he had to say; had heard him give utterance to much that seemed to be in the spirit of complaint and murmuring; and it was manifest to Elihu that he had not had right apprehensions of the design of trials, and that they had not produced the proper effect on his mind. He still needed someone - an interpreter sent from God - to explain all this, and to present such views as should lead him to put confidence in God as a God of mercy and equity.

(3) It accords with the character which Elihu had assumed, and which he all along maintained. He professed to come from God, Job 32:8. He was in the place of God, Job 33:6. He came to explain the whole matter which had excited so long and so warm a debate - a debate to which he had attentively listened, and where neither Job nor his friends had stated the true principles of the divine administration. To represent himself now us having a clew to the reason why God afflicts people in this manner, and as being qualified to explain, the perplexing subject, was in accordance with the character which he maintained.

(4) It accords with the effect which he wished to produce on the mind of Job. He wished to bring him to confide in God; to show him that all these mysterious dealings were designed to bring him back to his Creator, and to restore peace and confidence to his agitated and troubled bosom.

While Elihu, therefore, advances a general proposition, I doubt not that he meant to represent himself as such a messenger sent from God; and though in the whole of his speech he manifested almost the extreme of modesty, yet he regarded himself as qualified to unravel the mystery. That it refers to the Messiah cannot be demonstrated, and is improbable because

(1) It is nowhere applied to him in the New Testament - a consideration not indeed decisive, but of some force, since it is not very safe to apply passages to him from the Old Testament without such authority. At least, the general rule is to be repudiated and rejected, that every passage is to be supposed to have such a reference which can be possibly made to apply to him, or where the language can be made to describe his person and offices.

(2) The work of the “interpreter,” the “angel,” or “messenger,” referred to here, is not that of the Messiah. The effect which Elihu says would be produced would be, that the life of the sufferer would be spared, his disease removed, and his flesh restored with infantile freshness. But this is not the work which the Redeemer came to perform, and is not that which he actually does.

(3) The subject here discussed is not such as is applicable to the work of the Messiah. It is here a question solely about the design of affliction. That was the point to be explained; and explanation was what was needed, and what was proposed to be done. But this is not the special work of the Messiah. His was a much larger, wider office; and even if this had been his whole work, how would the reference to that have met the point under discussion? I am inclined, therefore, to the opinion, that Elihu had himself particularly in his view, and that he meant to represent himself as at that time sustaining the character of a messenger sent from God to explain important principles of his administration.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-33.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ELIHU'S PROMISE OF RESTORATION TO JOB IF HE REPENTS

"If there be with him an angel,

An interpreter, one among a thousand,

To show unto man what is right for him;

Then God is gracious unto him, and saith,

Deliver him from going down to the pit,

I have found a ransom.

His flesh shall be fresher than a child's;

He returneth to the days of his youth.

He prayeth unto God, and he is favorable unto him,

So that he seeth his face with joy:

And he restoreth unto man his righteousness.

He singeth before men, and saith,

I have sinned, and perverted that which was right,

And it profited me not:

He hath redeemed my soul from going into the pit,

And my life shall behold the light."

All the wonderful things which Elihu here promised to Job were, of course, contingent upon Job's confession of his wickedness (Job 33:27).

"If there be with him an angel, an interpreter, etc." (Job 33:23). Van Selms' paraphrase of what Elihu is saying here catches the unqualified egotism in it. "Happy is the man to whom a messenger from God appears, as I have come to you, to make God's intentions for you clear and intelligible. There are not many who can do that, at best one in a thousand."[7]

"I have found a ransom" (Job 33:24). Elihu appears in this affirmation to mean that his prayers on Job's behalf, along with Job's confession of sins, will constitute an acceptable ransom in God's sight. When all this happens, namely, Job's confession and Elihu's prayers on his behalf, then humility and submissiveness on Job's part shall have been achieved. "This submissiveness is the ransom to be paid, and the ransom has been found; Job can then return to health and be strong again."[8] In the extent that Job might have been tempted to believe this, we may find the high-water mark of Satan's campaign to force Job to renounce his integrity.

"So that he seeth his face with joy" (Job 33:26). The metaphor here was that of `ministers of the face,' who were privileged to look the king in the face, the same being the highest ranking members of the king's court. Jesus used this same metaphor when he said of little children that, "Their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 18:10). Elihu is here promising Job the most extravagant blessings if he repents and submits.

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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 33:23". "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

If there be a messenger with him,.... Or angel, either with God, as some think; or rather with the sick man; by which messenger is meant not an angel by nature, a created angel, though sometimes such are God's messengers, sent by him on errands to men, are interpreters of things to them, as Gabriel was to Daniel; of whom there are thousands, and who may be of service to sick men for their comfort and instruction, since it is certain they attend saints in their dying moments; yet this proves not that they are to be invoked as mediators between God and men: but rather a minister of the word is designed, who is by office an angel, a "messenger" of Christ, and of the churches; an "interpreter" of the Scriptures, and of the mind of God in them; and a spiritual, evangelical, faithful minister, is scarce and rare, one among a thousand; and his business is to visit sick persons, and to observe the "uprightness" and faithfulness of God in afflicting them, that they may quietly submit to and patiently bear the affliction; and to direct them for their peace and comfort to the uprightness or righteousness of Christ, for their justification before God; and to show them what is right for them to do in their present circumstances; whether the sick man be stupid and insensible of his case, and his need of righteousness, or whether he be a truly gracious man, yet labouring under doubts and fears about the truth of grace in him, the uprightness of his heart, and his interest in the righteousness of Christ: but it seems best to understand this of Christ himself, the angel of God's presence, the messenger of the covenant, who is with the sick man, and favours him with his spiritual presence; or is "for him"F17עליו "pro eo", V. L. Pagninus, Mercerus. as it may be rendered, is on his side, an advocate and intercessor for him with God;

an interpreter of his Father's mind, and with which he is long acquainted, he lying in his bosom; and of the sacred Scriptures, as he was to his disciples concerning himself; or an "orator"F18מליץ "eloquens", Pagninus, Montanus; "orator", Tigurine version, Bolducius. , an eloquent one, never man spake like him, having the tongue of the learned given him as man; and who as a divine Person is the eternal and essential Word of God; who spake for his people in the council of peace and covenant of grace; and also as Mediator is the antitypical Aaron, can speak well for them on all occasions:

one among a thousand: the chiefest among ten thousand, angels or men; see Song of Solomon 5:10;

to show unto man his uprightness; which to do is his office as Mediator, and especially as a prophet, even to show the uprightness of God, the rectitude of his nature, the righteousness required in his holy law; and this Christ has shown forth and declared in his being the propitiation for the sins of his people, Romans 3:25; by his Spirit he shows to man, and so to a sick man, his want of uprightness in himself, his need of righteousness from another; and brings it near him, and shows it to be perfect, complete, and suitable; as well as teaches to live soberly, righteously, and godly.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-33.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

If there be a m messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, n to shew unto man his uprightness:

(m) A man sent from God to declare his will.

(n) A singular man, and as one chosen out of a thousand, who is able to declare the great mercies of God to sinners: and in which man's righteousness stands, which is through the justice of Jesus Christ.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-33.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Elihu refers to himself as the divinely-sent (Job 32:8; Job 33:6) “messenger,” the “interpreter” to explain to Job and vindicate God‘s righteousness; such a one Eliphaz had denied that Job could look for (Job 5:1), and Job (Job 9:33) had wished for such a “daysman” or umpire between him and God. The “messenger” of good is antithetical to the “destroyers” (Job 33:23).

with him — if there be vouchsafed to the sufferer. The office of the interpreter is stated “to show unto man God‘s uprightness” in His dealings; or, as Umbreit, “man‘s upright course towards God” (Proverbs 14:2). The former is better; Job maintained his own “uprightness” (Job 16:17; Job 27:5, Job 27:6); Elihu on the contrary maintains God‘s, and that man‘s true uprightness lies in submission to God. “One among a thousand” is a man rarely to be found. So Jesus Christ (Song of Solomon 5:10). Elihu, the God-sent mediator of a temporal deliverance, is a type of the God-man Jesus Christ the Mediator of eternal deliverance: “the messenger of the covenant” (Malachi 3:1). This is the wonderful work of the Holy Ghost, that persons and events move in their own sphere in such a way as unconsciously to shadow forth Him, whose “testimony is the Spirit of prophecy”; as the same point may be center of a small and of a vastly larger concentric circle.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-33.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:

A messenger — A prophet or teacher. To expound the providence, and point out the design of God therein.

One, … — A person rightly qualified for this great and hard work, such as there are but very few.

To shew — To direct him to the right way how he may please God, and procure that mercy which he thirsts after; which is not by quarrelling with God, but by an humble confession. and supplication for mercy through Christ the redeemer.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-33.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 33:23 If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:

Ver. 23. If there be a messenger with him] An angel, say some; but one man may be an angel to another, as Bradford was to Dr Taylor, martyr, who usually called him, That angel of God, John Bradford. If some prophet or teacher sent of God {see 2:1 Malachi 3:1-18 : 1 Kings 1:20} to the sick man, who seeth his face as the face of an angel, and receiveth him as an angel, yea, as Christ himself, Galatians 4:14, in whose stead he is, 2 Corinthians 5:20, bringing the embassy of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:20, than which what can be more acceptable?

An interpreter] sc. Of God’s holy will, who may assure the sick party that it is God who visiteth him in very faithfulness, that he may be true to his soul; that he doth it in mercy and in measure, not to ruin him, but to reduce him by repentance from dead works, and by faith in Christ Jesus, &c., who may also set him in a course, and pray for him, as James 5:16. Dr Ussher tells us (Serm. on Ephesians 4:13), that even in the times of Popery, among our forefathers, the ordinary instruction appointed to be given to men upon their death beds was, that they should look to come to glory, not by their own merits, but by the virtue and merit of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ; that they should place their whole confidence in his death only, and in no other thing; and that they should interpose his death between God and their sins, between them and God’s anger. This was right, and, considering the times, admirable. This was better than that blasphemous direction they give elsewhere to dying men to say, Coniunge Domine, &c., Conjoin, O Lord, mine obedience to all those things which Christ suffered for me.

One among a thousand] Unus e millibus, not Unus e similibus, as the Vulgate Latin hath it by a gross mistake, such as that translation hath many. One among a thousand he is said to be, for the scarcity of such as can time a word, comfort the afflicted conscience, and speak to the heart of a poor distressed creature, who laboureth under the sense of sin and fear of wrath. O quam hoc non est omnium, This very few can skill of. Luther, who was excellent at it himself, telleth us, that it is a work every whit as hard as to raise the dead to life again. Go ye rather to them that sell, said the wise to the foolish virgins, and those are rare; sc. such faithful and wise distributers of God’s grace, as having the tongue of the learned, Isaiah 50:4, and being instructed for that purpose to the kingdom of heaven, can comfort the feeble minded, shore up and support the weak, &c. Such a choice man is worth his weight in gold; and oh, how beautiful are his feet, angelic his face!

To declare unto man his uprightness] Or, his righteousness, that is, either the righteousness of Christ, who is his peace; or his, that is, the righteousness of his own experience, how he hath been raised and received to mercy. Or, his, to clear up to him his spiritual estate, and show his evangelical righteousness, consisting more in purpose than in practice; in confession of our imperfection, than in any perfection we can attain unto. It is not so much our inherent righteousness, in regard of the worth, dignity, and excellence of it, much less purity and perfection in it, but as it is a fruit of God’s love and token of his favour, a sign of our adoption and justification, and a pledge of our glorification, that yieldeth comfort. And this it will do when skilfully made out to a poor soul by a godly minister, and set on by the hand of that Holy Spirit, whereby the saints are sealed to the day of redemption, Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 1:13.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 33:23". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-33.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A messenger; either,

1. An angel sent to him from heaven upon this errand; for the angels are ministering spirits, Psalms 103:20 Hebrews 1:14, and are, and especially in that time and state of the church were, frequently employed by God upon messages to men. But why then should he say one of a thousand angels, seeing any the meanest angel was very competent for this work? Or rather,

2. A prophet or teacher, for such are oft called by this name; as Jude 2:1 Malachi 2:7 3:1 Revelation 1:20, and such persons are appointed by God for, and are most commonly employed in, this work. With him; either,

1. With God to plead man’s cause, and to pray to God for man. Or rather,

2. With man, who is expressed in the last clause of this verse, and of whom this same pronoun him is twice used in the next verse. Nor is it strange that the pronoun relative is put before the noun to which it belongs, but usual in the Hebrew language, as Exodus 2:6 Proverbs 5:22 Proverbs 14:33, and elsewhere. An interpreter; one whose office and work it is to declare the mind of God unto the sick man, and wherefore God contends with him, and what God would have him to do.

One among a thousand; a person rightly qualified for this great and hard work, such as there are but very few, scarce one of a thousand; which expression is used to denote the rarity and fewness of persons, Ecclesiastes 7:28. By which words he doth covertly reflect upon Job’s three friends, and imply that they were not such persons, though they had undertaken to perform this office or work to Job; and withal, modestly intimates, that although he was in himself mean and inferior to all of them, (as he acknowledgeth,) yet he was selected by God for this work; which he saith not out of a desire of vain boasting of himself, but to dispose Job to a more diligent attention unto, and a more ready entertainment of his present discourses. His uprightness, or rectitude, or righteousness. His, i.e. either,

1. God’s; to convince a man that God is just and right in all his dealings with him, though never so severe; of which Job was not yet convinced. Or rather,

2. Man’s; to teach man his duty, or to direct him to the right way and method how he may please God, and procure that mercy and deliverance which he thirsts after; which is not by quarrelling with God, as Job did, but by a humble confession and hearty detestation and forsaking of his sins, and supplication to God for mercy in and through Christ the Redeemer, of whom Job spoke before. Or thus, to discover to man, that although he be afflicted, yet he is an upright and righteous person, and consequently in God’s favour; about which good men oft doubt, and need the help of a skilful minister to satisfy them therein. But this seems not so well to suit Job’s case, who was sufficiently and more than enough persuaded of his own integrity, and needed no minister to preach that doctrine to him.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 33:23". 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

c. THE THIRD MODE OF DIVINE VISITATION IS, THAT OF THE ANGEL INTERCESSOR AND MEDIATOR, WHO HAS FOUND A RANSOM. The objective point of the book — a theophany — the ulterior central orb toward which all gravitates, now comes more distinctly into view, though still under a haze: a theophany, and this alone, can fully solve the mystery of sorrowing existence. Job 33:23-28.

23.If there be — What follows is “an hypothesis hanging on an if — but it is an if; the answer to which is the amen of the Gospel.” — Evans.

With him , better, “for him.”

A messenger’ an interpreter — See Excursus VII, page 207. Uprightness — Or, duty. Tyndale and Cranmer render it “right way.”

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-33.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Angel, by secret inspirations, (St. Thomas Aquinas; Tirinus, &c.) or a man sent by God, to announce the truths of salvation. (Mariana) --- Man's, or "to man." (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "a messenger with him, an interpreter, one....to declare to man his uprightness." Protestants, (Haydock) "If there be any merit in him, the angel comforter, chosen from a thousand accusers, is ready to declare to the son of man his rectitude." Septuagint, "If there be a thousand destroying angels, not one of them shall hurt him; if the consider in his heart to be converted unto the Lord. Though he (the angel) lay before man his reproof, and shew his folly, He (God) will take hold of him, that he may not die. He will renew his flesh as the plaster of a wall, and fill his bones with marrow: (25) he will make his flesh soft, like that of an infant, and will place him in manhood among men." (Haydock) --- But this is different from the Hebrew. (Calmet) --- The intercession of angels is very powerful. The are represented as suggesting motives, which prevail on God to shew mercy, ver. 24. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-33.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Eliphaz had argued that no angels could assist Job (5:1), and Job had complained that he did not have a mediator (9:33), Elihu disagrees. He seems to be arguing that God has plenty of angels ("one out of a thousand") that He can send and communicate to Job the workings of His providence. The word "remind" suggests that the angel here actually communicated with the sufferer. As a result of such a revelation, to one who would listen, there would be restoration of health and fellowship with God (33:24-26).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-33.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

If there be. This is another way by which God speaks.

interpreter. To reveal God and His truth. Compare John 1:18.

His: i.e. God"s righteousness.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "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

If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:

Elihu refers to himself as the divinely sent (Job 32:8; Job 33:6) "messenger" or angel [ mal'aak (Hebrew #4397)], the "interpreter," to explain to Job and vindicate God's righteousness; [ meeliyts (Hebrew #3887)], an interpreter of foreign tongues, and so an interpreter to Job of God's obscure dealings: such a one Eliphaz had denied that Job could look for (Job 5:1); and Job (Job 9:33) had wished for such a "daysman" or umpire between him and God. The "messenger" of good is antithetical to "the destroyers" (Job 33:22).

With him, [ `aalaayw (Hebrew #5921)] - 'for him' - i:e., for his good, for his salvation (Maurer). If these be vouchsafed to the sufferer. The office of the interpreter is stated, 'to show unto man God's uprightness' in His dealings. Umbreit translates, 'man's upright course toward God' (Proverbs 14:2), 'to show man what is his upright course toward God.' The former is better: Job maintained his own "uprightness" (Job 16:17; Job 27:5-6); Elihu, on the contrary, maintains God's, and that man's true uprightness lies in submission to God. - "One among a thousand" is a man rarely to be found. So Jesus Christ (Song of Solomon 5:10, "The chiefest among ten thousand"). Elihu, the God-sent mediator of a temporal deliverance (Job 33:24-26), is a type of the God-man Jesus Christ, the Mediator of eternal deliverance, "the messenger of the covenant" (Malachi 3:1). This is the wonderful work of the Holy Spirit, that persons and events move in their own sphere in such a way as unconsciously to shadow forth Him whose "testimony is the spirit of prophecy," as the same point may be center of a small and of a vastly larger concentric circle.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "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

(23) To show unto man his uprightness.—Some render, “to show unto man what is right for him,” but it seems rather to mean, to declare concerning that man his uprightness, to plead his cause before God and be his advocate. (Comp. 1 Kings 14:13; 2 Chronicles 19:3, &c.)

This angel, who is one among a thousand, and discharges the function of an interpreter, is a remarkable anticipation of the existence of that function with God which is discharged by the Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). It is impossible for us who believe that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God not to see in this an indication of what God intended afterwards to teach us concerning the intercession and mediation of the Son and the intercession of the Holy Spirit on behalf of man (Romans 8:26). (Comp. John 14:16.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-33.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
a messenger
Judges 2:1; 2 Chronicles 36:15,16; Haggai 1:13; Malachi 2:7; 3:1; 2 Corinthians 5:20
an interpreter
34:32; Psalms 94:12; Isaiah 61:1-3; Acts 8:30; 1 Corinthians 11:30-32; Hebrews 12:5-12
one
9:3; Ecclesiastes 7:28; Romans 11:13
to
11:6; 34:10,12; 35:14; 36:3,8-13; 37:23; Nehemiah 9:33; Psalms 119:75; Lamentations 3:22,23,32,39-41; Ezekiel 18:25-28; Daniel 9:14
Reciprocal: Genesis 18:32 - I will not;  Job 19:25 - I know;  Psalm 107:20 - healed;  Ecclesiastes 8:1 - who knoweth;  Joel 2:23 - the former

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 33:23". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-33.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"... an interpreter, one among a thousand"Job 33:23

Why should not all men be interpreters? As a matter of fact, they are not, and we are called upon to consider the moral import of that fact.—Men are variously gifted.—To be gifted at all is to receive honour from God.—The judgment is not as between one man and another, but as between each Prayer of Manasseh, as a trustee, and God who has put him in trust.—The interpreter will always make his influence felt; there will be something about his manner, mode of thinking, tone of expression, which will identify him as one on whom the tongue of flame is resting.—Society should honour its interpreters.—To be one among a thousand is to be in a painful position.—We envy the eminence, but forget the responsibility; we say how grand it must be to be so high up in society, forgetting that elevation means penalty, labour of many kinds, and vexations such as the great alone can feel.—The Bible is an interpreter, and one among a thousand.—This is the distinctive peculiarity of the Bible.—It is not only a Revelation, it is an interpretation; it interprets God, nature, truth, and it interprets man to himself.—It is one among a thousand because there are many books which profess to have great answers to great questions, but they all break down at a given point, and are least eloquent where the heart yearns most for spiritual communication.—Let us always dwell upon the distinctiveness of the Bible, and of the cross, and of the whole priesthood of Jesus Christ.—In many points it may be like other sacred messages, but there are points at which it breaks away from them all, and stands up in noble singularity.—We must not force interpretation too far.—Sometimes it is enough to have a bint without having a whole revelation.—If we walk according to the light we have, the light will soon increase.—He is deceiving himself who supposes that he would travel fast toward the kingdom of heaven if he could start his journey at midday.—Begin your journey as soon as there is the faintest streak of light in the east, and as you walk the sun will increase in splendour.—The Christian should be one in a thousand: he should be seen from afar: he should be known by the quality of his character, by the music of his voice: he should in no case be so living the vulgar life as to be confounded with the common herd—at the same time, he must distinguish between self-display, and the uniqueness which comes of long and happy communion with his Master.— To be ostentatious is to be impious; to be a city set on a hill is to be a witness for God.

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 33:23". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/job-33.html. 1885-95.