Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 3. Sentence. Some editions have scientiam, “knowledge,” with the Hebrew. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Spirit. We are therefore equal. (Menochius) — Thou canst not fear being overpowered with the divine majesty, in this dispute, chap. xiii. 21. (Calmet) — Life. Septuagint, “instruction.” (Haydock)
Ver. 6. Formed. Job had expressed a desire to plead before a man, chap. ix. 32., and xiii. 19., and xxxi. 35. Eliu offers himself to maintain the cause of God. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Wonder (miraculum.) Hebrew, “terror,” (Haydock) in allusion to Job’s words, chap. ix. 34. — Eloquence. Hebrew, “hand.” (Calmet) — Septuagint, “the dread of me shall not cast thee down, nor my hand be heavy upon thee.” Arrogant men esteem their own observations as something wonderful. (St. Gregory) (Worthington)
Ver. 9. In me. Job had not said so in express terms, though he had said something to the same purpose. But he had sufficiently explained himself, and Eliu could not be ignorant that he only meant that his present sufferings were not proportioned to his guilt. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Complaints. Something similar had indeed come from Job’s lips; (chap. xiv. 17., and xxx. 21.) not that he pretended that God sought to find him guilty without cause; but he meant that He treated him as an enemy, for some secret purpose. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Stocks. Chap. xiii.14., and xiv. 16. Eliu interprets the words in the worst sense, though Job had only expostulated with God on the treatment which he received, testifying a great love and confidence in him. He acknowledges some want of knowledge, chap. xlii. 3. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Man: so that he is not obliged to explain his reasons. (Menochius)
Ver. 13. 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)
Ver. 14. 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.
Ver. 15. Beds. It seems prophetic dreams were not then uncommon.
Ver. 16. Instructeth. Hebrew, “sealing,” that they may not mistake such a favour for a common dream. (Calmet)
Ver. 17. Him. Septuagint, “his body from the fall [of iniquity.]” (Grabe) (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Also. This is the second method of instruction. Eliu pretends that Job had thus been visited by God, and had not understood his meaning.
Ver. 21. Bare. The skin will scarcely cover them. He will appear ghastly, like a skeleton. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “his bones….shall stick out.” (Protestants) (Haydock)
Ver. 22. Destroyers; the worms in the grave, (Haydock) or to sickness, (Menochius) “which bring on death.” Pagnin mortiferis.
Ver. 23. 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. They are represented as suggesting motives, which prevail on God to shew mercy, ver. 24. (Haydock)
Ver. 25. Consumed. Hebrew, “fresher than a child’s,” (Haydock) as was the case of Naaman, 4 Kings v. 14.
Ver. 26. And he. It is ambiguous whether this refer to God or to man. (Calmet) — But both shall see each other with joy. The penitent will be restored to as much favour as if he had never sinned. (Haydock)
Ver. 29. Times, or often. God instructs man by visions, sickness, and the intercession and inspirations of angels, ver. 14. (Calmet)
Ver. 30. Living, both soul and body, delivering them from adversity. (Calmet)
Ver. 32. Just, and to be so indeed. (Menochius) — How much would his vanity be mortified, when Job answered him only with silence! (Haydock) though he urged him to reply so often. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Eliu blames Job for asserting his own innocence.
1 Hear, therefore, O Job, my speeches, and hearken to all my words.
2 Behold now I have opened my mouth, let my tongue speak within my jaws.
3 My words are from my upright heart, and my lips shall speak a pure sentence.
4 The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gave me life.
5 If thou canst, answer me, and stand up against my face.
6 Behold God hath made me as well as thee, and of the same clay I also was formed.
7 But yet let not my wonder terrify thee, and let not my eloquence be burdensome to thee.
8 Now thou has said in my hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words:
9 I am clean, and without sin: I am unspotted, and there is no iniquity in me.
10 Because he hath found complaints against me, therefore he hath counted me for his enemy.
11 He hath put my feet in the stocks, he hath observed all my paths.
12 Now this is the thing in which thou art not justified: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
13 Dost thou strive against him, because he hath not answered thee to all words?
14 God speaketh once, and repeateth not the self-same thing the second time.
15 By a dream in a vision by night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, and they are sleeping in their beds:
16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and teaching, instructeth them in what they are to learn.
17 That he may withdraw a man from the things he is doing, and may deliver him from pride.
18 Rescuing his soul from corruption: and his life from passing to the sword.
19 He rebuketh also by sorrow in the bed, and he maketh all his bones to wither.
20 Bread becometh abominable to him in his life, and to his soul the meat which before he desired.
21 His flesh shall be consumed away, and his bones, that were covered, shall be made bare.
22 His soul hath drawn near to corruption, and his life to the destroyers.
23 If there shall be an angel speaking for him, one among thousands, to declare man’s uprightness.
24 He shall have mercy on him, and shall say: Deliver him, that he may not go down to corruption: I have found wherein I may be merciful to him.
25 His flesh is consumed with punishments, let him return to the days of his youth.
26 He shall pray to God, and he will be gracious to him: and he shall see his face with joy, and he will render to man his justice.
27 He shall look upon men, and shall say: I have sinned, and indeed I have offended, and I have not received what I have deserved.
28 He hath delivered his soul from going into destruction, that it may live and see the light.
29 Behold, all these things God worketh three times within every one.
30 That he may withdraw their souls from corruption, and enlighten them with the light of the living.
31 Attend, Job, and hearken to me: and hold thy peace, whilst I speak.
32 But if thou hast any thing to say, answer me, speak: for I would have thee to appear just.
33 And if thou have not, hear me: hold thy peace, and I will teach thee wisdom.