Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 3. Taste. The most accurate philosophers attribute this faculty to the tongue, (Calmet) rather than to the throat, guttur. Hebrew, “mouth or palate.” (Haydock) — But Eliu speaks agreeably to the notions of the vulgar. (Calmet) — Intellectus saporum cæteris est in primâ lingua, homini et in palato. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xi. 37.)
Ver. 5. Judgment. Chap. xxvii. 2. Job had used this expression, but only to intimate that strict justice did not take place, as he thought his faults had not deserved so severe a chastisement. He did not pretend that God was unjust, or that he was quite blameless; and he had so explicitly declared his sentiments, that Eliu could not well be ignorant of them. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. There. Septuagint, “he has been deceived;” epseusato. Hebrew, “I will convict my judge of lying;” or (Calmet) Protestants, “should I lie against my right?” (Haydock) — Job, in the excess of grief, had expressed himself forcibly, chap. xix. 6., and xxiii. 7. But great deductions must be made from such hyperboles; and he had frequently praised the mercy and justice of God, and his just punishment of the wicked. He had indeed excepted himself from the number; and Eliu ought to have proved that he was wrong in this respect. But he seems to have all along evaded or mistaken the point under dispute. (Calmet) — Arrow, which pierces me. (Haydock) — The deferring judgment was not a subversion of it, as Eliu would argue, chap. xxvii. 2. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. What. This may be a continuation of Job’s speech, who seemed to assert that none had ever been insulted like himself, nor borne it with greater patience; (chap. xvi. 4.) or Eliu reproaches him with talking scornfully to his friends and to God. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Goeth in. Septuagint insert a negation, which is not found in Hebrew, Chaldean, &c. They may be understood to speak ironically. (Calmet) — “Who committeth no sin, nor iniquity, nor has had any society with lawless people, so as to walk with wicked men.” (Haydock)
Ver. 9. With him, and strive to please him. Horrible blasphemy! of which Job was incapable: as if God were a cruel master, and threw us into despair. He had asserted that God punishes the wicked, and often treats his friends with the like severity, (chap. ix. 22., and xxx. 26.) in this world: which is very true. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “Say not that man is not visited. He is indeed visited by the Lord.” (Haydock) — Eliu wrests Job’s words, in order that he may have something to say against him. (St. Gregory xxiv. 25.) (Worthington)
Ver. 13. Earth? If God cannot be unjust, hath he given the administration of the world to some other, who may have been deceived? This will not be asserted. Hebrew, “who hath visited the earth for him?” or, “who hath set him over the earth?” Is he a hired judge, who may be bribed? (Calmet)
Ver. 14. To him, and examine his conduct with rigour: there is scarcely a moment of our lives in which he would not discover a just reason for withdrawing his hand, and suffering us to die, Psalm ciii. 29. (Calmet)
Ver. 17. Judgment. How can we hope for redress from God, while he condemns his conduct? (Menochius) — How can we bring Job to a sense of his duty, since he entertains such perverse notions? Hebrew, “Shall he hold dominion, who hates justice?” If God be unjust, does he deserve our adoration? (Calmet) or, “ought not the person to be put in prison, who resists judgment?” (Grotius) “If thou dost not think that He who hates crimes, and destroys the impious, is eternal and just?” (Septuagint) (Haydock)
Ver. 18. Who. Theod.[Theodotion?] in Septuagint, “wicked is he who says to the king, thou actest contrary to the law; and to the rulers, thou most impious.” (Haydock) — Apostate. Hebrew, “Belial.”
Ver. 19. Tyrant. This title is not always odious. It formerly was given to all princes, and came to be used in a bad sense, on account of the misconduct of some kings of Sicily. Tyrannus a rege distat factis, non nomine. (Sen.[Seneca?] Clem. xii.) — Hebrew, “the rich more than the poor.” (Haydock) — God fears not to rebuke even the greatest princes, and dost thou dare to arraign his justice? (Calmet)
Ver. 20. They, the wicked, whatever may be their station in life. (Haydock) — God takes off the tyrant (Calmet) when he least expects it, as well as the poor. (Haydock) — Troubled, or make an insurrection. (Calmet) — This often proves the ruin of tyrants. (Haydock) — Hand, by the destroying angel. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Death, or the most obscure recess. (Haydock)
Ver. 23. Man. Hebrew, “He will not lay upon man (Calmet) more than right (Protestants; Haydock) to,” &c. After once passing sentence, all is over. (Calmet) — When man has fallen into sin, he cannot with a good grace contend with God. (Calmet)
Ver. 24. Stead. Where are now the ancient Assyrians, Carthaginians, &c., who once made such a figure in the world? (Calmet) — Septuagint, “glorious and sudden, and unnumbered.” The next eight verses are taken from Theodotion. (Haydock)
Ver. 25. Night, calamities. At once they shall be oppressed. (Calmet)
Ver. 26. Sight. Literally, “in the place of the beholders,” (Haydock) in public. (Calmet)
Ver. 27. All. Protestants, “Any of.” The wicked observe none of God’s commandments as they ought. He that offends in one becomes guilty of all, James ii. 10.
Ver. 29. Condemn, either God or the person whom he approves. Does not he exercise dominion over all? (Calmet) — Men. Literally, “all men.” Hebrew, “a man.” God may destroy either a part or the whole of the creation. Sometimes whole nations or cities are cut off, and the deluge nearly swept away all mankind. (Haydock)
Ver. 30. People. A hypocrite denotes one infected with all sorts of crimes. (St. Irenæus v. 24.) Such a king is sometimes given to punish a wicked people, Osee xiii. 11., and Isaias iii. 4. This sense is beautiful, and followed by the Chaldean, Septuagint, &c. We may explain the Hebrew in like manner, by neglecting the Masoretic points. (Calmet) — Protestants, “That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.” (Haydock) — Hebrew, “He overturns the throne of hypocrites, on account of the scandal of the people,” or “he delivers the people from servitude.” The sense of the Vulgate seems preferable. (Calmet) — Eliu insinuates that Job had been a hypocrite and an oppressor; but God exculpates him. (Worthington)
Ver. 31. Seeing. Hebrew, “Thou shouldst have said to the Lord, I have suffered enough: (Calmet) I will not offend.” (Protestants) (Haydock) (Ver. 32.) — Turn. He had undertaken to plead God’s cause. (Calmet)
Ver. 33. It, my iniquity. (Menochius) — Will God make thee accountable for it? (Haydock) — Yea, if thou keep silence, (Calmet) thou wilt seem to connive at it. (Haydock) — He wishes to engage Job to speak. Hebrew may be translated many ways. (Calmet) — Protestants, “Should it be according to thy mind? He will recompense it whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I. Therefore speak what thou knowest.” (Haydock)
Ver. 36. Father. From God all the rights of a father spring, Ephesians iii. 15. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “No indeed: but learn Job, answer not like fools.” Protestants, “my desire is, (marginal note, my father) that Job may be tried unto the end, because of his answers for the wicked.” (Haydock) — He has imitated their wicked discourses; let his chastisement deter others. (Calmet) — The sequel seems to intimate, that Eliphaz is here styled Father. (Menochius)
Ver. 37. Fast, and pressed by arguments. (Menochius) (Calmet) — Hebrew, “since he adds crime (Calmet; Protestants, rebellion) to his sin, and clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against the Lord.” Eliu concluding that Job was obstinate, (Haydock) invites his friends to join in prayer, that he might be still more severely chastised, to make him enter into himself. Such a strange petition might possibly proceed from charity. But Eliu had given too many proofs of passion, to allow this interpretation. Had he evinced that Job as a criminal? and were not his sorrows already too great, so that he might rather have prayed that God would alleviate them, or grant him more patience?
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Eliu charges Job with blasphemy: and sets forth the power and justice of God.
1 And Eliu continued his discourse, and said:
2 Hear ye, wise men, my words, and ye learned, hearken to me:
3 *For the ear trieth words, and the mouth discerneth meats by the taste.
4 Let us choose to us judgment, and let us see among ourselves what is the best.
5 For Job hath said: I am just, and God hath overthrown my judgment.
6 For in judging me there is a lie: my arrow is violent without any sin.
7 What man is there like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
8 Who goeth in company with them that work iniquity, and walketh with wicked men?
9 For he hath said: Man shall not please God, although he run with him.
10 Therefore, ye men of understanding, hear me: far from God be wickedness, and iniquity from the Almighty.
11 For he will render to a man his work, and according to the ways of every one he will reward them.
12 For, in very deed, God will not condemn without cause, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.
13 What other hath he appointed over the earth? or whom hath he set over the world which he made?
14 If he turn his heart to him, he shall draw his spirit and breath unto himself.
15 All flesh shall perish together, and man shall return into ashes.
16 If then thou hast understanding, hear what is said, and hearken to the voice of my words.
17 Can he be healed that loveth not judgment? and how dost thou so far condemn him that is just?
18 Who saith to the king: Thou art an apostate: who calleth rulers ungodly:
19 *Who accepteth not the persons of princes: nor hath regarded the tyrant, when he contended against the poor man: for all are the work of his hands.
20 They shall suddenly die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and they shall pass, and take away the violent without hand.
21 For his eyes are upon the ways of men, and he considereth all their steps.
22 There is no darkness, and there is no shadow of death, where they may be hid who work iniquity.
23 For it is no longer in the power of man to enter into judgment with God.
24 He shall break in pieces many and innumerable, and shall make others to stand in their stead.
25 For he knoweth their works: and therefore he shall bring night on them, and they shall be destroyed.
26 He hath struck them as being wicked, in open sight.
27 Who, as it were on purpose, have revolted from him, and would not understand all his ways.
28 So that they caused the cry of the needy to come to him, and he heard the voice of the poor.
29 For when he granteth peace, who is there that can condemn? When he hideth his countenance, who is there that can behold him, whether it regard nations, or all men?
30 Who maketh a man that is a hypocrite to reign for the sins of the people?
31 Seeing then I have spoken of God, I will not hinder thee in thy turn.
32 If I have erred, teach thou me: if I have spoken iniquity, I will add no more.
33 Doth God require it of thee, because it hath displeased thee? for thou begannest to speak, and not I: but if thou know any thing better, speak.
34 Let men of understanding speak to me, and let a wise man hearken to me.
35 But Job hath spoken foolishly, and his words sound not discipline.
36 My father, let Job be tried even to the end: cease not from the man of iniquity.
37 Because he addeth blasphemy upon his sins, let him be tied fast in the mean time among us; and then let him provoke God to judgment with his speeches.
3: Job xii. 11.
19: Deuteronomy x. 17.; 2 Paralipomenon xix. 7.; Wisdom vi. 8.; Ecclesiasticus xxxv. 16.; Acts x. 34.; Romans ii. 11.; Galatians ii. 6.; Ephesians vi. 9.; Colossians iii. 25.; 1 Peter i. 17.