Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 3. Beginning. Hebrew, “afar” from that God, who is ancient, and not of human invention; (Jeremias xxiii. 23.) or from the consideration of the heavens. Nothing could be more magnificent than the descriptions which conclude this fourth part of the discourse. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Lie. Every orator will promise to speak the truth, and will do so sometimes to gain credit. (Worthington) — Shall be. Hebrew, “is with thee.” Thou art not devoid of sense, and thou wilt (Calmet) surely approve my reasons, which are suggested by the God of all knowledge. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. God. Septuagint, “Know that the Lord will not cast away the innocent.” Theodotion continues to ver. 12: “The mighty, in strength of heart, (Wisdom vi.) will not make the impious live, and will render judgment to the poor.” (Haydock) — They seem to have read Thom, which is now wanting in Hebrew. (Calmet) — “Behold God is mighty, and despiseth not any: mighty in strength and wisdom.” (Protestants) (Haydock) — Eliu begins to prove that God administers justice to all equally. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Just. Hebrew, Syriac, &c., “the just man, he will place him with kings on the throne.” (Calmet) — Exalted, or “extolled” for ever, if they have done well. (Worthington) — He always disposes of kingdoms. (Menochius)
Ver. 9. Violent, while in power and on the throne, or because even in a private station, their will has risen up in rebellion against God. (Haydock) — Poverty and afflictions are scourges, which are often inflicted by mercy, to bring us to a sense of our duty. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Ear, by secret inspirations, or by the admonitions of pastors. (Calmet) — Afflictions will also speak louder to them than any orator. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Folly. Hebrew, “without knowledge.” He speaks of princes, (Calmet) and of all the wicked, who have not known the day of their visitation. (Haydock) — They shall suffer the punishment prepared for fools or wicked men. (Menochius)
Ver. 13. Bound, in misery and evil habits. They will not have recourse to God by humble prayer, though they perceive his displeasure, and design in punishing them.
Ver. 14. Storm. Hebrew and Septuagint, “in youth,” (Haydock) being suddenly cut off, without having deplored the sins of their youth. (Calmet) — Effeminate. Hebrew, “the consecrated” to prostitution. Eliu compares those who will not attend unto God, to the most infamous characters. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “and let their life be taken away by the angels” (Haydock) of death, chap. xxxiii. 23. (Calmet) — He may allude to the impure Sodomites. (Menochius)
Ver. 16. He shall. He would have prevented thee from falling into this irremediable distress, if thou hadst imitated the poor who trust in Him. (Calmet) — Yea, he will still restore thee to favour, if thou wilt repent. (Haydock) — He will fill thee with joy and plenty. (Menochius) — Foundation. Hebrew, where there is not straitness. (Protestants) He would have rescued thee from distress, and set thee at large. (Haydock) — The psalmist often speaks in the same language. (Calmet)
Ver. 17. Recover. Thou shalt be treated as thou hast treated others. Hebrew is not well understood. It may be, “Thou hast spoken like the impious; but judgment and justice rule. (18) Beware lest wrath overtake thee, so that thy prayers may not avert it. (19) Will He regard thy cries, thy riches, gold or strength?” (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Without, or before thou be forced by tribulation. (Menochius) — Lay aside all sentiments of pride, (St. Gregory) or keep in awe the mighty, who administer justice in thy name. (Menochius) — Protestants, “Will he esteem thy riches? No, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.” Septuagint, “Let not a willing mind incline thee unjustly to the prayer of the needy in distress.” (Haydock)
Ver. 20. Prolong not the night, &c. Prolong not causes that are brought before thee, but dispatch, by early rising, the business of them that come up to thee. (Challoner) — Septuagint, “and all the men of power do not withdraw in the night,” from just punishment. Theodotion adds, “that the people may come up against them,” to demand vengeance. Do strict justice both to the rich and to the poor, without pity or fear. (Haydock) — This text is very obscure; and the Hebrew may have different meanings, which do not, however, seem well connected with the rest. “Plant not after night, when people retire home;” (Calmet) or Protestants, “are cut off in their place.” (Haydock) — Delay not to banish temptations, or they will increase. (St. Gregory xxvi. 38.) (Worthington)
Ver. 21. Iniquity, or blaspheming, (chap. xxxiv. 37.; Menochius) and murmurs, to which alone thou hast given way since thy fall. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Lawgivers. Hebrew more, “a master.” In Chaldean, “a sovereign.” (Grotius) Septuagint, “what potentate is against him?” (Haydock) — What art thou, to dare thus to resist him? (Calmet) — St. Gregory (xxvii. 1.) explains this as a prediction of Christ, “our singular lawgiver.” God is most able to punish transgressors, and willing to reward those who obey his laws. (Worthington)
Ver. 24. Not, is omitted in Hebrew and Septuagint. “Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold;” Protestants, (Haydock) or “thou hast magnified,” formerly. Do so again. — Sung. The memory of great exploits was commonly preserved by canticles. (Calmet)
Ver. 25. All. The rest of this chapter, and the five first verses of the next, seem to be inserted in the Septuagint from Theodotion. “Every man sees in himself how many mortals are wounded,” &c. — Off, in the stars, &c., or in ancient times, what wonders God has performed. (Calmet) — The works of God are like a ladder, by which we may ascend to the knowledge of him. (Menochius) (Wisdom xiii.) (Haydock)
Ver. 27. Floods. God causes the water on the earth to evaporate, (Calmet) to form the clouds, (Haydock) which afterwards fall in torrents. (Menochius) — Theodotion, “the drops of rain are numbered by him,” &c., chap. xxvi. 8.
Ver. 29. If. Hebrew, “Also can any understand the spreading out of the clouds, the elevation or noise of his pavilion?” (Haydock) — What could be more magnificent than the throne of God! (Calmet)
Ver. 30. Ends. Literally, “the hinges,” or poles, cardines. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “roots;” Aristotle (Meteor. ii. 1.) and Hesoid (Theog. 727,) use the same term, (Calmet) to denote the fountains which supply the sea. (Haydock) — Who ever discovered these deep recesses? Eliu describes a thunder-storm, when the sea is covered with darkness. He intimates that the pavilion of God, though hidden from us by the clouds, is not destitute of light. (Calmet) — God inhabits light inaccessible. (Haydock)
Ver. 31. Mortals. Hebrew, “in abundance.” (Haydock) — By thunder he overwhelms many nations, while by moderate rains, he causes the earth ot fructify (Calmet) and nourish mankind. (Menochius)
Ver. 32. Hands, or clouds, which are compared to a hand, 3 Kings xviii. 44. He opens his hand, and light appears. This expression denotes the utmost facility with which a very surprising thing is effected. — To come. Hebrew, “by this obstacle.” He alludes to the sun’s eclipse, as if God’s hand covered its disk. (Calmet) — Protestants, “He….commandeth it not to shine, by the cloud that cometh betwixt.”
Ver. 33. To it. The tabernacle of God is designed for his friends. Hebrew is very obscure. “Thunder announces the rain, and the very animals know it;” (Virgil describes their signs, Geor. i.) or “His thunder announces from above the clouds his wrath to men.” (Calmet) — “The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.”
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Eliu proceeds in setting forth the justice and power of God.
1 Eliu also proceeded, and said:
2 Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee: for I have yet somewhat to speak in God’s behalf.
3 I will repeat my knowledge from the beginning, and I will prove my maker just.
4 For, indeed, my words are without a lie, and perfect knowledge shall be proved to thee.
5 God doth not cast away the mighty, whereas he himself also is mighty.
6 But he saveth not the wicked, and he giveth judgment to the poor.
7 He will not take away his eyes from the just, and he placeth kings on the throne for ever, and they are exalted.
8 And if they shall be in chains, and be bound with the cords of poverty:
9 He shall shew them their works, and their wicked deeds, because they have been violent.
10 He also shall open their ear, to correct them: and shall speak, that they may return from iniquity.
11 If they shall hear and observe, they shall accomplish their days in good, and their years in glory.
12 But if they hear not, they shall pass by the sword, and shall be consumed in folly.
13 Dissemblers and crafty men prove the wrath of God, neither shall they cry when they are bound.
14 Their soul shall die in a storm, and their life among the effeminate.
15 He shall deliver the poor out of his distress, and shall open his ear in affliction.
16 Therefore he shall set thee at large out of the narrow mouth, and which hath no foundation under it: and the rest of thy table shall be full of fatness.
17 Thy cause hath been judged as that of the wicked, cause and judgment thou shalt recover.
18 Therefore, let not anger overcome thee, to oppress any man: neither let multitude of gifts turn thee aside.
19 Lay down thy greatness without tribulation, and all the mighty of strength.
20 Prolong not the night, that people may come up for them.
21 Beware thou turn not aside to iniquity: for this thou hast begun to follow after misery.
22 Behold, God is high in his strength, and none is like him among the lawgivers.
23 Who can search out his ways? or who can say to him: Thou has wrought iniquity?
24 Remember that thou knowest not his work, concerning which men have sung.
25 All men see him, every one beholdeth afar off.
26 Behold, God is great, exceeding our knowledge: the number of his years is inestimable.
27 He lifteth up the drops of rain, and poureth out showers like floods:
28 Which flow from the clouds that cover all above.
29 If he will spread out clouds as his tent,
30 And lighten with his light from above, he shall cover also the ends of the sea.
31 For by these he judgeth people, and giveth food to many mortals.
32 In his hands he hideth the light, and commandeth it to come again.
33 He sheweth his friend concerning it, that it is his possession, and that he may come up to it.