Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Themanite. People of this city, about twelve miles from Petra, in Arabia, were renowned for wisdom, Jeremias xlix. 7., and Baruch iii. 22. Pythagoras therefore visited this country. (St. Cyril, contra Jul. x.) — Eliphaz attempts to prove that no innocent person is chastised. He does not speak of small faults, to which any person may be exposed, and which God may severely punish. But he will have Job to be a great offender, at least in secret, and represents himself in too advantageous a light; though he was really a good man, and meant well. (Calmet) — But this did not exempt him from sin, (chap. xlii.) no more than Eliu, chap. xxxii. Bonum ex integra causa; malum ex quolibet defectu; as theologians agree. (Haydock)
Ver. 2. Conceived? and to which the speech of Job had given occasion. (Menochius) — Septuagint, “Who shall bear the force of thy words? For if thou,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Knees. It is just that thou shouldst apply thy instructions to thyself. (Menochius)
Ver. 5. And thou. Septuagint, “and has touched thee. But thou makest haste” (Haydock) to flee. Hebrew, “art consternated.” We may easily prescribe for others, but when we are sick we know not what to do. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Where? Septuagint, “Rather is not thy fear foolishness as well as thy hope, and the innocence of thy path?” (Haydock) — Is not all hypocrisy? (Menochius) (Calmet) — Many of the assertions of Job’s friends are true, but their inferences are false. (Menochius)
Ver. 7. Destroyed? They never were eternally. But Abel and many other just persons, have been exposed to tribulation in this world, (Worthington) for their greater improvement. Yet Eliphaz falsely concludes from the sufferings of Job, that he must have been a criminal. (Calmet) — If any one should now hold the same opinion, we should deem him very ignorant or foolish. But we have observed, (Preface) that this was not so obvious at that time. Cain, the giants, Her, Onan, Sodom, &c., had been made examples of divine vengeance. But a new order of things was now commencing. (Houbigant)
Ver. 8. Reap them. He insinuates that Job now reaps what he had sown, Galatians vi. 8.
Ver. 11. Tiger. Hebrew Layish, means also an “old lion.” Septuagint murmekoleon, “ant-lion,” which some have deemed fabulous, improperly. (Bochart, vi. 5.) (Ælian, xvii. 42.) — Eliphaz tacitly accuses Job of violence and pride. (Ven. Bede) (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Private. Heretics pretend such obscure visions, rather to get credit than to edify others. (St. Gregory, v. 18.) (Worthington) — Many suppose that Eliphaz was guilty of feigning: but the greatest part think that he had truly seen a vision, but did not draw the proper conclusions from it. (Calmet) — Protestants, “Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.” (Haydock)
Ver. 13. The horror. Hebrew, “thoughts,” while I considered the cause of thy distress. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Spirit: angel, or gentle breeze. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. And I. Protestants, “there was silence, and I heard a voice.” Marginal note, “a still voice.” Septuagint, “But I heard a breeze and a voice.” (Haydock)
Ver. 17. Maker. It is thought that these were the words of the angel. If God punish without cause, may not the sufferer esteem himself the better of the two? You must therefore be guilty. (Calmet) — Job would never dispute; but God was infinitely more pure than man, who may nevertheless be free from grievous sins. (Worthington) — The highest angel has nothing but what he has received from God, in comparison with whom he is still as a mere nothing. But this does not prove that Job was a criminal, or that he pretended to arrogate to himself any excellence, independent of the giver of all good gifts. He did not assert that he was impeccable: yet, with God’s grace, he might be innocent. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Angels, who fell, as the fathers explain it. (Estius) (Tirinus) — Hebrew, “behold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly,” chap. xv. 15., and xxv. 5., and 2 Peter ii. 4. (Protestants) (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Foundation. Children of Adam, whose bodies are taken from the dust. (Menochius)
Ver. 20. Understandeth. Hebrew, “regardeth.” Septuagint, “can help himself.” (Haydock) — Man is justly punished because he does not reflect on what he ought. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. And they. Hebrew, “doth not their dignity pass away with them? They die without wisdom.” (Haydock) — This is but too frequently the case of the great ones of this world, who never discern true from false riches. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Eliphaz charges Job with impatience, and pretends that God never afflicts the innocent.
1 Then Eliphaz, the Themanite, answered, and said:
2 If we begin to speak to thee, perhaps thou wilt take it ill; but who can withhold the words he hath conceived?
3 Behold thou hast taught many, and thou hast strengthened the weary hands:
4 Thy words have confirmed them that were staggering, and thou hast strengthened the trembling knees:
5 But now the scourge is come upon thee, and thou faintest: It hath touched thee, and thou art troubled.
6 Where is thy fear, thy fortitude, thy patience, and the perfection of thy ways?
7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished being innocent? or when were the just destroyed?
8 On the contrary, I have seen those who work iniquity, and sow sorrows, and reap them,
9 Perishing by the blast of God, and consumed by the spirit of his wrath.
10 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the lioness, and the teeth of the whelps of lions, are broken:
11 The tiger hath perished for want of prey, and the young lions are scattered abroad.
12 Now there was a word spoken to me in private, and my ears by stealth, as it were, received the veins of its whisper.
13 In the horror of a vision by night, when deep sleep is wont to hold men,
14 Fear seized upon me, and trembling, and all my bones were affrighted:
15 And when a spirit passed before me, the hair of my flesh stood up.
16 There stood one whose countenance I knew not, an image before my eyes, and I heard the voice, as it were, of a gentle wind.
17 *Shall man be justified in comparison of God, or shall a man be more pure than his Maker?
18 *Behold, they that serve him are not steadfast, and in his angels he found wickedness:
19 How much more shall they that dwell in houses of clay, who have an earthly foundation, be consumed as with the moth?
20 From morning till evening they shall be cut down: and because no one understandeth, they shall perish for ever.
21 And they that shall be left, shall be taken away from them: they shall die, and not in wisdom.
17: Job xxv. 4.
18: Job xv. 15.