King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Job 33

Elihu offers to reason with Job. (1-7) Elihu blames Job for reflecting upon God. (8-13) God calls men to repentance. (14-18) God sends afflictions for good. (19-28) Elihu entreats Job’s attention. (29-33)

Job 33 Audio:

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Elihu offers to reason with Job

1 Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.

2 Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.

3 My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.

4 The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

5 If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.

6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay.

7 Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.

Elihu blames Job for reflecting upon God

8 Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,

9 I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.

10 Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,

11 He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.

12 Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

13 Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

God calls men to repentance

14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,

17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.

18 He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.

God sends afflictions for good

19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:

20 So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.

21 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.

22 Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.

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

24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth:

26 He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.

27 He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;

28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.

Elihu entreats Job’s attention

29 Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,

30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.

31 Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.

32 If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.

33 If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 3. Sentence. Some Edit. have scientiam, “knowledge,” with the Heb. C.

Ver. 4. Spirit. We are therefore equal. M. — Thou canst not fear being overpowered with the divine majesty, in this dispute. C. xiii. 21. C. — Life. Sept. “instruction.” H.

Ver. 6. Formed. Job had expressed a desire to plead before a man. C. ix. 32. and xiii. 19. and xxxi. 35. Eliu offers himself to maintain the cause of God. C.

Ver. 7. Wonder (miraculum.) Heb. “terror,” (H.) in allusion to Job’s words. C. ix. 34. — Eloquence. Heb. “hand.” C. — Sept. “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. S. Greg. W.

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. C.

Ver. 10. Complaints. Something similar had indeed come from Job’s lips; (C. xiv. 17. and xx. 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. C.

Ver. 11. Stocks. C. 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. C. xlii. 3. C.

Ver. 12. Man: so that he is not obliged to explain his reasons. M.

Ver. 13. Because. Sept. “Thou hast said, Why has not He heard every word of my pleading or judgment.” Aquila and Theod. “for all his words are unanswerable.” Prot. “He giveth not account of any of his matters.” H.

Ver. 14. Time. One decision ought to suffice; and God had declared Job innocent. C. i. 8. &c. W. — 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. Heb. “God speaketh once, and he regardeth not a second time.” C. — Sept. “But the second time, (15) a dream,” &c. H. — Eliu specifies three methods by which God declares his will; (v. 26) 1. By vision; 2. by afflictions; 3. by the voice of angels, or of preachers, v. 19. 23.

Ver. 15. Beds. It seems prophetic dreams were not then uncommon.

Ver. 16. Instructeth. Heb. “sealing,” that they may not mistake such a favour for a common dream. C.

Ver. 17. Him. Sept. “his body from the fall [of iniquity.]“ Grabe. H.

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. C. — Heb. “his bones…shall stick out.” Prot. H.

Ver. 22. Destroyers; the worms in the grave, (H.) or to sickness, (M.) “which bring on death.” Pagnin mortiferis.

Ver. 23. Angel, by secret inspirations, (S. Tho. T. &c.) or a man sent by God, to announce the truths of salvation. Mariana. — Man’s, or “to man.” C. — Heb. “a messenger with him, an interpreter, one…to declare to man his uprightness.” Prot. (H.) “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.” Sept. “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.” H. — But this is different from the Heb. C. — The intercession of angels is very powerful. The are represented as suggesting motives, which prevail on God to shew mercy, v. 24. H.

Ver. 25. Consumed. Heb. “fresher than a child’s,” (H.) as was the case of Naaman. 4 K. v. 14.

Ver. 26. And he. It is ambiguous whether this refer to God or to man. C. — But both shall see each other with joy. The penitent will be restored to as much favour as if he had never sinned. H.

Ver. 29. Times, or often. God instructs man by visions, sickness, and the intercession and inspirations of angels, v. 14. C.

Ver. 30. Living, both soul and body, delivering them from adversity. C.

Ver. 32. Just, and to be so indeed. M. — How much would his vanity be mortified, when Job answered him only with silence! (H.) though he urged him to reply so often. W.