King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Job 36

Elihu desires Job’s attention. (1-4) The methods in which God deals with men. (5-14) Elihu counsels Job. (15-23) The wonders in the works of creation. (24-33)

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Elihu desires Job’s attention

1 Elihu also proceeded, and said,

2 Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.

3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

4 For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.

The methods in which God deals with men

5 Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.

6 He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.

7 He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.

8 And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;

9 Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.

10 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.

11 If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.

12 But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.

13 But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them.

14 They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.

Elihu counsels Job

15 He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.

16 Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.

17 But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.

18 Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.

19 Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.

20 Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.

21 Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.

22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?

23 Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?

The wonders in the works of creation

24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.

25 Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off.

26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

27 For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:

28 Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.

29 Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?

30 Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.

31 For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance.

32 With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.

33 The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 3. Beginning. Heb. “afar” from that God, who is ancient, and not of human invention; (Jer. 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. C.

Ver. 4. Lie. Every orator will promise to speak the truth, and will do so sometimes to gain credit. W. — Shall be. Heb. “is with thee.” Thou art not devoid of sense, and thou wilt (C.) surely approve my reasons, which are suggested by the God of all knowledge. H.

Ver. 5. God. Sept. “Know that the Lord will not cast away the innocent.” Theod. continues to v. 12: “The mighty, in strength of heart, (Wisd. vi.) will not make the impious live, and will render judgment to the poor.” H. — They seem to have read Thom, which is now wanting in Heb. C. — “Behold God is mighty, and despiseth not any: mighty in strength and wisdom.” Prot. H. — Eliu begins to prove that God administers justice to all equally. C.

Ver. 7. Just. Heb. Syr. &c. “the just man, he will place him with kings on the throne.” C. — Exalted, or “extolled” for ever, if they have done well. W. — He always disposes of kingdoms. M.

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. H. — Poverty and afflictions are scourges, which are often inflicted by mercy, to bring us to a sense of duty. C.

Ver. 10. Ear, by secret inspirations, or by the admonition of pastors. C. — Afflictions will also speak louder to them than any orator. H.

Ver. 12. Folly. Heb. “without knowledge.” He speaks of princes, (C.) and of all the wicked, who have not known the day of their visitation. H. — They shall suffer the punishment prepared for fools or wicked men. M.

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. Heb. and Sept. “in youth,” (H.) being suddenly cut off, without having deplored the sins of their youth. C. — Effeminate. Heb. “the consecrated” to prostitution. Eliu compares those who will not attend unto God, to the most infamous characters. C. — Sept. “and let their life be taken away by the angels” (H.) of death. C. xxxiii. 23. C. — He may allude to the impure Sodomites. M.

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. C. — Yea, he will still restore thee to favour, if thou wilt repent. H. — He will fill thee with joy and plenty. M. — Foundation. Hebrew, where there is not straitness. Prot. He would have rescued thee from distress, and set thee at large. H. — The psalmist often speaks in the same language. C.

Ver. 17. Recover. Thou shalt be treated as thou hast treated others. Heb. 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?” C.

Ver. 19. Without, or before thou be forced by tribulation. M. — Lay aside all sentiments of pride, (S. Greg.) or keep in awe the mighty, who administer justice in thy name. M. — Prot. “Will he esteem thy riches? No, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.” Sept. “Let not a willing mind incline thee unjustly to the prayer of the needy in distress.” H.

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. Ch. — Sept. “and all the men of power do not withdraw in the night,” from just punishment. Theod. 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. H. — This text is very obscure; and the Heb. may have different meanings, which do not, however, seem well connected with the rest. “Plant not after night, when people retire home;” (C.) or Prot. “are cut off in their place.” H. — Delay not to banish temptations, or they will increase. S. Greg. xxvi. 38. W.

Ver. 21. Iniquity, or blaspheming, (C. xxxiv. 37. M.) and murmurs, to which alone thou hast given way since thy fall. C.

Ver. 22. Lawgivers. Heb. more, “a master.” In Chal. “a sovereign.” Grot. Sept. “what potentate is against him?” H. — What art thou, to dare thus to resist him? C. — S. Gregory (xxvii. 1.) explains this as a prediction of Christ, “or singular lawgiver.” God is most able to punish transgressors, and willing to reward those who obey his laws. W.

Ver. 24. Not, is omitted in Heb. and Sept. “Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold;” Prot. (H.) or “thou hast magnified,” formerly. Do so again. — Sung. The memory of great exploits was commonly preserved by canticles. C.

Ver. 25. All. The rest of this chapter, and the five first verses of the next, seem to be inserted in the Sept. 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. C. — The works of God are like a ladder, by which we may ascend to the knowledge of him. M. Wisd. xiii. H.

Ver. 27. Floods. God causes the water on the earth to evaporate, (C.) to form the clouds, (H.) which afterwards fall in torrents. M. — Theod. “the drops of rain are numbered by him,” &c. C. xxvi. 8.

Ver. 29. If. Heb. “Also can any understand the spreading out of the clouds, the elevation or noise of his pavilion?” H. — What could be more magnificent that the throne of God! C.

Ver. 30. Ends. Lit. “the hinges,” or poles, cardines. H. — Heb. “roots;” Aristotle (Meteor. ii. 1.) and Hesoid (Theog. 727,) use the same term, (C.) to denote the fountains which supply the sea. H. — 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. C. — God inhabits light inaccessible. H.

Ver. 31. Mortals. Heb. “in abundance.” H. — By thunder he overwhelms many nations, while by moderate rains, he causes the earth ot fructify (C.) and nourish mankind. M.

Ver. 32. Hands, or clouds, which are compared to a hand. 3 K. 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. Heb. “by this obstacle.” He alludes to the sun’s eclipse, as if God’s hand covered its disk. C. — Prot. “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. Heb. 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.” C. — “The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.”