Job 15:8
Have you heard the secret of God? and do you restrain wisdom to yourself?
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15:1-16 Eliphaz begins a second attack upon Job, instead of being softened by his complaints. He unjustly charges Job with casting off the fear of God, and all regard to him, and restraining prayer. See in what religion is summed up, fearing God, and praying to him; the former the most needful principle, the latter the most needful practice. Eliphaz charges Job with self-conceit. He charges him with contempt of the counsels and comforts given him by his friends. We are apt to think that which we ourselves say is important, when others, with reason, think little of it. He charges him with opposition to God. Eliphaz ought not to have put harsh constructions upon the words of one well known for piety, and now in temptation. It is plain that these disputants were deeply convinced of the doctrine of original sin, and the total depravity of human nature. Shall we not admire the patience of God in bearing with us? and still more his love to us in the redemption of Christ Jesus his beloved Son?Hast thou heard the secret of God? - literally, "in the secret of God hast thou heard" - הסוד hasôd. The word rendered "secret" (סוד sôd) means properly a "couch" or "cushion," on which one reclines - whether for sleep or at a table, or as a divan. Hence, it means a divan, or circle of persons sitting together for familiar conversation, Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 15:17; or of judges, counsellors, or advisers for consultation, as the word "divan" is now used in Oriental countries; Psalm 89:7; Jeremiah 33:18. Then it means any consultation, counsel, familiar conversation, or intimacy; Psalm 55:14; Proverbs 15:22. Here God is represented in Oriental language as seated in a "divan," or council of state: there is deliberation about the concerns of his government; important questions are agitated and decided; and Eliphaz asks of Job whether he had been admitted to that council, and had heard those deliberations; and whether, if he had not, he was qualified to pronounce as he had done, on the plans and purposes of the Almighty.

And dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? - Having obtained the secret of that council, art thou now keeping it wholly to thyself - as a prime minister might be supposed to keep the purposes resolved on in the divan? "Hast thou listened in the council of yahweh, and dost thou now reserve all wisdom to thyself?"

8. secret—rather, "Wast thou a listener in the secret council of God?" The Hebrew means properly the cushions of a divan on which counsellors in the East usually sit. God's servants are admitted to God's secrets (Ps 25:14; Ge 18:17; Joh 15:15).

restrain—Rather, didst thou take away, or borrow, thence (namely, from the divine secret council) thy wisdom? Eliphaz in this (Job 15:8, 9) retorts Job's words upon himself (Job 12:2, 3; 13:2).

Hath God acquainted thee with all his secret counsels, whereby he governs the world, that thou dost pass so bold a censure upon all his designs and actions? Art thou the only wise man in the world, and we and all others but fools? Hast thou heard the secret of God?.... Or, "in the secret of God" (a), in his cabinet council, what was said and done there? hast thou stood in the council of God? hast thou been one of his privy council, or counsellors, and been let into all the secrets of God, of his purposes and providence, and into the reasons of all his administrations, that thou talkest so freely, and boldly, and confidently as thou dost? Indeed Christ, the son of God, was the Angel of the great council; the counsel of peace was between him and his Father; yea, he was in his bosom, and privy to all his thoughts, designs, and decrees, and knew everything, what would be, and the reasons thereof; as well as the nature of his Father, his perfections, mind, and will, which he has declared: but could Job pretend to this, or anything like it? no, surely. Indeed there are some secrets of God which he makes known to his people, and no doubt, in some measure, Job was acquainted with them; such as the secrets of God's love, and of the covenant of his grace, which are with them that fear him; and such an one Job was, and with whom, in times past at least, the secret of God was, even his everlasting love in the open manifestation of it to him; which is a secret in the heart of God, till revealed and shed abroad in the hearts of his people; and so the "mysteries" of God, as some render the word, the doctrines of the Gospel, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, the knowledge of them, is given to the sons of men; Job was acquainted with them, with the incarnation of Christ, redemption by him, and the resurrection of the dead; the secrets of Providence, though they may not always be known now, they will be hereafter; yea, God does nothing but he reveals his secrets to his servants the prophets Amos 3:7, as he did to Abraham his friend; and as for the purposes of God, which are the secret things that belong to him, and can never be known unless revealed, and when fulfilled, even those, such as relate to the election of men, their redemption by Christ, and the effectual calling, are made known by God's saving and calling them according to them:

and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? not keep it to himself without communicating it to others, which to do is to imprison the truth, and detain it in unrighteousness; as men have freely received, they should freely give; but he arrogated and ascribed wisdom to himself, monopolized it, and would allow no man to have any share of it but himself; he reckoned so highly of himself, as if he was the only wise man in the world; thus what he charged his friends with Eliphaz retorts upon himself, Job 12:2; as he does his own words in Job 15:9.

(a) "in secreto Dei", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius. Schultens.

Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom {f} to thyself?

(f) Are you only wise?

8. Hast thou heard the secret] Rather, didst thou listen in the council of God? Cf. Jeremiah 23:22, Psalm 89:7 (assembly = council).

dost thou restrain the wisdom] Rather, didst thou draw wisdom to thyself? i. e. appropriate or absorb wisdom. The “wisdom” here is the highest, divine wisdom. The question put is, whether Job was a a member of the Divine council, so as to have full knowledge of the mysteries of God? The Mohammedan conception of evil spirits (satans) listening and overhearing the Divine secrets is quite different from the idea here. Such spirits have no access to heaven, and seek only to filch fragments of God’s counsels. The shooting stars are bolts which God hurls at these intruding eavesdroppers; Kor. 37:6-10.Verse 8. - Hast thou heard the secret of God? or, Hast thou been a hearer in the secret counsel of God? (comp. Jeremiah 23:18, "Who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and hoard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?"). No mortal man was ever admitted to the secret counsel of the Most Highest (comp. Romans 11:34). And dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? or, Dost thou confine (appropriate) wisdom to thyself? i.e. Dost thou suppose that thou art the only wise man in all the world? (comp. Job 12:2, where Job had brought the same charge against his three friends). 1 Then began Eliphaz the Temanite, and said:

2 Doth a wise man utter vain knowledge,

And fill his breast with the east wind?

3 Contending with words, that profit not,

And speeches, by which no good is done?

4 Moreover, thou makest void the fear of God,

And thou restrainest devotion before God;

5 For thy mouth exposeth thy misdeeds,

And thou choosest the language of the crafty.

6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee and not I,

And thine own lips testify against thee.

The second course of the controversy is again opened by Eliphaz, the most respectable, most influential, and perhaps oldest of the friends. Job's detailed and bitter answers seem to him as empty words and impassioned tirades, which ill become a wise man, such as he claims to be in assertions like Job 12:3; Job 13:2. החלם with He interr., like העלה, Job 13:25. רוּח, wind, is the opposite of what is solid and sure; and קדים in the parallel (like Hosea 12:2) signifies what is worthless, with the additional notion of vehement action. If we translate בּטן by "belly," the meaning is apt to be misunderstood; it is not intended as the opposite of לב fo et (Ewald), but it means, especially in the book of Job, not only that which feels, but also thinks and wills, the spiritually receptive and active inner nature of man (Psychol. S. 266); as also in Arabic, el-battin signifies that which is within, in the deepest mystical sense. Hirz. and Renan translate the inf. abs. הוכח, which follows in Job 15:3, as verb. fin.: se dfend-il par des vaines paroles; but though the inf. abs. is so used in an historical clause (Job 15:35), it is not an interrogative. Ewald takes it as the subject: "to reprove with words-avails not, and speeches - whereby one does no good;" but though דּבר and מלּים might be used without any further defining, as in λογομαχεῖν (2 Timothy 2:14) and λογομαχία (1 Timothy 6:4), the form of Job 15:3 is opposed to such an explanation. The inf. abs. is connected as a gerund (redarguendo s. disputando) with the verbs in the question, Job 15:2; and the elliptical relative clause יסכּן לא is best, as referring to things, according to Job 35:3 : sermone (דּבד from דּבר, as sermo from serere) qui non prodest; בּם יועיל לא, on the other hand, to persons, verbis quibus nil utilitatis affert. Eliphaz does not censure Job for arguing, but for defending himself by such useless and purposeless utterances of his feeling. But still more than that: his speeches are not only unsatisfactory and unbecoming, אף, accedit quod (cumulative like Job 14:3), they are moreover irreligious, since by doubting the justice of God they deprive religion of its fundamental assumption, and diminish the reverence due to God. יראה in such an objective sense as Psalm 19:10 almost corresponds to the idea of religion. שׂיחה לפני־אל is to be understood, according to Psalm 102:1; Psalm 142:3 (comp. Psalm 64:2; Psalm 104:34): before God, and consequently customary devotional meditation, here of the disposition of mind indispensable to prayer, viz., devotion, and especially reverential awe, which Job depreciates (גּרע, detrahere). His speeches are mostly directed towards God; but they are violent and reproachful, therefore irreverent in form and substance.

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