Job 17:4
For you have hid their heart from understanding: therefore shall you not exalt them.
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(4) Their heart.—i.e., the heart of his friends.

Job 17:4. Thou hast hid their heart from understanding — Rather, thou hast hid understanding from their heart. The minds of my friends are so blinded, that they cannot see those truths which are most plain and evident to all men of sense and experience. Hence, I desire a more wise and able judge. Therefore shalt thou not exalt them — Thou wilt not give them the victory over me in this contest, but wilt give sentence for me, and make them ashamed of their confidence in affirming falsehoods of thee, and wilt punish them severely for their misconduct.17:1-9 Job reflects upon the harsh censures his friends had passed upon him, and, looking on himself as a dying man, he appeals to God. Our time is ending. It concerns us carefully to redeem the days of time, and to spend them in getting ready for eternity. We see the good use the righteous should make of Job's afflictions from God, from enemies, and from friends. Instead of being discouraged in the service of God, by the hard usage this faithful servant of God met with, they should be made bold to proceed and persevere therein. Those who keep their eye upon heaven as their end, will keep their feet in the paths of religion as their way, whatever difficulties and discouragements they may meet with.For thou hast hid their heart from understanding - That is, the heart of his professed friends. Job says that they were blind and perverse, and indisposed to render him justice; and he therefore pleads that he may carry his cause directly before God. He attributes their want of understanding to the agency of God in accordance with the doctrine which prevailed in early times, and which is so often expressed in the Scriptures, that God is the source of light and truth, and that when people are blinded it is in accordance with his wise purposes; see Isaiah 6:9-10. It is "because" they were thus blind and perverse, that he asks the privilege of carrying the cause at once up to God - and who could blame him for such a desire?

Therefore thou shalt not exalt them - By the honor of deciding a case like this, or by the reputation of wisdom. The name of sage or "wise" man was among the most valued in those times; but Job says that that would not be awarded to his friends. God would not exalt or honor people thus devoid of wisdom.

4. their heart—The intellect of his friends.

shalt … exalt—Rather imperative, "exalt them not"; allow them not to conquer [Umbreit], (Isa 6:9, 10).

Thou hast blinded the minds of my friends, that they can not see those truths which are most plain and evident to all men of sense and experience; therefore I desire a more wise and able judge.

Therefore shalt thou not exalt them, i.e. thou wilt not give them the victory over me in this contest, but wilt give sentence for me, and discharge them, and make them ashamed of their confidence in affirming falsehoods of thee, and punish them severely for their miscarriage. It is a usual figure, whereby much more is understood than is expressed. For thou hast hid their heart from understanding,.... That is, the hearts of his friends, and therefore they were unfit to undertake his cause, or be sureties for him, or be judges in it. It is the same thing as to hide understanding from their hearts, which God sometimes does in a natural sense; when men like not the knowledge of him, as attainable by the light of nature, he gives them up to reprobate minds, minds void of knowledge and judgment in things natural; and sometimes, in a spiritual sense, he hides men's hearts from the knowledge of things divine and evangelical, and even this he does from the wise and prudent of this world; yea, sometimes he hides the knowledge of his providential dealings with men from his own people, as he did from Asaph, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and others; and, as it seems, from Job's friends, who therefore mistook his case, and were very unfit and insufficient to determine it:

therefore shalt thou not exalt them; to such honour and dignity, to be umpires, arbitrators, or judges in the case of Job; this God had reserved for another, Elihu, or rather himself, who decided the controversy between Job and his friends, and declared in his favour, and that they had not spoken the thing that was right of him, as his servant Job had done, Job 42:7;

For thou hast hid their heart from {e} understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.

(e) That these my afflictions are your just judgments, though man does not know the reason.

4. This verse answers the question in Job 17:3, Who (else) will strike hands with me? None else will, for the hearts of the three friends and all others have been blinded, and can take no true view of the sufferer’s cause.

exalt them] i. e. give them the upper hand or victory; cf. Job 42:7-8. To give the friends the upper hand would be to give an issue to Job’s cause such as answered their expectations. The connexion may be: give a pledge now, none else will, for thou hast blinded them, and having blinded them thou wilt not give an issue that meets their expectations.

4–9. These verses support the petition in Job 17:3. If God will not undertake for Job none else will, for the hearts of his friends have been blinded. This thought of the perverse obstinacy and cruelty of his friends leads Job again to a gloomy survey of his whole condition (cf. Job 16:22 to Job 17:2). He is become a public contempt to mankind and brought to the lowest ebb of mortal weakness and humiliation (Job 17:6-7). Such moral perversions on the earth astonish the righteous and rouse them to indignation against the wicked in their prosperity (Job 17:8). Yet they will not permit themselves to be misled by such things to err from the paths of rectitude. Full of moral terror as these perversions are the righteous will in spite of them cleave to his righteousness. He will feel that he is in possession of the only true good, and even because of them and though he sees the world under the rule of God given over to wrong, he will wax stronger and stronger in well doing (Job 17:9)—an astonishing passage.Verse 4. - For thou hast hid their heart from understanding. My so-called friends will certainly not undertake for me, since thou hast blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts against me. Therefore shalt thou not exalt them. God will not exalt those who are without understanding. 18 Oh earth, cover thou not my blood,

And let my cry find no resting-place!! -

19 Even now behold in heaven is my Witness,

And One who acknowledgeth me is in the heights!

20 Though the mockers of me are my friends -

To Eloah mine eyes pour forth tears,

21 That He may decide for man against Eloah,

And for the son of man against his friend.

22 For the years that may be numbered are coming on,

And I shall go a way without return.

Blood that is not covered up cries for vengeance, Ezekiel 24:7.; so also blood still unavenged is laid bare that it may find vengeance, Isaiah 26:21. According to this idea, in the lofty consciousness of his innocence, Job calls upon the earth not to suck in his blood as of one innocently slain, but to let it lie bare, thereby showing that it must be first of all avenged ere the earth can take it up;

(Note: As, according to the tradition, it is said to have been impossible to remove the stain of the blood of Zachariah the son of Jehoiada, who was murdered in the court of the temple, until it was removed by the destruction of the temple itself.)

and for his cry, i.e., the cry (זעקתי to be explained according to Genesis 4:10) proceeding from his blood as from his poured-out soul, he desires that it may urge its way unhindered and unstilled towards heaven without finding a place of rest (Symm. στάσις). Therefore, in the very God who appears to him to be a blood-thirsty enemy in pursuit of him, Job nevertheless hopes to find a witness of his innocence: He will acknowledge his blood, like that of Abel, to be the blood of an innocent man. It is an inward irresistible demand made by his faith which here brings together two opposite principles - principles which the understanding cannot unite - with bewildering boldness. Job believes that God will even finally avenge the blood which His wrath has shed, as blood that has been innocently shed. This faith, which sends forth beyond death itself the word of absolute command contained in Job 16:18, in Job 16:19 brightens and becomes a certain confidence, which draws from the future into the present that acknowledgment which God afterwards makes of him as innocent. The thought of what is unmerited in that decree of wrath which delivers him over to death, is here forced into the background, and in the front stands only the thought of the exaltation of the God in heaven above human short-sightedness, and the thought that no one else but He is the final refuge of the oppressed: even now (i.e., this side of death)

(Note: Comp. 1 Kings 14:14, where it is probably to be explained: Jehovah shall raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day, but what? even now (גם עתה), i.e., He hath raised him up ( equals but no, even now).)


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