Job 32:9
Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Great men are not always wise.—That is, old men. He had just before said that he was “little in days” (Job 32:6); or it may be used in the sense of number, many, or multitudes. (Comp. what Job himself said, Job 12:2 : “No doubt because ye are a people wisdom will die with you.”)

Job 32:9-10. Great men are not always wise — That is, men of eminence for age, or learning, or dignity and power, such as Job’s three friends seem to have been; neither do the aged (always) understand judgment — What is just and right; or the judgment of God, and the methods and reasons of his administrations. Therefore I said — Within myself, and I now say it with my mouth; Hearken to me — Thou Job especially, who art more nearly concerned, and thy friends with thee. I also will show my opinion —

I will tell you what I think about this matter.

32:6-14 Elihu professes to speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and corrects both parties. He allowed that those who had the longest experience should speak first. But God gives wisdom as he pleases; this encouraged him to state his opinion. By attention to the word of God, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit, young men may become wiser than the aged; but this wisdom will render them swift to hear, slow to speak, and disposed to give others a patient hearing.Great men are not always wise - Though wisdom may in general be looked for in them, yet it is not universally true. Great men here denote those who are distinguished for rank, age, authority.

Neither do the aged understand judgment - That is, they do not always understand it. The word judgment here means right, truth. They do not always understand what is the exact truth in regard to the divine administration. This is an apology for what he was about to say, and for the fact that one so young should speak. Of the truth of what he here said there could be no doubt, and hence, there was a propriety that one who was young should also be allowed to express his opinion on important subjects.

9. Great—rather, "old" (Job 32:6). So Hebrew, in Ge 25:23. "Greater, less" for the older, the younger.

judgment—what is right.

Great men, i.e. men of eminency for age or learning, or dignity and power, such as Job’s three friends seem to have been.

Judgment; what is just and right; or the judgment of God, and the methods and reasons of his administrations.

Great men are not always wise,.... Men of grandeur and dignity, as Job's friends might be, the rich, the honourable, and noble; the apostle is thought to refer to this, at least to express the sentiment contained in it, 1 Corinthians 1:26; or the great in quantity, the many, the multitude; and therefore are not to be followed in principle or practice; or that are great in years, well stricken in age, have lived long in the world, so some versions (q); or are doctors, teachers of others, masters in Israel, as Nicodemus, and yet ignorant; all these may be wise in natural, civil, and worldly things, though this is not always the case; but not wise and knowing in divine and spiritual things, particularly in those respecting the causes and reasons of God's providential dealings with men, afflicting the righteous, and suffering the wicked to prosper, which is more fully explained in the next clause:

neither do the aged understand judgment; what is right and wrong, the difference between truth and error, and particularly the judgments of God, which are unsearchable, and his ways past finding out; even so to understand them as to observe and acknowledge his sovereignty, wisdom, truth, and faithfulness in them.

(q) Sept. "longaevi", V. L. Mr. Broughton renders it, "as men of not great time may be wise, as the old understand the right."

Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. Great men] Or, old men—great in age, as the parallel in the second clause explains; cf. Genesis 25:23 (lit. the greater shall serve the less).

Verse 9. - Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged (always) understand judgment. Elihu lays down the universal law, before applying it to the particular instance. True wisdom is from God, not from observation and experience. Therefore many aged men are not wise; many experienced men, great in position, versed in affairs, do not possess understanding. It is a trite remark, "With how little wisdom the world is governed!" Job 32:9 8 Still the spirit, it is in mortal man,

And the breath of the Almighty, that giveth them understanding.

9 Not the great in years are wise,

And the aged do not understand what is right.

10 Therefore I:say: O hearken to me,

I will declare my knowledge, even I.

The originally affirmative and then (like אוּלם) adversative אכן also does not occur elsewhere in the book of Job. In contradiction to biblical psychology, Rosenm. and others take Job 32:8 as antithetical: Certainly there is spirit in man, but ... . The two halves of the verse are, on the contrary, a synonymous ("the spirit, it is in man, viz., that is and acts") or progressive parallelism) thus according to the accents: "the spirit, even that which is in man, and ... "). It is the Spirit of God to which man owes his life as a living being, according to Job 33:4; the spirit of man is the principle of life creatively wrought, and indeed breathed into him, by the Spirit of God; so that with regard to the author it can be just as much God's רוּח or נשׁמה, Job 34:14, as in respect of the possessor: man's רוח or נשׁמה. All man's life, his thinking as well as his bodily life, is effected by this inwrought principle of life which he bears within him, and all true understanding, without being confined to any special age of life, comes solely from this divinely originated and divinely living spirit, so far as he acts according to his divine origin and basis of life. רבּים are here (as the opposite of צעירים, Genesis 25:23) grandes equals grandaevi (lxx πολυχρόνιοι). לא governs both members of the verse, as Job 3:10; Job 28:17; Job 30:24. Understanding or ability to form a judgment is not limited to old age, but only by our allowing the πνεῦμα to rule in us in its connection with the divine. Elihu begs a favourable hearing for that of which he is conscious. דּע, and the Hebr.-Aramaic הוּה, which likewise belong to his favourite words, recur here.

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