Job 33:14
For God speaks once, yes twice, yet man perceives it not.
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(14) For God speaketh once, yea twice.—The two ways are dilated upon (Job 33:15-26). Abimelech (Genesis 20:3) and Daniel (Daniel 4:5) were instances of this first method. (Comp. also Genesis 15:12. &c., Genesis 28:12, &c.)

Job 33:14. For — Or, as כי, chi, should be rather rendered, nevertheless God speaketh — Namely, unto men, by way of instruction or admonition, as appears from the following verses. Although he doth not give men an account of his matters, yet he doth that for them which is much better, and more necessary and important: though he be so high, yet he condescends to teach and admonish them in various ways, that he may withdraw them from such courses as are mischievous and sinful, and bring them to an humble dependance on himself. Once yea twice — Again and again, or ofttimes. When his speaking once does not awaken men, God is pleased to give them another admonition: though he will not gratify their curiosity, by laying open to their view his secret judgments, yet he will acquaint them with their duty and interest, as far as is proper; what he requires of them, and what they may expect from him. Yet man perceiveth it not — He doth not regard it, he doth not discern or understand it; he is not aware that it is the voice of God, nor doth he receive the things revealed, for they are foolishness to him: he stops his ears, stands in his own light, rejects the counsel of God against himself, and is not the wiser, no, not for the dictates of wisdom itself. God speaks to us by conscience, by providence, and by ministers, of all which Elihu here treats at large, to show Job that God was now telling him his mind, and endeavouring to do him good. He shows first, how God admonishes men by their own consciences.33:14-18 God speaks to us by conscience, by providences, and by ministers; of all these Elihu discourses. There was not then, that we know of, any Divine revelation in writing, though now it is our principal guide. When God designs men's good, by the convictions and dictates of their own consciences, he opens the heart, as Lydia's, and opens the ears, so that conviction finds or forces its way in. The end and design of these admonitions are to keep men from sin, particularly the sin of pride. While sinners are pursuing evil purposes, and indulging their pride, their souls are hastening to destruction. That which turns men from sin, saves them from hell. What a mercy it is to be under the restraints of an awakened conscience!For God speaketh once - The object of what is here said is, to show the reason why God brings affliction upon people, or to explain the principles of his government which Elihu supposed had been sadly misunder stood by Job and his friends. The reason why he brings affliction, Elihu says, is because all other means of reclaiming and restraining people fail. He communicates his will to them; he speaks to them again and again in dreams and visions; he warns them of the error of their course Job 33:14-17, and when this is all ineffectual he brings upon them affliction. He lays them upon their bed where they must reflect, and where there is hope that they may be reclaimed and reformed, Job 33:18-28.

Yea, twice - He does not merely admonish him once. He repeats the admonition when man refuses to hear him the first time, and takes all the methods which he can by admonition and warning to withdraw him from his wicked purpose, and to keep him from ruin.

Yet man perceiveth it not - Or, rather, "Although he does not perceive it or attend to it." Though the sinner is regardless of the admonition, yet still God repeats it, and endeavors to save him from the commission of the crimes which would lead him to ruin. This is designed to show the patience and forbearance of God, and how many means he takes to save the sinner from ruin. Of the truth of what Elihu here says, there can be no difference of opinion. It is one of the great principles of the divine administration that the sinner is often warned, though he heeds it not; and that God sends repeated admonitions even when people will not regard them, but are bent on their own ruin.

Job 33:14-17It is now impossible to determine in what way God thus communicated His will, or how it was known that the thoughts in sleep were communicated by God, or what criterion the prophet or other person had by which to distinguish these from common dreams. The certainty that they were from God demonstrated by the fact that the event was accurately fulfilled, as in the case of Joseph, of Pharaoh, of Nebuchadnezzar, of Daniel. There is no instance which the will of God seems to have been communicated to Isaiah in this manner; and it is not necessary for my purpose to pursue this part of the inquiry any further. The mode in which the will of God was made known to Isaiah was mainly, if not entirely, by "visions," Isaiah 1:1; and that mode will demand a fuller and distinct examination. It may just be remarked here, that no man can demonstrate that God could not convey His will to man in the visions of the night, or in dreams; or that He could not then have access to the soul, and give to the mind itself some certain indications by which it might be known that the communication was from Him. It is possible that the mode of communicating the will of God by the "dream" חלום chalôm - did not differ "essentially" from the mode of "the vision" - חזון châzôn - by causing a "vision" of the subject as in a landscape to pass before the mind.

(3) the prophets were brought under such an influence by the Divine Spirit as to overpower them, and while in this state the will of God was made known to them. In what way His will was then communicated we may not be able to determine. I speak only of an overpowering influence which gave them such views of God and truth as to weaken their animal frame, and as, in some instances, to produce a state of "ecstacy," or a "trance," in which the truth was made to pass before them by some direct communication which God had with their minds. In these cases, in some instances at least, the communication with the external world was closed, and God communicated His will immediately and directly. Reference to this is not infrequently made in the Scriptures, where there was such a powerful divine influence as to prostrate the frame, and take away the strength of the body. Thus, in Ezekiel 1:3, 'The hand of Yahweh was then upon me.' Cornelius a Lapide remarks on this passage, that 'the prophets took their station by the side of a river, that in the stillness and delightful scenery around them they might, through the soft, pleasing murmur of the waters, be refreshed, enlivened, and prepared for the divine ecstacies.' Bib. Repository, vol. ii. p. 141. It is more natural, however, to suppose that they did not court or solicit these influences, but that they came upon them by surprise. Jeremiah 20:7, 'Lord, thou hast persuaded me, and I have suffered myself to be persuaded; thou hast been too strong for me, and hast prevailed.' This influence is referred to in 1 Samuel 19:20, 'The Spirit of God was upon the messengers (of Saul) and they also prophesied.' In 1 Samuel 19:24, the "power" of the prophetic impulse is indicated by the fact that it led Saul to strip off his clothes, probably his robes, and to prophesy in the same manner as Samuel; and in the statement that 'he lay down naked all that day, and all that night,' under the prophetic impulse.

The effect of this strong prophetic impulse on the body and the mind is indicated in the following passages. It is said of Abraham in Genesis 15:12, when he had a vision, 'Behold terror and great darkness came upon him.' It was evinced in a remarkable manner in the case of Balaam, Numbers 24:4, Numbers 24:16. It is said of him, that he 'saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance (Septuagint "who saw the vision of God ἐν ὕπνοῳ en hupnō, in sleep,") but having his eyes open.' He was probably overcome, and fell to the ground, and yet his eyes were open, and in that state he uttered the predictions respecting Israel. The same effect is indicated in regard to John, Revelation 1:17, 'And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.' So of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28, 'And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.' And in a more remarkable manner in the case of Daniel Dan 10:8, 'Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me, for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.' And again Daniel 8:27, 'And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days.' That there was a remarkable agitation of the body, or suspension of its regular functions so as to resemble in some degree the ravings of delirium, is apparent from 2 Kings 9:11; Jeremiah 29:26. The nature of the strong prophetic impulse is perhaps indicated also in the expression in 2 Peter 1:21, 'Holy men of God spake as they were moved - (φερόμενοι pheromenoi - "borne along, urged, impelled") by the Holy Spirit. '


14. Translate, "Yet, man regardeth it not"; or rather, as Umbreit, "Yea, twice (He repeats the warning)—if man gives no heed" to the first warning. Elihu implies that God's reason for sending affliction is because, when God has communicated His will in various ways, man in prosperity has not heeded it; God therefore must try what affliction will effect (Joh 15:2; Ps 62:11; Isa 28:10, 13). For; or, nevertheless, as this particle is sometimes used. Although God doth not give men an account of his matters, yet he doth that for them which is much better, and which is sufficient for them.

God speaketh, to wit, unto men by way of instruction or admonition, as appears from the following verses.

Once, yea twice, again and again, or ofttimes, this number being sometimes put indefinitely, as below, Job 33:29 2 Kings 6:10 Psalm 62:11. When one speaking doth not awaken men, God is graciously pleased to give them another admonition. So God, though he will not gratify men’s curiosity in inquiring into his hidden judgments, yet he will supply their necessity, and acquaint them with their duty and interest so far as is fit, and they are concerned to know.

Yet man; which is easily and fitly understood here from the former branch of this verse, as being the person to whom God speaketh, as appears from the next verse. And such supplements are not unusual in the Hebrew language, and especially in these poetical books, where the style is very concise and short, and many things to be understood.

Perceiveth it not; through his inadvertency, or negligence, or dulness. Man therefore hath no reason to charge God as if he were deficient in his notices and manifestations of his will, but to accuse himself for not improving revealed things to his own advantage, but desiring rather to pry into God’s secret counsels, which was Job’s error. For God speaketh once, yea, twice,.... Or, "but God speaketh" (i); though he is not bound to give an account of his matters, and the reasons of his proceedings in a way of providence or grace; yet such is his condescension and goodness, that he makes use of various ways and means to make known his mind and will in his dispensations, if men were but attentive to them; he speaks once, in dreams and visions, as in Job 33:15; and twice, or a second time, by chastisements, as in Job 33:18; or he speaks frequently, again and again, see Psalm 62:11; gives line upon line, and precept upon precept; if one way is without effect, he will take another; and if one warning and admonition is not sufficient, he will give another; so that though he is a sovereign Being, and not accountable to any, yet he does not act the unkind and unfriendly part Job had suggested:

yet man perceiveth it not: the voice of God speaking in one way or another; hearkens not to the admonition given in a dream or vision, nor hears the chastising rod, and him that has appointed it; he is deaf to all instructions; he understands not the mind and meaning of God in his dispensations; which is not owing to want of means of knowledge, but to the blindness and ignorance of his mind, to dulness of hearing, to negligence and inattention, and to the prevalence of sin and corruption: the words, "yet man", are a supplement to the text, and not in it, and some versions are without it, and understand the whole of God, rendering the words thus, "God speaketh once, and a second time he does not repeat it"; so the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions: or "does not revise it", or "will not see it" (k); to which agrees the Targum,

"and a second time he needs not to look upon it;''

and which rendering, as it suits with the context, so is more agreeable to the accents; but is differently applied, by some to the sufficiency of the word of God, that God has at once made known all truth, and there is no need to do it a second time; but certain it is, that God did at sundry times, and in divers manners, speak unto the fathers by the prophets; though indeed in these last days he hath spoken at once all his mind and will by his Son, so that no future revelation is to be expected; but though this is true now, it was not in the times of Elihu: by others it is referred to God's dealings with a proud man, that calls him to an account for his actions, to whom he speaks once, and reproves him for his boldness; but a second time he will not look at him, nor bear his pride and insolence: and by others to the unalterable decrees and purposes of God; what he has said or determined in his eternal mind is done at once, and remains invariably fixed; he has no need to look over a second time, or revise his first thoughts and designs, or reconsider them, whether it is proper to make any alteration in them or not, they are at once so wisely formed; and he has all things before him in one view in his all comprehending mind, so that there cannot possibly anything turn up unforeseen by him, to hinder the execution of his purposes, or cause him to make any change in them; no new thoughts, resolutions, or purposes, can arise in his mind, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning. This agrees well with his sovereignty, expressed in Job 33:13, and carries in it a strong reason enforcing what is there said. Though some take the meaning to be this, that God speaks once to a man, and admonishes and reproves him as he used to do, in the way expressed in the following verse; and if he regards it not, he do not speak to him a second time in that way, or no more by words, but now by blows or chastisements.

(i) "sed", Beza, Piscator. (k) "secundo non revidet", Schmidt & Maius apud Michaelis; "et secunda vice non videbit illud", Schultens.

For God speaketh {f} once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

(f) Though God by various examples of his judgments speak to man, yet the reason for it is not known, yea and though God should speak yet is he not understood.

14. yet man perceiveth it not] Or, when man regardeth it not.

14–18. To Job’s charge Elihu replies that God speaks to man in many ways, as in dreams and visions of the night, by which He instructs men and seeks to turn them away from doing evil that would destroy them.Verse 14. - For God speaketh once, yea twice. God has his own ways of speaking to man, which are not those that Job has been expecting. He speaks silently and secretly, not in thunders and lightnings, as at Sinai (Exodus 19:16-20), not by extraordinary theophanies, but nevertheless quite as effectually. Yet man perceiveth it not. Man often does net recognize God's action in this silent teaching of his. Man wants something more startling, more sensational. In our Lord's time, the Jews demanded "a sign" - "a sign from heaven;" but no sign of the kind was given them. Job now did not understand that God, whom he called upon to answer him (Job 10:2; Job 13:22; Job 23:5, etc.), was already speaking to him in various ways - by his judgments, by thoughts suggested inwardly to his heart, by the dreams and visions whereof he complained (Job 7:14). 8 Verily thou hast said in mine ears,

And I heard the sound of thy words:

9 "I am pure, without transgression;

"Spotless am I, and I have no guilt.

10 "Behold, He findeth malicious things against me,

"He regardeth me as His enemy;

11 "He putteth my feet in the stocks,

"He observeth all my paths."

12 Behold, therein thou art not right, I will answer thee,

For Eloah is too exalted for man.

With אך אמרתּ Elihu establishes the undeniable fact, whether it be that אך is intended as restrictive (only thou hast said, it is not otherwise than that thou ... ), or as we have translated, according to its primary meaning, affirmative (forsooth, it is undeniable). To say anything בּאזני of another is in Hebrew equivalent to not saying it secretly, and so as to be liable to misconstruction, but aloud and distinctly. In Job 33:9, Elihu falls back on Job's own utterances, as Job 9:21, תם אני; Job 16:17, תפלתי זכה; Job 12:4, where he calls himself צדיק תמים, comp. Job 10:7; Job 13:18, Job 13:23; Job 23:10, Job 27:5, Job 29:1, Job 31:1. The expression חף, tersus, did not occur in the mouth of Job; Geiger connects חף with the Arab. hanı̂f (vid., on Job 13:15); it is, however, the adj. of the Semitic verb חף, Arab. ḥff, to rub off, scrape off; Arab. to make smooth by scraping off the hair; Targ., Talm., Syr., to make smooth by washing and rubbing (after which Targ. שׁזיג, lotus).

(Note: Vid., Nldecke in Genfey's Zeitschrift, 1863, S. 383.)

אנכי has here, as an exception, retained its accentuation of the final syllable in pause. In Job 33:10 Elihu also makes use of a word that does not occur in Job's mouth, viz., תּנוּאות, which, according to Numbers 14:34, signifies "alienation," from נוּא (הניא), to hinder, restrain, turn aside, abalienare, Numbers 32:7; and according to the Arab. na'a (to rise heavily),

(Note: Nevertheless Zamachschari does not derive Arab. nâwâ, to treat with enmity, from Arab. n', but from nwy, so that nâwa fulânan signifies "to have evil designs against any one, to meditate evil against one." The phrases iluh ‛alêji nijât, he has evil intentions (wicked designs) against me, nı̂jetuh zerı̂je aleik, he has evil intentions against thee, and similar, are very common. - Wetzst.)


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