Job 34:24
He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.
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(24) Without number.—Rather, in an unsearchable manner, as before, Job 34:20, “without hand,” i.e., without human means.

Job 34:24-26. He shall break in pieces mighty men, &c. — Neither their greatness nor their numbers can secure them from the stroke of God’s justice; and set others in their stead — Give away their power and dignity to others, who shall come in their place. Therefore he knoweth their works — That is, it appears from this that he knows all their evil works, because he judges and punishes them for them; and he overturneth them in the night — When they are at rest and secure; or, he turneth or bringeth upon them the night, namely, of calamity and tribulation, as the next words explain it, and as the words light and darkness are often used. He striketh them as wicked men — That is, as he useth to smite wicked men; or, as תחת, tachath, rather means here, according to Ab. Ezra, inter improbos, among the wicked, or, for wicked men; that is, because they are wicked men, therefore he destroys them without any regard to their quality; in the open sight of others — In public view, for their greater shame, for the greater glory of God’s justice, and for the greater terror of other wicked persons.34:16-30 Elihu appeals directly to Job himself. Could he suppose that God was like those earthly princes, who hate right, who are unfit to rule, and prove the scourges of mankind? It is daring presumption to condemn God's proceedings, as Job had done by his discontents. Elihu suggests divers considerations to Job, to produce in him high thoughts of God, and so to persuade him to submit. Job had often wished to plead his cause before God. Elihu asks, To what purpose? All is well that God does, and will be found so. What can make those uneasy, whose souls dwell at ease in God? The smiles of all the world cannot quiet those on whom God frowns.He shall break in pieces - He crushes or destroys the great. He is not intimidated by their wealth, their rank, or their number.

Without number - Margin, more correctly, "searching out." That is, he does it without the protracted process of a judicial investigation. The Hebrew word used here (חקר chêqer) means properly "a searching out," "an examination"; and the meaning here is, that there is no need of his going into a protracted investigation into the lives of wicked people before he brings them to punishment. He sees them at once; knows all their conduct, and may proceed against them without delay. Hence, it is that he comes often in such a sudden manner, and cuts them off. A human tribunal is under a necessity of examining witnesses and of attending to all the palliating circumstances, before it can pronounce a sentence on an offender. But it is not so with God. He judges at once and directly, and comes forth therefore in a sudden manner to cut down the guilty.

And set others in their stead - Place others in the situation which they now occupy. That is, he can with the utmost case make entire revolutions among people.

24. break in pieces—(Ps 2:9; Job 12:18; Da 2:21). Mighty men without number; neither their greatness nor their numbers can secure them from the stroke of God’s justice.

Set others in their stead, i.e. give away their power and dignity to others who shall come in their place. He shall break in pieces mighty men without number,.... Such as are mighty in bodily strength, as the giants of the old world, and such as were inhabitants of some parts of the land of Canaan; or mighty in power and authority, being kings, princes, rulers, and governors, over nations and cities; or mighty in wealth and riches, which give men power and strength; these God can and sometimes does break in pieces like potters' vessels, and even mighty kingdoms and nations themselves he will make like the chaff of the summer threshing floor: and even without number; or there have been and will be numberless instances of this kind; who can tell how many of these mighty men, men of gigantic stature, were drowned in the flood, or cut off by the sword of the Israelites in the land of Canaan? or "without search" (d) as it may be rendered; either on the part of God, who needs not any, with whom are unnecessary any formal inquiries into a cause, or examination of witnesses, in order to a judicial process against delinquents, all being naked and open before him at once; or on the part of man, with whom the ways and judgments of God are unsearchable and who ought not closely and curiously to inquire into any of his proceedings, and the causes and reasons of them, who does all things after the counsel of his own will. Mr. Broughton renders it "without end", for ever; with an everlasting destruction, an utter and irretrievable one; he so breaks them as that they never can be made whole again, like an earthen vessel that is broke to pieces and cannot be put together again;

and set others in their stead; God always provides for a succession in the world, that as when one generation goes off another comes on; when he destroyed the world with a flood, he preserved a family to replenish the earth; when the fathers of the Jewish nation, their carcasses fell in the wilderness, their children were raised up in their room to enter the good land and possess it; and particularly he provides for the civil government of the world and when he pulls down or removes one king he sets up another, and will not suffer kingdoms and states to fall into anarchy and confusion: and sometimes, when he casts down the mighty from their seats, he exalts men of low degree, as when he rejected Saul he took David from the sheepfold, 1 Samuel 16:11; and makes such kings and kingdoms to "stand" (e) stable and firm, as the kingdom of David, and as the word here used signifies.

(d) "absque inquisitione", Beza, Mercerus; "sine investigatione", Michaelis; so Cocceius, Schultens. (e) "et stare faciet", Pagninus, Montanus, V. L. so Mercerus, Drusius, Cocceius, Schultens.

He shall break in pieces mighty men without {r} number, and set others in their stead.

(r) For all his creatures are at hand to serve him, so that he needs not to seek for any other army.

24. he shall break … without number] Rather, he breaketh … without inquisition. The verse amplifies the conception of the preceding verse.Verse 24. - He shall break in pieces mighty men without number; rather, in ways that are unsearchable, or in ways past finding out (see the Revised Version). And set others in their stead (comp. 1 Samuel 2:7; Psalm 75:7; Daniel 2:21). The interrogative ה is joined to the inf., not, however, as Job 40:2 (num litigare cum Deo castigator, scil. vult), with the inf. absol., but with the inf. constr.; the form אמר for אמר occurs also in Proverbs 25:7, and is also otherwise not rare, especially in combination with particles, e.g., בּאכל, Numbers 26:10, Olsh. 160, b.

(Note: Ezekiel 25:8 is also to be read אמר according to the Masora and old editions (as אבד Deuteronomy 7:20, אכל Deuteronomy 12:23, אחז 1 Kings 6:6), for distinction from the imperatives, which have Chateph-Segol.)

It is unnecessary to suppose that the inf. constr., which sometimes, although rarely, does occur (Ges. 131, rem. 2), is used here instead of the inf. absol.; it is thus, as after טּוב, e.g., Judges 9:2 (המשׁל), Proverbs 24:7; Psalm 133:1, and Psalm 40:6 after אין, used as n. actionis, since ha in a pregnant sense is equivalent to num licet (הטוב), if one does not prefer, with Olsh., to suppose an aposiopesis: "(dare one be so bold as) to say to a king: Thou worthless one! Thou evil-doer! to princes?" The reading האמר is an unnecessary lightening of the difficulty. It were a crimen laesae, if one reproached a king with being unjust, and therefore thereby denied him the most essential requisite of a ruler; and now even Him (Merc. correctly supplies tanto minus ei) who does not give the preference to the person (נשׂא פּני as Job 13:8; Job 32:21) of princes, and does not (with preference) regard (on נכּר vid., on Job 21:29, also here Piel, and according to the statement of the Masora, Milel, for an acknowledged reason which can be maintained even in remarkable instances, like Deuteronomy 10:5 in ויהיו, Ezekiel 32:26 in מחללי, whereas 1 Samuel 23:7 is Milra) the rich before (לפני in the sense of prae) the poor! therefore the King of kings, who makes no partial distinction, because the king and the beggar are the work of His hands: they stand equally near to Him as being His creatures, and He is exalted above both alike as their Creator, this order and partiality are excluded; - what a nota bene against the doctrine of the decretum absolutum, which makes the love of the Creator a partial love, and turns this love, which in its very nature is perfect love, into caprice! In Job 34:20 Elihu appeals to human history in favour of this impartiality of the Ruler of the world. It may there appear as though God with partiality suffered rulers and peoples in authority in the world to do as they please; but suddenly they die away, and in fact in the middle of the night (here Mercha-mahpach), the individuals of a great people (thus must עם be understood in accordance with the prominently-placed plur. predicate, Ges. 146, 1) tremble and perish; and they remove (ויסירוּ instead of the passive, as Job 4:20 and frequently) the mighty - לא־ביד. It is not the hand of man which does this, but an invisible higher power (which, if it is called yd, only bears this name per anthropomorphismum); comp. Daniel 2:34, לא בידין; Daniel 8:25, בּאפס יד; and also Job 20:26, like the New Testament use of ου ̓ χειροποίητος. The subj. of Job 34:20 are the previously mentioned princes. The division according to the accents may be received with hesitation, since the symmetry of the sticks, which it restores, is not unfrequently wanting in the Elihu section. Job 34:20 refers back to the possessors of power, and in the interval, Job 34:20 describes the fate of those who belong to the people which has become subservient to their lust of conquest, for עם cannot signify "in crowds" (Ew., Hahn); it is therefore, and especially when mentioned as here between princes and rulers, the people, and in fact, in distinction from gwy, the people together forming a state.

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