Job 34:31
Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
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(31, 32) I have borne chastisement . . .—These verses express the attitude that should be assumed towards God: one of submission and penitence.

Job 34:31-32. Surely it is meet to be said unto God — It is certainly but fit and reasonable that man, a weak and sinful creature, should speak thus to his Maker and supreme Lord, who is so much superior to him, and so mighty and righteous in all his ways; I have borne chastisement — Or, I do, or shall bear it, namely, quietly and contentedly; I will bear the Lord’s indignation, and accept of the punishment of my own iniquity, and not accuse God falsely and foolishly, as I have done; I will not offend any more — Hebrew, לא אחבל, lo echbol, I will not corrupt, namely, myself, or my ways; or, I will take, or demand no pledge, in which sense also this word is often used, and so the meaning will be, “I confess I have been too bold with God in desiring that he would come with me into judgment, and that I might have a pledge that he would do so; but I will no longer desire it, but will submit myself wholly to him.” That which I see not, teach thou me — I will no longer maintain my innocence, but from thy judgments I will conclude that there are some secret sins in me, for which thou dost chastise, me: and which I, through my ignorance or partiality, cannot yet discover, and therefore I beg that, through thy Spirit, thou wouldst manifest them to me. If I have done iniquity, I will do no more — I will amend my former errors.

34:31-37 When we reprove for what is amiss, we must direct to what is good. Job's friends would have had him own himself a wicked man. Let will only oblige him to own that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips. Let us, in giving reproof, not make a matter worse than it is. Elihu directs Job to humble himself before God for his sins, and to accept the punishment. Also to pray to God to discover his sins to him. A good man is willing to know the worst of himself; particularly, under affliction, he desires to be told wherefore God contends with him. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins, but we must go and sin no more. And if we are affectionate children, we shall love to speak with our Father, and to tell him all our mind. Elihu reasons with Job concerning his discontent under affliction. We are ready to think every thing that concerns us should be just as we would have it; but it is not reasonable to expect this. Elihu asks whether there was not sin and folly in what Job said. God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, Ps 145:17. The believer saith, Let my Saviour, my wise and loving Lord, choose every thing for me. I am sure that will be wisest, and the best for his glory and my good.Surely it is meet to be said unto God - It is evident that this verse commences a new strain of remark, and that it is designed particularly to bring Job to proper reflections in view of what had occurred. There has been, however, much diversity of opinion about the meaning of this and the following verses. Schultens enumerates no less than "fifteen" different interpretations which have been given of this verse. The "general" meaning seems to be, that a man who is afflicted ought to submit to God, and not to murmur or complain. He ought to suppose that there is some good reason for what God does, and to be resigned to his will, even where he cannot "see" the reason of his dispensations. The drift of all the remarks of Elihu is, that God is a great and inscrutable Severeign; that he has a right to reign, and that man should submit unqualifiedly to him. In this passage he does not reproach Job harshly.

He does not say that he had been guilty of great crimes. He does not affirm that the sentiments of the three friends of Job were correct, or maintain that Job was a hypocrite. He states a "general" truth, which he considers applicable to all, and says that it becomes all who are afflicted to submit to God, and to resolve to offend no more; to go to God with the language of humble confession, and when everything is dark and gloomy in the divine dealings to implore "his" teachings, and to entreat him to shed light on the path. Hence, he says, "It is meet or proper to use this language before God. It becomes man. He should presume that God is right, and that he has some good reasons for his dealings, though they are inscrutable. Even when a sufferer is not to be reckoned among the most vile and wicked; when he is conscious that his general aim has been to do right: and when his external character has been fair, it is to be "presumed to be possible" that he may have sinned. He may not have wholly known himself. He may have indulged in things that were wrong without having been scarcely conscious of it. He may have loved the world too much; may have fixed his affections with idolatrous attachment on his property or friends; may have had a temper such as ought not to be indulged; or he may have relied on what he possessed, and thus failed to recognize his dependence on God. In such cases, it becomes man to have so much confidence in God as to go and acknowledge "his right" to inflict chastisement, and to entreat him to teach the sufferer "why" he is thus afflicted."

I have borne chastisement - The word "chastisement" is not in the Hebrew. The Hebrew is simply - נשׂאתי nâśâ'tiy, "I have borne," or "I bear." Umbreit renders it, "I repent." Some word like "chastisement" or "punishment" must be understood after "I have borne." The idea evidently is, that a man who is afflicted by God, even when he cannot see the reason "why" he is afflicted, and when he is not conscious that he has been guilty of any particular sin that led to it, should be willing to regard it as "a proof" that he is guilty, and should examine and correct his life. But there is a great variety of opinion in regard to the meaning of this passage - no less than fifteen different interpretations being enumerated by Schultens.

I will not offend any more - אחבל לא lo' 'châbal - "I will not act wickedly; I will no more do corruptly." The sense is, that his afflictions should lead him to a resolution to reform his life, and to sin no more. This just and beautiful sentiment is as applicable to us now as it was to the afflicted in the time of Elihu. It is a common thing to be afflicted. Trial often comes upon us when we can see no particular sin which has led to it, and no special reason why we should be afflicted rather than others. We should, however, regard it as a proof that there is something in our hearts or lives which may be amended, and should endeavor to ascertain what it. is, and resolve to offend no more. Anyone, if he will examine himself carefully, can find sufficient reasons why "he" should be visited with the rod of chastisement, and though we may not be able to see why others are preserved from such calamities, yet we can see that there are reasons in abundance why we should be recalled from our wanderings.

31. Job accordingly says so (Job 40:3-5; Mic 7:9; Le 26:41). It was to lead him to this that Elihu was sent. Though no hypocrite, Job, like all, had sin; therefore through affliction he was to be brought to humble himself under God. All sorrow is a proof of the common heritage of sin, in which the godly shares; and therefore he ought to regard it as a merciful correction. Umbreit and Maurer lose this by translating, as the Hebrew will bear, "Has any a right to say to God, I have borne chastisement and yet have not sinned?" (so Job 34:6).

borne—namely, the penalty of sin, as in Le 5:1, 17.

offend—literally, "to deal destructively or corruptly" (Ne 1:7).

Certainly it is but fit and reasonable that man should say thus to his Maker and supreme Lord, and that instead of contending with God, he should submit to him. Or, (which comes to the same thing,) But hath he said? so the sense is, I have showed the absolute power which God hath over all his creatures, and that he may justly, and doth ofttimes severely, punish all sorts of men as he sees fit. And this Job should have applied to his own case. But, I appeal to all of you, hath he, i.e. Job, (who is the principal subject of this whole discourse, and to whom he now begins to direct his discourse,) said, that which here follows? which is a kind of form of confession or humiliation, which Elihu puts into Job’s mouth, as fit to have been used by him. Nay, hath not his speech and carriage been of a directly contrary nature and tendency? Instead of humbling himself under God’s hand, which was his duty, hath he not been full of murmurings and complaints against God?

Unto God; unto one so much thy superior, so mighty and so righteous in all his ways; with such a one a weak and sinful creature (as thou art) should not presume to contest.

I have borne chastisement; or, I do or shall bear it, to wit, quietly and contentedly; I will bear the Lord’s indignation, and accept of the punishment of my own iniquity, and not accuse God falsely and foolishly, as I have done.

I will not offend any more, Heb. I will not corrupt, to wit, myself or my ways; which is oft understood in like cases. Or, I will take or demand no pledge; for so this verb is oft used. So the sense may possibly be, I confess I have been too bold with God, in desiring that he would come with me into judgment, and that I could have a pledge or surety that he would do so; but I will no longer desire it, but submit myself wholly to him.

Surely it is meet to be said unto God,.... By any afflicted person under his chastising hand, and particularly by Job, for whom the advice and instructions in this verse and Job 34:32 are designed:

I have borne chastisement; the word "chastisement" is not in the text, but is very properly supplied, as it is by Jarchi and others; the affliction of God's people is a fatherly chastisement, and should be considered and borne as such; and it becomes an afflicted good man to say,

"I have borne and still do bear, and I am content yet to bear, the chastisement of the Lord; I am desirous to bear it willingly, cheerfully, and patiently, until he is pleased to remove it from me.''

See Micah 7:9;

I will not offend any more; that is, sin any more; sin is an offence to God, being contrary to his nature, and a breach of his law; Job had sinned as every good man does, no man is without sin, in many things we all offend; and on account of sin God chastens his people, and the design of it is to bring them to a sense and acknowledgment of it; and it becomes them under chastening providences to confess it, and humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, and in the strength of divine grace determine to be careful not to offend more. Some render the words "I will not corrupt" (g); that is, myself or others, my ways and works, by sinning; and others, "I will not break", or "break through" (h); the commands of God; and so the sense of this and the former version is much the same with ours; or I will not endeavour to break through the afflictive providence in which I am shut up, or break off the fetters and cords of affliction, but bear all patiently, until it is the Lord's time and will to set me at liberty. Some, as Ben Gersom, interpret this and the preceding clause, "I pardon, I will not destroy"; or "will not retain a pledge", as others (i); and so take them to be the words of God himself; and thus Mr. Broughton renders the whole verse,

"now unto the Omnipotent, which saith, I pardon, I will not destroy, "this should" be said,''

namely, what follows in Job 34:32 (k); it is the prerogative of God, and it is his grace to pardon, and such whom he pardons he never destroys, but accepts, discharges, and remits the surety's bond or pledge; and nothing more effectually engages to a careful abstinence from sin for the future, than a sense of pardoning grace; and it highly becomes such persons to say what they are next directed to.

(g) "non corrumpam", Montanus, Mercerus, Piscator. (h) "Non disrumpam", Beza. (i) "Non pignerabo", Cocceius; "non pigneratus eram", Schultens. Vid. Gusset. Ebr. Comment. p. 238. (k) Tigurine version, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius.

Surely it is meet {z} to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:

(z) It only belongs to God to moderate his corrections, and not to man.

31, 32. A supposition is put: Has any one said unto God? where God is emphatic, the emphasis implying the unseemliness and presumption of the act. The case is put generally, but the case is that of Job, as Job 34:33 reveals. The meaning of the passage is that the complainer under affliction protests his innocence (Job 34:31); disclaims knowledge of any offence; desires, as Job frequently expressed his desire, to know what his sin was; and professes his readiness to desist from it, when it is made clear to him (Job 34:32).

31–33. Elihu gradually approaches the conduct of Job. He supposes the case of one animadverting on the Divine procedure and complaining of unjust affliction. This is presumption and implies that one usurps the government of the Most High.

Verse 31. - Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement. (So Rosenmuller and others.) If the passage be thus rendered, Elihu must be considered as, like Eliphaz (Job 5:8), Bildad (Job 8:5), and Zophar (Job 11:13-15), counselling Job to submit himself to God, acknowledging his sin, accepting his punishment, and promising amendment for the future (ver. 22). But perhaps it is better to regard the passage as interrogative, and Elihu as asking - What man, among those whom God has cast down and punished, has ever sought to deprecate his wrath by contrition, confession, and promise of amendment, implying that, had they done so, God would have relented and forgiven them? (see the Revised Version). In this case no direct counsel is offered to Job; but still an indirect hint is given him. I will not offend any more. This is preferable to the marginal rendering of the Revised Version, "though I have not offended." Job 34:3129 If He, however, maketh peace, who will then condemn?

And if He hideth His countenance - who then can behold Him? -

Both concerning numbers and individuals together:

30 That godless men reign not,

That they be not nets to the people.

31 For one, indeed, saith to God,

"I have been proud, I will not do evil;

32 "What I see not, show Thou me;

"If I have done wrong, I will do it no more"!? -

If God makes peace (ישׁקיט as Psalm 94:13, comp. Isaiah 14:7, הארץ שׁקטה כל־, viz., after the overthrow of the tyrant) in connection with such crying oppression of the poor, who will then condemn Him without the rather recognising therein His comprehensive justice? The conjecture ירעשׁ

(Note: Vid., Grtz in Frankel's Monatsschrift, 1861, i.)

is not required either here or 1 Samuel 14:47 (where הרשׁיע signifies to punish the guilty); ירשׁע is also not to be translated turbabit (Rosenm.), since רשׁע (Arab. rs‛, rsg) according to its primitive notion does not signify "to be restless, to rage," but "to be relaxed, hollow" (opposite of צדק, Arab. ṣdq, to be hard, firm, tight). Further: If God hides His countenance, i.e., is angry and punishes, who can then behold Him, i.e., make Him, the veiled One, visible and claim back the favour withdrawn? The Waw of וּמי, if one marks off the periods of the paratactic expression, is in both cases the Waw of conclusion after hypothetical antecedents, and. Job 34:29 refers to Job's impetuous challenging of God. Thus exalted above human controversy and defiance, God rules both over the mass and over individuals alike. יחד gives intensity of the equality thus correlatively (et-et) expressed (Targ., Syr.); to refer it to אדם as generalizing (lxx, Jer. et super omnes homines), is forbidden by the antithesis of peoples and individuals. To the thought, that God giveth rest (from oppressors) and hides His countenance (from the oppressors and in general those who act wrongly), two co-ordinate negative final clauses are attached: in order that godless men may not rule (ממּלך, as e.g., 2 Kings 23:33, Keri), in order that they may no longer be (מ( e equals מהיות, under the influence of the notion of putting aside contained in the preceding final clause, therefore like Isaiah 7:8 מעם, Isaiah 24:2 מעיר, Jeremiah 48:2 מגוי, and the like) snares of the people, i.e., those whose evil example and bad government become the ruin of the community.

In Job 34:31 the view of those who by some jugglery concerning the laws of the vowel sounds explain האמר as imper. Niph. ( equals האמר), be it in the sense of להאמר, dicendum est (Rosenm., Schlottm., and others, after Raschi), or even in the unheard-of reflexive signification: express thyself (Stick., Hahn), is to be rejected. The syncopated form of the infin. בּהרג, Ezekiel 26:15, does not serve as a palliation of this adventurous imperative. It is, on the contrary, אמר with ה interrog., as Ezekiel 28:9 האמר, and probably also העמוּר Micah 2:7 (vid., Hitz.). A direct exhortation to Job to penitence would also not be in place here, although what Elihu says is levelled against Job. The כּי is confirmatory. Thus God acts with that class of unscrupulous men who abuse their power for the destruction of their subjects: for he (one of them) says (or: has said, from the standpoint of the execution of punishment) to God, etc. Ew. differently: "for one says thus to God even: I expiate what I do not commit," by understanding the speech quoted of a defiance which reproachfully demands an explanation. It is, however, manifestly a compendious model confession. And since Elihu with כי establishes the execution of punishment from this, that it never entered the mind of the עדם חנף thus to humble himself before God, so נשׂאתי here cannot signify: I have repented (put up with and had to bear what I have deserved); on the contrary, the confession begins with the avowal: I have exalted myself (נשׂא, se efferre, in Hosea 13:1; Psalm 89:10), which is then followed by the vow: I will not (in the future) do evil (חבל synon. עוה, as Nehemiah 1:7, and probably also supra, Job 24:9), and the entreaty, Job 34:32 : beside that which I behold (elliptical object-clause, Ew. 333, b), i.e., what lies beyond my vision ( equals נסתּרות or עלמים, Psalm 19:13; Psalm 90:8, unacknowledged sins), teach me; and the present vow has reference to acknowledged sins and sins that have still to be acknowledged: if I have done wrong, I will do it no more. Thus speaking - Elihu means - those high ones might have anticipated the punishment of the All-just God, for favour instead of wrath cannot be extorted, it is only reached by the way of lowly penitence.

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