Job 34:18
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’ and to nobles, ‘Wicked man,’

King James Bible
Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?

American Standard Version
Him that saith to a king, Thou art vile, Or to nobles, Ye are wicked;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who saith to the king : Thou art an apostate : who calleth rulers ungodly?

English Revised Version
Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art vile? or to nobles, Ye are wicked?

Webster's Bible Translation
Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?

Job 34:18 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

12 Yea verily God acteth not wickedly,

And the Almighty perverteth not the right.

13 Who hath given the earth in charge to Him?

And who hath disposed the whole globe?

14 If He only set His heart upon Himself,

If He took back His breath and His inspiration to Himself:

15 All flesh would expire together,

And man would return to dust.

With אף אמנם (Yea verily, as Job 19:4, "and really") the counter-assertion of Job 34:11 is repeated, but negatively expressed (comp. Job 8:3). הרשׁיע signifies sometimes to act as רשׁע, and at others to be set forth and condemned as a רשׁע; here, as the connection requires, it is the former. Job 34:13 begins the proof. Ewald's interpretation: who searcheth, and Hahn's: who careth for the earth beside Him, are hazardous and unnecessary. פּקד with על of the person and the acc. of the thing signifies: to enjoin anything as a duty on any one, to entrust anything to any one, Job 36:23; Numbers 4:27; 2 Chronicles 36:23; therefore: who has made the earth, i.e., the care of it, a duty to Him? ארצה (Milel) is not to be refined into the meaning "to the earth" (as here by Schultens and a few others, Isaiah 9:1 by Luzzatto: he hath smitten down, better: dishonoured, to the earth with a light stroke), but is poetically equivalent to ארץ, as לילה (comp. modern Greek ἡ νύχθα) is in prose equivalent to ליל. Job 34:13 is by no means, with Ew. and Hahn, to be translated: who observes (considers) the whole globe, שׂים as Job 34:23; Job 4:20; Job 24:12 - the expression would be too contracted to affirm that no one but God bestowed providential attention upon the earth; and if we have understood Job 34:13 correctly, the thought is also inappropriate. A more appropriate thought is gained, if עליו is supplied from Job 34:13: who has enjoined upon Him the whole circle of the earth (Saad., Gecat., Hirz., Schlottm.); but this continued force of the עליו into the second independent question is improbable in connection with the repetition of מי. Therefore: who has appointed, i.e., established (שׂם as Job 38:5; Isaiah 44:7), - a still somewhat more suitable thought, going logically further, since the one giving the charge ought to be the lord of him who receives the commission, and therefore the Creator of the world. This is just God alone, by whose רוּח and נשׁמה the animal world as well as the world of men (vid., Job 32:8; Job 33:4) has its life, Job 34:14 : if He should direct His heart, i.e., His attention (שׂים לב אל, as Job 2:3), to Himself (emphatic: Himself alone), draw in (אסף as Psalm 104:29; comp. for the matter Ecclesiastes 12:7, Psychol. S. 406) to Himself His inspiration and breath (which emanated from Him or was effected by Him), all flesh would sink together, i.e., die off at once (this, as it appears, has reference to the taking back of the animal life, רוח), and man would return (this has reference to the taking back of the human spirit, נשׁמה) to dust (על instead of אל, perhaps with reference to the usual use of the על־עפר, Job 17:16; Job 20:11; Job 21:26).

Only a few modern expositors refer אליו, as Targ. Jer. and Syr., to man instead of reflexively to God; the majority rightly decide in favour of the idea which even Grotius perceived: si sibi ipsi tantum bonus esse (sui unius curam habere) vellet. אם followed by the fut. signifies either si velit (lxx ει ̓ βούλοιτο), as here, or as more frequently, si vellet, Psalm 50:12; Psalm 139:8, Obadiah 1:4, Isaiah 10:22; Amos 9:2-4. It is worthy of remark that, according to Norzi's statement, the Babylonian texts presented ישׁיב, Job 34:14, as Chethb, ישׂים as Ker (like our Palestine text, Daniel 11:18), which a MS of De Rossi, with a Persian translation, confirms; the reading gives a fine idea: that God's heart is turned towards the world, and is unclosed; its ethical condition of life would then be like its physical ground of life, that God's spirit dwells in it; the drawing back of the heart, and the taking back to Himself of the spirit, would be equivalent to the exclusion of the world from God's love and life. However, ישׂים implies the same; for a reference of God's thinking and willing to Himself, with the exclusion of the world, would be just a removal of His love. Elihu's proof is this: God does not act wrongly, for the government of the world is not a duty imposed upon Him from without, but a relation entered into freely by Him: the world is not the property of another, but of His free creative appointment; and how unselfishly, how devoid of self-seeking He governs it, is clear from the fact, that by the impartation of His living creative breath He sustains every living thing, and does not, as He easily might, allow them to fall away into nothingness. There is therefore a divine love which has called the world into being and keeps it in being; and this love, as the perfect opposite of sovereign caprice, is a pledge for the absolute righteousness of the divine rule.

Job 34:18 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Exodus 22:28 You shall not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of your people.

Proverbs 17:26 Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.

Acts 23:3,5 Then said Paul to him, God shall smite you, you white washed wall: for sit you to judge me after the law...

Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed...

Jude 1:8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

Cross References
Job 34:17
Shall one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty,

Job 34:19
who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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