New American Standard Bible
"In a moment they die, and at midnight People are shaken and pass away, And the mighty are taken away without a hand.
King James Bible
In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.
Darby Bible Translation
In a moment they die, even at midnight the people are convulsed and pass away; and the strong are taken away without hand.
World English Bible
In a moment they die, even at midnight. The people are shaken and pass away. The mighty are taken away without a hand.
Young's Literal Translation
In a moment they die, and at midnight Shake do people, and they pass away, And they remove the mighty without hand.
Job 34:20 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
In a moment shall they die - That is, the rich and the great. They pass suddenly off the stage of action. They have no power to compel God to favor them, and they have no permanency of existence here which can constitute a claim on his special favor. Soon they will lie undistinguished in the dust. All are in his hand; and when he wills it, they must lie down in the dust together. He exempts none from death; spares none on account of beauty, rank, wealth, talent, or learning, but consigns all indiscriminately to the grave-showing that he is disposed to treat them all alike. This is urged by Elihu as a proof that God has no partiality, but treats all people as being on the same level - and there is no more striking illustration of this than is furnished by death. All die. None are spared on account of title, wealth, rank, beauty, age, or wisdom. All die in a manner that shows that he has no favoritism. The rich man may die with a malady as painful and protracted as the poor man; the beautiful and accomplished with a disease as foul and loathsome as the beggar. The sad change that the body undergoes in the tomb is as repulsive in the one case as in the other; and amidst all the splendor of rank, and the magnificence of dress and equipage, God intends to keep the great truth before the minds of people, that they are really on a level, and that all must share at his hand alike.
And the people shall be troubled - They shall be shaken, agitated, alarmed. They dread impending danger, or the prospect of sudden destruction.
At midnight - The image here is probably taken from an earthquake, or from a sudden onset made by a band of robbers on a village at night. The essential thought is that of the suddenness with which God can take away the mighty and the mean together. Nothing can resist him, and as he has this absolute control over people, and deals with all alike, there is great impropriety in complaining of his government.
And the mighty - Margin, "They shall take away the mighty." The idea is, that the great shall be removed - to wit, by sudden death or by overwhelming calamiiy. The argueat of Elihu in this passage Job 34:18-20 is, that it would be esteemed great presumption to arraign the conduct of a prince or king, and it must be much more so to call in question the doings of him who is so superior to princes and kings that he shows them no partiality on account of their rank, but sweeps them away by sudden calamity as he does the most humble of mankind.
Without hand - That is, without any human instrumentality, or without the use of any visible means. It is by a word - by an expression of his will - by power where the agency is not seen. The design is, to show that God can do it with infinite ease.
DEAR FRIENDS, it is never wise to dispute with God. Let a man strive with his fellow, but not with his Maker. If we must discuss any point, let it be with imperfect beings like ourselves, but not with the infallible and infinitely wise God; for, in most of our discussions, these questions wilt come back to us, "Should it be according to thy mind? Art thou master? Is everyone to be subordinate to thee?" I am going to speak, this evening, to those who have a quarrel with God concerning the way of salvation. …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 46: 1900
Whether Predestination is Certain
Thoughts Upon Worldly-Riches. Sect. Ii.
Directions to Awakened Sinners.
Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.
"He makes priests walk barefoot And overthrows the secure ones.
"Terrors overtake him like a flood; A tempest steals him away in the night.
"Therefore He knows their works, And He overthrows them in the night, And they are crushed.
"Do not long for the night, When people vanish in their place.
"And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken without human agency.
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