Job 34:17
(17) Shall even he. . . .--The argument is that one who holds such a position of absolute rule cannot be other than most just. He who is fit to rule must be just, and He who is the ultimate ruler must be fit to rule, and must, therefore, be just; but if He is absolutely just, how shall we condemn His government or Him on account of it, even though we cannot explain it all or reconcile it with our view of what is right?

Him that is most just, is rather him that is just and mighty, i.e., not only just, but able also to execute justice because mighty.

Verse 17. - Shall even he that hateth right govern? Is it conceivable that there can be at the head of the universe, its Ruler and Guide, One who hates justice? The appeal is to the instinctive feeling that in the one God perfect goodness and omnipotence are united. Its spirit is exactly that of Abraham's question, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (see Genesis 18:5). And wilt thou condemn him that is most just? rather, him that is both just and strong (see the Revised Version).

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.Shall even he that hateth right govern?.... That hates moral and civil justice; is such an one fit to rule among men or over them? No, surely; for to love righteousness and do it is a qualification of a civil governor; it is his business to administer justice; and if an hater of it, he can never be a proper person to rule: and if God was an hater of that which is right, as he would seem to be if he did not do it, he would not be fit to govern the world as he does. To this absurdity is Job reduced, by suggesting that right was not done him, or that God had removed his judgment from him; see 2 Samuel 23:3, Romans 3:5. Mr. Broughton translates the words, "can a foe to judgment rule well?" And yet it cannot be denied, but must be owned, that God does judge in the earth, and judges righteously. Or shall such an one "bind" (b)? the allusion may be to a surgeon that binds up wounds. Sin makes wounds, and such as cannot be healed by men; but God can bind them up and cure them, and does: but would he do this if he hated that which is right, if he was not kind and merciful, just and good? see Hosea 6:1. Or, as others render it, which comes pretty near to the same sense, "shall a hater of judgment refrain wrath" (c)? Such are tyrants, cruel and unmerciful, full of wrath and vengeance, and which they execute in a barbarous manner: but such is not God; he stirs not up all his wrath, which he in justice might; he retains it not for ever, but delights in mercy;

and wilt thou condemn him that is most just? It is not right to condemn any just man, to charge him wrongfully, and then pass an unrighteous sentence on him; and much less to charge the righteous God with injustice, and condemn him that is most just, superlatively just; in whom there is not the least shadow of unrighteousness; who is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works; who is naturally, essentially, and infinitely righteous.

(b) "obligabit", Montanus; so Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis. (c) "An nasum osor judicii fraenabit?" Schultens.

Job 34:16
Top of Page
Top of Page