on Job 33 :15
I. In a Dream
In a Dream - when deep sleep falleth upon men - Many, by such means, have had the most salutary warnings; and to decry all such, because there are many vain dreams, would be nearly as much wisdom as to deny the Bible, because there are many foolish books, the authors of which supposed they were under a Divine influence while composing them.
II. In a Vision
In a Vision of the night - in slumberings upon the bed - Visions or images presented in the imagination during slumber, when men are betwixt sleeping and waking, or when, awake and in bed, they are wrapt up in deep contemplation, the darkness of the night having shut out all objects from their sight, so that the mind is not diverted by images of earthly things impressed on the senses. Many warnings in this way have come from God; and the impression they made, and the good effect they produced, were the proofs of their Divine origin. To deny this would be to call into doubt the testimony of the best, wisest, and holiest men in all ages of the Church. Of one of these visions we have a remarkable account in this book, Job 4:12-21. And this vision seems to have taken place in the night season, when Eliphaz awoke from a deep sleep. There is this difference between the accidents of the dream and the vision: the former takes place when deep sleep falleth upon men; the latter, in the night, in or after slumberings upon the bed.
on Job 33 :15
In a dream - This was one of the methods by which the will of God was made known in the early periods of the world; see the notes at Job 4:12-17. And for a fuller account of this method of communicating the divine will, see the introduction to Isaiah, Section 7 (2).
In a vision of the night - Notes, Job 4:13; compare the introduction to Isaiah, Section 7 (4).
When deep sleep falleth upon men - This may be designed to intimate more distinctly that it was from God. It was not the effect of disturbed and broken rest; not such fancies as come into the mind between sleeping and waking, but the visitations of the divine Spirit in the profoundest repose of the night. The word rendered "deep sleep" (תרדמה tardêmâh) is one that denotes the most profound repose. It is not merely sleep, but it is sleep of the soundest kind - that kind when we do not usually dream; see the notes at Job 4:13. The Chaldee has here rendered it correctly, עמקתא שינתא - sleep that is deep. The Septuagint renders it, δεινὸς φόβος deinos phobos - dread horror. The Syriac renders this verse, "Not by the lips does he teach; by dreams and visions of the night," etc.
In slumberings upon the bed - The word rendered "slumberings" (בתנומה bitenûmâh) means a light sleep, as contradistinguished from very profound repose. Our word slumber conveys the exact idea. The meaning of the whole is, that God speaks to people when their senses are locked in repose - alike in the profound sleep when they do not ordinarily dream, and in the gentle and light slumbers when the sleep is easily broken. In what way, however, they were to distinguish such communications from ordinary dreams, we have no information. It is scarcely necessary to remark that what is here and elsewhere said in the Scriptures about dreams, is no warrant for putting any confidence in them now as if they were revelations from heaven.
on Job 33 :15