on Job 33 :16
III. By secret Inspirations
Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth, etc. - A dream or a vision simply considered is likely to do no good; it is the opening of the understanding, and the pouring in of the light, that make men wise to salvation. Serious alarms, holy purposes, penitential pangs for past sins, apprehension of death and judgment, discoveries of God's justice, of Christ's love, of the world's vanity, of heaven's excellence, etc., etc., etc., are often used by the Divine Spirit to withdraw men from their evil purpose, and to hide pride from man, Job 33:17; and of all these openings of the ear of the heart, and sealing instructions upon the conscience, we have numerous examples in the history of the Church, in the experience of good men, and even in the civil and providential history of all nations.
on Job 33 :16
Then he openeth the ears of men - Margin, as in Hebrew "revealeth," or "uncovereth." The idea is, that he then reveals to the ear of man important admonitions or counsels. He communicates valuable truth. We are not to understand this as saying that the sleeper actually hears God speak, but as the ear is the organ of hearing, it is employed here to denote that God then communicates His will to human beinigs. In what way he had access to the souls of people by dreams, it is impossible to explain.
And sealeth their instruction - literally, "In their admonition he seals;" or he affixes a seal. The idea is, that he makes the admonition or instruction as secure as if a seal were affixed to it. A seal ratified or confirmed a contract, a will, or a deed, and the sense here is, that the communications of God to the soul were as firm as if they had been ratified in like manner. Or possibly it may mean, that the warnings of God were communicated to the soul like a sealed letter or message unknown to any other; that is, were made privately to the individual himself in the slumbers of the night. Others have understood the word rendered instruction, as denoting castigation, or punishment, and according to that explanation the meaning would be, that he announces to them certain punishment if they continued in sin; he made it as certain to them as if it were ratified by a seal. So Rosenmuller and Mercer. Schultens supposes it to be equivalent to inspires them, or communicates instruction by inspiration as if it were confirmed and ratified by a seal. He observes that the Arabic word hhatham is often used in the Koran, meaning to inspire. The Septuagint renders it, ἀυτοὺς ἐξεφόβησεν autous exephobēsen - "he terrifies them" - where they evidently read יחתם yechathēm instead of יחתם yachthom. The sense is, that God communicates warnings to people on their beds, in a manner as solemn and impressive as if it were ratified with a seal, and made as secure as possible.
on Job 33 :16
33:16 Sealeth - He imprints those instructions upon their minds.