on Job 36 :12
But if they obey not - This also is a general rule, from which, in the course of Providence, there are only few, and those only apparent, deviations. Instead of they shall perish by the sword, the meaning of the Hebrew בשלח יעברו beshelach yaaboru, is, "By a dart they shall pass by." They shall be in continual dangers, and often fall before they have lived out half their days. Mr. Good translates: They pass by as an arrow. The Vulgate: Transibunt per gladium. "They shall pass away by the sword."
on Job 36 :12
But if they obey not - If those who are afflicted do not turn to God, and yield him obedience, they must expect that he will continue their calamities until they are cut off.
They shall perish by the sword - Margin, as in Hebrew "pass away." The word rendered "sword" (שׁלח shelach) means properly "anything sent" - as a spear or an arrow - "a missile" - and then an instrument of war in general. It may be applied to any weapon that is used to produce death. The idea here is, that the man who was afflicted on account of the sins which he had committed, and who did not repent of them and turn to God, would be cut off. God would not withdraw his hand unless he acknowledged his offences. As he had undertaken the work of discipline, he could not consistently do it, for it would be in fact "yielding" the point to him whom he chastised. This "may" be the case now, and the statement here made by Elihu may involve a principle which will explain the cause of the death of many persons, even of the professedly pious. They are devoted to gain or amusement; they seek the honors of the world for their families or themselves, and in fact they make no advances in piety, and are doing nothing for the cause of religion. God lays his hand upon them at first gently. They lose their health, or a part of their property. But the discipline is not effectual. He then lays his band on them with more severity, and takes from them an endeared child. Still, all is ineffectual. The sorrow of the affliction passes away, and they mingle again in the frivolous and busy scenes of life as worldly as ever, and exert no influence in favor of religion. Another blow is needful, and blow after blow is struck; but nothing overcomes their worldliness, nothing makes them devotedly and sincerely useful, and it becomes necessary to remove them from the world.
They shall die without knowledge - That is, without any true knowledge of the plans and government of God, or of the reasons why he brought these afflictions upon them. In all their sufferings they never "saw" the design. They complained, and murmured, and charged God with severity, but they never understood that the affliction was intended for their own benefit.
on Job 36 :12