on Job 33 :14
For God speaketh once - Though he will not be summoned to the bar of his creatures, nor condescend to detail the reasons of his conduct, which they could not comprehend, yet he so acts, in the main, that the operation of his hand and the designs of his counsel may sufficiently appear, provided men had their eyes open upon his ways, and their hearts open to receive his influence. Elihu, having made the general statement that God would not come to the bar of his creatures to give account of his conduct, shows the general means which he uses to bring men to an acquaintance with themselves and with him: he states these in the six following particulars, which may be collected from Job 33:15-24.
on Job 33 :14
For God speaketh once - The object of what is here said is, to show the reason why God brings affliction upon people, or to explain the principles of his government which Elihu supposed had been sadly misunder stood by Job and his friends. The reason why he brings affliction, Elihu says, is because all other means of reclaiming and restraining people fail. He communicates his will to them; he speaks to them again and again in dreams and visions; he warns them of the error of their course Job 33:14-17, and when this is all ineffectual he brings upon them affliction. He lays them upon their bed where they must reflect, and where there is hope that they may be reclaimed and reformed, Job 33:18-28.
Yea, twice - He does not merely admonish him once. He repeats the admonition when man refuses to hear him the first time, and takes all the methods which he can by admonition and warning to withdraw him from his wicked purpose, and to keep him from ruin.
Yet man perceiveth it not - Or, rather, "Although he does not perceive it or attend to it." Though the sinner is regardless of the admonition, yet still God repeats it, and endeavors to save him from the commission of the crimes which would lead him to ruin. This is designed to show the patience and forbearance of God, and how many means he takes to save the sinner from ruin. Of the truth of what Elihu here says, there can be no difference of opinion. It is one of the great principles of the divine administration that the sinner is often warned, though he heeds it not; and that God sends repeated admonitions even when people will not regard them, but are bent on their own ruin.
Job 33:14-17It is now impossible to determine in what way God thus communicated His will, or how it was known that the thoughts in sleep were communicated by God, or what criterion the prophet or other person had by which to distinguish these from common dreams. The certainty that they were from God demonstrated by the fact that the event was accurately fulfilled, as in the case of Joseph, of Pharaoh, of Nebuchadnezzar, of Daniel. There is no instance which the will of God seems to have been communicated to Isaiah in this manner; and it is not necessary for my purpose to pursue this part of the inquiry any further. The mode in which the will of God was made known to Isaiah was mainly, if not entirely, by "visions," Isaiah 1:1; and that mode will demand a fuller and distinct examination. It may just be remarked here, that no man can demonstrate that God could not convey His will to man in the visions of the night, or in dreams; or that He could not then have access to the soul, and give to the mind itself some certain indications by which it might be known that the communication was from Him. It is possible that the mode of communicating the will of God by the "dream" חלום chalôm - did not differ "essentially" from the mode of "the vision" - חזון châzôn - by causing a "vision" of the subject as in a landscape to pass before the mind.
(3) the prophets were brought under such an influence by the Divine Spirit as to overpower them, and while in this state the will of God was made known to them. In what way His will was then communicated we may not be able to determine. I speak only of an overpowering influence which gave them such views of God and truth as to weaken their animal frame, and as, in some instances, to produce a state of "ecstacy," or a "trance," in which the truth was made to pass before them by some direct communication which God had with their minds. In these cases, in some instances at least, the communication with the external world was closed, and God communicated His will immediately and directly. Reference to this is not infrequently made in the Scriptures, where there was such a powerful divine influence as to prostrate the frame, and take away the strength of the body. Thus, in Ezekiel 1:3, 'The hand of Yahweh was then upon me.' Cornelius a Lapide remarks on this passage, that 'the prophets took their station by the side of a river, that in the stillness and delightful scenery around them they might, through the soft, pleasing murmur of the waters, be refreshed, enlivened, and prepared for the divine ecstacies.' Bib. Repository, vol. ii. p. 141. It is more natural, however, to suppose that they did not court or solicit these influences, but that they came upon them by surprise. Jeremiah 20:7, 'Lord, thou hast persuaded me, and I have suffered myself to be persuaded; thou hast been too strong for me, and hast prevailed.' This influence is referred to in 1 Samuel 19:20, 'The Spirit of God was upon the messengers (of Saul) and they also prophesied.' In 1 Samuel 19:24, the "power" of the prophetic impulse is indicated by the fact that it led Saul to strip off his clothes, probably his robes, and to prophesy in the same manner as Samuel; and in the statement that 'he lay down naked all that day, and all that night,' under the prophetic impulse.
The effect of this strong prophetic impulse on the body and the mind is indicated in the following passages. It is said of Abraham in Genesis 15:12, when he had a vision, 'Behold terror and great darkness came upon him.' It was evinced in a remarkable manner in the case of Balaam, Numbers 24:4, Numbers 24:16. It is said of him, that he 'saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance (Septuagint "who saw the vision of God ἐν ὕπνοῳ en hupnō, in sleep,") but having his eyes open.' He was probably overcome, and fell to the ground, and yet his eyes were open, and in that state he uttered the predictions respecting Israel. The same effect is indicated in regard to John, Revelation 1:17, 'And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.' So of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28, 'And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.' And in a more remarkable manner in the case of Daniel Dan 10:8, 'Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me, for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.' And again Daniel 8:27, 'And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days.' That there was a remarkable agitation of the body, or suspension of its regular functions so as to resemble in some degree the ravings of delirium, is apparent from 2 Kings 9:11; Jeremiah 29:26. The nature of the strong prophetic impulse is perhaps indicated also in the expression in 2 Peter 1:21, 'Holy men of God spake as they were moved - (φερόμενοι pheromenoi - "borne along, urged, impelled") by the Holy Spirit. '
on Job 33 :14