on Job 33 :24
Then he is gracious unto him - He exercises mercy towards fallen man, and gives command for his respite and pardon. Deliver him from going down to the pit - Let him who is thus instructed, penitent, and afflicted, and comes to me, find a pardon; for: -
VI. By an Atonement
I have found a ransom - כפר copher, an atonement. Pay a ransom for him, פדעהו pedaehu, that he may not go down to the pit - to corruption or destruction, for I have found out an atonement. It is this that gives efficacy to all the preceding means; without which they would be useless, and the salvation of man impossible. I must think that the redemption of a lost world, by Jesus Christ, is not obscurely signified in Job 33:23, Job 33:24. While the whole world lay in the wicked one, and were all hastening to the bottomless pit, God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus Christ, the great sacrifice, and head of the Church, commissions his messengers - apostles and their successors - to show men the righteousness of God, and his displeasure at sin, and at the same time his infinite love, which commands them to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and that they who believe on him shall not perish, shall not go down to the pit of destruction, for he has found out an atonement; and that whoever comes to him, through Christ, shall have everlasting life, in virtue of that atonement or ransom price. Should it be objected against my interpretation of אלף aleph, that it cannot be translated chief or head, because it is without the vau shurek, אלוף alluph, which gives it this signification; I would answer, that this form of the word is not essential to the signification given above, as it occurs in several places without the vau shurek, where it most certainly signifies a chief, a leader, captain, etc., e.g., Zechariah 9:7; Jeremiah 13:21, and Genesis 36:30; in the first of which we translate it governor; in the second, captain; and in the third, duke. And although we translate אלוף alluph an ox or beeve, (and it most certainly has this meaning in several places), yet in this signification it is written without the vau shurek in Proverbs 14:4; Psalm 8:7; Isaiah 30:24; and in Deuteronomy 7:13; Deuteronomy 28:4, Deuteronomy 28:18, Deuteronomy 28:51; which all show that this letter is not absolutely necessary to the above signification.
on Job 33 :24
Then he is gracious unto him - That is, on the supposition that he hears and regards what the messenger of God communicates. If he rightly understands the reasons of the divine administration, and acquiesces in it, and if he calls upon God in a proper manner Job 33:26, he will show him mercy, and spare him. Or it may mean, that God is in fact gracious to him by sending him a messenger who can come and say to him that it is the divine purpose to spare him; that he is satisfied, and will preserve him from death. If such a messenger should come, and so announce the mercy of God, then he would return to the rigoar of his former days, and be fully restored to his former prosperity. Elihu refers probably to some method of communication, by which the will of God was made known to the sufferer, and by which it was told him that it was God's design not to destroy, but to discipline and save him.
Deliver him - Hebrew, פדעהו pâda‛hû, "redeem him". The word used here (פדע pâda‛) properly means "to let loose, to cut loose"; and then "to buy loose"; that is, "to redeem, to ransom for a price." Sometimes it is used in the general sense of freeing or delivering, without reference to a price, compare Deuteronomy 7:8; Jeremiah 15:21; Psalm 34:22; Job 6:23; but usually there is a reference to a price, or to some valuable consideration, either expressed or implied; compare the notes at Isaiah 43:3. Here the appropriate idea is expressed, for it is said, as a reason for redeeming or rescuing him, "I have found a ransom." That is, the "ransom" is the valuable consideration on account of which he was to be rescued from death.
From going down to the pit - The grave, the world of darkness. Notes, Job 33:18. That is, he would keep him alive, and restore him again to health. It is possible that by the word pit here, there may be a reference to a place of punishment, or to the abodes of the dead as places of gloom and horror especially in the case of the wicked but the more probable interpretation is, that it refers to death alone.
I have found - That is, there is a ransom; or, I have seen a reason why he should not die. The idea is, that God was looking for some reason on account of which it would be proper to release the sufferer, and restore him to the accustomed tokens of his favor and that such a ransom had now appeared. There was now no necessity why those sufferings should be prolonged, and he could consistently restore him to health.
A ransom - Margin, or, "an atonement." Hebrew, כפר kôpher. On the meaning of this word, see the notes at Isaiah 43:3. The expression here means that there was something which could be regarded as a valuable consideration, or a reason why the sufferer should not be further afflicted, and why he should be preserved from going down to the grave. What that price, or valuable consideration was, is not specified; and what was the actual idea which Elihu attached to it, it is now impossible with certainty to determine. The connection would rather lead us to suppose that it was something seen in the sufferer himself; some change done in his mind by his trials; some evidence of acquiescence in the government of God, and some manifestation of true repentance, which was the reason why the stroke of punishment should be removed, and why the sufferer should be saved from death. This might be called by Elihu "a ransom" - using the word in a very large sense.
There can be no doubt that such "a fact" often occurs. God lays his hand on his erring and wandering children. He brings upon them afflictions which would consign them to the grave, if they were not checked. Those afflictions are effectual in the case. They are the means of true repentance; they call back the wanderer; they lead him to put his trust in God, and to seek his happiness again in him; and this result of his trials is a reason why they should extend no further. The object of the affliction has been accomplished, and the penitence of the sufferer is a sufficient reason for lightening the hand of affliction, and restoring him again to health and prosperity. This is not properly an atonement, or a ransom, in the sense in which the word is now technically used, but the Hebrew word used here would not be inappropriately employed to convey such an idea. Thus, in Exodus 32:30, the intercession of Moses is said to be that by which an atonement would be made for the sin of the people.
"Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin; and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement (אכפרה 'ekâpharâh, from כפר kâphar), for your sin." Here, it is manifest that the act of Moses in making intercession was to be the public reason, or the "ransom," why they were not to be punished. So the boldness, zeal, and fidelity of Phinehas in resisting idolatry, and punishing those who had been guilty of it, are spoken of as the atonement or ransom on account of which the plague was stayed, and the anger of God removed from his people; Numbers 25:12-13, "Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace - because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement (ויכפר vaykâphar) for the children of Israel." Septuagint, ἐξιλάσατο exilasato. In this large sense, the sick man's repentance might be regarded as the covering, ransom, or public reason why he should be restored.
That word literally means that which covers, or overlays any thing; and then an atonement or expiation, as being such a covering. See Genesis 20, 16; Exodus 21:30. Cocceius, Calovius, and others suppose that the reference here is to the Messiah, and to the atonement made by him. Schultens supposes that it has the same reference by anticipation - that is, that God had purposed such a ransom, and that in virtue of the promised and pre-figured expiation, he could now show mercy. But it cannot be demonstrated that Elihu had such a reference; and though it was undoubtedly true that God designed to show mercy to people only through that atonement, and that it was, and is, only by this that release is ever given to a sufferer, still, it does not follow that Elihu fully understood this. The general truth that God was merciful, and that the repentance of the sick man would be followed by a release from suffering, was all that can reasonably be supposed to have been understood at that. period of the world. Now, we know the reason, the mode, and the extent of the ransom; and taking the words in their broadest sense, we may go to all sufferers, and say, that they may be redeemed from going down to the dark chambers of the eternal pit, for God has found a ransom. A valuable consideration has been offered, in the blood of the Redeemer, which is an ample reason why they should not be consigned to hell, if they are truly penitent.
on Job 33 :24
33:24 He - God. A ransom - Although I might justly destroy him, yet I will spare him, for I have found out a way of ransoming sinners from death, which is the death of my son, the redeemer of the world, and with respect to which I will pardon them that repent and sue for mercy. Observe how God glories in the invention! I have found, I have found a ransom; a ransom for poor, undone sinners! I, even I am he that hath done it.