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take him for that person whom he had so often wished for, that wonld
VER.-6. “Behold I am according to thy wish in God's stead.")-The original is, I am as the mouth to God, 'These words are an answer to Job's desire, chap. xvi. 21. where he pleads for One to intercede with God for him ; and saith Elihu, I am according to thy wish; which sets forth in a lively manner Christ as our counsellor, advocate, and intercessor with the Father; that he was, according to Job's wish, in his name and character, in his person, office, and relation, one that could strike liands as a surety, and plead for him.
Ver. 7. " Bchold, my terror shall not make thee afraid.”]-This shews that the appearance of Elihu had a singular inajesty and glory, which commanded reverence, attention, and respect: as he appeared suddenly, not only as a moderator or judge, but as one having authority to setile the present dispnie; for whien he commands attention, neither Job nor any one of his three friends make the least reply, thongb he condemned them; and likewise be condemns Job for his pleading his innocence before God, and not acknowledging the sinfulness of his nature, which was to humble Job and to lay him in the dust before the Lord; but yet he had promised that bis terror, majesty, or presence, should not make him afraid, and gives this as the reason, “I also am formed out of the clay." The familiar appearances of Christ to the old testament saints, as man in tbeir nature, with displays of his glory, did prefigure his incarnation and tabernacling among us, likewise that freedom and familiarity that he gives his people with them at the throne of grace, that his majesty or terror shall not make them afraid : for he appears in their nature, clothed with their flesh; which emboldens them to seek his face ; for he is not arrayed with condemning terrors, nor does he appear with forbidding awe, but invites us to draw near to him with the gracious invitations and promises of his lips.
Ver. 9 and 12. “ Behold, in this thou art not just.”]-. Elihu in verse 9, puts Job in remembrance of his saying, « I am clean without transgression, neither is there iniquity in me." Bebold, in this, saith Elihu, thou art not just, that is, that Job gave and ascribed to himself wbat was not just nor right; for he was not without sin, and this was what Elibu convinced him of; for we find that Job, under the apprehensions of his own innocence and righteousness, had accused God of dealing cruelly with bim, ver. 10. But Elibu soon removed Job's self-confidence by shewing bim the greatness and sovereignty of God in his dealings; not that we are to apprehend that Job trusted to his own innocence or righteousness for his justification for eternal life, but he had too much dependence upon it for his confort under his affliction, and placed it too much as his hope that God should relieve bim on the account of it: but Elihu leads him to look to another for relief, and to another foundation for his hope. And it is remarkable that Job, who was very quick in bis replies to his other friends, makes not one reply to Elihu.
Ver. 18. “ He keepeth back his soul from tbe pit."]That is, from the pit of everlasting ruin and destruction. The relative he refers to God himself, who both begins and perfects this great work of grace, as he speaketh with a purpose to withdraw man from his purpose, &c. so he having effectually withdrawn him from it, and hid pride from bim, he thereby bumbleth him in the dust of repent. ance, and so keepeth back bis soul from the pit.
The word rendered keepeth back, denotes a threefold keeping back ; first, by force, as a man holds another from falling into a pit, or running into danger; he holds him whether he will or not. Secondly, there is a holding or keeping back by persuasion or entreaties, by scasonable advice and counsel : 60 Abigail kept David from shedding blood, 1 Sam. XXV. Thirdly, there is a holding or keeping back by authority, wben a command forbids a man from going on, and so stops his proceeding. Thus we see there is a kecping back, either by outward force, or by counsel, or command. Sometimes God keepeth man, either by his
power, or by persuasions and commands sent to him, from setting so much as one foot forward in any sinful way leading to the pit; yet often he suffers him to go on a great way, and when he is advanced far towards, yea, is near, very near to the pit's brink, even ready to drop into it, then the Lord graciously keeps his soul from falling into it. The word imports powerful acting, take it either in the negative or affirmative. When the tongue is kept back, it is done by a mighty power of grace; and 0 how great as well as gracious is that power, which the Lord putteth forth to keep back a poor soul that is going a pace to destruction, from falling into the pit.
Ver. 22. “ And his life to the destroyers."]—By destroy. ers, some understand sicknesses and diseases of the body; others death and the grave; while others understand de. stroying angels; but rather we are to understand satan, guilt, and sin: but great and unexpected grace appears for the soul's relief.
Ver. 23. “ If there be a messenger with him."]—The original is for him ; that is, for the poor sin-sick soul that is under the apprebensions of death and the destroyers. The word messenger signifies an angel, and may fitly be applied to our Lord Jesus Christ, the uncreated angel, or the creating angel, the Lord of angels, who by way of emi. nency is called the “ angel of his presence," Isaiah lxiii. 9. and the angel, or messenger of the covenant," Mal. iii. 1. He also was that angel of whom the Lord spake to the children, Exod. xxiii. 20. saying, “ Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared; for my name is in him :" that is, he is of the same nature with myself, and with that nature he hath my name, Jehovah. Elihu in. tended the ministration of Jesus Christ, the angel of the covenant, to the sick sinner, for his restoring both as to the health of the soul and body. It is true Jesus Christ is the great angel or messenger, and he primarily and chiefly doth all the business for poor sinners; he is the messenger sent from God, and he is the interpreter of the mind of God; he came from the bosom of the Father, and reveals the mysteries of heaven to us by his Holy Spirit. He indeed is " the one of a thousand,” the chiefest of ten thou. sand, to shew unto man his uprightness. Likewise by messenger might be understood the messengers and minise ters of the gospel : so the ancient prophets were in this sense the angels of God, his messengers, and so are the
ministers of the gospel at this day. The epistles to the seven churches are all directed to the angels of the churches ;" that is, to the several pastors or ministers of the churches respectively. And thus we may conclude, that by the messenger in this text we are to understand any faithful minister of Christ, sont to comfort a sick troubled soul. We may very well gather up both these latter interpretations into one, that which applieth it to Christ, and That which applieth it to the ministers of Christ: for we have here both the author and the instrument of this comfort to the sick man. Jesus Christ is the chief messenger and comforter of poor sinners; and the ministers of the gospel are instruments in his haud, sent out by him for the perfecting of that work.
* An interpreter."]-Which is the title given to the mes. senger that is with the sin-sick soul. The word comes from an Hebrew root which signifies sweetness, because of bis message; for the interpretation of the word of God is sucelness in the abstract, “ sweeter than honey and the boncy. comb," Psalm xix. 10. This interpreter is Christ, whose mouth is most sweet, or sweetnesses, because he reveals the counsels of peace, and interprets bis Father's mind and will concerning the life, peace, and redemption of poor sinners; and when the love of God and his gracious designs are interpreted, revealed, and applied by the Holy Ghost to the sin-sick soul that is ready to perish, what sweetness, peace, and pardon, docs the soul take therein! it then wonders at “the gracious words wbicb proceed out of bis lips.”
os One among a thousand."]-This is primarily to be understood, first, of Christ, as a farther exaltation of his person and office, as he is a teacher sent from God, denoting that there is none like him, none but Christ that can interpret bow God shall be glorified, and the sinner saved; that he was the only One among all the thousands of men or angels; see Isaiah Ixiii. 1. Secondly, it pay denote à faithful gospel and spiritual minister, who is a messenger and interpreter in Zion, in opening the counsels, covenant, and promises of God, and the true way of salvation by Christ; that such are rare, like one among a thousand, who are spiritually qualified and anointed by the Holy Ghost to be interpreters, to speak a word in season to weary souls.
"To show unto man his uprightness.”]-Job bad been speaking much of his own uprightness and innocency, but here Elihu leads him to the uprightness of another, understood by thc pronoun his, namely, the messengers or interpreters of uprightness, which Christ, as God's messenger, shews to man in its perfection, glory, and fulness; that is, his righteousness, not his essential righteousness, as God, but his righteousness, as God's messenger and the church's mediator, namely, the righteousness of his human nature, life, and death. As the purity of it was answerable to the perfection of the law, so his life was adequate to its precepts, and bis death to the penalty ; which appears to sensi. ble sinners as the foundation of their perfect redernption. When Elibu speaks of an uprightness to be shewn the troubled soul, it is not the messenger, who conies to relieve and comfort him, should use flattering words, and blow him up with a conceit of his own good works, and so tell him a story of his virtues or virtuous dceds : no, the uprightness chiefly intended here is the righteousness of Christ, in and by which we are reconciled to and made one with God, Nor can we crer attain to this till we are made sensible of our own nothingness, till we are unhinged of self, and quite taken off from any bottoming upon our own righteousness. Some, when they have trouble of conscience upon them, fy to their own righteousness; and when they are sick and ready to die, how do they prepare to stand right before God? They confess they have sinned and done amiss, but they hope they have repented and made amends for that; yea, they can remember they have done such good things, they have been just to all men, and charitable to the poor, they have heard the word, and been at many a good sermon, they have prayed, and fasted, &c. Thus they patch up the business, as if this were their only uprighiness, whereas, indeed, their only uprightness is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We never see where our uprightness is till we see there is nothing that makes us stand upright in the court of heaven, but only Cbrist our righteousness. This is the great duty of the messengers and interpreters of Christ, to declare to man this righteousness for bis uprightness, And that bence it is that God is and will be gracious to him...
Ver. 24. 6 Then he is gracious unto him."]_The word translated gracious in the original, signifies to have compassion, to bestow grace, to do good, to do it with delight, to do it freely. This shews that all gracious communication flows through Christ's righteousness to his peo. ple. Therefore when it is said, then “he (that is, the Lord) is gracious," it may be taken iwo ways. First, to be gracia ous implies the intrinsical graciousness of his nature, or that