Job 33:23


King James Version (KJV)

If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show to man his uprightness:

American King James Version (AKJV)

If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show to man his uprightness:

American Standard Version (ASV)

If there be with him an angel, An interpreter, one among a thousand, To show unto man what is right for him;

Basic English Translation (BBE)

If now there may be an angel sent to him, one of the thousands which there are to be between him and God, and to make clear to man what is right for him;

Webster's Revision

If there is a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show to man his uprightness:

World English Bible

"If there is beside him an angel, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show to man what is right for him;

English Revised Version (ERV)

If there be with him an angel, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man what is right for him;

Clarke's Job 33:23 Bible Commentary

V. The Messengers

If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, etc. - The Messengers of righteousness; this is a Fifth method, אם יש עליו מלאך מליץ im yesh alaiv malach melits, "If there be over him an interpreting or mediatorial angel or messenger." One among a thousand, אחד מני אלף echad minni aleph. "One from the Chief, Head, or Teacher."

To show unto man his uprightness - להגיד לאדם ישרו lehaggid leadam yoshro, "to manifest or cause to be declared to man his righteousness:" to show unto Adam - men in general, the descendants of the first man - his purity and holiness; to convince him of sin, righteousness, and judgment, that he may be prepared for the discovery of what is next to be exhibited.

Barnes's Job 33:23 Bible Commentary

If there be a messenger with him - This part of the speech of Elihu has given rise to scarcely less diversity of opinion, and to scarcely less discussion, than the celebrated passage in Job 19:25-27. Almost every interpreter has had a special view of its meaning, and of course it is very difficult, if not impossible, to determine its true sense. Before the opinions which have been entertained are specified, and an attempt made to determine the true sense of the passage, it may be of interest to see how it is presented in the ancient versions, and what light they throw on it. The Vulgate renders it, "If there is for him an angel speaking, one of thousands, that he may announce the righteousness of the man; he will pity him, and say, Deliver him that he descends not into corruption: I have found him in whom I will be propitious to him" - inveni in quo ei propitier. The Septuagint translators render it, "If there be a thousand angels of death (ἄγγελοι θανατηφόροι angeloi thanatēforoi), not one of them can mortally wound him (τρώσῃ ἀυτόν trōsē auton). If he determine in his heart to turn to the Lord, when he shall have shown man his charge against him, and shown his folly, he will support him that he may not fall to death, and renew his body, like plastering on a wall (ὥσπερ ἀλοιφην ἐπὶ τοίχου hōsper aloifēn epi toichou), and will fill his bones with marrow, and make his flesh soft like an infant." The Chaldee renders it, "If there is merit זכותא z-k-w-t-' in him, an angel is prepared, a comforter (פרקליטא, Paraclete, Gr. παρύκλητος paraklētos), one among a thousand accusers (קטיגוריא, Gr. κατήγορός katēgoros), that he may announce to man his rectitude. And he spares him, and says, Redeem him, that he may not descend to corruption; I have found a ransom." Schultens has divided the opinions which have been entertained of the passage into three classes. They are,

I. The opinions of those who suppose that by the messenger, or angel, here, there is reference to a man. Of those who hold this opinion, he enumerates no less than seven classes. They are such as these:

(1) those who hold that the man referred to is some distinguished instructor sent to the sick to teach them the will of God, an opinion held by Munster and Isidorus;

(2) those who refer it to a prophet, as Junius et Tremillius:

(3) Codurcus supposes that there is reference to the case of Abimelech, who was made sick on account of Sarah, and that the man referred to was a prophet, who announced to him that God was righteous; Genesis 20.

The 4th and 5th cases slightly vary from these specified.

(6) Those who hold that Elihu referred to himself as being the angel, or messenger, that God had sent to make known to Job the truth in regard to the divine government, and the reason why he afflicts people. Of this opinion was Gusset, and we may add that this is the opinion of Umbreit.

(7) Those who suppose that some faithful servant of God is intended, without specifying who, who comes to the sick and afflicted, and announces to them the reason of the divine dispensations.

II. The second class of opinions is, that an angel is referred to here, and that the meaning is, that God employs angelic beings to communicate His will to people, and especially to the afflicted - to make known to them the reason why they are afflicted, and the assurance that he is willing to show mercy to them if they will repent. Of those who hold this, Schultens mentions

(1) the Septuagint which renders it, "the angels of death;"

(2) the Chaldee paraphrasist, who understands it of the comforting angel" - the Paraclete;

(3) the opinion of Mercer, who supposes it to refer to a good angel, who, though there be a thousand of a contrary description, if he announces the will of God, and shows the true reason why He afflicts people, may be the means of reclaiming them;

(4) the opinion of Clerc, who regards it as a mere hypothesis of Elihu, saying that on the supposition that an angel would thus visit people, they might be reclaimed;

(5) the opinion of Grotius, who supposes it refers to angels regarded as mediators, who perform their office of mediation in two ways - by admonishing people, and by praying for them. This was also the opinion of Maimonides.


Wesley's Job 33:23 Bible Commentary

33:23 A messenger - A prophet or teacher. To expound the providence, and point out the design of God therein. One, &c. - A person rightly qualified for this great and hard work, such as there are but very few.To shew - To direct him to the right way how he may please God, and procure that mercy which he thirsts after; which is not by quarrelling with God, but by an humble confession. and supplication for mercy through Christ the redeemer.

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