Job 34:17

17 Can someone who hates justice govern? Will you condemn the just and mighty One?

Job 34:17 in Other Translations

17 Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
17 Shall one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty,
17 Could God govern if he hated justice? Are you going to condemn the almighty judge?
17 Can someone who hates order, keep order? Do you dare condemn the righteous, mighty God?
17 Could one who hates justice govern [the world]? Will you condemn the mighty Righteous One,

Job 34:17 Meaning and Commentary

Job 34:17

Shall even he that hateth right govern?
&c.] That hates moral and civil justice; is such an one fit to rule among men or over them? No, surely; for to love righteousness and do it is a qualification of a civil governor; it is his business to administer justice; and if an hater of it, he can never be a proper person to rule: and if God was an hater of that which is right, as he would seem to be if he did not do it, he would not be fit to govern the world as he does. To this absurdity is Job reduced, by suggesting that right was not done him, or that God had removed his judgment from him; see ( 2 Samuel 23:3 ) ( Genesis 18:25 ) ( Romans 3:5 Romans 3:6 ) . Mr. Broughton translates the words, "can a foe to judgment rule well?" And yet it cannot be denied, but must be owned, that God does judge in the earth, and judges righteously. Or shall such an one "bind" F2? the allusion may be to a surgeon that binds up wounds. Sin makes wounds, and such as cannot be healed by men; but God can bind them up and cure them, and does: but would he do this if he hated that which is right, if he was not kind and merciful, just and good? see ( Hosea 6:1 ) . Or, as others render it, which comes pretty near to the same sense, "shall a hater of judgment refrain wrath" F3? Such are tyrants, cruel and unmerciful, full of wrath and vengeance, and which they execute in a barbarous manner: but such is not God; he stirs not up all his wrath, which he in justice might; he retains it not for ever, but delights in mercy;

and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
It is not right to condemn any just man, to charge him wrongfully, and then pass an unrighteous sentence on him; and much less to charge the righteous God with injustice, and condemn him that is most just, superlatively just; in whom there is not the least shadow of unrighteousness; who is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works; who is naturally, essentially, and infinitely righteous.


F2 (vbxy) "obligabit", Montanus; so Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis.
F3 "An nasum osor judicii fraenabit?" Schultens.

Job 34:17 In-Context

15 all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust.
16 “If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say.
17 Can someone who hates justice govern? Will you condemn the just and mighty One?
18 Is he not the One who says to kings, ‘You are worthless,’ and to nobles, ‘You are wicked,’
19 who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?

Cross References 2

  • 1. ver 30; 2 Samuel 23:3-4; Proverbs 20:8,26; Proverbs 24:23-25; Proverbs 28:28
  • 2. ver 29; S Job 10:7; Job 40:8; Romans 3:5-6
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