Job 33:14-18

14 For God does speak—now one way, now another— though no one perceives it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds,
16 he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings,
17 to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride,
18 to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword.[a]

Job 33:14-18 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JOB 33

In this chapter Elihu addresses Job himself, and entreats his attention to what he had to say to him, and offers several things to induce him to it; and recommends himself as one that was according to his wish, in the stead of God, a man like himself, and of whom he had no reason to be afraid, Job 33:1-7; and then he brings a charge against him of things which he himself had heard, of words that had dropped from him in the course of his controversy with his friends; in which he too much and too strongly insisted on his own innocence and purity, and let fill very undue and unbecoming reflections on the dealings of God with him, Job 33:8-11; to which he gives an answer by observing the superior greatness of God to man, and his sovereignty over him, not being accountable to him for anything done by him; and therefore man should be silent and submissive to him, Job 33:12,13; and yet, though he is so great and so absolute, and uncontrollable, and is not obliged to give an account of his affairs to man, and the reasons of them; yet he condescends by various ways and means to instruct him in his mind and will, and even by these very things complained of; and therefore should not be treated as if unkind and unfriendly to men; sometimes he does it by dreams and visions, when he opens the ears of men, and seals instruction to them, and with this view, to restrain them from their evil purposes and doings, and to weaken their pride and humble them, and preserve them from ruin, Job 33:14-18; and sometimes by chastening and afflictive providences, which are described, Job 33:19-22; and which become teaching ones; through the interposition of a divine messenger, and upon the afflicted man's prayer to God, and humiliation before him, God is gracious and favourable to him, and delivers him; which is frequently the design and the use that he makes of chastening dispensations, Job 33:23-30; and the chapter is concluded with beseeching Job to mark and consider well what had been said unto him, and to answer it if he could or thought fit; if not, silently to attend to what he had further to say to him for his instruction, Job 33:31-33.

Job 33:14-18 In-Context

12 “But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than any mortal.
13 Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one’s words ?
14 For God does speak—now one way, now another— though no one perceives it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds,
16 he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings,
17 to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride,
18 to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword.
19 “Or someone may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in their bones,
20 so that their body finds food repulsive and their soul loathes the choicest meal.

Cross References 13

  • 1. Psalms 62:11
  • 2. ver 29
  • 3. Job 4:12
  • 4. S Genesis 20:3; Job 4:13; S Matthew 27:19
  • 5. Acts 16:9
  • 6. S Genesis 15:1; Daniel 2:19
  • 7. S Genesis 2:21
  • 8. Job 36:10,15
  • 9. S Job 6:4
  • 10. Psalms 88:15-16
  • 11. S Job 20:6
  • 12. ver 22,24,28,30; Psalms 28:1; Psalms 30:9; Psalms 69:15; Psalms 88:6; Psalms 103:4; Proverbs 1:12; Isaiah 14:15; Isaiah 38:17; John 2:6; Zechariah 9:11
  • 13. S Job 15:22; Matthew 26:52

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "from crossing the river"