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Job 41:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Who hath prevented me - Who is it that hath laid me under obligation to him? Do I need my creatures? All under the heavens is my property.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Who hath prevented me? - As this verse is here rendered, its meaning, and the reason why it is introduced, are not very apparent. It almost looks, indeed, as if it were an interpolation, or had been introduced from some other place, and torn from its proper connection. Dr. Harris proposes to remove the principal difficulty by translating it,

“Who will stand before me, yea, presumptuously?

Whatsoever is beneath the whole heaven is mine.

I cannot be confounded at his limbs and violence,

Nor at his power, or the strength of his frame.”

It may be doubted, however, whether the original will admit of this translation. Rosenmuller, Umbreit, and Noyes, unite in supposing the meaning to be, “Who has done me a favor, that I must repay him?” But perhaps the true idea of the passage may be arrived at by adverting to the meaning of the word rendered “prevented” - קדם qâdam It properly means in the Piel, to go before; to precede; to anticipate, Psalm 17:13; Psalm 119:148. Then it means to rush upon suddenly; to seize; to go to meet anyone either for succor, Psalm 59:11, or for a different purpose. Isaiah 37:33, “no shield shall come up against her.” יקדמנה yaqâdamenâh “i. e.” against the city. So Job 30:27, “The days of affliction prevented me.” A similar meaning occurs in the Hiphil form in Amos 9:10, “The evil shall not overtake us nor prevent us;” that is, shall not rush upon us as if by anticipation, or when we are off our guard.

If some idea of this kind be supposed to be conveyed by the word here, it will probably express the true sense. “Who is able to seize upon me suddenly, or when I am off my guard; to anticipate my watchfulness and my power of resistance so as to compel me to recompense him, or so to overmaster me as to lay me under obligation to confer on him the favors which he demands?” There may be an allusion to the manner in which wild beasts are taken, when the hunter springs his gin suddenly, anticipates the power of the animal, rushes unexpectedly upon him, and compels him to yield. God says that no one could thus surprise and overpower him. Thus explained, the sentiment agrees with the argument which the Almighty is presenting. He is showing his right to reign and do all his pleasure. He appeals, in proof of this, to his great and mighty works, and especially to those specimens of the animal creation which “man” could not tame or overcome. The argument is this: “If man cannot surprise and subdue these creatures of the Almighty, and compel “them” to render him service, how can he expect to constrain the Creator himself to be tributary to him, or to grant him the favors which he demands?”

Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine - That is, “All belong to me; all are subject to me; all are mine, to be conferred on whom I please. No one can claim them as his own: no one can wrest them from me.” This claim to the proprietorship of all created things, is designed “here” to show to Job that over a Being thus supreme man could exert no control. It is his duty, therefore, to submit to him without a complaint, and to receive with gratitude what he chooses to confer.

Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 132.3

No man has a right to call himself his own. And no man possesses any good thing that he can call his own. Every man, every thing, is the property of the Lord. All that man receives from the bounty of heaven is still the Lord's. Whatever we have that is of value, we should use for the benefit of our fellowmen, in order that they shall become valuable workers. Every energy, every endowment, is a talent that should contribute to God's glory by being used in His service. Our God-given capabilities should not be made to serve selfish ends. We should always be willing to impart, letting others know all that we know; and we should rejoice, if they in their work develop an energy and an intelligence superior to that which we possess. TDG 132.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 310.2

In the Word of God many queries are raised that the most profound scholars can never answer. Attention is called to these subjects to show us how many things there are, even among the common things of everyday life, that finite minds, with all their boasted wisdom, can never fully comprehend. 3SM 310.2

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