Job 4:12

Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.

Now a thing was secretly brought to me,.... From reason and experience, Eliphaz proceeds to a vision and revelation he had from God, showing the purity and holiness of God, and the frailty, weakness, folly, and sinfulness of men, by which it appears that men cannot be just in the sight of God, and therefore it must be wrong in Job to insist upon his innocence and integrity. Some indeed have thought that this was a mere fiction of Eliphaz, and not a real vision; yea, some have gone so far as to pronounce it a diabolical one, but without any just foundation; for there is nothing in the manner or matter of it but what is agreeable to a divine vision or to a revelation from God; besides, though Eliphaz was a mistaken man in the case of Job, yet was a good man, as may be concluded from the acceptance of a sacrifice for him by the Lord, which was offered for him by Job, according to the order of God, and therefore could never be guilty of such an imposture; nor does Job ever charge him with any falsehood in this matter, who doubtless would have been able to have traversed and exposed him; add to all this, that in his discourse annexed to and continued along with this account, stands a passage, which the apostle has quoted as of divine inspiration, 1 Corinthians 3:19; from Job 5:13. When Eliphaz had this vision, whether within the seven days of his visit to Job, or before, some time ago, which he might call to mind on this occasion, and judging it appropiate to the present case, thought fit to relate it, is not certain, nor very material to know: it is introduced after this manner, "a thing" or "word", a word of prophecy, a word from the Lord, a revelation of his mind and will, which was hidden and secret, and what before he was not so well acquainted with; this was "brought" unto him by the Spirit of God, or by a messenger from the Lord, sent on this occasion, and for this purpose; and the manner in which it was brought was "secretly" or "by stealth", as Mr. Broughton and others {l} render it; it was "stolen" unto him, or "secretly" brought, as the Targum, and we, and others {m}; it was in a private way or manner; or "suddenly", as some others {n}, at unawares, when it was not expected by him: it may have respect to the still and silent manner in which it was revealed to him, "there was silence, and he heard a voice"; a still one, a secret whisper; or to the almost invisible person that revealed it, whose image he saw, but could not discern his form and likeness; or it may be to the distinguishing favour he enjoyed, in having this revelation particularly made to him, and not to others; he heard this word, as it were, behind the curtain, or vail, as the Jews {o} say, explaining this passage:

mine ear received a little of it; this revelation was made, not by an impulse upon his spirits, but vocally, a voice was heard, as after declared, and Eliphaz was attentive to it; he listened to what was said, and heard, and took it in with much delight and pleasure, though but a small part of it, as his capacity was able to retain it; or it was but a small part of the will of God, an hint of his only, as some interpret it {p}. Schultens has shown, from the use of a word near this in the Arabic language, that it signifies "a string of pearls"; and so may design a set of evangelic truths, comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones, and which are indeed more desirable than them, and preferable to them; what they are will be observed hereafter.

{l} bngy "furtive", V. L. Montanus, Cocceius, Drusius; "furtivum verbum venit", Schultens.
{m} "Clanculum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "clam", Beza.
{n} "Subito", Schmidt, Michaelis.
{o} T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 89. 2.
{p} In David de Pomis, Lexic. fol. 217. 3.