1, 2. Elihu maintains that afflictions are to the godly disciplinary,
in order to lead them to attain a higher moral worth, and that the
reason for their continuance is not, as the friends asserted, on
account of the sufferer's extraordinary guilt, but because the
discipline has not yet attained its object, namely, to lend him to
humble himself penitently before God
This is Elihu's fourth speech. He thus exceeds the ternary
number of the others. Hence his formula of politeness
Literally, "Wait yet but a little for me." Bear with me a little
farther. I have yet (much,
There are Chaldeisms in this verse, agreeably to the view that the
scene of the book is near the Euphrates and the Chaldees.
3. from afar--not trite commonplaces, but drawn from God's mighty
ascribe righteousness--whereas Job ascribed unrighteousness
(Job 34:10, 12).
A man, in enquiring into God's ways, should at the outset
presume they are all just, be willing to find them so,
and expect that the result of investigation will prove them to
be so; such a one will never be disappointed [BARNES].
4. I will not "speak wickedly for God," as the friends
(Job 13:4, 7, 8)
--that is, vindicate God by unsound arguments.
he that is perfect, &c.--Rather, as the parallelism requires, "a
man of integrity in sentiments is with thee" (is he with whom thou
hast to do). Elihu means himself, as opposed to the dishonest
reasonings of the friends
5. Rather, "strength of understanding" (heart) the force of the
repetition of "mighty"; as "mighty" as God is, none is too low to be
"despised" by Him; for His "might" lies especially in "His strength of
understanding," whereby He searches out the most minute things, so as
to give to each his right. Elihu confirms his exhortation
6. right . . . poor--He espouses the cause of the
God does not forsake the godly, as Job implied, but "establishes," or
makes them sit on the throne as kings
Ps 113:7, 8).
True of believers in the highest sense, already in part
and they are--that they may be.
8-10. If they be afflicted, it is no proof that they are hypocrites,
as the friends maintain, or that God disregards them, and is
indifferent whether men are good or bad, as Job asserts: God is thereby
"disciplining them," and "showing them their sins," and if they bow in
a right spirit under God's visiting hand, the greatest blessings ensue.
that . . . exceeded--"In that they behaved themselves mightily"
(literally, "great"); that is, presumptuously, or, at least,
(Job 33:16-18, 23).
11. serve--that is, worship; as in
God is to be supplied (compare
Isa 1:19, 20).
without knowledge--that is, on account of their foolishness
(Job 4:20, 21).
13-15. Same sentiment as
Job 36:11, 12,
hypocrites--or, the ungodly [MAURER]; but
"hypocrites" is perhaps a distinct class from the openly wicked
heap up wrath--of God against themselves
UMBREIT translates, "nourish their wrath
against God," instead of "crying" unto Him. This suits well the
parallelism and the Hebrew. But the English Version gives
a good parallelism, "hypocrites" answering to "cry not"
(Job 27:8, 10);
"heap up wrath" against themselves, to "He bindeth them" with fetters
Their life is (ended) as that of (literally, "among") the
unclean, prematurely and dishonorably. So the second clause answers
to the first. A warning that Job make not common cause with the wicked
15. poor--the afflicted pious.
openeth . . . ears--
so as to be admonished in their straits ("oppression") to seek
God penitently, and so be "delivered"
(Job 33:16, 17, 23-27).
16. Rather, "He will lead forth thee also out of the jaws of a
broad place--expresses the liberty, and the well-supplied "table"
the abundance of the prosperous
17. Rather, "But if thou art fulfilled (that is, entirely filled)
with the judgment of the wicked (that is, the guilt incurring
judgment" [MAURER]; or rather, as
UMBREIT, referring to
Job 34:5-7, 36,
the judgment pronounced on God by the guilty in misfortunes),
judgment (God's judgment on the wicked,
playing on the double meaning of "judgment") and justice shall closely
follow each other [UMBREIT].
Ps 49:6, 7;
Even the "ransom" by Jesus Christ
will be of no avail to wilful despisers
with his stroke--
UMBREIT translates, "Beware lest the wrath of God
(thy severe calamity) lead thee to scorn"
(Job 34:7; 27:23).
This accords better with the verb in the parallel clause, which ought
to be translated, "Let not the great ransom (of money, which thou canst
give) seduce thee (Margin, turn thee aside, as if thou
couldst deliver thyself from "wrath" by it). As the "scorn" in the
first clause answers to the "judgment of the wicked"
so "ransom" ("seduce") to "will he esteem riches"
is the transition between
and Job 36:19.
19. forces of strength--that is, resources of wealth
20. Desire--pant for. Job had wished for death
cut off--literally, "ascend," as the corn cut and lifted upon the
wagon or stack
so "cut off," "disappear."
in their place--literally, "under themselves"; so, without moving
from their place, on the spot, suddenly
translation: "To ascend (which is really, as thou wilt find to
thy cost, to descend) to the people below" (literally,
"under themselves"), answers better to the parallelism and the
Hebrew. Thou pantest for death as desirable, but it is a "night"
or region of darkness; thy fancied ascent (amelioration)
will prove a descent (deterioration)
therefore desire it not.
21. regard--literally, "turn thyself to."
iniquity--namely, presumptuous speaking against God
and above, see on
Job 36:17, 18).
rather than--to bear "affliction" with pious patience. Men think it
an alleviation to complain against God, but this is adding sin to
sorrow; it is sin, not sorrow, which can really hurt us (contrast
22-25. God is not to be impiously arraigned, but to be praised for
His might, shown in His works.
exalteth--rather, doeth lofty things, shows His exalted power
&c.). The connection is, returning to
God's "might" is shown in His "wisdom"; He alone can teach; yet,
because He, as a sovereign, explains not all His dealings, forsooth Job
must presume to teach Him
(Isa 40:13, 14;
So the transition to
is natural. UMBREIT with the Septuagint
translates, "Who is Lord," wrongly, as this meaning belongs to
23. Job dared to prescribe to God what He should do
(Job 34:10, 13).
24. Instead of arraigning, let it be thy fixed principle to
magnify God in His works
these, which all may "see," may convince us that what we do not see is
altogether wise and good
shows; not, as MAURER, "sing," laud (see on
25. See--namely, with wondering admiration
man may behold--rather, "(yet) mortals (a different Hebrew word from 'man') behold it (only) from afar off," see but a small
God's greatness in heaven and earth: a reason why Job should bow under
His afflicting hand.
know him not--only in part
(Ps 90:2; 102:24, 27);
applied to Jesus Christ
27, 28. The marvellous formation of rain (so
Job 5:9, 10).
maketh small--Rather, "He draweth (up) to Him, He
attracts (from the earth below) the drops of water; they (the
drops of water) pour down rain, (which is) His vapor."
"Vapor" is in apposition with "rain," marking the way in which rain is
formed; namely, from the vapor drawn up by God into the air and then
condensed into drops, which fall
The suspension of such a mass of water, and its descent not in a
deluge, but in drops of vapory rain, are the marvel. The
selection of this particular illustration of God's greatness forms a
fit prelude to the storm in which God appears
28. abundantly--literally, "upon many men."
God's marvels in thunder and lightnings.
spreadings, &c.--the canopy of thick clouds, which covers the
heavens in a storm
the noise--"crashing"; namely, thunder.
of his tabernacle--God being poetically said to have His pavilion
amid dark clouds
The light, in an instant spread over the vast mass of dark clouds,
forms a striking picture.
spread--is repeated from
to form an antithesis. "He spreads not only clouds, but
covereth the bottom--roots.
of the sea--namely, with the light. In the storm the depths of
ocean are laid bare; and the light "covers" them, at the same moment
that it "spreads" across the dark sky. So in
Ps 18:14, 15,
the discovering of "the channels of waters" follows the "lightnings."
UMBREIT translates: "He spreadeth His light
upon Himself, and covereth Himself with the roots of the
God's garment is woven of celestial light and of the watery depths,
raised to the sky to form His cloudy canopy. The phrase, "cover Himself
with the roots of the sea," is harsh; but the image is grand.
31. These (rain and lightnings) are marvellous and not to be
yet necessary. "For by them He judgeth (chastiseth on the one
hand), &c. (and on the other, by them) He giveth meat" (food), &c.
(Job 37:13; 38:23, 27;
32. Rather, "He covereth (both) His hands with light
Margin), and giveth it a command against his adversary"
(literally, the one "assailing" Him,
Ps 8:2; 139:20;
Thus, as in
the twofold effects of His waters are set forth, so here, of His
light; in the one hand, destructive lightning against the
wicked; in the other, the genial light for good to His friends, &c.
33. noise--rather, He revealeth it (literally, "announceth concerning it")
to His friend (antithesis to adversary,
so the Hebrew is translated,
also to cattle and plant