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36:1-2 "Wait for me a little": Again he pleads for continued patience with his words. "He was so full of ideas to share (32:18-20) that he asked Job not to become impatient with. He still had more to say in defense of God" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 762).
36:2 "That there is yet more to be said in God's behalf": Elihu has this consuming desire to defend God against Job's accusations concerning God's justice. Are we earnest in wanting to speak in God's behalf?
36:3 "I will fetch my knowledge from afar": He would display the full range of his knowledge because he had a wide range of insight. His first concern, as before, was to ascribe "righteousness to his Maker", that is, to show that God is righteous, even righteous in allowing Job to suffer.
36:4 Not lacking in self-confidence, Elihu affirmed that his words were true. 36:4 "One who is perfect in knowledge is with you": Is Elihu being overconfident here, or is the "One" under consideration God? "The words may not be as arrogant as they sound; he may simply be claiming a clear understanding, sincerity, and conviction" (Jackson p. 73). Thus Elihu is saying that his teaching would be extensive, humble, true, and it would be comprehensive and sincere.
36:5 "God is mighty but does not despise any": God is mighty, yet God does not lack mercy. God is mighty in strength and "understanding", that is, literally, in heart.
36:6 God does not ignore the wickedness of the wicked and neither does He ignore the afflictions of the afflicted. Thus Elihu reminds Job that God is merciful and that God is not ignoring him. "God restores afflicted, righteous people, giving them deserved blessings, watching over them in care (though Job felt this was no longer true of him, 29:2; 10:12)" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 763). Note, Elihu is not saying that the wicked are immediately punished or the righteous are immediately rewarded, in fact he admits that the righteous could be afflicted, rather he is saying that God is just and justice is eventually exercised in all cases.
36:7 God does not hide from righteous men, rather He treats them like royalty.
36:8 Yet even the righteous can get caught in affliction. "Sometimes righteous people undergo trials (are bound by chains) and are subjected to affliction (such as being chained, held fast by cords, to a bed of pain)" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 763). The New Testament notes that being righteous does not exempt one from suffering (Matthew 5:10-12; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12).
36:9 God allows the righteous to suffer for various purposes, He does not abandon them, rather He might be trying to call their attention to a sin in their life, or humble them so they do not become arrogant. "God can use these to teach them, and especially to arrest pride" (Jackson p. 73).
36:10 Suffering and pain also have the ability to open a person's ears to instruction and getting back on the right path. "By hardships God can get a man's attention and bring him out of sin" (p. 73). Compare with 33:16.
36:11-12 Those who hearken to such lessons will end up blessed and those who refuse to learn will perish in their ignorance. This may be a warning to Job that Job, even though he is righteous and knowledgeable, still needs to be open to more learning (Proverbs 9:8-9). To die without knowledge means that they died without having learned what they might have gained from their problems.
36:13 Here is another warning, godless people do not learn from suffering, rather they store up resentment against God, others, and life in general.
36:14 "They die in youth, and their life perishes among the cult prostitutes": Literally the expression "cult prostitutes" means "consecrated ones", that is males and females given over to depraved rites. "They die in their youth like the male homosexuals in the temples of Baal (1 Kings 14:24; 15:12), who are ravaged by venereal disease (Romans 1:27b)" (Jackson p. 73).
36:15 On the other hand God delivers the afflicted to cry out to Him and trust Him, instead of storing up anger against Him. Here is a warning. Job has been storing up anger up against God. In time of oppression such people actually learn the lesson that God wants them to learn. Has Job been learning anything?
36:16 God was seeking to free Job from distress, straits, a cramped situation, and take him to a spacious place, that is, a place with no obstructions.
36:17 "Instead, he lashed out at God and so was visited with judgment such as is suitable for the wicked" (Jackson p. 73).
36:18 Job needs to be careful that his pain and suffering do not move him towards acting like or speaking like a scoffer. "And not let 'the greatness of the ransom' (the large price he is paying by his suffering) turn him aside from upright living" (Zuck p. 157).
36:19-20 There is a warning here against trusting in wealth to buy off distress, or by using human efforts, or by wanting to die as Job had declared in chapter 3. None of that was the answer.
36:21 "Job should be careful that he not turn to sin (by complaining), which seems to have been his preference in bearing his trials without complaint" (Zuck p. 158). Elihu feels that holding God in awe and murmuring about how God is running the world is a contradiction and two things that should not go together. What he says is very true. One cannot truly worship God and be complaining at the same time.
36:22-23 God is exalted and acts majestically, He is also an unsurpassed Teacher, and "is an independent Sovereign, answerable to no one, and always does right, and therefore cannot be rightfully challenged by man" (p. 158).
36:24 As a result Job should magnify God, as others had done in song instead of criticizing Him. In this passage "God's work" including His work in allowing Job to suffer.
36:25-26 "The eternal God is so great that men are compelled to hold Him in profound awe from afar. The young man's point here is quite valuable. If men would spend more time reflecting upon the marvelous majesty of our great Creator, they would be considerably less preoccupied with wallowing in their own self-pity" (Jackson p. 74).
36:26 "The number of His years is unsearchable": How you ever tried to mentally comprehend the fact that God never had a beginning?
36:27-28 The water-vapor cycle is one example of God's majesty, for by His laws God draws up moisture which distills or condenses and forms rain for man in abundance (see Ecc. 1:7).
36:29 "Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds?" "Who understands, he asks, how God diffuses the clouds, or how He causes the thunder?" (Jackson p. 74). The expression in 36:29 "His pavilion" is a picturesque description of the sky.
36:30 God covers the depths of the sea so that man on land cannot see them.
36:31 God has used such powers of the creation both for judgment and mercy. God has brought rain to bring calamity and judgment, but often He uses it to bring food the man and the animals.
36:32 Lightning is poetically spoken as if coming from God's own hands, as if God was sending lightning, as an archer shoots arrows at a target.
36:33 Thunder, the noise associated with lightning announces the fact that there is a God, and even cattle are aware of an approaching storm and are stirred by it.
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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 36". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
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