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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Job 34

Verses 1-37

JOB - CHAPTER 34

ELIHU’S ADDRESS TO JOB AND HIS THREE FRIENDS

Verses 1-37:

Verses 1, 2 begin a direct address of Elihu, the young Buzite, offspring or decent of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, to Job and his three more aged friends from afar, Job 32:2. He called on these three wise men and Job, all his elders, to give him their earnest hearing, as he addressed the three wise ones, much as he had Job, specifically, in chapter 33.

Verses 3, 4 relate Elihu’s clever approach to the three feigned wise friends of Job, as they leaned forward to give respect to his declamation. He first asserted that the hearing ear tested his words, discerning what was said, just as the mouth (palate) discerned taste of food and drink. He appealed to the vanity of the three friends of Job, as wise men to join him in formulating or restating a good or ideal, uniform judgment, regarding Job’s afflictions, their cause and a remedy.

Verse 5 then relates that Job had contended "I am righteous," as verified Job 9:22; Job 33:9; Job 22:17; Job 35:3; Malachi 3:14. There is surely nothing wrong with ones being righteous. He added that Job had further complained that "God hath taken away my judgment," or his right, and he had, according to his three friends, by reason of the afflictions as recounted Job 13:18; Job 27:2.

Verse 6 further relates that Job had said, "should I lie against my rights?" or I would lie if I did not declare my innocence of guilt of great magnitude. He further lamented that his wound was of Incurable nature, without his having transgression to cause it. This premise Elihu understood, Job 9:17; Job 27:2; Job 16:17.

Verses 7, 8 Inquire what man exists, or ever existed, among men who could "drink up scorning continually," like a camel drinks up water? Elihu played up the ego of Job’s three feigned wise friends by sanctioning their sentiments that Job’s suffering was of Divine warning from God for his sins; when Job had scoffed at their claims, Elihu intimated that he was repeatedly scoffing at God who had sent them to help him and he had rejected it, to the fullest measure; In rejecting their counsel Elihu asserted that Job had joined hands with lawless people, infidels and the wicked, denying that the God of the universe always sent punishment to identify men in their wickedness, therefore Job was a disreputable scorner against God, Job 9:22-23; Job 9:30; Job 31:7-15; Malachi 3:14.

Verse 9 charges further infidelity against Job for claiming that it profits man nothing to delight himself Intimately with God, continually, Psalms 50:18; Job 9:22-23; Job 9:30; Job 31:2-15; Malachi 3:14.

Verse 10 expresses Elihu’s first personal judgment regarding God’s affliction upon Job. He appealed again for rapt attention from these "men of understanding," of brave hearts, a phrase of flattery, more than honor. Then he added that it was far from God, out of character for God to do wickedness, for the Almighty to commit iniquity repeatedly; His judgment was that God did not do wrong in sending afflictions upon Job, without regards to the cause or occasion for the existing afflictions, a scriptural premise; Man is to believe that God’s acts or deeds are righteous or just, whether one understands them or not ... So true! Deuteronomy 32:4; Genesis 18:25; Romans 9:14; See also 2 Chronicles 19:7; Jeremiah 12:1; James 1:13.

Verse 11 declares that "for the work of man He (God) will render or recompense to each according to (or in harmony with) His ways, His course of conduct," Even as He does it, partly here and partly (more fully, finally) hereafter, as set forth Jeremiah 32:19; Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:10-12; 2 Peter 1:17; Revelation 22:12.

Verse 12 contends that God will not do wickedly in sending judgment, nor will He, as the Almighty pervert or distort judgment, showing respect of person, to any degree; This seems to be in opposition to Job’s assumption that God was permitting him to be afflicted unjustly, v.5; Job 8:3.

Verse 13 rhetorically affirms that no one has given Him (the Almighty) administrative charge of the earth, has He? He would not act to inquire of His own people or property, would He? Job 34:23. No one else has formed, disposed, or placed the whole world here, besides Him, has he? Isaiah 44:7. He established the circle of the globe.

Verses 14, 15 certify that if He were to regard Himself (only), and gather to Himself His spirit and breath that He has given to man, and beast, all flesh would perish together, as set forth Genesis 3:19; Psalms 104:29-30; Ecclesiastes 12:7; La 3:22; Acts 17:28.

Verse 16 takes a turn from Elihu’s addressing the wise in general, the more aged before him of v.2, and directly addresses Job, "and now (at this point) if thou (you as an individual) have continuing faculties of understanding, listen cautiously and give heed to my voice of reasonings," that are about to follow, James 1:19.

Verses 17, 18 set forth a barrage of rhetoric questions to Job, questions that imply their own answer. It is not right or just for one who continually hates right or justice to rule is it? The answer is "no," God must be just for He governs, Psalms 149:8.

It is added, "you will not condemn Him who is preeminently just, will you?"

Verse 18 continues that "it is not fitting, proper, or becoming (for a servant) to say to a king, thou art wicked, is it?" or to say to royal princes, "you are all ungodly, is it?" The necessary answer implied is, such would absolutely not be proper! If this is true of earthly monarchs, Elihu suggests, how much more important it is to question the Heavenly King in His majesty! For He justly judges the great and the small, as "no respector of persons," 2 Chronicles 19:7; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25.

Verse 19 Inquires how much less shall the majestic King over His own universe show respect of person or partiality than earthly kings toward the person of princes, or the rich above the poor of His domain! Elihu then concludes rightly, "For they are all the work of His hands," His creation and His property in His universe; To do any of them wrong would be to do Himself wrong, See? Job 31:15. See also Acts 10:34; Proverbs 22:20.

Verse 20 adds that in a moment, a brief time, they shall all die, and be troubled at midnight, an unexpected time. For death comes in such a time of midnight unexpectancy; Yet it awaits all; Even the "mighty (the strongest) shall be taken away from life, without a hand," a hand strong enough to hold off death, Ecclesiastes 9:5; Hebrews 9:27: The rich and the princes must go at death’s call, as surely as the poor, the impoverished, the common laborer, Job 14:1-3; Psalms 90:10.

Verse 21 declares that the Lord’s eyes are continually upon or scrutinizing, surveying, monitoring or computerizing, the ways of man and observes all his repeated actions; As certified Job 31:4; 2 Chronicles 16:1; Psalms 34:15; Proverbs 5:21; Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 16:17; Jeremiah 32:19.

Verse 22 states that there exists no darkness or shadow of death sufficiently bleak or opaque, behind, beneath, or within which repeated workers of iniquity may hide or conceal themselves from the eyesight or righteous judgment hand of Almighty God, Amos 9:2-3; Psalms 139:12; Revelation 20:11.

Verse 23 adds that God will not lay upon man more (in chastening, affliction, or judgment) than is right or just! So that man has no moral or ethical ground on which to enter any defensible controversy with God, regarding judgment, Ezra 9:13; La 3:32; Isaiah 27:8; 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Verses 24, 25 declare that God repeatedly breaks mighty men of the earth, without number, any searching out, or respect for their stature among men; And He sets other men in their places, without consulting any, since none is above Him, as the Almighty, as Certified Psalms 2:9; Job 12:18; Daniel 2:21. He further said to know (be continually cognizant or aware of) their kind of works and overturns or destroys them, brings them to great judgment loss In the night; which means unexpectedly, as He did Pharaoh in the Red Sea, Belshazzar the night of his drunken feast, and Herod upon his throne, as cited Exodus 14:27-28; Daniel 5:24-30; Acts 12:21-23.

Verse 26 asserts that God strikes the wicked in open view of others, much like a public execution, not just in some solitude place, Job 40:12; Exodus 14:30.

Verse 27 concludes that his judgment falls because wicked men, turned back from or away from Him, and did not will to consider any of His ways, Proverbs 1:22-30.

Verse 28 concludes that the obstinate, rebellious, self-willed, covetous wicked who cared for or respected none of His ways, caused the cry of the oppressed poor to come up to Him; and He continually gave ear to the cry of the afflicted, as an holy, just, and righteous God, Deuteronomy 24:14-15; Ecclesiastes 5:3; James 5:4. See also Exodus 22:23; Psalms 37:39-40; Ecclesiastes 3:16.

Verse 29 relates Elihu’s inquiry, just who is capable of making troubles when God sends peace and quietness, Proverbs 16:7; Isaiah 26:3; who can condemn what God sends of good or bad, blessings or chastening, and judgment? Romans 8:33-34. When the Lord hides His face, refuses to condone evil, leaves men to perish for any cause, who can behold or confront Him? the implied answer is, No one, v.17; Psalms 133:1; Job 23:8-9. Whether He turns from a man or a nation, none can confront Him defensively to charge Him with wrong, Psalms 13:1; Psalms 2 Kg 18:9-12.

Verse 30 states that this state exists so that the hypocrite may not reign, have jurisdiction in continuing wrong, lest the people be entrapped, snared to their death, 1Kg 12:28, 30; Proverbs 29:2-12. See also 2Kg 21:9; Psalms 12:8; Ecclesiastes 9:18; Hosea 5:11.

Verse 31 continues Elihu’s judgment that surely it is meet, proper, or becoming for one to say to God, when under affliction as Job had been, "I have done iniquity or acted lawlessly; I will do It (practice it) no more," apparently implying that Job should do this In Elihu and Job’s three feigned friends from afar’s presence. Though no hypocrite, Job did have sins, but to confess to the kind of sins of which he had been charged by the three friends, he asserted he would be lying, Job 40:3-5; Leviticus 26:41; Micah 7:9; Leviticus 5:1; Leviticus 5:17; Nehemiah 1:7; 1 John 1:8-9.

Verse 32 continues that it would be proper for Job to pray that "that which he could not see or comprehend" he desired God to teach him, to open his understanding, help him recall, and pledge to God "if I have done lawlessly, morally or ethically, i will do it no more." For God promises to teach His people, Job 10:2; Psalms 32:8; Psalms 19:12; Psalms 139:23; Proverbs 28:13; Ephesians 4:22.

Verse 33 further extends Elihu’s opinion that if confession In this manner could be a thing of Job’s voluntary will, God would recompense, repay, or respond helpfully to such a prayer, If he had such guilt, v.31, 32. But, whether or not Job petitioned God, as Ellhu thought he should, Elihu thought Job should speak firmly and stand firmly on what he knew in his soul was right, Romans 14:11-12.

Verses 34, 35 challenge men of understanding (like the three friends of Job) and a wise man, as Job was, to hearken or give special attention to him once again, a little further. He then added v. 35 that Job had spoken void of knowledge and that his words were without wisdom, two grave, serious, false charges, Job 38:2; 1 Timothy 1:7.

Verses 36, 37 recount the desire of young Elihu to continue his abstract of legal opinion about Job’s afflictions, the cause and possible remedy, to be further heard. He desired to see him "tried," as in a court of justice, a tribunal, unto the end. Because of his answers for wicked men, or he had prejudged that Job’s views favored wicked men rather than the righteous; He further addressed the vanity of the three friends of Job, by asserting that Job added rebellion (against their instruction) to his other sin; He (Job) repeatedly clapped his hands among them, the three and, Elihu, to their chagrin; and multiplied his words against God. Job had clapped his hands in scorn or derision at the platitudes and applications that each of these self-esteemed wise men had applied to him in his afflictions, Job 27:23; Ezekiel 21:17. Adding to his original sin, he sinned in their presence, Elihu concluded, by vainly multiplying words against God, Job 11:2; Job 35:16.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 34". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-34.html. 1985.