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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Job 36

Verses 1-33

JOB - CHAPTER 36

ELIHU CONTENDS THAT JOB’S ADVERSITY IS DISCIPLINE

Verses 1-33:

Elihu’s Forth Speech - His Basic Philosophy

Verses 1, 2 begin Elihu’s fourth address, exceeding in numbers those of either of the three friends of Job. He asked Job to suffer or permit him, bear with him yet a little further, as he had courteously done at the beginning of his first speech, Job 32:2. When he said, "I have yet much to say."

He contended that afflictions were from God for disciplinary purposes and that their continuing upon Job was not necessarily because of any great sin or guilt that Job had, as his three friends from afar asserted, but because the disciplinary affliction had not yet led Job to humble himself penitently before God, Isaiah 9:12; Jeremiah 5:3; Titus 1:16. Concerning this Elihu advises that he still has a further message from God.

Verse 3 recounts that Elihu claimed that he would secure his knowledge from afar, from God’s mighty works, and attribute righteousness to God in the afflictions, where Job had ascribed to Him unrighteousness, Job 34:9-12; Job 35:3; Job 21:15; One, upon inquiring of God’s ways and works, should always do so on the presumption that they are just, be willing to find them so, and willing to expect that an honest investigation will demonstrate them to be just or righteous. With such an attitude one will never be disappointed.

Verse 4 asserts that Elihu assured Job that both of them, were men of integrity, a thing the three friends never conceded. He declared that he would not speak wickedly for God, as the three had, Job 13:4; Job 13:7-8; Job 21:34.

Verses 5, 6 declare that God is mighty in strength and wisdom, with the strength of an understanding heart, to the extent that He despises no one, or regards no one lightly. He is said to dole out graciously to the needs of the poor, to espouse their needs, Job 35:14; He preserves not the life of the wicked. See also Job 9:4; Job 12:13; Job 12:16; Job 37:23; Psalms 99:4.

Verse 7 asserts that the Lord does not withdraw or take his eyes away from the righteous, as Job seemed at first to imply; He makes them rather to sit on thrones as kings, establishing them, sustaining them, and exalting them forever, hereafter especially, 1 Peter 3:12; 1 Samuel 2:8; Psalms 113:7-8; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:5; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 22:5.

Verse 8 asserts further that if the righteous be bound in fetters, or cares of afflictions hold them down, as they sometimes do; For sickness, afflictions, and death are the fruit of sin continuously, incessantly, working sorrow and death in all men, James 1:15; Romans 5:11-14; None is immune to it, Psalms 107:10; Luke 1:79.

Verses 9, 10 add that in their fetters or afflictions, He shows them their work, meaning their transgression, as used Job 33:17. And He will cause them to recognize their transgressions that they have exceeded, engaged in mightily, presumptuously, as if they could do so and get by with impunity.

Verse 8 attests that He opens the ear of the erring righteous to discipline, commanding, that they turn away from iniquity into which they may have fallen, Job 33:16-18; Job 33:23. Note that, 1) Job’s three friends held that his afflictions came and stayed on him because he was a wicked lying hypocrite; 2) Job denied guilt of any great sin, while 3) Elihu held that he had some sin in him for which he suffered and would continue until he accepted it as discipline to call him to Divine repentance and humility, not knowing that the testing was permitted strictly for the glory of God, Job 2:6-10; John 9:2-3; John 11:4; 1 Peter 4:12-16.

Verse 11 declares that if they "the righteous," obey Him, the Lord, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasure, implying that any who suffers or does not live in pleasure and prosperity is not righteous or obeying God. In this claim Elihu was too broad, went beyond the truth. For not all prosperity and pleasure are evidence of obedience to or abiding in the will of the Lord, See? The wicked also have hours of both, and both are sometimes withheld from the righteous, for a time, for the simple glory of the Lord, as cited in the previous verse. See also Job 11:13-19; Job 21:11-13; Job 22:23-25; Ecclesiastes 9:2-3; Isaiah 1:19-20; 1 Timothy 4:8; James 5:5; Revelation 18:7

Verse 12 warns that if the righteous does not take affliction, as a call to penitence and humility, for a more disciplined life, and obey the call, he will perish under the blade of the sword; And all the righteous who do not similarly respond will die, void of knowledge, because of their foolishness, Job 33:18; Job 4:20-21.

Verse 13, 14 add that the hypocrite in heart heaps up or accumulate to themselves wrath, refraining or holding back from crying, when He, the Lord, binds them with fetters of affliction, Romans 2:5; Job 27:8-10.

Verse 14 further adds that they who do not become disciplined, by crying out in penitent humility when affliction comes, will die while young, dying among and identified with the wicked and unclean. This was Elihu’s philosophy of the cause and end of why the righteous suffer, Deuteronomy 23:17. He erred in concluding that Job was an unrighteous, undisciplined man.

Verse 15 concludes that in Elihu’s opinion He (God) liberates poor (the afflicted pious) and continually opens their ears in oppression, to admonish them to seek God penitently and humbly.

Verse 16 declares to Job that God would have already removed him out of his state of affliction if he had opened his ears to obedient penitence. If Job had followed Elihu’s advice he would already be out of his strait of afflictions, made well, at home with his table fully set, with the best of food again, v.15; Psalms 18:19; Psalms 31:8; Psalms 118:5; Psalms 23:5; Isaiah 25:6.

Verse 17 directly charges, however, that Job had fulfilled or suffered the judgment of the lawless wicked; and that judgment and justice had laid hands heavily upon him, thus Elihu as the other ill advisors of Job, concluded that he had suffered the judgment of the wicked because he was too stubborn to repent and be disciplined to humility, Jeremiah 51:9; Job 34:7-8.

Verse 18 warns further that Job should beware lest the Lord should kill him in his wrath, with a great stroke, because he would not be humbled in discipline before the Lord; Even great ransom price of money could not buy off Divine wrath that was upon him, though Satan could not take his life, Job 2:6-8; Numbers 16:45; Psalms 49:6-7; Matthew 16:26. Elihu asks that Job be cautious, lest his suffering should cause him to scorn, Job 34:7; Job 27:23.

Verse 19 rhetorically inquires "He will not esteem your riches, your gold, or your forces of strength, will He?" The conclusion is that He (God) will not, Psalms 49:6-7; Proverbs 11:4.

Verse 20, 21 admonished Job not to desire the night, the time when men are cut off, metabolism is low and a higher rate of deaths occur. He is called on by Elihu to take heed and regard not iniquity, or turn not aside to do it. He then charges Job "This you have chosen (to turn from God) rather than affliction, or to learn the lesson for him in affliction; Which was in Elihu’s mind, to be penitent and humble, Hebrews 11:25; He suggested that Job had turned against God and sinned, v.17, 18; Job 34:5.

Verses 22, 23 declare that God exalts by His power, or shows his exalting power, Psalms 21:13. Elihu then inquires 1) who teaches like him, the Lord? Isaiah 49:13; Romans 11:34;) who can enjoin or charge Him what He is to do? Job 34:10; Job 34:13; Job 34:3) who is a judge knowledgeable enough to charge Him with doing wickedly? Deuteronomy 31:8; Romans 2:5; Romans 3:8.

Verse 24 admonishes Job to magnify the work of the Lord which men behold; So it is to be concluded that He is also righteous in what He does that we do not behold, Psalms 92:5; Daniel 4:37; Revelation 15:3.

Verse 25 asserts that every man sees it, behold only a part of His works, from afar, with utter wonder, Romans 1:19; Job 26:14.

Verse 26 continues that God is so great that we do not comprehend Him, except in part or fragments, 1 Corinthians 13:12; Neither can the calculation of his years be fixed for they are infinite, Psalms 90:2; Psalms 102:24; Psalms 102:27; Hebrews 1:12.

Verses 27, 28 declare that this infinite, mighty, all-seeing God draws to himself the small drops of rain, first by causing vapor to rise, then condense and pour down or empty the rain which He has drawn to himself in the clouds, Psalms 147:8; They distill upon many men, abundantly, Genesis 7:11-12; Proverbs 3:20; Job 37:5.

Verses 29, 30 inquire further whether or not anyone can comprehend the spreading or canopy of the clouds that hide the heavens in time of storm, or the noise (crashing) lightning and thunder that streak and roll from the clouds toward heaven? Psalms 105:39. There God has His pavilion, as certified Psalms 18:11; Psalms 18:13; Isaiah 40; Isaiah 22; Nahum 1:3. See also Psalms 29:3-10; Psalms 77:16-19; Psalms 104:7. God spreads His light upon that tabernacle of the heavens continually, as well as upon the bottom of the sea, to which the light of the moon extends, in control of the waves of the sea, Psalms 18:14-15; Psalms 104:2.

Verses 31, 32 relate that by them 1) the clouds, and 2) the shining of His lights, sun, moon and stars, He judges the people, giving to or withholding from them food In abundance; By them He blesses the obedient and chastens the disobedient, a very generalized assertion, Job 37:13; Job 38:23; Job 38:27.

Verse 30 states that He rolls the clouds over the light, at will, Psalms 147:8. And directs the light not to shine from heaven, by means of the cloud curtain that comes between heaven and earth.

Verse 33 declares that the noise of His lightning power, from His tabernacle pavilion in the clouds, shows forth (His glory) by blessing the cattle of the fields and herbs and grass, as He causes vapors to rise, be carried by the winds, cooled, distilled, to fall as rain to quench the thirst of cattle of the earth and beasts of the fields, and cause grass to shoot up, Genesis 40:10; Genesis 41:22.

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 36". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-36.html. 1985.