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This chapter opens with a new speaker, one whose name is Elihu. His discourse is in reproof, not only of Job, but of his three friends: and he prosecutes the subject through the whole of this and several succeeding chapters.
(1) ¶ So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
The reason of Job's three friends forbearing any further dispute, was rather ill founded. Job had only endeavored to clear himself from their charge, and not to assert that he was righteous.
(2) Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Yet Elihu's anger was not altogether out of place. It seems that Elihu's anger was not so much against Job for justifying himself, as for justifying himself rather than GOD. And certain it is, that if Job had only made use of the arguments he brought forward to show GOD'S righteousness was not at all impeached by his afflictions, instead of endeavoring to show that his unrighteousness was not the cause wherefore he was thus visited, though the issue would have been the same, yet the method would have been more suitable and becoming. Elihu's anger therefore was excited against Job, because he seemed to have manifested a greater jealousy for his own character than for the glory of GOD. The name of Elihu is striking. Eli signifies my GOD ; - hu, is he. Perhaps a Buzite might mean, that he was a descendant from that Buz which is spoken of, Genesis 22:21 .
(3) Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Jobadiah
Certainly Elihu's anger was well founded against Job's three friends: for they came forth to comfort him, and had added to his affliction. They charged him with being an hypocrite, but neither could make good the charge. Elihu stood as the umpire, and condemned the whole. So far he acted impartially.
(4) Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. (5) When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.
Elihu modestly considered his youth, and therefore waited the proper time to speak. He did not begin until the whole had ended. But if a thing be well spoken, and rightly spoken, this is what Solomon calls like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11 .
(6) ¶ And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. (7) I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. (8) But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. (9) Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. (10) Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion. (11) Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. (12) Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words: (13) Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man. (14) Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches. (15) ¶ They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking. (16) When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;) (17) I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion. (18) For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. (19) Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. (20) I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer. (21) Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. (22) For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.
The whole of these verses seems to be but as the preface to Elihu's discourse. He bespeaks the favor of his hearers, and apologizeth for what he might offer; but, to conciliate their minds, he tells them, that he is bursting to deliver what he had to say, so important it is in his view. The frame of mind in Elihu, and the earnestness he felt to be useful in this controversy, may serve to teach how much a soul that is full of JESUS, and longs to go forth in his name and salvation, for the good of others, may be supposed to feel in his labour of love. To be shut up in a corner, and prohibited from speaking of the LORD, when we see souls perishing for lack of knowledge, what a grief must this be to faithful servants of the LORD JESUS! Jeremiah describes his state under this affliction, and saith, That the word of the LORD was in his heart, as a burning fire shut up in his bones, so that he was weary with forbearing, and could not stay. Jeremiah 20:9 .
THE zeal of Elihu, his impartiality, his diligence, his faithfulness, modesty; how graceful they make him appear, even before he enters upon the great subject he hath to propose to Job and his three disputants. Such methinks should be the servant of JESUS. The apostle describes him when he saith, The servant of the LORD must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient in meekness, instructing those that oppose themselves. He that winneth souls is wise. And when the great difficulty of the ministerial employment be considered, and in what a diversity of ways it may and must be administered, so as to suit the various minds, tempers, state, and dispositions, of the several hearers, certainly it requires the zeal of Elihu, and his mildness and earnestness also, to know how rightly to divide the word of truth, and to show men that he is a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. And when we look on, and behold any congregation assembled, and consider them as they really are; some to be fed with milk, others with meat: the insensible and unawakened sinners to be roused; the trembling to be comforted; wanderers reclaimed; backsliders reproved; surely such a diversity requires all that prudence, wisdom, and grace, which Elihu appears in this chapter to be anxious in the exercising; so that the great purposes of the ministry might be accomplished. Happy the man that ministers in divine things, who, like the Apostle, in the close of his labours, can look up with humble confidence to the LORD, while taking a farewell of his people, and say, that he had kept nothing back that was profitable, neither had shunned to declare the whole counsel of GOD. But a who is sufficient for these things? LORD JESUS! do thou graciously impart suited strength to all thy sent servants, and let their weakness be made perfect in thy strength; that, like one of old, they may determine to know nothing among men but JESUS CHRIST, and him crucified, having themselves experienced thee to be the power of GOD, and the wisdom of GOD for salvation to everyone that believeth.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 32". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany