Job 34

1 Moreover Elihu answered, 2 “Hear my words, you wise men. Give ear to me, you who have knowledge. 3 For the ear tries words, as the palate tastes food. 4 Let us choose for us that which is right. Let us know amongst ourselves what is good. 5 For Job has said, ‘I am righteous, God has taken away my right: 6 notwithstanding my right I am considered a liar. My wound is incurable, though I am without disobedience.’ 7 What man is like Job, who drinks scorn like water, 8 Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, and walks with wicked men? 9 For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.’ 10 “Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness, from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. 11 For the work of a man he will render to him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. 12 Yes surely, God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert justice. 13 Who put him in charge of the earth? or who has appointed him over the whole world? 14 If he set his heart on himself, If he gathered to himself his spirit and his breath, 15 all flesh would perish together, and man would turn again to dust. 16 “If now you have understanding, hear this. Listen to the voice of my words. 17 Shall even one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty?— 18 Who says to a king, ‘Vile!’ or to nobles, ‘Wicked!’? 19 Who doesn’t respect the persons of princes, nor respects the rich more than the poor; for they all are the work of his hands. 20 In a moment they die, even at midnight. The people are shaken and pass away. The mighty are taken away without a hand. 21 “For his eyes are on the ways of a man. He sees all his goings. 22 There is no darkness, nor thick gloom, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. 23 For he doesn’t need to consider a man further, that he should go before God in judgement. 24 He breaks in pieces mighty men in ways past finding out, and sets others in their place. 25 Therefore he takes knowledge of their works. He overturns them in the night, so that they are destroyed. 26 He strikes them as wicked men in the open sight of others; 27 because they turned aside from following him, and wouldn’t pay attention to any of his ways, 28 so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him. He heard the cry of the afflicted. 29 When he gives quietness, who then can condemn? When he hides his face, who then can see him? Alike whether to a nation, or to a man, 30 that the godless man may not reign, that there be no one to ensnare the people. 31 “For has any said to God, ‘I am guilty, but I will not offend any more. 32 Teach me that which I don’t see. If I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’? 33 Shall his recompense be as you desire, that you refuse it? For you must choose, and not I. Therefore speak what you know. 34 Men of understanding will tell me, yes, every wise man who hears me: 35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge. His words are without wisdom.’ 36 I wish that Job were tried to the end, because of his answering like wicked men. 37 For he adds rebellion to his sin. He claps his hands amongst us, and multiplies his words against God.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–9

Elihu calls upon those present to decide with him upon Job’s words. The plainest Christian, whose mind is enlightened, whose heart is sanctified by the Spirit of God, and who is versed in the Scriptures, can say how far matters, words, or actions, agree with true religion, better than any that lean to their own understandings. Job had spoken as if he meant wholly to justify himself. He that say, I have cleansed my hands in vain, does not only offend against God’s children, Ps 73:13–15, but gratifies his enemies, and says as they say.

Verses 10–15

Elihu had showed Job, that God meant him no hurt by afflicting him, but intended his spiritual benefit. Here he shows, that God did him no wrong by afflicting him. If the former did not satisfy him, this ought to silence him. God cannot do wickedness, nor the Almighty commit wrong. If services now go unrewarded, and sins now go unpunished, yet there is a day coming, when God will fully render to every man according to his works. Further, though the believer’s final condemnation is done away through the Saviour’s ransom, yet he has merited worse than any outward afflictions; so that no wrong is done to him, however he may be tried.

Verses 16–30

Elihu appeals directly to Job himself. Could he suppose that God was like those earthly princes, who hate right, who are unfit to rule, and prove the scourges of mankind? It is daring presumption to condemn God’s proceedings, as Job had done by his discontents. Elihu suggests divers considerations to Job, to produce in him high thoughts of God, and so to persuade him to submit. Job had often wished to plead his cause before God. Elihu asks, To what purpose? All is well that God does, and will be found so. What can make those uneasy, whose souls dwell at ease in God? The smiles of all the world cannot quiet those on whom God frowns.

Verses 31–37

When we reprove for what is amiss, we must direct to what is good. Job’s friends would have had him own himself a wicked man. Let will only oblige him to own that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips. Let us, in giving reproof, not make a matter worse than it is. Elihu directs Job to humble himself before God for his sins, and to accept the punishment. Also to pray to God to discover his sins to him. A good man is willing to know the worst of himself; particularly, under affliction, he desires to be told wherefore God contends with him. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins, but we must go and sin no more. And if we are affectionate children, we shall love to speak with our Father, and to tell him all our mind. Elihu reasons with Job concerning his discontent under affliction. We are ready to think every thing that concerns us should be just as we would have it; but it is not reasonable to expect this. Elihu asks whether there was not sin and folly in what Job said. God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, Ps 145:17. The believer saith, Let my Saviour, my wise and loving Lord, choose every thing for me. I am sure that will be wisest, and the best for his glory and my good.

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