Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
2. mouth--rather, "palate," whereby the taste discerns. Every
man speaks with his mouth, but few, as Elihu, try their words
with discrimination first, and only say what is really good
(Job 6:30; 12:11).
hath spoken--rather, "proceeds to speak."
3. I will speak according to my inward conviction.
clearly--rather, "purely"; sincerely, not distorting the truth
through passion, as the friends did.
4. The Spirit of God hath made me--as He did thee: latter clause of
Therefore thou needest not fear me, as thou wouldest God
On the other hand, "the breath of the Almighty hath inspired me"
not as English Version, "given me life"; therefore "I am
according to thy wish
(Job 9:32, 33)
in God's stead" to thee; a "daysman," umpire, or mediator, between God
and thee. So Elihu was designed by the Holy Ghost to be a type of Jesus
5. Images from a court of justice.
stand up--alluding to Job's words
6. (See on
Job 31:35; 13:3, 20, 21).
formed--Though acting as God's representative, I am but a
creature, like thyself. Arabic, "pressed together," as a mass of
clay by the potter, in forming a vessel [UMBREIT].
Hebrew, "cut off," as the portion taken from the clay to form it
7. hand--alluding to Job's words
8. thy words--
16:17; 23:11, 12; 27:5, 6; 29:14).
Job 9:30; 13:23,
Job had acknowledged sin; but the general spirit of his words
was to maintain himself to be "clean," and to charge God with
injustice. He went too far on the opposite side in opposing the
friends' false charge of hypocrisy. Even the godly, though willing to
confess themselves sinners in general, often dislike sin in
particular to be brought as a charge against them. Affliction is
therefore needed to bring them to feel that sin in them deserves
even worse than they suffer and that God does them no injustice. Then
at last humbled under God they find, affliction is for their real
good, and so at last it is taken away either here, or at least at
death. To teach this is Elihu's mission.
10. occasions--for hostility; literally, "enmities"
(Job 13:24; 16:9; 19:11; 30:21).
(Job 14:16; 7:12; 31:4).
12. in this--view of God and His government. It cannot be that God
should jealously "watch" man, though "spotless," as an "enemy," or as
one afraid of him as an equal. For "God is greater than man!" There
must be sin in man, even though he be no hypocrite, which needs
correction by suffering for the sufferer's good.
his matters--ways. Our part is, not to "strive" with God, but to
submit. To believe it is right because He does it, not because
we see all the reasons for His doing it.
14. Translate, "Yet, man regardeth it not"; or rather, as
UMBREIT, "Yea, twice (He repeats the warning)--if man gives no heed" to
the first warning. Elihu implies that God's reason for sending
affliction is because, when God has communicated His will in various
ways, man in prosperity has not heeded it; God therefore must try what
affliction will effect
Isa 28:10, 13).
15. slumberings--light is opposed to "deep sleep." Elihu has in
and also Job himself
"Dreams" in sleep, and "visions" of actual apparitions, were among the
ways whereby God then spake to man
16. Literally, "sealeth (their ears) to Himself by warnings," that
is, with the sureness and secrecy of a seal He reveals His warnings
[UMBREIT]. To seal up securely
17. purpose--Margin, "work." So
So "business" in a bad sense
Elihu alludes to Job's words
"Pride," an open "pit"
which God hides or covers up, lest man should fall into it. Even the
godly need to learn the lesson which trials teach, to "humble
themselves under the mighty hand of God."
18. his soul--his life.
the pit--the grave; a symbol of hell.
perishing by the sword--that is, a violent death; in the Old
Testament a symbol of the future punishment of the ungodly.
19. When man does not heed warnings of the night, he is chastened,
&c. The new thought suggested by Elihu is that affliction is
for the good of the godly.
multitude--so the Margin, Hebrew (Keri). Better with the
text (Chetib), "And with the perpetual (strong) contest of his
bones"; the never-resting fever in his bones
20. life--that is, the appetite, which ordinarily sustains "life"
The taking away of desire for food by sickness symbolizes the removal
by affliction of lust, for things which foster the spiritual fever of
21. His flesh once prominent "can no more be seen." His bones once
not seen now appear prominent.
stick out--literally, "are bare." The Margin, Hebrew (Keri)
reading. The text (Chetib) reads it a noun "(are become) bareness."
The Keri was no doubt an explanatory reading of transcribers.
22. destroyers--angels of death commissioned by God to end man's
The death pains personified may, however, be meant; so "gnawers"
23. Elihu refers to himself as the divinely-sent
(Job 32:8; 33:6)
"messenger," the "interpreter" to explain to Job and vindicate God's
righteousness; such a one Eliphaz had denied that Job could look for
had wished for such a "daysman" or umpire between him and God. The
"messenger" of good is antithetical to the "destroyers"
with him--if there be vouchsafed to the sufferer. The office of
the interpreter is stated "to show unto man God's uprightness" in His
dealings; or, as UMBREIT,
"man's upright course towards God"
The former is better; Job maintained his own "uprightness"
(Job 16:17; 27:5, 6);
Elihu on the contrary maintains God's, and that man's true uprightness
lies in submission to God. "One among a thousand" is a man rarely to be
found. So Jesus Christ
Elihu, the God-sent mediator of a temporal deliverance, is a type
of the God-man Jesus Christ the Mediator of eternal deliverance:
"the messenger of the covenant"
This is the wonderful work of the Holy Ghost, that persons and events
move in their own sphere in such a way as unconsciously to shadow forth
Him, whose "testimony is the Spirit of prophecy"; as the same point may
be center of a small and of a vastly larger concentric circle.
24. Apodosis to
Deliver--literally, "redeem"; in it and "ransom" there is reference
to the consideration, on account of which God pardons and relieves
the sufferers; here it is primarily the intercession of Elihu. But the
language is too strong for its full meaning to be exhausted by
this. The Holy Ghost has suggested language which receives its full realization only in the "eternal redemption found" by God in the price
paid by Jesus Christ for it; that is, His blood and meritorious
"Obtained," literally, "found"; implying the earnest zeal, wisdom, and
faithfulness of the finder, and the newness and joyousness of
the finding. Jesus Christ could not but have found it,
but still His seeking it was needed [BENGEL],
God the Father, is the Finder
Jesus Christ the Redeemer, to whom He saith, Redeem (so
Hebrew) him from going, &c.
ransom--used in a general sense by Elihu, but meant by the Holy
Ghost in its strict sense as applied to Jesus Christ, of a price paid
an atonement (that is, means of selling at once, that is,
reconciling "two" who are estranged), a covering, as of the ark
with pitch, typical of what covers us sinners from wrath
The pit is primarily here the grave
but the spiritual pit is mainly shadowed forth
25-28. Effects of restoration to God's favor; literally, to Job a
temporal revival; spiritually, an eternal regeneration. The striking
words cannot be restricted to their temporal meaning, as used by Elihu
(1Pe 1:11, 12).
his flesh shall be fresher than a child's--so Naaman,
26. Job shall no longer pray to God, as he complains, in vain
(Job 23:3, 8, 9).
True especially to the redeemed in Jesus Christ
shall see his face--or, God shall make Job to see His face
[MAURER]. God shall no longer "hide His face"
True to the believer now
(Joh 14:21, 22);
righteousness--God will again make the restored Job no longer ("I
perverted . . . right,"
doubt God's justice, but to justify Him in His dealings. The penitent
So the believer is made to see God's righteousness in Jesus Christ
(Isa 45:24; 46:13).
27. he looketh--God. Rather, with
UMBREIT, "Now he
(the restored penitent) singeth joyfully
(answering to "joy,"
before men, and saith," &c.
Ps 66:16; 116:14).
perverted--made the straight crooked: as Job had misrepresented
profited--literally, "was made even" to me; rather, "My punishment
was not commensurate with my sin" (so Zophar,
the reverse of what Job heretofore said
28. (See on
rather, as Hebrew text (English Version reads as the
Margin, Hebrew, Keri, "his soul, his life"), "He hath delivered
my soul . . . my life." Continuation of the
penitent's testimony to the people.
Job 3:16, 20;
29. Margin, "twice and thrice," alluding to
once, by visions,
secondly, by afflictions,
now, by the "messenger," thirdly,
30. Referring to
32. justify--to do thee justice; and, if I can, consistently with
it, to declare thee innocent. At
Elihu pauses for a reply; then proceeds in