- Elihu desires a farther hearing, verse 1-4.
- Describes the methods of providence, verse 5-15.
- Warns and counsels Job, verse 16-21.
- Shews God's sovereignty and omnipotence, verse 22-33.
Afar - From remote times, and places, and things. I will not confine my discourse to thy particular case, but wilt justify God by declaring his great and glorious works of creation and providence both in the heaven and in the earth, and the manner of his dealing with men in other parts and ages of the world. Ascribe - I will clear and maintain this truth, that God is righteous in all his ways.
He, &c. - Thou hast to do with a God of perfect knowledge, by whom all thy words and actions are weighed.
Despiseth - His greatness doth not make him (as it doth men) despise, or oppress the meanest. Wisdom - His strength is guided by wisdom, and therefore cannot do any thing unbecoming God, or unjust to his creatures.
But - He will certainly in his time deliver his oppressed ones.
He - Never ceases to care for and watch over them. Exalted - They continue to be exalted; they are not cast down from their dignity, as the wicked commonly are.
If - Through the vicissitude of worldly affairs, they are brought from their throne into a prison, as sometimes hath been done.
Work - Their evil works, by these afflictions he brings them to a sight of their sins. Exceeded - That they have greatly sinned by abusing their power and prosperity; which even good men are too prone to do.
Openeth - He inclines them to hearken to what God speaks by the rod.
Cry not - Unto God for help. Bindeth - With the cords of affliction.
Die - They provoke God to cut them off before their time. Unclean - Or, Sodomites; to whose destruction, he may allude. They shall die by some exemplary stroke of Divine vengeance. Yea, and after death, their life is among the unclean, the unclean spirits, the devil and his angels, for ever excluded from the new Jerusalem, into which no unclean thing shall enter.
Openeth - Causeth them to hear, and understand, and do, the will of God.
He would - If thou hadst opened thine ear to God's counsels. Into - A state of ease and freedom.
The judgment - Or, the sentence, thou hast justified the hard speeches which wicked men utter against God. Therefore - Therefore the just judgment of God takes hold on thee. Thou hast maintained their cause against God, and God passes against thee the sentence of condemnation due to wicked men.
Wrath - Conceived by God against thee. Then - If once God's wrath take hold of thee, no ransom will be accepted for thee.
Thy riches - If thou hadst as much of them as ever. Forces - The strongest forces.
The night - The night of death, which Job had often desired, for then, thou art irrecoverably gone: take heed of thy foolish and often repeated desire of death, lest God inflict it upon thee in anger.
Chosen - Thou hast chosen rather to quarrel with God, and censure his judgments, than quietly to submit to them.
Behold - God is omnipotent; and therefore can, either punish thee far worse, or deliver thee, if thou dost repent. He is also infinitely wise; and as none can work like him, so none can teach like him. Therefore do not presume to teach him how to govern the world. None teacheth with such authority and convincing evidence, with such condescension and compassion, with such power and efficacy as God doth, he teaches by the bible, and that is the best book; by his son, and he is the best master.
Remember - Call to mind this thy duty. Magnify - Every work which he doth; do not condemn any of his providential works, but adore them as done with admirable wisdom, and justice. Behold - With admiration and astonishment.
It - The power, and wisdom, and greatness of God are so manifest in all his works, that all who are not stupid, must see and acknowledge it. Afar off - The works of God are so great and conspicuous, that they may be seen at a great distance. Hence Elihu proceeds to give some instances, in the works of nature and common providence. His general aim is to shew, 1. That God is the first cause and supreme director of all the creatures; whom therefore we ought with all humility and reverence to adore, 2. That it is presumption in us to prescribe to him in his special providence toward men, when the operations even of common providence about the meteors, are so mysterious and unaccountable.
Neither - He is eternal, as in his being, so in all his counsels; which therefore must be infinitely above the comprehension of short-lived men.
For - Having affirmed that God's works are incomprehensibly great and glorious, he now proves it from the most common works of nature and providence. And hence he leaves it to Job to consider how much more deep and inconceivable the secret counsels of God must be. Water - He orders matters so wisely, that the waters which are in the clouds, do not fall down at once in spouts, which would be pernicious to the earth and to mankind; but by degrees, and in drops. According - According to the proportion of vapours which the heat of the sun hath drawn up by the earth or sea. So it notes that great work of God by which the rain is first made of vapours, and afterwards resolved into vapours, or into the matter of succeeding vapours, by a constant rotation.
Understand - Whence it comes to pass, that a small cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, suddenly spreads over the whole heavens: how the clouds come to be suddenly gathered, and so condensed as to bring forth thunder and lightning. Noise - The thunder produced in the clouds, which are often called God's tent or tabernacle.
Light - The lightning; fitly God's light, because God only can light it. It - Upon the cloud, which is in a manner the candlestick in which God sets up this light. The sea - The lightning spreads far and wide over all the parts of the sea, and pierceth deep, reaching even to the bottom of it.
Judgeth - By thunder and lightning, and rain from the clouds, he executes his judgments against ungodly people. Meat - Giveth meat. By the same clouds, he provides plentiful showers dropping fatness on the earth.
Clouds - With thick and black clouds spread over the whole heavens. Light - The sun. The cloud - Which God interposes as a veil between the sun and earth.
The noise - The thunder gives notice of the approaching rain. Also - And as the thunder, so also the cattle sheweth, concerning the vapour, concerning the coming of the rain, by a strange instinct, seeking for shelter, when a change of weather is near.