Elihu is displeased at the dispute between Job and his friends. (1-5) He reproves them. (6-14) He speaks without partiality. (15-22)
Verses 1-5 Job's friends were silenced, but not convinced. Others had been present. Elihu was justly displeased with Job, as more anxious to clear his own character than the justice and goodness of God. Elihu was displeased with Job's friends because they had not been candid to Job. Seldom is a quarrel begun, more seldom is a quarrel carried on, in which there are not faults on both sides. Those that seek for truth, must not reject what is true and good on either side, nor approve or defend what is wrong.
Verses 6-14 Elihu professes to speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and corrects both parties. He allowed that those who had the longest experience should speak first. But God gives wisdom as he pleases; this encouraged him to state his opinion. By attention to the word of God, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit, young men may become wiser than the aged; but this wisdom will render them swift to hear, slow to speak, and disposed to give others a patient hearing.
Verses 15-22 If we are sure that the Spirit of God suggested what we are about to say, still we ought to refrain, till it comes to our turn to speak. God is the God of order, not of confusion. It is great refreshment to a good man, to speak for the glory of the Lord, and to edify others. And the more we consider the majesty of God, as our Maker, and the more we dread his wrath and justice, the less shall we sinfully fear or flatter men. Could we set the wrath Lord always before us, in his mercies and his terrors, we should not be moved from doing our duty in whatever we are called to do.
Job 32:1-37:24'. SPEECH OF ELIHU.
1-6. Prose (poetry begins with "I am young").
because, &c.--and because they could not prove to him that he was unrighteous.
2. Elihu--meaning "God is Jehovah." In his name and character as messenger between God and Job, he foreshadows Jesus Christ ( Job 33:23-26 ).
Barachel--meaning "God blesses." Both names indicate the piety of the family and their separation from idolaters.
Buzite--Buz was son of Nahor, brother of Abraham. Hence was named a region in Arabia-Deserta ( Jeremiah 25:23 ).
Ram--Aram, nephew of Buz. Job was probably of an older generation than Elihu. However, the identity of names does not necessarily prove the identity of persons. The particularity with which Elihu's descent is given, as contrasted with the others, led LIGHTFOOT to infer Elihu was the author of the book. But the reason for particularity was, probably, that Elihu was less known than the three called "friends" of Job; and that it was right for the poet to mark especially him who was mainly to solve the problem of the book.
rather than God--that is, was more eager to vindicate himself than God. In Job 4:17 , Job denies that man can be more just than God. UMBREIT translates, "Before (in the presence of) God."
3. Though silenced in argument, they held their opinion still.
4. had spoken--Hebrew, "in words," referring rather to his own "words" of reply, which he had long ago ready, but kept back in deference to the seniority of the friends who spoke.
6. was afraid--The root meaning in Hebrew is "to crawl" ( Deuteronomy 32:24 ).
7. Days--that is, the aged ( Job 15:10 ).
8. Elihu claims inspiration, as a divinely commissioned messenger to Job ( Job 33:6 Job 33:23 ); and that claim is not contradicted in Job 42:4 Job 42:5 . Translate: "But the spirit (which God puts) in man, and the inspiration . . . is that which giveth," &c.; it is not mere "years" which give understanding ( Proverbs 2:6 , John 20:22 ).
9. Great--rather, "old" ( Job 32:6 ). So Hebrew, in Genesis 25:23 . "Greater, less" for the older, the younger.
judgment--what is right.
10. Rather, "I say."
11. Therefore Elihu was present from the first.
reasons--literally, "understandings," that is, the meaning intended by words.
whilst--I waited until you should discover a suitable reply to Job.
13. This has been so ordered, "lest you should" pride yourselves on having overcome him by your "wisdom" ( Jeremiah 9:23 , the great aim of the Book of Job); and that you may see, "God alone can thrust him down," that is, confute him, "not man." So Elihu grounds his confutation, not on the maxims of sages, as the friends did, but on his special commission from God ( Job 32:8 , Job 33:4 Job 33:6 ).
14. I am altogether unprejudiced. For it is not I, whom he addressed. "Your speeches" have been influenced by irritation.
15. Here Elihu turns from the friends to Job: and so passes from the second person to the third; a transition frequent in a rebuke ( Job 18:3 Job 18:4 ).
they left off--Words were taken from them.
17. my part--for my part.
18. "I am full of words," whereas the friends have not a word more to say.
the spirit--( Job 32:8 , Job 33:4 , Jeremiah 20:9 , Acts 18:5 ).
19. belly--bosom: from which the words of Orientalists in speaking seem to come more than with us; they speak gutturally. "Like (new) wine (in fermentation) without a vent," to work itself off. New wine is kept in new goatskin bottles. This fittingly applies to the young Elihu, as contrasted with the old friends ( Matthew 9:7 ).
20. refreshed--literally, "that there may be air to me" ( 1 Samuel 16:23 ).
21. "May I never accept," &c. Elihu alludes to Job's words ( Job 13:8 Job 13:10 ), wherein he complains that the friends plead for God partially, "accepting His person." Elihu says he will not do so, but will act impartially between God and Job. "And I will not give flattery," &c. ( Proverbs 24:23 ).
22. take me away--as a punishment ( Psalms 102:24 ).