Elihu offers to reason with Job. (1-7) Elihu blames Job for reflecting upon God. (8-13) God calls men to repentance. (14-18) God sends afflictions for good. (19-28) Elihu entreats Job's attention. (29-33)
Verses 1-7 Job had desired a judge to decide his appeal. Elihu was one according to his wish, a man like himself. If we would rightly convince men, it must be by reason, not by terror; by fair argument, not by a heavy hand.
Verses 8-13 Elihu charges Job with reflecting upon the justice and goodness of God. When we hear any thing said to God's dishonour, we ought to bear our testimony against it. Job had represented God as severe in marking what he did amiss. Elihu urges that he had spoken wrong, and that he ought to humble himself before God, and by repentance to unsay it. God is not accountable to us. It is unreasonable for weak, sinful creatures, to strive with a God of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness. He acts with perfect justice, wisdom, and goodness, where we cannot perceive it.
Verses 14-18 God speaks to us by conscience, by providences, and by ministers; of all these Elihu discourses. There was not then, that we know of, any Divine revelation in writing, though now it is our principal guide. When God designs men's good, by the convictions and dictates of their own consciences, he opens the heart, as Lydia's, and opens the ears, so that conviction finds or forces its way in. The end and design of these admonitions are to keep men from sin, particularly the sin of pride. While sinners are pursuing evil purposes, and indulging their pride, their souls are hastening to destruction. That which turns men from sin, saves them from hell. What a mercy it is to be under the restraints of an awakened conscience!
Verses 19-28 Job complained of his diseases, and judged by them that God was angry with him; his friends did so too: but Elihu shows that God often afflicts the body for good to the soul. This thought will be of great use for our getting good from sickness, in and by which God speaks to men. Pain is the fruit of sin; yet, by the grace of God, the pain of the body is often made a means of good to the soul. When afflictions have done their work, they shall be removed. A ransom or propitiation is found. Jesus Christ is the Messenger and the Ransom, so Elihu calls him, as Job had called him his Redeemer, for he is both the Purchaser and the Price, the Priest and the sacrifice. So high was the value of souls, that nothing less would redeem them; and so great the hurt done by sin, that nothing less would atone for it, than the blood of the Son of God, who gave his life a ransom for many. A blessed change follows. Recovery from sickness is a mercy indeed, when it proceeds from the remission of sin. All that truly repent of their sins, shall find mercy with God. The works of darkness are unfruitful works; all the gains of sin will come far short of the damage. We must, with a broken and ( 1 John. 1:9 ) confess the fact of sin; and not try to justify or excuse ourselves. We must confess the fault of sin; I have perverted that which was right. We must confess the folly of sin; So foolish have I been and ignorant. Is there not good reason why we should make such a confession?
Verses 29-33 Elihu shows that God's great and gracious design toward the children of men, is, to save them from being for ever miserable, and to bring them to be for ever happy. By whatever means we are kept back from the we shall bless the Lord for them at least, and should bless him for them though they be painful and distressing. Those that perish for ever are without excuse, for they would not be healed.
Job 33:1-33 . ADDRESS TO JOB, AS ( Job 32:1-22 ) TO THE FRIENDS.
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 Job 33:6 ( Genesis 2:7 ). Therefore thou needest not fear me, as thou wouldest God ( Job 33:7 , Job 9:34 ). On the other hand, "the breath of the Almighty hath inspired me" (as Job 32:8 ); not as English Version, "given me life"; therefore "I am according to thy wish ( Job 9:32 Job 9:33 ) 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 Christ ( Job 33:23-26 ).
5. Images from a court of justice. Job 31:35
stand up--alluding to Job's words ( Job 30:20 ).
, Job 13:3 Job 13:20 Job 13:21
--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 [MAURER].
7. hand--alluding to Job's words ( Job 13:21 ).
8. thy words--( Job 10:7 , 16:17 , Job 23:11 Job 23:12 , Job 27:5 Job 27:6 , 29:14 ). In 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 ).
11. ( Job 13:27 ).
marketh--narrowly watches ( 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.
13. ( Isaiah 45:9 ).
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 ( John 15:2 , Psalms 62:11 , Isaiah 28:10 Isaiah 28:13 ).
15. slumberings--light is opposed to "deep sleep." Elihu has in view Eliphaz ( Job 4:13 ), and also Job himself ( Job 7:14 ). "Dreams" in sleep, and "visions" of actual apparitions, were among the ways whereby God then spake to man ( Genesis 20:3 ).
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 ( Job 37:7 ).
17. purpose--Margin, "work." So Job 36:9 . So "business" in a bad sense ( 1 Samuel 20:19 ). Elihu alludes to Job's words ( Job 17:11 ). "Pride," an open "pit" ( Job 33:18 ) 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 disciplinary ( Job 36:10 ); 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 ( Psalms 38:3 ) [UMBREIT].
20. life--that is, the appetite, which ordinarily sustains "life" ( Job 38:39 , Psalms 107:18 , Ecclesiastes 12:5 ). The taking away of desire for food by sickness symbolizes the removal by affliction of lust, for things which foster the spiritual fever of pride.
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 life ( 2 Samuel 24:16 , Psalms 78:49 ). 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 ( Job 5:1 ), and Job ( Job 9:33 ) had wished for such a "daysman" or umpire between him and God. The "messenger" of good is antithetical to the "destroyers" ( Job 33:23 ).
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" ( Proverbs 14:2 ). The former is better; Job maintained his own "uprightness" ( Job 16:17 , Job 27:5 Job 27:6 ); 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 ( Solomon 5:10 ). 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" ( Malachi 3:1 ). 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 Job 33:23 .
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 intercession ( Hebrews 9:12 ). "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], ( Luke 15:8 ). God the Father, is the Finder ( Psalms 89:19 ). Jesus Christ the Redeemer, to whom He saith, Redeem (so Hebrew) him from going, &c. ( 2 Corinthians 5:19 ).
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 for deliverance ( Exodus 21:30 ), 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 ( Genesis 6:14 , Psalms 32:1 ). The pit is primarily here the grave ( Isaiah 38:17 ), but the spiritual pit is mainly shadowed forth ( Zechariah 9:11 ).
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 ( 1 Peter 1:11 1 Peter 1:12 ).
his flesh shall be fresher than a child's--so Naaman, 2 Kings 5:14 , spiritually, John 3:3-7 .
26. Job shall no longer pray to God, as he complains, in vain ( Job 23:3 Job 23:8 Job 23:9 ). True especially to the redeemed in Jesus Christ ( John 16:23-27 ).
shall see his face--or, God shall make Job to see His face [MAURER]. God shall no longer "hide His face" ( Job 13:24 ). True to the believer now ( John 14:21 John 14:22 ); eternally ( Psalms 17:15 , John 17:24 ).
righteousness--God will again make the restored Job no longer ("I perverted . . . fight," Job 33:27 ) doubt God's justice, but to justify Him in His dealings. The penitent justifies God ( Psalms 51:4 ). So the believer is made to see God's righteousness in Jesus Christ ( Isaiah 45:24 , 46:13 ).
27. he looketh--God. Rather, with UMBREIT, "Now he (the restored penitent) singeth joyfully (answering to "joy," Job 33:26 , Psalms 51:12 ) before men, and saith," &c. ( Proverbs 25:20 , Psalms 66:16 , 116:14 ).
perverted--made the straight crooked: as Job had misrepresented God's character.
profited--literally, "was made even" to me; rather, "My punishment was not commensurate with my sin" (so Zophar, Job 11:6 ); the reverse of what Job heretofore said ( Job 16:17 , Psalms 103:10 , Ezra 9:13 ).
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. light
--( Job 33:30
, Job 3:16 Job 3:20
, Psalms 56:13
, Ecclesiastes 11:7
29. Margin, "twice and thrice," alluding to Job 33:14 ; once, by visions, Job 33:15-17 ; secondly, by afflictions, Job 33:19-22 ; now, by the "messenger," thirdly, Job 33:23 .
30. Referring to Job 33:28 ( Psalms 50:13 ).
32. justify--to do thee justice; and, if I can, consistently with it, to declare thee innocent. At Job 33:33 Elihu pauses for a reply; then proceeds in Job 34:1 .