Job 35 Study Notes


35:1-3 In a rhetorical question implying a negative answer, Elihu suggested that Job had established his righteousness apart from God, but Job had made no such assertion. Elihu based his argument on Job’s remarks that keeping God’s righteous standards appeared to gain mankind nothing (9:22,29-31; 10:1-3,17; 21:4-21; 27:1).

35:4-7 Since God is transcendent and superior to man, neither man’s sin nor his righteousness can harm or benefit God (7:20; 22:2-3). God’s character and glory are not conditioned by man’s actions.

35:8 Far from enjoying an absolute moral autonomy without reference to others, our actions influence people for good or evil.

35:9-11 Elihu reminded Job that the oppressed often fail to consider the person and work of God. They are too concerned with their own situation rather than understanding that God may have a disciplinary purpose in their suffering (33:19-30). Elihu had shown that God will deal with oppressors in his own time and in his own way (34:11-22). The songs are the divine gift of music to alleviate painful nights of suffering (Ps 42:8; 77:6). These songs may be those of anticipated deliverance (Ps 30:4-5) or reminders of God’s concern for his people in their need (Ps 118:1-7,14,28-29) or praise to God (Pss 96; 98). Job had pointed to the creatures of land, sea, and air as those who understand that God is the Creator and controller of all things (Jb 12:7-10). If creatures can appreciate the working of God, how much more should mankind, his special creation?

35:12-13 Elihu contended that when God is silent as the oppressed cry out, it is because their cry is born of pride, not contrition. God hears the penitent when they cry (Ps 4:3-4; 22:23-24). If he does not answer, the fault lies with man, not God (2Ch 7:14; Jr 11:9-11).

35:14 Job had asked God why he did not answer his requests for the opportunity to state his case before him (13:20-24; 23:2-7). Elihu suggested that God’s silence (30:20) was not because he was unaware of Job’s situation (33:21-23) but was due to Job’s self-righteousness and pride in maintaining his innocence (27:2-6; 31:35-37) in the face of God’s discipline (34:11-12). Job might be ignoring God’s many attempts to communicate with him (33:8-17). He might be missing his opportunities to exercise his God-given wisdom (35:11) and to consider his Creator’s provision for relief in his distress (v. 10).

35:15-16 Elihu ended this discourse on a similar note to his previous speech in which he recounted Job’s rebellious tendencies (34:36-37). Because God had not given Job the full punishment that he deserved (11:6), he foolishly babbled on with meaningless prattle.