Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel
Both against Job and his three friends, for reasons after given; who this person was is not easy to say; they debase him too much, who make him to be Balaam the soothsayer, according to the tradition of the Jews F7; for neither the time he lived in, nor his character, will agree with him; this man living before the times of Balaam; and being also a holy good man, which all his discourses show: and they too much exalt him who make him to be Christ; for though some phrases, being strained, may seem to agree with him, and some things in the signification of his name, and the names of his ancestors, may be thought to answer to him; Elihu signifying, "my God is he"; the son of Barachel, "the son of the blessed God"; of the kindred of Ram, of the high and holy line; the Buzite, one "despised" and reproached; yet there are other things that cannot be said of him, as particularly in ( Job 32:22 ) ; besides, the Messiah seems to be spoken of by him as another person, ( Job 33:23 Job 33:24 ) ; it is very probable that he was one of Job's relations that was come to visit him in his melancholy circumstances, had been a bystander, and an hearer of the whole dispute between Job and his friends, with the management of which he was not a little displeased; he is described by his descent, when Job's other three friends are not, because he was a young man, and not known as they were: and this serves to show the truth of this history, that it is not a mere apologue, or moral fable, but a real fact; though who his father Barachel the Buzite was cannot easily be determined; it is probable he was a descendant of Buz, the son of Nahor, Abraham's brother, ( Genesis 22:20 Genesis 22:21 ) ; of this opinion are Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom; unless it can be thought he was so called from the city Buz, of which he might be an inhabitant, mentioned along with Dedan and Tema, ( Jeremiah 25:23 ) , places in Edom or Idumea, where or near to which Job lived:
of the kindred of Ram;
according to the Targum, of the kindred of Abraham, in which it is followed by other Jewish writers F8; and some even take him to be Isaac, the son of Abraham F9; Aben Ezra thinks he is the same with Ram the father of Amminadab, ( Ruth 4:19 ) ; but he is abundantly too late for this man to be of his kindred; others take him to be the same with Aram, the son of Kemuel, a brother of Buz, ( Genesis 22:21 ) ; these names being used for one another, either by adding or removing a letter; see ( Matthew 1:3 ) ; compared with ( Ruth 4:19 ) ;
against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified
not that he made himself more just than God, he could never think or say so, see ( Job 4:17 ) ; nor that he was just before him or by him; for he was so in an evangelic, though not in a legal sense; and Elihu would not have been displeased with him for asserting that; he did not deny that Job was a righteous man in the sight of God; nor that he was righteous, and in the right in the sight of God, with respect to the controversy between him and his friends; nor did he blame him for justifying himself from their charges; but that he justified himself "more" than God; so the Jewish writers F11 generally render it: he spent more time, and insisted longer on his own justification than upon the justification of God in the dealings of his providence with him; he was more careful of his own character and reputation than he was of the honour of God, and the glory of his justice; he said more for himself than he did for God; and this displeased Elihu; it gave this good man some concern, that, though Job did not directly charge God with unrighteousness in his dealings with him, yet by consequence; and he expressed himself in such language that would bear such a construction, whether it was his real sense or not; and to hear him complain so heavily of God, and at the same time enlarge so much on his own innocence, and to importune in so bold and daring a manner to have a hearing of his cause; these things being observed by Elihu, raised his choler and indignation.
F7 T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 20. 4. Hieron. Quaest. seu Traditiones in Gen. fol. 69. D. so Bolducius.
F8 Jarchi, Bar Tzemach
F9 T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 20. 4.
F11 Jarchi, Aben Ezra. Ben Gersom.