Job 34

1 Then Elihu continued,[a] saying:
2 Hear my words, you wise men, and listen to me, you knowledgeable ones.
3 Doesn't the ear test words as the palate tastes food?[b]
4 Let us judge for ourselves what is right; let us decide together what is good.
5 For Job has declared, "I am righteous, yet God has deprived me of justice.[c]
6 Would I lie about my case?[d] My wound[e] is incurable, though I am without transgression."
7 What man is like Job? He drinks derision like water.[f]
8 He keeps company with evildoers and walks with wicked men.
9 For he has said, "A man gains nothing when he becomes God's friend."[g]
10 Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding. It is impossible for God [to do] wrong, and [for] the Almighty [to act] unjustly.[h]
11 For He repays a person [according to] his deeds, and He brings his ways on him.[i]
12 Indeed, it is true that God does not act wickedly and the Almighty does not pervert justice.[j]
13 Who gave Him authority over the earth? Who put Him in charge of the entire world?[k]
14 If He put His mind to it and withdrew the spirit and breath[l] He [gave],
15 every living thing would perish together and mankind would return to the dust.
16 If you [have] understanding, hear this; listen to what I have to say.
17 Could one who hates justice govern [the world]? Will you condemn the mighty Righteous One,
18 who says to a king, "Worthless man!" and to nobles, "Wicked men!"?[m]
19 God is not partial to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of His hands.[n]
20 They die suddenly in the middle of the night; people shudder, then pass away. Even the mighty are removed without effort.
21 For His eyes [watch] over a man's ways, and He observes all his steps.[o]
22 There is no darkness, no deep darkness, where evildoers can hide themselves.[p]
23 God does not [need to] examine a person further, that one should[q] approach Him in court.
24 He shatters[r] the mighty without an investigation and sets others in their place.
25 Therefore, He recognizes their deeds and overthrows [them] by night, and they are crushed.
26 In full view of the public,[s] He strikes them for their wickedness,
27 because they turned aside from following Him and did not understand any of His ways
28 but caused the poor to cry out to Him, and He heard the outcry of the afflicted.[t]
29 But when God is silent, who can declare [Him] guilty?[u] When He hides [His] face, who can see Him? Yet He [watches] over both individuals and nations,
30 so that godless men should not rule or ensnare the people.
31 Suppose someone says to God, "I have endured [my punishment]; I will no [longer] act wickedly.
32 Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I won't do it again."
33 Should God repay [you] on your terms when you have rejected [His]? You must choose, not I! So declare what you know.
34 Reasonable men will say to me, along with the wise men who hear me,
35 "Job speaks without knowledge; his words are without insight."[v]
36 If only Job were tested to the limit, because [his] answers are [like] those of wicked men.
37 For he adds rebellion to his sin; he [scornfully] claps in our presence, while multiplying his words against God.[w]

Job 34 Commentary

Chapter 34

Elihu accuses Job of charging God with injustice. (1-9) God cannot be unjust. (10-15) God's power and providence. (16-30) Elihu reproves Job. (31-37)

Verses 1-9 Elihu calls upon those present to decide with him upon Job's words. The plainest Christian, whose mind is enlightened, whose heart is sanctified by the Spirit of God, and who is versed in the Scriptures, can say how far matters, words, or actions, agree with true religion, better than any that lean to their own understandings. Job had spoken as if he meant wholly to justify himself. He that say, I have cleansed my hands in vain, does not only offend against God's children, Ps. 73:13-15 , but gratifies his enemies, and says as they say.

Verses 10-15 Elihu had showed Job, that God meant him no hurt by afflicting him, but intended his spiritual benefit. Here he shows, that God did him no wrong by afflicting him. If the former did not satisfy him, this ought to silence him. God cannot do wickedness, nor the Almighty commit wrong. If services now go unrewarded, and sins now go unpunished, yet there is a day coming, when God will fully render to every man according to his works. Further, though the believer's final condemnation is done away through the Saviour's ransom, yet he has merited worse than any outward afflictions; so that no wrong is done to him, however he may be tried.

Verses 16-30 Elihu appeals directly to Job himself. Could he suppose that God was like those earthly princes, who hate right, who are unfit to rule, and prove the scourges of mankind? It is daring presumption to condemn God's proceedings, as Job had done by his discontents. Elihu suggests divers considerations to Job, to produce in him high thoughts of God, and so to persuade him to submit. Job had often wished to plead his cause before God. Elihu asks, To what purpose? All is well that God does, and will be found so. What can make those uneasy, whose souls dwell at ease in God? The smiles of all the world cannot quiet those on whom God frowns.

Verses 31-37 When we reprove for what is amiss, we must direct to what is good. Job's friends would have had him own himself a wicked man. Let will only oblige him to own that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips. Let us, in giving reproof, not make a matter worse than it is. Elihu directs Job to humble himself before God for his sins, and to accept the punishment. Also to pray to God to discover his sins to him. A good man is willing to know the worst of himself; particularly, under affliction, he desires to be told wherefore God contends with him. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins, but we must go and sin no more. And if we are affectionate children, we shall love to speak with our Father, and to tell him all our mind. Elihu reasons with Job concerning his discontent under affliction. We are ready to think every thing that concerns us should be just as we would have it; but it is not reasonable to expect this. Elihu asks whether there was not sin and folly in what Job said. God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, Ps. 145:17 . The believer saith, Let my Saviour, my wise and loving Lord, choose every thing for me. I am sure that will be wisest, and the best for his glory and my good.

Footnotes 23

Chapter Summary


In this chapter Elihu reassumes his discourse, and proceeds in his answer to Job, in which are first a preface exciting attention, Job 34:1-4; then a charge is brought against Job, expressed in or extracted from some words that dropped from his lips, not so well guarded, Job 34:5-9; a refutation of these expressions of his in a variety of arguments, Job 34:10-30; and the chapter is closed with some good advice to Job, Job 34:31-33; and with an earnest request of Elihu to men of understanding, to join with him in trying him to the uttermost, Job 34:34-37.

Job 34 Commentaries

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