Job 34

1 You men are so wise, so clever; listen now to what I am saying.
3 You know good food when you taste it, but not wise words when you hear them.
4 It is up to us to decide the case.
5 Job claims that he is innocent, that God refuses to give him justice.
6 He asks, "How could I lie and say I am wrong? I am fatally wounded, but I am sinless."
7 Have you ever seen anyone like this man Job? He never shows respect for God.
8 He likes the company of evil people and goes around with sinners.
9 He says that it never does any good to try to follow God's will.
10 Listen to me, you men who understand! Will Almighty God do what is wrong?
11 He rewards people for what they do 1 and treats them as they deserve.
12 Almighty God does not do evil; he is never unjust to anyone.
13 Did God get his power from someone else? Did someone put him in charge of the world?
14 If God took back the breath of life,
15 then everyone living would die and turn into dust again.
16 Now listen to me, if you are wise.
17 Are you condemning the righteous God? Do you think that [he ]hates justice?
18 God condemns kings and rulers when they are worthless or wicked.
19 He does not take the side of rulers nor favor the rich over the poor, for he created everyone.
20 We may suddenly die at night. God strikes us down and we perish; he kills the mighty with no effort at all.
21 He watches every step we take.
22 There is no darkness dark enough to hide a sinner from God.
23 God does not need to set a time for us to go and be judged by him.
24 He does not need an investigation to remove leaders and replace them with others.
25 Because he knows what they do; he overthrows them and crushes them by night.
26 He punishes sinners where all can see it,
27 because they have stopped following him and ignored all his commands.
28 They forced the poor to cry out to God, and he heard their calls for help.
29 If God decided to do nothing at all, no one could criticize him. If he hid his face, we would be helpless.
30 There would be nothing that nations could do to keep godless oppressors from ruling them.
31 Job, have you confessed your sins to God and promised not to sin again?
32 Have you asked God to show you your faults, and have you agreed to stop doing evil?
33 Since you object to what God does, can you expect him to do what you want? The decision is yours, not mine; tell us now what you think.
34 Any sensible person will surely agree; and the wise who hear me will say
35 that Job is speaking from ignorance and that nothing he says makes sense.
36 Think through everything that Job says; you will see that he talks like an evil man.
37 To his sins he adds rebellion; in front of us all he mocks God.

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.

Cross References 1

  • 1. 34.11Psalms 62.12.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. [Probable text] a time; [Hebrew] yet.

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

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.