Job 36

1 Elihu continued:
2 “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.
3 I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker.
4 Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you.
5 “God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.
6 He does not keep the wicked alive but gives the afflicted their rights.
7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever.
8 But if people are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction,
9 he tells them what they have done— that they have sinned arrogantly.
10 He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil.
11 If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.
12 But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword[a]and die without knowledge.
13 “The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.
14 They die in their youth, among male prostitutes of the shrines.
15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.
16 “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
17 But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked; judgment and justice have taken hold of you.
18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside.
19 Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts sustain you so you would not be in distress?
20 Do not long for the night, to drag people away from their homes.[b]
21 Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction.
22 “God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him?
23 Who has prescribed his ways for him, or said to him, ‘You have done wrong’?
24 Remember to extol his work, which people have praised in song.
25 All humanity has seen it; mortals gaze on it from afar.
26 How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.
27 “He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams[c] ;
28 the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind.
29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion?
30 See how he scatters his lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea.
31 This is the way he governs[d] the nations and provides food in abundance.
32 He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark.
33 His thunder announces the coming storm; even the cattle make known its approach.[e]

Job 36 Commentary

Chapter 36

Elihu desires Job's attention. (1-4) The methods in which God deals with men. (5-14) Elihu counsels Job. (15-23) The wonders in the works of creation. (24-33)

Verses 1-4 Elihu only maintained that the affliction was sent for his trial; and lengthened because Job was not yet thoroughly humbled under it. He sought to ascribe righteousness to his Maker; to clear this truth, that God is righteous in all his ways. Such knowledge must be learned from the word and Spirit of God, for naturally we are estranged from it. The fitness of Elihu's discourse to the dispute between Job and his friends is plain. It pointed out to Job the true reason of those trials with which he had been pointed out to Job the true reason of those trials with which he had been visited. It taught that God had acted in mercy towards him, and the spiritual benefit he was to derive from them. It corrected the mistake of his friends, and showed that Job's calamities were for good.

Verses 5-14 Elihu here shows that God acts as righteous Governor. He is always ready to defend those that are injured. If our eye is ever toward God in duty, his eye will be ever upon us in mercy, and, when we are at the lowest, will not overlook us. God intends, when he afflicts us, to discover past sins to us, and to bring them to our remembrance. Also, to dispose our hearts to be taught: affliction makes people willing to learn, through the grace of God working with and by it. And further, to deter us from sinning for the future. It is a command, to have no more to do with sin. If we faithfully serve God, we have the promise of the life that now is, and the comforts of it, as far as is for God's glory and our good: and who would desire them any further? We have the possession of inward pleasures, the great peace which those have that love God's law. If the affliction fail in its work, let men expect the furnace to be heated till they are consumed. Those that die without knowledge, die without grace, and are undone for ever. See the nature of hypocrisy; it lies in the heart: that is for the world and the flesh, while perhaps the outside seems to be for God and religion. Whether sinners die in youth, or live long to heap up wrath, their case is dreadful. The souls of the wicked live after death, but it is in everlasting misery.

Verses 15-23 Elihu shows that Job caused the continuance of his own trouble. He cautions him not to persist in frowardness. Even good men need to be kept to their duty by the fear of God's wrath; the wisest and best have enough in them to deserve his stroke. Let not Job continue his unjust quarrel with God and his providence. And let us never dare to think favourably of sin, never indulge it, nor allow ourselves in it. Elihu thinks Job needed this caution, he having chosen rather to gratify his pride and humour by contending with God, than to mortify them by submitting, and accepting the punishment. It is absurd for us to think to teach Him who is himself the Fountain of light, truth, knowledge, and instruction. He teaches by the Bible, and that is the best book; teaches by his Son, and he is the best Master. He is just in all proceedings.

Verses 24-33 Elihu endeavours to fill Job with high thought of God, and so to persuade him into cheerful submission to his providence. Man may see God's works, and is capable of discerning his hand in them, which the beasts are not, therefore they ought to give him the glory. But while the worker of iniquity ought to tremble, the true believer should rejoice. Children should hear with pleasure their Father's voice, even when he speaks in terror to his enemies. There is no light but there may be a cloud to intercept it. The light of the favour of God, the light of his countenance, the most blessed light of all, even that light has many a cloud. The clouds of our sins cause the Lord to his face, and hinder the light of his loving-kindness from shining on our souls.

Cross References 70

  • 1. S Job 6:28
  • 2. S Job 4:17; Job 8:3; Job 37:23
  • 3. S Job 6:28; S Job 13:6; Job 33:3
  • 4. Job 37:5,16,23
  • 5. S Job 32:17
  • 6. S Job 9:4
  • 7. Psalms 5:2; Psalms 22:24; Psalms 31:22; Psalms 69:33; Psalms 102:17; Psalms 103:10
  • 8. S Numbers 23:19; Romans 11:29; Job 12:13
  • 9. S Job 34:26; Job 8:22
  • 10. S Job 4:10; Job 5:15
  • 11. S Job 11:11; Psalms 11:5; Psalms 33:18; Psalms 34:15; Matthew 6:18
  • 12. Psalms 113:8; Isaiah 22:23
  • 13. S 1 Samuel 2:7-8; S Job 4:7
  • 14. S 2 Samuel 3:34; 2 Kings 23:33; Psalms 107:10,14
  • 15. ver 10,15,21; Psalms 119:67,71
  • 16. S Job 15:25
  • 17. S Job 33:16
  • 18. S Job 5:17
  • 19. S ver 8; S Judges 6:8; S Job 34:33; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 2 Kings 17:13
  • 20. S Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:1; Isaiah 1:19; Haggai 1:12
  • 21. S Deuteronomy 30:15; S Job 8:7
  • 22. S Exodus 8:22; S Deuteronomy 8:1; John 14:21; 1 Timothy 4:8
  • 23. S Leviticus 26:38; S Job 15:22
  • 24. S Job 4:21; Ephesians 4:18
  • 25. S Job 15:12; Romans 2:5
  • 26. S Job 5:2
  • 27. S Job 4:17; Amos 4:11
  • 28. S Job 15:32
  • 29. S Deuteronomy 23:17
  • 30. S Job 5:15
  • 31. 2 Corinthians 12:10
  • 32. S Job 33:16
  • 33. S ver 8; S Job 34:33
  • 34. Hosea 2:14
  • 35. S 2 Samuel 22:20; Psalms 18:19
  • 36. Psalms 118:5
  • 37. Psalms 23:5; Psalms 78:19
  • 38. S Genesis 17:1; S Job 15:11
  • 39. S Job 20:29
  • 40. Job 22:11
  • 41. S Exodus 23:8; Amos 5:12
  • 42. S Job 34:33
  • 43. Psalms 49:6; Jeremiah 9:23
  • 44. Job 34:20,25
  • 45. S Job 34:33; Psalms 66:18
  • 46. S ver 8; Hebrews 11:25
  • 47. S Job 5:9; S Job 9:4
  • 48. S Job 21:22; S Romans 11:34; Isaiah 40:13; 1 Corinthians 2:16
  • 49. Job 27:11
  • 50. S Job 34:13; Romans 11:33
  • 51. S Genesis 18:25; S Job 34:10; Job 8:3
  • 52. 1 Chronicles 16:24; Psalms 35:27; Psalms 92:5; Psalms 111:2; Psalms 138:5; Psalms 145:10
  • 53. S Exodus 15:1; Psalms 59:16; Revelation 15:3
  • 54. Romans 1:20
  • 55. S Job 5:9; 1 Corinthians 13:12
  • 56. S Genesis 21:33; S Job 10:5; Psalms 90:2; Psalms 102:24; Hebrews 1:12
  • 57. S Job 26:8
  • 58. S 2 Samuel 1:21; Job 28:26; Job 38:28; Isaiah 55:10; Psalms 147:8
  • 59. Psalms 65:10; Psalms 72:6; Joel 2:23
  • 60. S Job 5:10; S Job 22:11; S Job 28:26; Matthew 5:45
  • 61. Psalms 29:3; Jeremiah 10:13
  • 62. S Job 9:6; Job 26:14; Job 37:16; Psalms 18:7-15; Psalms 19:4,5; Psalms 104:2; Proverbs 8:28; Isaiah 40:22
  • 63. Exodus 19:16; Job 37:11,15; Psalms 18:12,14; Psalms 97:4; Jeremiah 10:13; Habakkuk 3:11
  • 64. Psalms 68:22; Isaiah 51:10
  • 65. Deuteronomy 28:23-24; 1 Kings 17:1; Job 37:13; Amos 4:7-8
  • 66. Psalms 145:15
  • 67. Ps 104:14-15,27-28; Isaiah 30:23; Psalms 136:25; Acts 14:17
  • 68. S Job 28:24; Job 37:12,15; Psalms 18:14; Psalms 29:7-9
  • 69. Job 37:5; Job 40:9
  • 70. S Job 28:26

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Or "will cross the river"
  • [b]. The meaning of the Hebrew for verses 18-20 is uncertain.
  • [c]. Or "distill from the mist as rain"
  • [d]. Or "nourishes"
  • [e]. Or "announces his coming—" / "the One zealous against evil"

Chapter Summary


This chapter, with the following, contains Elihu's fourth and last discourse, the principal view of which is to vindicate the righteousness of God; which is done by observing the dealings of God with men in his providence, according to their different characters, and from the wonderful works wrought by him in a sovereign manner, and for the benefit of his creatures. This chapter is introduced with a preface, the design of which is to gain attention, Job 36:1-4; the different dealings of God with men are observed, and the different issue of them, and the different ends answered thereby, Job 36:5-15; and it is suggested to Job, that had he attended to the design of the providence he was under, and had submitted to it patiently, things would have been otherwise with him; and therefore Elihu proceeds to give him some advice, which, if taken, would be for his own good, and the glory of God, Job 36:16-25; and closes the chapter by observing the unsearchable greatness of God, as appears by the works of nature wrought by him, Job 36:26-33.

Job 36 Commentaries

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