Job 34

Elihu Vindicates God's Justice

1 Then Elihu continued and said,
2 "Hear my words, you wise men, And listen to me, you who know.
3 "For 1the ear tests words As the palate tastes food.
4 "Let us choose for ourselves what is right; Let us know among ourselves what is good.
5 "For Job has said, '2I am righteous, But 3God has taken away my right;
6 Should I lie concerning my right? My 4wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.'
7 "What man is like Job, Who 5drinks up derision like water,
8 Who goes 6in company with the workers of iniquity, And walks with wicked men?
9 "For he has said, '7It profits a man nothing When he is pleased with God.'
10 "Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to 8do wickedness, And from the Almighty to do wrong.
11 "For He pays a man according to 9his work, And makes him find it according to his way.
12 "Surely *, 10God will not act wickedly, And the Almighty will not pervert justice.
13 "Who 11gave Him authority over the earth? And who 12has laid on Him the whole world?
14 "If He should determine * to do so, If He should 13gather to Himself His spirit and His breath,
15 All 14flesh would perish together, And man would 15return to dust.
16 "But if you have understanding, hear this; Listen to the sound of my words.
17 "Shall 16one who hates justice rule? And 17will you condemn the righteous mighty One,
18 Who says to a king, 'Worthless one,' To nobles, 'Wicked ones ';
19 Who shows no 18partiality * to princes Nor regards the rich above the poor, For they all are the 19work of His hands?
20 "In a moment they die, and 20at midnight * People are shaken and pass away, And 21the mighty are taken away without a hand.
21 "For 22His eyes are upon the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.
22 "There is 23no darkness or deep shadow Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
23 "For He does not 24need to consider a man further, That he should go before God in judgment.
24 "He breaks in pieces 25mighty men without inquiry, And sets others in their place.
25 "Therefore He 26knows their works, And 27He overthrows them in the night, And they are crushed.
26 "He 28strikes them like the wicked In a public place,
27 Because * * they 29turned aside from following Him, And 30had no regard for any of His ways;
28 So that they caused 31the cry of the poor to come to Him, And that He might 32hear the cry of the afflicted -
29 When He keeps quiet, who then can condemn? And when He hides His face, who then can behold Him, That is, in regard to both nation and man?-
30 So that 33godless men would not rule Nor be snares of the people.
31 "For has anyone said to God, 'I have borne chastisement; I will not offend anymore;
32 Teach me what I do not see; If I have 34done iniquity, I will not do it again '?
33 "Shall He 35recompense on your terms, because you have rejected it? For you must choose, and not I; Therefore declare what you know.
34 "Men of understanding will say to me, And a wise man who hears me,
35 'Job 36speaks without knowledge, And his words are without wisdom.
36 'Job ought to be tried to the limit, Because he answers 37like wicked men.
37 'For he adds 38rebellion to his sin; He 39claps his hands among us, And multiplies his words against 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 39

  • 1. Job 12:11
  • 2. Job 13:18; Job 33:9
  • 3. Job 27:2
  • 4. Job 6:4
  • 5. Job 15:16
  • 6. Job 22:15
  • 7. Job 21:15; Job 35:3; Psalms 50:18
  • 8. Genesis 18:25; Deuteronomy 32:4; Job 8:3; Job 34:12; Romans 9:14
  • 9. Job 34:25; Psalms 62:12; Proverbs 24:12; Jeremiah 32:19; Ezekiel 33:20; Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12
  • 10. Job 34:10
  • 11. Job 38:4
  • 12. Job 38:5
  • 13. Job 12:10; Psalms 104:29; Ecclesiastes 12:7
  • 14. Genesis 7:21; Job 9:22
  • 15. Genesis 3:19; Job 10:9
  • 16. 2 Samuel 23:3; Job 34:30
  • 17. Job 40:8
  • 18. Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 10:17; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; 1 Peter 1:17
  • 19. Job 10:3
  • 20. Exodus 12:29; Job 34:25; Job 36:20
  • 21. Job 12:19
  • 22. Job 24:23; Job 31:4; Proverbs 5:21; Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 16:17
  • 23. Psalms 139:11, 12; Amos 9:2, 3
  • 24. Job 11:11
  • 25. Job 12:19
  • 26. Job 34:11
  • 27. Job 34:20
  • 28. Psalms 9:5; Psalms 11:5
  • 29. 1 Samuel 15:11
  • 30. Job 21:14
  • 31. Job 35:9; James 5:4
  • 32. Exodus 22:23; Job 22:27
  • 33. Job 5:15; Job 20:5; Job 34:17; Proverbs 29:2-12
  • 34. Job 33:27
  • 35. Job 41:11
  • 36. Job 35:16; Job 38:2
  • 37. Job 22:15
  • 38. Job 23:2
  • 39. Job 27:23

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Or "Although I am right I am accounted a liar"
  • [b]. Lit "arrow"
  • [c]. Or "takes delight in God"
  • [d]. Lit "a man"
  • [e]. Lit "set His mind on Himself"
  • [f]. Lit "In the place of the ones seeing"
  • [g]. Or "to the end"

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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