|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
32:6-14 Elihu professes to speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and corrects both parties. He allowed that those who had the longest experience should speak first. But God gives wisdom as he pleases; this encouraged him to state his opinion. By attention to the word of God, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit, young men may become wiser than the aged; but this wisdom will render them swift to hear, slow to speak, and disposed to give others a patient hearing.
Verses 6-22. - The speech of Elihu now begins. In the present chapter, after a short apologetic exordium, excusing his youth (vers. 6-9), he addresses himself exclusively to Job's friends. He has listened attentively to them, and weighed their words (vers. 11, 12). but has found nothing in them that confuted Job. They had not "found wisdom" - they had not "vanquished Job" - at the last they had been "amazed, and had not had a word more to say" (vers. 13-16). Elihu, therefore, will supply their deficiency; he has kept silence with difficulty, and is full of thoughts, to which he would fain give utterance (vers. 17-20). In all that he says he will show no favouritism - he will "accept no man's-person," "give no flattering titles," but express sincerely what he believes (vers. 21, 22). Verse 6. - And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old. We can only guess at the exact ages of Job and his friends. From the fact that God at the last "gave Job twice as much as he had before" (Job 42:10), and the further fact that he lived, after he had recovered his prosperity, a hundred and forty years (Job 42:16), it has been conjectured that he was seventy years of age at the time of his conference with his friends, and that he died at the age of two hundred and ten. But this clearly is quite uncertain. He may not have been much more than fifty when his calamities fell upon him. If this were so, the age of his friends need not have exceeded from sixty to seventy. Perhaps Elihu was himself not more than thirty. Wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show you mine opinion; rather, I held back and was afraid to utter what I knew in your presence. Elihu would have been thought unduly pushing and presumptuous if he had ventured to come forward until his seniors had ended their colloquy.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said,.... Since there was no answer in them, he takes upon him to give one himself; but first makes an apology on account of his youth:
I am young, and ye are very old; or "few of days"; a few days, comparatively speaking, had he lived in the world; or "small", or "little as two days" (m); he had been but a little time in it, and so could be thought to have but little knowledge and experience; whereas they were old, even very old; with them were the aged and the grayheaded, Job 15:10; in whom it might have been expected was much wisdom and knowledge:
wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show mine opinion; declare what knowledge he had of the things in dispute, lest it should appear mean, small, and contemptible; or give his sentiments concerning them, lest he should speak wrongly, and not only give offence, but do more harm than good: the first of these words, in the Arabic language (n), as Aben Ezra observes, signifies to go back; it is used of worms, which, through fear, withdraw themselves from men; so mean an opinion had he of himself, and such a sense of his own weakness, that it not only kept him back, but even caused him to draw back, and keep out of the dispute, and at a distance from it, instead of being forward to engage in it: one Jewish commentator (o) paraphrases it
"I humbled myself as one that goes on his belly;''
referring to worms that go low and creep upon their belly, or to the prostrate posture of men that humble themselves to their superiors.
(m) "minimus ego diebus", Montanus; "parvus diebus sum", Mercerus. (n) "recessit suo loco", Castel. col. 1036. (o) Sephorno.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. was afraid—The root meaning in Hebrew is "to crawl" (De 32:24).
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