|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
33:8-13 Elihu charges Job with reflecting upon the justice and goodness of God. When we hear any thing said to God's dishonour, we ought to bear our testimony against it. Job had represented God as severe in marking what he did amiss. Elihu urges that he had spoken wrong, and that he ought to humble himself before God, and by repentance to unsay it. God is not accountable to us. It is unreasonable for weak, sinful creatures, to strive with a God of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness. He acts with perfect justice, wisdom, and goodness, where we cannot perceive it.
Verse 12. - Behold, in this thou art not just. It would certainly not have been a just charge to make against God, that he counted Job as an enemy; and, so far as Job's statements go, it must be admitted that he had laid himself open to Elihu's rebuke. But it is no logical "answer" to Job's charge to say, in reply to it, I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Might does not constitute right, and it is a poor way of justifying God to urge that he is all-powerful, and may do what he likes. So Cambyses was justified in his worst acts by the royal judges (Herod., 3:31); and so in an absolute monarchy it is always possible to justify the extremest acts of tyranny. Certainly God cannot act unjustly; but this is not because his doing a thing makes it right, but because his justice, is a law to his will, and he never wills to do anything that he has not previously seen to be just (see Cudworth's 'Immutable Morality,' which deserves the careful study, not alone of moralists, but also of theologians).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Behold, in this thou art not just,.... Here begins Elihu's answer, who does not deny that Job was a just man, both before God in an evangelic sense, and before men in a moral sense; he did not go about to detract from Job's general character, as a man that lived soberly, righteously, and godly in the world; but in this he was not just, nor is it to be justified, with respect to this thing, he could not acquit him of doing what was wrong; namely, insisting so much on his own innocence, and tacking therewith such unbecoming and undue reflections on the dealings of God with him; he did not give to God his due, he did not do him justice in representing him in this light; he did not say nor do the right thing, so Mr. Broughton translates the words,
"lo, here thou art not in the right;''
see Job 32:2;
I will answer thee; or "I must tell thee"; as the same writer renders the words, being able to make it clear and plain:
that God is greater than man: than any man, than the greatest of men, most famous for power, wisdom, or justice; he is not only greater in his power, faithfulness, goodness, grace, and mercy, but in his holiness and righteousness, wisdom and knowledge; and therefore can never do either an unjust thing, or an unwise one; and for man, who is both sinful and ignorant, even the best in comparison of him, to arraign him at his bar, is very arrogant and presumptuous; since he knows best what to do, and what are his reasons for so doing, and is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. in this—view of God and His government. It cannot be that God should jealously "watch" man, though "spotless," as an "enemy," or as one afraid of him as an equal. For "God is greater than man!" There must be sin in man, even though he be no hypocrite, which needs correction by suffering for the sufferer's good.
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