|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:31-37 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.
Verse 33. - Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it. The two clauses should be taken together, and the translation should run, "Should God recompense" (i.e. make his awards) "according to thy pleasure'" or "as thou wiliest?" Elihu turns to Job and directly addresses him, "Can he expect that God will make his decrees - condemn and absolve men - just as Job thinks right?" Whether thou refuse; rather, since thou refusest them. Job had refused to acknowledge the justice of God's awards and decisions. Or whether thou choose; and not I; rather, but thou must choose, and not I. It is Job who must determine how he will act. Elihu, a friend, can only point out and recommend a course, as he had done in vers. 31, 32. It is for Job himself to determine what course he will take. Therefore speak what thou knowest; i.e. "Say what thou hast determined on."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Should it be according, to thy mind?.... O Job, for the words seem to he directed to him; and may respect either the government of the world in general, and the disposal of all things in it, treated of in this chapter, though more remotely, Job 34:13. Is it not proper that God should govern it, who has made it, and do all things in it as he pleases? is it fit he should consult with men what to do, or be instructed and taught by them in the path of judgment? is it meet that every man should have his mind and will, and have everything go in the form and course most eligible to him? Or else they may respect chastisement, with which the words are more nearly connected; and so the sense be, should man be consulted, as Job or any other, and his mind known first, whether he should be chastened or not? should a son or a servant be asked first by a parent or master, whether it is fitting to give correction or not? or is man to be advised with in what way and manner he should be chastened of God, whether in his person, or family, or estate? or how long the chastening should endure upon him, and when it should be removed? no, surely; all should be left with God, the wise and sovereign Disposer of all things;
he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose,
and not I; that is, God will recompense chastisement; he will chastise whom he pleases, and in what manner he pleases, and as long as he pleases, whether man consents or submits to it or not; he will not ask his leave; he will do according to the counsel of his own will; and thou Job mayest choose or refuse to submit to him as thou likest best; for my part, was it my case, I would not refuse submission to his will; I would say, "it is the Lord, let him do what seemeth good in his sight". Some make this last clause the words of God, put by way of question, "shouldest thou choose or refuse, and not I?" shouldest thou have thine option and refusal, and not I? should man be his own chooser, or choose for himself what he likes best? should he not say, the Lord shall choose mine inheritance for me, though that inheritance is affliction? The words are rendered by others to different senses, all which to observe would be too tedious: some (l) to this sense,
"what is of thyself God recompenses;''
sin is of a man's self, it flows from his corrupt heart and will, he is not tempted to it of God; nor is it to be ascribed to the temptations of Satan, which, though they may have their influence, sin is a man's own act and deed; and God will recompense it in one way or another, whether man will or not; either in a way of punishment on the sinner himself, or on his surety for him; or in a way of fatherly correction and chastisement; and this is the Lord's doing and not mine, and he is just in so doing;
therefore speak what thou knowest: if thou knowest anything better than this, or canst contradict what is said: or as others (m) to this purpose,
"did ever such a speech come from thee, as expressed in the preceding verses? God will recompense it, if thou refusest to speak in such a submissive manner; thou mayest refuse to do it, I would not; I should choose to submit and hear the affliction patiently; if thou thinkest otherwise, speak out thy mind.''
(l) "ecce de tuo rependit illud", Schultens. (m) Junius and Tremellius, Grotius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
33. Rather, "should God recompense (sinners) according to thy mind? Then it is for thee to reject and to choose, and not me" [Umbreit]; or as Maurer, "For thou hast rejected God's way of recompensing; state therefore thy way, for thou must choose, not I," that is, it is thy part, not mine, to show a better way than God's.
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