|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
35:9-13 Job complained that God did not regard the cries of the oppressed against their oppressors. This he knew not how to reconcile the justice of God and his government. Elihu solves the difficulty. Men do not notice the mercies they enjoy in and under their afflictions, nor are thankful for them, therefore they cannot expect that God should deliver them out of affliction. He gives songs in the night; when our condition is dark and melancholy, there is that in God's providence and promise, which is sufficient to support us, and to enable us even to rejoice in tribulation. When we only pore upon our afflictions, and neglect the consolations of God which are treasured up for us, it is just in God to reject our prayers. Even the things that will kill the body, cannot hurt the soul. If we cry to God for the removal of an affliction, and it is not removed, the reason is, not because the Lord's hand is shortened, or his ear heavy; but because we are not sufficiently humbled.
Verse 11. - Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven. Elihu probably alludes to Job's defence of his complaints as natural, like the instinctive cries of beasts and birds (Job 6:5). God, he says, has given to man a higher nature than he has bestowal on the brutes; and this nature should teach him to carry his griefs to God in a proper spirit- a spirit of faith, piety, humility, and resignation. If men cried to him in this spirit, they would obtain an answer. If they do not obtain an answer, it must be that the proper spirit is lacking (comp. James 4:3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth?.... Who are taught and know much, especially some of them; but not so much as man, see Isaiah 1:3;
and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? who are wise to provide food and nests for themselves and their young; and such as are birds of passage, as the turtledove, the crane, the stork, and the swallow, to know the time of their coming and returning, see Jeremiah 8:7. But then neither the beasts not; the fowls, though they are endowed with much knowledge and sagacity, according to their natures, yet not with reason and understanding, as men are, so as to make reflections on things they see and hear, and reason and discourse about them; nor are they capable of being taught and attaining to knowledge and wisdom as men are, by the works of God, of creation, and providence; and by the word of God, the Scriptures of truth, which are able to make men wise unto salvation; and by the Spirit of God, who teaches all things of a spiritual nature. God not only endows men with reason, but with sentiments of religion, which brutes are incapable of: he gives to men wisdom in the hidden part; he puts in them his fear, which is the beginning of wisdom; he makes them wise to know God in Christ, and to know his Son Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal; and he gives them knowledge of a future state, and hope of immortality and eternal life. Wherefore it becomes them to bear afflictions and oppressions with a fortitude of mind, and patiently submit to the will of God, and wait his time for deliverance, having called upon him in faith, and left their case with him; but if they only cry, as the brutes do under their burdens, it need not seem strange they are not heard and answered; since God has given them more wisdom and knowledge than they, and therefore should behave after another manner; though sometimes they act a part inferior to them, Jde 1:10.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. Man's spirit, which distinguishes him from the brute, is the strongest proof of God's beneficence; by the use of it we may understand that God is the Almighty helper of all sufferers who humbly seek Him; and that they err who do not so seek Him.
fowls—(see on Job 28:21).
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