|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:5-14 Elihu here shows that God acts as righteous Governor. He is always ready to defend those that are injured. If our eye is ever toward God in duty, his eye will be ever upon us in mercy, and, when we are at the lowest, will not overlook us. God intends, when he afflicts us, to discover past sins to us, and to bring them to our remembrance. Also, to dispose our hearts to be taught: affliction makes people willing to learn, through the grace of God working with and by it. And further, to deter us from sinning for the future. It is a command, to have no more to do with sin. If we faithfully serve God, we have the promise of the life that now is, and the comforts of it, as far as is for God's glory and our good: and who would desire them any further? We have the possession of inward pleasures, the great peace which those have that love God's law. If the affliction fail in its work, let men expect the furnace to be heated till they are consumed. Those that die without knowledge, die without grace, and are undone for ever. See the nature of hypocrisy; it lies in the heart: that is for the world and the flesh, while perhaps the outside seems to be for God and religion. Whether sinners die in youth, or live long to heap up wrath, their case is dreadful. The souls of the wicked live after death, but it is in everlasting misery.
Verse 10 - He openeth also their ear to discipline. It is the especial merit of Elihu's theory of suffering that he views it as far less penal than disciplinary and restorative. Job's sufferings especially he views in this light. Instead of looking upon Job, like his other friends, as a heinous sinner, upon whom Go, I is taking vengeance, he regards him as a person who is being chastised, in love, for some fault or faults that he has committed, to his ultimate advantage and improvement. This, though not exactly the truth, is far nearer the truth than the view taken by the other three "friends." And commandeth that they return from iniquity. God's chastisements are to be viewed as commands to men to "go and sin no more."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He openeth also their ear to discipline,.... Or "to correction" (o); to the rod of correction; to hear the voice of it and him that has appointed it; its reproving voice for sin, its directing voice to duty, and its commanding voice to return from iniquity, as in the next clause. Or "to instruction" (p); God's corrections of his people being instructions to them, whereby they learn more of their duty, and of the rich experiences of grace; their faith, hope, love, and patience, are tried and increased hereby; and more of the love of God, of his care and faithfulness, of his covenant, of his gracious presence, and communion with God, what it is; and even of the doctrines of the everlasting Gospel: sometimes more is learned by an affliction than by a sermon. Now in order to hearken hereunto, to the voice of God in an affliction, the ear must be opened; which is first done in conversion by the mighty power of God: but sometimes good men fall asleep, and are inattentive to divine things; and this is one way God takes to awaken them, to arouse their attention; he speaks to them out of a whirlwind; he sends some terrible startling affliction, which fetches them out of their slumber, and so their ears are opened to hear what he says in it: at the noise of his waterspouts, and his billows one after another rolling over them, they are awakened to a sense of their sin and duty, Psalm 42:7;
and commandeth that they return from iniquity; repent of their sin, turn from it and forsake it: such a strong voice has an affliction in it, when sanctified and attended with the spirit and power of God; then it effectually teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, as the word of God, the Gospel of the grace of God does, when accompanied with the same; as there is a commanding voice in the one, so there is in the other; and happy it is when such ends as these are answered by afflictions.
(o) "ad correptionem", Montanus; "ad correctionem", Beza, Michaelis, Schultens. (p) "Ad eruditionem", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. (Job 33:16-18, 23).
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