|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:15-23 Elihu shows that Job caused the continuance of his own trouble. He cautions him not to persist in frowardness. Even good men need to be kept to their duty by the fear of God's wrath; the wisest and best have enough in them to deserve his stroke. Let not Job continue his unjust quarrel with God and his providence. And let us never dare to think favourably of sin, never indulge it, nor allow ourselves in it. Elihu thinks Job needed this caution, he having chosen rather to gratify his pride and humour by contending with God, than to mortify them by submitting, and accepting the punishment. It is absurd for us to think to teach Him who is himself the Fountain of light, truth, knowledge, and instruction. He teaches by the Bible, and that is the best book; teaches by his Son, and he is the best Master. He is just in all proceedings.
Verse 16. - Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad pine, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness. Another quite different interpretation has been proposed by Ewald, and adopted by Dillmann and Canon Cook, who suppose Elihu to speak, not of what would have happened to Job under certain circumstances, but of what had actually happened to him, and render, "Thee moreover hath thy unbounded prosperity seduced from listening to the voice of affliction, and the case of thy table which was full of fatness." But the rendering of the Authorized Version, which is substantially that of Schultens and Rosenmuller, is still upheld by many scholars, and has been retained by our Revisers. If we adopt it, we must understand Elihu as assuring Job that he too would have been delivered and restored to his prosperity, if he had accepted his afflictions in a proper spirits and learnt the lesson they were intended to teach him (see vers. 9, 10).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Even so,.... Here Elihu accommodates what he had said to the case of Job; that had he hearkened and been obedient to the voice of God in his rod, and had submitted to his chastening hand, and patiently bore his afflictions;
would have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness: that is, out of the strait circumstances in which he was, into liberty; would have brought him into a large place, where he might walk at liberty, as David experienced, Psalm 4:1; and may be understood both in a temporal and spiritual sense. In a temporal sense; he was now in great straits, in poverty and affliction; these pressed him hard on every side, so that his way, as he says, was "fenced up, that he could not pass", Job 19:8. Now had he been rightly humbled under his affliction, God would have taken him out of the straits of adversity, and set his feet in a large room of prosperity; see Psalm 31:7. In a spiritual sense; persons are as in a strait place and pent up, when they cannot come forth in the free exercise of grace and duty; their souls are as it were in prison, they are shut up, and have not freedom with God nor man; their faith is ready to fail, their hope is sunk very low, they are straitened in their own bowels or affections, in their love to God and his people: and then they are removed into a large place, when it is the reverse with them; when they are favoured with the free spirit of the Lord, for where he is there is liberty; and when their hearts are enlarged with the love of God, and in the exercise of grace; and then they can run cheerfully the ways of his commandments;
and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness; which in a temporal sense denotes, that he should have had a plentiful table, spread with the best of provisions, the richest dainties, the finest of the wheat, and the fattest of the creatures; and these should rest and remain upon his table, or be constantly renewed there: and in a spiritual sense, that his soul should have been satisfied with the love of God, shed abroad in his heart; with the blessings of the everlasting covenant of grace applied unto him; and with the goodness of the house of God, his word and ordinances, as with marrow and fatness; see Psalm 63:5.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Rather, "He will lead forth thee also out of the jaws of a strait" (Ps 18:19; 118:5).
broad place—expresses the liberty, and the well-supplied "table" the abundance of the prosperous (Ps 23:5; Isa 25:6).
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