|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 21. - Take heed, regard not iniquity; i.e. be on thy guard. Whilst thou art careful to preserve thy integrity and faith in God, do not fall into sin in other respects - as by impatient desires, or proud thoughts, or rash accusations of God. For this hast thou chosen rather than affliction. Rather than acquiesce in thy afflictions and bear them patiently, thou hast elected to murmur, to complain, to question the justice of God, and speak overboldly concerning him. There is some ground for Elihu's condemnation; but it is excessive; it fails to make allowance for the extremity of Job's sufferings, and the disturbing influence of extreme suffering on the mind and judgment. It is, at any rate, more severe than God's judgment upon his servant (Job 38:2; Job 42:7).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Take heed, regard not iniquity,.... Not any iniquity, as to show any approbation of it, love for it, and desire after it. All appearance of sin, of every sin, is to be abstained from; but particularly by the iniquity here meant may be the sin of impatience under his affliction; murmuring at the dealings of God with him; arraigning his justice, and saying very indecent things of him, as in Job 34:5. Or it may mean the evil he had been guilty of in so earnestly desiring the night of death:
for this thou hast chosen rather than affliction; chose rather to die than to be afflicted as he was; or chose rather to complain of God, as if he dealt hardly with him, and did not do justly by him, than to submit patiently to the will of God, as he, ought to have done: or this he chose "through affliction" (d); through the force of it, because of it, and by means thereof; and so is a sort of excuse that Elihu makes for him; though at the same time he would have him by no means to regard such iniquity, and indulge to it.
(d) "prae afflictione", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "prae miseria ex adflictione", Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. regard—literally, "turn thyself to."
iniquity—namely, presumptuous speaking against God (Job 34:5, and above, see on Job 36:17, 18).
rather than—to bear "affliction" with pious patience. Men think it an alleviation to complain against God, but this is adding sin to sorrow; it is sin, not sorrow, which can really hurt us (contrast Heb 11:25).
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