Job 32:1
So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
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(1) So these three men ceased.—The next six chapters are taken up with the reply of a fourth person not before mentioned, but who appears to have been present during the discussion, and who is described as Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram. The name appears to mean, He is my God. The person from whom he was descended seems to have been the son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother (Genesis 22:21); and a city of the like name is mentioned in Jeremiah 25:23. There is a Ram mentioned in Ruth 4:19, who was the great grandson of Judah; but we can hardly suppose this was the Ram of whose kindred Elihu was. On the other hand, we have no clue to the identification; for even if, with some, we suppose him to have been the same as Aram, the son of Kemuel, and great nephew of Abraham, it is not easy to see how a descendant of Buz, his uncle, should have been described as of the kindred of Ram. One tradition identifies Ram with Abraham, but this is mere conjecture, and in this case highly improbable; the only inference we can draw is that this specification of Elihu serves to show that he was a real, and not an imaginary, personage. The Targum speaks of Elihu as a relative of Abraham. If we are right in putting the life of Elihu so far back, the whole position and surroundings of Job’s history become the more probable, because what is told us of Abraham and the patriarchs corresponds with the description and character of Job; and then, also, the traditional Mosaic origin of the Book of Job becomes the more probable.

Because he was righteous in his own eyes.—This appears from Job 3:26; Job 6:10; Job 6:29; Job 10:7; Job 13:15; Job 19:6, &c., Job 23:7; Job 23:10-12; Job 27:6; Job 29:12, &c.

Job 32:1. So these three men ceased to answer Job — Finding that he persevered in asserting that he was not guilty of any of the heinous crimes which they laid to his charge, they left off disputing with him; because he was righteous in his own eyes — So they said; but the fact was they could not answer him.

32:1-5 Job's friends were silenced, but not convinced. Others had been present. Elihu was justly displeased with Job, as more anxious to clear his own character than the justice and goodness of God. Elihu was displeased with Job's friends because they had not been candid to Job. Seldom is a quarrel begun, more seldom is a quarrel carried on, in which there are not faults on both sides. Those that seek for truth, must not reject what is true and good on either side, nor approve or defend what is wrong.So these three men ceased to answer Job - Each had had three opportunities of replying to him, though in the last series of the controversy Zophar had been silent. Now all were silent; and though they do not appear in the least to have been convinced, or to have changed their opinion, yet they found no arguments with which to sustain their views. It was this, among other things, which induced Elihu to take up the subject.

Because he was righteous in his own eyes - Umbreit expresses the sense of this by adding, "and they could not convince him of his unrighteousness." It was not merely because he was righteous in his own estimation, that they ceased to answer him; it was because their arguments had no effect in convincing him, and they had nothing new to say. He seemed to be obstinately bent on maintaining his own good opinion of himself in spite of all their reasoning, and they sat down in silence.


Job 32:1-37:24. Speech of Elihu.

1-6. Prose (poetry begins with "I am young").

because, &c.—and because they could not prove to him that he was unrighteous.Elihu, Job’s fourth friend, speaketh: he is angry with Job for justifying himself, and with his three friends for not satisfying, and yet condemning him, Job 32:1-5. He excuseth his youth; but wisdom is from God, and not from age, Job 32:6-9; therefore he speaketh, being full of matter, and his spirit constraining him, without accepting any man’s person, Job 32:10-22.

i.e. Was self-conceited, and obstinately resolved to justify himself both against God and men; therefore they give him over as incorrigible.

So these three men ceased to answer Job,.... His three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, who came to visit and comfort him under his afflictions; but unawares were led into a controversy with him, occasioned by some rash and impatient expressions of his; which controversy had been carried on between them a considerable time, but now dropped; they grew weary of it, and now rested themselves as men do on a sabbath, as the word signifies; they set themselves down, and made no reply to Job's vindication of himself, not caring to give themselves any further trouble, or labour the point any more and longer, perceiving it was all to no purpose: or "and these three men ceased", &c. the last words of the preceding chapter are, "the words of Job are ended", Job 31:40; and the copulative "and" connects these with them, and shows that these men also had done speaking; so that the dispute was closed between Job and them, and the way was clear for another disputant that might think fit to enter, as Elihu did, after mentioned

because he was righteous in his own eyes; some take this to express the state of the question between them, rendering the words, "that he was righteous", &c. (f). The notion his friends had of him was, that he was righteous in his own account, and as he professed to be, and might so seem to others; but was a wicked man, and an hypocrite, as his afflictions showed; this point they had been labouring to prove, but, upon Job's long and clear vindication of his integrity, they ceased to defend it: others suppose the words to be an inference of Job's from their silence: "therefore he was righteous", &c. they making no reply to him, he concluded himself to be quit and clear of the charge they had brought against him; but they rather, according to our version, contain a reason why they ceased to answer him; because they thought him self-conceited, self-willed, obstinate, and incorrigible; not open to conviction, stiffly insisting on his own innocence, not allowing that he was guilty of any sin or sins, which were the cause of his afflictions; otherwise, in the article of justification before God, Job was no self-righteous man, nor was he so charged by his friends; to say he was is to abuse his character, and is contrary to that which God himself has given of him; nor would he have so highly commended him as to suggest there was none like him on earth, when of all men in the world there are none more abominable to God than a self-righteous man; see Isaiah 65:4. It is contrary to Job's knowledge of and faith in Christ, as his living Redeemer, Job 19:25; and to many clear and strong expressions, confessing his sin, disclaiming perfection, and declaring himself no self-justiciary, Job 7:20.

(f) "quod ille (tantum) justus in oculis suis", Schmidt.

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
1. he was righteous] i. e. would admit no guilt, or, was in the right in his plea against God. Job’s friends abandoned further argument with him because they could not move him from his assertion that God afflicted him wrongly and unjustly; comp. ch. Job 27:2-6.

Verses 1-5. - The discourse of Elihu is prefaced by a short introduction in plain prose, explaining who he was, and giving the reasons which actuated him in coming forward at this point of the dialogue. Verse 1. - So these three men ceased to answer Job. Zophar had been silenced earlier. Eliphaz and Bildad now felt that they had no more to say. They had exhausted the weapons of their armoury without any effect, and were conscious that nothing would be gained by mere reiteration. All their efforts had aimed at convincing Job of sin; and he was still unconvinced - he remained righteous in his own eyes. Job 32:11-3 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. And the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was kindled: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself at the expense of God. And against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they found no answer, and condemned Job.

The name of the speaker is אליהוּא (with Mahpach), son of בּרכאל (with Munach) the buwziy (with Zarka). The name Elihu signifies "my God is He," and occurs also as an Israelitish name, although it is not specifically Israelitish, like Elijah (my God is Jehovah). Brach'el (for which the mode of writing בּרכאל with Dag. implic. is also found) signifies "may God bless!" (Olsh. 277, S. 618); for proper names, as the Arabian grammarians observe, can be formed both into the form of assertory clauses (ichbâr), and also into the form of modal (inshâ); the name ברכאל is in this respect distinguished from the specifically Israelitish name בּרכיה (Jehovah blesseth). The accompanying national name defines the scene; for on the one side בּוּז and עוּץ, according to Genesis 22:21, are the sons of Nahor, Abraham's brother, who removed with him (though not at the same time) from Ur Casdim to Haran, therefore by family Aramaeans; on the other side, בּוּז, Jeremiah 25:23, appears as an Arab race, belonging to the קצוּצי פאה (comp. Jeremiah 9:25; Jeremiah 49:32), i.e., to the Arabs proper, who cut the hair of their heads short all round (περιτρόχαλα, Herodotus iii. 8), because wearing it long was accounted as disgraceful (vid., Tebrzi in the Hamsa, p. 459, l. 10ff.). Within the Buzite race, Elihu sprang from the family of רם. Since רם is the name of the family, not the race, it cannot be equivalent to ארם (like רמּים, 2 Chronicles 22:5, equals ארמים), and it is therefore useless to derive the Aramaic colouring of Elihu's speeches from design on the part of the poet. But by making him a Buzite, he certainly appears to make him an Aramaean Arab, as Aristeas in Euseb. praep. ix. 25 calls him Ἐλιοῦν τὸν Βαραξηιὴλ τὸν Ζωβίτην (from ארם צובה). It is remarkable that Elihu's origin is given so exactly, while the three are described only according to their country, without any statement of father or family. It would indeed be possible, as Lightfoot and Rosenm. suppose, for the poet to conceal his own name in that of Elihu, or to make allusion to it; but an instance of this later custom of Oriental poets is found nowhere else in Old Testament literature.

The three friends are silenced, because all their attempts to move Job to a penitent confession that his affliction is the punishment of his sins, have rebounded against this fact, that he was righteous in his own eyes, i.e., that he imagined himself righteous; and because they now (שׁבת of persons, in distinction from חדל, has the secondary notion of involuntariness) know of nothing more to say. Then Elihu's indignation breaks forth in two directions. First, concerning Job, that he justified himself מאלהים, i.e., not a Deo (so that He would be obliged to account him righteous, as Job 4:17), but prae Deo. Elihu rightly does not find it censurable in Job, that as a more commonly self-righteous man he in general does not consider himself a sinner, which the three insinuate of him (Job 15:14; Job 25:4), but that, declaring himself to be righteous, he brings upon God the appearance of injustice, or, as Jehovah also says further on, Job 40:8, that he condemns God in order that he may be able to maintain his own righteousness. Secondly, concerning the three, that they have found no answer by which they might have been able to disarm Job in his maintenance of his own righteousness at the expense of the divine justice, and that in consequence of this they have condemned Job. Hahn translates: so that they should have represented Job as guilty; but that they have not succeeded in stamping the servant of God as a רשׁע, would wrongly excite Elihu's displeasure. And Ewald translates: and that they had nevertheless condemned him (345, a); but even this was not the real main defect of their opposition. The fut. consec. describes the condemnation as the result of their inability to hit upon the right answer; it was a miserable expedient to which they had recourse. According to the Jewish view, ויּרשׁיעוּ את־איּוב is one of the eighteen תקוני סופרים (correctiones scribarum), since it should be וירשׁיעו את־האלהים. But it is not the friends who have been guilty of this sin of הרשׁיע against God, but Job, Job 40:8, to whom Elihu opposes the sentence אל לא־ירשׁיע, Job 34:12. Our judgment of another such tiqqûn, Job 7:20, was more favourable. That Elihu, notwithstanding the inward conviction to the contrary by which he is followed during the course of the controversial dialogue, now speaks for the first time, is explained by what follows.

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