So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.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.
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.
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.So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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.
Behold my signature-the Almighty will answer me -
And the writing which my opponent hath written!
36 Truly I will carry it upon my shoulder,
I will wind it about me as a crown.
37 The number of my steps I will recount to Him,
As a prince will I draw near to Him.
The wish that he might find a ready willing hearer is put forth in a general way, but, as is clear in itself, and as it becomes manifest from what follows, refers to Him who, because it treats of a contradiction between the outward appearance and the true but veiled fact, as searcher of the heart, is the only competent judge. It may not be translated: et libellum (the indictment, or even: the reply to Job's self-defence) scribat meus adversarius (Dachselt, Rosenm., Welte) - the accentuation seems to proceed from this rendering, but it ought to be וכתב ספר; if כּתב governed by יענני were intended to be equivalent to יכתּב, and referred to God, the longing would be, as it runs, an unworthy and foolish one - nor: (O that I had one who would hear me ... ) and had the indictment, which my adversary has written (Ew., Hirz., Schlottm.) - for וספר is too much separated from מי יתּן by what intervenes - in addition to which comes the consideration that the wish, as it is expressed, cannot be referred to God, but only to the human opponent, whose accusations Job has no occasion to wish to hear, since he has already heard amply sufficient even in detail. Therefore הן (instead of הן with a conjunctive accent, as otherwise with Makkeph) will point not merely to תּוי, but also to liber quem scripsit adversarius meus as now lying before them, and the parenthetical שׁדּי יענני will express a desire for the divine decision in the cause now formally prepared for trial, ripe for discussion. By תּוי, my sign, i.e., my signature (comp. Ezekiel 9:4, and Arab. tiwa, a branded sign in the form of a cross), Job intends the last word to his defence which he has just spoken, Job 31:1; it is related to all his former confessions as a confirmatory mark set below them; it is his ultimatum, as it were, the letter and seal to all that he has hitherto said about his innocence in opposition to the friends and God. Moreover, he also has the indictment of the triumvirate which has come forward as his opponent in his hands. Their so frequently repeated verbal accusations are fixed as if written; both - their accusation and his defence - lie before him, as it were, in the documentary form of legal writings. Thus, then, he wishes an observant impartial hearer for this his defence; or more exactly: he wishes that the Almighty may answer, i.e., decide. Hahn interprets just as much according to the syntax, but understanding by תוי the witness which Job carries in his breast, and by ספר וגו the testimony to his innocence written by God in his own consciousness; which is inadmissible, because, as we have often remarked already, אישׁ ריבי (comp. Job 16:21) cannot be God himself.
In Job 31:36 Job now says how he will appear before Him with this indictment of his opponent, if God will only condescend to speak the decisive word. He will wear it upon his shoulder as a mark of his dignity (comp. Isaiah 22:22; Isaiah 9:5), and wind it about him as a magnificent crown of diadems intertwined and heaped up one above another (Revelation 19:12, comp. Khler on Zechariah 6:11) - confident of his victory at the outset; for he will give Him, the heart-searcher, an account of all his steps, and in the exalted consciousness of his innocence, he will approach Him as a prince (קרב intensive of Kal). How totally different from Adam, who was obliged to be drawn out of his hiding-place, and tremblingly, because conscious of guilt, underwent the examination of the omniscient God! Job is not conscious of cowardly and slyly hidden sins; no secret accursed thing is cherished in the inmost recesses of his heart and home.
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