Job 32:18
For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.
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32:15-22 If we are sure that the Spirit of God suggested what we are about to say, still we ought to refrain, till it comes to our turn to speak. God is the God of order, not of confusion. It is great refreshment to a good man, to speak for the glory of the Lord, and to edify others. And the more we consider the majesty of God, as our Maker, and the more we dread his wrath and justice, the less shall we sinfully fear or flatter men. Could we set the wrath Lord always before us, in his mercies and his terrors, we should not be moved from doing our duty in whatever we are called to do.For I am full of matter - Margin, as in Hebrew words." The three friends of Job had been silenced. They had not one word more to say. Elihu says that the reverse was true of him. He was full of words, and felt constrained to speak. It was not because he forced himself to do it, nor because he did it as a mere matter of duty, but he was so impressed with the subject that it would be a relief for him to give utterance to his views.

The spirit within me - Referring, probably, to the conviction that it was the divine Spirit which urged him to speak; see the notes at Job 32:8; compare Job 33:4. A similar constraint in regard to the necessity of speaking, when under the influence of the Holy Spirit, is expressed in Jeremiah 20:9, "His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay;" compare Introduction to Isaiah, Section 7. The phrase "within me" is in the margin, as in Hebrew my belly - where the belly is spoken of as the seat of the mind; see Job 15:2. We speak of the head as the seat of the intellect, and the heart as the seat of the affections. The Hebrews were much in the habit of representing the region of the heart as the seat of all mental operations.

18. "I am full of words," whereas the friends have not a word more to say.

the spirit—(Job 32:8; 33:4; Jer 20:9; Ac 18:5).

I am full of matter, i.e. I have many things to say in this cause.

The spirit within me; either my own spirit or soul, which is wholly dissatisfied with what hath been hitherto spoken, and clearly apprehends what may silence Job, and end the dispute; or God’s Spirit, which he hath put in me; the Spirit of understanding, which hath discovered the truth of the matter to me; and the Spirit of zeal, which urgeth me to plead God’s cause against Job.

Constraineth me; forceth me to speak. It is a metaphor from a man or woman whose belly is full with wind, or with a child, and is never at rest till it be emptied and eased of its burden.

For I am full of matter,.... Or "full of words" (y); not of mere words, such that have nothing solid and substantial in them; this is the character of a fool, Ecclesiastes 10:14; nor was Elihu a loquacious talkative man, as Job is charged to be, a man full of talk, Job 11:2; but he was full of words, which had fulness of matter in them, which were to the purpose, and contained strong reasonings and solid arguments; his mind was full of them, and he could easily fill his mouth with them, and was not easy until he had uttered them: so an able minister of the word may be said to be full of words, of the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus, of useful doctrines, when the word of Christ dwells richly in him, and he has a rich treasure in an earthen vessel, is full of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ; has a large knowledge of Gospel truths, a real experience of them in the heart, great gifts to express them to others, and is full of power and of the Spirit of God to declare them, as this good man was:

the spirit within me constraineth me, or "the spirit of my belly" (z); alluding to wind pent up therein, which, unless expelled, gives great uneasiness and pain: he either means the Spirit of God within him, as in Job 32:8, by whom the prophets were inspired and spoke, by whom ordinary ministers of the word are qualified for their work, and by whom they are led into all truth, and who presses and obliges them to speak what they know; there is a necessity upon them to preach the Gospel wholly and faithfully, and a woe unto them if they do not: or else his own spirit, influenced and actuated by the Spirit of God; as the spirit of the Apostle Paul was stirred up in him to speak, when he saw the idolatry and superstition of the people of Athens, Acts 17:16; so love to God and Christ, and the souls of men, the honour of God, and interest of religion, constrain the ministers of Christ to speak in his name, notwithstanding all the opposition made unto them, and reproach cast upon them.

(y) "plenus sum sermonibus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Beza, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (z) "spiritus ventris mei", Beza, Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius, Schultens.

For I am full of {l} matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.

(l) I have conceived in my mind a great store of reasons.

18–19. Elihu feels a crowd of thoughts and arguments fermenting in his bosom and pressing for utterance with a force not to be resisted. The word “belly” corresponds to the English “breast” or bosom. What stirs the spirit of Elihu is not only his eagerness to express his convictions on the question, but also indignation at the retreat and silence of the three friends.

Verse 18. - For I am full of matter; literally, I am full of words; i.e. I have very much to say. The spirit within me constraineth me; literally, the spirit of my belly; i.e. "my inward feelings and emotions." Compare Zophar's statements in Job 20:2, 3; and Job's own declarations in ch. 13, that he must speak (vers. 13, 19). There is a state of internal excitement, when reticence becomes impossible. Job 32:1818 For I am full of words,

The spirit of my inner nature constraineth me.

19 Behold, my interior is like wine which is not opened,

Like new bottles it is ready to burst.

20 I will speak, that I may gain air,

I will open my lips and reply.

21 No, indeed, I will accept no man's person,

And I will flatter no man.

22 For I understand not how to flatter;

My Maker would easily snatch me away.

The young speaker continues still further his declaration, promising so much. He has a rich store of מלּים, words, i.e., for replying. מלתי defective for מלאתי, like יצתי for יצאתי, Job 1:21; whereas מלוּ, Ezekiel 28:6, is not only written defectively, but is also conjugated after the manner of a Lamed He verb, Ges. 23, 3, 74, rem. 4, 75, 21, c. The spirit of his inner nature constrains him, since, on account of its intensity and the fulness of this interior, it struggles to break through as through a space that is too narrow for it. בּטן, as Job 15:2, Job 15:35, not from the curved appearance of the belly, but from the interior of the body with its organs, which serve the spirit life as the strings of a harp; comp. Arab. batn, the middle or interior; bâtin, inwardly (opposite of zâhir, outwardly). His interior is like wine לא יפּתח, which, or (as an adverbial dependent clause) when it is not opened, i.e., is kept closed, so that the accumulated gas has no vent, lxx δεδεμένος (bound up), Jer. absque spiraculo; it will burst like new bottles. יבּקע is not a relative clause referring distributively to each single one of these bottles (Hirz. and others), and not an adverbial subordinate clause (Hahn: when it will explode), but predicate to בטני: his interior is near bursting like new bottles (אבות masc. like נאדות, Joshua 9:13), i.e., not such as are themselves new (ἀσκοὶ καινοὶ, Matthew 9:17, for these do not burst so easily), but like bottles of new wine, which has to undergo the action of fermentation, lxx ὥσπερ φυσητὴρ (Cod. Sinait.1 φυσητής) χαλκέως, i.e., חרשׁים whence it is evident that a bottle and also a pair of bellows were called אוב). Since he will now yield to his irresistible impulse, in order that he may obtain air or free space, i.e., disburdening and ease (וירוח לּי), he intends to accept no man's person, i.e., to show partiality to no one (vid., on Job 13:8), and he will flatter no one. כּנּה signifies in all three dialects to call any one by an honourable name, to give a surname, here with אל, to speak fine words to any one, to flatter him. This Elihu is determined he will not do; for לא ידעתּי אכנּה, I know not how to flatter (French, je ne sais point flatter), for כנּות or לכנּות; comp. the similar constructions, Job 23:3 (as Esther 8:6), Job 10:16, 1 Samuel 2:3; Isaiah 42:21; Isaiah 51:1, Ges. 142, 3, c; also in Arabic similar verbs, as "to be able" and "to prepare one's self," are thus connected with the fut. without a particle between (e.g., anshaa jef‛alu, he began to act). Without partiality he will speak, flattery is not his force. If by flattery he should deny the truth, his Maker would quickly carry him off. כּמעט followed by subjunct. fut.: for a little (with disjunctive accent, because equivalent to haud multum abest quin), i.e., very soon indeed, or easily would or might ... ; ישּׂני (as Job 27:21) seems designedly to harmonize with עשׂני.

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