Job 32:6
And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) I am young.—The way in which Elihu comes forward is very interesting, and full of character. It gives us also a picture of the times and habits.

32:6-14 Elihu professes to speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and corrects both parties. He allowed that those who had the longest experience should speak first. But God gives wisdom as he pleases; this encouraged him to state his opinion. By attention to the word of God, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit, young men may become wiser than the aged; but this wisdom will render them swift to hear, slow to speak, and disposed to give others a patient hearing.And Elihu - "said, I am young" Margin, few of days. The Hebrew is, "I am small (צעיר tsâ‛ı̂yr) of days;" that is, I am inexperienced. We have no means of ascertaining his exact age, though it is evident that there was a considerable disparity between them and him.

And ye are very old - ישׁישׁים yâshı̂yshiym. The word used here is probably derived from the obsolete root שוש, "to be white, hoary"; and hence, to be hoary-headed, or aged; compare 2 Chronicles 36:17. The whole of the discourses of the friends of Job seem to imply that they were aged men. They laid claim to great experience, and professed to have had opportunities of long observation, and it is probable that they were regarded as sages, who, by the long observation of events, had acquired the reputation of great wisdom.

Wherefore I was afraid - He was timid, bashful, diffident.

And durst not show you mine opinion - Margin, feared. He had that diffidence to which modesty prompts in the presence of the aged. He had formed his opinion as the argument proceeded, but he did not deem it proper that one so young should interfere, even when he thought he perceived that others were wrong.

6. was afraid—The root meaning in Hebrew is "to crawl" (De 32:24). To wit, of discovering my weakness and folly, and of being thought forward and presumptuous.

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said,.... Since there was no answer in them, he takes upon him to give one himself; but first makes an apology on account of his youth:

I am young, and ye are very old; or "few of days"; a few days, comparatively speaking, had he lived in the world; or "small", or "little as two days" (m); he had been but a little time in it, and so could be thought to have but little knowledge and experience; whereas they were old, even very old; with them were the aged and the grayheaded, Job 15:10; in whom it might have been expected was much wisdom and knowledge:

wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show mine opinion; declare what knowledge he had of the things in dispute, lest it should appear mean, small, and contemptible; or give his sentiments concerning them, lest he should speak wrongly, and not only give offence, but do more harm than good: the first of these words, in the Arabic language (n), as Aben Ezra observes, signifies to go back; it is used of worms, which, through fear, withdraw themselves from men; so mean an opinion had he of himself, and such a sense of his own weakness, that it not only kept him back, but even caused him to draw back, and keep out of the dispute, and at a distance from it, instead of being forward to engage in it: one Jewish commentator (o) paraphrases it

"I humbled myself as one that goes on his belly;''

referring to worms that go low and creep upon their belly, or to the prostrate posture of men that humble themselves to their superiors.

(m) "minimus ego diebus", Montanus; "parvus diebus sum", Mercerus. (n) "recessit suo loco", Castel. col. 1036. (o) Sephorno.

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6–10. Elihu, being a youth, shrank from interfering in a dispute in which aged men were engaged; but he perceived that wisdom did not always accompany grey hairs; it is a gift of God, and, conscious of possessing it, he desires now to be heard.

Verses 6-22. - The speech of Elihu now begins. In the present chapter, after a short apologetic exordium, excusing his youth (vers. 6-9), he addresses himself exclusively to Job's friends. He has listened attentively to them, and weighed their words (vers. 11, 12). but has found nothing in them that confuted Job. They had not "found wisdom" - they had not "vanquished Job" - at the last they had been "amazed, and had not had a word more to say" (vers. 13-16). Elihu, therefore, will supply their deficiency; he has kept silence with difficulty, and is full of thoughts, to which he would fain give utterance (vers. 17-20). In all that he says he will show no favouritism - he will "accept no man's-person," "give no flattering titles," but express sincerely what he believes (vers. 21, 22). Verse 6. - And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old. We can only guess at the exact ages of Job and his friends. From the fact that God at the last "gave Job twice as much as he had before" (Job 42:10), and the further fact that he lived, after he had recovered his prosperity, a hundred and forty years (Job 42:16), it has been conjectured that he was seventy years of age at the time of his conference with his friends, and that he died at the age of two hundred and ten. But this clearly is quite uncertain. He may not have been much more than fifty when his calamities fell upon him. If this were so, the age of his friends need not have exceeded from sixty to seventy. Perhaps Elihu was himself not more than thirty. Wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show you mine opinion; rather, I held back and was afraid to utter what I knew in your presence. Elihu would have been thought unduly pushing and presumptuous if he had ventured to come forward until his seniors had ended their colloquy. Job 32:6 6b I am young in days, and ye are hoary,

Therefore I stood back and was afraid

To show you my knowledge.

7 I:thought: Let age speak,

And the multitude of years teach wisdom.

It becomes manifest even here that the Elihu section has in part a peculiar usage of the language. זחל in the signification of Arab. zḥl, cogn. with Arab. dḥl, דּחל, to frighten back;

(Note: The lexicographers explain the Arab. zḥl by zâla (זול), to stand away from, back, to retreat, or tanahha, to step aside; Piel, Hiph., to push any one aside, place anything back; Hithpa., to keep one's self on one side; adj. זחל, זחיל, זחוּל, etc., standing back. Thus the town of Zahla in the plain of the Lebanon takes its name from the fact that it does not stand out in the plain, but is built close at the foot of the mountain in a corner, and consequently retreats. And zuhale (according to the Kamus) is an animal that creeps backwards into its hole, e.g., the scorpion; and hence, improperly, a man who, as we say with a similar figure, never comes out of his hole, always keeps in his hole, i.e., never leaves his dwelling, as zuhal in general signifies a man who retires or keeps far from active life; in connection with which also the planet Saturn is called Zuhal, the retreating one, on account of its great distance from the rest. Slippery (of ground) is זחלוּל, because it draws the foot backwards (muzhil) by its smoothness, and thus causes the walker to fall. A further formation is זחלק, to be slippery, and to slip in a slippery place; beside which, זלק, a word of similar meaning, is no longer used in Syria. According to this Arabic primary notion of zḥl, it appears זחלי ארץ, Micah 7:17, is intended to describe the serpents not as creeping upon the earth, but as creeping into the earth (comp. the name of the serpent, achbi' at el-ard, those that hide themselves in the earth); but in Talmud. and Aram. זחל used of animals has the general signification to creep, and of water, to glide (flow gently down). The primary notion, to glide (to slip, creep, flow gently, labi), is combined both in the derivatives of the root זח and in those of the root זל with the notion of a departing and retreating motion. - Wetzst. and Fl.)

and דּע for דּעת (here and Job 32:10, Job 32:17; Job 36:3; Job 37:16) occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament; על־כּן (comp. לכן, Job 42:3) is used only by Elihu within the book of Job. ימים, days equals fulness of days, is equivalent to advanced age, old age with its rich experience. רב with its plural genitive is followed (as כל sa( d usually is) by the predicate in the plur.; it is the attraction already described by מספר, Job 15:10; Job 21:21, Ges. 148, 1.

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