Elihu spoke moreover, and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 35:1. Elihu spake moreover — Job still keeping silence, perhaps because he was convinced that although Elihu had made a very harsh construction of his words, he was influenced by a good motive in what he had advanced, and had now, in the conclusion, given him very wholesome counsel, and, allowing his integrity, had only charged him with some violent expressions, which had fallen from him when he was in great anguish of spirit; Elihu goes on in this chapter to fix the very same harsh sense upon Job’s words. He first puts it to his conscience whether he thought it could be right to gain his acquittal by an impeachment of God’s justice; yet, he tells him he must have thought after this manner, otherwise he would never have made use of such an atheistical expression as, “that he had no profit by doing his duty, more than if he had sinned;” referring, probably, to Job 23:11; Job 23:15. That he ought to consider that God was so far above the influence of all human actions, that neither could their good deeds be of any advantage to him, nor could their evil deeds affect him, Job 35:2-7. They might, indeed, affect themselves or their neighbours: they might suffer from the oppressions of men, and cry aloud to God to relieve them; but if this cry was not made with an entire dependance on, and a perfect resignation to, the will of God, it would be quite fruitless: God would not give the least ear to it, Job 35:8-14. Much less ought they, in every affliction, to be flying in the face of the Almighty and shaking off his sovereignty; that they ought rather to wait his leisure with patience; and that Job himself would not have acted in this manner, had he not been hurried away by too great a self-confidence, Job 35:15-16. — Heath.
Job 35:1-16.Our good or evil extendeth not to God, Job 35:1-7, but to men on earth, who are hereby oppressed, and cry out, but not unto God, nor are delivered, Job 35:8-12. He exhorteth to hope in God, though for the present he be angry, Job 35:13-16.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 1-16. - In this short chapter, once more Elihu addresses himself to Job, first (vers. 1-8) answering his complaint that a life of righteousness has brought him no correspondent blessings; and then (vers. 9-14) explaining to him that his prayers and appeals to God have probably not been answered because they were not preferred in a right spirit, i.e. with faith and humility. Finally (verb. 15, 16), he condemns Job for haughtiness and arrogance, and reiterates the charge that he "multiplies words without knowledge" (comp. Job 34:35-37). Verses 1, 2. - Elihu spake moreover, and said, Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's? Once more it is to be observed that Job had said no such thing. At the worst, he had made statements from which it might be argued that he regarded himself as having a more delicate sense of justice than God (e.g. Job 9:22-24; Job 10:3; Job 12:6, etc.). But Elihu insists on pushing Job's intemperate phrases to their extremest logical issues, and taxing Job with having said all that his words might seem to a strict logician to involve (compare the comment on Job 34:5, 9).
And if He hideth His countenance - who then can behold Him? -
Both concerning numbers and individuals together:
30 That godless men reign not,
That they be not nets to the people.
31 For one, indeed, saith to God,
"I have been proud, I will not do evil;
32 "What I see not, show Thou me;
"If I have done wrong, I will do it no more"!? -
If God makes peace (ישׁקיט as Psalm 94:13, comp. Isaiah 14:7, הארץ שׁקטה כל־, viz., after the overthrow of the tyrant) in connection with such crying oppression of the poor, who will then condemn Him without the rather recognising therein His comprehensive justice? The conjecture ירעשׁ
(Note: Vid., Grtz in Frankel's Monatsschrift, 1861, i.)
is not required either here or 1 Samuel 14:47 (where הרשׁיע signifies to punish the guilty); ירשׁע is also not to be translated turbabit (Rosenm.), since רשׁע (Arab. rs‛, rsg) according to its primitive notion does not signify "to be restless, to rage," but "to be relaxed, hollow" (opposite of צדק, Arab. ṣdq, to be hard, firm, tight). Further: If God hides His countenance, i.e., is angry and punishes, who can then behold Him, i.e., make Him, the veiled One, visible and claim back the favour withdrawn? The Waw of וּמי, if one marks off the periods of the paratactic expression, is in both cases the Waw of conclusion after hypothetical antecedents, and. Job 34:29 refers to Job's impetuous challenging of God. Thus exalted above human controversy and defiance, God rules both over the mass and over individuals alike. יחד gives intensity of the equality thus correlatively (et-et) expressed (Targ., Syr.); to refer it to אדם as generalizing (lxx, Jer. et super omnes homines), is forbidden by the antithesis of peoples and individuals. To the thought, that God giveth rest (from oppressors) and hides His countenance (from the oppressors and in general those who act wrongly), two co-ordinate negative final clauses are attached: in order that godless men may not rule (ממּלך, as e.g., 2 Kings 23:33, Keri), in order that they may no longer be (מ( e equals מהיות, under the influence of the notion of putting aside contained in the preceding final clause, therefore like Isaiah 7:8 מעם, Isaiah 24:2 מעיר, Jeremiah 48:2 מגוי, and the like) snares of the people, i.e., those whose evil example and bad government become the ruin of the community.
In Job 34:31 the view of those who by some jugglery concerning the laws of the vowel sounds explain האמר as imper. Niph. ( equals האמר), be it in the sense of להאמר, dicendum est (Rosenm., Schlottm., and others, after Raschi), or even in the unheard-of reflexive signification: express thyself (Stick., Hahn), is to be rejected. The syncopated form of the infin. בּהרג, Ezekiel 26:15, does not serve as a palliation of this adventurous imperative. It is, on the contrary, אמר with ה interrog., as Ezekiel 28:9 האמר, and probably also העמוּר Micah 2:7 (vid., Hitz.). A direct exhortation to Job to penitence would also not be in place here, although what Elihu says is levelled against Job. The כּי is confirmatory. Thus God acts with that class of unscrupulous men who abuse their power for the destruction of their subjects: for he (one of them) says (or: has said, from the standpoint of the execution of punishment) to God, etc. Ew. differently: "for one says thus to God even: I expiate what I do not commit," by understanding the speech quoted of a defiance which reproachfully demands an explanation. It is, however, manifestly a compendious model confession. And since Elihu with כי establishes the execution of punishment from this, that it never entered the mind of the עדם חנף thus to humble himself before God, so נשׂאתי here cannot signify: I have repented (put up with and had to bear what I have deserved); on the contrary, the confession begins with the avowal: I have exalted myself (נשׂא, se efferre, in Hosea 13:1; Psalm 89:10), which is then followed by the vow: I will not (in the future) do evil (חבל synon. עוה, as Nehemiah 1:7, and probably also supra, Job 24:9), and the entreaty, Job 34:32 : beside that which I behold (elliptical object-clause, Ew. 333, b), i.e., what lies beyond my vision ( equals נסתּרות or עלמים, Psalm 19:13; Psalm 90:8, unacknowledged sins), teach me; and the present vow has reference to acknowledged sins and sins that have still to be acknowledged: if I have done wrong, I will do it no more. Thus speaking - Elihu means - those high ones might have anticipated the punishment of the All-just God, for favour instead of wrath cannot be extorted, it is only reached by the way of lowly penitence.
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