Scriptures

Job 34

Introduction

‘Then Elihu said: “Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning. For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good. “Job says, ‘I am innocent, but God denies me justice. Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I am guiltless, his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.’ Is there anyone like Job, who drinks scorn like water? He keeps company with evildoers; he associates with the wicked. For he says, ‘There is no profit in trying to please God.’ Job 34:1-9

Elihu Continues With His Speech

Elihu now turns his attention to the claim that God is unjust and unfair to him in doing so, Elihu impresses upon Job aspects of God’s character that Job and all need to be reminded of.

God can do no wrong and will not pervert justice. It’s clear that all the kindness Elihu showed Job earlier, has now gone. He goes on to attack the character and attitude of Job.

Kelly, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The crowd of onlookers here is imagined, there being no reference whatever to it in the text. However, the idea that the wise men here are a different group from the three friends is supported by the fact that The tone of reproof Elihu used in addressing the three friends, Job 32:7ff, is no longer present in this chapter.’

It appears that Elihu wants to win the debate and impress the friends with his ‘wisdom’. He begins by attacking Job as being arrogant and ungodly, which we know Job wasn’t guilty of.

He claims that people are capable of choosing for themselves what is right. The implication is that he and Job’s three friends know what is right, while also knowing what Job is doing isn’t right.

Job has never accused God of branding him a liar but Job has accused his friends of lying in their unfounded charges against him. Elihu now joins Eliphaz in claiming Job walks with the evildoers and even repeats the same arrogant words they used, Job 15:16.

‘So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong. He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves. It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice. Who appointed him over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world? If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust. “If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say. Can someone who hates justice govern? Will you condemn the just and mighty One? Is he not the One who says to kings, ‘You are worthless,’ and to nobles, ‘You are wicked,’ who shows no partiality to princes and does not favour the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands? They die in an instant, in the middle of the night; the people are shaken and they pass away; the mighty are removed without human hand.’ Job 34:10-20

Elihu now attacks Job for claiming God acts wickedly, which we know Job wasn’t guilty of. The whole tone of what he said tells us that he is disgusted that Job should think God has taken away his rights. He says what type of a ruler would he be without implementing proper justice. Therefore to even hint that God is unjust is inconsiderate.

He attacks Job for despising God’s impartiality, which we know Job wasn’t guilty of. He does a tremendous job in defending God’s justice, Habakkuk 1:13 / Psalm 92:15. God will judge according to a person’s needs, Romans 2:6 / Romans 14:12 / 2 Corinthians 5:10 / Revelation 22:12, He receives His authority from no one, so even if He wanted to He could wipe the people off the face of the earth.

God shows no partiality because He created both the rich and poor and so, has the right to administer judgment as He so chooses. According to Elihu, God doesn’t discriminate in His treatment of all men.

Elihu goes too far by implying that God can do anything, even to the point of killing off all mankind. God, can’t do this, because it would contradict His other promises, and so, making God a liar, Hebrews 6:18.

‘His eyes are on the ways of mortals; he sees their every step. There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness, where evildoers can hide. God has no need to examine people further, that they should come before him for judgment. Without inquiry he shatters the mighty and sets up others in their place. Because he takes note of their deeds, he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed. He punishes them for their wickedness where everyone can see them, because they turned from following him and had no regard for any of his ways. They caused the cry of the poor to come before him, so that he heard the cry of the needy. But if he remains silent, who can condemn him? If he hides his face, who can see him? Yet he is over individual and nation alike, to keep the godless from ruling, from laying snares for the people.’ Job 34:21-30

Elihu now attacks Job for not recognizing the omniscience of God, which we know Job wasn’t guilty of. Nothing is hidden from God and He has man’s interest at heart. No one can hide from God because He is omnipresent, and so, all men are continually in His presence.

‘God hates unjust Job and He knows everything about you.’ That being the case He need not make an investigation into Job’s case. Job has asked why men don’t often observe God’s justice.

Elihu now maintains men continually witness the justice of God when they see others suffer. Since God will not lay on man more than what he deserves, it is not right for one to complain, like Job, that God has worked unjustly in his case.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Elihu here continues his cruel, unjust and relentless attack upon Job. Job had longed for an ‘umpire’ who might plead his case before God but Elihu declares that God needs no such assistance, because he is omniscient, Job 34:22-23.’

‘Suppose someone says to God, ‘I am guilty but will offend no more. Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.’ Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent? You must decide, not I; so tell me what you know. “Men of understanding declare, wise men who hear me say to me, ‘Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.’ Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man! To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God.” Job 34:31-37

Elihu now attacks Job for being unteachable, which we know Job wasn’t guilty of. He tells the story of a man before God and he says God is obligated to operate on that level, God already knows it all. This is ironic but effective in Job’s case. Job hasn’t rejected God’s judgments, he merely wants to understand God’s judgments.

He claims Job has spoken without knowledge or wisdom and he doesn’t know all the facts and yet he presumes to judge God. The problem is that Job is so self-centred that he has forgotten. Elihu says he will give Job his wisdom.

Elihu finishes by agreeing with a point made earlier by Eliphaz, Job 15:5-6. Job is proving he is a sinner by continuing to talk.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘With the whole community coming together under Elihu’s extremely bitter and antagonistic speech, and presumably favouring Elihu’s evil accusations against Job, we may well presume that the greatest pressure that Satan could possibly have brought against Job reached its climax in this vituperative, disgusting, egotistical and satanic assault upon Job’s integrity. We praise God that Job found the grace to sit in silent contempt and repudiation of his evil speech, not deigning to take the slightest notice of it.’

Go To Job 35

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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