Job 35


‘Then Elihu said: “Do you think this is just? You say, ‘I am in the right, not God.’ Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning?’ “I would like to reply to you and to your friends with you. Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you. If you sin, how does that affect him? If your sins are many, what does that do to him? If you are righteous, what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand? Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only other people.’ Job 35:1-8

Elihu Continues With His Speech

Elihu says Job said what advantage is there in being righteous if everyone gets the same treatment. Elihu claims Job said he was more righteous than God but Job has never said this. He says that Job said, ‘what profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning?’

Job didn’t say this, this was credited to Job by Elihu in Job 34:9. However, Elihu adds to that argument. He now has Job saying that righteousness profits one no more than evil.

What can we give God anyway? It doesn’t matter if we are super righteous or a super sinner, we can’t give God anything. God gives us everything, He gives us gives rain. None of that is affected by a man’s righteousness or unrighteousness.

Human conduct only affects other people. He isn’t suggesting that God is not concerned with human behaviour but his point is that God’s actions are self-determined not man centred.

Elihu believes he is wise enough to answer all arguments and he returns to a series of statements centred around the greatness of God. Neither Job nor the friends have ever questioned this. So, what is Elihu’s point?

Elihu quotes Job’s words from Job 7:20, he quotes Eliphaz’s words from Job 22:2-3 and so, Elihu uses them to announce that they are words of wickedness. In addition, Job’s supposed ‘righteousness’ is also virtually worthless.

‘People cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than he teaches the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?’ He does not answer when people cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked. Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it. How much less, then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him, that your case is before him and you must wait for him, and further, that his anger never punishes and he does not take the least notice of wickedness. So Job opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he multiplies words.” Job 35:9-16

Elihu now addresses one of Job’s main arguments which is, why does God not answer my prayers? He agrees that God doesn’t hear you. Due to many difficulties, people call out to God simply out of pain. Not out of any purpose of glorifying the master. Elihu says God doesn’t answer because of the pride of evil men.

The idea behind the words, giving songs in the night, carries with it the sense of who can rejoice in hardship, Acts 16:25.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘A holy soul has continual communion with God, night and day its happiness is great and God, from whom it comes, is the continual subject of its songs of praise.’

He accuses Job of offering to God an ‘empty cry’. The humble spirit will not just instinctively cry out in times of pain. But will seek to be wiser as a result of the experience. It is when people cry out to God ‘it is my right to relief’ that is when they are not heard.

He asks Job the question, do you think God will find you if you don’t try to find God? In other words, he’s implying that Job doesn’t have a relationship with Him. But even at that, Job’s case is before God so maybe you need to be patient. He even goes so far as to suggest that God hasn’t punished Job to the degree he deserves.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Beasts, birds, fowls, and in many cases pond-fishes, know and seem thankful to the hand that feeds them, while man, made much more noble than they, gifted with the greatest powers, privileged with the most important benefits, considers not the Lord, nor discerns the operation of his hand. Quadrupeds, reptiles, and fowls, have more gratitude to their masters than man has to his God.’

Elihu is telling Job if he were really a godly man, then God would have answered his by now.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Elihu here is charging Job with all of his irresponsible talk as being able so to speak because God has overlooked his arrogance, Job 35:15. However, it was not Job, but Elihu who was, Darkening counsel by words without knowledge, Job 38:2, according to the verdict of Almighty God Himself.’

Go To Job 36