The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Job 33

Job 33:1

Job 33: God is neither arbitrarily hostile, nor silent.

Job 33:6

JUST LIKE YOU BEFORE GOD (IN GOD'S STEAD): Elihu takes the place of God -- he is now the inspired bearer of His words (Job 32:8). He is the "daysman" (AV) or "someone to arbitrate", whom Job had sought (Job 9:33).

I TOO HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM CLAY: This refers back to Job 10:9; 13:12, suggesting that Elihu has been a mute observer of the proceedings all along. Here he states his position from the outset as being different from the proud judgmental approach that the older men have taken.

Job 33:9

Elihu and Zophar (Job 11:4) are both paraphrasing words of Job, such as Job 9:20, "Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty." Cp also Job 10:7; 13:18,19; 16:17.

Job 33:10

HE CONSIDERS ME HIS ENEMY: Cp Job 13:24; 27:1-6; 6:2-4; 16:7-14; 19:11,12.

Job 33:11

Cp Job 13:27; 12:18.

Job 33:14

Vv 14-28: Elihu's inspired words re God's righteousness and man's salvation (see esp vv 23-28).

Job 33:17

TO TURN MAN FROM WRONGDOING AND KEEP HIM FROM PRIDE: Unlike the friends who see suffering as punishment, Elihu sees it as discipline.

Job 33:18

PRESERVE HIS SOUL FROM THE PIT: This could be "from the grave" (Sheol), or "from the sword" (salah), or "from the river" (Akkadian salhu = a water channel) (see NIV mg). The last of these is used in Mesopotamian mythology with ref to the "river of death" (NETn). Used in Job 33:18; 36:12.

Job 33:19

Important principle: God also "speaks" to man through pain and suffering.

Job 33:23

Vv 23-28: Elihu understands the role of a mediator, and he uses words which are highly suggestive of Christ. The intervention of a divine interpreter (Elihu... or Christ) -- or messenger (Mal 3:1) to explain to the sufferer what his duty was, how God might pardon him. Cp with Romans ("For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...": Rom 3:23-26.): Ruin, Ransom, Regeneration, Resurrection, Reconciliation, Rest, Righteousness.

ONE OUT OF A THOUSAND: Heb 2:14; Rom 8:3; 2Co 5:18-21.

Job 33:27

I SINNED: Man must confess past sins and acknowledge salvation only by the mercy of God.

Job 33:29

Vv 29-33: The object of God's dealings with man.

Job 33:32

Elihu has Job's interest at heart. He wants to guide Job to wisdom and salvation. And God does accept Job at the end (the word in Job 42:9 is often translated "forgive") after his confession of unworthiness and repentance. Elihu invites Job to refute his words, if he can. But, no response. (Note: Job has systematically answered all arguments of his 3 "friends".)

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