The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Job 34

Job 34:1

Job 34: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen 18:25). In short, God is not incomprehensible, but man in uncomprehending.

Job 34:5

"As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul" (Job 27:2). Cp also Job 9:15; 10:15; 23:6.

Job 34:6

Vv 6-9: "It was natural that, with all his reverence for Job, Elihu should be offended by the heat and passion of his words, by the absence of moderation and self-restraint, and tell him that 'this strained passion did him wrong.' No doubt it is easier for a friend on the bank to maintain his composure, than it is for the man who has been swept away by the stream of calamity, and is doing instant battle with its fierce currents and driving waves. Job is not to be overmuch blamed if, under the stress of calamity, and stung by the baseless calumnies of the friends, he now and then lost composure, and grew immoderate both in his resentments and his retorts. Remembering the keen agony he had to endure, we may well pardon an offence for which it is so easy to account; we may cheerfully admit, as Jehovah Himself admitted, that in the main he spoke of God aright; we may even admire the constancy and patience with which, on the whole, he met the provocations and insults of the friends; and yet we cannot but feel that he often pushed his inferences against the Divine justice and providence much too far: as, indeed, he himself confessed that he had, when at last he saw Jehovah face to face, and carried his just resentment against the friends to excess. There are points in the progress of the story where he seems to revel in his sense of wrong, and to lash out wildly against both God and man. With fine moral tact, Elihu had detected this fault in his tone and bearing, and had discovered whither it was leading him" (Samuel Cox).

Cp Job 9:17-21; 6:4-10.

Job 34:8

In his implication of v 9, Job was advocating the same position as wicked men.

Job 34:9

A fair summary of Job's words in Job 9:22,23: "It is all the same; that is why I say, 'He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.' When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent." And Job 9:29: "Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain?"

Job 34:13

The point of this rhetorical question is driven home by God in Job 38:4, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding."

Job 34:15

Man is merely natural matter, whose life is sustained by God's spirit: Gen 2:7; 8:19; Psa 104:29,30.

Job 34:34

Vv 34-37: Job's ill-considered words condemned.

Job 34:36

Satan wanted to try Job because he considered Job's faith shallow, but Elihu because Job failed to uphold the righteousness of God. Elihu desires Job be tested until his character is fully refined, as it is after Job endures the ordeal of meeting the Almighty. Job's trial (Job 23:10) would prove wrong the answers of the three. Job -- like Christ -- is tried for the benefit of all wicked men. His end, an example for us.

Job 34:37

Cp Job 23:2: "Even today my complaint is rebellion; His hand is heavy despite my groaning." And Job 40:1,2: Then the LORD said to Job, "Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it." And Job 42:5-6: "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees Thee; Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes."

Later, and perhaps as the final part of his test, Job acts as intercessor for his companions (as Moses and Abraham also had occasion to do) and God restores him.

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