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Bible Commentaries

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Job 32

 

 

Verses 1-5

The Pause After Job's Speech

v. 1. So these three men ceased to answer Job because he was righteous in his own eyes, because they could not get him to admit that his sufferings were in any way the result of some particular iniquity because his protestations of his innocence silenced them,

v. 2. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel, the Buzite, a descendant of Nahor, whose tribe also lived a nomadic life in the Arabian Desert, of the kindred of Ram, that being the name of his immediate family; against Job was his wrath kindled because he justified himself rather than God, declaring himself to be righteous before God and insisting that he had not merited the sufferings which had come upon him.

v. 3. Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled because they had found no answer and yet had condemned Job. They had not been able to refute his statements, they had not hit upon the right answer to his arguments; their condemnation of Job in those circumstances was a poor substitute for a conviction, a cowardly expedient.

v. 4. Now, Elihu, who may have been present from the beginning of the debate or had heard at least a large part of it, had waited till Job had spoken, until he had finished his entire argument, all that he had to say in his own defense, because they were elder than he, he was younger than any of those who had joined in the debate till now.

v. 5. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, they were unable to present a solution of the problem, then his wrath was kindled, he felt that he could now no longer be quiet. The respect shown by Elihu in waiting till the older men had finished their discussion is very commendable and may well serve as an example to many forward young people of our day.


Verses 6-22

Elihu Gives the Reason for his Speaking

v. 6. And Elihu, the son of Barachel, the Buzite, answered and said, opening his discourse with statements calculated to win the good will of all former speakers, I am young, and ye are very old, hoary with age; wherefore I was afraid, held back by diffidence and awe, and durst not show you mine opinion, make known the knowledge which he possessed concerning this matter.

v. 7. I said, Days should speak, figuratively for, those full of days, the aged, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. It was the normal thing, the natural state of affairs, that older people should find the solution of difficulties, by virtue of their accumulated knowledge.

v. 8. But there is a spirit in man, or, "for all that the spirit is in mortal man"; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding, the divine creative breath has given all men reason, and all, whether young or old, should use it in the proper manner.

v. 9. Great men are not always wise, that is, the great in years, the aged, have no monopoly of wisdom; neither do the aged understand judgment, being the only ones who know what is right and good.

v. 10. Therefore I said, Hearken to me, each one of his hearers being summoned to hear; I also will show mine opinion.

v. 11. Behold, I waited for your words, for real words, sound arguments on their part; I gave ear to your reasons, always waiting for some striking point that would refute Job, whilst ye searched out what to say, counter-arguments to the claims of Job.

v. 12. Yea, I attended unto you, he gave heed most eagerly, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, who refuted his claims and convicted him of error, or that answered his words;

v. 13. lest ye should say, in trying to excuse their failure, We have found out wisdom; God thrusteth him down, not man, they had found such superior wisdom in Job that they were convinced of their own inability to cope with him; only God would be able to drive him off the field.

v. 14. Now, he hath not directed his words against me, Job had not arrayed arguments against Elihu, he had brought no facts which convinced Elihu of his innocence; neither will I answer him with your speeches, he would not use their line of argument at all, believing it to be the wrong form of attack.

v. 15. They were amazed, they answered no more; they left off speaking, words had fled away from them, had deserted them. This sentence has the force of an exclamation, caused by the surprise which Elihu felt because Job's friends had been so easily confounded.

v. 16. When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still and answered no more; the sentence has the force of a question, Should I still wait, because they are unable to find the right arguments to refute Job?)

v. 17. I said, I will answer also my part, for his own person, I also will show mine opinion, throwing the weight of his opinion in the scales against Job.

v. 18. For I am full of matter, full of statements and arguments which he believes he can use, the spirit within me constraineth me, urging and impelling him to speak.

v. 19. Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent, the extracted juice of grapes in the process of fermentation, which threatens to burst its vessel; it is ready to burst like new bottles, skins but recently filled, where the wine is not yet settled.

v. 20. I will speak that I may be refreshed, that he might catch his breath once more, that he might have air again, that he might relieve the pressure of his speech by saying a few things which he had on his mind; I will open my lips and answer.

v. 21. Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, he intended to show no partiality, neither let me give flattering titles unto man, he was unacquainted with the arts of complimentary speech.

v. 22. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my Maker would soon take me away, for having become guilty of insincerity and hypocrisy. If men are sincere in seeking the glory of God, they may readily express their views. without fear or flattery.

 


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Bibliography Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Job 32:4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/job-32.html. 1921-23.

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