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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Job 34

 

 

Verse 1

CONTENTS

Elihu still prosecutes his animated discourse, through this chapter. He is still reproving Job, but in such a way of gentleness, that the Patriarch makes no appeal against it.


Verses 1-12

(1) ¶ Furthermore Elihu answered and said, (2) Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge. (3) For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat. (4) Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good. (5) For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment. (6) Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression. (7) What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water? (8) Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men. (9) For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God. (10) ¶ Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. (11) For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. (12) Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.

It is beautiful to trace the order and plan of Elihu's reasoning. He setteth out with laying it down as a truth perfectly incontrovertible, that the LORD of Heaven and Earth can never do wrong. Shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right? And, in addition to this, Elihu contendeth further, that, in all his righteous dispensations, he is everlastingly pursuing the welfare of his people: and that, whatever outward providences may seem to say, yet his love is always the same. Far be it from GOD, saith he, that he should do wickedness. And hence the conclusion is obvious. Job's impatience under suffering was unsuitable and unbecoming. Here indeed seems to be the great difference between Job's arguments and Elihu's. Job was anxious to justify his own integrity, more than the glory of GOD but Elihu, in his judgment, evidently thought with the Apostle: Let God be true, but every man a liar. Romans 3:4.


Verses 13-28

(13) Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? (14) If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; (15) All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. (16) ¶ If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words. (17) Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just? (18) Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly? (19) How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands. (20) In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand. (21) For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. (22) There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. (23) For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God. (24) He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead. (25) Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed. (26) He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others; (27) Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways: (28) So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.

This is a very striking account of the right of GOD'S sovereignty; and the scope of Elihu's argument, in these verses, is to show, that a sense of our creatureship, and more especially when connected with a due apprehension of our guilt and corruption, would induce in every man, even the very greatest and best of men, a patient and humble submission to the divine will in all things. And what Elihu hath observed upon this occasion, must be the cool determination of every enlightened mind: for, where sin sits heavy, sorrows will sit light. And a deep sense of our nothingness, as creatures, and our being worse than nothing, as sinful creatures, will cause every man to put his hand to his mouth, and say with the Church of old, Thou hast of afflicted us less than our sins deserve. Ezra 9:13.


Verses 29-37

(29) When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only: (30) That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared. (31) ¶ Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: (32) That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more. (33) Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest. (34) Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me. (35) Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom. (36) My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men. (37) For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.

How just is the reasoning of Elihu, on this ground, that when a man is visited, he should patiently bear it. This is an exact correspondence to what the LORD himself had appointed; that, with a free acknowledgment of sin, there should be what is called, a free acknowledgment of the rights of GOD'S justice; or, in the language of the Bible, the accepting by the sinner of the punishment of his iniquity. Leviticus 26:41. For this carried with it both the idea of justifying GOD when man is thus judged, and being themselves humbled under a due sense of their undeservings. Reader, mark it down as one of the truest evidences, that a life of grace is wrought in the soul, when a man's own heart takes part with GOD'S justice against himself, and confesses that without an eye to CHRIST, and the covenant engagements of JEHOVAH in him, though the sinner were cast out of the divine presence forever, there would be nothing more than what his sins had deserved. The close of Elihu's discourse in this chapter, that his desire was that Job might be tried unto the end, means, that as the afflictions he was exercised with had a gracious design in them, as the real friend to Job he could not but hope, that they might be so long continued, until that GOD'S glory was fully manifested, by the issue of them, and Job himself brought to that blessed and gracious conclusion, that GOD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. Psalms 145:17.


Verse 37

REFLECTIONS

READER, let not this interesting discourse of Elihu pass away from us without leaving behind it upon our minds the many precious instructions it is so eminently calculated to impart; nor, in the view of the suitableness of it to Job, overlook the interest we ourselves have in it. Every perfection of JEHOVAH preacheth to us the same blessed truths as Elihu here contends for; namely, that GOD'S sovereignty, and GOD'S justice, independent of his covenant love and wisdom, have unanswerable claims upon all his creatures, for the most extensive and unqualified submission to his holy will in all things. That conclusion of Eli is, or ought to be, the conclusion of every one: It is the LORD , let him do what seemeth him good. But when we add to this view of GOD'S power and authority, the sense also of his wisdom and his love, while the former demands our dutiful submission, as to the LORD'S right, this latter adds another claim to this becoming frame of mind, because we know these glorious perfections are both engaged, and always in exercise, to arrange and order all things, as shall best and ultimately promote the happiness of his redeemed people, whatever outward events may be appointed for the accomplishment. And the consciousness of this brings the mind into the sweetest of all frames, when the heart is once fully established in the firm faith and assurance of it. For the soul of the faithful will then arrive at this happy conclusion, Wherefore should I be anxious at any one circumstance that occurs, when my GOD'S power and sovereignty, and my GOD'S wisdom and love, are all in exercise to do that for me which may best promote my GOD'S glory, and my welfare? No, saith the believer, let my GOD, my JESUS, my wise and loving LORD, choose everything for me; for sure I am it will then not only be the wisest and best chosen, but that which ought to be, for his glory and my good. Reader, I pray GOD that both you and I may find grace thus to act, and thus to refer everything into his hands that concerns our present and everlasting welfare, from a perfect conviction of that unerring truth, All things work together for good to them that love GOD , to them that are the called according to his purpose.

 


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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 34:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/job-34.html. 1828.

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