Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
Job 32:1-37:24. Speech of Elihu.
1-6. Prose (poetry begins with "I am young").
because, &c.—and because they could not prove to him that he was unrighteous.
Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
2. Elihu—meaning "God is Jehovah." In his name and character as messenger between God and Job, he foreshadows Jesus Christ (Job 33:23-26).
Barachel—meaning "God blesses." Both names indicate the piety of the family and their separation from idolaters.
Buzite—Buz was son of Nahor, brother of Abraham. Hence was named a region in Arabia-Deserta (Jer 25:23).
Ram—Aram, nephew of Buz. Job was probably of an older generation than Elihu. However, the identity of names does not necessarily prove the identity of persons. The particularity with which Elihu's descent is given, as contrasted with the others, led Lightfoot to infer Elihu was the author of the book. But the reason for particularity was, probably, that Elihu was less known than the three called "friends" of Job; and that it was right for the poet to mark especially him who was mainly to solve the problem of the book.
rather than God—that is, was more eager to vindicate himself than God. In Job 4:17, Job denies that man can be more just than God. Umbreit translates, "Before (in the presence of) God."
Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
3. Though silenced in argument, they held their opinion still.
Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.
4. had spoken—Hebrew, "in words," referring rather to his own "words" of reply, which he had long ago ready, but kept back in deference to the seniority of the friends who spoke.
When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.
And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
6. was afraid—The root meaning in Hebrew is "to crawl" (De 32:24).
I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
7. Days—that is, the aged (Job 15:10).
But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
8. Elihu claims inspiration, as a divinely commissioned messenger to Job (Job 33:6, 23); and that claim is not contradicted in Job 42:4, 5. Translate: "But the spirit (which God puts) in man, and the inspiration … is that which giveth," &c.; it is not mere "years" which give understanding (Pr 2:6; Joh 20:22).
Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
9. Great—rather, "old" (Job 32:6). So Hebrew, in Ge 25:23. "Greater, less" for the older, the younger.
judgment—what is right.
Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.
10. Rather, "I say."
Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.
11. Therefore Elihu was present from the first.
reasons—literally, "understandings," that is, the meaning intended by words.
whilst—I waited until you should discover a suitable reply to Job.
Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:
Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.
13. This has been so ordered, "lest you should" pride yourselves on having overcome him by your "wisdom" (Jer 9:23, the great aim of the Book of Job); and that you may see, "God alone can thrust him down," that is, confute him, "not man." So Elihu grounds his confutation, not on the maxims of sages, as the friends did, but on his special commission from God (Job 32:8; 33:4, 6).
Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
14. I am altogether unprejudiced. For it is not I, whom he addressed. "Your speeches" have been influenced by irritation.
They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.
15. Here Elihu turns from the friends to Job: and so passes from the second person to the third; a transition frequent in a rebuke (Job 18:3, 4).
they left off—Words were taken from them.
When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)
I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.
17. my part—for my part.
For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.
18. "I am full of words," whereas the friends have not a word more to say.
the spirit—(Job 32:8; 33:4; Jer 20:9; Ac 18:5).
Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.
19. belly—bosom: from which the words of Orientalists in speaking seem to come more than with us; they speak gutturally. "Like (new) wine (in fermentation) without a vent," to work itself off. New wine is kept in new goatskin bottles. This fittingly applies to the young Elihu, as contrasted with the old friends (Mt 9:7).
I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.
20. refreshed—literally, "that there may be air to me" (1Sa 16:23).
Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
21. "May I never accept," &c. Elihu alludes to Job's words (Job 13:8, 10), wherein he complains that the friends plead for God partially, "accepting His person." Elihu says he will not do so, but will act impartially between God and Job. "And I will not give flattery," &c. (Pr 24:23).
For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.
22. take me away—as a punishment (Ps 102:24).