Job 34:36
My desire is that Job may be tried to the end because of his answers for wicked men.
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(36) My desire is that Job may be tried.—There seems to be reason to prefer the marginal rendering, and consider the words as addressed to God: “Oh my Father, let Job be tried, &c.” “Pater mi probetur Job,” Vulg. Elihu’s words cannot have fallen upon Job with more acceptance or with lighter weight than those of his other friends. He must have felt, however, that his cause was safe with God, whatever the misunderstanding of men.

Because of his answers for wicked men. Rather, his answering like wicked men.

34:31-37 When we reprove for what is amiss, we must direct to what is good. Job's friends would have had him own himself a wicked man. Let will only oblige him to own that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips. Let us, in giving reproof, not make a matter worse than it is. Elihu directs Job to humble himself before God for his sins, and to accept the punishment. Also to pray to God to discover his sins to him. A good man is willing to know the worst of himself; particularly, under affliction, he desires to be told wherefore God contends with him. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins, but we must go and sin no more. And if we are affectionate children, we shall love to speak with our Father, and to tell him all our mind. Elihu reasons with Job concerning his discontent under affliction. We are ready to think every thing that concerns us should be just as we would have it; but it is not reasonable to expect this. Elihu asks whether there was not sin and folly in what Job said. God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, Ps 145:17. The believer saith, Let my Saviour, my wise and loving Lord, choose every thing for me. I am sure that will be wisest, and the best for his glory and my good.My desire is - Margin, "or, "my father, let Job be tried."" This variation between the text and the margin, arises from the different interpretations affixed to the Hebrew word אבי 'âbiy. The Hebrew word commonly means "father," and some have supposed that that sense is to be retained here, and then it would be a solemn appeal to God as his Father - expressing the earnest prayer of Elihu that Job might be fully tried. But the difficulties in this interpretation are obvious:

(1) Such a mode of appeal to God occurs nowhere else in the book, and it is little in the spirit of the poem. No particular reason can be assigned why that solemn appeal should be made here, rather than in many other places.

(2) The name "Father," though often given to God in the Scriptures, is not elsewhere given to him in this book.

The probability is, therefore, that the word is from אבה 'âbâh - "to breathe after, to desire," and means that Elihu "desired" that Job should have a fair trial. No other similar form of the word, however, occurs The Vulgate renders it, "Pater mi, my father;" the Septuagint, "But learn, Job, no more to make reply like the foolish;" the Chaldee, צבינא - "I desire."

May be tried - That his views may be fully canvassed and examined. He had expressed sentiments which Elihu thought should not be allowed to pass without the most careful examination into their truth and bearing. "Unto the end." In the most full and free manner; that the matter should be pursued as far as possible, so that it might be wholly understood. Literally, it means "forever" - עד־נצח ‛ad-netsach.

Because of his answers for wicked men - Because of the views which he has expressed, which seem to favor the wicked. Elihu refers to the opinions advanced by Job that God did not punish people in this life, or did not deal with them according to their characters, which "he" interpreted as giving countenance to wickedness, or as affirming the God was not the enemy of impiety. The Vulgate renders this, "My Father, let Job be tried to the end; do not cease from the man of iniquity;" but the true meaning doubtless is, that Job had uttered sentiments which Elihu understood to favor the wicked, and he was desirous that every trial should be applied to him which would tend to correct his erroneous views.

36. Margin, not so well, "My father," Elihu addressing God. This title does not elsewhere occur in Job.

tried—by calamities.

answers for wicked men—(See on [538]Job 34:8). Trials of the godly are not removed until they produce the effect designed.


1. That he may be further tried by God, or exercised with afflictions, till he be thoroughly convinced or humbled. But it seems harsh that he should pray for the continuance or increase of Job’s afflictions. Or rather,

2. That his words and cause which I am now debating may be examined and sifted, that you that are here present, or any other wise men, may consider and judge thereof, as he desired above, Job 34:2,10,34.

Unto the end, i.e. thoroughly and exactly, till the cause be brought to an issue. Or, unto victory, i.e. till judgment be brought forth unto victory.

Because of his answers; or, concerning his answers, or replies, or discourses; for answering is oft used in Scripture, both in the Old and New Testament, for speaking. So he limits and changeth the state of the controversy: I do not meddle with Job’s former life, nor charge him with hypocrisy, as his three friends have done; but I justly reprove him for his hard speeches against God, whereby he hath reproached his justice and goodness.

For wicked men, i.e. on their behalf, or for their use. He hath put arguments into their mouths against God and his providence. Or, with or among wicked men; as if he were one of them; or such answers as they use to make, which therefore are very unbecoming such a man as Job is, or pretends to be. My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end,.... This is my opinion, or what "I bring in" (o) adduce, and lay before you, men of understanding and wisdom, and leave it with you to consider of. Some render it, "O my Father, let Job be tried", &c. as if it was an apostrophe to God, and a request to him; so Mr. Broughton, who adds,

"which art in heaven,''

and the same is added by some Jewish interpreters (p), as there are others (q) of them which go this way, and also several Christian commentators (r); and of late (s) it has been urged, from this and other passages, that Elihu was Christ, who here addresses God as his father: but this is his New Testament title; and though God is the father of all men by creation, and of saints by adoption, yet this relation and title are not so frequently claimed under the former dispensation, or however not so early as the times of Job, but are more peculiar to the Gospel dispensation, under which saints receive "not the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the Spirit of adoption, whereby they cry, Abba, Father", Romans 8:15; wherefore admitting this version, rather some grave venerable person, as Eliphaz (t), senior to Elihu, who was a young man, is addressed under this title; or the whole circle of Job's friends now about him, all elder than Elihu, may be intended; "father" for "fathers", the singular for the plural, see Acts 7:2; and what he proposes is, that they should make it their joint request at the throne of grace, that Job's afflictions be still continued; that he might be thoroughly tried by them, and be purged from all his dross, he not appearing yet to be thoroughly sensible of his sinful speeches, and humbled for them; and therefore it was proper he should be still corrected and chastened to the end, or unto victory, as Mr. Broughton, or until victory was obtained, and he was obliged to yield, and cry "peccavi": but since afflictions are things not joyous but grievous, and it does not seem so agreeable to a good man, kind and humane, to desire the continuance of the afflictions of another, though palliated with a plausible for his good; it seems better to understand this as a motion made to the understanding part of the company by Elihu, that the words of Job, which he had spoken without knowledge and wisdom, might be taken under strict examination by them, and thoroughly scanned, that it might be better known what was proper to be said more to him for his conviction;

because of his answers for wicked men; or concerning or relative to such answers which he had made, which were like to those which wicked men make; who charge the ways of God with inequality and want of equity, ask where is the God of judgment? or which serve the cause of the wicked, and which furnish them with arguments, prepare them for them, and put them into their mouths, to argue against God and his providential dealings with men, and against all religion. See Job 34:8.

(o) "pro" "adducam", so some in Codurcus: "haec autem in medio affero", Tigurine version; "adduco", Schultens. (p) P. Abraham Peritsol, Simeon Bar Tzemach, Sephorno. (q) Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Ben Gersom. (r) Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vatablus, Drusius, Cocceius; so V. L. (s) Hodge's Elihu. (t) So Hieron. Trad. Heb. fol. 75. I.

My desire is that Job may be {d} tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.

(d) That he may speak as much as he can, that we may answer him and all the wicked that will use such arguments.

36. It is not certain whether Job 34:36 be a continuation of the judgment of Elihu’s hearers or be his own words. The sentiment is excessively harsh, and probably Elihu, though of course concurring in it, puts it forth indirectly as the judgment of others. The wish is expressed that Job might be tried unto the end, constantly—that his afflictions might be continued till he should give over answering in the manner of wicked men. His “answers” are his speeches in reply to the three friends, which are characterized as such as only ungodly men would utter.Verse 36. - My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end; literally, Would that Job were tested to the uttermost! - "tested'" i.e., as gold is tested, by the touchstone, and "to the uttermost," so that there should be no doubt as to the result. Elihu had his wish. Job was tried as severely as possible, and the issue was pronounced by God himself. "Ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath" (ch. 42:8, Revised Version). Because of his answers for wicked men; rather, after the manner of wicked men (comp. above, vers. 5, 6, 9.). This was the view which Elihu took of Job's rash words. 29 If He, however, maketh peace, who will then condemn?

And if He hideth His countenance - who then can behold Him? -

Both concerning numbers and individuals together:

30 That godless men reign not,

That they be not nets to the people.

31 For one, indeed, saith to God,

"I have been proud, I will not do evil;

32 "What I see not, show Thou me;

"If I have done wrong, I will do it no more"!? -

If God makes peace (ישׁקיט as Psalm 94:13, comp. Isaiah 14:7, הארץ שׁקטה כל־, viz., after the overthrow of the tyrant) in connection with such crying oppression of the poor, who will then condemn Him without the rather recognising therein His comprehensive justice? The conjecture ירעשׁ

(Note: Vid., Grtz in Frankel's Monatsschrift, 1861, i.)

is not required either here or 1 Samuel 14:47 (where הרשׁיע signifies to punish the guilty); ירשׁע is also not to be translated turbabit (Rosenm.), since רשׁע (Arab. rs‛, rsg) according to its primitive notion does not signify "to be restless, to rage," but "to be relaxed, hollow" (opposite of צדק, Arab. ṣdq, to be hard, firm, tight). Further: If God hides His countenance, i.e., is angry and punishes, who can then behold Him, i.e., make Him, the veiled One, visible and claim back the favour withdrawn? The Waw of וּמי, if one marks off the periods of the paratactic expression, is in both cases the Waw of conclusion after hypothetical antecedents, and. Job 34:29 refers to Job's impetuous challenging of God. Thus exalted above human controversy and defiance, God rules both over the mass and over individuals alike. יחד gives intensity of the equality thus correlatively (et-et) expressed (Targ., Syr.); to refer it to אדם as generalizing (lxx, Jer. et super omnes homines), is forbidden by the antithesis of peoples and individuals. To the thought, that God giveth rest (from oppressors) and hides His countenance (from the oppressors and in general those who act wrongly), two co-ordinate negative final clauses are attached: in order that godless men may not rule (ממּלך, as e.g., 2 Kings 23:33, Keri), in order that they may no longer be (מ( e equals מהיות, under the influence of the notion of putting aside contained in the preceding final clause, therefore like Isaiah 7:8 מעם, Isaiah 24:2 מעיר, Jeremiah 48:2 מגוי, and the like) snares of the people, i.e., those whose evil example and bad government become the ruin of the community.

In Job 34:31 the view of those who by some jugglery concerning the laws of the vowel sounds explain האמר as imper. Niph. ( equals האמר), be it in the sense of להאמר, dicendum est (Rosenm., Schlottm., and others, after Raschi), or even in the unheard-of reflexive signification: express thyself (Stick., Hahn), is to be rejected. The syncopated form of the infin. בּהרג, Ezekiel 26:15, does not serve as a palliation of this adventurous imperative. It is, on the contrary, אמר with ה interrog., as Ezekiel 28:9 האמר, and probably also העמוּר Micah 2:7 (vid., Hitz.). A direct exhortation to Job to penitence would also not be in place here, although what Elihu says is levelled against Job. The כּי is confirmatory. Thus God acts with that class of unscrupulous men who abuse their power for the destruction of their subjects: for he (one of them) says (or: has said, from the standpoint of the execution of punishment) to God, etc. Ew. differently: "for one says thus to God even: I expiate what I do not commit," by understanding the speech quoted of a defiance which reproachfully demands an explanation. It is, however, manifestly a compendious model confession. And since Elihu with כי establishes the execution of punishment from this, that it never entered the mind of the עדם חנף thus to humble himself before God, so נשׂאתי here cannot signify: I have repented (put up with and had to bear what I have deserved); on the contrary, the confession begins with the avowal: I have exalted myself (נשׂא, se efferre, in Hosea 13:1; Psalm 89:10), which is then followed by the vow: I will not (in the future) do evil (חבל synon. עוה, as Nehemiah 1:7, and probably also supra, Job 24:9), and the entreaty, Job 34:32 : beside that which I behold (elliptical object-clause, Ew. 333, b), i.e., what lies beyond my vision ( equals נסתּרות or עלמים, Psalm 19:13; Psalm 90:8, unacknowledged sins), teach me; and the present vow has reference to acknowledged sins and sins that have still to be acknowledged: if I have done wrong, I will do it no more. Thus speaking - Elihu means - those high ones might have anticipated the punishment of the All-just God, for favour instead of wrath cannot be extorted, it is only reached by the way of lowly penitence.

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