Job 36:3
I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
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(3) I will fetch my knowledge from afar.—But is not this what Bildad had said before him? (Job 8:8, &c.); and yet the teaching of Job 36:6 is not very different from his.

36:1-4 Elihu only maintained that the affliction was sent for his trial; and lengthened because Job was not yet thoroughly humbled under it. He sought to ascribe righteousness to his Maker; to clear this truth, that God is righteous in all his ways. Such knowledge must be learned from the word and Spirit of God, for naturally we are estranged from it. The fitness of Elihu's discourse to the dispute between Job and his friends is plain. It pointed out to Job the true reason of those trials with which he had been pointed out to Job the true reason of those trials with which he had been visited. It taught that God had acted in mercy towards him, and the spiritual benefit he was to derive from them. It corrected the mistake of his friends, and showed that Job's calamities were for good.I will fetch my knowledge from afar - What I say shall not be mere commonplace. It shall be the result of reflection on subjects that lie out of the ordinary range of thought. The idea is, that he did not mean to go over the ground that had been already trodden, or to suggest such reflections as would occur to anyone, but that he meant to bring his illustrations from abstruser matters, and from things that had escaped their attention. He in fact appeals to the various operations of nature - the rain, the dew, the light, the instincts of the animal creation, the vicissitudes of the seasons, the laws of heat and cold, and shows that all these prove that God is inscrutably wise and gloriously great.

And will ascribe righteousness to my Maker - That is, I will show that these things to which I now appeal, "prove" that he is righteous, and is worthy of universal confidence. Perhaps, also, he means to contrast the result of his reflections with those of Job. He regarded him as having charged his Maker with injustice and wrong. Elihu says that it was a fixed principle with him to ascribe righteousness to God, and that he believed it could be fully sustained by an appeal to his works. Man should "presume" that his Maker is good, and wise, and just; he should be "willing" to find that he is so; he should "expect" that the result of the profoundest investigation of his ways and works will prove that he is so - and in such an investigation he will never be disappointed. A man is in no good frame of mind, and is not likely to be led to any good result in his investigations, when he "begins" his inquiries by believing that his Maker is unjust, and who "prosecutes" them with the hope and expectation that he will find him to be so. Yet do people never do this?

3. from afar—not trite commonplaces, but drawn from God's mighty works.

ascribe righteousness—whereas Job ascribed unrighteousness (Job 34:10, 12). A man, in enquiring into God's ways, should at the outset presume they are all just, be willing to find them so, and expect that the result of investigation will prove them to be so; such a one will never be disappointed [Barnes].

From afar, i.e. from remote times, and places, and things. I will not confine my discourse to thy particular case, but will justify God by declaring his great and glorious works of creation and providence, both in the heaven and earth, and the manner of his dealing with men in other parts and ages of the world; for these are the chief heads of the following discourse, and therefore the best comment upon this general expression.

I will acknowledge that which is true, that God is righteous. He adds the words,

my Maker, either,

1. As an argument or evidence of God’s righteousness; partly, because it is not likely that God should be unjust to his own creatures, since even men are not only just, but kind, to their own works and relations; and partly, because the work of creation gave unto God an absolute right and power to dispose of Job as he saw fit, as the potter hath power over the clay, Romans 9:21, and therefore there was no foundation for unrighteousness, nor any temptation upon God to do it; and partly, because man’s Maker must needs be a being of all possible perfection, and therefore one of perfect righteousness. Or,

2. As a motive or obligation upon him to plead God’s cause. I do not engage myself in this controversy out of a pragmatical or contentious humour, nor out of any prejudice or ill-will to thee, but merely from the sense of my duty to my blessed Creator. Withal he reflects upon Job as guilty of great folly and ingratitude in contending with him, in or by whom he lived, and moved, and had his being. I will fetch my knowledge from afar,.... Not from himself; for it is but a small share of knowledge that a man gets of himself, or attains to by the light of nature, and especially concerning God and divine things; but from others, either from persons that lived in former ages, and in foreign countries; it being usual for men desirous of acquiring knowledge to travel into distant parts for it; and such were generally much esteemed of, and the knowledge they professed to have got and published; as the queen of Sheba came from the further parts of the earth to hear and learn the wisdom of Solomon, 1 Kings 10:1, or rather the sense is, he would fetch the knowledge he should now communicate concerning God from God himself, from the nature and perfections of God, who, and his knowledge, are high as heaven; and from the works of God, which are far above men; or should treat of things deep and sublime, and not common; though perhaps it is best of all to read the words, "I will bring forth knowledge concerning", or "with respect to him that is afar off" (i); that is, God, who is in the highest heavens, and inhabits the high and holy place; a God both at hand and afar off; with which agrees what follows; though some interpret it of lifting it up, and causing it to be heard afar off so some, as Aben Ezra;

and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker: God is the Maker of all men; Elihu considered him as his Maker with gratitude, while many have no regard of him, Job 35:10; and therefore thought himself obliged to speak for him, and on his behalf; and particularly in vindication of his righteousness; assert this to be an essential attribute and perfection of his nature; own, acknowledge, publish, and declare it; give him the glory of it, and demonstrate that he is righteous in all his ways and works; and clear him from all imputation of unrighteousness.

(i) "ei, vel de eo qui est longinquus"; so Aben Ezra, Bar Tzemach.

I will fetch {a} my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

(a) He shows that when we speak of God, we must lift our spirits higher than our natural sense is able to reach.

3. from afar] He will speak comprehensively, embracing the distant parts of the subject in his survey, or throwing light upon it from far-off regions.

righteousness to my Maker] Elihu gives here in a word the ruling idea of his discourses: they are all meant to ascribe righteousness or right to God; they are a defence of God against the charges of Job. The expression rendered my Maker does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament.Verse 3. - I will fetch my knowledge from afar (compare the declaration of Bildad, Job 8:8). In neither case does the performance justify the pretentious character of the preface. Elihu's arguments are, for the most part, trite and commonplace. And will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. I will show, i.e., that God is righteous and just (comp. Job 34:10, 12). 9 By reason of the multitude of oppressions they raise a cry,

They call for help by reason of the arm of the great,

10 But none saith: Where is Eloah my Creator,

Who giveth songs of praise in the night,

11 Who teacheth us by the beasts of the earth,

And maketh us wise by the fowls of heaven?

12 Then they cry, yet He answereth not,

Because of the pride of evil men.

13 Vanity alone God heareth not,

And the Almighty observeth it not.

In Job 35:9 the accentuation of מרוב with Dech, according to which Dachselt interprets: prae multitudine (oppressionum) oppressi clamabunt, is erroneous; it is to be written מרב, as everywhere else, and this (according to Codd. and the editions of Jablonski, Majus, Michaelis, and others) is to be accented with Munach, which is followed by עשׁוּקים with a vicarious Munach: prae multitudine oppressionum (עשׁוקים like Ecclesiastes 4:1, and probably also Amos 3:9) edunt clamorem (Hiph. in the intensive Kal signification, as e.g., הזנה, to commit fornication, Hosea 4:10). On זרוע, Job 35:9; רבּים are the great or lords (Arab. arbâb). The plur. with a general subj. is followed by the sing. in Job 35:10: and no one says (exactly as in האמר, Job 34:31). Elihu weakens the doubt expressed by Job in Job 24:12, that God allows injustice to prevail, and oppressed innocence remains without vindication. The failure of the latter arises from the fact of the sufferers complaining, but not seeking earnestly the only true helper, God their maker (עשׂים, intensive plur., as Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 54:5; Psalm 149:2), who gives (to which may be compared a passage of the Edda: "Wuodan gives songs to the Scalds") songs (זמרות, from the onomatopoetic זמר) in the night, i.e., who in the night of sorrow puts songs of praise concerning the dawning light of help into the mouth of the sufferers. The singing of the glory of the nightly heavens (Stick., Hahn) is to be as little thought of as the music of the spheres; the night is, as Job 34:20, Job 34:25, the time of unexpectedly sudden change.

In Job 35:11 most expositors (last of all Schlottm.) take the two מן as comparative. Elihu would then, since he feels the absence of the asking after this God on the part of the sufferers, mean the conscious relation in which He has placed us to Himself, and in accordance with which the sufferer should not merely instinctively complain, but humbly bow himself and earnestly offer up prayer. But according to Job 12:7 (comp. Proverbs 6:6, וחכם), it is to be translated: who teaches (מלּפנוּ equals מאלּפנוּ, comp. 2 Samuel 22:40, Psalter i. 160) us from the beasts of the earth (so that from them as a means of instruction teaching comes to us), and makes us wise from the birds of heaven. The fut. interchanging with the part. better accords with this translation, according to which Job 35:11 is a continuation of the assertion of a divine instruction, by means of the animal creation; the thought also suits the connection better, for of the many things that may be learned from the animal creation, prayer here comes under consideration, - the lions roar, Psalm 104:21; the thirsty cattle cry to God, Joel 1:20; the ravens call upon God, Psalm 147:9. It we now determine the collective thought of Job 35:10, that affliction does not drive most men to God the almighty Helper, who will be humbly entreated for help: it is more natural to take שׁם (vid., on Job 23:7) in the sense of then (τότε), than, with reference to the scene of oppression, in the sense of there (lxx, Jer.: ibi). The division of the verse is correct, and H. B. Starcke has correctly interpreted: Tunc clamabunt (sed non respondebit) propter superbiam (insolentiam) malorum. מפּני is not to be connected with יענה in the sense of non exaudiet et servabit, by which constr. praegnans one would expect מן, Psalm 22:22, instead of מפני, nor in the sense of non exaudiet propter (Hirz., Schlottm.), for the arrogant רעים are not those who complain unheard: but, as the connection shows, those from whom the occasion of complaint proceeds. Therefore: not allowing themselves to be driven to God by oppression, they cry then, without, however, being heard of God, by reason of the arrogance of evil men which they have to endure. Job 35:13 gives the reason of their obtaining no answer: Only emptiness (i.e., mere motion of the lips without the true spirit of prayer) God heareth not, and the Almighty observeth it not. Hahn wrongly denies אך the significations certo and verumtamen; but we prefer the restrictive signification (sheer emptiness or hollowness) which proceeds from the affirmative primary signification

(Note: Vid., Hupfeld in the Zeitschr. fr Kunde des Morgenl. ii.441f.)


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