Matthew Henry's Commentary
Furthermore Elihu answered and said,
34:1-9 Elihu calls upon those present to decide with him upon Job's words. The plainest Christian, whose mind is enlightened, whose heart is sanctified by the Spirit of God, and who is versed in the Scriptures, can say how far matters, words, or actions, agree with true religion, better than any that lean to their own understandings. Job had spoken as if he meant wholly to justify himself. He that say, I have cleansed my hands in vain, does not only offend against God's children, Ps 73:13-15, but gratifies his enemies, and says as they say.
Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.
For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.
For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.
What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.
For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
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.
34:10-15 Elihu had showed Job, that God meant him no hurt by afflicting him, but intended his spiritual benefit. Here he shows, that God did him no wrong by afflicting him. If the former did not satisfy him, this ought to silence him. God cannot do wickedness, nor the Almighty commit wrong. If services now go unrewarded, and sins now go unpunished, yet there is a day coming, when God will fully render to every man according to his works. Further, though the believer's final condemnation is done away through the Saviour's ransom, yet he has merited worse than any outward afflictions; so that no wrong is done to him, however he may be tried.
For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.
Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.
Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.
34:16-30 Elihu appeals directly to Job himself. Could he suppose that God was like those earthly princes, who hate right, who are unfit to rule, and prove the scourges of mankind? It is daring presumption to condemn God's proceedings, as Job had done by his discontents. Elihu suggests divers considerations to Job, to produce in him high thoughts of God, and so to persuade him to submit. Job had often wished to plead his cause before God. Elihu asks, To what purpose? All is well that God does, and will be found so. What can make those uneasy, whose souls dwell at ease in God? The smiles of all the world cannot quiet those on whom God frowns.
Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?
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.
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.
For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.
There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.
He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.
Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.
He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;
Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:
So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.
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:
That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.
Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
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.
That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.
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.
Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.
Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.
My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.
For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.