Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Furthermore Elihu answered and said,
Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.
34:2 Ear - The ear, is put for the mind to which things are conveyed by it.
For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.
34:4 Let us - Not contend for victory, but for truth and equity. Know - Let us shew one another who hath the best cause.
For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
34:5 Said - I am so far righteous, that I have not deserved, such hard usage from God. Had taken - So Job had said, chap.27:2, he denies me that which is just and equal, to give me a fair hearing.
Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.
34:6 Should I lie - So Job had said in effect, chap.27:4,5,6, should I falsely accuse myself of sins of which I am not guilty? Without transgression - Without any such crying, sin, as might reasonably bring down such terrible judgments upon my head.
What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
34:7 Like water - Abundantly and greedily: who doth so break forth into scornful expressions, not only against his friends, but in some sort against God himself.
Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.
34:8 Who goeth - Although I dare not say, that he is a wicked man, yet in this matter he speaks and acts like one of them.
For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
34:9 He said - Not in express terms, but by consequence; because he said that good men were no less, nay, sometimes more miserable here than the wicked.
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.
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.
34:12 Pervert - As Job hath affirmed.
Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
34:13 Who - Who or where is his superior that made the world, and, then delivered the government of it to God? God himself is the sole creator, the absolute Lord of all, and therefore cannot do unjustly: because the creator and Lord of the world must needs have all possible perfections in himself, and amongst others, perfect justice. Disposed - Or, committed, to him, to be governed by him, in the name, of his Lord, to whom he must give an account.
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.
34:15 All - The design of this and the foregoing verse is the same with that of ver.13, namely, to declare God's absolute and uncontrollable sovereignty over all men.
If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.
Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
34:17 Shall he - That is unrighteous. Govern - Elihu's argument is the same with that of Abraham, Gen 18:25, and that of St. Paul, Rom 3:5,6. If God be unrighteous, how shall he judge or govern the world? And the argument is undeniable: if God were unjust, there would be nothing but injustice and confusion in the world, whereas we see there is a great deal of justice administered in the world, and all this must proceed from him who is the fountain of all justice, and rule, and authority. And he that makes men just, shall he be unjust? Most just - God, who hath given so many clear and unquestionable evidences of his justice, in giving just and holy laws, in encouraging and rewarding righteous persons in this life, and inflicting dreadful judgments upon tyrants and oppressors.
Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?
34:18 Wicked - Though a king may be wicked, yet his subjects neither may nor dare call him so.
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.
34:21 For - God doth not destroy either prince or people unjustly, no nor out of his mere pleasure, but for their sins, which he sees exactly, although they use all possible arts to hide them.
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;
34:26 As - Because they are wicked men. In the open light - In publick view for their greater shame, and for the greater glory of his justice.
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.
34:28 Cry of the poor - Their case is bad, who have the prayers and tears of the poor against them: for these will draw down vengeance sooner or later, on the heads of their oppressors.
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:
34:29 Whether - God can carry on his work either of mercy or justice, as irresistible upon an whole nation as upon one particular person.
That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.
34:30 Reign not - May not continue his tyranny, lest the people be ensnared, lest the people should be longer kept in the the snares of oppression; God doth this to free poor oppressed people from the snares which ungodly men lay for them.
Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.
34:32 That - The secret sins which I cannot discover, manifest thou to me.
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.
34:33 Should it be - Doth God need thy advice how to govern the world, and whom, and when to reward or punish? Refuse - To submit as is expressed, ver.32. Therefore - If thou canst say any thing for thyself, I am ready to hear thy defence.
Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.
34:34 Let - I am content that any wise man should judge of my words, and let such consider what I say.
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.
34:36 End - Throughly and exactly, 'till the cause be brought to an issue. Wicked men - On their behalf; he hath put arguments into their mouths against God and his providence.
For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.
34:37 Addeth - He sinned before, by impatience under his afflictions, now he is grown obstinate, and instead of humbling himself for his sins, justifies himself, and accuses the blessed God. Clapped - Insulting and triumphing. Against God - In effect, though not directly.