Job 35


Elihu accuses Job of impious speeches, 1-4.

No man can affect God by his iniquity, nor profit him by his

righteousness, 5-8.

Many are afflicted and oppressed, but few cry to God for help;

and, for want of faith, they continue in affliction, 9-16.


Verse 2. My righteousness is more than God's?] This would indeed

be a blasphemous saying; but Job never said so, neither directly

nor constructively: it would be much better to translate the words

tsidki meel, I am righteous BEFORE God. And Job's meaning

most certainly was, "Whatever I am in your sight, I know that in

the sight of God I am a righteous man;" and he had a right to

assume this character, because God himself had given it to him.

Verse 3. What advantage will it be unto thee?] As if he had said

to God, "My righteousness cannot profit thee, nor do I find that

it is of any benefit to myself." Or perhaps Elihu makes here a

general assertion, which he afterwards endeavours to exemplify:

Thou hast been reasoning how it may profit thee, and thou hast

said, "What profit shall I have in righteousness more than in


Verse 4. I will answer thee] I will show thee the evil of a

sinful way, and the benefit of righteousness; and supply what thy

friends have omitted in their discourses with thee.

Verse 5. Look unto the heavens] These heavens, and their host,

God has created: the bare sight of them is sufficient to show thee

that God is infinitely beyond thee in wisdom and excellence.

Behold the clouds] shechakim, the ethers, (Vulgate,

aethera,) from shachak, to contend, fight together: the

agitated or conflicting air and light; the strong agitation of

these producing both light and heat. Look upon these, consider

them deeply, and see and acknowledge the perfections of the Maker.

Verse 6. If thou sinnest] God is not benefited by thy

righteousness, nor injured by thy iniquity, howsoever multiplied

it may be.

Verse 8. Thy wickedness may hurt] It is better to translate this


To a man like thyself is thy wickedness:

And to the son of man, thy righteousness:

That is:-

Thou mayest injure thyself and others by thy wickedness,

And thou mayest benefit both by thy righteousness;

But God thou canst neither hurt nor profit.

Verse 9. By reason of the multitude] Or rather, "From among the

multitude" the oppressed clamour, yaziku: they shout,

yeshavveu, because of the mighty.

The wicked rich oppress the wicked poor; these cry aloud because

of their oppressors; but they have no relief, because they call

not upon God.

Verse 10. Where is God my Maker] They have no just apprehension

of his being; they do not consider themselves his creatures, or

that he who created them still preserves them, and would make them

happy if they would pray unto him.

Who giveth songs in the night] This is variously translated.

"Before whom the high angels give praise in the night."-CHALDEE.

"Who sets the night-watches."-SEPTUAGINT.

"Gives meditations in the night."-SYRIAC and ARABIC.

"And that shyneth upon us that we might prayse him in the


A holy soul has continual communion with God: night and day its

happiness is great; and God, from whom it comes, is the continual

subject of its songs of praise.

Verse 11. Who teacheth us more than the beasts] "The ox knoweth

his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know

me, my people do not consider; " Isa 1:3.

Beasts, bards, fowls, and in many cases pond-fishes, know and

seem thankful to the hand that feeds them; while man, made much

more noble than they, gifted with the greatest powers, privileged

with the most important benefits, considers not the Lord, nor

discerns the operation of his hand. Quadrupeds, reptiles, and

fowls, have more gratitude to their masters than man has to his


Verse 12. There they cry] They bewail their calamities, but

sorrow not for the cause of them; they cry against their

oppressors, but they call not upon God.

Because of the pride of evil men.] Or mippeney, from the

face, presence, or influence, of the pride of wicked men. They cry

for deliverance from the pride of wicked men; but they are not

heard, because they cry not to God.

Verse 13. Surely God will not hear vanity] He will not attend to

such vain cries; they cry from their oppressions, but they cry not

to God.

Verse 14. Thou sayest thou shalt not see HIM] Several MSS. have

"Thou shalt not see me," and the Septuagint, and one other, "Thou

shalt not see us," but without the points, , the original

may be read see HIM or see US, the third person singular, or the

first person plural.

Yet judgment is before him] Rest assured that God has not

forgotten either to punish or to save; therefore trust in him;

choose to be a monument of his mercy, rather than of his justice.

Verse 15. But-because it is not so] Rather, "But now, because he

visiteth not in his anger." This is more literal than the versions

generally proposed; and the sense of the place appears to be this:

Because vengeance is not speedily executed on an evil work,

therefore are the hearts of the children of men set in them to do

iniquity. This is, in effect, the charge which Elihu brings

against Job.

Verse 16. Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain] God will

execute vengeance when it may best serve the ends of his justice,

providence, and mercy. The delay of judgment is not proof that it

shall not be executed; nor is the deferring of mercy any proof

that God has forgotten to be gracious.

He multiplieth words without knowledge] However this may apply

to Job, it most certainly applies very strongly and generally to

the words, not only of Job's three friends, but to those also of

Elihu himself. The contest is frequently a strife of words.

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