The Trial of Job

Chapter 33

Elihu offers himself instead of God to reason with Job, 1-7. He excuses God from giving man an account of his ways, by his greatness, 8-13. God calls man to repentance by visions, by afflictions, and by his ministry, 14-30. He incites Job to attention, 31-33.

"Therefore, Job, I pray you, hear my speeches/
and listen to all my words.

Behold, now I have opened my mouth./
My tongue has spoken in my mouth.

My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart/
and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.

The Spirit of God has made me/
and the breath of the Almighty has given me life.

If you can answer me,/
set your words in order before me and stand up.

Behold, I am according to your wish in God's stead./
I also am formed out of the clay.

Behold, my terror shall not make you afraid,/
neither shall my hand be heavy upon you.

Surely you have spoken in my hearing,/
and I have heard the voice of your words, saying,

'I am clean without transgression./
I am innocent, neither is there iniquity in me.

10 Behold, he finds occasions against me,/
he counts me for his enemy,

11 He puts my feet in the stocks,/
and he marks all my paths.'

12 Behold, in this you are not just./
I will answer you that God is greater than man.

13 Why do you strive against him?/
For he does not give account of any of his matters.

14 For God speaks once, even twice,/
yet man does not perceive it.

15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,/
when deep sleep falls upon men,/
in slumberings upon the bed,

16 He opens the ears of men/
and seals their instruction,

17 So that he may withdraw man from his purpose/
and hide pride from man.

18 He keeps back his soul from the pit/
and his life from perishing by the sword.

19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed,/
and the multitude of his bones with strong pain,

20 So that his life abhors bread/
and his soul dainty food.

21 His flesh is consumed away so that it cannot be seen./
And his bones that were not seen stick out.

22 His soul even draws near to the grave/
and his life to the destroyers.

23 If there is a messenger with him,/
an interpreter, one among a thousand,/
to show to man his uprightness,

24 Then he is gracious to him and says,/
'Deliver him from going down to the pit./
I have found a ransom.'

25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child's./
He will return to the days of his youth.

26 He shall pray to God, and he will be favorable to him./
And he shall see his face with joy,/
for he will render to man his righteousness.

27 He looks upon [his fellow] man and says,/
'I have sinned and perverted that which was right,/
and it did not profit me.

28 He will deliver my soul from going into the pit,/
and my life shall see the light.'

29 Behold, all these things God often works with man,

30 To bring back his soul from the pit,/
to be enlightened with the light of the living.

31 Mark well, O Job, listen to me./
Hold your peace, and I will speak.

32 If you have anything to say, answer me./
Speak, for I desire to justify you.

33 If not, listen to me./
Hold your peace, and I shall teach you wisdom."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 33[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

In this chapter Elihu addresses Job himself, and entreats his attention to what he had to say to him, and offers several things to induce him to it; and recommends himself as one who was according to his wish, in the stead of God, a man like himself, and of whom he had no reason to be afraid (verses 1-7); and then he brings a charge against him of things which he himself had heard, of words that had dropped from him in the course of his controversy with his friends; in which he too much and too strongly insisted on his own innocence and purity, and let fill very undue and unbecoming reflections on the dealings of God with him (verses 8-11); to which he gives an answer by observing the superior greatness of God to man, and his sovereignty over him, not being accountable to him for anything done by him; and therefore man should be silent and submissive to him (verses 12-13); and yet, though he is so great and so absolute, and uncontrollable, and is not obliged to give an account of his affairs to man, and the reasons of them; yet he condescends by various ways and means to instruct him in his mind and will, and even by these very things complained of; and therefore should not be treated as if unkind and unfriendly to men; sometimes he does it by dreams and visions, when he opens the ears of men, and seals instruction to them, and with this view, to restrain them from their evil purposes and doings, and to weaken their pride and humble them, and preserve them from ruin (verses 14-18); and sometimes by chastening and afflictive providences, which are described (verses 19-22); and which become teaching ones; through the interposition of a divine messenger, and upon the afflicted man's prayer to God, and humiliation before him, God is gracious and favorable to him, and delivers him; which is frequently the design and the use that he makes of chastening dispensations (verses 23-30); and the chapter is concluded with beseeching Job to mark and consider well what had been said to him, and to answer it if he could or thought fit; if not, silently to attend to what he had further to say to him for his instruction (verses 31-33).

[v.23-25] - LXX: "23 Though there should be a thousand messengers of death, not one of them shall wound him: if he should purpose in his heart to turn to the Lord, and declare to man his fault, and show his folly; 24 he will support him, that he should not perish, and will restore his body as [fresh] plaster upon a wall; and he will fill his bones with morrow. 25 And he will make his flesh tender as that of a baby, and he will restore him among men in [his] full strength."

[v.23] - Christ is our messenger, our interpreter, and our One in a thousand who brought us the life saving Gospel message of God's redemption plan for His people.

[v.24] - Christ is the Deliverer (Psalm 18:2, 40:17, 70:5, 144:2; Isaiah 59:20; Romans 11:26) and the Ransom (Hosea 13:14; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1st Timothy 2:6).

[v.25] - Reference, 2nd Corinthians 5:17.

[v.26] - "his righteousness" - That is, God's righteousness. Reference, Romans 3:21-26, ch. 4; 2nd Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9.

[v.27] - Text in square brackets added for implied meaning. This is the penitent sinner rejoicing before his fellow man. From John Gill's Exposition: "But most carry the sense another way, and interpret it of the sick man recovered, who looks upon his friends and relations about him, and any others that come within his reach; or he goes about them, as Aben Ezra explains the word; or will accompany with men, as Mr. Broughton; or sets them in rows, as Gersom, in order, as at a levee, that he may the better address them; or he shall direct himself to them, as the Targum; or shall sing over them or before them, so Schultens; in a joyful manner, in an exulting strain, express himself, as follows..."