The Trial of Job

Chapter 34

Elihu accuses Job of charging God with injustice, 1-9. God cannot be unjust because he is omnipotent, 10-30. Man must humble himself to God, 31-33. Elihu reproves Job, 34-37.

1 Furthermore, Elihu answered and said,

"Hear my words, O you wise men,/
and give ear to me, you who have knowledge.

For the ear tries words/
as the mouth tastes food.

Let us choose for ourselves judgment./
Let us know among ourselves what is good.

For Job has said, 'I am righteous,/
and God has taken away my judgment.

Should I lie against my right?/
My wound is incurable without transgression.'

What man is like Job/
who drinks up scorning like water,

Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity/
and walks with wicked men?

For he has said, 'It profits a man nothing/
that he should delight himself with God.'

10 Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding./
Far be it from God that he should do wickedness,/
and from the Almighty that he should commit iniquity.

11 For the work of a man he shall render to him/
and cause every man to find according to his ways.

12 Surely God will not do wickedly,/
neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.

13 Who has given him a charge over the earth?/
Or who has disposed the whole world?

14 If he should set his heart upon man,/
if he should gather to himself his spirit and his breath,

15 All flesh would perish together/
and man would return to dust.

16 If now you have understanding, hear this./
Listen to the voice of my words.

17 Shall even he who hates right govern?/
And will you condemn him who is most just?

18 Is it fit to say to a king, 'You are wicked,'/
and to princes, 'You are ungodly'?

19 How much less to him who does not accept the persons of princes,/
nor regards the rich more than the poor?/
For they all are the work of his hands.

20 In a moment they shall die./
And the people shall be troubled at midnight and pass away./
And the mighty shall be taken away without the hand [of men].

21 For his eyes are upon the ways of man/
and he sees all his goings.

22 There is no darkness, nor shadow of death,/
where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

23 For he will not lay upon man more than right,/
that he should enter into judgment with God.

24 He shall break mighty men in pieces without number/
and set others in their stead.

25 Therefore, he knows their works/
and he overturns them in the night so that they are destroyed.

26 He strikes them as wicked men/
in the open sight of others,

27 Because they turned back from him/
and would not consider any of his ways,

28 So that they cause the cry of the poor to come to him./
And he hears the cry of the afflicted.

29 When he gives quietness, who then can make trouble?/
And when he hides his face, who then can behold him,/
whether it be done against a nation or against a man only?

30 This is so that the hypocrite may not reign,/
lest the people should be ensnared.

31 Surely it is proper to be said to God,/
'I have borne chastisement. I will not offend anymore.

32 That which I do not see, teach me./
If I have done iniquity, I will do no more.'

33 Should it be according to your mind? He will recompense it,/
whether you refuse or whether you choose, and not I./
Therefore, speak what you know.

34 Let men of understanding tell me,/
and let a wise man listen to me.

35 Job has spoken without knowledge,/
and his words were without wisdom.

36 My desire is that Job may be tried to the end/
because of his answers for wicked men.

37 For he adds rebellion to his sin./
He claps his hands among us/
and multiplies his words against God."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 34[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

In this chapter Elihu reassumes his discourse, and proceeds in his answer to Job, in which are first a preface exciting attention (verses 1-4); then a charge is brought against Job, expressed in or extracted from some words that dropped from his lips, not so well guarded (verses 5-9); a refutation of these expressions of his in a variety of arguments (verses 10-30); and the chapter is closed with some good advice to Job (verses 31-33); and with an earnest request of Elihu to men of understanding, to join with him in trying him to the uttermost (verses 34-37).

[v.9a] - "For he has said" - As noted in John Gill's Exposition, Elihu is likely referring to what Job said previously: "He destroys the perfect and the wicked" (Job 9:22).

[v.9b] - Elihu is paraphrasing what Job previously said in the above comment by stating that if God destroys both the perfect and the wicked, then it is pointless for a man to "delight himself with God," or, "walk with God" (as Enoch in Genesis 5:24), or, "live a godly life." His meaning is to correct Job for his indecent expression. Elihu then follows this in the next three verses by saying that it is impossible for God to do wrong and he carries out his judgment on all men, whether perfect or wicked.

[v.19] - "him who does not accept the persons" - Reference, Deuteronomy 10:17; 2nd Chronicles 19:7; Matthew 22:16; Luke 20:21; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; 1st Peter 1:17.

[v.20a] - Text in square brackets added for implied meaning.

[v.20b] - "without the hand [of men]" - In other words, without any action or effort by human hands. From John Gill's Exposition: "without the hand of men, but by the immediate hand of God; not falling in battle, or in a common natural way by diseases, but by some judgment of God upon them."