Matthew Henry Bible Commentary

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Chapter 34

Elihu here speaks with a great deference to the divine will and wisdom, and a satisfaction therein: it is highly fit that every thing should be according to God's mind. He speaks also with a just disdain of the pretensions of those that are proud, and would be their own carvers: Should it be according to thy mind? Should we always have the good we have a mind to enjoy? We should then wrongfully encroach upon others and foolishly ensnare ourselves. Must we never be afflicted, because we have no mind to it? Is it fit that sinners should feel no smart, that scholars should be under no discipline? Or, if we must be afflicted, is it fit that we should choose what rod we will be beaten with? No; it is fit that every thing should be according to God's mind, and not ours; for he is the Creator, and we are creatures. He is infinitely wise and knowing; we are foolish and short-sighted. He is in one mind; we are in many. 2. That it is in vain, and to no purpose, to expect it: "He will recompense it whether thou refuse or whether thou choose. God will take his own way, fulfil his own counsel, and recompense according to the sentence of his own justice, whether thou art pleased or displeased; he will neither ask thy leave nor ask thy advice, but, what he pleases, that will he do. It is therefore thy wisdom to be easy, and make a virtue of necessity; make the best of that which is, because it is out of thy power to make it otherwise. If thou pretend to choose and refuse," that is, "to prescribe to God and except against what he does, so will not I--I will acquiesce in all he does; and therefore speak what thou knowest; say what thou wilt do, whether thou wilt oppose or submit. The matter lies plainly before thee; be at a point; thou art in God's hand, not in mine."

      III. He appeals to all intelligent indifferent persons whether there was not a great deal of sin and folly in that which Job said. 1. He would have the matter thoroughly examined, and brought to an issue (Job 34:36): "My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end. If any will undertake to justify what he has said, let them do it; if not, let us all agree to bear our testimony against it." Many understand it of his trial by afflictions: "Let his troubles be continued till he be thoroughly humbled, and his proud spirit brought down, till he be made to see his error and to retract what he has so presumptuously said against God and his providence. Let the trial be continued till the end be obtained." 2. He appeals both to God and man, and desires the judgment of both upon it. (1.) Some read Job 34:36 as an appeal to God: O, my Father! let Job be tried. So the margin of our Bibles, for the same word signifies my desire and my father; and some suppose that he lifted up his eyes when he said this, meaning, "O my Father who art in heaven! let Job be tried till he be subdued." When we are praying for the benefit of afflictions either to ourselves or others we must eye God as a Father, because they are fatherly corrections and a part of our filial education, Hebrews 12:7. (2.) He appeals to the by-standers (Job 34:34): "Let men of understanding tell me whether they can put any more favourable construction upon Job's words than I have put, and whether he has not spoken very ill and ought not to cry, Peccavi--I have done wrong." In what Job had said he thought it appeared, [1.] That he did not rightly understand himself, but had talked foolishly, Job 34:35. He cannot say that Job is without knowledge and wisdom; but, in this matter, he has spoken without knowledge, and, whatever his heart is, his words were without prudence. What he said to his wife may be retorted upon himself (He speaks as one of the foolish men speak) and for the same reason, Shall we not receive evil as well as good at God's hand? Job 2:10. Sometimes we need and deserve those reproofs ourselves which we have given to others. Those that reproach God's wisdom really reproach their own. [2.] That he had not a due regard to God, but had talked wickedly. If what he had said be tried to the end, that is, if one put it to the utmost stretch and make the worst of it, it will be found, First, That he has taken part with God's enemies: His answers have been for wicked men; that is, what he had said tended to strengthen the hands and harden the hearts of wicked people in their wickedness, he having carried the matter of their prosperity much further than he needed. Let wicked men, like Baal, plead for themselves if they will, but far be it from us that we should answer for them, or say any thing in favour of them. Secondly, That he has insulted God's friends, and hectored over them: "He clappeth his hands among us; and, if he be not thoroughly tried and humbled, will grow yet more insolent and imperious, as if he had gotten the day and silenced us all." To speak ill is bad enough, but to clap our hands and triumph in it when we have done, as if error and passion had won the victory, is much worse. Thirdly, That he has spoken against God himself, and, by standing to what he had said, added rebellion to his sin. To speak, though but one word, against God, by whom we speak and for whom we ought to speak, is a great sin; what is it then to multiply words against him, as if we would out-talk him? What is it to repeat them, instead of unsaying them? Those that have sinned, and, when they are called to repent, thus go on frowardly, add rebellion to their sin and make it exceedingly sinful. Errare possum, Hæreticus esse nolo--I may fall into error, but I will not plunge into heresy.

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Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 2
Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5
Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11
Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17
Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23
Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26
Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29
Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32
Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35
Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38
Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41
Chapter 42
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Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for 'Job' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary". - Matthew Henry Bible Commentary.

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