Bible Commentaries

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Job 33

Verse 1

Elihu is the only speaker that calls Job by his first name. Job had previously asked that his three friends would listen to him (13:6,17; 21:2), now Elihu basically says, "I respectfully listened to you, now please listen to me".

Verse 3

The words that he was about to speak were on the tip of his tongue and they were honest, upright, and sincere words. Elihu is redundant, but when one is trying to help someone, one is often redundant.

Verse 4

Like Job, he is God"s creation (33:6) as well. "One"s view of his genesis will be reflected in his conduct" (Jackson p. 70). Job had also claimed that God had created him (31:15).

Verse 5

Elihu is prepared for a counter-argument and he is willing for these men to examine his arguments.

Verse 6

"The young man considered himself to be equal with Job before God (and not superior to him, as had his friends), for both were God"s possessions and creations, formed (literally, nipped) out of clay. Therefore, because they were equals, Elihu would not terrify him (as Job had frequently said God had done to him (7:17; 9:34; 13:21; 23:15), nor would he pressure him " (Zuck pp. 144-145).

Verse 8

He has clearly heard and understood Job"s claims of innocence, in these verses Elihu will summarize what he had heard Job say. This is a very smart move, for Elihu is not ignoring Job or talking over him, but rather he is saying, "I have heard you, and I understand what you are saying".

Verse 10

He had also heard Job accuse God of being his enemy (13:27; 7:17-20). Here he rehearses Job"s complaints that God had been harassing him.

Verse 12

Right here, Elihu is not afraid to be blunt with Job, for he argues that Job is not right, "for his charges are incompatible with the moral greatness of God" (Jackson p. 70).

Verse 13

Job has complained that God will not answer him. "Well, He is not required to give account to humanity" (Jackson p. 70). It seems that Elihu thinks that Job is being childish for thinking that God must give account for everything He does and that He must answer everyone"s question.

Verse 14

Yet God has been speaking to Job, but Job had not been listening. Elihu claims that God speaks in various ways (Hebrews 1:1-2). God speaks in dreams and visions (33:15). God no longer uses this method of communication seeing that He has revealed all truth through His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2; John 16:13).

Verse 16

Such communications are designed to keep a person on the right track, and to keep man from becoming arrogant and falling into destruction. 33:16 "Seals their instruction": "He communicates warnings to men on their beds, in a manner as solemn and impressive as if it were ratified with a seal, and made as secure as possible. Being frightened by nightmares (7:14), Job missed the purpose of God"s dream-warnings, namely, to preserve man from sin and death" (Zuck p. 146).

Verse 19

This is a vivid description of the pain and suffering that Job was experiencing, and Elihu says that God also speaks to men through such suffering. God can use pain to get a person"s attention and bring them closer to Him (Romans 5:3-5; Psalm 119:71; Hebrews 12:5ff). C.S. Lewis called pain, "God"s megaphone". Here is physical pain, felt inwardly to one"s very bones, that causes one to lose their appetite, even for favorite dishes, and which results in losing weight so that his bones protrude.

Verse 23

Eliphaz had argued that no angels could assist Job (5:1), and Job had complained that he did not have a mediator (9:33), Elihu disagrees. He seems to be arguing that God has plenty of angels ("one out of a thousand") that He can send and communicate to Job the workings of His providence. The word "remind" suggests that the angel here actually communicated with the sufferer. As a result of such a revelation, to one who would listen, there would be restoration of health and fellowship with God (33:24-26).

Verse 27

Here is repentance that is publicly proclaimed to others. The statement "And it is not proper for me": Could mean, "It did not agree with me". "The verb "agree" is literally "be even or level", and from that literal meaning comes the idea of being equal to or of the same value as. The thought here is that the restored sinner will realize that his sin did not give him any advantage and instead worked against him, for it brought him only sickness" (Zuck pp. 147-148).

Verse 29

All these things, that is, including allowing men to suffer, God does often, for the purpose of saving men. Job"s three friends had argued that suffering was a punishment for sins, while Elihu argues that suffering may be disciplinary, and so serve to prevent sin" (Jackson p. 71). "Elihu viewed suffering as protective, rather than retributive, as a means of keeping man from death rather than as a means of punishment leading him to death. To the three counselors, sickness was the punishment of a judge for sins committed; but for Elihu, illness was God"s way of getting man"s attention, reminding him of what is right, diverting him from sin" (Zuck p. 148).

Elihu is closer to the truth than the three friends, yet even he seems to see some sort of sin connected with suffering (). When God will speak to Job, He will not use an angel (38-41). Elihu is correct is touching upon the disciplinary or teaching nature of suffering and the fact that such is designed to humble men, for pride had become a problem for Job.

Verse 31

Elihu earnestly wants Job to carefully listen to him for two reasons. First, he really wants to clear Job. He is not Job"s enemy, and he wanted to impart wisdom to Job. He does not simply want to win an argument, rather, he wants to see Job justified, he wants to work towards what God would desire.

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 33". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dun/job-33.html. 1999-2014.