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34:1-4 Here is his introduction. He will quote Job (12:11) when he referred to the need for the debaters to test the accuracy of his words as the tongue discerns the quality of food. They need to decide whether or not Job was right or wrong in accusing God of unrighteousness in defense of his own righteousness.
34:5 "For Job has said": Here is a direct quotation. Compare with 13:18; 27:6). "God has taken away my right": (27:2).
34:6 "Should I lie concerning my right": Here is he quoting another statement Job had made. "Elihu rehearses Job's words. He had claimed righteousness, yet God had, by sending calamity, treated him as a liar, Jehovah had, in effect then, 'taken away his right'" (Jackson p. 71).
34:7 "Who drinks up derision like water": "Elihu is petrified by such an accusation. He says that Job scorns God like drinking up water" (p. 71). Eliphaz had basically made the same accusation (15:16).
34:8 In making such an accusation, Job is placing himself in the category of the wicked.
34:9 Elihu is also horrified by the argument that it profits man nothing to serve God faithfully, compare with 9:30-31. "To say that a person is no better off for having served God is a complaint Elihu answered later (chapter 35)" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 760). Elihu is not agreeing completely with the three friends, thus in calling Job a sinner, he is not necessarily saying that Job is suffering because he sinned, but rather, he is allowing his suffering to move him away from God and not closer to God. In his suffering he has made some arguments that only wicked people make!
34:10 "Far be it from God to do wickedness": Job had argued that God had denied him justice (27:2), and Elihu is going to answer that complaint. He first makes it very clear that God does nothing wrong (1 John 1:5), including perverting justice (34:12). Compare with Habakkuk 1:13 and Psalm 92:15, and yet how many people today claim that the God of the Bible has committed injustices?
34:11 God accurately and justly rewards people according to their deeds (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:6-11).
34:13 "Having independent authority as the world's Sovereign, no one could influence Him away from justice" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 760).
34:14-15 As proof that God is just, is the continuing existence of man! If God should so choose He would recall every soul (Ecclesiastes 12:7). God is just with His creation, even though most of His creation continues to deny Him. The very fact that we, former sinners, are still breathing is proof that God is just and merciful!
34:16-17 How could God govern the world if He was not just?
34:18-20 Another very visible proof of God's justice and fairness is the way that He impartially judges men on the basis of their deeds and not on the basis of their position, social status, or wealth. God treats all alike, including kings, judges, princes, and the poor. In addition, Elihu realizes that all men are created equal before God.
34:20 Even the mighty are not immune from God's justice. If they are wicked, often they are taken suddenly, when they least expect it. God is not influenced by man's power or money.
34:21-23 God is not ignorant or misinformed, He knows exactly what people are doing, even those who seek to hide their sins in the darkness. "God has all the facts in every case. Unlike human judges, God has no need to investigate cases" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 760). The inference is that Job has basically accused God to being ignorant of certain details.
34:24-27 Again, we have the idea that God can take down even the most powerful on this earth, and He will condemn a person, no matter who they are, if they are doing evil. God is fair. He does not overlook wickedness even in the high and mighty, and often deals with them in a very public way (34:26).
34:28 God is just in the sense that He cares what happens to the less fortunate and judges those who abuse the poor.
34:29-30 "God's justice is seen in that, even though He may choose for a while to do nothing about sin and to remain silent to Job's and others' pleas for speedily justice, yet He, as the Sovereign Ruler over man and nation alike, will see that a godless man does not continue indefinitely and triumph endlessly. Job might not see God when He chose to remain silent (23:8-9), but that did not give him the right to condemn God (19:7; 30:20)" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 761). Job had forgotten that his is not the only case of suffering in the world, and that God is not obligated to answer every question at the moment that people demand an answer. God operates as He wills, not as Job or any other man wills. Part of God's justice is that God is impartial, but Job has been complaining about God's injustice yet seems to demand that God be partial in his situation, that is, "I want a direct answer now", even though God does not answer other sufferers in this manner.
34:31-32 Now Elihu focuses in on Job's situation. "Suppose a man, who has 'borne' chastisement, says to the Lord, 'Alright, I have done wrong. I won't do it again. Now, tell me exactly what you were punishing me for?' Is God obligated to operate on that level?" (Jackson p. 72). "Elihu was stunned that Job would have the audacity to speak to God the way he did" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 761). Elihu feels that Job expects God to be answerable at his command, that God must explain His every move, reveal His every decision, and point out to Job anything that Job does not immediately see.
34:33 Is God accountable to man? Must God operate on man's terms? Job must decide, because Elihu cannot make this decision for him. "By telling Job that he must choose, Elihu meant that it was up to Job, not Elihu, to suggest an alternative to God's ways of running the universe" (Zuck p. 151). Notice the "if" in verse 32. Elihu does not come right out and accuse Job of having lived a double life, rather, he is showing that Job is off base by demanding that God explain Himself.
34:34-35 Wise men would agree that Job has spoken some things that are not very wise. Any wise man can see Job's speeches for what they were, that is, accusing God of being unfair.
34:36 Elihu does not see rebellion in Job's past, but he sees it in the present. Job needs to realize that some of the things he had said are terrible and he deserves to be tried or punished to the utmost, because he has been speaking like unbelieving wicked men on this point.
34:37 "Job clapped his hands in their presence; that is, he treated their counsel with contempt (clapping the hands was sometimes used to silence others)" (Zuck p. 152).
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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 34". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13