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Bible Commentaries

Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible

Job 35

Verse 1

35:1-3 Earlier Elihu had quoted Job as having said that a righteous life seemingly does a person no good (34:9) (9:30-31). "How could Job ever hope to be vindicated by God as being innocent while at the same time he insisted that his innocence was of no value before God? Such a position was inconsistent" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 761).

Verse 4

35:4 Notice that Elihu seems to distance himself from Job and Job's three friends. He will answer all of them, for none of them has provided the right answer to this question.

Verse 5

35:5-8 Notice the "if". Elihu does not accuse Job of having lived an evil life, but his point is that God is neither affected by man's rebellion nor his righteousness. Human conduct only affects other men. He is not arguing that God does not care how people live, rather he is arguing that God's response of justice toward man is self-determined and not man-centered. "God is not under man's control or subject to man's bribes. God's standards of justice are not flexible or partial. If He shows mercy, it is not because He has been induced by man's goodness; and if He inflicts judgment, it is not because He has been injured or fears man" (Zuck p. 154). Elihu seems to be saying that human sin cannot ultimately hurt or destroy God, but human goodness does not mean that God should immediately reward or bless man either. Job's friends argued that God immediately punishes the sinner, but it seemed that Job was equally arguing that all his goodness should have an immediate reward.

Verse 9

35:9-12 Elihu admits that injustices happen in this life, and evil or prideful men oppress innocent people. Job had complained that God seemed indifferent to the cries of the righteous (24:12; 36:13). Elihu responds that when some people suffer, they are merely crying out for relief, and not for the purpose of glorifying their Maker. The truly humble person will not simply cry out for relief, but they will seek to learn from the suffering the valuable lessons that God wants them to learn (35:10-11). "When men, in their 'pride' claim relief as a right, they are not heard" (Jackson p. 73).

Verse 13

35:13-14 Not only will God not answer such "empty cries", that is cries that simply want relief, but obviously God will not answer Job who has even complained that God does not see what is happening (9:11; 23:8-9; 33:10). Nonetheless, Job's case is before God, but Job must be patient and wait for an answer. Job had made the mistake of thinking that he has the "right" to expect or demand an answer from God any time that something does not seem right and that he has the right of relief from suffering.

Verse 15

35:15-16 Job had claimed that God is indifferent to injustice or sin, and in doing so Job had spoken without knowledge. In the chapter 38, God will argue that Job has spoken without knowledge.

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 35". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". 1999-2014.