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Bible Commentaries
Job 33

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-7

CHAPTERS 32--33:7

1. Elihu introduced (Job 32:1-5 )

2. I waited, but now must speak (Job 32:6-22 )

3. His address to Job (Job 33:1-7 )

Job 32:1-5 . As Elihu had listened to the different addresses his wrath was stirred up. His name is very suggestive. Elihu means “my God is He”; Barachel--”the Blessed God”; the Buzite, “the rejected One” of Ram, and Ram means “exalted.” These are names which find their fullest application in the person of our Lord, whom Elihu in his mediatorial work represents. But why was his wrath kindled? Because Job justified himself rather than God and because Job’s friends had found no solution of the problem, yet they condemned Job. This is indeed the result of the whole controversy in a nutshell. From the fourth verse we learn that he was a younger man; he maintained silence because they all were elder than he.

Job 32:6-22 . He tells them why he waited and did not speak before. He thought “days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom,” so he was not a froward, conceited young man. But he acknowledges the spirit and that the inspiration of the Almighty gives understanding. Depending on that he must speak. He tells the three friends in plain words that they did not convince Job, nor did one of them answer his words. With Job, Elihu says he has no controversy and he does not intend to use the speeches of the three men. Verse 15 is a soliloquy in the third person, spoken by Elihu as he looked on the three men. Then he says that he must speak. He is filled with words and the mighty constraint of the spirit within him, makes him like wine which has no vent and is ready to burst like new bottles.

Job 33:1-7 . The chapter division here is unfortunate. The opening verses belong properly to the preceding chapter. What a difference between Elihu’s words in addressing Job and the way the three other men had acted. He is calm, gentle and kind. He assures him that what he is going to say comes from the Almighty. Now, Job, if thou canst answer me, arrange thy words and stand up. “Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead.” We believe with this Elihu refers to Job’s desire for a daysman. Now in the person of Elihu he has come. He encourages Job not to be afraid, for “I am also formed of clay.” How beautifully all this may be applied to the true Daysman, our Lord, we leave to the meditation of the reader.

Verses 8-33

CHAPTER 33:8-33

1. Elihu rebukes Job (Job 33:8-13 )

2. How God deals with man (Job 33:14-22 )

3. How God in grace recovers (Job 33:23-30 )

4. Mark well, Job, hearken unto me (Job 33:31-33 )

Job 33:8-13 . Elihu treats Job in a dignified, yet firm manner. He speaks as one who is sure of the whole matter. He has heard Job’s speeches; he knows the mistake Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar made, in treating Job as a suspicious character, a hypocrite and a godless man. No such wrong accusations are made by Elihu. He knows where Job’s trouble lies and already spoke of it (32:2); it is his self-justification and pride stands behind it. But Elihu’s zeal is for the honor of the name and character of God. What Job had said in charging God he must rebuke. He therefore quotes Job’s utterances in his previous addresses. Without entering into a lengthy argument to disprove the charge of Job, or to explain the mystery of the sufferings Job underwent, he utters one masterly sentence. “Behold in this (his wrong charges against God) thou art not Just. I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.” Well spoken! God is greater than man, therefore His ways are past finding out, yet all must be perfect and righteous. And because God is God--”Why dost thou strive against Him? for He giveth not account of any matter of His.”

Job 33:14-22 . But God, though He is greater than man, does not pass by man or ignore him. Elihu speaks of two different ways in which God deals with man. The first is in a vision of the night, in a dream. When there was no Bible, the revelation of God, God spoke to man individually by dreams and visions. He does not do so any longer for we have His completed Word in which His will is made known unto us. The purpose of this way of dealing with man is to withdraw him from an evil way and to warn him so that he may leave the pride which man nourisheth in his bosom; to keep his soul from the pit and his life from perishing by the sword.

But there is another way in which God deals with man, the way of affliction and suffering. The description Elihu gives of a sufferer fits Job’s case exactly. To understand this method of God in dealing with man there is need of a messenger from God, a mediator, one who comes in, a daysman to interpret the meaning of the affliction and God’s object in it. It is not a common interpreter who can do this, but one of a thousand--yea, He is needed who is “the chiefest among ten thousand.” This interpreter is to show unto man his uprightness. But whose uprightness, or righteousness, is meant? It has been translated by “to show unto man what is right for him”; and so most expositors explain that it means the interpreter tells the sufferer how to do right before God; and critics even suggest that the word “uprightness” should be changed to “fault.” There is a deeper meaning here. The word “his” should be spelled with a capital “H”--not man’S, but God’s righteousness, the interpreting messenger is to show to the afflicted one. The following paraphrastic translation puts it in the right way:

Then, then, He speaks to him by messenger

Who can interpret; One ‘mong thousands chief,

Who will reveal to man HIS righteousness.

Then He doth show him grace (divine and saith:)

“Deliver him from going down to death;

A ransom I have found--redemption’s price.”

In these words we have Him declared who is the revealer of God’s love and righteousness, the Son of God, though His Name is not mentioned, yet He is the only One who reveals to sinful man His righteousness. He has paid redemption’s price, He has made atonement and therefore He can deliver the sinner from going down to the pit. Here we have the gospel in the book of Job. Then the blessed results. His flesh becomes as fresh as a young child; this is the new birth. He prays to God as His redeemed child and He shows Him grace and beholds His face with joy, even the face of a loving Father. This is the way God bestows upon man His righteousness through Him, His well-beloved Son, who has found the ransom. He sings a new song. “I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not. He hath redeemed my soul from going into the pit, and my life shall behold the light.”

Job 33:31-33 . After this glowing utterance in which Elihu brings in God in His grace, he turns to Job. “Hast thou anything to say, then answer me.” But Elihu waits in vain. Job’s lips are sealed.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Job 33". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/job-33.html. 1913-1922.
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