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Bible Commentaries
Job 36

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-21

CHAPTER 36:1-21

1. God’s care over the godly (Job 36:1-7 )

2. The purposes of affliction (Job 36:8-18 )

3. Job to consider this (Job 36:19-21 )

Job 36:1-7 . Elihu had told Job in the last verse of the preceding chapter that he had opened his mouth in vanity and had multiplied words without knowledge. That should have explained to Job the reason why God did not answer. There could be no reply from Job and so Elihu continues. He is not through yet with speaking in behalf of God. Sublimely he stands up for God. “I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.” He tells Job, “One that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.” How could he say this? Because Elihu knew in speaking for God His Spirit would speak through him to Job. All Job had said was wrong. Though God is mighty, yet does He not despise any. He does not preserve the life of the wicked, nor does He withdraw His eyes from the righteous. But the day is coming when God will reward the righteous.

He seateth them with kings upon the throne

He makes them sit in glory; raised on high.

Beautiful truth! It is a glimpse of the gospel again, as expressed also in Hannah’s song of praise (1 Samuel 2:1-36 ).

Job 36:8-18 . But what about the afflictions of the righteous? Here Elihu speaking in God’s behalf lifts the veil. He permits them to be bound in fetters and in sorrow’s bonds, so that He, the righteous God, may show to them their deeds, to uncover their transgressions which have for its source that which God hates, pride (the crime of the Devil; 1 Timothy 3:6 ). It is love and kindness, not his wrath and displeasure, which are revealed in the afflictions of the righteous. He wants to instruct them by suffering. And if they hearken and learn the lesson, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and end their earthly existence in peace and pleasantness. It was a call to Job to acknowledge this, it is a prophecy that ere long he would find it out, when God has accomplished His purpose with him, and his end would be peace and prosperity. The wicked do not heed this and therefore perish. Let any man refuse to hear Him and harden his heart against Him, they shall perish among the unclean. He would have led out Job in a broad place, but if Job continues in the argument of the wicked, reasoning and pleading as they do, charging God falsely, then let him beware. “Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke, then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” We dare not meddle with this verse as others have done. Let it stand as it is, this solemn truth! There is wrath and if man does not hearken to God His wrath in judgment will be displayed and the great ransom, not even the great ransom, can deliver.

Job 36:19-21 . These verses contain wholesome words of exhortation addressed to Job to take heed and not to regard iniquity.

Verses 22-33

CHAPTERS 36:22--37:24

1. God’s power and presence in nature (Job 36:22-33 )

2. The thunderstorm (Job 37:1-5 )

3. The snow and the rain (Job 37:6-16 )

4. Elihu’s concluding remarks (Job 37:17-24 )

Job 36:22-33 . The chapter division in the Authorized Version is at fault. These concluding verses of the thirty-sixth chapter begin the final section of Elihu’s testimony. Unspeakably great in every way, in diction and reverence, is this man’s witness to the ways of God in creation’s work. They show that he speaks not of himself, but the One who is perfect in knowledge speaks through him. God’s power is displayed in nature and man should extol His work and gaze in wonder upon it.

Lo! God is Great--greater than we can know;

The number of His years past finding out.

Tis He who draweth up the vapour clouds,

And they distil from heaven in rain and mist,

E’en that which from the low’ring skies does fall,

And poureth down on man continually.

Can any man explain the rain-clouds balancings,

The rumbling thunders of His canopy?

Behold He spreadeth out His light thereon

While making dark the bottom of the sea.

Yet He His judgment executes by these;

By these He giveth food abundantly.

He graspeth in His hand the lightning flash

And giveth it commandment where to strike.

Of this the noise thereof quick notice gives

The frightened cattle warn of coming storm.

(Companion Bible)

How beautiful! It also proves the antiquity of the book. In early days man knew the Creator by His works and was fully occupied with them (Romans 1:20-21 ).

Job 37:1-5 . And now the thunderstorm. His voice is heard in the thunder, His power displayed in the lightning and Elihu, in vivid description, trembles.

He thundereth with His voice of Majesty

One cannot trace Him, though His voice be heard.

God’s voice is wondrous when He thundereth.

Great things He doth; we comprehend them not.

And if He is so wonderful in nature, His ways there past finding out, how much more in His providential dealings. Yet whether in nature or in providence, His ways are perfect.

Job 37:6-16 . The description of God’s perfect ways in nature are continued by Elihu. The snow and the rain, the hot blast of the summer, the biting frost of winter, the formation of ice by His breath and the storms, all is in His hands and controlled by Him. O Job! hearken, hearken! Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.

Job 37:17-24 . And now the concluding words of his great, God-given testimony. They are to impress Job and all of us with the frailty, the nothingness of man. “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out; He is excellent in power; and in judgment and plenteous justice He will not afflict. Men do therefore fear Him; for none can know Him, be they ere so wise.” This must be man’s true attitude. This should have been Job’s place before the Almighty. Surely the beautiful and powerful testimony of Elihu must have been a spiritual anaesthetic to Job. But more than that, it clears the way for the Almighty to speak.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Job 36". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/job-36.html. 1913-1922.
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