Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Job 33

Verse 1

Job 33:1-33. Address to Job, as (Job 32:1-22) to the friends.

Verse 2

mouth — rather, “palate,” whereby the taste discerns. Every man speaks with his mouth, but few, as Elihu, try their words with discrimination first, and only say what is really good (Job 6:30; Job 12:11).

hath spoken — rather, “proceeds to speak.”

Verse 3

I will speak according to my inward conviction.

clearly — rather, “purely”; sincerely, not distorting the truth through passion, as the friends did.

Verse 4

The Spirit of God hath made me — as He did thee: latter clause of Job 33:6 (Genesis 2:7). Therefore thou needest not fear me, as thou wouldest God (Job 33:7; Job 9:34). On the other hand, “the breath of the Almighty hath inspired me” (as Job 32:8); not as English Version, “given me life”; therefore “I am according to thy wish (Job 9:32, Job 9:33) in God‘s stead” to thee; a “daysman,” umpire, or mediator, between God and thee. So Elihu was designed by the Holy Ghost to be a type of Jesus Christ (Job 33:23-26).

Verse 5

Images from a court of justice.

stand up — alluding to Job‘s words (Job 30:20).

Verse 6

(See on Job 33:4; Job 31:35; Job 13:3, Job 13:20, Job 13:21).

formed — Though acting as God‘s representative, I am but a creature, like thyself. Arabic, “pressed together,” as a mass of clay by the potter, in forming a vessel [Umbreit]. Hebrew, “cut off,” as the portion taken from the clay to form it [Maurer].

Verse 7

hand — alluding to Job‘s words (Job 13:21).

Verse 8

thy words — (Job 10:7; Job 16:17; Job 23:11, Job 23:12; Job 27:5, Job 27:6; Job 29:14). In Job 9:30; Job 13:23, Job had acknowledged sin; but the general spirit of his words was to maintain himself to be “clean,” and to charge God with injustice. He went too far on the opposite side in opposing the friends‘ false charge of hypocrisy. Even the godly, though willing to confess themselves sinners in general, often dislike sin in particular to be brought as a charge against them. Affliction is therefore needed to bring them to feel that sin in them deserves even worse than they suffer and that God does them no injustice. Then at last humbled under God they find, affliction is for their real good, and so at last it is taken away either here, or at least at death. To teach this is Elihu‘s mission.

Verse 9

clean — spotless.

Verse 10

occasions — for hostility; literally, “enmities” (Job 13:24; Job 16:9; Job 19:11; Job 30:21).

Verse 11

(Job 13:27).

marketh — narrowly watches (Job 14:16; Job 7:12; Job 31:4).

Verse 12

in this — view of God and His government. It cannot be that God should jealously “watch” man, though “spotless,” as an “enemy,” or as one afraid of him as an equal. For “God is greater than man!” There must be sin in man, even though he be no hypocrite, which needs correction by suffering for the sufferer‘s good.

Verse 13

(Isaiah 45:9).

his matters — ways. Our part is, not to “strive” with God, but to submit. To believe it is right because He does it, not because we see all the reasons for His doing it.

Verse 14

Translate, “Yet, man regardeth it not”; or rather, as Umbreit, “Yea, twice (He repeats the warning) - if man gives no heed” to the first warning. Elihu implies that God‘s reason for sending affliction is because, when God has communicated His will in various ways, man in prosperity has not heeded it; God therefore must try what affliction will effect (John 15:2; Psalm 62:11; Isaiah 28:10, Isaiah 28:13).

Verse 15

slumberings — light is opposed to “deep sleep.” Elihu has in view Eliphaz (Job 4:13), and also Job himself (Job 7:14). “Dreams” in sleep, and “visions” of actual apparitions, were among the ways whereby God then spake to man (Genesis 20:3).

Verse 16

Literally, “sealeth (their ears) to Himself by warnings,” that is, with the sureness and secrecy of a seal He reveals His warnings [Umbreit]. To seal up securely (Job 37:7).

Verse 17

purposeMargin, “work.” So Job 36:9. So “business” in a bad sense (1 Samuel 20:19). Elihu alludes to Job‘s words (Job 17:11). “Pride,” an open “pit” (Job 33:18) which God hides or covers up, lest man should fall into it. Even the godly need to learn the lesson which trials teach, to “humble themselves under the mighty hand of God.”

Verse 18

his soul — his life.

the pit — the grave; a symbol of hell.

perishing by the sword — that is, a violent death; in the Old Testament a symbol of the future punishment of the ungodly.

Verse 19

When man does not heed warnings of the night, he is chastened, etc. The new thought suggested by Elihu is that affliction is disciplinary (Job 36:10); for the good of the godly.

multitude — so the Margin, Hebrew (Keri). Better with the text (Chetib), “And with the perpetual (strong) contest of his bones”; the never-resting fever in his bones (Psalm 38:3) [Umbreit].

Verse 20

life — that is, the appetite, which ordinarily sustains “life” (Job 38:39; Psalm 107:18; Ecclesiastes 12:5). The taking away of desire for food by sickness symbolizes the removal by affliction of lust, for things which foster the spiritual fever of pride.

soul — desire.

Verse 21

His flesh once prominent “can no more be seen.” His bones once not seen now appear prominent.

stick out — literally, “are bare.” The Margin, Hebrew (Keri) reading. The text (Chetib) reads it a noun “(are become) bareness.” The Keri was no doubt an explanatory reading of transcribers.

Verse 22

destroyers — angels of death commissioned by God to end man‘s life (2 Samuel 24:16; Psalm 78:49). The death pains personified may, however, be meant; so “gnawers” (see on Job 30:17).

Verse 23

Elihu refers to himself as the divinely-sent (Job 32:8; Job 33:6) “messenger,” the “interpreter” to explain to Job and vindicate God‘s righteousness; such a one Eliphaz had denied that Job could look for (Job 5:1), and Job (Job 9:33) had wished for such a “daysman” or umpire between him and God. The “messenger” of good is antithetical to the “destroyers” (Job 33:23).

with him — if there be vouchsafed to the sufferer. The office of the interpreter is stated “to show unto man God‘s uprightness” in His dealings; or, as Umbreit, “man‘s upright course towards God” (Proverbs 14:2). The former is better; Job maintained his own “uprightness” (Job 16:17; Job 27:5, Job 27:6); Elihu on the contrary maintains God‘s, and that man‘s true uprightness lies in submission to God. “One among a thousand” is a man rarely to be found. So Jesus Christ (Song of Solomon 5:10). Elihu, the God-sent mediator of a temporal deliverance, is a type of the God-man Jesus Christ the Mediator of eternal deliverance: “the messenger of the covenant” (Malachi 3:1). This is the wonderful work of the Holy Ghost, that persons and events move in their own sphere in such a way as unconsciously to shadow forth Him, whose “testimony is the Spirit of prophecy”; as the same point may be center of a small and of a vastly larger concentric circle.

Verse 24

Apodosis to Job 33:23.

he — God.

Deliver — literally, “redeem”; in it and “ransom” there is reference to the consideration, on account of which God pardons and relieves the sufferers; here it is primarily the intercession of Elihu. But the language is too strong for its full meaning to be exhausted by this. The Holy Ghost has suggested language which receives its full realization only in the “eternal redemption found” by God in the price paid by Jesus Christ for it; that is, His blood and meritorious intercession (Hebrews 9:12). “Obtained,” literally, “found”; implying the earnest zeal, wisdom, and faithfulness of the finder, and the newness and joyousness of the finding. Jesus Christ could not but have found it, but still His seeking it was needed [Bengel], (Luke 15:8). God the Father, is the Finder (Psalm 89:19). Jesus Christ the Redeemer, to whom He saith, Redeem (so Hebrew) him from going, etc. (2 Corinthians 5:19).

ransom — used in a general sense by Elihu, but meant by the Holy Ghost in its strict sense as applied to Jesus Christ, of a price paid for deliverance (Exodus 21:30), an atonement (that is, means of selling at once, that is, reconciling “two” who are estranged), a covering, as of the ark with pitch, typical of what covers us sinners from wrath (Genesis 6:14; Psalm 32:1). The pit is primarily here the grave (Isaiah 38:17), but the spiritual pit is mainly shadowed forth (Zechariah 9:11).

Verses 25-28

Effects of restoration to God‘s favor; literally, to Job a temporal revival; spiritually, an eternal regeneration. The striking words cannot be restricted to their temporal meaning, as used by Elihu (1 Peter 1:11, 1 Peter 1:12).

his flesh shall be fresher than a child‘s — so Naaman, 2 Kings 5:14, spiritually, John 3:3-7.

Verse 26

Job shall no longer pray to God, as he complains, in vain (Job 23:3, Job 23:8, Job 23:9). True especially to the redeemed in Jesus Christ (John 16:23-27).

he — Job.

shall see his face — or, God shall make Job to see His face [Maurer]. God shall no longer “hide His face” (Job 13:24). True to the believer now (John 14:21, John 14:22); eternally (Psalm 17:15; John 17:24).

his — God‘s

righteousness — God will again make the restored Job no longer (“I perverted  …  right,” Job 33:27) doubt God‘s justice, but to justify Him in His dealings. The penitent justifies God (Psalm 51:4). So the believer is made to see God‘s righteousness in Jesus Christ (Isaiah 45:24; Isaiah 46:13).

Verse 27

he looketh — God. Rather, with Umbreit, “Now he (the restored penitent) singeth joyfully (answering to “joy,” Job 33:26; Psalm 51:12) before men, and saith,” etc. (Proverbs 25:20; Psalm 66:16; Psalm 116:14).

perverted — made the straight crooked: as Job had misrepresented God‘s character.

profited — literally, “was made even” to me; rather, “My punishment was not commensurate with my sin” (so Zophar, Job 11:6); the reverse of what Job heretofore said (Job 16:17; Psalm 103:10; Ezra 9:13).

Verse 28

my life.” Continuation of the penitent‘s testimony to the people.

light — (Job 33:30; Job 3:16, Job 3:20; Psalm 56:13; Ecclesiastes 11:7).

Verse 29

Margin, “twice and thrice,” alluding to Job 33:14; once, by visions, Job 33:15-17; secondly, by afflictions, Job 33:19-22; now, by the “messenger,” thirdly, Job 33:23.

Verse 30

Referring to Job 33:28 (Psalm 50:13).

Verse 32

justify — to do thee justice; and, if I can, consistently with it, to declare thee innocent. At Job 33:33 Elihu pauses for a reply; then proceeds in Job 34:1.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 33". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfb/job-33.html. 1871-8.