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Bible Commentaries
Job 32

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verses 1-6

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.

Prose (poetry begins with "I am young," Job 32:6).

Verse 1. Because ... - and because they could not proves to him that he was unrighteous.

Verse 2. Elihu - meaning 'God is Yahweh.' In his name and character, as messenger between God and Job, he shadows forth Jesus Christ (Job 33:23-26).

Barachel - meaning 'God blesses.' Both names indicate the piety of the family, and their separation from idolaters.

Buzite - Buz was son of Nahor, brother of Abraham. Hence, was named a region in Arabia Deserta (Jeremiah 25:23). Ram-Aram, nephew of Buz. Job was probably of an older generation than Elihu. However, the identity of names does not necessarily prove the identity of persons. The particularity with which Elihu's descent is given, as contrasted with the others, led Lightfoot to infer Elihu was the author of the book. But the reason for particularity was, probably, that Elihu was less known than the three called "friends" of Job; and that it was right for the poet to mark especially him who was mainly to solve the problem of the book.

Rather than God - i:e., was more eager to vindicate himself than God. In Job 4:17, Job denies that man can be more just than God (Umbreit). Translate, 'Before (in the presence of) God' [ mee-'Elohiym (H430)]: literally, regarded from God's point of view (note, Job 4:17).

Verse 3. Though silenced in argument, they held their opinion still.

Verse 4. Had spoken - the Hebrew, in words, referring rather to his own 'words' of reply, which he had long ago ready, but kept back in deference to the seniority of the friends who spoke-`had awaited Job with words.'

Verse 6. Was afraid - the root-meaning in Hebrew is to crawl [ zaachal (H2119)] (Deuteronomy 32:24).

Verse 7

I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.

Days - i:e., the aged (Job 15:10).

Verse 8

But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

Elihu claims inspiration, as a divinely commissioned messenger to Job (Job 33:6; Job 33:23); and that claim is not contradicted in Job 42:1-17. Translate, 'But the spirit (which God puts) in man, and the inspiration, etc., is that which giveth,' etc.: it is not mere "years" which give understanding (Proverbs 2:6; John 8:57; John 20:22).

Verse 9

Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.

Great - rather, old (Job 32:6). so the Hebrew in Genesis 25:13, "Greater, less," for the older, the younger.

Judgment - what is right.

Verse 10

Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.

Rather, I say.

Opinion - rather, knowledge [ dee`iy (H1843)].

Verse 11

Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.

Therefore, Elihu was present from the first. Therefore, Elihu was present from the first.

Reasons - literally, understanding; i:e., the meaning intended by words.

Whilst - I waited until you should discover a suitable reply to Job.

Verse 12

Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 13

Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.

This has been so ordered, "lest ye should" pride yourselves on having overcome him by your "wisdom" (Jeremiah 9:23; the great aim of the book of Job); and that you may see 'God alone can thrust him down' - i:e., confute him-`not man.' So Elihu grounds his confutation, not on the maxims of sages, as the friends did, but on his special commission from God (Job 32:8; Job 33:4; Job 33:6).

Verse 14

Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.

I am altogether unprejudiced. For it is not I whom he addressed. 'Your speeches' have been influenced by irritation. Therefore I will not "answer him with your speeches."

Verse 15

They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.

Here Elihu turns from the friends to Job, and so passes from the second person to the third; a transition frequent in a rebuke (Job 18:3-4).

They left off - `words were taken from them,' (cf. margin)

Verse 16

When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 17

I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.

My part - for my part. Maurer translates Job 32:16-17, 'And should I have waited because they spake not?' etc. Certainly not. 'I also will answer,' etc. Umbreit translates, 'I waited, but they spoke not: now will I also answer,' etc. I said, of the English version, is not in the Hebrew.

Opinion - knowledge.

Verse 18

For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.

'I am full of words,' whereas the friends have not a word more to say. The spirit - (Job 32:8; Job 33:4; Jeremiah 20:9, "His word was as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay;" Acts 18:5, "Paul was pressed in the spirit")

Verse 19

Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.

Belly - bosom, from which the words of orientalists, in speaking, seem to come more than with us: they speak gutturally. 'Like (new) wine (in fermentation) without a vent,' to work itself off-literally, 'is not opened.' New wine is kept in new goatskin bottles. This fittingly applies to the young Elihu, as contrasted with the old friends (Matthew 9:17, "Neither do me put now wine into old bottles: else the bottles break ... but they put new wine into new bottles").

Verse 20

I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.

Refreshed - literally, that there may be air or relief to me (1 Samuel 16:23).

Verse 21

Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.

'May I never accept,' etc. Elihu alludes to Job's words (Job 13:8; Job 13:10), wherein be complains that the friends plead for God partially, "accepting His person." Elihu says he will not do so, but act impartially between God and Job. 'And I will not give flattery,' etc. (Proverbs 24:23, "It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.")

Verse 22

For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

Take me away - as a punishment (Psalms 102:24).


(1) A third party listening calmly to two disputants often sees much that is faulty on both sides which escapes the notice of the persons themselves in the heat of debate, at the same time that each side has something to be said in its favour. Job was certainly not the guilty man whom the three friends supposed him to be; and so far they were censurable, since they had condemned Job without proving his guilt (Job 32:2-3). On the other hand, Job was clearly in the wrong, in so far as he was eager to vindicate his own character, even at the expense of attributing harshness and injustice to God.

(2) It gives great weight to the counsels of a mediating friend that he wait patiently for the seasonable opportunity (Job 32:4), and that he should not obtrude himself before those who, in point of rank and age, have a claim to precedency. Still age does not always "teach wisdom" (Job 32:7; Job 32:9): and a younger man, when he has the Word of God on his side and the Spirit of God in his heart (Job 32:8), may, without presumption-nay, altogether seasonably-suggest the better way to his seniors.

(3) One great object of the book of Job is to teach the self-wise not to glory in their fancied wisdom (Job 32:13), but to confess that there are mysteries in God's government of the world which are beyond the reach of man's finite faculties to explain. Therefore God does not suffer Job's confutation to be effected by mere man's reasonings; but brings him to the true attitude of the afflicted creature before his Creator-namely, self-renouncing and self-abasing submission in the dust, by a divinely commissioned messenger (Job 32:3; Job 33:4; Job 33:23-26) in part, but mainly by God's own direct interposition.

(4) The more we realize the continual presence of God, and fear His wrath (Job 32:22), and speak under the influence of His Spirit, the more we shall discard "the fear of man," which "bringeth a snare" (Proverbs 29:25); and shall act faithfully under all circumstances, without "accepting any man's person, or giving unto man flattering titles" (Job 32:21).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 32". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/job-32.html. 1871-8.
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