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Bible Commentaries
Job 35

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

Verse 1

Elihu spake moreover, and said, No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 2

Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's?

More than. Umbreit translates, as Job 9:2; Job 25:4, "I am righteous (literally, my righteousness is) before God' [ tsidqiy (H6664) mee-'Eel (H410)]. The English version agrees with Job 9:17; Job 16:12-17; Job 27:2-6; Job 34:18-19. Job 4:17 is susceptible of either rendering. Elihu means Job said so, not in so many words, but virtually.

Verse 3

For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?

Explanatory of "this" in Job 35:2, 'For thou sayest (to thyself, as if a distinct person), What advantage is it (thy integrity) to thee? What profit have I (by, integrity) more than (I should have) by my sin?' - i:e., more than if I had sinned (Job 34:9). Job had said that the wicked, who use these very words, do not suffer for it (Job 21:13-15); whereby he virtually sanctioned their sentiments: as also by regarding his own righteousness as giving him a claim to exemption from trials, and therefore considering that as he was nevertheless afflicted, righteousness is of no profit. The same change of persons from oblique to direct address occurs in Job 19:28; Job 22:17.

Verse 4

I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.

Companions - those entertaining like sentiments with thee (Job 34:8; Job 34:36).

Verses 5-8

Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.

Elihu, like Eliphaz (Job 22:2-3; Job 22:12), shows that God is too exalted in nature to be susceptible of benefit or hurt from the righteousness or sin of man respectively: it is themselves that they benefit by righteousness or hurt by sin.

Higher than thou - spoken with irony. Not only are they higher than thou, but thou cannot even reach them clearly with the eye. Yet these are not as high as God's seat. God is therefore too exalted to be dependent on man. Therefore, He has no inducement to injustice in His dealings with man. When He afflicts, it must be from a different motive-namely, the good of the sufferer.

Verse 6. What doest - how canst thou affect Him?

Unto him - that can hurt him (Jeremiah 7:19; Proverbs 8:36).

Verse 7. (Psalms 16:2; Proverbs 9:12, "If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself; but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it;" Luke 17:10.)

Verse 9

By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.

(Ecclesiastes 4:1, "I considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and beheld the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter: and on the side of the oppressor there was power.") Elihu states in Job's words (Job 24:12; Job 30:20) the difficulty: the "cries" of "the oppressed" not being heard might lead man to think that wrongs are not punished by Him.

Verses 10-13

But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;

But the reason is, that the innocent sufferers often do not humbly seek God for succour; so to their "pride" is to be laid the blame of their ruin: also because (Job 35:13-16) they, as Job, instead of waiting God's time in pious trust, are prone to despair of His justice, when it is not immediately visible (Job 33:19-26). If the sufferer would apply to God with an humbled, penitent spirit, He would hear.

Where ... - (Jeremiah 2:6; Jeremiah 2:8; Isaiah 51:13.) Where ... - (Jeremiah 2:6; Jeremiah 2:8; Isaiah 51:13.)

Songs - of joy at deliverance (Psalms 42:8; Psalms 149:5; Acts 16:25).

In the night - unexpectedly (Job 34:20; Job 34:25). Rather, in calamity (cf. Psalms 126:2).

Verse 11. Man's spirit, which distinguishes him from the brute, is the strongest proof of God's beneficence: by the use of it we my understand that God is the Almighty helper of all sufferers who humbly seek him; and that they err who do not so seek him.

Fowls - (Job 28:21, note).

Verse 12. There - rather, Then (when none humbly casts himself on God, Job 35:10). They cry proudly against God, rather than humbly to God. So, as the design of affliction is to humble the sufferer, there can be no answer until "pride" gives place to humble, penitent prayer (Psalms 10:4; Jeremiah 13:17).

Verse 13. Vanity - i:e., cries uttered in an unhumbled spirit (Job 35:12), which applies in some degree to Job's cries; still more to those of the wicked (Job 27:9; Proverbs 15:29).

Verse 14

Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.

Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him - as a temporal deliverer; because he did look for a Redeemer after death (Job 19:25-27); which passage cannot, consistently with Elihu's assertion here, be interpreted of seeing a temporal 'Redeemer,' as Rationalists think (Job 7:7; Job 9:11; Job 23:3; Job 23:8-9).

Yet judgment ... ; therefore trust ... Maurer translates, 'how much less (will God . . . regard, Job 35:13), since thou sayest that He does not regard thee.' So in Job 4:19, the Hebrew 'ap (H639), or as here, 'ap (H639) kiy (H3588), means, how much less, when preceded by a negative enunciation. The same Hebrew, Genesis 3:1, yea indeed, which amounts to the same thing as the English version. Thus Elihu alludes to Job's words (Job 19:7; Job 30:20).

Judgment - i:e., thy cause, thy right; as in Proverbs 31:5; Proverbs 31:8.

Trust [ chowleel (H2342)] - rather, wait thou on Him patiently until He take up thy cause (Psalms 37:7).

Verse 15

But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:

As it is, because Job waited not trustingly and patiently (Job 35:14; Numbers 20:12; Zephaniah 3:2. "She received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God;" Micah 7:9), God hath visited, etc., yet still he has not taken (severe) cognizance of the great multitude (the English version wrongly, "extremity") of sins; therefore Job should not complain of being punished with undue severity (Job 7:20; Job 11:6). Maurer translates, 'Because His anger hath not visited (hath not immediately punished Job for his impious complaints), nor has He taken strict (great) [ mª'od (H3966)] cognizance of his folly (sinful speeches), therefore doth Job thus open his mouth,' etc. For "folly [ pash (H6580)] Umbreit translates, with the Rabbins, multitudes: 'Yet although His wrath doth not now visit, doth He not care for the great multitude?' Man's false conclusion, when God does not at once punish, is that the multitude of Gods creatures is too great for Him to concern Himself about individuals. Gesenius reads, with the Septuagint and Vulgate, needlessly, 'transgression' [ pªsha` (H6588)].

Verse 16

Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.

Apodosis to 15.

In vain - rashly.


(1) God can have no possible inducement to act with injustice in His dealings toward us. He is exalted so far above man as to be altogether independent of man, as regards His own infinite glory and blessedness. When men sin, it is themselves, not God, that they hurt; when they practice righteousness, it is themselves, not God, that they benefit. When, therefore, He sends affliction on His people, it can only be the good of the sufferers that He has in view (Job 35:5-8).

(2) Doubtless there are cases of oppression by the mighty which we cannot account for, consistently with God's justice, except by reference to the coming judgment. But in the case of many comparatively innocent sufferers, as in that of Job so far, the reason for their being still left to suffer is, they do not humbly seek God for help.

(3) God will not regard the self-righteous cry of the proud. Instead of patiently looking up to God for deliverance in His own good time and way, even believers at times complain against His dealings as unjust, and give way to despair because deliverance is deferred for a time. When we only pore over our afflictions, instead of contemplating the love and power of Him "who giveth songs in the night," it is just that He should disregard the cry which is wrung from us by pain, not elicited by faith.

(4) When God does not remove our trials at once, it is not because His hand is shortened, or His ears heavy, but because we are not yet sufficiently humbled. If the sufferer would seek God in lowly penitence, He would turn the night of sorrow into the morning of joy, and put a new song into his mouth, even thanksgiving unto our God.

(5) Man is ever prone to extremes on either side: in prosperity even the believer is apt to think, "I shall never be moved; Lord, by thy favor thou hast made my mountain to stand strong" (Ps. 30:67 ). In adversity, on the other hand, he is apt to say, There is no hope; I shall never see good (Job 35:14). Yet the excellency of understanding which God has put upon us above the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven (Job 35:11) might teach us how great is God's good-will toward us, and how confidently we may commit ourselves and our cause to Him, waiting patiently on Him for relief and deliverance in His own good time (Job 35:14).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 35". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/job-35.html. 1871-8.
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