Job's Standpoint of the Futility of Piety False
v. 1. Elihu spake moreover, since Job made no move to answer him, and said,
v. 2. Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's? Did Job believe he was right in making such assertions?
v. 3. For, or that, thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee, namely, to Job? and, What profit shall I have if I be cleansed from my sin, literally, "more than by my sin"? Job had charged God with being indifferent to moral character in dealing with men and stated that in the present controversy his cause was more just than that of God Himself. In other words, it made no difference how pious or how sinful a person was, God acted simply according to whim in sending afflictions.
v. 4. I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee, all those to whose level of wickedness Job had lowered himself.
v. 5. Look unto the heavens and see, trying to comprehend, to some extent, God's majesty by contemplating the throne of His power; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou, their lofty heights illustrating God's immeasurable exaltation over the world.
v. 6. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him? How will any sin affect his relation to the great and exalted God? Or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto Him? Had he ever thought about the effect such conduct would have on his status with God?
v. 7. If thou be righteous, what givest thou Him, or what receiveth He of thine hand? Neither the sins of men nor their good deeds have any effect upon the blessedness of the great God; in either case only their own condition is affected. Cf Psa_16:2; Pro_9:12; Luk_17:10.
v. 8. Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art, producing its harmful effects; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man, it might avail him for his own person, but serve no further ends. The entire section sets forth the frailty of men in comparison with the absolute blessedness of God.
The Reasons For God's Delay in Helping Suffering
v. 9. By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry, that is the way of men, to make an outcry over cruelty thus shown; they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty, wailing on account of the violence shown by those in power,
v. 10. but none saith, Where is God, my Maker, who giveth songs in the night, His speedy and mighty deliverance causing men to rejoice and sing while the darkness of their affliction is still about them;
v. 11. who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, setting men high above the brutes in wisdom, honor, and blessing, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? Man's relation toward God should be that of a creature endowed with reason and understanding, and his prayer should not be the involuntary cry of distress, but the outpouring of the heart which sees in God the kind heavenly Father.
v. 12. There they cry, but none giveth answer, God pays no attention to such prayers, because of the pride of evil men, He will not hear so as to deliver them from the oppression of wicked men.
v. 13. Surely God will not hear vanity, what is only empty sound, neither will the Almighty regard it, namely, all such crying and praying which is not done in sincerity, whereas, on the other hand, as is here implied, the earnest prayer of the righteous avails much in His sight.
v. 14. Although thou sayest thou shalt not see Him, in such a case when, as Job insisted, the Lord would not show His face at all, He would most assuredly withdraw His kind presence entirely, yet judgment is before Him, namely, the cause of Job which he was trying to defend; therefore trust thou in Him. As long as Job felt that way about his case, as up for trial at the hand of God, namely, that he believed God had no intention to let justice prevail, so long he would wait and trust in vain for a vindication.
v. 15. But now, because it is not so, He hath visited in His anger, because the wrath of God had not yet interposed to punish, yet He knoweth it not in great extremity, rather, should He not nevertheless be well acquainted with presumption? Elihu contended that God knew the arrogance of Job and would treat it accordingly.
v. 16. Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain, to no purpose, without object; he multiplieth words without knowledge, in an altogether unintelligent and foolish manner. For this reason sufferers remain unheard for a long time, both because they have no genuine reverence for God and because they are presumptuous in their speeches against Him.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Job 35". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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