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Bible Commentaries
Job 32

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Job Chapter 32

Job 32:1 "So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he [was] righteous in his own eyes." This was actually stating that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had run out of things to accuse Job of. Job knew that he was not guilty of the things they had accused him of. They thought Job was righteous in his own sight. Job had not made that statement. He had only defended himself from their accusations, which were untrue.

Job 32:2 "Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God." "Elihu" means He is my God. "Barachel" means God blesses. These names both indicate that Elihu was a believer in the One True God. We would have to twist the names Buzite and Ram to make any connection with them. The main thing was that Elihu was angry with Job for justifying himself before God. We will find in a later lesson, that God was not offended by Job’s defense of his own actions.

Job 32:3 "Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and [yet] had condemned Job." The three who called themselves friends of Job, were not friends at all. Their accusations were unfounded. They could not prove them, because they were not true. They should not have condemned Job without facts to prove what they were saying. It appears that Elihu had waited to see the outcome of their actions. When he saw they could not get answers for their accusations, Elihu took up the battle.

Job 32:4 "Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they [were] elder than he." We are told very little of how Elihu had the authority to come against Job. He had been polite and waited until Job finished, because he was a younger man. His waiting showed he had respect for age, at least.

Job 32:5 "When Elihu saw that [there was] no answer in the mouth of [these] three men, then his wrath was kindled."

Job 32:6 "And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I [am] young, and ye [are] very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion." This young man at least called his accusations, his opinion. He was much younger than Job, it seems. It would not be appropriate for a young man to reprimand his elder ordinarily.

Job 32:7 "I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom."

Job 32:8 "But [there is] a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." Elihu had been reluctant to speak because of his youth, but he said the Spirit of God moved upon his spirit to speak. It is not just age and education that give people the right to teach others. It is the Spirit of God moving within them.

Job 32:9 "Great men are not [always] wise: neither do the aged understand judgment." He was speaking of men with great power and prestige, when he said "great men". Age does not make a man wise either. Wisdom is a gift from God.

Job 32:10 "Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion." He was asking the three friends of Job, as well as Job, to hear him out.

Job 32:11 "Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say." He had waited patiently while Job’s three accusers looked for things to accuse Job of. He waited patiently for them to prove Job guilty. It seemed to him, as if they were hunting for words to say.

Job 32:12 "Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, [there was] none of you that convinced Job, [or] that answered his words:" He listened carefully to them, but they did not even convince him of Job’s guilt in these matters, much less Job. They were not effective in causing Job to see his errors and repent. They did not even answer Job’s questions.

Job 32:13 "Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man." It appears, their reason for trying to destroy Job was to build themselves up. If Job were thrust down, it would be from God, and not from them.

Job 32:14 "Now he hath not directed [his] words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches." Job had not said anything against Elihu. Elihu would not be trying to defend his own character. He would not be speaking to get revenge on Job. He would take an entirely different approach.

Job 32:15 "They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking." This caused the three friends of Job to say no more. Their amazement was in the fact that this young man would take it upon himself to speak to his elders in this manner.

Job 32:16 "When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, [and] answered no more;)"

Job 32:17 "[I said], I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion." When Elihu realized that the three had nothing else to say, he decided to speak his opinion.

Job 32:18 "For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me." There were many things he would like to say, but his spirit was telling him not to speak.

Job 32:19 "Behold, my belly [is] as wine [which] hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles." He was so full, he would burst, if he did not open his mouth and speak some of the words that were built up inside of him. Wine will swell and burst new bottles, if the bottle is allowed to swell.

Job 32:20 "I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer." It was almost as if he was trying to convince himself that he should speak. After he had spoken, perhaps, he would be more at peace.

Job 32:21 "Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man." Elihu hoped that he would not lean to either side, because of who they were. He wanted his speech to be unbiased. He did not want to think of the high position that Job had in the community, and not say what he needed to say, either. He truly wanted to speak truth.

Job 32:22 "For I know not to give flattering titles; [in so doing] my maker would soon take me away." He would speak to Job, as he would to any other man. He was afraid to call an earthly man by a flattering title, for fear God would be jealous and punish him.

Job 32 Questions

1. Why did the three men cease to answer Job?

2. Had Job made that statement?

3. Their accusations were _________.

4. Then was kindled the wrath of __________.

5. Who was his father?

6. Why was he angry?

7. What does "Elihu" mean?

8. What does Barachel" mean?

9. What does the meaning of their names tell us?

10. Was God offended by Job trying to defend himself from the accusations?

11. Why was Elihu offended at the three friends of Job?

12. Why had they not been able to prove their accusations against Job?

13. Why had Elihu waited this long to speak?

14. Elihu said, "I am young, and ye are very _______".

15. The young man called his accusations his __________.

16. What caused Elihu to desire to speak?

17. Great men are not always _______.

18. It seemed to Elihu, that the friends were searching for things to _______.

19. Why had the friends tried to destroy Job?

20. There were many things he wanted to _______.

21. What constrained Elihu?

22. Elihu said, his belly was as _______ which hath no vent.

23. Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s __________.

24. Why would he not use flattering titles?

25. What did Elihu fear might happen to him?

Verses 1-5

Job 32:1-5

Introduction

Job 32

ELIHU’S LONG DISCOURSE:

THE FIRST OF ELIHU’S SIX-CHAPTER SPEECH

There is a dramatic interruption in the Book of Job at this spot; and, of course, many modern scholars explain Elihu’s speech variously as, "the work of another author," "a later addition," and as, "speeches (of Elihu) that violently disturb the original structure of the book." This writer is unwilling to accept such interpretations of the speeches of Elihu (Job 32-37) for the following reasons.

1. The ancient versions of the Bible contain all of these chapters exactly where they are in our text. "They are found in the Septuagint, the Syriac, the Chaldee, the Arabic, the Ethiopic, the Vulgate, etc." Unless we are willing for present-day unbelievers to rewrite the Holy Bible, we should retain these chapters exactly where they are.

2. "Many great scholars have argued for the placement of these speeches by Elihu in Job as originally written, including: Budde, Cornill, Kamphausen, Wildeboer, Sellin, Baur, and Peters."

3. Practically all of the arguments against Elihu’s words being part of the original book are based on modern views of literary structure, etc. "And all such considerations are, in the end, matters of taste; and we must hesitate about imposing standards of taste, especially modern ones, upon the creations of antiquity."

4. Then, there is the fact that there is no consensus whatever among critical scholars regarding this question. "It is astonishing how divided the scholars are concerning the arguments about this. Opinions are so diverse that they cancel each other out.. We do not have the space to line up the names of the scholars on this side or that side of the question."

Job 32:1-5

THE INTRODUCTION

(IN PROSE) OF ELIHU)

"So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. Now Elihu had waited to speak unto Job, because they were older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was kindled."

"Elihu the son of Barachel, the Buzite" (Job 32:2). "This name Elihu (or Eliab) was fairly common in the times of David, four persons of that name being mentioned, including a brother of David (1 Chronicles 27:8)." "The name means, `He is my God’; and Barachel means, `Bless, O God,’ or `God will bless.’ Both names imply that Elihu came of a family of monotheists." David’s brother was named Eliab, a variant of the name Elihu.

"They had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job" (Job 32:3). Andersen gave the meaning here as, "They didn’t find an answer, and they didn’t prove Job wrong." The same scholar also referred to Elihu’s speech here as, "quite a rigmarole." We do not reject that evaluation of Elihu’s words, because God Himself, when he finally interrupted his long tirade, asked, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? (Job 38:2); and, although God was speaking directly to Job, there is no way to avoid the application of his words to the speech of Elihu.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 32:1. The second clause might be misunderstood unless it is given proper consideration. It makes Job appear in an unfavorable light; making him seem somewhat self-righteous. That is not correct as the whole history of the case has shown. The statement represents the accusation of the three friends and it was false. Job often mentioned his own weaknesses and also admitted that his afflictions were from God. But he denied them as being a special chastisement for his sins. The friends were unable to meet the facts and arguments of Job and therefore ceased talking with him.

Job 32:2-3. Elihu is referred to in some reference works as one of the friends of Job; the Bible does not so classify him. In fact, it puts him in a class alone for in Job 32:3 it is stated that be was angry against his (Job’s) three friends, which indicates he did not represent either side of the controversy as against the other. He had the same erroneous idea of Job the three friends had namely, that he justified himself rather than God. We have already seen that such was not the case. But he was correct in his criticism of the three in that they could not answer Job’s arguments and yet condemned him. The speech of Elihu, like that of the friends, was not inspired in itself but was recorded by inspiration. It also was like theirs in that it took the wrong position as to the reason for Job’s afflictions. I shall comment on the speech of Elihu, but before reading further here I will request the student to read my comments at Job 2:11 and Job 4:1. With the foregoing explanations as a background let us study the speech of Elihu.

Job 32:4. Both Job and the three friends were older than Elihu. Since he will profess to disagree with all of them it was fitting that he wait until Job as well as the three friends had finished talking before he presumed to speak.

Job 32:5. In the preceding verse I said that Elihu would profess to disagree with the three friends. How-ever, we shall see that on the real issue between Job and them, Elihu took the same position as the three friends.

Verses 6-10

Job 32:6-10

Job 32:6-10

"And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said,

I am young, and ye are very old;

Wherefore I held back, and durst not show you mine opinion.

I said, Days should speak,

And multitude of years should teach wisdom.

But there is a spirit in man,

And the breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

It is not the great that are wise,

Nor the aged that understand justice.

Therefore I said, Hearken to me;

I also will show mine opinion."

"The breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding" (Job 32:8). "This is Elihu’s claim that his `understanding’ comes from God Himself." A little later, "He would also refer to a dream revelation (Job 33:14 f) rather similar to that of Eliphaz in Job 4:12 ff." He seems to have been cocksure enough about his `wisdom.’ Elihu was correct in his conviction that age and worldly authority are not sure signs of wisdom. Rawlinson mentioned the ancient proverb, "With how little wisdom the world is governed." But he also overlooked the fact that every young smart aleck who thinks he is wise or inspired is no sure source of wisdom either!

E.M. Zerr:

Job 32:6-7. Through respect for age, Elihu waited until Job and his three friends were done speaking. He thought that days (age) should produce the wisdom of experience, and so he waited to see what these older men would say.

Job 32:8. Inspiration is from a Hebrew word, and a part of Strong’s definition is "intellect." The expression of Elihu means only that he intended on speaking with the mind or intellect that God has given to man.

Job 32:9-10. There are exceptions to about all rules. On that basis Elihu felt Justified to speak since these men who were older than he had not shown the wisdom expected of old age.

Verses 11-14

Job 32:11-14

Job 32:11-14

"Behold, I waited for your words,

I listened to your reasonings,

Whilst ye searched out what to say.

Yea, I attended unto you,

And, behold, there was none that convinced Job,

Or that answered his words among you.

Beware lest ye say, We have found wisdom;

God may vanquish him, not man:

For he hath not directed his words against me;

Neither will I answer him with your speeches."

"God may vanquish him, not man" (Job 32:13). Contrary to what Elihu seems to imply here, "Job’s friends did not come to a conclusion that Job had a wisdom that only God could handle."

This verse is disputed, as regards its exact meaning; but Elihu apparently is saying here that, "God (speaking through Elihu) will drive him away, not man"; and again we have a suggestion that Elihu thought

"Neither will I answer him with your speeches" (Job 32:14). "The irony of this is that Elihu’s position was much the same as that of the three friends."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 32:11. Elihu claimed that he had been an attentive listener to the speeches of the three friends who professed to be answering Job’s speeches.

Job 32:12. Regardless of whether Job’s position was correct, Elihu observed that the friends had not answered his arguments.

Job 32:13, The friends may try to ex plain their failure to answer Job by saying Gcd helped him form his speeches; that they were not his own thoughts.

Job 32:14. The idea of this verse is that Elihu proposed to speak on his own; not get his arguments from anyone.

Verses 15-22

Job 32:15-22

Job 32:15-22

ELIHU EXPLAINS WHY HE WILL ANSWER JOB

"They are amazed, they answer no more:

They have not a word to say.

And shall I wait, because they speak not,

Because they stand still, and answer no more?

I also will answer my part,

I also will show mine opinion.

For I am full of words;

The spirit within me constraineth me.

Behold, my breast is as wine that hath no vent;

Like new wine-skins it is ready to burst.

I will speak, that I may be refreshed;

I will open my lips and answer.

Let me not, I pray you, respect any man’s person;

Neither will I give flattering titles to any man.

For I know not to give flattering titles;

Else would my Maker soon take me away."

"They answer no more ... they speak not" (Job 32:15-16). This refers, of course, to the fact that Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, being utterly unable to refute Job’s arguments, had at last, by their silence, acknowledged their defeat.

"I also will answer my part" (Job 32:17). A suggested meaning here is, "I will offer in reply the portion of knowledge that has fallen to me from God, and that portion will constitute a complete answer." Elihu is convinced that he has the complete answer, but see Job 32:22, below.

"I am full of words" (Job 32:18). "None would dispute this." In fact, Rowley wrote, that, "However these six chapters may have come to be incorporated into Job, these six chapters are intended to make Elihu look somewhat ridiculous, because he is so wordy, so self-important, and so unoriginal."

"My spirit within me constraineth me" (Job 32:18). In context, the term "constraineth" is used in the sense of "compelleth".

"My breast is ... like new wine-skins which are ready to burst" (Job 32:19). We have used the alternative reading here from the margin of the American Standard Version. This passage also reveals the ignorance of Elihu and denies that he is, in any sense, `inspired of God.’ The simile Elihu is using here compares his words to `wine’ and his `belly’ to new wine-skins that are ready to burst from the fermenting wine. However, it is not the new wine-skins that burst from fermenting wine, but old wine-skins, as Jesus Christ himself stated in (Matthew 9:17).

"Let me not ... respect any man’s person" (Job 32:21). In this, Elihu gives himself another certificate, this time, for impartiality." In the next verse he also claims that he does not flatter people with titles.

"I know not to give flattering titles; else would my Maker soon take me away" (Job 32:22). In this Elihu reveals that his theological position on sin and suffering is exactly that of the three friends who have been silenced. He believes that if he should sin in flattering people God would immediately (soon), in this present life, punish him by taking him away from the earth. This is exactly the same error that caused Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar to brand Job as a gross sinner.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 32:15. They refers to the three friends and their utter failure to answer Job.

Job 32:16-17. After Job concluded his long speech, Elihu waited for a while to see if either of the three friends would reply. Silence reigned instead of speech and that prompted Elihu to enter the argument.

Job 32:18. Matter is from an original that means "words." Elihu meant his spirit or intellect was urging him to speak.

Job 32:19-20. Belly is from BETEN and the part of Strong’s definition that applies here is, "the bosom or body of anything." Wine was put in pouches (called bottles) made of skins of animals. As the wine began to ferment the skins would have to stretch and would burst if too old a skin were used. (Matthew 9:17.) Elihu used the wine bottle or skin to compare his own being as filled with words and threatening to burst unless he could obtain relief by speaking.

Job 32:21-22. Elihu was evidently warning Job not to expect favorable words on account of any personal influence. The three friends had spoken unfavorably to Job and Elihu had rebuked them for it in Job’s hearing. Now it might be that Job would expect to hear an opposite kind of words; hence the remarks of this paragraph.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 32". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-32.html.
 
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