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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Job 31

 

 

Verses 1-40

CHAPTER 31

1. My chastity and righteousness (Job 31:1-12)

2. My philanthropy (Job 31:13-23)

3. My integrity and hospitality (Job 31:24-34)

4. Let God and man disprove me (Job 31:35-40)

Job 31:1-12. His final word is the final word in his self-righteous vindication. He gives Eliphaz the lie. He gives a review of his life to prove that he is clean in the sight of God and of man. Even if after this outburst his friends would have an inclination to answer him they could not have done so. He silenced them for good. But what are his declarations after all? Nothing else but the filthy rags of his own righteousness, the vain boastings of a good, moral man, such as we hear on all sides. He shows that in his character he was morally pure. The gross sins of the flesh he had avoided. He had even abstained from a look which might stir his passion. He knew that God watched him and therefore the sin of adultery was shunned by him; he did not sin against a neighbour’s wife. If he had ever done that, then let the sanctity of his home and his own wife be violated. Then he enumerates his great philanthropy. He had respect of the widow; he shared his bread with orphans; those who were naked he had clothed.

Job 31:24-34. He was not a worshipper of gold, a covetous man, nor had he worshipped like others about him, the sun and the moon, or what sun-worshippers did, kissing the hand and wafting it towards the sun. He was a hospitable, a kind hearted man; nor did he cover his transgressions as Adam did, nor did he hide his iniquity in his bosom. His was a walk in integrity.

Job 31:35-40. “Lo, here is my signature, let the Almighty answer.” I sign my name to all I have said; I swear to it. Let mine enemy also bring forth his accusations and sign them also. He challengeth God and man. And even to the land he appeals that all his transactions were just. Job’s words are ended. One feels like saying, “Thank God!”

His final word may be condensed in one sentence: “I am clean.” The next time he speaks and opens his lips, he says, “Behold I am vile.” How he came to this the rest of the book will teach us.

IV. THE TESTIMONY OF ELIHU

If the book of Job were now ended the last word would be Job’s. Furthermore the enigma of suffering would remain unexplained and God’s character would stand impeached. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar ceased answering Job because he was righteous in his own eyes. But suddenly another appears on the scene. Nothing is said how he came to be there; yet he must have listened to the controversy, for he sizeth up the whole situation and boils down the whole matter in a few terse statements. Critics and most expositors have spoken rather slightingly of Elihu. We heard some years ago a prominent Bible teacher speak of him as “a young theologian who has just been ordained and who thinks he has a lot of knowledge.” Others call him “a conceited young philosopher” and that his babbling should be treated with silent contempt. Such statements only prove that the men who make them have not gone deep into the meaning of this book and that they lack in spiritual discernment. Just such a one, sent by God, is needed to exercise a mediatorial function and to prepare the way for the Lord Himself to come upon the scene. It is generally pointed out that God rebukes him in the words of Job 38:2. But God speaks to Job who applies it to himself. The vindication of Elihu from such criticism of man is found in the last chapter.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Job 31:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/job-31.html. 1913-1922.

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