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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Job 34

 

 

Introduction

Job 32-37. Speech of Elihu.—Reasons have already been given in the Introduction for regarding this as a later addition to the poem. The point of view of Elihu is very much that of Eliphaz, viz. that suffering is disciplinary. If it is rightly accepted, and its lesson learned, God will graciously restore the sufferer. An interesting point in the theology of Elihu is the idea of the intercession of angels (Job 33:23 ff.).


Verses 1-14

Job 34:1-9. Elihu summons the wise men who hear him to seek a right decision. Job has accused God of injustice, when he is innocent. But in reality Job is the worst of scorners, for he denies the profit of religion.

Job 34:3 is quoted from Job 12:11. With Job 34:7 f., cf. Psalms 1:1.

Job 34:10-15. God will not do wickedly, but will render to each man retribution. He is no deputy of some higher power (Job 34:13), but the Sovereign Lord of man's breath; when He withdraws it, man returns to dust.

In Job 34:13 b - Job 34:14 read, "Who setteth his heart on the whole world. If he cause his spirit to return to him and gather in to him his breath" (Duhm, transferring "his heart" from Job 34:14 to Job 34:13 b). The meaning of Job 34:13 b then is that God can see all that takes place in the whole world, nothing escapes His notice. With Job 34:14; cf. Job 33:4, Psalms 104:29 f., Ecclesiastes 12:7.


Verses 16-28

Job 34:16-28. Injustice is incompatible with rule. How does Job condemn God, before whom even kings and princes are vile, and who regards rich and poor alike? He sees the oppressor and suddenly destroys him.

In Job 34:16 follow mg. "only understand." In Job 34:18 read with LXX, Vulg. "Who saith to a king, Thou art vile, and to nobles, Ye are wicked; that respecteth not the persons of princes." It is God who so speaks. In Job 34:20 b read for "the people" with Budde "the rich"; "without hand" means by the act of God. In Job 34:23 read, "For he appointeth no set time for a man that he should go before God in judgment" (Wright, Budde, Duhm). In Job 34:26 a some emendation is necessary; the oppressors were wicked and cannot well be struck "as wicked men." Perhaps we should read, "His wrath breaks the wicked, He striketh at them in the open sight of the others" (Bickell, Budde).


Verses 29-37

Job 34:29-37. If God does not intervene, who can condemn Him, even if He set up the wicked to rule? If only man penitently confesses his sin, is Job to presume to fix his punishment? Wise men will say that Job has spoken without wisdom. Would that Job were tried to the end, for to his sin he adds rebellion against God.

Job 34:29-33 is very difficult. In Job 34:29 a render, "If he remains quiet." Budde reads in Job 34:29 b "blame" for "behold," and omits Job 34:29 c as a gloss. In Job 34:30 read with Theodotion and the Targum, "If he cause a godless man to reign, One of them that ensnare the people." The best construction of Job 34:31-33 seems to be, "If any one say unto God, I have borne chastisement . . . shall his recompense be as thou wilt that thou refusest it?" "Job is asked in amazement if any man who uses the language of penitence will presume to dictate to God the chastisement which he should receive. Elihu, in polite scorn, declines to join in such impiety" (Strahan). In Job 34:33 b Ley reads "For thou must choose and not God." This gives a much better sense.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 34:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/job-34.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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