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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 33:6

"Behold, I belong to God like you; I too have been formed out of the clay.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Clay;   Ground;   Humility;   The Topic Concordance - Creation;   Life;   Man;  
Fausset Bible Dictionary - Job;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Pit;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Potter ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Job, Book of;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elihu;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Elihu (2);   Job, Book of;   Wish;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse Job 33:6. I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay. — Mr. Good, and before him none other that I have seen, has most probably hit the true meaning: -

"Behold, I am thy fellow.

I too was formed by God out of the clay."

The word כפיך kephicha, which we translate according to thy wish, and which, if Hebrew, would mean like to thy mouth; he considers as pure Arabic, with a Hebrew postfix, [Arabic] kefoo, signifying fellow, equal, like. Taken in this way, the passage is very plain, only לאל lael, by or through God, must be added to the last clause of the verse instead of the first, as Mr. Good has properly done.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 33:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Elihu accuses Job (33:1-33)

Turning now to Job, Elihu gives the assurance that he speaks with sincerity and with respect for the God who created him (33:1-4). He also speaks as one who is on a level of equality with Job (5-7).
To begin with Elihu recalls Job’s claim to be innocent and Job’s accusation that God has treated him as if he were guilty (8-11). Elihu is shocked that a person could make such an accusation against God, and boldly rebukes Job (12-13). He suggests that if Job were quiet for a while, he might hear God speaking to him, possibly through a dream or vision. God will then show him his pride so that he might repent of it and be saved from destruction (14-18).
Elihu then repeats, and in some ways expands, what the other three have already said. He starts by asserting that God punishes the sinner with disease and suffering (19-21). Then, when the person is almost dead, God sends a messenger to show him his sin and lead him to repentance (22-23. Perhaps Elihu sees himself as this messenger). The person is then saved from death, his body is healed and good health returns (24-25). He rejoices in fellowship with God again, and confesses to all that though he was justly punished for his sin, God has mercifully saved him (26-28).
After giving an added warning not to ignore God’s patience and mercy, Elihu challenges Job to deny the truth of his argument. If Job has nothing to say, let him listen to Elihu further (29-33).

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Job 33:6". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Behold, I am according to thy wish in Gods stead - Margin, as in Hebrew “mouth.” The mouth is that by which we express our desires, and the word here is equivalent to wish. Some have, however, rendered this differently. Umbreit translates it, ich bin, wie du, von Gott - I am, as thou art, from God. So Noyes, “I, like thee, am a creature of God.” Wemyss, “I am thine equal in the sight of God.” Coverdale, “Behold, before God am I even as thou, for I am fashioned and made even of the same mould.” The Vulgate renders it, “Behold God made me as he made thee; and of the same clay am I formed.” So the Septuagint, “From clay am I formed as well as thou, and we are formed from the same.” This interpretation seems to be demanded also by the parallelism, where he says that he was made of the same clay with Job; that is, that he was a man like him. Still, it seems to me, that the fair and obvious meaning of the Hebrew is that which is expressed in our common version. The Hebrew is, לאל כפיך הן־אני כפי hēn'ănı̂y kepiykā lā'ĕl - “lo, I am, according to thy mouth (word, or wish) for God;” that is, I am in his place; I speak in his name; I am so commissioned by him that you may regard yourself as in fact speaking to him when you address his ambassador. This will also accord with what is said in Job 33:7, and with what Job had so earnestly desired, that he might be allowed to bring his cause directly before God; see the notes at Job 13:3.

I also am formed out of the clay - Margin, “cut.” The figure is taken from the act of the potter, who cuts off a portion of clay which he moulds into a vessel, and there is manifest allusion here to the statement in Genesis, that God made man of the dust of the ground. The meaning in this connection is, “Though I am in the place of God, and speak in his name, yet I am also a man, made of the same frail material as yourself. In me, therefore, there is nothing to overawe or confound you as there would be if God spake himself.”

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 33:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 33

Wherefore, Job, [he said,] I pray thee, now hear my speech, hearken to all my words. Behold, I've opened my mouth, my tongue has spoken in my mouth. My words shall be of uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly. The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life. If you can answer me, set your words in order before me, stand up. Behold, I am according to your wish in God's stead ( Job 33:1-6 ):

Oh, my, he's going now a little far. Job was saying earlier, "Oh, that there was someone between us, you know, that could lay his hand on." Now, "I'm what you wished for. I am standing here in God's stead." Elihu, you're getting carried away. So I depart from him at this point.

I also am formed out of the clay. Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee. Surely you have spoken in my hearing, I've heard the voice of your words, saying ( Job 33:6-8 ),

And now he's quoting Job. I've heard you say,

I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there any iniquity in me ( Job 33:9 ).

And he heard Job saying concerning God:

Behold, he find occasions against me, he counts me for his enemy; He puts my feet in the stocks, he marks all my paths. Behold, in this, Job, you are not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Why do you strive against him? for he gives not account of any of his matters ( Job 33:10-13 ).

"God doesn't owe you any apologies, God doesn't owe you any explanations." Paul said concerning God that He is as a potter and we are as the clay, and what right has the clay to say to the potter, "Why have You made me like this? Why did You put that wrinkle in me?" I have no right to challenge God. As a lump of clay, the Potter has sovereignty over my life. He can make of me whatever He wants to make of me. He can do with me whatever He wants to do with me. He can make me a vessel of honor, a vessel of dishonor. He can make me a drinking cup or a garbage pail. He has absolute power over my life. And He doesn't owe me explanations, though I'm oftentimes demanding explanations from Him. "God, what did You do this for? Lord, why did You allow that to happen?" I'm demanding that God give me an explanation. "God, give me a reason." He really doesn't owe me any explanations. He can do whatever He wants without having to explain to me.

Now we sing, "Farther along we'll know all about it. Farther along we'll understand why. Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine. We'll understand it all, by and by. And we'll talk it over in the by and by. We'll talk it over, my Lord and I. I'll ask the reasons, He'll tell me why when we talk it over in the by and by." Do you think I'm going to sit down in heaven and say, "Now, Lord, do you remember back in 1980, that weird thing that happened, now why did You do that, Lord?" No way! When I get there, I'm going to be so glad just to be there and so excited to get it on with whatever God's got in store, I'm not going to be challenging God or asking God for the reasons why things happened to me here on the earth. At that point, I can care less. Just glad to be there and to enter into the excitement and the thrills and the joys of His eternal kingdom. So there are some people that may want to get to heaven and sit down and get all the explanations for life and all. Not me, I have no desire to waste my time in heaven with that kind of stuff. Just glad to be out of this mess and all of it. Just with the Lord and there in His presence and in His kingdom.

So he declares,

For God has spoken once, yes twice, yet man did not perceive it. In a dream, and in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumberings on the bed; Then he opens the ears of men, and seals their instructions, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword ( Job 33:14-18 ).

Now God speaks. Once He speaks, twice. How does God speak? He speaks sometimes through dreams. He speaks sometimes through visions. God can speak in various ways to people. I think, though, that our hearts need to be open to hear the voice of God. I believe that God is speaking and does speak quite often and we just don't understand that it is God speaking. We don't understand His voice. We're looking for some echo chamber type of voice. "Charles..." Oh God! You know, just expecting things to just reverberate. But God speaks in such beautiful, natural ways that we're not always aware that it is God speaking. God can speak to us through dreams. He can speak to us through visions. He can speak to us through angels. He can speak to us through His Word. He can speak to us through a friend. God can speak to us in many different ways, and you can't really limit the ways by which God speaks to a man.

Elijah said there was a fire; God wasn't in a fire. There was a horrible wind; God wasn't in the wind. There was an earthquake; God wasn't in the earthquake. And then there came a still small voice and God was in the still small voice ( 1 Kings 19:11-13 ). Now that was that particular experience, but God can speak and did speak to Moses through the fire. God spoke to the jailer through an earthquake. God can speak in different ways. The fact is, God is speaking. Am I listening? Am I tuned in?

Would you believe me if I told you that in this room tonight there are all kinds of pictures and all kinds of voices? There is beautiful symphonic music in this room right now. And there's hard rock. And there's all kinds of sounds in this room right now. Now if you had a little radio and you would tune it, you could pick up all of the music that's floating through the air. Just by turning your tuner. Tuning in. You could see all of the pictures that are floating through the air. Hear the voices. But you've got to be tuned into them. Even so, God is speaking, but we're not always tuned in to the voice of God. It takes really, I think, a definite act of our own will of saying, "Lord, speak to me. Show me." And then waiting to allow God to speak to us. Listening to what the Lord might have to say. And I think that our mistake is that we're not asking God direct questions, and thus we're not getting direct answers. We're not listening enough to hear God speak to us. God has spoken once; God has spoken twice. He speaks in visions. He opens ears. He turns us from our purposes in order that He might keep us back from the pit.

He is chastened also with pain upon his bed [that is, man], and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: So that his life abhors bread, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that they were not, they stick out ( Job 33:19-21 ).

So he's sort of describing Job's condition. "Man, you know, you're in pain, and your bones are sticking out, and your health is taken away, and all. God is trying to speak to you, Job."

If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show man his uprightness; Then he is gracious unto him, and he says, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth: He shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: and he'll render unto man his righteousness. He looks upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul ( Job 33:23-28 )

"If you'll confess," he is saying,

He'll deliver your soul from the pit, and your life shall see the light. Lo, these things God works oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I'm going to speak. And if you have anything to say, then answer: speak, for I desire to justify thee. If not, then listen to me: hold your peace, and I am going to teach you wisdom ( Job 33:28-33 ).

So this young kid's telling Job, "If you've got anything to say, say it, but if not, then just let me talk on, because I'm going to teach you a few things here." Now, what he is saying is basically pretty sound, and that is that God oftentimes uses chastisement to turn us away from the pit. You know, as a child of God, you're in a very good position, because God's not going to let you get away with evil. Now everyone around you may get away with it, that's because they are not children of God. But because He's your Father, and He's watching over you, He's not going to let you get by with perversity, with crookedness. And God uses chastisement to keep His children out of the pit. God'll stop you. He'll allow you to be caught up with. "My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord. For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" ( Hebrews 12:5-6 ). And if you are not chastened, then you're like a bastard; you're not really His son.

If you can do evil and get by with it, then I would very worried. If you can cheat and get by with it, then you have cause to really be worried. But if you're a child of God, He's not going to let you get by. You're going to get caught up with. That's because He's trying to save you from the snare, from the pit. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Job 33:6". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Elihu’s first response to Job ch. 33

This whole speech is an attempt to explain to Job why God was not responding to him. Elihu was very wordy, which he admitted in Job 32:18. In summary, he told Job that God was not silent, as Job had charged, but that He was speaking through dreams and sickness to Job. Rather than using suffering to punish Job for his sins, God was using it to prevent him from dying. Elihu said God was being merciful to Job. The three counselors had said the purpose of suffering was punitive. Job’s wife, before them, had said Job was suffering because God was unfair. Now Elihu offered a third solution: God was trying to teach Job something. He said the purpose of suffering is pedagogical, educational.

Job 33:1-7 record Elihu’s request that Job hear him out. "Yourselves" in Job 33:5 should read "yourself." Elihu next summarized what Job had said (Job 33:8-13). He explained that God spoke in dreams and visions (Job 33:14-18) and through pain (Job 33:19-28). Job had had dreams (Job 7:14) that, Elihu suggested, should keep Job from improper actions and attitudes, specifically, pride that would be sinful and would lead to his death (Job 33:17). In sickness and pain God brings people closer to death. This leads them to evaluate their lives and, if they respond properly, to grow in their relationship with Him.

"God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." [Note: C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 81.]

The angels are God’s agents in bringing both sickness and restoration to people (Job 33:23; cf. Job 5:1; Job 9:33). The "ransom" (Job 33:24) probably refers to the sick person’s repentance. Seeing the light (Job 33:28) means being kept alive. Job 33:29-33 summarize Elihu’s argument.

"Unfortunately like so many well-meaning messengers of grace, Elihu was so fully convinced of his good intentions toward Job that he became insufferably overbearing." [Note: Smick, "Job," p. 1007.]

"Elihu did, however, perceive the significance of the all-important principle of God’s free grace, which the others had slighted." [Note: Kline, p. 483.]

Elihu’s views contrasted with those of the three friends as follows.

Three friendsElihu
Sin leads to suffering.Suffering leads to sin.
Suffering is retributive.Suffering is protective
Suffering is punitive.Suffering is educational.
Job should repent.Job should learn.
Job should initiate restoration.God had initiated restoration.

Who was correct? Other Scriptures indicate that God uses suffering both to punish sinners and to produce spiritual growth. In some cases, He may have one purpose in view, and in other cases, another. On the other hand, both Elihu and the three friends were wrong in some of what they said. Job was not a great sinner, and God sometimes intervenes personally and directly in human experience.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Job 33:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Behold, I [am] according to thy wish in God's stead,.... So some persons are, as civil magistrates, the ministers of the word, the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New; see 2 Corinthians 5:20; and so in some sense was Elihu; he undertakes to be an advocate for God, to vindicate his justice in his dealings with the children of men, and clear him from the charge of severity towards them, and hard usage of them, and particularly Job; and whom he besought, as in God's stead, to be reconciled to his providential dealings with him; to bear his afflictions patiently, and wait the issue of them: or "I am as thou art"; so the Targum and Ben Gersom interpret it; one that belongs to God, a creature of God's, a sinful frail mortal creature, as Job was, and accountable to God; one that belonged to him both as the God of nature and providence, and of grace; and such an one Job seemed to have wished for, to dispute the point in question with; see Job 9:32;

I also am formed out of the clay; or "cut out" e of it; alluding to the potter, who, out of a mass or lump of clay before him, cuts a piece out of it to make a vessel of God is the potter, men are as clay in his hands, their bodies are bodies of clay, houses of clay, which have their foundation in the dust; reference may be had to the original formation of man, Genesis 2:7, and may denote not so, much the pollution of his nature, clay being defiling, but the frailty of man, a vessel made of clay being brittle, and easily broken; see Job 4:19

Isaiah 64:8.

e קרצתי "excisus", Montanus, Munster, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 33:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Address of Elihu. B. C. 1520.

      1 Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.   2 Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.   3 My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.   4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.   5 If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.   6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.   7 Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.

      Several arguments Elihu here uses to persuade Job not only to give him a patient hearing, but to believe that he designed him a good office, and to take it kindly, and be willing to receive the instructions he was now about to give him. Let Job consider, 1. That Elihu does not join with his three friends against him. He has, in the foregoing chapter, declared his dislike of their proceedings, disclaimed their hypothesis, and quite set aside the method they took of healing Job. "Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speech,Job 33:1; Job 33:1. They were all in the same song, all spoke in the same strain; but I am trying a new say, therefore hearken to all my words, and not to some of them only;" for we cannot judge of a discourse unless we take it entire and hearken to it all. 2. That he intended to make a solemn business of it, not to put in a word by the by, or give a short repartee, to show his wit: after long silence he opened his mouth (Job 33:2; Job 33:2), with deliberation and design. Upon mature consideration he had already begun to speak, and was prepared to go on if Job would encourage him by his attention. 3. That he was resolved to speak as he thought and not otherwise (Job 33:3; Job 33:3): "My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart, the genuine product of my convictions and sentiments." There was reason to suspect that Job's three friends did not think, in their consciences, that Job was so bad a man as they had in their discourses, merely for the support of their hypothesis, represented him to be; and that was not fair. It is a base thing to condemn those with our tongues, to serve a turn, whom at the same time we cannot but in our consciences think well of. Elihu is an honest man, and scorns to do so. 4. That what he said should be easy, and not dark and hard to be understood: My lips shall utterly knowledge clearly. Job shall readily comprehend his meaning, and perceive what he aims at. Those that speak of the things of God should carefully avoid all obscurity and perplexedness both of notion and expression, and speak as plainly and clearly as they can; for by that it will appear that they do themselves understand what they speak of, that they mean honestly, and design the edification of those they speak to. 5. That he would, in his discourse, make the best use he could of the reason and understanding God had given him, that life, that rational soul which he received from the Spirit of God and the breath of the Almighty,Job 33:4; Job 33:4. He owns himself unfit to enter into the lists with his seniors, yet he desires they will not despise his youth, for that he is God's workmanship as well as they, made by the same hand, endued with the same noble powers and faculties, and designed for the same great end; and therefore why may not the God that made him make use of his as an instrument of good to Job? With this consideration also we should quicken ourselves (and perhaps Elihu made that use of it) to do good in our places according to our capacity. God has made us, and given us life, and therefore we should study to use our life to some good purpose, to spend it in glorifying God and serving our generation according to his will, that we may answer the end of our creation and it may not be said that we were made in vain. 6. That he would be very willing to hear what Job could object against what he had to say (Job 33:5; Job 33:5): "If thou canst, answer me. If thou hast so much strength and spirit left thee, and art not quite spent with the distemper and the dispute, set thy words in order, and they shall have their due consideration." Those that can speak reason will hear reason. 7. That he had often wished for one that would appear for God, with whom he might freely expostulate, and to whom, as arbitrator, he might refer the matter, and such a one Elihu would be (Job 33:6; Job 33:6): I am, according to thy wish, in God's stead. How pathetically had Job wished (Job 16:21; Job 16:21), O that one might plead for a man with God! and (Job 22:3; Job 22:3), O that I knew where I might find him! Only he would make it his bargain that his dread should not make him afraid,Job 13:21; Job 13:21. "Now," says Elihu, "look upon me, for this once, as in God's stead. I will undertake to plead his cause with thee and to show thee wherein thou hast affronted him and what he has against thee; and what appeals or complaints thou hast to make to God make them to me." 8. That he was not an unequal match for him: "I also am formed out of the clay. I also, as well as the first man (Genesis 2:7), I also as well as thou." Job had urged this with God as a reason why he should not bear hard upon him (Job 10:9; Job 10:9), Remember that thou hast made me as the clay. "I," says Elihu, "am formed out of the clay as well as thou," formed of the same clay, so some read it. It is good for us all to consider that we are formed out of the clay; and well for us it is that those who are to us in God's stead are so, that he speaks to us by men like ourselves, according to Israel's wish upon a full trial, Deuteronomy 5:24. God has wisely deposited the treasure in earthen vessels like ourselves, 2 Corinthians 4:7. 9. That he would have no reason to be frightened at the assault he made upon him (Job 33:7; Job 33:7): "My terror shall not make thee afraid," (1.) "As thy friends have done with their arguings. I will not reproach thee as they have done, nor draw up such a heavy charge against thee, Nor," (2.) "As God would do if he should appear to reason with thee. I stand upon the same level with thee, and am made of the same mould, and therefore cannot impose that terror upon thee which thou mayest justly dread from the appearance of the divine Majesty." If we would rightly convince men, it must be by reason, not by terror, by fair arguing, not by a heavy hand.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Job 33:6". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.