Job 34.1-37 tells us that after a pause to see if Job would make a reply, Elihu continued by saying, “Hear my words, you wise men.” He is either talking to some bystanders because he has already voiced his displeasure with Job’s three friends, or he is being ironic. He says the “ear tests words” to distinguish between good and bad, and in this case the words of Job.
It is true that Job said he was a righteous man and God is to blame for his problems, but Job has been associating with bad people (Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar) according to Elihu. He is basically saying the same things they were, nothing new hear. But remember, Satan is totally left out of the equation concerning what is happening to Job.
Elihu says a lot of true things through these verses, But the Lord is also using him to lead Job to the conclusion that man is to believe God’s ways are right because they are “his” ways, not because we fully see they are his ways. He either controls all things or he doesn’t. Most believers think that we or some other entity has a say in what happens, but that is not true (v 1-10).
But Elihu is wrong about what is behind Job’s afflictions. He tells Job that God does not do these things unless you are a sinner, but Elihu does not see the hand of Satan in this (Job 1.6-12, 2.6-10). But, he is correct in saying that God does not need permission to do what he does (v 11-15).
He then tells Job to listen to him because Job thought that justice was not done in his case. He tells him that Job is not in a position to judge whether what is to be condemned or not. One would not go to an earthly king and tell him what was right or wrong, so how can Job tell God what is just. The king will die like everyone else and be in the hands of God (v 16-20).
God knows what the steps of man are and sees everything. Job is not going to get over on the Lord. He does not need to consider man as to when he will judge him, he will do it when he pleases. God has not set a time for Job yet. God always does the right thing according to Elihu, but he misses the mark overall as it applies to Job. If everything that happens is right, and if God is in control and does everything that happens, then the category of “evil” disappears. This is where Elihu goes wrong (v 21-20). He then tells Job what he should have said in repentance. Job’s trials will not be removed until they produce the desired effect, and Job is in rebellion for arraigning his justice (v 31-37).
Job 35.1-16 Elihu goes on to challenge other speeches by Job. He will appeal to Job’s conscience and reason, and says Job is being self-righteous in thinking he has a cause to question the cause of his afflictions. He rebukes Job for saying in Job 21.15 that living right had no benefit to him. Job wants to be vindicated because he did believe God was just, he just didn’t understand. Elihu accuses Job of saying something something he didn’t say because Job is saying the wicked said this in 21.15.
But Elihu isn’t saying anything different than Job’s three friends have said, but he thinks he is. He says God is so far above man that there is nothing that man can do to the advantage of God (v 1-8). Job doesn’t get an answer because he is proud and insincere. In Job 35.10 it says, “But no one says, ‘Where is God my maker.'” The word “maker” here is in the plural “makers” in Hebrew alludes to the triune Godhead (Psa 149.2; Ecc 12.1). He thinks Job is crying “against” God and not “to” him (v 12). Job had expressed despair of ever seeing and enjoying the favor of God, and tells Job God will not listen to Job’s empty mouth, who “multiplies words without knowledge” and that Job is lying (v 9-16).
Job 36.1-33 tells us that after pausing, Elihu continues with new information and now claims to speak for the Lord (v 1-2). He says his words are not false like Job’s other friends and that “one who is perfect in knowledge is among you.” Only he can search out the most minute details of God (37.16) and Elihu is saying that only he can reveal God’s ways. This sin is also attributed to Satan in Ezek 28.11-19, the power behind the king of Tyre (v 1-4).
Elihu teaches that God is perfect in his justice and he rewards the righteous and and punishes the wicked. If God shows them their sins and they repent, then they will prosper. If not, they will “perish by the sword.” Elihu believes Job is denying this fact and that is why he is suffering setback after setback. If Job would have repented, God would have removed him from his distress (v 5-16). But because Job didn’t repent, the judgment of the wicked has fallen upon him, and his riches won’t save him. He says Job has chosen this instead of prosperity.
This is what frustrated Job. This type of “counsel” was of no use to him because he knew he has no need to repent, he was right with God. Job never said he never sinned, but he was not going to give a show of repentance just to please his friends. He will repent of certain sins that occurred during his discussions with his friends in Job 42.1-6, but he wasn’t going to give a show of repentance for his friends. Job just couldn’t put his finger on why all this has been happening to him. Elihu thinks that Job had a low opinion of God so he tries to build the Lord up in Job’s eyes (v 17-23).
Instead of arraigning the Lord, Job should exalt his work. His works are visible to all, but we only see in part (v 26). This will be shown later in Job 42 and just how wrong these friends were about God and Job. Just how unsearchable God is can be seen in a storm, so Job is wasting his time demanding answers. God is beyond having to explain anything to Job. This is all very true, but again Elihu misapplies this to Job’s situation (v 24-33).
In Job 37.1-24 Elihu shows God’s greatness in other works of nature. Again, he has an inaccurate and low vision of God because by showing God’s greatness he is trying to coerce Job into repentance. He is misapplying these statements to Job’s situation (v 1-13).
Elihu tells Job that he does not have the knowledge that he thinks he has, and Elihu is approaching Job with some correct concepts but his premise is wrong. He thinks Job’s problems are a result of his sins. Elihu’s point is Job cant’s explain God’s wonders so stop contending with him. He says that Job should fear God because he does not regard those who are “wise in heart ” in their own conceits (v 14-24).
Starting in Job 38.1-41 we begin to deal with God’s response to all this. He has been silent for the past 35 chapters and Job has said he has not heard from Yehovah, but now he will. There are several concepts to consider here. First, God will never explain to Job why he has been suffering and Satan’s role in it all, but he will provide Job with the answer that restores his faith and God is the one in control.
Everything in creation knows its place and follows the course chosen for it. Creation is not in the hands of fate, but are in the hands of God. Secondly, man is to believe God’s ways are right because they are his ways, not because we fully see they are so (Job 42.1-6). Yehovah answers Job out of the whirlwind already gathering in Job 37. Elihu sees an approaching storm and uses it as an example of the power of God.
God begins by asking, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” He is referring to Job and his friends where their words obscure rather than threw light on God’s ways (v 1-2). He tells Job to “gird your loins like a man” and get ready for battle. He wants Job to answer him and instruct the Lord (v 3).
He asks Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth! Tell me if you have understanding.” Job wasn’t there when God did it, and yet Job takes it upon himself to dive into the secret works and ways of God. He wanted Job to tell him if he had understanding, which he didn’t. So Job had no right to question God or his ways (v 4).
When he laid the foundations of the earth the “morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” This refers to the angels who saw God lay the foundation of the earth. This also alludes to Eph 1.4 and the elect who were chosen in him “before the foundation of the earth” (v 5-7). God also set the boundaries for the sea when the water was shut up in the bowels of the earth when it was first created, like an infant in the womb of the mother. It was these waters that came up and “knifed” through the earth at the time of flood. He also made the cloud as a garment, like a garment for a newborn (v 8-9).
He placed boundaries on the sea like a cradle to hold the sea (v 10-11). God tells Job “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know it’s place?” This applies to any morning, but especially alludes to the first morning in Gen 1.3. At night the earth is “tohu” (unformed) and “bohu” (unfilled). But when the light of the sun comes in day 4, God’s imprint of beauty comes to light or “it is changed like clay under the seal.” The wicked have no light because they are the “night” and their arm is broken, which means they have weakened power (v 14-15).
The Lord then talks about the subterranean passages and depths and says, “Have walked in the recesses of the deep (“tehom” or abyss). Has Sheol (the abode/place of the dead) been revealed to Job (v 16-17)? Can he see into that dimension? The answer is “No.”
In Job 38 19-24 some very interesting things are said by the Lord to Job. He says, “Where is the way to the dwelling of light” meaning light has mass. How did this concept get into the Bible unless God revealed it? He then asks if Job can take hold of that light and lead it to where it came from. What about the darkness (v 20)? The answer is, “No.” What God is doing and will continue to do here is to show us just how little we know concerning these matters. Job should know because he was born then, right? His days reached back to the beginning of time, right (v 21).
God then states that God produces the snow and “the storehouses of the hail” which is reserved for the “time of distress, for the day of war and battle” (v 22-23)? This alludes to the Day of the Lord, but also it refers to the fact that God uses hail as judgment (Exo 9.24; Josh 10.11; Isa 28.2,17). He will use it against Gog and Magog (Russia) in Ezek 38.22 and during the birth-pains against (Rev 16.20-21).
Job 38. 25-30 tells us that God directs the rain and steers its course to cover more than one spot, and countless canals are marked out for them, and a way for the thunderbolt. He brings rain on a land “without people” so it can’t be man who guides its course. And the “parent” of rain (“has the rain a father?”) is also the parent of ice and frost (v 28-30).
He then explains the constellations and exposes Job to the fact that he can’t manage any change in the heavens, but God can (v 31-33). Can Job manage the clouds and call forth rain. Can he send forth lightnings so that man can see them? Can he give the mind the ability to interpret the signs of the weather? No, but God can (v 34-38). Can Job give the animals the instincts they need to hunt their prey and satisfy their appetites? Man doesn’t care for the raven, but God does (v 39-41).
We will pick up in Job 39.1-30 in the conclusion.