Job Chapter Thirty-Three
Read Job 33:1-7
v1-2. “WHEREFORE, JOB, I PRAY THEE, HEAR MY SPEECHES, AND HEARKEN TO ALL MY WORDS. BEHOLD, NOW I HAVE OPENED MY MOUTH, MY TONGUE HATH SPOKEN IN MY MOUTH.”
Elihu starts out begging Job to hear his words, his speeches and give him a patient hearing, to believe that he means no unkindness, and to accept the advice and instruction that he, Elihu, will now provide.
v3-4. “MY WORDS shall be of THE UPRIGHTNESS OF MY HEART: AND MY LIPS SHALL UTTER KNOWLEDGE CLEARLY. THE SPIRIT OF GOD HATH MADE ME, AND THE BREATH OF THE ALMIGHTY HATH GIVEN ME LIFE.”
Elihu will speak as he thinks, no hidden agenda, not to condemn but with words that are genuine products of his convictions and sentiments. He will in his discourse make the best use he knows of the wisdom and understanding that God has given him, that his rational soul, his spirit came from God.
v5. “IF THOU CANST ANSWER ME, SET thy words IN ORDER BEFORE ME, STAND UP.”
He also tells Job that if he can answer his arguments, then he should set his thoughts in order; stand up and give his answers.
v6-7. “BEHOLD, I am ACCORDING TO THY WISH IN GOD'S STEAD: I ALSO AM FORMED OUT OF THE CLAY. BEHOLD, MY TERROR SHALL NOT MAKE THEE AFRAID, NEITHER SHALL MY HAND BE HEAVY UPON THEE.”
If Job couldn’t get God himself to hear his plea then he had wished for an arbitrator, one that stand in for God, listen to his problems; hear his arguments and Elihu is offering to serve this purpose. He admits that he also was formed from the dust of the ground and that he can bring no terror to Job nor could his hand be heavy.
Read Job 33:8-13
v8-9. “SURELY THOU HAST SPOKEN IN MINE HEARING, AND I HAVE HEARD THE VOICE OF thy WORDS, saying, I AM CLEAN WITHOUT TRANSGRESSION, I am INNOCENT; NEITHER is there INIQUITY IN ME.”
Elihu reminds Job that he has spoken in his hearing, and what he’s going to tell him comes from the things that he had heard Job say. In these verses he will take Job to task for some expressions that he used that Elihu feels reflect upon the justice and goodness of God in his dealings with Job. He says that Job represented himself as one who was totally innocent, but is that correct? Or was it that Job only claimed to be upright and innocent of only any great transgression.
v10-11. “BEHOLD, HE FINDETH OCCASIONS AGAINST ME, HE COUNTETH ME FOR HIS ENEMY, HE PUTTETH MY FEET IN THE STOCKS, HE MARKETH ALL MY PATHS.”
Elihu claims that Job had represented God as being severe in his allowing Job to be afflicted, as though Job was seeking an opportunity to pick a quarrel with God over his treatment. Job had spoken thus, particularly in chapters 13 and 14.
v12-13. “BEHOLD, in THIS THOU ART NOT JUST: I WILL ANSWER THEE, THAT GOD IS GREATER THAN MAN. WHY DOST THOU STRIVE AGAINST HIM? FOR HE GIVETH NOT ACCOUNT OF ANY OF HIS MATTERS.”
Here we have Elihu reminding Job and his friends that God is greater than man and because of this Job’s words of complaint are not just. In addition; because God is so much greater than us he has no obligation or reason to account to us for what he does. He is not bound to justify to anyone what he brings to mankind by his providence.
Read Job 33:14-18
v14. “FOR GOD SPEAKETH ONCE, YEA TWICE, yet man PERCEIVETH IT NOT.”
complained that God had kept him totally in the dark regarding his purposes or
the meaning of his dealings with him.
Elihu says, no, he speaks to you but you don’t perceive him, the fault
that you don’t know his purpose or meaning is yours. God does and always has told mankind what he
requires of us. Man is his own worst
enemy to his own welfare with God because he doesn’t or refuses to hear. Now doesn’t that describe the majority of our
v15-17. “IN A DREAM, IN A VISION OF THE NIGHT, WHEN DEEP SLEEP FALLETH UPON MEN, IN SLUMBERINGS UPON THE BED; THEN HE OPENETH THE EARS OF MEN, AND SEALETH THEIR INSTRUCTION, THAT HE MAY WITHDRAW MAN from his PURPOSE, AND HIDE PRIDE FROM MAN.”
Elihu says that when God admonishes man, he does so in such a fashion that he doesn’t swell his pride, that he does so in dreams and visions so as to keep man from gaining too great a reputation with other men because God has spoken to him. This was the way that God communicated with a great many in Old Testament times. In this fashion he did open the ears of those men; the instruction given was designed specifically for them and the situation in which they found themselves.
v18. “HE KEEPETH BACK HIS SOUL FROM THE PIT, AND HIS LIFE FROM PERISHING BY THE SWORD.”
In addressing man in this fashion God keeps his pride from causing him to do something foolish that would condemn his soul or cause him to attempt to conquer others; an endeavor that could cost him his life. As we might say God deals with man in this fashion to keep him from getting to big for his britches.
Read Job 33:19-28
In this section, Elihu brings the following: Job complained much of his diseases, and judged by them that God was angry with him; his friends did so too: but Elihu argues that they are all mistaken, for God often afflicts the body in love, and with gracious designs of good to the soul.
v19. “HE IS CHASTENED ALSO WITH PAIN UPON HIS BED, AND THE MULTITUDE OF HIS BONES WITH STRONG pain:”
The sick man is full of pain all over him, such pain as confines him to his bed, or so extreme the pain is that he can get no ease, no, not even on his bed, where he would repose himself.
v20. “SO THAT HIS LIFE ABHORRETH BREAD, AND HIS SOUL DAINTY MEAT.”
In addition the sick man frequently loses his appetite for the most necessary food, which he once delighted in and relished with a great deal of pleasure.
v21. “HIS FLESH IS CONSUMED AWAY, THAT IT CANNOT BE SEEN; AND HIS BONES that WERE NOT SEEN STICK OUT.”
By sickness, after having no appetite for several days a sick person will lose fat, it strangely wastes away and is gone with the result that indeed bones that may have been hidden are now more prominent.
v22. “YEA, HIS SOUL DRAWETH NEAR UNTO THE GRAVE, AND HIS LIFE TO THE DESTROYERS.”
When a sick man reaches this condition then he is most often given up for good, that is, he has all the symptoms of death upon him, and in the apprehension of death all about him, he is a dying man.
v23. “IF THERE BE A MESSENGER WITH HIM, AN INTERPRETER, ONE AMONG A THOUSAND, TO SHOW UNTO MAN HIS UPRIGHTNESS:”
Elihu sees this sickness or affliction as a way in which God is humbling us in order that he might speak to us and be understood and not be speaking in vain. But the sick man needs an interpreter to help him understand the working of the providence of God, a wise man that knows the voice of the rod and its interpretation. When God speaks to us through affliction we are not well versed in this and need someone to minister to us and help us understand His purpose.
v24. “THEN HE IS GRACIOUS UNTO HIM, AND SAITH, DELIVER HIM FROM GOING DOWN TO THE PIT: I HAVE FOUND A RANSOM.”
When the sick man sees God’s purpose and exercises genuine repentance then God is gracious and delivers him from his affliction. He has a ransom, or propitiation, as we have with Jesus Christ today.
v25. “HIS FLESH SHALL BE FRESHER THAN A CHILD'S: HE SHALL RETURN TO THE DAYS OF HIS YOUTH:”
The sick are healed of their afflictions because the cause of his sickness has been taken away, his sins. Thus Elihu equates the healing of sickness with the removal of sin from a man’s life, a common belief of the Hebrews.
v26. “HE SHALL PRAY UNTO GOD, AND HE WILL BE FAVOURABLE UNTO HIM: AND HE SHALL SEE HIS FACE WITH JOY: FOR HE WILL RENDER UNTO MAN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Then not only does the body recover its good health but the soul recovers its peace as well. As one who has repented the sinner can pray God, be heard, even see His face with joy and God will in turn render unto the man his reward based upon his righteousness.
v27-28. “HE LOOKETH 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 FROM GOING INTO THE PIT, AND HIS LIFE SHALL SEE THE LIGHT.”
So Elihu concludes this segment of his discourse in this fashion. The general rule which God will go by in dealing with the children of men is inferred from this instance. As sick people, upon their submission, are restored, so all others that truly repent of their sins shall find mercy with God.
Read Job 33:29-33
v29-30. “LO, ALL THESE things WORKETH GOD OFTENTIMES WITH MAN, TO BRING BACK HIS SOUL FROM THE PIT, TO BE ENLIGHTENED WITH THE LIGHT OF THE LIVING.”
Elihu now summarizes this way. God deals with man by conscience, by providence, by ministers, by mercies, by afflictions. He makes them sick, and makes them well again. All these are his operations:
Ecclesiastes “IN THE DAY OF PROSPERITY BE JOYFUL, BUT IN THE DAY OF ADVERSITY CONSIDER: GOD ALSO HATH SET THE ONE OVER AGAINST THE OTHER, TO THE END THAT MAN SHOULD FIND NOTHING AFTER HIM.”
It is he that performs all these things for us.
v31-33. “MARK WELL, O JOB, HEARKEN UNTO ME: HOLD THY PEACE, AND I WILL SPEAK. IF THOU HAST ANY THING TO SAY, ANSWER ME: SPEAK, FOR I DESIRE TO JUSTIFY THEE. IF NOT, HEARKEN UNTO ME: HOLD THY PEACE, AND I SHALL TEACH THEE WISDOM.”
Elihu now begs Job to accept his reasoning. He’s welcome to say whatever he will, ask any question or questions that he might have to ask. Elihu in his discourse seeks to find truth rather than to condemn Job and find victory over him in his affliction as did his other friends. He intends that his words would be considered wise and would teach wisdom. As we know both those that would show and learn wisdom must hear and keep silent, be swift to hear and slow to speak as James admonishes us in James .