Job 34 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Chap. 34. Elihu’s Second Reply to Job. Job’s complaint that God afflicts him unjustly is without reason. A motive for injustice in him who is Creator of all alike cannot be found; and injustice in the Highest Ruler is inconceivable
Having in ch. 33 replied to Job’s charge that God’s afflictions were examples of an arbitrary hostility to men, Elihu in this chapter replies to, another charge, that God was unjust in the afflictions which He laid on him. His answer is, That a motive for injustice in Him who is Creator of all cannot be found; and, That injustice in the Ruler of all is inconceivable shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
The line of thought in the chapter is something as follows:
First, Job 34:1-4, in a brief introduction Elihu invites his intelligent hearers to listen further to him, and to unite with him in seeking to discover what was the right, the just state of the case, in Job’s cause with God and his charges against Him.
Second, Job 34:5-9, these charges he then recites: Job had said that God perverted his right, and that he was incurably afflicted though he had done no wrong ( Job 34:5-6). Elihu cannot mention such charges without expressing his detestation of them: Job has not his parallel for impiety ( Job 34:7-8). He has even gone the length of saying that it was no advantage to a man to be religious ( Job 34:9). This last sentiment Elihu does not deal with in the present chapter, its discussion follows in ch. 35.
Third, Job 34:10-20, coming to his argument, Elihu, first expresses his reprobation of such sentiments as those of Job, they are contrary to right thoughts of God; such ways of acting are not to be thought of in connexion with the Almighty ( Job 34:10-12). Second, this reproof of Job’s charges from God’s nature in general Elihu then particularizes into two distinct thoughts: (1) a motive for injustice in Him who is the Creator of all cannot be discovered; on the contrary His calling all things into being and upholding them by sending forth His spirit is evidence of unselfish goodness, for were He to set His mind on Himself and withdraw His spirit all flesh would perish ( Job 34:13-15). (2) The foundation of government is justice, without which rule would come to an end. Injustice in the highest Ruler is inconceivable. And in truth His rule approves itself, by its impartiality, to be just ( Job 34:16-20).
Fourth, Job 34:21-28, this justice is secured by God’s omniscient insight into men, and by His goodness which is the spring and motive of His rule of mankind.
Fifth, Job 34:29-33, shall any one then murmur at this absolute disposing of all things by the hand of God? To murmur is to usurp the rule of God, and to claim to dictate how He should dispense His recompences.
Finally Job 34:34-37, Elihu, having shewn what is involved in Job’s charges of injustice against God, draws the conclusion, in which he is confident all reflecting minds who listen to him will concur with him, that Job speaks without wisdom; to the sin of his life he has added a defiant and mocking impiety, which one must wish to see purified out of him in the furnace of severer afflictions.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".