Job’s friends were silenced, but not convinced. Others had been present. Elihu was justly displeased with Job, as more anxious to clear his own character than the justice and goodness of God. Elihu was displeased with Job’s friends because they had not been candid to Job. Seldom is a quarrel begun, more seldom is a quarrel carried on, in which there are not faults on both sides. Those that seek for truth, must not reject what is true and good on either side, nor approve or defend what is wrong.
Job 32:5 (ESV)
5 And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger.
Elihu professes to speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and corrects both parties. He allowed that those who had the longest experience should speak first. But God gives wisdom as he pleases; this encouraged him to state his opinion. By attention to the word of God, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit, young men may become wiser than the aged; but this wisdom will render them swift to hear, slow to speak, and disposed to give others a patient hearing.
Job 32:9–12 (ESV)
9 It is not the old who are wise,
nor the aged who understand what is right.
10 Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
let me also declare my opinion.’
11 “Behold, I waited for your words,
I listened for your wise sayings,
while you searched out what to say.
12 I gave you my attention,
and, behold, there was none among you who refuted Job
or who answered his words.
13 Beware lest you say, ‘We have found wisdom;
God may vanquish him, not a man.’
14 He has not directed his words against me,
and I will not answer him with your speeches.
If we are sure that the Spirit of God suggested what we are about to say, still we ought to refrain, till it comes to our turn to speak. God is the God of order, not of confusion. It is great refreshment to a good man, to speak for the glory of the Lord, and to edify others. And the more we consider the majesty of God, as our Maker, and the more we dread his wrath and justice, the less shall we sinfully fear or flatter men. Could we set the wrath Lord always before us, in his mercies and his terrors, we should not be moved from doing our duty in whatever we are called to do.
Job 32:15 (ESV)
15 “They are dismayed; they answer no more;
they have not a word to say.
Job 32:18 (ESV)
18 For I am full of words;
the spirit within me constrains me.
Job 32:21–22 (ESV)
21 I will not show partiality to any man
or use flattery toward any person.
22 For I do not know how to flatter,
else my Maker would soon take me away.
Job had desired a judge to decide his appeal. Elihu was one according to his wish, a man like himself. If we would rightly convince men, it must be by reason, not by terror; by fair argument, not by a heavy hand.
Elihu Rebukes Job
33 “But now, hear my speech, O Job,
and listen to all my words.
Job 33:3-6 (ESV)
3 My words declare the uprightness of my heart,
and what my lips know they speak sincerely.
4 The Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
5 Answer me, if you can;
set your words in order before me; take your stand.
6 Behold, I am toward God as you are;
I too was pinched off from a piece of clay.
Elihu charges Job with reflecting upon the justice and goodness of God. When we hear anything said to God’s dishonor, we ought to bear our testimony against it. Job had represented God as severe in marking what he did amiss. Elihu urges that he had spoken wrong, and that he ought to humble himself before God, and by repentance to unsay it. God is not accountable to us. It is unreasonable for weak, sinful creatures, to strive with a God of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness. He acts with perfect justice, wisdom, and goodness, where we cannot perceive it.
Job 33:12–13 (ESV)
12 “Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you,
for God is greater than man.
13 Why do you contend against him,
saying, ‘He will answer none of man’s words’?