Elihu Condemns Job
35 And Elihu answered and said:
“Do you think this to be just?
Do you say, ‘It is my right before God,’
that you ask, ‘What advantage have I?
How am I better off than if I had sinned?’
I will answer you
and your friends with you.
Look at the heavens, and see;
and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.
If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give to him?
Or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself,
and your righteousness a son of man.
“Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out;
they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.
But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
who gives songs in the night,
who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’
There they cry out, but he does not answer,
because of the pride of evil men.
Surely God does not hear an empty cry,
nor does the Almighty regard it.
How much less when you say that you do not see him,
that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him!
And now, because his anger does not punish,
and he does not take much note of transgression,
Job opens his mouth in empty talk;
he multiplies words without knowledge.”
Job 35 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Paul and Silas sat in the heart of the dark damp prison.
They had arrived at Philippi and immediately gone to the river to meet with women who gathered there. They preached Jesus and one in particular, Lydia, took the travelers to her home for a place to stay. On the Sabbath, they were going to the house of prayer when a young girl possessed by a demon began pestering them. Having his fill of the annoyance, Paul rebuked the spirit and it left. The problem was the girl was a moneymaker for the owner who used the dark arts to profit financially. Inciting a riot against these 2, Paul and Silas were stripped and flogged, then tossed to the inner cell of the jail.
Broken, beaten, in severe pain – these two lifted up their voices… and sang.
Sitting in the darkest of places, in the most pain imaginable, Paul and Silas were praying and singing. The others in jail were rapt by what they were hearing.
When everything has taken place which has hit you hard; when you’ve been beat down, life didn’t go the way it seemed, dreams crashed and your pain is tangible – what do you do? What is your response?
In Elihu’s rampage against Job he makes note of our natural response to such things. As verses 9-10 state often when we are under such a load of oppression and hardship, when things have absolutely been terrible our response is to plead to God to remove it from us. The point he makes however is “No one says, “Where is God my Maker who gives songs in the night?”
Many times we choose to complain and groan because of whatever is going on around or to us but we don’t have enough faith to cry out to God with the right spirit. We’re far more despondent and despairing than anything else. Sometimes the only time we seek God is when we’re in need and no other.
Their backs and thighs laid open from the severe flogging, the last place Paul and Silas wanted to be was a prison. But, they trusted their Savior more than their situation. God remarkably gave them a song in the night. More to the point, as the rest of the story plays out in Acts, not only were others in the surrounding darkness listening to them, so was the jailer. By dawn the he and his entire family would come to a saving belief in Jesus Christ.
You’re in the darkest of situations at the moment. There is possibly no hope. You’re in pain and desperation. Does God your Maker have a song for you to sing? Do you trust Him more than the situation? And who, by chance, is listening to your words at the moment, hearing if there is a song, and ready to come to a deeper knowledge of Jesus because of where you’re at?
Job 35 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
This is arguably Elihu’s harshest language against Job. It is a message of condemnation with truth mixed in. I am somewhat puzzled by commentaries who defend Job in being completely righteous and not deserving of any judgement. It is true that Job was righteous from worldly sense, but as we know (from Romans, Psalms, etc.), no man is righteous before God. If we are going to be consistent with Scripture, then we know that even Job’s suffering is God’s grace because outside of our faith in Christ we all deserve death and separation from God.
Nevertheless, Elihu approaches this topic pretty boldly and directly. He reminds me of Job’s friends with slightly more truth. His main complaint against Job in this chapter is the lack of reverence when calling out to God. Job approaches God as if He has forgotten about him. He calls out to God and demands an answer. With grace, we can understand why Job is behaving this way, but Elihu properly points out that God has not forgotten to punish or save. Everything occurs on His timing – which we can all agree is hard to accept sometimes.
In humility, we can all take Elihu’s final words of the chapter to heart.
Job opens his mouth in vain and multiplies words without knowledge.Job 35:16 HCSB
The same can be said of Job’s friends, Elihu, you, and I. We all are guilty. We complain to God instead of thanking Him and come with selfish motives instead of seeking His will. Whatever reason God has for allowing what He does, we are not entitled to it. That’s a tough message to accept in our independent, rights-based society.
It’s difficult sometimes, but there is so much to be thankful for. Let’s try and focus on thanking God for today and moving forward no matter what our circumstances may be. We can trust that He has everything under control.