Resources » Matthew Henry's Commentary » Job » Chapter 35 » Verses 14–16

Verses 14–16

Here is, I. Another improper word for which Elihu reproves Job (Job 35:14): Thou sayest thou shalt not see him; that is, 1. “Thou complainest that thou dost not understand the meaning of his severe dealings with thee, nor discern the drift and design of them,” Job 23:8, 9. And, 2. “Thou despairest of seeing his gracious returns to thee, of seeing better days again, and art ready to give up all for gone;” as Hezekiah (Isa. 38:11), I shall not see the Lord. As, when we are in prosperity, we are ready to think our mountain will never be brought low, so when we are in adversity we are ready to think our valley will never be filled, but, in both, to conclude that to morrow must be as this day, which is as absurd as to think, when the weather is either fair or foul, that is will be always so, that the flowing tide will always flow, or the ebbing tide will always ebb.

II. The answer which Elihu gives to this despairing word that Job had said, which is this, 1. That, when he looked up to God, he had no just reason to speak thus despairingly: Judgment is before him, that is, “He knows what he has to do, and will do all in infinite wisdom and justice; he has the entire plan and model of providence before him, and knows what he will do, which we do not, and therefore we understand not what he does. There is a day of judgment before him, when all the seeming disorders of providence will be set to rights and the dark chapters of it will be expounded. Then thou shalt see the full meaning of these dark events, and the final period of these dismal events; then thou shalt see his face with joy; therefore trust in him, depend upon him, wait for him, and believe that the issue will be good at last.” When we consider that God is infinitely wise, and righteous, and faithful, and that he is a God of judgment (Isa. 30:18), we shall see no reason to despair of relief from him, but all the reason in the world to hope in him, that it will come in due time, in the best time. 2. That if he had not yet seen an end of his troubles, the reason was because he did not thus trust in God and wait for him (Job 35:15): “Because it is not so, because thou dost not thus trust in him, therefore the affliction which came at first from love has now displeasure mixed with it. Now God has visited thee in his anger, taking it very ill that thou canst not find in thy heart to trust him, but harbourest such hard misgiving thoughts of him.” If there be any mixtures of divine wrath in our afflictions, we may thank ourselves; it is because we do not behave aright under them; we quarrel with God, and are fretful and impatient, and distrustful of the divine Providence. This was Job’s case. The foolishness of man perverts his way, and then his heart frets against the Lord, Prov. 19:3. Yet Elihu thinks that Job, being in great extremity, did not know and consider this as he should, that it was his own fault that he was not yet delivered. He concludes therefore that Job opens his mouth in vain (Job 35:16) in complaining of his grievances and crying for redress, or in justifying himself and clearing up his own innocency; it is all in vain, because he does not trust in God and wait for him, and has not a due regard to him in his afflictions. He had said a great deal, had multiplied words, but all without knowledge, all to no purpose, because he did not encourage himself in God and humble himself before him. It is in vain for us either to appeal to God or to acquit ourselves if we do not study to answer the end for which affliction is sent, and in vain to pray for relief if we do not trust in God; for let not that man who distrusts God think that he shall receive any thing from him, Jas. 1:7. Or this may refer to all that Job had said. Having shown the absurdity of some passages in his discourse, he concludes that there were many other passages which were in like manner the fruits of his ignorance and mistake. He did not, as his other friends, condemn him for a hypocrite, but charged him only with Moses’s sin, speaking unadvisedly with his lips when his spirit was provoked. When at any time we do so (and who is there that offends not in word?) it is a mercy to be told of it, and we must take it patiently and kindly as Job did, not repeating, but recanting, what we have said amiss.