Verses 1–4

Once more Elihu begs the patience of the auditory, and Job’s particularly, for he has not said all that he has to say, but he will not detain them long. Stand about me a little (so some read it), Job 36:2. “Let me have your attendance, your attention, awhile longer, and I will speak but this once, as plainly and as much to the purpose as I can.” To gain this he pleads, 1. That he had a good cause, and a noble and very fruitful subject: I have yet to speak on God’s behalf. He spoke as an advocate for God, and therefore might justly expect the ear of the court. Some indeed pretend to speak on God’s behalf who really speak for themselves; but those who sincerely appear in the cause of God, and speak in behalf of his honour, his truths, his ways, his people, shall be sure neither to want instructions (it shall be given them in that same hour what they shall speak) nor to lose their cause or their fee. Nor need they fear lest they should exhaust their subject. Those that have spoken ever so much may yet find more to be spoken on God’s behalf. 2. That he had something to offer that was uncommon, and out of the road of vulgar observation: I will fetch my knowledge from afar (Job 36:3), that is, “we will have recourse to our first principles and the highest notions we can make use of to serve any purpose.” It is worth while to go far for this knowledge of God, to dig for it, to travel for it; it will recompense our pains, and, though far-fetched, is not dear-bought. 3. That his design was undeniably honest; for all he aimed at was to ascribe righteousness to his Maker, to maintain and clear this truth, that God is righteous in all his ways. In speaking of God, and speaking for him, it is good to remember that he is our Maker, to call him so, and therefore to be ready to do him and the interests of his kingdom the best service we can. If he be our Maker, we have our all from him, must use our all for him, and be very jealous for his honour. That his management should be very just and fair (Job 36:4): “My words shall not be false, neither disagreeable to the thing itself nor to my own thoughts and apprehensions. It is truth that I am contending for, and that for truth’s sake, with all possible sincerity and plainness.” He will make use of plain and solid arguments and not the subtleties and niceties of the schools. “He who is perfect or upright in knowledge is now reasoning with thee; and therefore let him not only have a fair hearing, but let what he says be taken in good part, as meant well.” The perfection of our knowledge in this world is to be honest and sincere in searching out truth, in applying it to ourselves, and in making use of what we know for the good of others.