Job 33:32
If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.
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(32) I desire to justify thee.—He wishes to justify Job before his friends, that is, to maintain that his afflictions are not on account of past sin, but as a preservative against possible future defection. This being so, he considers that Job’s case may justly be defended, and Job himself vindicated against his friends.

33:29-33 Elihu shows that God's great and gracious design toward the children of men, is, to save them from being for ever miserable, and to bring them to be for ever happy. By whatever means we are kept back from the we shall bless the Lord for them at least, and should bless him for them though they be painful and distressing. Those that perish for ever are without excuse, for they would not be healed.If thou hast anything to say, answer me - In the previous verse, Elihu had asked that Job would hear all that he had to say. Yet here, in view of what he had said, he asks of him that if there were any thing from which he dissented, he would now express his dissent. We may suppose that he paused at this part of his speech, and as what he had said related particularly to Job, he felt that it was proper that he should have an opportunity to reply.

For I desire to justify thee - I would do you justice. I would not pervert what you have said, or attribute to you any wrong opinions or any improper motives Perhaps there may be included also a wish to vindicate him, if he possibly could. He did not desire to dispute for the sake of disputing, or to blame him if he could avoid it, but his aim was the truth; and if he could, he wished to vindicate the character of Job from the aspersions which had been cast upon it.

32. justify—to do thee justice; and, if I can, consistently with it, to declare thee innocent. At Job 33:33 Elihu pauses for a reply; then proceeds in Job 34:1. If thou hast any thing to say for thy own justification, or in answer to the charge that I have already brought against thee.

I desire to justify thee, to wit, as far as may consist with truth and justice. I do not speak with evil design, or a bitter mind, or as one resolved to condemn thee whatsoever thou sayest, and I shall be glad to hear any thing from thee which may make for thy just vindication.

If thou hast anything to say, answer me,.... Any thing to object to what he had delivered, or any answer to return to what he had charged him with:

speak, for I desire to justify thee. Elihu was a fair antagonist, and gave free liberty, time and space, to make whatsoever reply he thought fit, and which he should patiently and attentively hear: his view was not victory, but that truth might come out, and take place and prevail, having nothing more at heart than Job's good; and could wish it would appear that he was in all respects a just man, and even in that in which he thought he was not just; but could he fairly acquit himself it would be a pleasure to him.

If thou hast any {y} thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to {z} justify thee.

(y) If you doubt anything, or see opportunity to speak against it.

(z) That is, to show you, in which mans justification consists.

32. to justify thee] Elihu could not say that he desired to justify Job in his plea against God; the words must refer to the cause between Job and himself. Elihu would be glad if Job could give such a reply to his arguments that he could say he thought him in the right. The words seem to imply little more than the speaker’s desire to be fair, and to conduct the argument on equal terms with Job; comp. Job 33:6-7.

Verse 32. - If thou hast anything to say, answer me. Nevertheless, i.e., if there is really anything that thou wouldst fain urge on thine own behalf at this point, speak - I am ready to hear - for I dare to justify thee; i.e. "I am anxious, if possible, or so far as possible, to defend and justify thy conduct." Then, probably, Elihu made a pause, to allow of Job's speaking; but, as the patriarch kept silence, he continued. Job 33:3229 Behold, God doeth all

Twice, thrice with man,

30 To bring back his soul from the pit,

That it may become light in the light of life.

31 Listen, O Job, hearken to me;

Be silent and let me speak on.

32 Yet if thou hast words, answer me;

Speak, for I desire thy justification.

33 If not, hearken thou to me;

Be silent and I will teach thee wisdom.

After having described two prominent modes of divine interposition for the moral restoration and welfare of man, he adds, Job 33:29, that God undertakes (observe the want of parallelism in the distich, Job 33:29) everything with a man twice or thrice (asyndeton, as e.g., Isaiah 17:6, in the sense of bis terve) in order to bring back his soul from the pit (שׁחת, here for the fifth time in this speech, without being anywhere interchanged with שׁאול or another synonym, which is remarkable), that it, having hitherto been encompassed by the darkness of death, may be, or become, light (לאור, inf. Niph., syncopated from להאור, Ew. 244, b) in the light of life (as it were bask in the new and restored light of life) - it does not always happen, for these are experiences of no ordinary kind, which interrupt the daily course of life; and it is not even repeated again and again constantly, for if it is without effect the first time, it is repeated a second or third time, but it has an end if the man trifles constantly with the disciplinary work of grace which designs his good. Finally, Elihu calls upon Job quietly to ponder this, that he may proceed; nevertheless, if he has words, i.e., if he thinks he is able to advance any appropriate objections, he is continually to answer him (השׁיב with acc. of the person, as Job 33:5), for he (Elihu) would willingly justify him, i.e., he would gladly be in the position to be able to acknowledge Job to be right, and to have the accusation dispensed with. Hirz. and others render falsely: I wish thy justification, i.e., thou shouldst justify thyself; in this case נפשׁך ought to be supplied, which is unnecessary: חפץ, without a change of subject, has the inf. constr. here without ל, as it has the inf. absol. in Job 13:3, and צדּק signifies to vindicate (as Job 32:2), or acknowledge to be in the right (as the Piel of צדק, Job 33:12), both of which are blended here. The lxx, which translates θέλω γὰρ δικαιωθῆναί σε, has probably read צדקך (Psalm 35:27). If it is not so (אם־אין as Genesis 30:1), viz., that he does not intend to defend himself with reference to his expostulation with God on account of the affliction decreed for him, he shall on his part (אתּה) listen, shall be silent and be further taught wisdom.

Quasi hac ratione Heliu sanctum Iob convicerit! exclaims Beda, after a complete exposition of this speech. He regards Elihu as the type of the false wisdom of the heathen, which fails to recognise and persecutes the servant of God: Sunt alii extra ecclesiam, qui Christo ejusque ecclesiae similiter adversantur, quorum imaginem praetulit Balaam ille ariolus, qui et Elieu sicut patrum traditio habet (Balaam and Elihu, one person - a worthless conceit repeated in the Talmud and Midrash), qui contra ipsum sanctum Iob multa improbe et injuriose locutus est, in tantum ut etiam displiceret in una ejus et indisciplinata loquacitas.

(Note: Bedae Opp. ed. Basil. iii. col. 602f. 786. The commentary also bears the false name of Jerome Hieronymus, and as a writing attributed to him is contained in tom. v. Opp. ed. Vallarsi.)

Gregory the Great, in his Moralia, expresses himself no less unfavourably at the conclusion of this speech:


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