on Job 32 :1
These three men ceased to answer Job - They supposed that it was of no use to attempt to reason any longer with a man who justified himself before God. The truth is, they failed to convince Job of any point, because they argued from false principles; and, as we have seen, Job had the continual advantage of them. There were points on which he might have been successfully assailed; but they did not know them. Elihu, better acquainted both with human nature and the nature of the Divine law, and of God's moral government of the world, steps in, and makes the proper discriminations; acquits Job on the ground of their accusations, but condemns him for his too great self-confidence, and his trusting too much in his external righteousness; and, without duly considering his frailty and imperfections, his incautiously arraigning the providence of God of unkindness in its dealings with him. This was the point on which Job was particularly vulnerable, and which Elihu very properly clears up.
Because he was righteous tn his own eyes - The Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, and Chaldee, all read, "Because he was righteous in Their eyes;" intimating, that they were now convinced that he was a holy man, and that they had charged him foolishly. The reading of these ancient versions is supported by a MS. of the thirteenth century, in Dr. Kennicott's collections; which, instead of בעיניו beeinaiv, in His eyes, has בעיניהם beeineyhem, in Their eyes. This is a reading of considerable importance, but it is not noticed by De Rossi. Symmachus translates nearly in the same way: Δια τον αυτον δικαιον φαινεσθαι επ' αυτων; Because he appeared more righteous than themselves.
on Job 32 :1
So these three men ceased to answer Job - Each had had three opportunities of replying to him, though in the last series of the controversy Zophar had been silent. Now all were silent; and though they do not appear in the least to have been convinced, or to have changed their opinion, yet they found no arguments with which to sustain their views. It was this, among other things, which induced Elihu to take up the subject.
Because he was righteous in his own eyes - Umbreit expresses the sense of this by adding, "and they could not convince him of his unrighteousness." It was not merely because he was righteous in his own estimation, that they ceased to answer him; it was because their arguments had no effect in convincing him, and they had nothing new to say. He seemed to be obstinately bent on maintaining his own good opinion of himself in spite of all their reasoning, and they sat down in silence.
on Job 32 :1
32:1 Because - So they said: but they could not answer him.