1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.
5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.
6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
7 I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
10 Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.
11 Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.
12 Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:
13 Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.
14 Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
15 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.
16 When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)
17 I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.
18 For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.
19 Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.
20 I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.
21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
22 For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.
1 Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.
2 Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.
3 My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.
4 The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
5 If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.
6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay.
7 Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.
8 Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,
9 I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
10 Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,
11 He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.
12 Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
13 Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.
14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
18 He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
20 So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
21 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
22 Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
23 If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth:
26 He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.
27 He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
29 Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
31 Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.
32 If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.
33 If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.
1 Furthermore Elihu answered and said,
2 Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.
3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
4 Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.
5 For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
6 Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.
7 What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
8 Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.
9 For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
10 Therefore hearken unto me ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.
11 For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.
12 Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.
13 Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
14 If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
15 All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
16 If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.
17 Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
18 Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?
19 How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands.
20 In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.
21 For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.
22 There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
23 For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.
24 He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.
25 Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.
26 He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;
27 Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:
28 So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.
29 When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:
30 That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.
31 Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
32 That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.
33 Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest.
34 Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.
35 Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.
36 My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.
37 For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.
1 Elihu spake moreover, and said,
2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?
3 For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?
4 I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.
5 Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.
6 If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?
7 If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?
8 Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
9 By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.
10 But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?
12 There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.
13 Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.
14 Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.
15 But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:
16 Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.
The trying of our faith
By Yoga Raj
The scriptures for todays’ reading are Elihu’s speech. I have included the structure of the chapters in the book of Job for context. Speech of Elihu (Job 32-37) – Elihu arguing against both Job and Job’s 3 friends.
- Prologue (Job 1 & 2) – Introduction to Job and his lifestyle, God’s challenge to Satan on Job’s integrity and righteousness, Job’s tests, his afflictions and suffering.
- Dialogue between Job and his 3 friends (Job 3 – 31) – Job’s argument with his friends Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad about Job’s righteous vs God’s justice. Job proclaims his innocence and the injustice of his suffering, while his friends argue that Job is being punished for his sins.
- Speech of the Lord (Job 38-41) – The Lord’s appearance illustrating His transcendent power, wisdom and justice.
- Epilogue (Job 42) – The conclusion: Job repents, God rebukes Job’s 3 friends (not Elihu), and Job is given recompense.
Summarizing what stood out to me from the reading of the chapters and their commentaries.
Chapter 32 and 33 – After patiently listening to the conversation between Job and his friends (Chapter 3 – 31) Elihu finally responds to them (Chapter 32 – 37). He confronts Job for being self-righteous, and then at his 3 friends for not coming up with an answer to Job’s questions. Being young, he starts by giving credit to the Lord’s spirit as the source of one’s wisdom and knowledge. He also conveys that his intent is not to harm, instead to give clarity.
- Job 32: 6-7 “I am young and you are old, so I held back from telling you what I think. I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’ But there is a spiritwithin people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent.”
- Job 33:3-4 “I speak with all sincerity; I speak the truth. For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
- Job 33:6-7 “Look, you and I both belong to God. I, too, was formed from clay. So you don’t need to be afraid of me. I won’t come down hard on you.”
Elihu is specific to address Job’s vigorous self-defense and his accusation of God’s silence amidst his suffering.
- Job 33:12-18 “But you are wrong, and I will show you why. For God is greater than any human being. So why are you bringing a charge against him? Why say he does not respond to people’s complaints? For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it. He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings. He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride. He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.”
Throughout the Bible we see God giving revelation to the leaders and prophets, through visions, dreams and His voice. He gives the Israelites warning of their sins, the coming of His judgements, their exile, His deliverance, their return and the fulfilment of His promises. God may remain silent, may not answer or intervene at the time we want Him to, but He always does in His timing. He always listens to our pleas and is concerned about us.
God cannot be unjust, Elihu insists. He offers a new explanation for Job’s pain, changing the emphasis of suffering from punishment to warning or a purifying influence. God can use suffering or chastening to improve or discipline a person, if it is received in the right spirit. He moves on to highlight God’s graciousness and forgiveness when there is intercession. God’s acceptance, restoration and salvation in response to our prayers and repentance.
- Job 33:23-28 “But if an angel from heaven appears— a special messenger to intercedefor a person and declare that he is upright— he will be gracious and say, ‘Rescue him from the grave, for I have found a ransom for his life.’ Then his body will become as healthy as a child’s firm and youthful again. When he prays to God, he will be accepted. And God will receive him with joy and restore him to good standing. He will declare to his friends, ‘I sinned and twisted the truth, but it was not worth it. God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.’“Yes, God does these things again and again for people. He rescues them from the grave so they may enjoy the light of life.”
Chapter 34 and 35 – In these chapters Elihu emphasizes God’s justice. He is a gracious and forgiving God but is also a righteous and just God. Nothing can escape the eyes of the Lord. There are always consequences for our actions and intentions.
- Job 34:10-12 “..The Almighty can do no wrong. He repays people according to their deeds. He treats people as they deserve. Truly, God will not do wrong. The Almighty will not twist justice.”
- Job 34:21 “For God watches how people live; he sees everything they do.”
Chapter 36 and 37 – In chapter 36 Elihu continues to elaborate on the Lord’s justice and deliverance. He reminds Job of God’s power, wisdom and understanding being demonstrated in His creation and mighty works. Elihu encourages Jobs to glorify and praise God amidst his suffering for the mere reason that God’s wisdom, knowledge, perfection and power cannot be fathomed or questioned. In Chapter 37 he brings in splendid illustrations from nature to prove His power. Elihu ends his arguments by stressing God’s omnipotence and justice.
Who is Elihu? What is his purpose in the Book of Job?
- Elihu has a different way of accusing Job than the other three. Job’s friends claimed that Job was suffering because he had sinned. Elihu concentrates on Job’s sinful reaction to his undeserved suffering.
- Elihu does not defend Job’s innocence. Instead, he defends God’s actions and exalts His greatness. He states that suffering may be decreed for the righteous as a protection against greater sin, for moral betterment and warning, and to elicit greater trust and dependence on a merciful, compassionate God in the midst of adversity.
- Elihu is a bridge to God’s response that starts in chapter 38. He sets the stage for God’s entrance. He introduces in chapter 37, the same mysteries that God picks up with in chapter 38, the marvels of creation.
- Elihu’s approach was in line with God’s. They both assert that, at times, Job had spoken without wisdom and knowledge, both affirm that Job has sought to annul God’s judgment; that Job had justified himself rather than God.
- The empathy and sincerity of Elihu, his words of correction, were perhaps a balm to Job compared to the accusations of the others. Some of this young man’s thoughts may have reminded Job of his own arguments and the light that had brought hope to his own soul. Elihu’s picture of God was different from the three friends.
- Hebrew meaning of the name Elihu – My God is He. Elihu could be considered a comforter of Job, an intermediary who helps restore Job to God.
Suffering, afflictions, trials and tests are part of our life. The book of Job teaches us that suffering doesn’t always come as a result of sin. It is not for us to try to reason the specific cause of a person’s suffering. God reserves that knowledge for Himself. The Lord did not inform Job for the reason behind it. He concentrated instead on Job’s response. The real issue at stake was Job’s faith, whether he would continue to trust God even when things went wrong. In Job’s case, God used a time of affliction to win an important, even cosmic, victory over Satan. Looking backward, we can see the advantage Job gained by continuing to trust God.
When our faith is being tested, if we put our trust and hope in Him, earnestly seek for His strength and direction, humbly submit to His will, and be obedient to His call without questioning, WE WILL come out as pure as gold! The Lord’s reward will be blessings here on earth and a crown up in Heaven.
Job 23:10 “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.”