Home > Bible Journal > January 14, Job 32-34: Elihu responds

January 14, Job 32-34: Elihu responds

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Now, there are some arguments where there’s nothing left to be said. At least, until a new challenger enters the fray.

Chapter 32 of Job tells us that Job’s friends stopped answering him because Job had made himself righteous before his very own eyes. Seeing this, Elihu, son of Barakel the Buzite, got angry. Now, he was what we might nowadays call a young un’, you know a whippersnapper.

A short aside here. I once read a book on public speaking by Dale Carnegie, and in it he made the fascinating observation that we all become good public speakers when we’re angry. Something about anger energizes our body language and thought processes, imparting vigor and clarity to our speech.

The Bible tells that Elihu became angry at his elders. He was mad at Job because Job justified himself rather than justifying God. He was also mad at Job’s three friends because they had found no way to refute Job, yet condemned him. He had waited because they were older than he, but their silence aroused him to anger. And so Elihu began to speak.

Elihu first admits his youth, but he also notes that age is no guarantee of wisdom. Though he be youthful, he also has the Lord’s breath within him.

Job 32:7-8 says:
7 I thought, ‘Age should speak;
advanced years should teach wisdom.’
8 But it is the spirit in a person,
the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

Elihu won’t use the arguments of Job’s friends. Instead, he will use the words that have been waiting to burst forth from his mouth ever since he has been listening to their argument.

The theme of Chapter 33 is “Why Fight if God doesn’t answer you?” Job says God doesn’t answer, but Elihu points out that God does answer, but it may be in the form of a dream or warning. Job says there’s no one to mediate, but Elihu points out that if one angel out of a thousand speaks up for him, God will surely restore the blameless.

Elihu brazenly tells Job to pay attention, and to speak up if he has a reply.

Job 33:32-33 says:
32 If you have anything to say, answer me;
speak up, for I want to vindicate you.
33 But if not, then listen to me;
be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

In Chapter 34, Elihu talks about how God is never wicked or unjust. Job claims to be blameless, but he claims that it profits a man nothing to try to please God.

Elihu then points out that God needs no inquiry into a man’s life, because God already knows that man’s life. Whether God crushes that man in the night for his iniquities or lets him live into old age, God and God alone may judge his fate.

Furthermore, Job’s words prove that he is more than a sinner. He is a rebel.

Job 34:35-37 says:
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge;
his words lack insight.’
36 Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost
for answering like a wicked man!
37 To his sin he adds rebellion;
scornfully he claps his hands among us
and multiplies his words against God.”

Questions: Have you ever felt like Elihu, too young to speak to a group of advanced age? Do you think you argue better when you’re angry?

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