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Job 33-36 New King James Version (NKJV)

Elihu Contradicts Job

33 “But please, Job, hear my speech,
And listen to all my words.
Now, I open my mouth;
My tongue speaks in my mouth.
My words come from my upright heart;
My lips utter pure knowledge.
The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
If you can answer me,
Set your words in order before me;
Take your stand.
Truly I am [a]as your spokesman before God;
I also have been formed out of clay.
Surely no fear of me will terrify you,
Nor will my hand be heavy on you.

“Surely you have spoken [b]in my hearing,
And I have heard the sound of your words, saying,
‘I am pure, without transgression;
I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me.
10 Yet He finds occasions against me,
He counts me as His enemy;
11 He puts my feet in the stocks,
He watches all my paths.’

12 “Look, in this you are not righteous.
I will answer you,
For God is greater than man.
13 Why do you contend with Him?
For He does not give an accounting of any of His words.
14 For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,
16 Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction.
17 In order to turn man from his deed,
And conceal pride from man,
18 He keeps back his soul from the Pit,
And his life from [c]perishing by the sword.

19 Man is also chastened with pain on his bed,
And with strong pain in many of his bones,
20 So that his life abhors bread,
And his soul [d]succulent food.
21 His flesh wastes away from sight,
And his bones stick out which once were not seen.
22 Yes, his soul draws near the Pit,
And his life to the executioners.

23 “If there is a messenger for him,
A mediator, one among a thousand,
To show man His uprightness,
24 Then He is gracious to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit;
I have found [e]a ransom’;
25 His flesh shall be young like a child’s,
He shall return to the days of his youth.
26 He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,
He shall see His face with joy,
For He restores to man His righteousness.
27 Then he looks at men and says,
‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right,
And it did not profit me.’
28 He will redeem [f]his soul from going down to the Pit,
And his life shall see the light.

29 “Behold, God works all these things,
Twice, in fact, three times with a man,
30 To bring back his soul from the Pit,
That he may be enlightened with the light of life.

31 “Give ear, Job, listen to me;
Hold your peace, and I will speak.
32 If you have anything to say, answer me;
Speak, for I desire to justify you.
33 If not, listen to me;
[g]Hold your peace, and I will teach you wisdom.”

Elihu Proclaims God’s Justice

34 Elihu further answered and said:

“Hear my words, you wise men;
Give ear to me, you who have knowledge.
For the ear tests words
As the palate tastes food.
Let us choose justice for ourselves;
Let us know among ourselves what is good.

“For Job has said, ‘I am righteous,
But God has taken away my justice;
Should I lie concerning my right?
My [h]wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
What man is like Job,
Who drinks [i]scorn like water,
Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity,
And walks with wicked men?
For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
That he should delight in God.’

10 “Therefore listen to me, you [j]men of understanding:
Far be it from God to do wickedness,
And from the Almighty to commit iniquity.
11 For He repays man according to his work,
And makes man to find a reward according to his way.
12 Surely God will never do wickedly,
Nor will the Almighty pervert justice.
13 Who gave Him charge over the earth?
Or who appointed Him over the whole world?
14 If He should set His heart on it,
If He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath,
15 All flesh would perish together,
And man would return to dust.

16 “If you have understanding, hear this;
Listen to the sound of my words:
17 Should one who hates justice govern?
Will you condemn Him who is most just?
18 Is it fitting to say to a king, ‘You are worthless,’
And to nobles, ‘You are wicked’?
19 Yet He is not partial to princes,
Nor does He regard the rich more than the poor;
For they are all the work of His hands.
20 In a moment they die, in the middle of the night;
The people are shaken and pass away;
The mighty are taken away without a hand.

21 “For His eyes are on the ways of man,
And He sees all his steps.
22 There is no darkness nor shadow of death
Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
23 For He need not further consider a man,
That he should go before God in judgment.
24 He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry,
And sets others in their place.
25 Therefore He knows their works;
He overthrows them in the night,
And they are crushed.
26 He strikes 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 caused the cry of the poor to come to Him;
For He hears the cry of the afflicted.
29 When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?
And when He hides His face, who then can see Him,
Whether it is against a nation or a man alone?—
30 That the hypocrite should not reign,
Lest the people be ensnared.

31 “For has anyone said to God,
‘I have borne chastening;
I will offend no more;
32 Teach me what I do not see;
If I have done iniquity, I will do no more’?
33 Should He repay it according to your terms,
Just because you disavow it?
You must choose, and not I;
Therefore speak what you know.

34 “Men of understanding say to me,
Wise men who listen to me:
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge,
His words are without wisdom.’
36 Oh, that Job were tried to the utmost,
Because his answers are like those of wicked men!
37 For he adds rebellion to his sin;
He claps his hands among us,
And multiplies his words against God.”

Elihu Condemns Self-Righteousness

35 Moreover Elihu answered and said:

“Do you think this is right?
Do you say,
‘My righteousness is more than God’s’?
For you say,
‘What advantage will it be to You?
What profit shall I have, more than if I had sinned?’

“I will answer you,
And your companions with you.
Look to the heavens and see;
And behold the clouds—
They are higher than you.
If you sin, what do you accomplish against Him?
Or, if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to Him?
If you are righteous, what do you give Him?
Or what does He receive from your hand?
Your wickedness affects a man such as you,
And your righteousness a son of man.

“Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out;
They cry out for help because of the arm of the mighty.
10 But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
Who gives songs in the night,
11 Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth,
And makes us wiser than the birds of heaven?’
12 There they cry out, but He does not answer,
Because of the pride of evil men.
13 Surely God will not listen to empty talk,
Nor will the Almighty regard it.
14 Although you say you do not see Him,
Yet justice is before Him, and you must wait for Him.
15 And now, because He has not punished in His anger,
Nor taken much notice of folly,
16 Therefore Job opens his mouth in vain;
He multiplies words without knowledge.”

Elihu Proclaims God’s Goodness

36 Elihu also proceeded and said:

“Bear with me a little, and I will show you
That there are yet words to speak on God’s behalf.
I will fetch my knowledge from afar;
I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
For truly my words are not false;
One who is perfect in knowledge is with you.

“Behold, God is mighty, but despises no one;
He is mighty in strength [k]of understanding.
He does not preserve the life of the wicked,
But gives justice to the oppressed.
He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous;
But they are on the throne with kings,
For He has seated them forever,
And they are exalted.
And if they are bound in [l]fetters,
Held in the cords of affliction,
Then He tells them their work and their transgressions—
That they have acted [m]defiantly.
10 He also opens their ear to [n]instruction,
And commands that they turn from iniquity.
11 If they obey and serve Him,
They shall spend their days in prosperity,
And their years in pleasures.
12 But if they do not obey,
They shall perish by the sword,
And they shall die [o]without knowledge.

13 “But the hypocrites in heart store up wrath;
They do not cry for help when He binds them.
14 They[p] die in youth,
And their life ends among the [q]perverted persons.
15 He delivers the poor in their affliction,
And opens their ears in oppression.

16 “Indeed He would have brought you out of dire distress,
Into a broad place where there is no restraint;
And what is set on your table would be full of richness.
17 But you are filled with the judgment due the wicked;
Judgment and justice take hold of you.
18 Because there is wrath, beware lest He take you away with one blow;
For a large ransom would not help you avoid it.
19 Will your riches,
Or all the mighty forces,
Keep you from distress?
20 Do not desire the night,
When people are cut off in their place.
21 Take heed, do not turn to iniquity,
For you have chosen this rather than affliction.

22 “Behold, God is exalted by His power;
Who teaches like Him?
23 Who has assigned Him His way,
Or who has said, ‘You have done wrong’?

Elihu Proclaims God’s Majesty

24 “Remember to magnify His work,
Of which men have sung.
25 Everyone has seen it;
Man looks on it from afar.

26 “Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him;
Nor can the number of His years be discovered.
27 For He draws up drops of water,
Which distill as rain from the mist,
28 Which the clouds drop down
And pour abundantly on man.
29 Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds,
The thunder from His canopy?
30 Look, He scatters His light upon it,
And covers the depths of the sea.
31 For by these He judges the peoples;
He gives food in abundance.
32 He covers His hands with lightning,
And commands it to [r]strike.
33 His thunder declares it,
The cattle also, concerning [s]the rising storm.

Footnotes:

  1. Job 33:6 Lit. as your mouth
  2. Job 33:8 Lit. in my ears
  3. Job 33:18 Lit. passing
  4. Job 33:20 desirable
  5. Job 33:24 an atonement
  6. Job 33:28 Kt. my
  7. Job 33:33 Keep silent
  8. Job 34:6 Lit. arrow
  9. Job 34:7 derision
  10. Job 34:10 men of heart
  11. Job 36:5 of heart
  12. Job 36:8 chains
  13. Job 36:9 proudly
  14. Job 36:10 discipline
  15. Job 36:12 MT as one without knowledge
  16. Job 36:14 Lit. Their soul dies
  17. Job 36:14 Heb. qedeshim, those practicing sodomy or prostitution in religious rituals
  18. Job 36:32 strike the mark
  19. Job 36:33 Lit. what is rising
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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