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Chapter 34

Then Elihu answered and said:[a]

Hear my discourse, you that are wise;
    you that have knowledge, listen to me!
For the ear tests words,
    as the palate tastes food.(A)
Let us choose what is right;
    let us determine among ourselves what is good.
For Job has said, “I am innocent,
    but God has taken away what is my right.(B)
I declare the judgment on me to be a lie;
    my arrow-wound is incurable, sinless though I am.”(C)
What man is like Job?
    He drinks in blasphemies like water,
Keeps company with evildoers
    and goes along with the wicked,
When he says, “There is no profit
    in pleasing God.”(D)
10 Therefore, you that have understanding, hear me:
    far be it from God to do wickedness;
    far from the Almighty to do wrong!(E)
11 Rather, he requites mortals for their conduct,
    and brings home to them their way of life.(F)
12 Surely, God cannot act wickedly,
    the Almighty cannot pervert justice.(G)
13 Who gave him charge over the earth,
    or who set all the world in its place?(H)
14 If he were to set his mind to it,
    gather to himself his spirit and breath,
15 All flesh would perish together,
    and mortals return to dust.(I)
16 Now you[b]—understand, hear this!
    Listen to the words I speak!
17 Can an enemy of justice be in control,
    will you condemn the supreme Just One,
18 Who says to a king, “You are worthless!”
    and to nobles, “You are wicked!”
19 Who neither favors the person of princes,
    nor respects the rich more than the poor?
For they are all the work of his hands;(J)
20     in a moment they die, even at midnight.(K)
People are shaken, and pass away,
    the powerful are removed without lifting a hand;
21 For his eyes are upon our ways,
    and all our steps he sees.
22 There is no darkness so dense
    that evildoers can hide in it.
23 For no one has God set a time
    to come before him in judgment.
24 Without inquiry he shatters the mighty,(L)
    and appoints others in their place,
25 Thus he discerns their works;
    overnight they are crushed.
26 [c]Where the wicked are, he strikes them,
    in a place where all can see,
27 Because they turned away from him
    and did not understand his ways at all:
28 And made the cry of the poor reach him,
    so that he heard the cry of the afflicted.
29 If he is silent, who then can condemn?
    If he hides his face, who then can behold him,
    whether nation or individual?
30 Let an impious man not rule,
    nor those who ensnare their people.
31 Should anyone say to God,
    “I accept my punishment; I will offend no more;
32 What I cannot see, teach me:
    if I have done wrong, I will do so no more,”
33 Would you then say that God must punish,
    when you are disdainful?
It is you who must choose, not I;
    speak, therefore, what you know.
34 Those who understand will say to me,
    all the wise who hear my views:
35 “Job speaks without knowledge,
    his words make no sense.(M)
36 Let Job be tested to the limit,
    since his answers are those of the impious;
37 For he is adding rebellion to his sin
    by brushing off our arguments
    and addressing many words to God.”


  1. 34:1 Elihu replies, although no one else has spoken. This connective phrase (see also 35:1 and 36:1) may indicate that these speeches of Elihu are a secondary addition to the book (see note on 32:2).
  2. 34:16 Now you: Elihu turns to Job and addresses him directly.
  3. 34:26, 29–30 The extant Hebrew text of these verses is obscure.