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Elihu Rebukes Job

32 So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes [and could not be persuaded otherwise by them]. But Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became indignant. His indignation was kindled and burned and he became upset with Job because he justified himself rather than God [and even expressed doubts about God’s character]. Elihu’s anger burned against Job’s three friends because they had found no answer [and were unable to determine Job’s error], and yet they had condemned Job and declared him to be in the wrong [and responsible for his own afflictions]. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because the others were years older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouths of these three men, he burned with anger.

Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite said,

“I am young, and you are aged;
For that reason I was anxious and dared not tell you what I think.

“I thought age should speak,
And a multitude of years should teach wisdom.

“But there is [a vital force and] a spirit [of intelligence] in man,
And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.(A)

“Those [who are] abundant in years may not [always] be wise,
Nor may the elders [always] understand justice.
“Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
I also will give you my opinion [about Job’s situation] and tell you plainly what I think.’

“You see, I waited for your words,
I listened to your [wise] reasons,
While you pondered and searched out what to say.
“I even paid close attention to [what] you [said],
Indeed, not one of you convinced Job [nor could you refute him],
Not one of you supplied [satisfactory] answers to his words.
“Beware if you say,
‘We have found wisdom;
God thrusts Job down [justly], not man [for God alone is dealing with him].’
“Now Job has not directed his words against me [therefore I have no reason to be offended],
Nor will I answer him with arguments like yours. [I speak for truth, not for revenge.]

“They (Job’s friends) are dismayed and embarrassed, they no longer answer;
The words have moved away and failed them,” [says Elihu].
“And shall I wait, because they say nothing,
But stand still and say no more?
“I too will give my share of answers;
I too will express my opinion and share my knowledge.
“For I am full of words;
The spirit within me constrains me.
“My belly is like unvented wine;
Like new wineskins it is about to burst.
“I must speak so that I may get relief;
I will open my lips and answer.
“I will not [I warn you] be partial to any man [that is, let my respect for you mitigate what I say];
Nor flatter any man.
“For I do not know how to flatter, [in an appropriate way, and I fear that],
My Maker would soon take me away.

Elihu Claims to Speak for God

33 “However, Job, please listen to my words,
And pay attention to everything I say.

“Behold, I have opened my mouth [to begin my speech];
My tongue in my mouth is going to speak.

“My words will express the uprightness of my heart,
And my lips will speak what they know with utter sincerity.

“The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of [a]the Almighty gives me life [which inspires me].

“Answer me, if you can;
Set yourselves before me, take your stand.

“Behold, I belong to God like you;
I too was formed out of the clay.

“Behold, I will not make you afraid or terrified of me [for I am only mortal and not God],
Nor should any pressure from me weigh heavily upon you.

“Surely you have spoken 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 guilt in me.
‘Behold, God finds pretexts against me;
He counts me as His enemy.
‘He puts my feet in the stocks [to hinder and humiliate me];
He [suspiciously] watches all my paths,’ [you say].
“Look, let me answer you, in this you are not right or just;
For God is greater and far superior to man.

“Why do you complain against Him?
That He does not answer [you with] all His doings.
“For God speaks once,
And even twice, yet no one notices it [including you, Job].
“In a dream, a vision of the night [one may hear God’s voice],
When deep sleep falls on men
While slumbering upon the bed,
Then He opens the ears of men
And seals their instruction,
That He may turn man aside from his conduct,
And keep him from pride;
He holds back his soul from the pit [of destruction],
And his life from passing over into Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead).

“Man is also disciplined with pain on his bed,
And with unceasing complaint in his bones,
So that his life makes him loathe food,
And his soul [loathe] even his favorite dishes.
“His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
And his bones which were not seen now stick out.
“Then his soul draws near to the pit [of destruction],
And his life to those who bring death (the destroyers).

“If there is an angel as a mediator for him,
One out of a thousand,
To explain to a man what is right for him [that is, how to be in right standing with God],
Then [b]the angel is gracious to him, and says,
‘Spare him from going down to the pit [of destruction];
I have found a ransom [a consideration, or reason for redemption, an atonement]!’
“Let his flesh be restored and become fresher than in youth;
Let him return to the days of his youthful strength.
“He will pray to God, and He shall be favorable to him,
So that he looks at His face with joy;
For God restores to man His righteousness [that is, his right standing with God—with its joys].
“He sings out to other men,
‘I have sinned and perverted that which was right,
And it was not proper for me!
‘God has redeemed my life from going to the pit [of destruction],
And my life shall see the light.’”

[Elihu comments,] “Behold, God does all these things [c]twice, yes, three times, with a man,
To bring his life back from the pit [of destruction],
That he may be enlightened with the light of the living.
“Pay attention, Job, listen to me;
Keep silent, and I will speak.
“If you have anything to say, answer me;
Speak, for I desire to justify you.
“If not [and you have nothing to say], listen to me;
Keep silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

Elihu Vindicates God’s Justice

34 Elihu continued his discourse and said,

“Hear my words, you wise men,
And listen to me, you who have [so much] knowledge.

“For the ear puts words to the test
As the palate tastes food.

“Let us choose for ourselves that which is right;
Let us know among ourselves what is good.

“For Job has said, ‘I am righteous [and innocent],
But God has taken away my right;(B)

Although I am right, I am accounted a liar.
My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’

“What man is like Job,
Who drinks up derision like water,

Who goes in company with those who do evil
And walks with wicked men?

“For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
When he takes delight and is pleased with God and obeys Him.’

“Therefore hear me, you men of understanding.
Far be it from God that He would do wickedness,
And from the Almighty to do wrong.
“For God pays a man according to his work,
And He will make every man find [appropriate] compensation according to his way.
“Surely God will not act wickedly,
Nor will the Almighty pervert justice.
“Who put God in charge over the earth?
And who has laid on Him the whole world?
“If God should determine to do so,
If He should gather to Himself [that is, withdraw from man] His [life-giving] spirit and His breath,
All flesh would perish together,
And man would return to dust.(C)

“If you now have understanding, hear this;
Listen to the sound of my words.
“Shall one who hates justice [and is an enemy of right] govern?
And will you condemn Him who is just and mighty?
“God who says to a king, ‘You are worthless and vile,’
Or to princes and nobles, ‘You are wicked and evil’?
“Who is not partial to princes,
Nor does He regard the rich above the poor,
For they all are the work of His hands.
“In a moment they die, even at midnight
The people are shaken and pass away,
And the powerful are taken away without a [human] hand.

“For God’s eyes are on the ways of a man,
And He sees all his steps.(D)
“There is no darkness nor deep shadow
Where the evildoers may hide themselves.
“For He sets no appointed time for a man,
That he should appear before Him in judgment.
“He breaks mighty men without inquiry,
And sets others in their place.(E)
“Therefore He knows of their works,
And He overthrows them in the night,
So that they are crushed and destroyed.
“He strikes them like the wicked
In a public place,
Because they turned aside from following Him
And would not consider or show regard for any of His ways,(F)
So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him,
And He heard the cry of the afflicted.(G)
“When He keeps quiet, who then can condemn?
When He hides His face [withdrawing His favor and help], who then can behold Him [and make supplication to Him],
Whether it be a nation or a man by himself?—
So that godless men would not rule
Nor be snares for the people.

“For has anyone said to God,
‘I have endured my chastisement;
I will not offend anymore;
Teach me what I do not see [in regard to how I have sinned];
If I have done wrong (injustice, unrighteousness),
I will not do it again’?
“Shall God’s retribution [for your sins] be on your terms, because you refuse to accept it?
For you must do the choosing, and not I;
Therefore say what you [truthfully] know.
“Men of understanding will tell me,
Indeed, every wise man who hears me [will agree],
‘Job speaks without knowledge,
And his words are without wisdom and insight.
‘Job ought to be tried [d]to the limit
Because he answers like wicked men!
‘For he adds rebellion [in his unsubmissive, defiant attitude toward God] to his [unacknowledged] sin;
He claps his hands among us [in open mockery and contempt of God],
And he multiplies his words [of accusation] against God.’”


  1. Job 33:4 Heb Shaddai.
  2. Job 33:24 Lit he.
  3. Job 33:29 Or often.
  4. Job 34:36 Or to the end.

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