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Elihu Sharply Reproves Job

35 Elihu continued speaking [to Job] and said,

“Do you think this is according to [your] justice?
Do you say, ‘My righteousness is more than God’s’?

“For you say, ‘What advantage have you [by living a righteous life]?
What profit will I have, more [by being righteous] than if I had sinned?’

“I will answer you,
And your companions with you.

“Look to the heavens and see;
And behold the skies which are [much] higher than you.

“If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him?
And if your transgressions are multiplied, what have you done to Him?

“If you are righteous, what do you give God,
Or what does He receive from your hand?

“Your wickedness affects only a man such as you,
And your righteousness affects only [a]a son of man [but it cannot affect God, who is sovereign].

“Because of the multitudes of oppressions the people cry out;
They cry for help because of the [violent] arm of the mighty.
“But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
Who gives songs [of rejoicing] in the night,(A)
Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
And makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’
“The people cry out, but He does not answer
Because of the pride of evil men.
“Surely God will not listen to an empty cry [which lacks trust],
Nor will the Almighty regard it.
“Even though you say that you do not see Him [when missing His righteous judgment on earth],
Yet your case is before Him, and you must wait for Him!
“And now, because He has not [quickly] punished in His anger,
Nor has He acknowledged transgression and arrogance well [and seems unaware of the wrong of which a person is guilty],
Job uselessly opens his mouth
And multiplies words without knowledge [drawing the worthless conclusion that the righteous have no more advantage than the wicked].”

Elihu Speaks of God’s Dealings with Men

36 Elihu continued and said,

“Bear with me a little longer, and I will show you,
That there is yet more to say on God’s behalf.

“I will bring my knowledge from afar,
And will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

“For truly my words are not false;
He who is perfect in knowledge is with you.

“Behold, God is mighty, and yet does not despise anyone [nor regard any as trivial];
He is mighty in the strength and power of understanding.

“He does not prolong the life of the wicked,
But gives the afflicted their justice.

“He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous [those in right standing with Him];
But with kings upon the throne
He has seated them forever, and they are exalted.

“And if they are bound in bonds [of adversity],
And held by cords of affliction,(B)

Then He declares to them [the true character of] their deeds
And their transgressions, that they have acted arrogantly [with presumption and notions of self-sufficiency].
“He opens their ears to instruction and discipline,
And commands that they return from evil.
“If they hear and serve Him,
They will end their days in prosperity
And their years in pleasantness and joy.
“But if they do not hear and obey, they will die by the sword [of God’s destructive judgments]
And they will die [in ignorance] without [true] knowledge.
“But the godless in heart store up anger [at the divine discipline];
They do not cry [to Him] for help when He binds them [with cords of affliction].(C)
“They die in youth,
And their life ends among the [b]cult prostitutes.(D)
“He rescues the afflicted in their affliction,
And opens their ears [so that they pay attention to His voice] in times of oppression.
“Then indeed, He enticed you from the mouth of distress and confinement,
Into a broad place where there is no constraint or distress;
And that which was set on your table was full of fatness (rich food).

“But you [Job] were full of judgment on the wicked,
Judgment and justice take hold of you.
“Do not let wrath entice you into scoffing;
And do not let the greatness and the extent of the ransom turn you aside.
“Will your wealth [be sufficient to] keep you from [the confinement of] distress,
Or will all the force of your strength do it?
“Do not long for the night,
When people vanish from their places.
“Take heed and be careful, do not turn to wickedness,
For you have chosen this [the vice of complaining against God] rather than [learning from] affliction.
“Behold, God is exalted in His power;
Who is a ruler or a teacher like Him?
“Who has appointed God His way,
And who can say [to Him], ‘You have done wrong’?

“Remember that you should magnify God’s work,
Of which men have sung.
“All men have seen God’s work;
Man looks at it from a distance.
“Behold, God is exalted, and we do not know Him;
The number of His years is unsearchable.(E)
“For He draws up the drops of water,
They distill rain from the mist,
Which the clouds pour down,
They drop abundantly upon mankind.”
“Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds
Or the thundering of His pavilion?(F)
“Behold, He spreads His lightning around Him [against the dark clouds],
And He covers the depths of the sea.
“For by these [mighty acts] He judges the peoples;
He gives food in abundance.
“He covers His hands with the lightning,
And commands it to strike the mark.
“His thundering voice declares [awesomely] His presence;
The cattle also are told of His coming storm.

Elihu Says God has Authority over the Storm

37 “Indeed, at His thundering my heart trembles
And leaps out of its place.

“Listen carefully to the thunder of His voice,
And the rumbling that goes out of His mouth!

“He lets it loose under the whole heaven,
And His lightning to the ends of the earth.

“After it, His voice roars;
He thunders with the voice of His majesty,
And He does not restrain His lightning [against His adversaries] when His voice is heard.

“God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things which we cannot comprehend.

“For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’;
And [He speaks] to the showers and to the downpour [of His mighty rains], ‘Be strong.’

“God seals (brings to a standstill, stops) [by severe weather] the hand of every man,
That all men [whom He has made] may know His work [that is, His sovereign power and their subjection to it].

“Then the beast goes into its lair
And remains in its hiding place.

“Out of its chamber comes the storm,
And cold from the north wind.
“Ice is made by the breath of God,
And the expanse of the waters is frozen.(G)
“He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
He disperses the cloud of His lightning.
“Its direction is turned around by His guidance,
That it may do whatever He commands it
On the face of the inhabited earth.
“Whether [it be] for correction, or for His earth [generally]
Or for [His] mercy and lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.(H)

“Listen to this, Job;
Stand still and consider the wonders of God.
“Do you know how God establishes and commands them,
And makes the lightning of His [storm] cloud shine?
“Do you know about the layers of thick clouds [and how they are balanced and poised in the heavens],
The wonderful works of Him who is perfect in knowledge,
You whose garments are hot,
When He quiets the earth [in sultry summer] with the [oppressive] south wind?
“Can you, with Him, spread out the sky,
Strong as a molten mirror?
“Tell us [Job] what words [of man] shall we say to such a Being;
We cannot state our case because of darkness [that is, our ignorance in the presence of the unsearchable God].
“So shall it be told Him that I wish to speak?
Or should a man say that he would be swallowed up [and destroyed by God]?

“Now people cannot look at the light when it is bright in the skies [without being blinded],
When the wind has passed and cleared them.
“Out of the north comes golden splendor [and people can hardly look on it];
Around God is awesome splendor and majesty [far too glorious for man’s eyes].
“The Almighty—we cannot find Him;
He is exalted in power
And He will not do violence to [nor disregard] justice and abundant righteousness.(I)
“Men therefore fear Him;
He does not regard nor respect any who are wise in heart [in their own understanding and conceit].”(J)


  1. Job 35:8 I.e. a human being.
  2. Job 36:14 I.e. those practicing sodomy and prostitution in pagan religious rites.