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Elihu Is Upset with Job’s Friends

32 Finally, these three men stopped arguing with Job, because he refused to admit that he was guilty.

Elihu from Buz[a] was there, and he had become upset with Job for blaming God instead of himself. He was also angry with Job’s three friends for not being able to prove that Job was wrong. Elihu was younger than these three, and he let them speak first. But he became irritated when they could not answer Job, and he said to them:

I am much younger than you,
so I have shown respect
    by keeping silent.
I once believed age
    was the source of wisdom;
now I truly realize
    wisdom comes from God.
Age is no guarantee of wisdom
    and understanding.
10 That’s why I ask you
    to listen to me.

I Eagerly Listened

11 I eagerly listened
    to each of your arguments,
12 but not one of you proved
    Job to be wrong.
13 You shouldn’t say,
“We know what’s right!
    Let God punish him.”
14 Job hasn’t spoken against me,
and so I won’t answer him
    with your arguments.

15 All of you are shocked;
    you don’t know what to say.
16 But am I to remain silent,
just because you
    have stopped speaking?
17 No! I will give my opinion,
18 because I have so much to say,
    that I can’t keep quiet.
19 I am like a swollen wineskin,
and I will burst[b]
20     if I don’t speak.
21 I don’t know how to be unfair
    or to flatter anyone—
22 if I did, my Creator
    would quickly destroy me!

Elihu Speaks

Job, Listen to Me!

33 Job, listen to me!
    Pay close attention.
Everything I will say
    is true and sincere,
just as surely as the Spirit
of God All-Powerful[c]
    gave me the breath of life.
Now line up your arguments
    and prepare to face me.
We each were made from clay,
    and God has no favorites,
so don’t be afraid of me
    or what I might do.

I Have Heard You Argue

I have heard you argue
that you are innocent,
    guilty of nothing.
10 You claim that God
    has made you his enemy,
11 that he has bound your feet
    and blocked your path.
12 But, Job, you’re wrong—
God is greater
    than any human.
13 So why do you challenge God
    to answer you?[d]
14 God speaks in different ways,
and we don’t always
    recognize his voice.
15 Sometimes in the night,
he uses terrifying dreams
16     to give us warnings.
17 God does this to make us turn
    from sin and pride
18 and to protect us
from being swept away
    to the world of the dead.

19 Sometimes we are punished
with a serious illness
    and aching joints.
20 Merely the thought
of our favorite food
    makes our stomachs sick,
21 and we become so skinny
    that our bones stick out.
22 We feel death and the grave
    taking us in their grip.

23 One of a thousand angels
then comes to our rescue
    by saying we are innocent.
24 The angel shows kindness,
commanding death to release us,
    because the price was paid.
25 Our health is restored,
we feel young again,
26     and we ask God to accept us.
Then we joyfully worship God,
and we are rewarded
    because we are innocent.
27 When that happens,
    we tell everyone,
“I sinned and did wrong,
    but God forgave me
28 and rescued me from death!
    Now I will see the light.”

29 God gives each of us
    chance after chance
30 to be saved from death
and brought into the light
    that gives life.
31 So, Job, pay attention
    and don’t interrupt,
32 though I would gladly listen
to anything you say
    that proves you are right.
33 Otherwise, listen in silence
    to my wisdom.

Elihu Continues

You Men Think You Are Wise

34 Elihu said:

You men think you are wise,
    but just listen to me!
Think about my words,
    as you would taste food.
Then we can decide the case
    and give a just verdict.
Job claims he is innocent
and God is guilty
    of mistreating him.
Job also argues that God
    considers him a liar
and that he is suffering severely
    in spite of his innocence.
But to tell the truth,
    Job is shameless!
He spends his time with sinners,
because he has said,
    “It doesn’t pay to please God.”

If Any of You Are Smart

10 If any of you are smart,
    you will listen and learn
that God All-Powerful
    does what is right.
11 God always treats everyone
the way they deserve,
12     and he is never unfair.
13 From the very beginning,
God has been in control
    of all the world.

14 If God took back the breath
    that he breathed into us,
15 we humans would die
and return to the soil.
16     So be smart and listen!
17 The mighty God is the one
who brings about justice,
    and you are condemning him.
18 Indeed, God is the one
    who condemns unfair rulers.
19 And God created us all;
he has no favorites,
    whether rich or poor.
20 Even powerful rulers die
    in the darkness of night
when they least expect it,
    just like the rest of us.

God Watches Everything We Do

21 God watches everything we do.
22 No evil person can hide
    in the deepest darkness.
23 And so, God doesn’t need
    to set a time for judgment.
24 Without asking for advice,
God removes mighty leaders
    and puts others in their place.
25 He knows what they are like,
and he wipes them out
    in the middle of the night.
26 And while others look on,
    he punishes them
because they were evil
27     and refused to obey him.
28 The persons they mistreated
    had prayed for help,
until God answered
    their prayers.
29 When God does nothing,
can any person or nation
    find fault with him?
30 But still, he punishes rulers
    who abuse their people.[e]

31 Job, you should tell God
that you are guilty
    and promise to do better.
32 Then ask him to point out
what you did wrong,
    so you won’t do it again.
33 Do you make the rules,
    or does God?
You have to decide—
I can’t do it for you;
    now make up your mind.
34 Job, anyone with good sense
    can easily see
35 that you are speaking nonsense
    and lack good judgment.
36 So I pray for you to suffer
as much as possible
    for talking like a sinner.
37 You have rebelled against God,
time after time,
    and have even insulted us.


  1. 32.2 Elihu from Buz: The Hebrew text has “Elihu son of Barachel from Buz of the family of Ram.” Buz may have been somewhere in the territory of Edom; in Jeremiah 25.23 it is mentioned along with Dedan and Tema (see 6.19).
  2. 32.19 swollen wineskin. . . burst: While the juice from grapes was becoming wine, it would swell and stretch the skins in which it had been stored; sometimes the swelling would burst the wineskins.
  3. 33.4 the Spirit of God All-Powerful: Or “God All-Powerful.”
  4. 33.13 answer you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 13.
  5. 34.30 people: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 29,30.