32 Finally, these three men stopped arguing with Job, because he refused to admit that he was guilty.
2 Elihu from Buz[a] was there, and he had become upset with Job for blaming God instead of himself. 3 He was also angry with Job’s three friends for not being able to prove that Job was wrong. 4 Elihu was younger than these three, and he let them speak first. 5 But he became irritated when they could not answer Job, 6 and he said to them:
I am much younger than you, so I have shown respect by keeping silent. 7 I once believed age was the source of wisdom; 8 now I truly realize wisdom comes from God. 9 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!
Job, Listen to Me!
33 Job, listen to me! Pay close attention. 2 Everything I will say 3 is true and sincere, 4 just as surely as the Spirit of God All-Powerful[c] gave me the breath of life. 5 Now line up your arguments and prepare to face me. 6 We each were made from clay, and God has no favorites, 7 so don’t be afraid of me or what I might do.
I Have Heard You Argue
8 I have heard you argue 9 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.
You Men Think You Are Wise
34 Elihu said:
2 You men think you are wise, but just listen to me! 3 Think about my words, as you would taste food. 4 Then we can decide the case and give a just verdict. 5 Job claims he is innocent and God is guilty of mistreating him. 6 Job also argues that God considers him a liar and that he is suffering severely in spite of his innocence. 7 But to tell the truth, Job is shameless! 8 He spends his time with sinners, 9 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.
32.2Elihu 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).
32.19swollen 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.
33.4the Spirit of God All-Powerful: Or “God All-Powerful.”
33.13answer you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 13.
34.30people: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 29,30.
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