|<< Job 34|
Job 35-37 Listen
Elihu misquotes Job to form his argument. (Job 35)
1 Elihu spake moreover, and said,
2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?
3 For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?
4 I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.
5 Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.
6 If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?
7 If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?
8 Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
9 By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.
10 But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?
12 There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.
13 Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.
14 Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.
15 But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:
16 Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.
Elihu began this long monologue back in Job 32 (see notes). This is is the only time we hear him speak. Don't you just hate it when somebody argues with you by misquoting what you said and then attacking that point? That's exactly what Elihu had done in chapters 33 and 34; now he's at it again. In verses 2 and 3 he seems to suggest that Job had indicated his righteousness was greater than that of God's. Job never said that! He also seems to suggest that Job had included the concept that sinning was no big deal in these two verses. With those inaccuracies as his springboard, he continues his condemnation of Job - a condemnation that is basically misdirected, because Job never said that either. He tops it all off by dismissing Job's monologues completely in verse 16 when he says, "Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge." That seems to be the inflammatory equivalent of, "Job, you're just blowing hot air!" Make no mistake about it, Elihu is not part of the solution here, but a very confusing part of the problem.
Elihu, how arrogant can one be? (Job 36)
1 Elihu also proceeded, and said,
2 Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.
3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
4 For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.
5 Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.
6 He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.
7 He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.
8 And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;
9 Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.
10 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.
11 If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.
12 But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.
13 But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them.
14 They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.
15 He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.
16 Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.
17 But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.
18 Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.
19 Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.
20 Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.
21 Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.
22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?
23 Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?
24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.
25 Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off.
26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.
27 For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:
28 Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.
29 Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?
30 Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.
31 For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance.
32 With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.
33 The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.
Look at Job 36:4, "For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee." Who is he talking about here when he proclaims that Job is in the presence of someone with perfect knowledge from God? Elihu is referring to himself! Does this guy have an ego problem or what! We know from Job 38-39 (see notes) that his words aren't any more correct than the others who spoke to Job. Come to think of it, I've met this guy (so to speak). He's the would-be counselor who can't get his own affairs in order, but is determined to blast others with advice. Look at verses 11 and 12, "If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge." That's the same lame theology that has dominated everyone's thinking, that God rewards righteousness and punishes evil. Therefore, Job, you must be evil. He obviously knows no more about God than Job's three friends. One more thing, Job's three friends were satisfied with hitting Job with innuendo and glancing blows - not Elihu. He goes right for the throat. Look at verse 17, "But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee." Elihu is right in Job's face.
Elihu can go on, can't he? (Job 37)
1 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.
2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.
3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.
4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.
5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.
7 He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.
8 Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.
9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.
10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.
11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:
12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.
13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.
14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.
15 Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?
16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?
17 How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?
18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?
19 Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.
20 Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.
21 And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.
22 Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.
23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.
24 Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.
He just spends this chapter waxing eloquent on the power qualities of God. He's definitely in Job's face; look at verse 14, "Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." Here's this young man spouting off and calling Job by name in his monologue. However, there's no news here. It is worth noting the last verse of this chapter, verse 24, "Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart." This seems to be another obvious dig at Job and his perception of his own righteousness and wisdom.
Here's the mystery about Elihu's six-chapter monologue. He is no more correct in his assessment of Job's situation than Eliphaz, Bildad or Zophar. Yet, in Job 42:7-9 (see notes), those three are required to offer sacrifices before Job for their part in scolding Job with bad counsel (42:7). Elihu was equally as wrong, but no such mention of consequences is made regarding him. Why? I don't know. To me, it seems impossible to vindicate him based upon an analysis of his words in these last six chapters. He argued the same incorrect points as did the others. Let's consider a couple of possible answers to this question. First of all, maybe it was because the three "friends" verbally attacked Job over a period of time (perhaps weeks or months), while Elihu gave only one speech just before God spoke. But here's a second possibility that I like a little better: Maybe Elihu was employed in some way by the other three to reason with Job - a professional mouth piece (so to speak). He doesn't introduce new concepts in his speech; he just restates in different words what has already been incorrectly stated by the three friends. If he's serving as an agent of the other three, that would explain why he does not seem to be held accountable in chapter 42 by God alongside them. Whatever...two things are certain: Elihu misspoke, and no mention is made of repercussions against him by God for having done so.
Well...hang on for the correct assessment of Job's situation. God begins speaking in Job 38 (see notes).