JOB 34
Elihu's Second Speech



 
 
 

The Speaker Then Elihu continued and said, 
A.  A Call to the Three Friends to Listen
Notice that Elihu again begins with his three friends.
Hear my words, you wise men,
And listen to me, you who know.
B.  Humans Have the Ability to Discern Things on the Qualitative Level
He starts with the aesthetic ability of man to discern and moves to the ethical realm where he exhorts the friends to exercise this ability.
For the ear tests words 
As the palate tastes food. 

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

C.  Another Summary of Job's Speeches
Note that he accurately has summarized what Job has said.
"For Job has said, 
'I am righteous, 
But God has taken away my right; 
Should I lie concerning my right? 
My wound is incurable, 
Though I am without transgression.' 
D.  A Sympathetic Appraisal of Job
This can be taken two ways: 1) a negative attack on Job for hanging out with wicked men 2) a sympathetic description of his plight.  I take the second position.  The third and fourth lines are an insult against the three friends.
What man is like Job, 
Who drinks up derision like water, 

Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, 
And walks with wicked men?

E.  A Third Summary of Job's Complaint For he has said, 
'It profits a man nothing 
When he is pleased with God.'
F.  Another Call to the Three Friends to Listen Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding.
 
G.  His Theodicy (Defense of God)
 

 
 
 
 
 

But if you have understanding, hear this; Listen to the sound of my words. 17 "Shall one who hates justice rule? And will you condemn the righteous mighty One, 

1) It is impossible for the Almighty to do wrong.
Far be it from God to do wickedness, 
And from the Almighty to do wrong.
2)  God is the Just Judge
For He pays a man according to his work, 
And makes him find it according to his way. 
Surely, God will not act wickedly, 
And the Almighty will not pervert justice. 
3)  His authority originates with himself and is not derived or delegated by another.
Who gave Him authority over the earth? 
And who has laid on Him the whole world? 
 
4)  As the creator he holds the power of life and death even over earthly rulers.
If He should determine to do so, 
If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, 
All flesh would perish together, 
And man would return to dust. 
Who says to a king, 'Worthless one,' 
To nobles, 'Wicked ones'
Who shows no partiality to princes 
Nor regards the rich above the poor, 
For they all are the work of His hands?
In a moment they die, and at midnight 
People are shaken and pass away, 
And the mighty are taken away without a hand.
5)  He is omniscient/omnipresent judge and avenger
For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, 
And He sees all his steps. 
There is no darkness or deep shadow 
Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. 
For He does not need to consider a man further, 
That he should go before God in judgment. 
He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry, 
And sets others in their place. 
Therefore He knows their works, 
And He overthrows them in the night, 
And they are crushed. 
He strikes them like the wicked 
In a public place, 
Because they turned aside from following Him, 
And had no regard for any of His ways; 
So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him, 
And that He might hear the cry of the afflicted
H.  Therefore who can judge God when he chooses to be silent? When He keeps quiet, who then can condemn? 
And when He hides His face, who then can behold Him, 
That is, in regard to both nation and man?-- 
So that godless men would not rule 
Nor be snares of the people.
I.   Man is supposed to deal with God through repentance, but not as one who sets the terms and conditions.  For has anyone said to God, 
'I have borne chastisement; 
I will not offend anymore; 
Teach me what I do not see; 
If I have done iniquity, 
I will not do it again'?
Shall He recompense on your terms, 
Because you have rejected it? 
For you must choose, and not I; 
 
J.  If men are intelligent then they will give the same  evaluation of Job as Elihu. Therefore declare what you know. 
Men of understanding will say to me, 
And a wise man who hears me, 
K.  That Evaluation of Job.
If men were truly wise then this is what they would have to say about Job.
'Job speaks without knowledge, 
And his words are without wisdom. 
'Job ought to be tried to the limit, 
Because he answers like wicked men. 
'For he adds rebellion to his sin; 
He claps his hands among us, 
And multiplies his words against God.'