Appearance: The appearance of Elihu is sudden, unannounced, unexpected, and probably unwanted.

Identity: Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram.  This a much fuller explanation of his identity than the three earlier friends.  Note that he is the only character in the book who is identified by the name of his father.  He appears to be a distant relative of Job (Uzite) and of the Israelites through Abraham brother Nahor.

Cf. Genesis 22:21, Now it came about after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, "Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram.  and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel."
Correctness:  It is difficult to argue with the theology of Elihu.  It must be noted that neither man nor God rebukes or even speaks to him.  He is ignored by all.  Would it not be ironic that the one man who is correct in the book is ignored by all parties because he is young?

Function in the Book:   He can be interpreted as having one of three functions in the book.

1)  He is placed here to round out the presentation of MAN'S ANSWERS to tough tough questions.  If he is taken this way then he presents to us the idea of an arrogant youth who thinks he has all the answers.  Why did God not answer him if this is the correct way to understand him?  In his last speech he concludes with the statement, "The Almighty we can't find him!"  Immediately after he makes this statement God appears and thus he is humiliated by having to eat his words.

2)  He is GOD'S PROPHET/HERALD who like all prophet's is ignored by men until the Almighty confirms his words by His appearance.  He thus prepares the way for the coming of God.  What are the reasons for this position?

a.    He is correct theologically.
b.    He is not criticized by the author of the book in editorial comment.
c.    He seems to claim some degree of inspiration for which God does not rebuke him or hold him accountable.  To claim to be a prophet/inspired when one is not is a terrible crime that cannot be let pass.
d.    He follows existing protocol of letting the elder speak first and then pours out his message when the other men have finished speaking.
3)    He is here to play the part of the FOOL, but as the fool he exposes the greater foolishness of the three friends.

To which do I adhere?  I tend toward the second view, but it is hard reading the opening statement about this youth without seeing arrogance.  If one takes position two then how does he deal with this?  He sees it as the power that God has filled him with pouring out into the words.


A.    The Three Friends

Then these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
B.    The Angry New "Friend"
1.    Job as the Recipient of Anger

But the anger of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram burned;
against Job his anger burned because he justified himself before God.

2.    The Three Friends as Worthy Objects of Anger

And his anger burned against his three friends because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.

C.    His adherence to Protocol
Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were years older than he.
And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of the three men his anger burned.
Speech #1 Speech #2 Speech #3 Speech #4