April 23, 2015.
Daily Reading: Job 32-34.
Background: Job 29-31.
Concepts and Connections.
Elihu: Job has made his final defense and his three friends have finished answering him, because they saw that Job was righteous in his own eyes and it would be futile to go on trying to reason with him to get him to see their points. Seemingly out of nowhere, we meet a young man named Elihu, the son of Barachel, who has apparently been here the whole time listening to the dialog between Job and his friends. Since Elihu is younger, probably much younger, than the other four, he has refrained form talking, for he assumes that wisdom comes with age. Now that there was no rebuttal to Job, and Job had not been convinced that he was in the wrong, Elihu burned with anger and decided that it was time for him to give his opinion on the matter, as he now believed that wisdom must not come from age if Job and his friends didn’t have it. He is so angry that he can’t help but speak what is on his mind and in his heart, and he gives a rather lengthy discourse over the next few chapters. It is interesting to note that Elihu leaves the scene just as quickly as he enters it, as he is never mentioned again after he finishes he’s words. Even in the final chapter, when God reprimands Job’s three friends because they have not spoken what is right of Him, He says nothing about Elihu. It seems like Elihu is ignored altogether. This could be because Elihu doesn’t speak of God in the way that Job’s three friends did, though he seems to have very similar thoughts about Job as they did. Elihu speaks openly and without filter, as he lays out what seems to honestly be in his heart. Whether he was right or wrong, he had been given his chance to speak, and he would take it.
Elihu’s response to Job: Elihu first addresses Job in his speech, first making sure that Job knows that Elihu knows where he stands and what his position is as a mere man, just like Job. Elihu knows that he is not intimidating, especially with his age, and he does not seek to be. He rather would just address what has been said and teach what he would call wisdom. He turns to Job and cites the words that Job has spoken about being blameless and pure, only to have God find occasion to punish him, and he tells Job straight up that he is not right. What is man, that he could be pure? Then he takes on Job’s statement that God would not answer him, though he requested audience with Him. Elihu goes on to explain that God does indeed answer the sons of Man, but just in ways that we don’t always perceived it. He cites dreams, visions in the night, as a way of communicating for God to man, so that man might be warned of his wrong doing and change his ways. He goes on to say how when a man is found guilty before God, pain comes upon him, but when he prays to God, he can be redeemed. He says that God even would give this man two or three chances/warnings to keep his soul from going down into the pit. It is important to note what Elihu says about God, as the implication (though it is not absolutely necessary to be so) that comes from God not saying anything about Elihu would seem that Elihu did not say anything wrong about God, though he might have said wrong things about Job. Regardless, Elihu calls for Job’s rebuttal, if he has one, and if not, he will continue to teach him what he thinks is wisdom.
Elihu’s response to Job’s friends: After his first response to Job, Elihu then turns to Job’s friends and reprimands them for not being able to answer Job in his words. It seems that Elihu has a very similar view on Job as his friends did, if not even more harsh of a view. Elihu directly says that Job is associated with scoffers and evildoers, for he has said “it profits a man nothing to take delight in God.” This seems to be gathered from several of Job’s statements where he was questioning why the righteous die and the wicked live. Elihu then goes on to defend the Almighty, asserting that He would not do anything that is wicked or unrighteous, and thus Job must have done something wrong (sound familiar?). He says that no one can answer the Lord, even when He is silent, and Job is multiplying his sins against the Lord through his claims of innocence and purity. Elihu is just as angry with the three friends as he is with Job, because they had not made a good enough case against Job for him to be convinced. Now it was his turn to do so.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Jeremiah 17-21.
The Lord grant you rest.