Elihu’s Speech, Part 3

Job 35

Highlights from this Passage

  • Elihu argues that neither godliness profit or ungodliness hurt God, but mortals.
  • Elihu argues that the wicked cry to God and are not heard.

†††††††

Moreover Elihu answered,

“Do you think this to be your right,
    or do you say, ‘My righteousness is more than God’s,’
that you ask, ‘What advantage will it be to you?
    What profit will I have, more than if I had sinned?’
I will answer you,
    and your companions with you.
Look to the skies, and see.
    See the skies, which are higher than you.
If you have sinned, what effect do you have against him?
    If your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give him?
    Or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness may hurt a man as you are,
    and your righteousness may profit a son of man.

“By reason of the multitude of oppressions they cry out.
    They cry for help by reason of the arm of the mighty.
But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
    who gives songs in the night,
who teaches us more than the animals of the earth,
    and makes us wiser than the birds of the sky?’
There they cry, but no one answers,
    because of the pride of evil men.
Surely God will not hear an empty cry,
    neither will the Almighty regard it.
How much less when you say you don’t see him.
    The cause is before him, and you wait for him!
But now, because he has not visited in his anger,
    neither does he greatly regard arrogance,
therefore Job opens his mouth with empty talk,
    and he multiplies words without knowledge.”

Elihu’s Speech, Part 2

Job 34

Highlights from this Passage

  • Elihu charges Job for calling himself righteous.
  • Elihu shows that God must be justly judging Job.

†††††††

Moreover Elihu answered,

“Hear my words, you wise men.
    Give ear to me, you who have knowledge.
For the ear tries words,
    as the palate tastes food.
Let us choose for us that which is right.
    Let us know among ourselves what is good.
For Job has said, ‘I am righteous,
    God has taken away my right:
Notwithstanding my right I am considered a liar.
    My wound is incurable, though I am without disobedience.’
What man is like Job,
    who drinks scorn like water,
Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity,
    and walks with wicked men?
For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
    that he should delight himself with God.’

“Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding:
    far be it from God, that he should do wickedness,
    from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.
For the work of a man he will render to him,
    and cause every man to find according to his ways.
Yes surely, God will not do wickedly,
    neither will the Almighty pervert justice.
Who put him in charge of the earth?
    Or who has appointed him over the whole world?
If he set his heart on himself,
    if he gathered to himself his spirit and his breath,
all flesh would perish together,
    and man would turn again to dust.

“If now you have understanding, hear this.
    Listen to the voice of my words.
Should even one who hates justice govern?
    Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty?—
Who says to a king, ‘Vile!’
    or to nobles, ‘Wicked!’?
He doesn’t respect the persons of princes,
    nor respect the rich more than the poor;
    for they all are the work of his hands.
In a moment they die, even at midnight.
    The people are shaken and pass away.
    The mighty are taken away without a hand.

“For his eyes are on the ways of a man.
    He sees all his goings.
There is no darkness, nor thick gloom,
    where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
For he doesn’t need to consider a man further,
    that he should go before God in judgment.
He breaks mighty men in pieces in ways past finding out,
    and sets others in their place.
Therefore he takes knowledge of their works.
    He overturns them in the night, so that they are destroyed.
He strikes them as wicked men
    in the open sight of others;
because they turned away from following him,
    and wouldn’t pay attention to any of his ways,
so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him.
    He heard the cry of the afflicted.
When he gives quietness, who then can condemn?
    When he hides his face, who then can see him?
    He is over a nation or a man alike,
that the godless man may not reign,
    that there be no one to ensnare the people.

“For has any said to God,
    ‘I am guilty, but I will not offend any more.
Teach me that which I don’t see.
    If I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?
Shall his recompense be as you desire, that you refuse it?
    For you must choose, and not I.
    Therefore speak what you know.
Men of understanding will tell me,
    yes, every wise man who hears me:
‘Job speaks without knowledge.
    His words are without wisdom.’
I wish that Job were tried to the end,
    because of his answering like wicked men.
For he adds rebellion to his sin.
    He claps his hands among us,
    and multiplies his words against God.”

Elihu’s Speech, Part 1

Job 32-33

Highlights from this Passage

  • Elihu, a younger man who has listened to the controversy’s between Job and his three friends, begins to speak.
  • Elihu rebukes Job’s friends.
  • Elihu is convinced that Job is guilty and God is punishing him.

†††††††

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel, the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was kindled against Job. His wrath was kindled because he justified himself rather than God. Also his wrath was kindled against his three friends, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were elder than he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was kindled.

Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered,

“I am young, and you are very old;
    Therefore I held back, and didn’t dare show you my opinion.
I said, ‘Days should speak,
    and multitude of years should teach wisdom.’
But there is a spirit in man,
    and the Spirit of the Almighty gives them understanding.
It is not the great who are wise,
    nor the aged who understand justice.
Therefore I said, ‘Listen to me;
    I also will show my opinion.’

“Behold, I waited for your words,
    and I listened for your reasoning,
    while you searched out what to say.
Yes, I gave you my full attention,
    but there was no one who convinced Job,
    or who answered his words, among you.
Beware lest you say, ‘We have found wisdom.
    God may refute him, not man;’
for he has not directed his words against me;
    neither will I answer him with your speeches.

“They are amazed. They answer no more.
    They don’t have a word to say.
Shall I wait, because they don’t speak,
    because they stand still, and answer no more?
I also will answer my part,
    and I also will show my opinion.
For I am full of words.
    The spirit within me constrains me.
Behold, my breast is as wine which has no vent;
    like new wineskins it is ready to burst.
I will speak, that I may be refreshed.
    I will open my lips and answer.
Please don’t let me respect any man’s person,
    neither will I give flattering titles to any man.
For I don’t know how to give flattering titles,
    or else my Maker would soon take me away.

“However, Job, please hear my speech,
    and listen to all my words.
See now, I have opened my mouth.
    My tongue has spoken in my mouth.
My words will utter the uprightness of my heart.
    That which my lips know they will speak sincerely.
The Spirit of God has made me,
    and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
If you can, answer me.
    Set your words in order before me, and stand up.
Behold, I am toward God even as you are.
    I am also formed out of the clay.
Behold, my terror will not make you afraid,
    neither will my pressure be heavy on you.

“Surely you have spoken in my hearing,
    I have heard the voice of your words, saying,
‘I am clean, without disobedience.
    I am innocent, neither is there iniquity in me.
Behold, he finds occasions against me.
    He counts me for his enemy.
He puts my feet in the stocks.
    He marks all my paths.’

“Behold, I will answer you. In this you are not just,
    for God is greater than man.
Why do you strive against him,
    because he doesn’t give account of any of his matters?
For God speaks once,
    yes twice, though man pays no attention.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on men,
    in slumbering on the bed;
Then he opens the ears of men,
    and seals their instruction,
that he may withdraw man from his purpose,
    and hide pride from man.
He keeps back his soul from the pit,
    and his life from perishing by the sword.

“He is chastened also with pain on his bed,
    with continual strife in his bones,
so that his life abhors bread,
    and his soul dainty food.
His flesh is so consumed away that it can’t be seen.
    His bones that were not seen stick out.
Yes, his soul draws near to the pit,
    and his life to the destroyers.

“If there is beside him an angel,
    an interpreter, one among a thousand,
    to show to man what is right for him;
then God is gracious to him, and says,
    ‘Deliver him from going down to the pit,
    I have found a ransom.’
His flesh will be fresher than a child’s.
    He returns to the days of his youth.
He prays to God, and he is favorable to him,
    so that he sees his face with joy.
    He restores to man his righteousness.
He sings before men, and says,
    ‘I have sinned, and perverted that which was right,
    and it didn’t profit me.
He has redeemed my soul from going into the pit.
    My life will see the light.’

“Behold, God does all these things,
    twice, yes three times, with a man,
to bring back his soul from the pit,
    that he may be enlightened with the light of the living.
Mark well, Job, and listen to me.
    Hold your peace, and I will speak.
If you have anything to say, answer me.
    Speak, for I desire to justify you.
If not, listen to me.
    Hold your peace, and I will teach you wisdom.”

The Third Controversy: Job Finishes His Speech

Job 29-31

Highlights from this Passage

  • Job recalls his prosperity from the past.
  • Job complains that the most contemptible find him contemptible because of his affliction.
  • Job recites the innocence of his living and his virtues.

†††††††

Job again took up his parable, and said,

“Oh that I were as in the months of old,
    as in the days when God watched over me;
when his lamp shone on my head,
    and by his light I walked through darkness,
as I was in my prime,
    when the friendship of God was in my tent,
when the Almighty was yet with me,
    and my children were around me,
when my steps were washed with butter,
    and the rock poured out streams of oil for me,
when I went out to the city gate,
    when I prepared my seat in the street.
The young men saw me and hid themselves.
    The aged rose up and stood.
The princes refrained from talking,
    and laid their hand on their mouth.
The voice of the nobles was hushed,
    and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.
For when the ear heard me, then it blessed me;
    and when the eye saw me, it commended me:
Because I delivered the poor who cried,
    and the fatherless also, who had no one to help him,
the blessing of him who was ready to perish came on me,
    and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me.
    My justice was as a robe and a diadem.
I was eyes to the blind,
    and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy.
    I researched the cause of him whom I didn’t know.
I broke the jaws of the unrighteous
    and plucked the prey out of his teeth.
Then I said, ‘I will die in my own house,
    I will count my days as the sand.
My root is spread out to the waters.
    The dew lies all night on my branch.
My glory is fresh in me.
    My bow is renewed in my hand.’

“Men listened to me, waited,
    and kept silence for my counsel.
After my words they didn’t speak again.
    My speech fell on them.
They waited for me as for the rain.
    Their mouths drank as with the spring rain.
I smiled on them when they had no confidence.
    They didn’t reject the light of my face.
I chose out their way, and sat as chief.
    I lived as a king in the army,
    as one who comforts the mourners.

“But now those who are younger than I have me in derision,
    whose fathers I considered unworthy to put with my sheep dogs.
Of what use is the strength of their hands to me,
    men in whom ripe age has perished?
They are gaunt from lack and famine.
    They gnaw the dry ground, in the gloom of waste and desolation.
They pluck salt herbs by the bushes.
    The roots of the broom tree are their food.
They are driven out from among men.
    They cry after them as after a thief;
So that they dwell in frightful valleys,
    and in holes of the earth and of the rocks.
They bray among the bushes.
    They are gathered together under the nettles.
They are children of fools, yes, children of wicked men.
    They were flogged out of the land.

“Now I have become their song.
    Yes, I am a byword to them.
They abhor me, they stand aloof from me,
    and don’t hesitate to spit in my face.
For he has untied his cord, and afflicted me;
    and they have thrown off restraint before me.
On my right hand rise the rabble.
    They thrust aside my feet,
    They cast up against me their ways of destruction.
They mar my path.
    They promote my destruction
    without anyone’s help.
As through a wide breach they come.
    They roll themselves in amid the ruin.
Terrors have turned on me.
    They chase my honor as the wind.
    My welfare has passed away as a cloud.

“Now my soul is poured out within me.
    Days of affliction have taken hold of me.
In the night season my bones are pierced in me,
    and the pains that gnaw me take no rest.
My garment is disfigured by great force.
    It binds me about as the collar of my tunic.
He has cast me into the mire.
    I have become like dust and ashes.
I cry to you, and you do not answer me.
    I stand up, and you gaze at me.
You have turned to be cruel to me.
    With the might of your hand you persecute me.
You lift me up to the wind, and drive me with it.
    You dissolve me in the storm.
For I know that you will bring me to death,
    to the house appointed for all living.

“However doesn’t one stretch out a hand in his fall?
    Or in his calamity therefore cry for help?
Didn’t I weep for him who was in trouble?
    Wasn’t my soul grieved for the needy?
When I looked for good, then evil came.
    When I waited for light, darkness came.
My heart is troubled, and doesn’t rest.
    Days of affliction have come on me.
I go mourning without the sun.
    I stand up in the assembly, and cry for help.
I am a brother to jackals,
    and a companion to ostriches.
My skin grows black and peels from me.
    My bones are burned with heat.
Therefore my harp has turned to mourning,
    and my pipe into the voice of those who weep.

“I made a covenant with my eyes,
    how then should I look lustfully at a young woman?
For what is the portion from God above,
    and the heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is it not calamity to the unrighteous,
    and disaster to the workers of iniquity?
Doesn’t he see my ways,
    and count all my steps?

“If I have walked with falsehood,
    and my foot has hurried to deceit
(let me be weighed in an even balance,
    that God may know my integrity);
if my step has turned out of the way,
    if my heart walked after my eyes,
    if any defilement has stuck to my hands,
then let me sow, and let another eat.
    Yes, let the produce of my field be rooted out.

“If my heart has been enticed to a woman,
    and I have laid wait at my neighbor’s door,
then let my wife grind for another,
    and let others sleep with her.
For that would be a heinous crime.
    Yes, it would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
for it is a fire that consumes to destruction,
    and would root out all my increase.
“If I have despised the cause of my male servant
    or of my female servant,
    when they contended with me,
what then will I do when God rises up?
    When he visits, what will I answer him?
Didn’t he who made me in the womb make him?
    Didn’t one fashion us in the womb?
“If I have withheld the poor from their desire,
    or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
or have eaten my morsel alone,
    and the fatherless has not eaten of it
(no, from my youth he grew up with me as with a father,
    I have guided her from my mother’s womb);
if I have seen any perish for want of clothing,
    or that the needy had no covering;
if his heart hasn’t blessed me,
    if he hasn’t been warmed with my sheep’s fleece;
if I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless,
    because I saw my help in the gate,
then let my shoulder fall from the shoulder blade,
    and my arm be broken from the bone.
For calamity from God is a terror to me.
    Because of his majesty, I can do nothing.
“If I have made gold my hope,
    and have said to the fine gold, ‘You are my confidence;’
If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
    and because my hand had gotten much;
if I have seen the sun when it shined,
    or the moon moving in splendor,
and my heart has been secretly enticed,
    and my hand threw a kiss from my mouth,
this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
    for I should have denied the God who is above.
“If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me,
    or lifted up myself when evil found him
(yes, I have not allowed my mouth to sin
    by asking his life with a curse);
if the men of my tent have not said,
    ‘Who can find one who has not been filled with his meat?’
(the foreigner has not camped in the street,
    but I have opened my doors to the traveler);
if like Adam I have covered my transgressions,
    by hiding my iniquity in my heart,
because I feared the great multitude,
    and the contempt of families terrified me,
    so that I kept silence, and didn’t go out of the door—
oh that I had one to hear me!
    Behold, here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!
    Let the accuser write my indictment!
Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
    and I would bind it to me as a crown.
I would declare to him the number of my steps.
    I would go near to him like a prince.
If my land cries out against me,
    and its furrows weep together;
if I have eaten its fruits without money,
    or have caused its owners to lose their life,
let briers grow instead of wheat,
    and stinkweed instead of barley.”

The words of Job are ended.

The Third Controversy: From Where Does Wisdom Come?

Job 28

Highlight from this Passage

  • Job shows that God’s wisdom is unsearchable.

†††††††

“Surely there is a mine for silver,
    and a place for gold which they refine.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
    and copper is smelted out of the ore.
Man sets an end to darkness,
    and searches out, to the furthest bound,
    the stones of obscurity and of thick darkness.
He breaks open a shaft away from where people live.
    They are forgotten by the foot.
    They hang far from men, they swing back and forth.
As for the earth, out of it comes bread.
    Underneath it is turned up as it were by fire.
Sapphires come from its rocks.
    It has dust of gold.
That path no bird of prey knows,
    neither has the falcon’s eye seen it.
The proud animals have not trodden it,
    nor has the fierce lion passed by there.
He puts his hand on the flinty rock,
    and he overturns the mountains by the roots.
He cuts out channels among the rocks.
    His eye sees every precious thing.
He binds the streams that they don’t trickle.
    The thing that is hidden he brings out to light.

“But where will wisdom be found?
    Where is the place of understanding?
Man doesn’t know its price;
    Neither is it found in the land of the living.
The deep says, ‘It isn’t in me.’
    The sea says, ‘It isn’t with me.’
It can’t be gotten for gold,
    neither will silver be weighed for its price.
It can’t be valued with the gold of Ophir,
    with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
Gold and glass can’t equal it,
    neither will it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
No mention will be made of coral or of crystal.
    Yes, the price of wisdom is above rubies.
The topaz of Ethiopia will not equal it,
    nor will it be valued with pure gold.
Where then does wisdom come from?
    Where is the place of understanding?
Seeing it is hidden from the eyes of all living,
    and kept close from the birds of the sky.
Destruction and Death say,
    ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

“God understands its way,
    and he knows its place.
For he looks to the ends of the earth,
    and sees under the whole sky.
He establishes the force of the wind.
    Yes, he measures out the waters by measure.
When he made a decree for the rain,
    and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
then he saw it, and declared it.
    He established it, yes, and searched it out.
To man he said,
    ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.
    To depart from evil is understanding.’”

The Third Controversy: Job Maintains His Integrity

Job 27

Highlights from this Passage

  • Throughout his ordeal, Job remains consistent and blameless.
  • Job describes the fate of the wicked.

†††††††

Job again took up his parable, and said,

“As God lives, who has taken away my right,
    the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter
(for the length of my life is still in me,
    and the spirit of God is in my nostrils);
surely my lips will not speak unrighteousness,
    neither will my tongue utter deceit.
Far be it from me that I should justify you.
    Until I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
I hold fast to my righteousness, and will not let it go.
    My heart will not reproach me so long as I live.

“Let my enemy be as the wicked.
    Let him who rises up against me be as the unrighteous.

For what is the hope of the godless, when he is cut off, when God takes away his life?
    Will God hear his cry when trouble comes on him?
Will he delight himself in the Almighty,
    and call on God at all times?
I will teach you about the hand of God.
    I will not conceal that which is with the Almighty.
Behold, all of you have seen it yourselves;
    why then have you become altogether vain?

“This is the portion of a wicked man with God,
    the heritage of oppressors, which they receive from the Almighty.
If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword.
    His offspring will not be satisfied with bread.
Those who remain of him will be buried in death.
    His widows will make no lamentation.
Though he heap up silver as the dust,
    and prepare clothing as the clay;
he may prepare it, but the just will put it on,
    and the innocent will divide the silver.
He builds his house as the moth,
    as a booth which the watchman makes.
He lies down rich, but he will not do so again.
    He opens his eyes, and he is not.
Terrors overtake him like waters.
    A storm steals him away in the night.
The east wind carries him away, and he departs.
    It sweeps him out of his place.
For it hurls at him, and does not spare,
    as he flees away from his hand.
Men will clap their hands at him,
    and will hiss him out of his place.