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.”

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