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The Role Of Elihu In Job

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CHAPTER 32 Dec. 24 
Elihu Is Introduced
So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2Then 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. 3Also his wrath was kindled against his three friends, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. 4Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were elder than he. 5When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was kindled. 6Elihu 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. 7I said, ‘Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom’. 8But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding. 9It is not the great who are wise, nor the aged who understand justice. 10Therefore I said, ‘Listen to me; I also will show my opinion’. 11Behold, I waited for your words, and I listened for your reasoning, while you searched out what to say. 12Yes, I gave you my full attention, but there was no one who convinced Job, or who answered his words, among you. 13Beware lest you say, ‘We have found wisdom, God may refute him, not man’; 14for he has not directed his words against me; neither will I answer him with your speeches. 15They were amazed. They answered no more. They didn’t have a word to say. 6Shall I wait, because they don’t speak, because they stand still, and answer no more? 17I also will answer my part, and I also will show my opinion. 18For I am full of words. The spirit within me constrains me. 19Behold, my breast is as wine which has no vent; like new wineskins it is ready to burst. 20I will speak, that I may be refreshed. I will open my lips and answer. 21Please don’t let me respect any man’s person, neither will I give flattering titles to any man. 22For I don’t know how to give flattering titles; or else my Maker would soon take me away. 


32:18 It’s unclear whether Elihu refers to his own spirit, or the fact that he was inspired to speak by God’s Spirit, and therefore like Jeremiah (Jer. 6:11) was weary at trying not to speak forth the words he was inspired to speak. If we accept Elihu as speaking on God’s behalf, as the mediator which Job so begged for, then we have to take a somewhat negative view of Job- in that Elihu is critical of Job and accuses him of arrogant self-righteousness. Note that in God’s final summing up, the friends and Job are criticized, but He says nothing against Elihu. In this case, God’s final commendation of Job in 42:7 would be strictly within the context of Job’s repentance. However, whilst Elihu often speaks in harmony with God’s direct words later in the book, he remains somewhat enigmatic; for his fierce criticism of Job, mixed with what appears to be youthful arrogance and dogmatism, is hard to fully square with God’s opening and closing statement that Job was spotless in His sight. Perhaps God didn’t want to have to personally intervene in revealing Job’s sinfulness to him; He always seeks to work through people rather than by direct intervention. And so perhaps God sent this arrogant young man to Job as a final attempt to appeal to him.