Elihu Presents His Case against Job
“Listen to my words, Job;
pay attention to what I have to say.
Now that I have begun to speak,
let me continue.
I speak with all sincerity;
I speak the truth.
For the Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Answer me, if you can;
make your case and take your stand.
Look, you and I both belong to God.
I, too, was formed from clay.
So you don’t need to be afraid of me.
I won’t come down hard on you.
“You have spoken in my hearing,
and I have heard your very words.
You said, ‘I am pure; I am without sin;
I am innocent; I have no guilt.
God is picking a quarrel with me,
and he considers me his enemy.
He puts my feet in the stocks
and watches my every move.’
“But you are wrong, and I will show you why.
For God is greater than any human being.
So why are you bringing a charge against him?
Why say he does not respond to people’s complaints?
For God speaks again and again,
though people do not recognize it.
He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they lie in their beds.
He whispers in their ears
and terrifies them with warnings.
He makes them turn from doing wrong;
he keeps them from pride.
He protects them from the grave,
from crossing over the river of death.
“Or God disciplines people with pain on their sickbeds,
with ceaseless aching in their bones.
They lose their appetite
for even the most delicious food.
Their flesh wastes away,
and their bones stick out.
They are at death’s door;
the angels of death wait for them.
“But if an angel from heaven appears—
a special messenger to intercede for a person
and declare that he is upright—
he will be gracious and say,
‘Rescue him from the grave,
for I have found a ransom for his life.’
Then his body will become as healthy as a child’s,
firm and youthful again.
When he prays to God,
he will be accepted.
And God will receive him with joy
and restore him to good standing.
He will declare to his friends,
‘I sinned and twisted the truth,
but it was not worth it.[a]
God rescued me from the grave,
and now my life is filled with light.’
“Yes, God does these things
again and again for people.
He rescues them from the grave
so they may enjoy the light of life.
Mark this well, Job. Listen to me,
for I have more to say.
But if you have anything to say, go ahead.
Speak, for I am anxious to see you justified.
But if not, then listen to me.
Keep silent and I will teach you wisdom!”
- 33:27 Greek version reads but he [God] did not punish me as my sin deserved.
Elihu Accuses Job of Arrogance
Then Elihu said:
“Listen to me, you wise men.
Pay attention, you who have knowledge.
Job said, ‘The ear tests the words it hears
just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.’
So let us discern for ourselves what is right;
let us learn together what is good.
For Job also said, ‘I am innocent,
but God has taken away my rights.
I am innocent, but they call me a liar.
My suffering is incurable, though I have not sinned.’
“Tell me, has there ever been a man like Job,
with his thirst for irreverent talk?
He chooses evil people as companions.
He spends his time with wicked men.
He has even said, ‘Why waste time
trying to please God?’
“Listen to me, you who have understanding.
Everyone knows that God doesn’t sin!
The Almighty can do no wrong.
He repays people according to their deeds.
He treats people as they deserve.
Truly, God will not do wrong.
The Almighty will not twist justice.
Did someone else put the world in his care?
Who set the whole world in place?
If God were to take back his spirit
and withdraw his breath,
all life would cease,
and humanity would turn again to dust.
“Now listen to me if you are wise.
Pay attention to what I say.
Could God govern if he hated justice?
Are you going to condemn the almighty judge?
For he says to kings, ‘You are wicked,’
and to nobles, ‘You are unjust.’
He doesn’t care how great a person may be,
and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor.
He made them all.
In a moment they die.
In the middle of the night they pass away;
the mighty are removed without human hand.
“For God watches how people live;
he sees everything they do.
No darkness is thick enough
to hide the wicked from his eyes.
We don’t set the time
when we will come before God in judgment.
He brings the mighty to ruin without asking anyone,
and he sets up others in their place.
He knows what they do,
and in the night he overturns and destroys them.
He strikes them down because they are wicked,
doing it openly for all to see.
For they turned away from following him.
They have no respect for any of his ways.
They cause the poor to cry out, catching God’s attention.
He hears the cries of the needy.
But if he chooses to remain quiet,
who can criticize him?
When he hides his face, no one can find him,
whether an individual or a nation.
He prevents the godless from ruling
so they cannot be a snare to the people.
“Why don’t people say to God, ‘I have sinned,
but I will sin no more’?
Or ‘I don’t know what evil I have done—tell me.
If I have done wrong, I will stop at once’?
“Must God tailor his justice to your demands?
But you have rejected him!
The choice is yours, not mine.
Go ahead, share your wisdom with us.
After all, bright people will tell me,
and wise people will hear me say,
‘Job speaks out of ignorance;
his words lack insight.’
Job, you deserve the maximum penalty
for the wicked way you have talked.
For you have added rebellion to your sin;
you show no respect,
and you speak many angry words against God.”