Elihu Reminds Job of God’s Justice
Then Elihu said:
“Do you think it is right for you to claim,
‘I am righteous before God’?
For you also ask, ‘What’s in it for me?
What’s the use of living a righteous life?’
“I will answer you
and all your friends, too.
Look up into the sky,
and see the clouds high above you.
If you sin, how does that affect God?
Even if you sin again and again,
what effect will it have on him?
If you are good, is this some great gift to him?
What could you possibly give him?
No, your sins affect only people like yourself,
and your good deeds also affect only humans.
“People cry out when they are oppressed.
They groan beneath the power of the mighty.
Yet they don’t ask, ‘Where is God my Creator,
the one who gives songs in the night?
Where is the one who makes us smarter than the animals
and wiser than the birds of the sky?’
And when they cry out, God does not answer
because of their pride.
But it is wrong to say God doesn’t listen,
to say the Almighty isn’t concerned.
You say you can’t see him,
but he will bring justice if you will only wait.[a]
You say he does not respond to sinners with anger
and is not greatly concerned about wickedness.[b]
But you are talking nonsense, Job.
You have spoken like a fool.”
- 35:13-14 These verses can also be translated as follows: 13 Indeed, God doesn’t listen to their empty plea; / the Almighty is not concerned. / 14 How much less will he listen when you say you don’t see him, / and that your case is before him and you’re waiting for justice.
- 35:15 As in Greek and Latin versions; the meaning of this Hebrew word is uncertain.
Elihu continued speaking:
“Let me go on, and I will show you the truth.
For I have not finished defending God!
I will present profound arguments
for the righteousness of my Creator.
I am telling you nothing but the truth,
for I am a man of great knowledge.
“God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone!
He is mighty in both power and understanding.
He does not let the wicked live
but gives justice to the afflicted.
He never takes his eyes off the innocent,
but he sets them on thrones with kings
and exalts them forever.
If they are bound in chains
and caught up in a web of trouble,
he shows them the reason.
He shows them their sins of pride.
He gets their attention
and commands that they turn from evil.
“If they listen and obey God,
they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives.
All their years will be pleasant.
But if they refuse to listen to him,
they will cross over the river of death,
dying from lack of understanding.
For the godless are full of resentment.
Even when he punishes them,
they refuse to cry out to him for help.
They die when they are young,
after wasting their lives in immoral living.
But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer.
For he gets their attention through adversity.
“God is leading you away from danger, Job,
to a place free from distress.
He is setting your table with the best food.
But you are obsessed with whether the godless will be judged.
Don’t worry, judgment and justice will be upheld.
But watch out, or you may be seduced by wealth.[a]
Don’t let yourself be bribed into sin.
Could all your wealth[b]
or all your mighty efforts
keep you from distress?
Do not long for the cover of night,
for that is when people will be destroyed.[c]
Be on guard! Turn back from evil,
for God sent this suffering
to keep you from a life of evil.
Elihu Reminds Job of God’s Power
“Look, God is all-powerful.
Who is a teacher like him?
No one can tell him what to do,
or say to him, ‘You have done wrong.’
Instead, glorify his mighty works,
singing songs of praise.
Everyone has seen these things,
though only from a distance.
“Look, God is greater than we can understand.
His years cannot be counted.
He draws up the water vapor
and then distills it into rain.
The rain pours down from the clouds,
and everyone benefits.
Who can understand the spreading of the clouds
and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven?
See how he spreads the lightning around him
and how it lights up the depths of the sea.
By these mighty acts he nourishes[d] the people,
giving them food in abundance.
He fills his hands with lightning bolts
and hurls each at its target.
The thunder announces his presence;
the storm announces his indignant anger.[e]
- 36:18 Or But don’t let your anger lead you to mockery.
- 36:19 Or Could all your cries for help.
- 36:16-20 The meaning of the Hebrew in this passage is uncertain.
- 36:31 Or he governs.
- 36:33 Or even the cattle know when a storm is coming. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
“My heart pounds as I think of this.
It trembles within me.
Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice
as it rolls from his mouth.
It rolls across the heavens,
and his lightning flashes in every direction.
Then comes the roaring of the thunder—
the tremendous voice of his majesty.
He does not restrain it when he speaks.
God’s voice is glorious in the thunder.
We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power.
“He directs the snow to fall on the earth
and tells the rain to pour down.
Then everyone stops working
so they can watch his power.
The wild animals take cover
and stay inside their dens.
The stormy wind comes from its chamber,
and the driving winds bring the cold.
God’s breath sends the ice,
freezing wide expanses of water.
He loads the clouds with moisture,
and they flash with his lightning.
The clouds churn about at his direction.
They do whatever he commands throughout the earth.
He makes these things happen either to punish people
or to show his unfailing love.
“Pay attention to this, Job.
Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God!
Do you know how God controls the storm
and causes the lightning to flash from his clouds?
Do you understand how he moves the clouds
with wonderful perfection and skill?
When you are sweltering in your clothes
and the south wind dies down and everything is still,
he makes the skies reflect the heat like a bronze mirror.
Can you do that?
“So teach the rest of us what to say to God.
We are too ignorant to make our own arguments.
Should God be notified that I want to speak?
Can people even speak when they are confused?[a]
We cannot look at the sun,
for it shines brightly in the sky
when the wind clears away the clouds.
So also, golden splendor comes from the mountain of God.[b]
He is clothed in dazzling splendor.
We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty;
but even though he is just and righteous,
he does not destroy us.
No wonder people everywhere fear him.
All who are wise show him reverence.[c]”
- 37:20 Or speak without being swallowed up?
- 37:22 Or from the north; or from the abode.
- 37:24 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads He is not impressed by the wise.