Elihu Vindicates God’s Justice
1Elihu continued his discourse and said,
“Hear my words, you wise men,
And listen to me, you who have [so much] knowledge.
“For the ear puts words to the test
As the palate tastes food.
“Let us choose for ourselves that which is right;
Let us know among ourselves what is good.
“For Job has said, ‘I am righteous [and innocent],
But God has taken away my right;
Although I am right, I am accounted a liar.
My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
“What man is like Job,
Who drinks up derision like water,
Who goes in company with those who do evil
And walks with wicked men?
“For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
When he takes delight and is pleased with God and obeys Him.’
“Therefore hear me, you men of understanding.
Far be it from God that He would do wickedness,
And from the Almighty to do wrong.
“For God pays a man according to his work,
And He will make every man find [appropriate] compensation according to his way.
“Surely God will not act wickedly,
Nor will the Almighty pervert justice.
“Who put God in charge over the earth?
And who has laid on Him the whole world?
“If God should determine to do so,
If He should gather to Himself [that is, withdraw from man] His [life-giving] spirit and His breath,
All flesh would perish together,
And man would return to dust.
“If you now have understanding, hear this;
Listen to the sound of my words.
“Shall one who hates justice [and is an enemy of right] govern?
And will you condemn Him who is just and mighty?
“God who says to a king, ‘You are worthless and vile,’
Or to princes and nobles, ‘You are wicked and evil’?
“Who is not partial to princes,
Nor does He regard the rich above 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,
And the powerful are taken away without a [human] hand.
“For God’s eyes are on the ways of a man,
And He sees all his steps.
“There is no darkness nor deep shadow
Where the evildoers may hide themselves.
“For He sets no appointed time for a man,
That he should appear before Him in judgment.
“He breaks mighty men without inquiry,
And sets others in their place.
“Therefore He knows of their works,
And He overthrows them in the night,
So that they are crushed and destroyed.
“He strikes them like the wicked
In a public place,
Because they turned aside from following Him
And would not consider or show regard for any of His ways,
So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him,
And He heard the cry of the afflicted.
“When He keeps quiet, who then can condemn?
When He hides His face [withdrawing His favor and help], who then can behold Him [and make supplication to Him],
Whether it be a nation or a man by himself?—
So that godless men would not rule
Nor be snares for the people.
“For has anyone said to God,
‘I have endured my chastisement;
I will not offend anymore;
Teach me what I do not see [in regard to how I have sinned];
If I have done wrong (injustice, unrighteousness),
I will not do it again’?
“Shall God’s retribution [for your sins] be on your terms, because you refuse to accept it?
For you must do the choosing, and not I;
Therefore say what you [truthfully] know.
“Men of understanding will tell me,
Indeed, every wise man who hears me [will agree],
‘Job speaks without knowledge,
And his words are without wisdom and insight.
‘Job ought to be tried [a]to the limit
Because he answers like wicked men!
‘For he adds rebellion [in his unsubmissive, defiant attitude toward God] to his [unacknowledged] sin;
He claps his hands among us [in open mockery and contempt of God],
And he multiplies his words [of accusation] against God.’”