Elihu Rebukes Job’s Three Friends
32 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. He burned with anger also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger.
And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said:
“I am young in years,
and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
to declare my opinion to you.
I said, ‘Let days speak,
and many years teach wisdom.’
But it is the spirit in man,
the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
It is not the old who are wise,
nor the aged who understand what is right.
Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
let me also declare my opinion.’
“Behold, I waited for your words,
I listened for your wise sayings,
while you searched out what to say.
I gave you my attention,
and, behold, there was none among you who refuted Job
or who answered his words.
Beware lest you say, ‘We have found wisdom;
God may vanquish him, not a man.’
He has not directed his words against me,
and I will not answer him with your speeches.
“They are dismayed; they answer no more;
they have not a word to say.
And shall I wait, because they do not speak,
because they stand there, and answer no more?
I also will answer with my share;
I also will declare my opinion.
For I am full of words;
the spirit within me constrains me.
Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent;
like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak, that I may find relief;
I must open my lips and answer.
I will not show partiality to any man
or use flattery toward any person.
For I do not know how to flatter,
else my Maker would soon take me away.
Job 32 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Job’s three friends have gone silent. It almost appears to have grown to a face-off on the matter. Convinced he had some hidden sin and was stubborn not to admit it go quiet. Job who knew differently than all their actions was not about to make up some sin so they would feel justified. But there is another man who appears now. A younger individual who has observed this dialogue, Elihu is fuming. His anger burns against Job because he feels as though Job has justified his life. The flames burn against the 3 older men because they have nothing more to say to refute and back up their arguments.
This young man will say much – in fact 6 chapters worth of hot air. The irony is by the end of this long-winded speech Job will not have a chance to answer back because God steps in and interrupts the diatribe. He takes no notice of Elihu or his thoughts. Yes, these ongoing discussions between the men is coming to an end soon where finally the climax of the story will come as God weighs in.
In Elihu’s opening he does have and introduces a different perspective than what the older 3 have had. These 3 men had been determined that past sin had brought about the pain in Job’s life. Elihu will focus on that the suffering he’s currently under will not disappear until his present sin is dealt with. He takes the angle that Job has become arrogant in his righteousness and this is the issue of no relief. Again, as we know this is not the case from the initial backstory but there is something to consider in these thoughts. He also points out that suffering is not meant to punish as much as it is to correct and restore us to the right path.
Many times the suffering we endure can lead us toward a deeper awareness of God if we choose to allow it. Meaning, often suffering will drive us to dig deep in our relationship with God. However, Elihu does have it wrong that admission of suffering always brings healing and restoration and is still connected to sin. But the reality is when we suffer and it is ongoing there is a path of which we can choose of where our heart and mind will go.
The reminder for each of us if we are currently suffering – where would God like to lead us through it? What new aspect of God is waiting to reveal of Himself as we struggle? There is no doubt God uses all things to draw us to Him. He is continually wooing us to a fresh discovery of Him even in our pain. We have a choice at that time if we will actually dig into that or keep on keeping on in the wreckage trying to make sense of things with our limited human reasoning.
Job 32 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Elihu may have been younger, but he had the genealogy going for him.
But the anger of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram burned; against Job his anger burned because he justified himself before God.Job 32:2 NASB
Genealogy was so important at that time. Elihu was young and did not carry much weight with his opinion, so the full genealogy is also an indicator of the fact that he had no personal accomplishments to merit his words. However, he would have been a relative of the Israelites and part of Abraham’s line based on other texts. We find evidence of this connection through Buz (the person in Genesis 22) as well as Buz (the city) in Jeremiah 25. The city was most likely named after the family.
Now it came about after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22 and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel.”Genesis 22:20-22 NASB
and Dedan, Tema, Buz and all who cut the corners of their hair;Jeremiah 25:23
By these accounts we know he was not a fictional character because his roots are clearly outlined and backed by other parts of Scripture. There is a reason he has his heritage outlined and Job’s other friends do not. Also, it is interesting that his name in Hebrew means ‘My God is He.’
In addition to all this, there are some very interesting layers that overlap when looking at biblical themes throughout the sweep of Scripture. At the transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17) Elijah and Moses appeared before Jesus in the sky as Peter, James, and John looked on. Many believe this was a metaphor for Jesus’ words in Matthew 22.
And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22:37-40 NASB
Verse 40 points to the Law (represented at the Transfiguration by Moses) and the Prophets (represented at the Transfiguration by Elijah). By all this we know that Elijah was considered, at least in the Old Testament, a vital component as a forerunner for Christ. Elijah’s name means ‘My God is YAHWEH.’ Sound familiar?
It could be said that in the same way Elijah came with boldness and authority as a forerunner for Christ, Elihu is coming with boldness and authority as a forerunner for God (who speaks later in Job). The Hebrew meaning for their names is virtually identical, and their purpose of preparation is also hard to ignore.
The depth of Scripture is infinite.