Elihu's speech covers six chapters, we provide this simple overview
to help the reader see where they are in each chapter:
God IS a Communicator
Job has got it wrong!
God IS Just
God IS Supreme
Job 35: Elihu – Part 4 of 6: Misguided Questions?
Comments: This is a difficult chapter and so we will
leave comment to the end when the reader has had a chance to take
in the content.]
Elihu suggests Job has been two-faced
“Do you think
this is just? You say, ‘I am in the right, not God.'
you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not
would like to reply to you and to your friends with you.
Elihu is saying that on one hand Job is protesting that he is
innocent and in the right, while on the other hand contemplating
why bother to be righteous – which makes him less than righteous!]
Questions about who sinning affects
Look up at
the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you.
If you sin,
how does that affect him? If your sins are many,
what does that do to him? [A
question Job asked in 7:20]
you are righteous, what do you give to him,
or what does he receive from your hand?
[A question Job asked in 22:2,3]
Answers: Sinning doesn't affect the Creator but it does affect
only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only
cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from
the arm of the powerful.
But no one
says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night,
us more than he teaches the beasts of the earth and makes
us wiser than the birds in the sky?'
Elihu challenges the questions Job has uttered about how our sinning
affects God and what good can we do for Him? Elihu's answers suggest
our activities only affect (change) other humans. See end of chapter.]
Questions about how God doesn't appear to listen to the wicked
– or Job
does not answer when people cry out because of the arrogance of
God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no
attention to it.
How much less,
then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him,
that your case is before him and you must wait for him,
that his anger never punishes and he does not take the
least notice of wickedness.
opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he multiplies
Elihu picks up in v.14 on Job saying he cannot see God [can any
of us?]. In verse 15 he seems to be suggesting that Job had implied
[at the very least] that God is not impacted by wickedness which
[v.15] is just empty talk.]
Comments: A difficult chapter where Elihu appears to
pick up on various things he thinks Job has said or implied in
what he has said:
questions of Elihu, he claims he has heard from
Job's lips, are:
If I sin how does that impact God? [v.3 & 6 reflecting 7:20
where, we might suggest, Job is more implying, ‘why have you picked
out my particular sinning from everyone else's that has caused
you to act like this against me?]
Does my righteousness benefit God somehow that He wants me to
be righteous? [implied in v.7 and asked in 22:2,3]
Remember two things about Job's supposed questions:
they were made in the heat of extreme anguish and
they were made when he was feeling defensive having to answer
his three criticizing friends.
answers are, in order,
Job's sin doesn't impact God, only other humans [v.8]. Moreover,
sinners [implied – like Job!] just grumble in their sin [v.9]
but seem to forget the good and happiness that God brings us [v.10]
and the wisdom He imparts to us [v.11].
If God appears remaining silent it is because He doesn't speak
to the wicked [v.12,13] and so how much less will He answer Job
with his grumbling questions [v.14].
15 suggests the argument is spurious a) that God doesn't punish
the wicked in His anger, and b) this is why Job's plight is not
punishment [because he is righteous]. Yet, perhaps ironically,
according to chapters 1 & 2, that is exactly what is happening
– Job IS suffering but NOT as punishment because God decreed him
righteous – see 1:8,22 & 2:3,10. The first part [God doesn't
punish wickedness] may have been wrong, but so, it turns out,
was the second part [that God is staying quiet because Job is
wicked]. God's ‘quietness' was simply Him giving space for Job
to come through the test on his own!]