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Because Elihu's speech covers six chapters, we provide this simple overview to help the reader see where they are in each chapter:

Ch.32: Introducing Elihu

Ch.33: God IS a Communicator

Ch.34: Job has got it wrong!

Ch.35: Misguided Questions?

Ch.36: God IS Just

Ch.37: God IS Supreme


FRAMEWORKS: Job 35: Elihu – Part 4 of 6: Misguided Questions?


[Preliminary 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.]



v.1-4 Elihu suggests Job has been two-faced


v.1 Then Elihu said: 

v.2 “Do you think this is just? You say, ‘I am in the right, not God.' 

v.3 Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning?' 

v.4  “I would like to reply to you and to your friends with you. 


[Note: 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!]



v.5-7 Questions about who sinning affects


v.5 Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you. 

v.6 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]

v.7  If 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]



v.8-11 Answers: Sinning doesn't affect the Creator but it does affect others


v.8 Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only other people. 

v.9  “People cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. 

v.10 But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, 

v.11  who teaches us more than he teaches the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?' 


[Note: 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.]



v.12-16 Questions about how God doesn't appear to listen to the wicked – or Job


v.12  He does not answer when people cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked. 

v.13  Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it. 

v.14 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

v.15 and further, that his anger never punishes and he does not take the least notice of wickedness. 

v.16  So Job opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he multiplies words.”


[Note: 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.]


[Concluding 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:


The questions of Elihu, he claims he has heard from Job's lips, are:

i) 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?]

ii) Does my righteousness benefit God somehow that He wants me to be righteous? [implied in v.7 and asked in 22:2,3]


Background: Remember two things about Job's supposed questions:

i) they were made in the heat of extreme anguish and

ii) they were made when he was feeling defensive having to answer his three criticizing friends.


Elihu's answers are, in order,

i) 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].

ii) 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].


Verse 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!]



Continue to Chapter 36