Dialogue with Elihu (Job 32-37)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project

At this point, a young bystander named Elihu enters the discussion. His dialogue with Job parallels the discourse between Job and his friends in chapters 4-27. According to Elihu, the new element is that he is inspired to speak the wisdom Job’s friends lacked. “One who is perfect in knowledge is with you,” he announces (Job 36:4). Elihu then denounces the friends for their inability to defeat Job (Job 32:8, 18). Given his boast, and remembering that the more confidently Job’s friends spoke against him, the more inaccurate their accusations became, we should not expect much wisdom from Elihu. For the most part, he simply re-iterates arguments made earlier. His agenda is the same as the friends’, which is first to convince Job that he has done something to deserve this punishment, then to encourage Job to repent in order to receive restored blessings from God (Job 36:10-11). He does introduce one new work-related principle, that it is wrong to take bribes (Job 36:18). It is a true statement, discussed more deeply elsewhere in scripture, wrongly applied as a false accusation against Job.