Dialogue With Elihu (Job 32-37)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project
Dialogue with elihu

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). Specifically his wisdom is that God uses suffering as a means of teaching, not only as a means of punishment (Job 36:10-11). This is an important insight for work. If we are suffering at work, God may have something for us to learn from the situation. This is true whether or not our suffering is due to our own fault. Elihu, however, repeats Job’s friends’ mistake by thinking he is wise enough to judge Job wrong in maintaining his innocence (Job 35:16). His main point, however is not that Job’s must be guilty, but that God’s majesty is greater than human understanding (Job 37:14-24). This is close to God’s own argument (see Job chapters 38-42), and when God calls Job’s friends to repent of their words, he does not include Elihu (Job 42:7-8).