Job 32-34 (The Daily Walk Bible)

Here Elihu points out that God’s actions toward Job may be educational, and not simply disciplinary. Elihu has an important insight here, that is echoed in the New Testament. Here are some examples (one of which I’ve already mentioned in a prior comment):

Romans 5:3-4 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.”

What about Elihu anyway? Here is what we read about him from the ESV Study Bible: “Instead, a new character makes an entrance, one who alone in the book bears a Hebrew name: Elihu (“he is God” or possibly “Yahweh is God”) son of Barachel (“may God bless” or “God has blessed”; cf. 32:6). Through five uninterrupted chapters (chs. 32–37) he rebukes both Job and his friends—but how are readers to understand his intervention? Commentators vary dramatically in their assessments. From the text itself, certain factors stand out. (1) Elihu provides in small measure the “intermediary” for whom Job hoped. Elihu himself is not the answer to Job’s quest, but he does point in the right direction. (2) The dialogues to this point appeal to tradition and observation; Elihu introduces the notion of inspiration (32:8, 18–20). Some see here an overtly prophetic response to the wisdom discussion. (3) Elihu cites and finds wanting both sides of the debate (33:1; 34:2). Again, Elihu anticipates the stance that God himself will take (chs. 38–42). (4) Perhaps most important, Elihu reorients the entire debate. The focus slowly but surely swings away from Job and the problem of human morality, urging attention to God alone as the grounds of certainty and hope (cf. 36:22–23; 37:14–24). At the same time, Elihu may be overestimating his own contribution (32:6–10). He knows no more of the actual reasons for the events (chs. 1–2) than the three friends do, and some of his arguments overlap theirs. Further, when the Lord finally speaks (38:1), he seems to ignore Elihu entirely (cf. also 42:7). Elihu may be asserting some true things at the core of his argument, but how he applies these things and the conclusions he draws about Job contrast significantly with the Lord’s speech to Job. On a literary level, Elihu’s speech builds suspense by delaying the final outcome.”

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