Elihu Critiques Job’s Defense

Elihu Critiques Job’s Defense

Job 32:1-3; 33:8-14; 34:2-9

I’m impressed that Elihu dared speak. He seemed undeterred by Job’s misery. Or by his self-confidence. Or by his unassailable ability to defend himself. I admit to allowing another man’s misery or position or logic to silence me when I believe he needs correction.

How do we know when we should speak up as Elihu did?

In addition to being courageous (or brash), was Elihu also self-righteous? Was his reproof God-inspired?

Job 40:1-8 seems to show Elihu was on the right track in his assessment of God. And notice that God left Elihu out of the picture in Job 42:7-9.

I’m challenged to be open to reproof from a younger person. Or from someone “below” me on the church totem pole. Or from someone with a bad attitude toward me.

Job’s three friends quit answering him because of his self-righteousness (Job 32:1). I wonder how many people have quit talking to me because I was self-righteous.

How should I respond to criticism and correction when I know I am in the right? What is the meek response to false accusations and unjust corrections? Should it be any different than the meek response to accurate accusations and godly corrections?

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light (Psalm 37:6)

Should Job have just accepted their accusations and surmisings as valid? Should I accept a false accusation against me (Job 34:6)? Somehow, I need to reject false accusations without becoming self-righteous, defensive, aggressive, or otherwise God-disconnected.

The word justified in Job 32:2 seems to be the verb form of the adjective righteous in verse 1.

Elihu “got ticked” at Job “because he justified himself rather than God” (Job 32:2). Had Job truly become so focused on his own rightness than he neglected to declare God’s righteousness? If so, I’d say he was quite normal in that regard. (I say that assuming I’m normal.) But I wonder what exactly Elihu thought Job should have done to justify God rather than himself. Perhaps Elihu discerned that Job was defending himself at God’s expense.

Job 32:3 almost sounds like Elihu thought the three friends had failed to be just with Job. Or was he just uptight with them for failing to counter Job’s defense despite being able to attack him in the first place?

Elihu said Job defended himself and questioned God unjustly (Job 33:8-12). Elihu’s answer to Job’s self-defense: “God is greater than man” (Job 33:12). If you think you’re right and righteous and “clean without transgression” (Job 33:9), God is more so by far. Never attribute more righteousness to yourself than to God!

God doesn’t owe me an explanation for anything He does or says (Job 33:13).

Though He owes us nothing, God makes Himself and His ways known (Job 33:14).

Put my words to the test (Job 34:2,3).

“Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good” (Job 34:4). In other words, let’s agree among ourselves to choose the right. Or to put it another way, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

In Job’s opinion (as stated by Elihu), “it will be of no benefit to man to conform his will to God” (Job 34:9, my translation of the Spanish Reina-Valera 1960 Bible). What would you say to such a statement? Imagine David answering Job: “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4).

Additional reading

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