When writing about this chapter, Coffman made the observation that the entire Book of Job appears to have the purpose of showing man that it is a fallacy to believe that God immediately punishes man on this earth for his sins. That does indeed ring out as a clear assessment of one of the biggest lessons we learn from the book. And Elihu does himself make a substantial contribution to that outlook, as his reasoning and his accusations are both more hurtful to Job, and greatly indicative of an outlook on God and His ways that is simply and terribly wrong.
But it is Elihu’s statements attacking Job’s character that are the most surprising about Elihu’s mistakes. He says in verse 35 that “‘Job speaks without knowledge; his words are without insight.’” Then, at the end of the chapter, Elihu makes what are perhaps his cruelest statements considering Job:
Would that Job were tried to the end,
because he answers like wicked men.
For he adds rebellion to his sin;
he claps his hands among us
and multiplies his words against God.”
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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