Saturday, April 17, 2010

Right but wrong

Today I read through the fourth speech by Elihu (Job 36-37), the angry young friend of Job. He seems to be sincerely concerned to defend God's justice and righteousness. Elihu's speech shows an awe and respect for God's power manifest in Creation. It ends,

God is clothed with awesome majesty.
23The Almighty—we cannot find him;
he is great in power;
justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
24Therefore men fear him;
he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit."

So, what is the problem? Perhaps, Elihu seems to try to impose on the world and Job his neat little equation (or mantra) suffering equals unconfessed sin. Furthermore, those who disagreed with him were portrayed as arrogant and attacking the very character of God.

This should humble us and how we relate to others.


  1. It always intrigues me that God is not recorded as having rebuked Elihu at the end (cf.42:7). I wonder why not? Some have said that the Elihu speech was inserted into the text later on, but it baffles me how such supposedly trigger-happy scribes could forget to make the necessary editorial changes at the end. Why is it that redaction criticism must presuppose the most witless editors of the scriptures? I don't buy it.

  2. It seems pretty clear that God did not rebuke Elihu. I think we should definitely take that into consideration as we read his words and attempt to gain wisdom from them.