Job 32-34 New International Version

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Elihu Justifies His Right to Answer Job

32 So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2  But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. 3  He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him.[1] 4  Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. 5  But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.

6  So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said: "I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. 7  I thought, 'Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.' 8  But it is the spirit[2] in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding. 9  It is not only the old[3] who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right. 10  "Therefore I say: Listen to me; I too will tell you what I know. 11  I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words, 12  I gave you my full attention. But not one of you has proved Job wrong; none of you has answered his arguments. 13  Do not say, 'We have found wisdom; let God, not a man, refute him.' 14  But Job has not marshaled his words against me, and I will not answer him with your arguments.

15  "They are dismayed and have no more to say; words have failed them. 16  Must I wait, now that they are silent, now that they stand there with no reply? 17  I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know. 18  For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me; 19  inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst. 20  I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply. 21  I will show no partiality, nor will I flatter anyone; 22  for if I were skilled in flattery, my Maker would soon take me away.

Elihu Reproves Job

33 "But now, Job, listen to my words; pay attention to everything I say. 2  I am about to open my mouth; my words are on the tip of my tongue. 3  My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know. 4  The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 5  Answer me then, if you can; stand up and argue your case before me. 6  I am the same as you in God's sight; I too am a piece of clay. 7  No fear of me should alarm you, nor should my hand be heavy on you.

8  "But you have said in my hearing- I heard the very words- 9  'I am pure, I have done no wrong; I am clean and free from sin. 10  Yet God has found fault with me; he considers me his enemy. 11  He fastens my feet in shackles; he keeps close watch on all my paths.' 12  "But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than any mortal. 13  Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one's words[4] ?

14  For God does speak-now one way, now another- though no one perceives it. 15  In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, 16  he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, 17  to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, 18  to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword.[5]

19  "Or someone may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in their bones, 20  so that their body finds food repulsive and their soul loathes the choicest meal. 21  Their flesh wastes away to nothing, and their bones, once hidden, now stick out. 22  They draw near to the pit, and their life to the messengers of death.[6] 23  Yet if there is an angel at their side, a messenger, one out of a thousand, sent to tell them how to be upright, 24  and he is gracious to that person and says to God, 'Spare them from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for them- 25  let their flesh be renewed like a child's; let them be restored as in the days of their youth'- 26  then that person can pray to God and find favor with him, they will see God's face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being. 27  And they will go to others and say, 'I have sinned, I have perverted what is right, but I did not get what I deserved. 28  God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.'

29  "God does all these things to a person- twice, even three times- 30  to turn them back from the pit, that the light of life may shine on them. 31  "Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. 32  If you have anything to say, answer me; speak up, for I want to vindicate you. 33  But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom."

Elihu Justifies God

34 Then Elihu said: 2  "Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning. 3  For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. 4  Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good. 5  "Job says, 'I am innocent, but God denies me justice. 6  Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I am guiltless, his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.' 7  Is there anyone like Job, who drinks scorn like water? 8  He keeps company with evildoers; he associates with the wicked. 9  For he says, 'There is no profit in trying to please God.'

10  "So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong. 11  He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves. 12  It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice. 13  Who appointed him over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world? 14  If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit[7] and breath, 15  all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust.

16  "If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say. 17  Can someone who hates justice govern? Will you condemn the just and mighty One? 18  Is he not the One who says to kings, 'You are worthless,' and to nobles, 'You are wicked,' 19  who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands? 20  They die in an instant, in the middle of the night; the people are shaken and they pass away; the mighty are removed without human hand. 21  "His eyes are on the ways of mortals; he sees their every step. 22  There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness, where evildoers can hide. 23  God has no need to examine people further, that they should come before him for judgment. 24  Without inquiry he shatters the mighty and sets up others in their place. 25  Because he takes note of their deeds, he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed. 26  He punishes them for their wickedness where everyone can see them, 27  because they turned from following him and had no regard for any of his ways. 28  They caused the cry of the poor to come before him, so that he heard the cry of the needy. 29  But if he remains silent, who can condemn him? If he hides his face, who can see him? Yet he is over individual and nation alike, 30  to keep the godless from ruling, from laying snares for the people.

31  "Suppose someone says to God, 'I am guilty but will offend no more. 32  Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.' 33  Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent? You must decide, not I; so tell me what you know. 34  "Men of understanding declare, wise men who hear me say to me, 35  'Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.' 36  Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man! 37  To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God."

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Footnotes

[1] 32:3 Masoretic Text; an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition "Job, and so had condemned God"

[2] 32:8 Or "Spirit" ; also in verse 18

[3] 32:9 Or "many" ; or "great"

[4] 33:13 Or "that he does not answer for any of his actions"

[5] 33:18 Or "from crossing the river"

[6] 33:22 Or "to the place of the dead"

[7] 34:14 Or "Spirit"

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