Elihu Responds to Job’s Friends
Job’s three friends refused to reply further to him because he kept insisting on his innocence.
2 Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, became angry. He was angry because Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him. 3 He was also angry with Job’s three friends, for they made God appear to be wrong by their inability to answer Job’s arguments. 4 Elihu had waited for the others to speak to Job because they were older than he. 5 But when he saw that they had no further reply, he spoke out angrily. 6 Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said,
“I am young and you are old, so I held back from telling you what I think.
7 I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’
8 But there is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them,
that makes them intelligent.
9 Sometimes the elders are not wise. Sometimes the aged do not understand justice.
10 So listen to me, and let me tell you what I think.
11 “I have waited all this time, listening very carefully to your arguments,
listening to you grope for words.
12 I have listened, but not one of you has refuted Job or answered his arguments.
13 And don’t tell me, ‘He is too wise for us. Only God can convince him.’
14 If Job had been arguing with me, I would not answer with your kind of logic!
15 You sit there baffled, with nothing more to say.
16 Should I continue to wait, now that you are silent? Must I also remain silent?
17 No, I will say my piece. I will speak my mind.
18 For I am full of pent-up words, and the spirit within me urges me on.
19 I am like a cask of wine without a vent, like a new wineskin ready to burst!
20 I must speak to find relief, so let me give my answers.
21 I won’t play favorites or try to flatter anyone.
22 For if I tried flattery, my Creator would soon destroy me.
Elihu Presents His Case against Job
33 “Listen to my words, Job; pay attention to what I have to say.
2 Now that I have begun to speak, let me continue.
3 I speak with all sincerity; I speak the truth.
4 For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
5 Answer me, if you can; make your case and take your stand.
6 Look, you and I both belong to God. I, too, was formed from clay.
7 So you don’t need to be afraid of me. I won’t come down hard on you.
8 “You have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard your very words.
9 You said, ‘I am pure; I am without sin; I am innocent; I have no guilt.
10 God is picking a quarrel with me, and he considers me his enemy.
11 He puts my feet in the stocks and watches my every move.’
12 “But you are wrong, and I will show you why. For God is greater than any human being.
13 So why are you bringing a charge against him? Why say he does not respond to people’s complaints?
14 For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.
15 He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people
as they lie in their beds.
16 He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings.
17 He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride.
18 He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.
19 “Or God disciplines people with pain on their sickbeds, with ceaseless aching in their bones.
20 They lose their appetite for even the most delicious food.
21 Their flesh wastes away, and their bones stick out.
22 They are at death’s door; the angels of death wait for them.
23 “But if an angel from heaven appears - a special messenger to intercede for a person and declare that he is upright—
24 he will be gracious and say, "Rescue him from the grave, for I have found a ransom for his life.’
25 Then his body will become as healthy as a child’s, firm and youthful again.
26 When he prays to God, he will be accepted.
And God will receive him with joy and restore him to good standing.
27 He will declare to his friends, ‘I sinned and twisted the truth, but it was not worth it.
28 God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.’
29 “Yes, God does these things again and again for people.
30 He rescues them from the grave so they may enjoy the light of life.
31 Mark this well, Job. Listen to me, for I have more to say.
32 But if you have anything to say, go ahead. Speak, for I am anxious to see you justified.
33 But if not, then listen to me. Keep silent and I will teach you wisdom!”
Elihu Accuses Job of Arrogance
"Then Elihu said:
2 “Listen to me, you wise men. Pay attention, you who have knowledge.
3 Job said, ‘The ear tests the words it hears just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.’
4 So let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.
5 For Job also said, ‘I am innocent, but God has taken away my rights.
6 I am innocent, but they call me a liar. My suffering is incurable, though I have not sinned.’
7 “Tell me, has there ever been a man like Job, with his thirst for irreverent talk?
8 He chooses evil people as companions. He spends his time with wicked men.
9 He has even said, ‘Why waste time trying to please God?’
10 “Listen to me, you who have understanding. Everyone knows that God doesn’t sin! The Almighty can do no wrong.
11 He repays people according to their deeds. He treats people as they deserve.
12 Truly, God will not do wrong. The Almighty will not twist justice.
13 Did someone else put the world in his care? Who set the whole world in place?
14 If God were to take back his spirit and withdraw his breath,
15 all life would cease, and humanity would turn again to dust.
16“Now listen to me if you are wise. Pay attention to what I say.
17 Could God govern if he hated justice? Are you going to condemn the almighty judge?
18 For he says to kings, ‘You are wicked,’ and to nobles, ‘You are unjust.’
19 He doesn’t care how great a person may be, and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor. He made them all.
20 In a moment they die. In the middle of the night they pass away; the mighty are removed without human hand.
21 “For God watches how people live; he sees everything they do.
22 No darkness is thick enough to hide the wicked from his eyes.
23 We don’t set the time when we will come before God in judgment.
24 He brings the mighty to ruin without asking anyone, and he sets up others in their place.
25 He knows what they do, and in the night he overturns and destroys them.
26 He strikes them down because they are wicked, doing it openly for all to see.
27 For they turned away from following him. They have no respect for any of his ways.
28 They cause the poor to cry out, catching God’s attention. He hears the cries of the needy.
29 But if he chooses to remain quiet, who can criticize him? When he hides his face, no one can find him, whether an individual or a nation.
30 He prevents the godless from ruling so they cannot be a snare to the people.
31 “Why don’t people say to God, ‘I have sinned, but I will sin no more’?
32 Or ‘I don’t know what evil I have done—tell me. If I have done wrong, I will stop at once’?
33 “Must God tailor his justice to your demands? But you have rejected him! The choice is yours, not mine. Go ahead, share your wisdom with us.
34 After all, bright people will tell me, and wise people will hear me say,
35 ‘Job speaks out of ignorance; his words lack insight.’
36 Job, you deserve the maximum penalty for the wicked way you have talked.
37 For you have added rebellion to your sin; you show no respect, and you speak many angry words against God.”
Elihu Reminds Job of God’s Justice
"Then Elihu said:
2 “Do you think it is right for you to claim,
‘I am righteous before God’?
3 For you also ask, ‘What’s in it for me?
What’s the use of living a righteous life?’
4 “I will answer you
and all your friends, too.
5 Look up into the sky,
and see the clouds high above you.
6 If you sin, how does that affect God?
Even if you sin again and again,
what effect will it have on him?
7 If you are good, is this some great gift to him?
What could you possibly give him?
8 No, your sins affect only people like yourself,
and your good deeds also affect only humans.
9 “People cry out when they are oppressed.
They groan beneath the power of the mighty.
10 Yet they don’t ask, ‘Where is God my Creator,
the one who gives songs in the night?
11 Where is the one who makes us smarter than the animals
and wiser than the birds of the sky?’
12 And when they cry out, God does not answer
because of their pride.
13 But it is wrong to say God doesn’t listen,
to say the Almighty isn’t concerned.
14 You say you can’t see him,
but he will bring justice if you will only wait.[a]
15 You say he does not respond to sinners with anger
and is not greatly concerned about wickedness.[b]
16 But you are talking nonsense, Job.
You have spoken like a fool.”
Elihu continued speaking:
2 “Let me go on, and I will show you the truth.
For I have not finished defending God!
3 I will present profound arguments
for the righteousness of my Creator.
4 I am telling you nothing but the truth,
for I am a man of great knowledge.
5 “God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone!
He is mighty in both power and understanding.
6 He does not let the wicked live
but gives justice to the afflicted.
7 He never takes his eyes off the innocent,
but he sets them on thrones with kings
and exalts them forever.
8 If they are bound in chains
and caught up in a web of trouble,
9 he shows them the reason.
He shows them their sins of pride.
10 He gets their attention
and commands that they turn from evil.
11 “If they listen and obey God,
they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives.
All their years will be pleasant.
12 But if they refuse to listen to him,
they will cross over the river of death,
dying from lack of understanding.
13 For the godless are full of resentment.
Even when he punishes them,
they refuse to cry out to him for help.
14 They die when they are young,
after wasting their lives in immoral living.
15 But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer.
For he gets their attention through adversity.
16 “God is leading you away from danger, Job,
to a place free from distress.
He is setting your table with the best food.
17 But you are obsessed with whether the godless will be judged.
Don’t worry, judgment and justice will be upheld.
18 But watch out, or you may be seduced by wealth.[a]
Don’t let yourself be bribed into sin.
19 Could all your wealth[b]
or all your mighty efforts
keep you from distress?
20 Do not long for the cover of night,
for that is when people will be destroyed.[c]
21 Be on guard! Turn back from evil,
for God sent this suffering
to keep you from a life of evil.
22 “Look, God is all-powerful.
Who is a teacher like him?
23 No one can tell him what to do,
or say to him, ‘You have done wrong.’
24 Instead, glorify his mighty works,
singing songs of praise.
25 Everyone has seen these things,
though only from a distance.
26 “Look, God is greater than we can understand.
His years cannot be counted.
27 He draws up the water vapor
and then distills it into rain.
28 The rain pours down from the clouds,
and everyone benefits.
29 Who can understand the spreading of the clouds
and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven?
30 See how he spreads the lightning around him
and how it lights up the depths of the sea.
31 By these mighty acts he nourishes[d] the people,
giving them food in abundance.
32 He fills his hands with lightning bolts
and hurls each at its target.
33 The thunder announces his presence;
the storm announces his indignant anger.[e]
My heart pounds as I think of this.
It trembles within me.
2 Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice
as it rolls from his mouth.
3 It rolls across the heavens,
and his lightning flashes in every direction.
4 Then comes the roaring of the thunder—
the tremendous voice of his majesty.
He does not restrain it when he speaks.
5 God’s voice is glorious in the thunder.
We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power.
6 “He directs the snow to fall on the earth
and tells the rain to pour down.
7 Then everyone stops working
so they can watch his power.
8 The wild animals take cover
and stay inside their dens.
9 The stormy wind comes from its chamber,
and the driving winds bring the cold.
10 God’s breath sends the ice,
freezing wide expanses of water.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture,
and they flash with his lightning.
12 The clouds churn about at his direction.
They do whatever he commands throughout the earth.
13 He makes these things happen either to punish people
or to show his unfailing love.
14 “Pay attention to this, Job.
Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God!
15 Do you know how God controls the storm
and causes the lightning to flash from his clouds?
16 Do you understand how he moves the clouds
with wonderful perfection and skill?
17 When you are sweltering in your clothes
and the south wind dies down and everything is still,
18 he makes the skies reflect the heat like a bronze mirror.
Can you do that?
19 “So teach the rest of us what to say to God.
We are too ignorant to make our own arguments.
20 Should God be notified that I want to speak?
Can people even speak when they are confused?[a]
21 We cannot look at the sun,
for it shines brightly in the sky
when the wind clears away the clouds.
22 So also, golden splendor comes from the mountain of God.[b]
He is clothed in dazzling splendor.
23 We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty;
but even though he is just and righteous,
he does not destroy us.
24 No wonder people everywhere fear him.
All who are wise show him reverence.[c]”
The Lord Challenges Job
38 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
2 “Who is this that questions my wisdom
with such ignorant words?
3 Brace yourself like a man,
because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me, if you know so much.
5 Who determined its dimensions
and stretched out the surveying line?
6 What supports its foundations,
and who laid its cornerstone
7 as the morning stars sang together
and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?
8 “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
as it burst from the womb,
9 and as I clothed it with clouds
and wrapped it in thick darkness?
10 For I locked it behind barred gates,
limiting its shores.
11 I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
Here your proud waves must stop!’
12 “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
13 Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth,
to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
14 As the light approaches,
the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal;
it is robed in brilliant colors.[b]
15 The light disturbs the wicked
and stops the arm that is raised in violence.
16 “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?
Have you explored their depths?
17 Do you know where the gates of death are located?
Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
18 Do you realize the extent of the earth?
Tell me about it if you know!
19 “Where does light come from,
and where does darkness go?
20 Can you take each to its home?
Do you know how to get there?
21 But of course you know all this!
For you were born before it was all created,
and you are so very experienced!
22 “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of hail?
23 (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war.)
24 Where is the path to the source of light?
Where is the home of the east wind?
25 “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain?
Who laid out the path for the lightning?
26 Who makes the rain fall on barren land,
in a desert where no one lives?
27 Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground
and make the tender grass spring up?
28 “Does the rain have a father?
Who gives birth to the dew?
29 Who is the mother of the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
30 For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
and the surface of the water freezes.
31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—
binding the cluster of the Pleiades
or loosening the cords of Orion?
32 Can you direct the constellations through the seasons
or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
33 Do you know the laws of the universe?
Can you use them to regulate the earth?
34 “Can you shout to the clouds
and make it rain?
35 Can you make lightning appear
and cause it to strike as you direct?
36 Who gives intuition to the heart
and instinct to the mind?
37 Who is wise enough to count all the clouds?
Who can tilt the water jars of heaven
38 when the parched ground is dry
and the soil has hardened into clods?
39 “Can you stalk prey for a lioness
and satisfy the young lions’ appetites
40 as they lie in their dens
or crouch in the thicket?
41 Who provides food for the ravens
when their young cry out to God
and wander about in hunger?
The Lord’s Challenge Continues
39 “Do you know when the wild goats give birth?
Have you watched as deer are born in the wild?
2 Do you know how many months they carry their young?
Are you aware of the time of their delivery?
3 They crouch down to give birth to their young
and deliver their offspring.
4 Their young grow up in the open fields,
then leave home and never return.
5 “Who gives the wild donkey its freedom?
Who untied its ropes?
6 I have placed it in the wilderness;
its home is the wasteland.
7 It hates the noise of the city
and has no driver to shout at it.
8 The mountains are its pastureland,
where it searches for every blade of grass.
9 “Will the wild ox consent to being tamed?
Will it spend the night in your stall?
10 Can you hitch a wild ox to a plow?
Will it plow a field for you?
11 Given its strength, can you trust it?
Can you leave and trust the ox to do your work?
12 Can you rely on it to bring home your grain
and deliver it to your threshing floor?
13 “The ostrich flaps her wings grandly,
but they are no match for the feathers of the stork.
14 She lays her eggs on top of the earth,
letting them be warmed in the dust.
15 She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them
or a wild animal might destroy them.
16 She is harsh toward her young,
as if they were not her own.
She doesn’t care if they die.
17 For God has deprived her of wisdom.
He has given her no understanding.
18 But whenever she jumps up to run,
she passes the swiftest horse with its rider.
19 “Have you given the horse its strength
or clothed its neck with a flowing mane?
20 Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust?
Its majestic snorting is terrifying!
21 It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength
when it charges out to battle.
22 It laughs at fear and is unafraid.
It does not run from the sword.
23 The arrows rattle against it,
and the spear and javelin flash.
24 It paws the ground fiercely
and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows.
25 It snorts at the sound of the horn.
It senses the battle in the distance.
It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle.
26 “Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar
and spread its wings toward the south?
27 Is it at your command that the eagle rises
to the heights to make its nest?
28 It lives on the cliffs,
making its home on a distant, rocky crag.
29 From there it hunts its prey,
keeping watch with piercing eyes.
30 Its young gulp down blood.
Where there’s a carcass, there you’ll find it.”
Then the Lord said to Job,
2 “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
Job Responds to the Lord
3 Then Job replied to the Lord,
4 “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers?
I will cover my mouth with my hand.
5 I have said too much already.
I have nothing more to say.”
6 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
7 “Brace yourself like a man,
because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.
8 “Will you discredit my justice
and condemn me just to prove you are right?
9 Are you as strong as God?
Can you thunder with a voice like his?
10 All right, put on your glory and splendor,
your honor and majesty.
11 Give vent to your anger.
Let it overflow against the proud.
12 Humiliate the proud with a glance;
walk on the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them in the dust.
Imprison them in the world of the dead.
14 Then even I would praise you,
for your own strength would save you.
15 “Take a look at Behemoth,[a]
which I made, just as I made you.
It eats grass like an ox.
16 See its powerful loins
and the muscles of its belly.
17 Its tail is as strong as a cedar.
The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze.
Its limbs are bars of iron.
19 It is a prime example of God’s handiwork,
and only its Creator can threaten it.
20 The mountains offer it their best food,
where all the wild animals play.
21 It lies under the lotus plants,[b]
hidden by the reeds in the marsh.
22 The lotus plants give it shade
among the willows beside the stream.
23 It is not disturbed by the raging river,
not concerned when the swelling Jordan rushes around it.
24 No one can catch it off guard
or put a ring in its nose and lead it away.
The Lord’s Challenge Continues
41 [a]“Can you catch Leviathan[b] with a hook
or put a noose around its jaw?
2 Can you tie it with a rope through the nose
or pierce its jaw with a spike?
3 Will it beg you for mercy
or implore you for pity?
4 Will it agree to work for you,
to be your slave for life?
5 Can you make it a pet like a bird,
or give it to your little girls to play with?
6 Will merchants try to buy it
to sell it in their shops?
7 Will its hide be hurt by spears
or its head by a harpoon?
8 If you lay a hand on it,
you will certainly remember the battle that follows.
You won’t try that again!
9 [c]No, it is useless to try to capture it.
The hunter who attempts it will be knocked down.
10 And since no one dares to disturb it,
who then can stand up to me?
11 Who has given me anything that I need to pay back?
Everything under heaven is mine.
12 “I want to emphasize Leviathan’s limbs
and its enormous strength and graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its hide,
and who can penetrate its double layer of armor?[d]
14 Who could pry open its jaws?
For its teeth are terrible!
15 The scales on its back are like[e] rows of shields
tightly sealed together.
16 They are so close together
that no air can get between them.
17 Each scale sticks tight to the next.
They interlock and cannot be penetrated.
18 “When it sneezes, it flashes light!
Its eyes are like the red of dawn.
19 Lightning leaps from its mouth;
flames of fire flash out.
20 Smoke streams from its nostrils
like steam from a pot heated over burning rushes.
21 Its breath would kindle coals,
for flames shoot from its mouth.
22 “The tremendous strength in Leviathan’s neck
strikes terror wherever it goes.
23 Its flesh is hard and firm
and cannot be penetrated.
24 Its heart is hard as rock,
hard as a millstone.
25 When it rises, the mighty are afraid,
gripped by terror.
26 No sword can stop it,
no spear, dart, or javelin.
27 Iron is nothing but straw to that creature,
and bronze is like rotten wood.
28 Arrows cannot make it flee.
Stones shot from a sling are like bits of grass.
29 Clubs are like a blade of grass,
and it laughs at the swish of javelins.
30 Its belly is covered with scales as sharp as glass.
It plows up the ground as it drags through the mud.
31 “Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion.
It stirs the depths like a pot of ointment.
32 The water glistens in its wake,
making the sea look white.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal,
no other creature so fearless.
34 Of all the creatures, it is the proudest.
It is the king of beasts.”
Job Responds to the Lord
42 Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
5 I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6 I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
7 After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the Lord commanded them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.
10 When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! 11 Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money[a] and a gold ring.
12 So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. 14 He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers.
16 Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. 17 Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.