“However now, Job, please hear my speech, and listen to all my words. 2 “Behold now, I open my mouth, my tongue in my mouth speaks. 3 “My words are from the uprightness of my heart, and my lips speak knowledge sincerely. 4 “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 5 “Refute me if you can; array yourselves before me, take your stand (Job 33:1-5 NASB).
Elihu had an inflated opinion of himself. And he comes very close here to saying that the words he utters are from Jehovah God—but he is vague, as he mainly gives credit to the “uprightness of his heart.”
“Behold, I belong to God like you; I too have been formed out of the clay. 7 “Behold, no fear of me should terrify you, nor should my pressure weigh heavily on you. 8 “Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the sound of your words: 9 ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent and there is no guilt in me. 10 ‘Behold, He invents pretexts against me; He counts me as His enemy. 11 ‘He puts my feet in the stocks; He watches all my paths’ (Job 33:6-11 NASB).
He insinuates here that Job should be afraid of him. And he accuses Job of saying that he was totally faultless—a sinless perfectionist. The truth was, Job had only declared his innocence of what his “friends” had accused him.
“Behold, let me tell you, you are not right in this, for God is greater than man. 13 “Why do you complain against Him that He does not give an account of all His doings? 14 “Indeed God speaks once, or twice, yet no one notices it. 15 “In a dream, a vision of the night, when sound sleep falls on men, while they slumber in their beds, 16 Then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, 17 That He may turn man aside from his conduct, and keep man from pride; 18 He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from passing over into Sheol (Job 33:12-18 NASB).
It would appear that Elihu is claiming that Jehovah God had spoken to Job but Job is so lacking in spirituality that he does not perceive it. The younger man believes that Job’s pride is keeping him from hearing from Jehovah God—specifically through his own prophetic mouth.
“Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, and with unceasing complaint in his bones; 20 So that his life loathes bread, and his soul favorite food. 21 “His flesh wastes away from sight, and his bones which were not seen stick out. 22 “Then his soul draws near to the pit, and his life to those who bring death. 23 “If there is an angel as mediator for him, one out of a thousand, to remind a man what is right for him, 24 Then let him be gracious to him, and say, ‘Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom’; 25 Let his flesh become fresher than in youth, let him return to the days of his youthful vigor; 26 Then he will pray to God, and He will accept him, that he may see His face with joy, and He may restore His righteousness to man (Job 33:19-26 NASB).
Elihu believed the lie that Job’s physical sickness was the chastisement of Jehovah God against him. And he tells Job that he is the messenger with the interpretation of Job’s problems. He is “one out of a thousand,” having the inside track with Jehovah God. But the thing is, all he really is doing is spouting off the same old rhetoric of Job’s three “friends.”
“He will sing to men and say, ‘I have sinned and perverted what is right, and it is not proper for me. 28 ‘He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, and my life shall see the light.’ 29 “Behold, God does all these oftentimes with men, 30 To bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of life. 31 “Pay attention, O Job, listen to me; keep silent, and let me speak. 32 “Then if you have anything to say, answer me; speak, for I desire to justify you. 33 “If not, listen to me; keep silent, and I will teach you wisdom” (Job 33:27-33 NASB).
It seems that Job may have attempted to answer this younger man but he was told by Elihu to keep quiet. Elihu makes the astounding claim that he desired to “justify” Job and to “teach him wisdom.” Perhaps a messianic complex addled the young man’s philosophy of life and theology of God…
On to the next chapter of Elihu’s speech…
Then Elihu continued and said, 2 “Hear my words, you wise men, and listen to me, you who know. 3 “For the ear tests words as the palate tastes food. 4 “Let us choose for ourselves what is right; let us know among ourselves what is good. 5 “For Job has said, ‘I am righteous, but God has taken away my right; 6 Should I lie concerning my right? My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’ 7 “What man is like Job, who drinks up derision like water, 8 Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, and walks with wicked men? 9 “For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing when he is pleased with God’ (Job 34:1-9 NASB).
Now, Elihu appears to be addressing Job’s three “friends,” and perhaps others who were in this assembly. He quotes a proverbial expression, which essentially meant, “It is as much the business of the ear to discriminate between wise and foolish words, as of the palate to distinguish between wholesome and unwholesome food.”
It is true that Job had maintained that transgressions were not the cause of his terrible condition—and we know from Scripture that he was correct in this. But he had not claimed to be without sin, nor had he scorned Jehovah God. Most certainly, he had not said, “It profits a man nothing when he is pleased with God.”
“Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to do wrong. 11 “For He pays a man according to his work, and makes him find it according to his way. 12 “Surely, God will not act wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. 13 “Who gave Him authority over the earth? And who has laid on Him the whole world? 14 “If He should determine to do so, if He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, 15 All flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust (Job 34:10-15 NASB).
Elihu believed he had superior revelation from Jehovah God, but he did not. Though he said some things which were true about Jehovah God, he came to them from the wrong frame of reference.
“But if you have understanding, hear this; listen to the sound of my words. 17 “Shall one who hates justice rule? And will you condemn the righteous mighty One, 18 Who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’ To nobles, ‘Wicked ones’; 19 Who shows no partiality to princes nor regards the rich above the poor, for they all are the work of His hands? 20 “In a moment they die, and at midnight people are shaken and pass away, and the mighty are taken away without a hand. 21 “For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. 22 “There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. 23 “For He does not need to consider a man further, that he should go before God in judgment (Job 34:16-23 NASB).
Elihu insults Job by saying that his words will be so wise that Job possibly will not be able to understand them. And he accuses Job of being full of iniquity and, therefore, trying to hide himself from Jehovah God.
“Shall He recompense on your terms, because you have rejected it? For you must choose, and not I; therefore declare what you know. 34 “Men of understanding will say to me, and a wise man who hears me, 35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge, and his words are without wisdom. 36 ‘Job ought to be tried to the limit, because he answers like wicked men. 37 ‘For he adds rebellion to his sin; he claps his hands among us, and multiplies his words against God’” (Job 34:33-37 NASB).
The young man is becoming bolder in his rant against Job. Because Job is wicked, Elihu declares that he wants him to be afflicted all the more. He believes he is an agent of justice—defending God, or at least his idea of God.
For God gives to a man that is good in His sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner He gives travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit (Eccl 2:26 KJV).