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Chapter 32:1-5 (ESV)

Posted on June 12, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 32:1-5 (ESV) - So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. He burned with anger also at Job's three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger.

Question to consider: Why did Elihu wait so long to give his opinions?

After Job completed his testimony, and the elders had their say against him, the younger man, Elihu, spoke up in anger for the failure of the elders to adequately condemn Job. Elihu’s name meant “God is he”. His father’s name, Barach-el, means “God blesses”. The mention of Elihu being a Buzite suggests that he was a descendant of Abraham’s brother, Nahor, and therefore a distant cousin of Isaac’s wife, Rebekah. Given his lineage, it’s safe to assume that the he in “God is He” was a reference to YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Given these details about Elihu, there is ample reason to believe that Elihu loved God and sought to honor and defend Him. We just happen to be privy to information not given to Elihu— that Job had truly received an unwarranted attack from Satan in an effort to try and prove that Job loved God only because of the material blessings he had received from Him.

Elihu thought Job was impugning the name of God by declaring himself to be righteous and undeserving of the calamity which had befallen him. To Elihu, it sounded like a self-righteous rant. The irony was that the three elders were the ones who actually acted self-righteously in thinking that their fortunes were the result of their own good works. Job clung to the hope that there was a son of man who would be his advocate and redeemer before God.

Elihu should stand as a reminder to us that we should be quick to encourage rather than to condemn. Our judgments should always be tempered with mercy because we must leave room for the fact that we do not have all of the facts or have interpreted them incorrectly. Ultimately, we can rest in the assurance that God will rightly bring justice at His appointed time.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for being both just and justifier. We could never stand before You without Christ who is our righteousness. Help us to rest in the knowledge that You will bring about justice so we can be about Your work of mercy in the world. Amen.