Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Day 10: Elihu's Perspective

Job declares his uprightness, integrity and mercy
Job 31:1-23
 1 "I made a covenant with my eyes 
       not to look lustfully at a girl.
 2 For what is man's lot from God above, 
       his heritage from the Almighty on high?
 3 Is it not ruin for the wicked, 
       disaster for those who do wrong?
 4 Does he not see my ways 
       and count my every step?
 5 "If I have walked in falsehood 
       or my foot has hurried after deceit-
 6 let God weigh me in honest scales 
       and he will know that I am blameless-
 7 if my steps have turned from the path, 
       if my heart has been led by my eyes, 
       or if my hands have been defiled,
 8 then may others eat what I have sown, 
       and may my crops be uprooted.
 9 "If my heart has been enticed by a woman, 
       or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door,
 10 then may my wife grind another man's grain, 
       and may other men sleep with her.
 11 For that would have been shameful, 
       a sin to be judged.
 12 It is a fire that burns to Destruction [a] ; 
       it would have uprooted my harvest.
 13 "If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants 
       when they had a grievance against me,
 14 what will I do when God confronts me? 
       What will I answer when called to account?
 15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them? 
       Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?
 16 "If I have denied the desires of the poor 
       or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,
 17 if I have kept my bread to myself, 
       not sharing it with the fatherless-
 18 but from my youth I reared him as would a father, 
       and from my birth I guided the widow-
 19 if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, 
       or a needy man without a garment,
 20 and his heart did not bless me 
       for warming him with the fleece from my sheep,
 21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, 
       knowing that I had influence in court,
 22 then let my arm fall from the shoulder, 
       let it be broken off at the joint.
 23 For I dreaded destruction from God, 
       and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.

Job not guilty of covetousness, idolatry or hypocrisy
Job 31:24-40
 24 "If I have put my trust in gold 
       or said to pure gold, 'You are my security,'
 25 if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, 
       the fortune my hands had gained,
 26 if I have regarded the sun in its radiance 
       or the moon moving in splendor,
 27 so that my heart was secretly enticed 
       and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,
 28 then these also would be sins to be judged, 
       for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
 29 "If I have rejoiced at my enemy's misfortune 
       or gloated over the trouble that came to him-
 30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin 
       by invoking a curse against his life-
 31 if the men of my household have never said, 
       'Who has not had his fill of Job's meat?'-
 32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street, 
       for my door was always open to the traveler-
 33 if I have concealed my sin as men do, [b] 
       by hiding my guilt in my heart
 34 because I so feared the crowd 
       and so dreaded the contempt of the clans 
       that I kept silent and would not go outside
 35 ("Oh, that I had someone to hear me! 
       I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me; 
       let my accuser put his indictment in writing.
 36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, 
       I would put it on like a crown.
 37 I would give him an account of my every step; 
       like a prince I would approach him.)-
 38 "if my land cries out against me 
       and all its furrows are wet with tears,
 39 if I have devoured its yield without payment 
       or broken the spirit of its tenants,
 40 then let briers come up instead of wheat 
       and weeds instead of barley." 
      The words of Job are ended.

Elihu is displeased at the dispute
Job 32:1-5
 1 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. [a] 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.

He reproves Job and his friends
Job 32:6-14
 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 [b] in a man, 
       the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.
 9 It is not only the old [c] 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 refute him, not man.'
 14 But Job has not marshaled his words against me, 
       and I will not answer him with your arguments.

He speaks without partiality
Job 32:15-22
 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 partiality to no one, 
       nor will I flatter any man;
 22 for if I were skilled in flattery, 
       my Maker would soon take me away.

Elihu offers to reason with Job and entreats his attention
Job 331-33
 1 "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; 
       prepare yourself and confront me.
 6 I am just like you before God; 
       I too have been taken from clay.
 7 No fear of me should alarm you, 
       nor should my hand be heavy upon you.
 8 "But you have said in my hearing— 
       I heard the very words-
 9 'I am pure and without sin; 
       I am clean and free from guilt.
 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 man.
 13 Why do you complain to him 
       that he answers none of man's words [a] ?
 14 For God does speak—now one way, now another— 
       though man may not perceive it.
 15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, 
       when deep sleep falls on men 
       as they slumber in their beds,
 16 he may speak in their ears 
       and terrify them with warnings,
 17 to turn man from wrongdoing 
       and keep him from pride,
 18 to preserve his soul from the pit, [b] 
       his life from perishing by the sword. [c]
 19 Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain 
       with constant distress in his bones,
 20 so that his very being finds food repulsive 
       and his soul loathes the choicest meal.
 21 His flesh wastes away to nothing, 
       and his bones, once hidden, now stick out.
 22 His soul draws near to the pit, [d] 
       and his life to the messengers of death. [e]
 23 "Yet if there is an angel on his side 
       as a mediator, one out of a thousand, 
       to tell a man what is right for him,
 24 to be gracious to him and say, 
       'Spare him from going down to the pit [f] ; 
       I have found a ransom for him'-
 25 then his flesh is renewed like a child's; 
       it is restored as in the days of his youth.
 26 He prays to God and finds favor with him, 
       he sees God's face and shouts for joy; 
       he is restored by God to his righteous state.
 27 Then he comes to men and says, 
       'I sinned, and perverted what was right, 
       but I did not get what I deserved.
 28 He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, [g] 
       and I will live to enjoy the light.'
 29 "God does all these things to a man— 
       twice, even three times-
 30 to turn back his soul from the pit, [h] 
       that the light of life may shine on him.
 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 you to be cleared.
 33 But if not, then listen to me; 
       be silent, and I will teach you wisdom."

Elihu accuses Job of charging God with injustice and reproves him
Job 34
 1 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 What man is like Job, 
       who drinks scorn like water?
 8 He keeps company with evildoers; 
       he associates with wicked men.
 9 For he says, 'It profits a man nothing 
       when he tries 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 a man for what he has done; 
       he brings upon him what his 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 [a] and breath,
 15 all mankind would perish together 
       and man would return to the dust.
 16 "If you have understanding, hear this; 
       listen to what I say.
 17 Can he 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 men; 
       he sees their every step.
 22 There is no dark place, no deep shadow, 
       where evildoers can hide.
 23 God has no need to examine men 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 man and nation alike,
 30 to keep a godless man from ruling, 
       from laying snares for the people.
 31 "Suppose a man 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."

Elihu speaks of man's conduct and reproves Job's impatience
Job 35:1-16
 1 Then Elihu said:
 2 "Do you think this is just? 
       You say, 'I will be cleared by God. [a] '
 3 Yet you ask him, 'What profit is it to me, [b] 
       and what do I gain by not sinning?'
 4 "I would like to reply to you 
       and to your friends with you.
 5 Look up at the heavens and see; 
       gaze at the clouds so high above you.
 6 If you sin, how does that affect him? 
       If your sins are many, what does that do to him?
 7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him, 
       or what does he receive from your hand?
 8 Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself, 
       and your righteousness only the sons of men.
 9 "Men cry out under a load of oppression; 
       they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.
 10 But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker, 
       who gives songs in the night,
 11 who teaches more to us than to [c] the beasts of the earth 
       and makes us wiser than [d] the birds of the air?'
 12 He does not answer when men cry out 
       because of the arrogance of the wicked.
 13 Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; 
       the Almighty pays no attention to it.
 14 How much less, then, will he listen 
       when you say that you do not see him, 
       that your case is before him 
       and you must wait for him,
 15 and further, that his anger never punishes 
       and he does not take the least notice of wickedness. [e]
 16 So Job opens his mouth with empty talk; 
       without knowledge he multiplies words."

Elihu desires Job's attention and counsels him
Job 36:1-33
 1 Elihu continued:
 2 "Bear with me a little longer and I will show you 
       that there is more to be said in God's behalf.
 3 I get my knowledge from afar; 
       I will ascribe justice to my Maker.
 4 Be assured that my words are not false; 
       one perfect in knowledge is with you.
 5 "God is mighty, but does not despise men; 
       he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.
 6 He does not keep the wicked alive 
       but gives the afflicted their rights.
 7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous; 
       he enthrones them with kings 
       and exalts them forever.
 8 But if men are bound in chains, 
       held fast by cords of affliction,
 9 he tells them what they have done— 
       that they have sinned arrogantly.
 10 He makes them listen to correction 
       and commands them to repent of their evil.
 11 If they obey and serve him, 
       they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity 
       and their years in contentment.
 12 But if they do not listen, 
       they will perish by the sword [a] 
       and die without knowledge.
 13 "The godless in heart harbor resentment; 
       even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.
 14 They die in their youth, 
       among male prostitutes of the shrines.
 15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; 
       he speaks to them in their affliction.
 16 "He is wooing you from the jaws of distress 
       to a spacious place free from restriction, 
       to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
 17 But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked; 
       judgment and justice have taken hold of you.
 18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches; 
       do not let a large bribe turn you aside.
 19 Would your wealth 
       or even all your mighty efforts 
       sustain you so you would not be in distress?
 20 Do not long for the night, 
       to drag people away from their homes. [b]
 21 Beware of turning to evil, 
       which you seem to prefer to affliction.
 22 "God is exalted in his power. 
       Who is a teacher like him?
 23 Who has prescribed his ways for him, 
       or said to him, 'You have done wrong'?
 24 Remember to extol his work, 
       which men have praised in song.
 25 All mankind has seen it; 
       men gaze on it from afar.
 26 How great is God—beyond our understanding! 
       The number of his years is past finding out.
 27 "He draws up the drops of water, 
       which distill as rain to the streams [c] ;
 28 the clouds pour down their moisture 
       and abundant showers fall on mankind.
 29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, 
       how he thunders from his pavilion?
 30 See how he scatters his lightning about him, 
       bathing the depths of the sea.
 31 This is the way he governs [d] the nations 
       and provides food in abundance.
 32 He fills his hands with lightning 
       and commands it to strike its mark.
 33 His thunder announces the coming storm; 
       even the cattle make known its approach. [e]

New International Version

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