Job 32–37: A Fourth Friend

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 130

Job 32–37 contains the words of a man named Elihu. We are not sure when he joined the group, but apparently he listened to the conversation between Job and the other three men. He did not speak up because he was younger and had respect for his elders (see Job 32:4). When Elihu finally chose to speak, he criticized Job because Job claimed to be innocent. Elihu believed Job was suggesting that God was unjust or imperfect to allow him to suffer by saying he was innocent. Elihu also criticized Job’s friends because they really didn’t provide Job with an answer as to why he was suffering other than to condemn him as a sinner. Elihu offered a third point of view. He proclaimed the greatness of God and man’s inability to understand the mind of God in a way that provides an explanation for everything that happens. He suggested that suffering is not always a punishment for sin, but since God does good things for his children, suffering could benefit a person in some way.