The debut of Elihu

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-third in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Chapter 32 introduces a new character, Elihu, a young man with a keen interest in theology and in the heated exchange between Job and his friends.

Commentators differ widely on his person and contribution to the scene. “Because he appears, dominates all discussion and then abruptly leaves, some modern commentators think that he wasn’t really part of the story and was inserted into the account later by the author or another editor.” (ref)

He does not abruptly leave, but is cut off when God begins to address Job. However, for six chapters Elihu is given the stage, an interminable monologue from the standpoint of all, but particularly for Job.

Job has remained standing in spite of the loss of his children, servants, herds, and health; despite taunting by disrespectful ruffians and gentry alike —not to mention his enemies; notwithstanding successive reprimands and insults from his three friends to convince him to repent, while enduring satanic and demonic attack on his emotions and mind as he suffers through the loss of his relationship with God. Now, must he also suffer confrontation by a manic underling?

This shows us that no matter how long a trial may go on, it can continue even longer. God's timetable is behind a veil. But his purposes are always right.

In Job, God is at work to create a new man and let nothing stand in his way. Job must be brought to birth, and he is now in his ninth month, a long and weary month to bear. Remember though, in this analogy, our triune God is the mother and Job is the unborn. Which one has the more difficult time? God is with us in our trials, not forgetting our confusion and need for answers and light. He groans with us. (Rom 8:26)

Job 32:1-3 NIV Elihu sees his opportunity to shine when Job’s friends stop arguing with him because they see him as incorrigible. He enters the fray of the discussion from a dangerous motive: anger. Who kindled his wrath? Well, probably, Satan.

We find out he may be related to Abraham as the son of Barachel the Buzite. Abraham's brother, Nahor, had numerous sons (Gen 22:21-22) and Buz was one of them (but he was not the only Buz in the Bible).

One commentator has noted that Elihu is the only man with a genealogy, proving he was not a fictional character. His name means My-God-Is-He and is termed by scholars as a Hebrew name.

Job 32:4-9 NIV Elihu makes a mistake in polite dialogue by stating that Job’s friends are very old (Job 32:6 KJV). Why not simply say, “older”? He further states that great men are not always wise — another insult. But he is angry, and wants all to agree that young men can receive God's wisdom.

Without a doubt John the Baptist's elders saw John as an upstart without sufficient credentials. However, Age is no just measure of wisdom. There are beardless sages and greyheaded children. (Trapp)

Job 32:10-14 NIV Elihu adds new insult to injury by challenging Job’s friends not to think that it must be left to God to convince Job simply because they have had no success. Elihu plans to answer with actual wisdom, not by parroting their speeches. He has not been defeated in debate by Job, but they have!

Job 32:15-18 NIV It was not clear to Elihu that Job was unreachable. He was convinced he could make an inroad to Job's stubborn heart. He felt he MUST have his say!

Job 32:19-22 NIV We shall see what the fermentation of a young mind will bring to the table. We are already sure, though, that it will not flatter — anyone!

As wonderful as youth is, many better endowments come with age.

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