God Is Greater Than Any Human Being[a]
1 “Therefore, O Job, listen to my words
and pay careful attention to everything I have to say.
2 Behold, I have opened my mouth;
the words are on the tip of my tongue.
3 My words issue forth from an upright heart,
and my lips will be sincere in what I say.
4 The Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
5 “Refute me if you are able to do so;
prepare your arguments and confront me.
6 In the sight of God I am just like you;
like you, I was formed from a piece of clay.
7 Therefore, no fear of me should frighten you,
nor should you feel any pressure on my account.
8 “You have offered your defense in my presence,
and I have listened carefully to the words you spoke.
9 You said, ‘I am pure and without sin;
I am clean, and there is no fault in me.
10 Yet God continues to invent excuses against me
and regards me as his enemy.
11 He fastens my feet in shackles
and watches everything I do.’
12 “In regard to this, I tell you, you are completely wrong.
God is greater than any human being.
13 Why then do you utter endless complaints
that he will not explain his decisions to you?
God Speaks in Many Ways[b]
14 “For God does speak, first in one way and then in another,
although we do not always perceive it.
15 “In dreams and in visions of the night,
when deep sleep falls upon men
as they slumber on their beds,
16 God then opens their ears
and issues warnings that strike them with terror,
17 so that he may turn man away from evil
and check his pride.
18 In this way he spares his soul from the pit[c]
and his life from a violent death.
19 “Or again, he chastens him with pain upon his bed
and with unceasing agony in his bones,
20 so that he regards food with loathing
and rejects the choicest dishes.
21 His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
and his bones that once were invisible now begin to show.
22 His soul draws nearer to the pit
and his life to the abode of the dead.
23 “But then, if there should be an angel on his side,
one out of a thousand, a mediator,
to show him what is right for him
and expound God’s righteousness to him,
24 he will take pity on him and say,
‘Spare him from going down into the pit;
I have the ransom for his life.’
25 Then his flesh will regain its boyish freshness,
and he will return to the days of his youthful vigor.
26 “Then, if he entreats God to show him favor
and allow him to enter his presence with joy,
27 he will affirm before everyone,
‘I sinned and departed from the path of righteousness,
but God has not punished me as I deserved.
28 He spared my soul from descending into the pit,
and I will behold the light of life.’
29 “God indeed does all these things
again and again[d] for a man,
30 bringing back his soul from the pit
so that he may see the light of life.
31 “Be attentive, Job, and listen to me;
be silent and I will speak.
32 If you have anything to say, then answer me;
speak, for I desire to justify you.
33 But if you have nothing to say, then listen to me;
be silent and I will teach you wisdom.”
- Job 33:1 As far as Elihu is concerned, Job is too sure of himself. One cannot discuss things with God as an equal. In addition, Elihu correctly brings out that Job’s perception of God as his enemy (v. 10; 13:24; 19:11) is wrong.
- Job 33:14 When God manifests himself, human beings tremble with a salutary fear (Gen 20:3; 28:17). God also speaks through sickness, which could be transformed into the moment for inner renewal that leads to hope for the joy of a cure. An angel translates this language for humans and successfully intervenes for them before God.
- Job 33:18 Pit: i.e., the grave (see also vv. 22, 24, 28, 30).
- Job 33:29 Again and again: literally, “twice . . . three times” (see note on Job 5:19).