Job 36

Elihu’s Fourth Speech[a]

Chapter 36

God Renders Justice to the Afflicted.[b] 1 Elihu then proceeded further and said:

2 “Be patient a little longer while I instruct you,
for I have more to say on God’s behalf.
3 I will take my knowledge from afar
to support my assertion that my Master is just.
4 I promise that there will be no flaws in my arguments;
I come before you as a man of sound learning.
5 “God is mighty and does not recant;
he is great because of firmness of heart.
6 He does not let the wicked live on in all vigor
and renders justice to the afflicted.
7 He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
but he seats them forever with kings on the throne,
and they are exalted forever.
8 “He will also have sinners fettered with chains
and held fast by the bonds of affliction
9 after having denounced their conduct
and the sins of pride that they have committed.
10 He opens their ears to correction,
commanding them to turn back from their evil ways.
11 “If they obey and once again serve him,
they will live out their days in prosperity,
and their years will pass pleasantly.
12 But if they do not obey him,
they will cross the river of death
and die as a result of their stubbornness.
13 Those whose hearts turn away from God rage against him,
and they do not cry for help when he chains them.
14 They die in the bloom of their youth
after a dissolute life.
15 But God rescues the suffering from their affliction,
employing their distress to instruct them.
16 “He also seeks to snatch you from torment.
When you were enjoying a life of comfort
with abundant riches and plenteous food,
17 you refused to bring the wicked to trial
or to uphold the rights of the orphan.
18 Beware lest abundance cloud your judgment
and that you not be corrupted by lavish gifts.
19 Bring the powerful to justice, not merely the poor,
those who are powerful, not only the weak.
20 “Do not long for the night
when you can drag people away from their homes.
21 Take care not to turn to evil;
that is why you are now being tested by affliction.

God Is Truly Great[c]

22 “Behold, God is exalted in his power.
What teacher can equal him?
23 Who has prescribed the course he should follow?
Who can dare to say to him, ‘You have done wrong’?
24 “Therefore, remember to extol his work
which men have always praised in song.
25 All men can behold it,
admiring it from afar.
26 God is so great that he is beyond our understanding;
the number of his years is past counting.
27 “It is God who draws up drops of water
that he distills as rain to the streams.
28 His rain clouds pour down
and provide abundant water for mankind.
29 “Can anyone fathom how he spreads the clouds
as the carpeting of his tent?
30 Behold how he scatters his lightning
and covers the depths of the sea.
31 This is how he nourishes the nations,
providing food for them in abundance.
32 He holds the lightning in his hands
and commands it to strike the designated mark.
33 His thunder warns us of his coming
as he prepares for combat against iniquity.

Footnotes

  1. Job 36:1 With his usual excessive emphasis, Elihu repeats in his last discourse the main current beliefs on the justice and greatness of God: God does indeed reward the righteous and punish sinners (in direct contrast to Job’s assertions). The text, which is often corrupt, does not allow us always to determine just what is proper to Elihu.
  2. Job 36:1 God’s greatness consists in being just. He refutes the pretensions of the wicked and powerful and saves the poor. If Job could understand this, hope would arise in him. At times, the text speaks of poverty with the tone of the Gospel.
  3. Job 36:22 The sovereign wisdom of God radiates throughout the universe. In his hands, rain, tempest, and snow become calamities or benefits to accompany his justice in regard to human beings. This text is a lyrical chant of the power of God.

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