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Bible: What Does Job 35-37 Teach Us About the Greatness of God?

Updated on August 21, 2016

Elihu Instructs Job

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Elihu's Instruction: Is it Different Than the Others?

Does Elihu's view differ at all from that of the three friends?

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Elihu Condemns Self-Righteousness

According to NIV, Job's phrase "my righteousness is more than God's" signifies his belief that God would one day vindicate him, because he is right (that is, innocent) (v. 2b).

Concerning this statement, Elihu asks Job if he thinks his, i.e., Job's, judgment is right (vv. 1-2a).

[NKJV and NASB translate this verse as a question, not as an assertion of fact].

Job does not believe his righteousness has benefited either himself or God any more than if he had sinned instead (v. 3).

Directing their eyes heavenward, Elihu offers his understanding to both Job and his friends (vv. 4-5).

Neither the multiplied sins of man nor his righteousness affects God's essence in the least (vv. 6-7); the effects are only man-ward (v. 8).

The oppressed cry out (v. 9), but not to God their Maker (v. 10a), their Comforter (v. 10b) and their Teacher (v. 11).

He does not answer them because they are proud (v. 12) and empty talkers (v. 13).

Complaining about His absence is even worse; therefore, Elihu counsels patience (v. 14).

He understands Job to be taking God's delay in action as a pretext to utter empty words (vv. 15-16).

[Elihu does not support Job in any way; instead, he appears to arrive at the same judgment as Job’s comforters (cf. 34:35; 35:16)].

Elihu's Theodicy


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Job 36

Elihu asks his audience for a little patience, as he summons still more “mature” knowledge of the truth to defend and extol God's righteousness (vv. 1-4).

The LORD, he says, exercises great understanding (v. 5) in destroying the wicked (v. 6a), sustaining the rights of the afflicted (v. 6b), and exalting the righteous to kingship (v. 7).

If the saints fall into captivity (v. 8), He instructs them where they went awry (v. 9), and commands them to repent (v. 10).

Their obedience results in prosperity, but their defiance brings death (vv. 11-12).

Hypocrites in trouble do not pray; they die young among the sexually deviant (vv. 13-14).

The poor He saves and teaches through their suffering (v. 15).

Thunderstorm

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Elihu Warns Job About Turning to Sin

Turning to Job, Elihu asserts that God would have done this mercy for him and blessed him (v. 16); however, now only judgment remains (v. 17).

Even a ransom would fail to gain him release from distress (vv. 18-19).

The night would not prevent his demise (v. 20).

Elihu warns him, "Do not turn to sin" (v. 21).

[Is Elihu right to warn Job about turning to sin, or has his counsel also gone the way of the three friends?]

While continuing to magnify God's wisdom in His teaching and the righteousness of His works (vv. 22-23), and exhorting his hearers to do the same (vv. 24-25), the young man praises Yahweh's incomprehensible greatness and His eternality (v. 26).

His description of a thunderstorm provides an example of the LORD's wisdom and majesty (vv. 27-33).

[Elihu performs a marvelous service when he proclaims the perfections of God; however, he still does not completely resolve the puzzle begun in the prologue].

The Glories of the LORD's Creation

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Job 37

With this chapter end the human dialogue and speculation, as Elihu completes his remarks regarding the wonders of the LORD.

Emphasizing the thunders of His voice, he continues to marvel at the splendor of God's storm (vv. 1-5).

God controls the kind and intensity of precipitation upon the earth (v. 6).

He also governs the activities and knowledge of man, and makes beasts to know their place, too (vv. 7-8).

The whirlwind (v. 9a), the cold (v. 9b), ice (v. 10) rain and lightning (v. 11)—all these He commands both to correct and bless man (vv. 12-13).

Elihu directs these latter exhortations about God's creative works to Job (v. 14).

With four questions expecting negative responses, he endeavors to make Job stop his complaining and think (vv. 15-18).

His remark serves as a swipe at Job's supposed wisdom (v. 19).

A man has no right to demand a hearing from the LORD (v. 20).

As God's majestic presence approaches in the whirlwind, Elihu analogizes that no one can look at the sun on a clear day (vv. 21-22).

He concludes with a flurry of superlatives regarding the LORD: His omnipotence and His impartiality in judgment (vv. 23-24).

[Elihu's speech prepared the way for the LORD's presence to astound His hearers].

© 2014 glynch1

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great message here. Job 37 is one of my favorite passages for reflecting the greatness of God. Thank you for sharing.

    • glynch1 profile image
      Author

      glynch1 3 years ago

      The chapters that follow Job 37 explore His greatness as Creator to an even greater extent. As always, thanks for your feedback.

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