Thursday, December 11, 2014

Job 32 comments: Elihu interrupts the older men's argument

1 ¶  So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2  Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. 3  Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. 4  Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. 5  When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.

Job’s friends have nothing more to say because they realize they are not going to convince Job of his apparent guilt. Job is a very self-righteous saint of God. Elihu, who had been watching along with probably, as was stated earlier, several of the elders who had witnessed the exchange between Job and his friends, speaks now (Job 15:10; Job 30:1). He was furious with Job because Job’s speech justified himself rather than God. He was also angry at the three friends who really didn’t know the reason for Job’s suffering and yet insisted on condemning Job. Elihu waited politely, in deference to the age of the men before whom he spoke.

    6 ¶  And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. 7  I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. 8  But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. 9  Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. 10  Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion. 11  Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. 12  Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words: 13  Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man. 14  Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.

Elihu starts out establishing that he understands that he is young and that he was hesitant in speaking before elder men. Beginning a speech with a statement of humility is a good device and establishes you as not wanting to be rude or presumptuous. I am reminded of humble women like Jessie Penn-Lewis, who was involved in the Welsh Revival of 1904, and her 1912 book on spiritual warfare entitled War on the Saints. She explained why churches fail and fall and  had much to teach men but acknowledging Paul’s admonitions against a woman teaching her husband or usurping his authority in spiritual matters here;

  1Timothy 2:9 ¶  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 11  Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13  For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

…made sure to ask for permission from a male evangelist and for his approval before writing her book and included that permission in her book.

I am also reminded of Dr. Gail Riplinger whose works on the King James Bible such as The Language of the King James Bible, New Age Versions, In Awe of Thy Word, and Hazardous Materials  are of immense value in understanding the way the Bible is constructed, how to read it, and its origins plus the controversy over modern translating methods. I have seen her humility as she visited churches to speak where men would be appalled at having a women lecturer. She spoke humbly and respectfully, as the pride of men would not let her message be received otherwise.

Of course, we, you and I, are also reminded of Paul’s teaching of the young Timothy not to let people hold him in contempt because of his youth but to be an example to his brothers and sisters in his speech, his behavior, his love for the brethren, his attitude, his faith, and his purity.

1Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

This has to be balanced with the warning not to let a bishop, which we call a pastor today, be too new a Christian.

1Timothy 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 

Verse 8 is the only time the word, “inspiration,” is used in the Bible other than 2Timothy 3:16 and it clearly shows that God’s inspiration to man’s spirit gives man understanding. Understanding is a synonym of wisdom, as shown in Proverbs 2:2 and dozens of other verses. Also, note that Paul wrote by the wisdom God gave him, not by dictation (2Peter 3:15). So, except in cases where God is speaking directly, the writer is speaking from his own style and personality. Even when God is recorded in his individual words sometimes those words are relayed elsewhere according to the person’s style and memory which may not be literal. Look at different versions of Paul’s road to Damascus experience with Christ as recorded by Luke and spoken by Paul in Acts 9, 22, & 26. See also Jeremiah’s frustration and doubts as he expresses them. Paul even tells us when he is giving his own opinion in his letters. It is for this reason that we must take the doctrine of preservation as importantly as that of inspiration for, if God has preserved it for us, then it is important whether or not it is a writer’s own opinion, an expression of his negative feelings or doubts, or an incorrect application of truth as here in Job. It was recorded for our learning and education even if it wasn’t specifically the words of God Himself. Other books, whether mentioned in the Bible but not present or extolled by man among the so-called lost books of the Bible, are irrelevant to God’s revelation of Himself as God did not preserve them in the canon of books we have in the Bible.

Elihu operated under the assumption that a certain wisdom came with age. But he learned that powerful elder men in positions of leadership aren’t always wise nor do they understand judgment. He listened carefully to these men and waited in vain for them to convict Job of sin and to counter what he said.

Elihu doesn’t want to justify the friends’ argument that God was crushing Job because of some assumed wickedness and Job wasn’t talking to Elihu and Elihu is not going to argue against Job’s evaluation of himself with his friends’ arguments.

    15 ¶  They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking. 16  When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;) 17  I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion. 18  For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. 19  Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. 20  I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer. 21  Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. 22  For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

Job and his three friends were shocked at Elihu’s interruption. They were left speechless by it, amazed. Elihu says that he waited, paused to see if they would respond, but they did not answer. He then goes on to say that he will now offer his proverbial two cents worth. He says that he has so much to say that he is ready to burst and he wants to get it out in the open. He is not going to hold back because of the social status and rank of the men he’s addressing. God is no respecter of persons and would not approve of him if he were to be one. As Elihu sets up his speech to Job coming up next he has warned that he is going to shoot straight and deliver the ball waist high across the plate, holding nothing back.

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