-At this point the three friends of Job ceased to make attempts at answering the deep questions of why all this calamity had come upon their companion. They felt like he was righteous in his own eyes, so they gave up trying to rehabilitate him. Though they were offering the wrong counsel as we will see in the end (Job 42:7-9), their haughty spirits left them with no more words because Job wasn’t in agreement with them. This is when Elihu, who was admittedly much younger and inexperienced, came to the forefront with some words of his own. He was from the people group labeled here as the Buzites and the family of Ram, which could possibly coincide with a group mentioned in Genesis 22:21 as Aram. Initially, his anger burned against Job because he had justified himself before God. His anger also burned against his three friends because they had no worthwhile answers, yet they condemned Job. Elihu had customarily waited to speak because of his young age, shyness, and fear, but now he was hot with words to pour forth. He is apparently a bystander in the conversation offering a new vantage point. Job’s friends were concerned about his past sins as being the reason for his suffering, but Elihu seems to focus more on the fact that sin is not meant to punish as much as correct and restore so that one can keep on the right path. He puts a different spin on the conversation offering a diverse perspective. He acknowledges that it is only the Almighty that gives understanding and wisdom, far above the age of a man. In fact, he surmises that an abundance of years does not necessarily make a man wise, and that an elder may not necessarily understand justice. With that in mind, he says, “Listen to me, and I too will tell what I think (Job 32:1-10).”
-In his mind, he had waited patiently for their words and had truly listened to their reasonings, pondering what to speak. He had paid close attention, but no one had a sufficient refutation to Job’s words. Therefore, he proclaimed, “Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom; God will rout him, not man.’” In other words, it would be God who would defeat Job’s arguments, since mankind could not do it. Elihu now sought a new way to handle the issue of suffering because Job had not arranged his words against him, and he was not going to use any of the three friends’ arguments. They were obviously dismayed and could no longer provide any answer. With this he was matter of fact, “Words have failed them.” Since they had nothing left to say, he figured it was his time to illuminate the situation with his own opinions. Humorously, he states that, “I am full of words.” There was a spirit in him that constrained him for a time, but now he was ready to burst forth, like a belly full of unvented wine or new wineskins. He just wanted to speak to get relief from all that was on his mind concerning this matter. He wanted to open his lips and give an answer to the questions plaguing everyone around. He didn’t want to be partial, nor did he desire to flatter any man. If flattery was his way, he deduced that his “Maker would soon take me away (Job 32:11-22).”
-*Application* We’ve probably all been in confrontational situations where we had to wait our turn to speak, or had time to consider and ponder on what was at stake. These can be mind-numbing experiences with tons of stress and strain. Knowing what to say and how to say it with the right timing is so critical to the success of any resolution. Elihu makes some astute observations in this chapter that we can glean. God does hold the ultimate wisdom and trumps any of man’s opinions on matters of conflict. Age doesn’t necessarily mean brilliance when it comes to opinions and judgments. Impartiality is commendable too (Leviticus 19:15, Matthew 22:16, Mark 12:14, Luke 20:21), not to mention refraining from flattery in every situation (Psalm 12:2-3;78:36, Proverbs 26:28, Romans 16:18, Jude 1:16).
Verses to Memorize: Job 32:21-22