Day 28 (Jan. 28): Elihu, a fourth counselor, chimes in

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Job 32-34

Questions & Observations

Q. I really don’t see that Elihu has anything different to say than Zophar, Eliphaz and Bildad.  He continues the three friends attitudes that he — Elihu — knows God better than anyone and that Job is ignorant or delusional if he thinks he has not sinned.  Am I missing anything worth noting?

A. I can’t tell if its completely original, but one thing I noticed in the reading is that Elihu’s arguments seem to operate from the notion that God is not obligated to answer Job (though He will anyway, very soon!), and that there is no reason God should bend His own justice to God’s will.  This, actually, is pretty close to what God will tell Job (and the counselors) when He appears in the whirlwind.  So maybe the young man is on to something…

O.  (34:3): I don’t remember Job saying this, but I think it is awesome. “The ear tests the words it hears just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.”

O. (From Rob, 32:1-4): Just so readers know that I’m getting some great stuff out of these readings as well, though I’ve read Job before (it’s been a while), I confess that I never noticed that Job actually has four counselors!  I suspect the reason that Elihu is not mentioned among the others is that he is not really a “friend” of Job, just a person who has been observing the situation and felt compelled to speak, but if you had asked me before today, “how many people counsel Job?”  I would have told you three.

This is part of the reason I’m so strongly in favor of the daily reading of scripture (whether you’re using a plan or not!), you can read something a hundred times, and on time 101, God helps you notice something that you have never noticed before.  So keep at it, even with passages or stories that you “think” you know.  You never know what God might be waiting to show you!

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