Job 36 – “Elihu’s Final Speech – Part I”

shacklesHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Elihu defends God’s righteousness. He also begins a hymn in praise of God’s control of the rain.

II. Photo
Elihu tells Job that God punishes the wicked kings: “If they are bound in shackles And caught in trammels of affliction, He declares to them what they have done, And that their transgressions are excessive…” (vv. 7-8)

III. Important Verses
vv. 5-6: See, God is mighty; He is not contemptuous; He is mighty in strength and mind. He does not let the wicked live; He grants justice to the lowly.
v. 17: You are obsessed with the case of the wicked man, But the justice of the case will be upheld.
v. 23: Who ever reproached [God] for His conduct? Who ever said, “You have done wrong”?
v. 26: See, God is greater than we can know; The number of His years cannot be counted.

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2-4. Opening remarks
5-15. God punishes the wicked and helps the righteous
16-21. Admonition to Job
22-25. Introduction to the hymn
26-33. Hymn: God controls the rain

V. Comment

Today’s comment will be brief today. I hope to revisit this chapter after finishing the cycle.
Elihu’s final speech consists of two main sections, a defense of God’s righteousness (vv. 2-21), and a hymn in praise of God’s control of the rain (36:22-37:24). The major question is, “Why is Elihu singing a hymn to God at this point in time?” Clines writes (p. 853-854): “How these two parts fit together, if at all, is a difficult question. They are ‘so distinct in tone and content as to give the impression that they are independent compositions and could have been separate speeches’ (Andersen). It is unlikely, however, that the theme of Part 2 is simply the power of God, for that is a subject deeply irrelevant to God’s justice, which has been the overriding theme of all Elihu’s interposition. There are enough hints that the power of God in creation and nature is for Elihu not a subject of praise in its own right, but somehow connected with the matter of God’s justice. God’s creatorial energies and world governance are not displays of power, they are the vehicle of his righteous judgments. The sending of clouds and rain, for example, is for Elihu not some evidence of supreme power but an exhibition of divine justice (37:13; cf. 36:31; 37:23).”
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Clines, Job 21-37 (Word Biblical Commentary)
Hakham, Sefer Iyov (Daat Mikra [Hebrew])