Elihu Was Not a Brat

  • Job 32:2 “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.
  • vs. 3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.”
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In my first article on “Lessons From Job” (“Introduction to Job”), I mentioned that I read through Job 11 times before writing a message or preaching on Job. Why that specific number I don’t know, but I do remember that one of the commentaries I read on Job confused me about Elihu. The author had described “Elihu” as “a brat”. Now, it is important how you view Elihu because God devotes a few chapters to Elihu’s words. If Elihu was wrong, you will disregard and/or misinterpret what Elihu says in those chapters which is what the commentator did. I beg to differ, though. Elihu was spot on with Job and “his three friends”, and I would like to present ample proof. (You can also check out my series “Communication” which lists some of these proofs about Elihu.)

  • – Three times Elihu mentions waiting until Job and his friends were finished giving their views and arguments. (vs. 4, 11, 16) Considering that Job and his three friends spent 31 chapters talking before Elihu spoke speaks volumes about Elihu’s patience, respect, and character!
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  • – “When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.” (vs. 5) Elihu was practicing James 1:19 before it was ever written: “…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Proverbs 16:32 declares, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty,” and Proverbs 10:19 reiterates, “he that refraineth his lips is wise.” So, Elihu was both a mighty man and a wise man, not “a brat.”
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  • – Three times (vs. 4, 6, 7) Elihu showed respect for Job and his friends’ older age. One flaw in Christianity is to view those younger negatively simply because they are younger! The example of Rehoboam in I Kings 12 choosing his younger peers above his elder councilmen is often used to prove this point. However, one could also use the elder prophet in the very next chapter (I Kings 13) who led astray and wound up killing the younger prophet as an opposing example. The point is that as Elihu reveals in vs. 9, “Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.” Proverbs 16:31 also emphasizes, “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” Elihu should not be disregarded simply because he revealed his youth.
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  • – Three times Elihu mentioned his views as “mine opinion”. (vs. 6, 10, 17) A lot of arguments happen because the person demands “This is the way it is!” or “It’s my way or the highway!” instead of “This is mine opinion.” Actually, Job and his three friends were arguing so much because of is the way they were talking, as if their opinions were fact.
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  • – Elihu’s respectful accuracy left the four amazed and speechless (vs. 15). “A brat” would have caused some kind of stir among these men.
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  • – Amazingly, Elihu gave Job and his three friends a chance to reply to his opening statements despite their already talking for 31 chapters previously. (vs. 16)
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  • – Some, like the commentator I read, may point out that after Elihu finished speaking, God arrived on the scene and declared in Job 38:2, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” Certain ones state that God was saying this to Elihu. However, God continues in vs. 3, “Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.” Considering that only Job answers God after this command to answer him, it is easily deduced that Job is the one who “darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge.” As a matter of fact, after God finishes speaking, Job confessed in Job 42:3-4:
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  • Job 42:3 “Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
  • vs. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
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Do you see how Job quotes God in both verses in reference to himself? Job understood God’s words were meant for him. We should as well.

  • – One final point to vindicate poor Elihu’s besmirched character: God only required Job and his three friends to repent, confess, and give sacrifices for their sins in Job 42:6-9. Certain have indicated that God was simply ignoring Elihu, but, praise the Lord, God does not do that. We as sinful people ignore those we don’t like or agree with, but God doesn’t. Elihu was not mentioned simply because what he had said about Job and his three friends was correct.
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To conclude: It was important for us to view Elihu correctly, because Elihu says a lot about Job and his three friends that believers need to help us in our trials today. For example “against his (Job’s) three friends was his (Elihu’s) wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.” As we already have seen in “Bad Things Only Happen to Bad People?”, this view by Job’s three friends was wrong and Elihu was correct in dealing with this error. We will notice more from Elihu about Job in future articles.