Notes on the Book of Job

When considering the teaching embodied in the discourses between Job and his three friends and the monologue from Elihu, it is helpful to keep two certain things in mind: -

It is testified by God that Job was righteous, before, during and after his ordeal (1:8, 2:3, and 42:7-8) and; his three friends, unlike Job, did not speak right things about God. (42:7-8)

We are justified then in relying on every word which Job speaks and in distrusting every word, although reliably reported, spoken by his three friends. These latter were insisting that Job acknowledge that he and/or his children must have sinned for these calamities to have come upon them (4:7-8). Job, while not claiming purity from transgression (e.g.7:21), knew that their argument was unscriptural and would not justify their reasoning. In their utterances, his three friends used every trick of the adversary to wear him down to their point of view - flattery (4:3-4), misapplication of Scripture (4:7-9), claims to spiritual revelation (4:12-16...), false accusation (11.3) and by misquoting Job's words (For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, [true] and I am clean in thine eyes. [false] (11:4)) and many other such examples.

Job was righteous but he still had much to learn about God and His ways (38:1-42:5). What did Elihu contribute? Quite a lot in his own eyes, as one would expect from one who is young enough to know all the answers! (32:17-19). But how do his words fit in with what God has testified concerning Job? Here are some examples: What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water? Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men. (34:7- 8); ...he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God. (34:37). ...thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: ... Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction (36:17...21).

Job is held up to believers as an example of suffering affliction and of patience (Jas.5:10-11). This would not be so if Elihu had been justified in his accusations. Clearly Elihu falsely accuses Job and so should be classed with the adversary (Heb: Satan). His contribution is ignored by all parties, nor was he included when the transgressors were granted repentance (42:8-9) - possibly because his blasphemous claims disqualified him: - Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead:... (33:6). Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God's behalf (36:2).

There is much we can learn from this wonderful book. It is hoped that, by setting the characters in their true relationships, the above will help in its elucidation.

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