Reading for September 2nd

Job 34-36 (Listen)

Elihu Asserts God's Justice

Then Elihu answered and said:

 

“Hear my words, you wise men,

and give ear to me, you who know;

for the ear tests words

as the palate tastes food.

Let us choose what is right;

let us know among ourselves what is good.

For Job has said, ‘I am in the right,

and God has taken away my right;

in spite of my right I am counted a liar;

my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’

What man is like Job,

who drinks up scoffing like water,

who travels in company with evildoers

and walks with wicked men?

For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing

that he should take delight in God.’

 

“Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding:

far be it from God that he should do wickedness,

and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.

For according to the work of a man he will repay him,

and according to his ways he will make it befall him.

Of a truth, God will not do wickedly,

and the Almighty will not pervert justice.

Who gave him charge over the earth,

and who laid on him the whole world?

If he should set his heart to it

and gather to himself his spirit and his breath,

all flesh would perish together,

and man would return to dust.

 

“If you have understanding, hear this;

listen to what I say.

Shall one who hates justice govern?

Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty,

who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’

and to nobles, ‘Wicked man,’

who shows no partiality to princes,

nor regards the rich more than the poor,

for they are all the work of his hands?

In a moment they die;

at midnight the people are shaken and pass away,

and the mighty are taken away by no human hand.

 

“For his eyes are on the ways of a man,

and he sees all his steps.

There is no gloom or deep darkness

where evildoers may hide themselves.

For God has no need to consider a man further,

that he should go before God in judgment.

He shatters the mighty without investigation

and sets others in their place.

Thus, knowing their works,

he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed.

He strikes them for their wickedness

in a place for all to see,

because they turned aside from following him

and had no regard for any of his ways,

so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him,

and he heard the cry of the afflicted—

When he is quiet, who can condemn?

When he hides his face, who can behold him,

whether it be a nation or a man?—

that a godless man should not reign,

that he should not ensnare the people.

 

“For has anyone said to God,

‘I have borne punishment; I will not offend any more;

teach me what I do not see;

if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?

Will he then make repayment to suit you,

because you reject it?

For you must choose, and not I;

therefore declare what you know.

Men of understanding will say to me,

and the wise man who hears me will say:

‘Job speaks without knowledge;

his words are without insight.’

Would that Job were tried to the end,

because he answers like wicked men.

For he adds rebellion to his sin;

he claps his hands among us

and multiplies his words against God.”

 

Elihu Condemns Job

And Elihu answered and said:

 

“Do you think this to be just?

Do you say, ‘It is my right before God,’

that you ask, ‘What advantage have I?

How am I better off than if I had sinned?’

I will answer you

and your friends with you.

Look at the heavens, and see;

and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.

If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?

And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?

If you are righteous, what do you give to him?

Or what does he receive from your hand?

Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself,

and your righteousness a son of man.

 

“Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out;

they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.

But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker,

who gives songs in the night,

who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth

and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’

There they cry out, but he does not answer,

because of the pride of evil men.

Surely God does not hear an empty cry,

nor does the Almighty regard it.

How much less when you say that you do not see him,

that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him!

And now, because his anger does not punish,

and he does not take much note of transgression,

Job opens his mouth in empty talk;

he multiplies words without knowledge.”

 

Elihu Extols God's Greatness

And Elihu continued, and said:

 

“Bear with me a little, and I will show you,

for I have yet something to say on God's behalf.

I will get my knowledge from afar

and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

For truly my words are not false;

one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.

 

“Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;

he is mighty in strength of understanding.

He does not keep the wicked alive,

but gives the afflicted their right.

He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,

but with kings on the throne

he sets them forever, and they are exalted.

And if they are bound in chains

and caught in the cords of affliction,

then he declares to them their work

and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.

He opens their ears to instruction

and commands that they return from iniquity.

If they listen and serve him,

they complete their days in prosperity,

and their years in pleasantness.

But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword

and die without knowledge.

 

“The godless in heart cherish anger;

they do not cry for help when he binds them.

They die in youth,

and their life ends among the cult prostitutes.

He delivers the afflicted by their affliction

and opens their ear by adversity.

He also allured you out of distress

into a broad place where there was no cramping,

and what was set on your table was full of fatness.

 

“But you are full of the judgment on the wicked;

judgment and justice seize you.

Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing,

and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.

Will your cry for help avail to keep you from distress,

or all the force of your strength?

Do not long for the night,

when peoples vanish in their place.

Take care; do not turn to iniquity,

for this you have chosen rather than affliction.

Behold, God is exalted in his power;

who is a teacher like him?

Who has prescribed for him his way,

or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?

 

“Remember to extol his work,

of which men have sung.

All mankind has looked on it;

man beholds it from afar.

Behold, God is great, and we know him not;

the number of his years is unsearchable.

For he draws up the drops of water;

they distill his mist in rain,

which the skies pour down

and drop on mankind abundantly.

Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,

the thunderings of his pavilion?

Behold, he scatters his lightning about him

and covers the roots of the sea.

For by these he judges peoples;

he gives food in abundance.

He covers his hands with the lightning

and commands it to strike the mark.

Its crashing declares his presence;

the cattle also declare that he rises.