Thursday, May 2, 2013

ramped up rhetoric

'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.
Job 34:35-37

Elihu's accusation on Job is bitter, direct, and raw. He goes from being wrong about God to being wrong about Job. And his youth is turned into gross disrespect as he turns against Job with full force in a tirade of accusations.

He dares to say of one of the wisest men of his generation that he lacks knowledge. He is calling Job a fool. He complains that when Job's words are heard and evaluated, they reveal themselves to be pointless and without insight. The reality is that Job's words resonate with insight for the afflicted. Even today sufferers can read them and agree with what Job observed in his pain. So Elihu's accusation of wisdomless wind in the words of Job are themselves insightless accusations not founded in fact.

He expresses a sentiment of resentment for Job. He sarcastically wishes for Job to be afflicted to his death because Elihu sees Job's replies as reflective of wickedness. Elihu's accusations direct the charge of rebellion against a man who was so righteous that God said no one else on the planet was as good as him. Job's reputation with God refutes the charge of rebellion.

And the most inconsiderate charge that Elihu makes of Job is that Job rails against God. Job pleas for God to come to him. Job feels abandoned by God. Job never accuses God of being unrighteous. But Elihu can't stand to see a man offer his complaint to God, so the very act of suffering must therefore be rebellion in his twisted logic. And that is the tragedy. The angry young man could have stood against the tone and accusations and poor theology of his three co-counselors. Instead, he joined them and just ramped up the painful, accusatory rhetoric.

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