Job 32


In this chapter we learn that another visitor had been present from the beginning, and was listening to the verbal exchanges.  The scribe had neglected to mention him until now.  It’s possible that he was there before the three others arrived; that could be a reason for his not being mentioned until he was himself ready to speak.

וַיִּשְׁבְּתוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה מֵעֲנוֹת אֶת־אִיּוֹב כִּי הוּא צַדִּיק בְּעֵינָיו׃   32:1

Job 32:1   And these three men desisted from answering Job, because he remained righteous in his own eyes.

וַיִּחַר אַף אֱלִיהוּא בֶן־בַּרַכְאֵל הַבּוּזִי מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת רָם בְּאִיּוֹב חָרָה אַפּוֹ עַל־צַדְּקוֹ נַפְשׁוֹ מֵאֱלֹהִים׃   32:2

Job 32:2   But the anger of Elihu son of Barachel, the Buzite, from the family of Ram, was kindled.  His anger was kindled at Job because of his justifying himself more than God.

וּבִשְׁלֹשֶׁת רֵעָיו חָרָה אַפּוֹ עַל אֲשֶׁר לֹא־מָצְאוּ מַעֲנֶה וַיַּרְשִׁיעוּ אֶת־אִיּוֹב׃   32:3

Job 32:3   And his anger was kindled at his three friends for the reason that they had not found an answer, yet they condemned Job as guilty.

וֶאֱלִיהוּ חִכָּה אֶת־אִיֹּוב בִּדְבָרִים כִּי זְקֵנִים־הֵמָּה מִמֶּנּוּ לְיָמִים׃   32:4

Job 32:4   Now Elihu had awaited Job during their speaking because they were older than he in years.

A phrase in this verse is rather awkward.  It is the opening one, Now Elihu had awaited Job.   What precisely does it mean?  Didn’t Elihu also await the other three?  Every other translator I’ve examined has avoided this question by adding words that are not in the Hebrew.  Words like “Now Elihu had awaited [speaking to] ....”  Or “Now Elihu had awaited [the others speaking to] ....”  In addition, they have all ignored the et before Job’s name, making his name the direct object of the verb awaited.  However, a legitimate way to avoid the question, or make it inconsequential, is to translate the et as the preposition with and not as the direct object indicator.  The phrase would then read “Now Elihu had awaited, with Job, ....”  This translation would also provide more support for the theory that Job was younger than the older three visitors.  Then Elihu may have been of the same generation as Job.

וַיַּרְא אֱלִיהוּא כִּי אֵין מַעֲנֶה בְּפִי שְׁלֹשֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיִּחַר אַפּוֹ׃   32:5

Job 32:5   But Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of the three men, so his anger was intensified.

וַיַּעַן אֱלִיהוּא בֶן־בַּרַכְאֵל הַבּוּזִי וַיֹּאמַר צָעִיר אֲנִי לְיָמִים וְאַתֶּם יְשִׁישִׁים עַל־כֵּן זָחַלְתִּי וָאִירָא מֵחַוֹּת   32:6

 דֵּעִי אֶתְכֶם׃

Job 32:6   Then Elihu son of Barachel, the Buzite, responded and he said, "I am young in years, and you are old men; therefore I shrunk back, and I was afraid of telling you my opinion."

אָמַרְתִּי יָמִים יְדַבֵּרוּ וְרֹב שָׁנִים יֹדִיעוּ חָכְמָה׃   32:7

Job 32:7   "I thought, 'Days should speak,

                            but abundance of years should make wisdom known.'"

אָכֵן רוּחַ־הִיא בֶאֱנוֹשׁ וְנִשְׁמַת שַׁדַּי תְּבִינֵם׃   32:8

Job 32:8   "But indeed it is a spirit in a person,

                            and the 'breath' of the Almighty must give them understanding."

לֹא־רַבִּים יֶחְכָּמוּ וּזְקֵנִים יָבִינוּ מִשְׁפָּט׃   32:9

Job 32:9   "The great need not be wise,

                            nor the aged understand judgment."

לָכֵן אָמַרְתִּי שִׁמְעָה־לִּי אֲחַוֶּה דֵּעִי אַף־אָנִי׃   32:10

Job 32:10   "For this reason I say,

                            'Listen to me.'

                      I will also declare my opinion."

הֵן הֹוחַלְתִּי לְדִבְרֵיכֶם אָזִין עַד־תְּבוּנֹתֵיכֶם עַד־תַּחְקְרוּן מִלִּין׃   32:11

Job 32:11   "Behold, I had waited for your words,

                            needed even to listen to your insights,

                      while you would search out words."

וְעָדֵיכֶם אֶתְבּוֹנָן וְהִנֵּה אֵין לְאִיּוֹב מוֹכִיחַ עוֹנֶה אֲמָרָיו מִכֶּם׃   32:12

Job 32:12   "And as you went on, I would consider diligently,

                            and behold, not one was convincing to Job,

                      from your answering his utterances."

פֶּן־תֹּאמְרוּ מָצָאנוּ חָכְמָה אֵל יִדְּפֶנּוּ לֹא־אִישׁ׃   32:13

Job 32:13   "Beware lest you would say, 'We have found wisdom.'

                             God must drive him away, not man."

Already we have a bit of wisdom that had eluded the other three.  God must deal with Job’s situation, not the three others (but this truism didn’t seem to include Elihu himself, who will soon be quite outspoken).

וְלֹא־עָרַךְ אֵלַי מִלִּין וּבְאִמְרֵיכֶם לֹא אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ׃   32:14

Job 32:14   "And he did not direct words to me,

                            and I will not answer him with your speeches."

חַתּוּ לֹא־עָנוּ עוֹד הֶעְתִּיקוּ מֵהֶם מִלִּים׃   32:15

Job 32:15   They were dismayed, could answer no more;

                            words had moved on from them.

וְהוֹחַלְתִּי כִּי־לֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ כִּי עָמְדוּ לֹא־עָנוּ עוֹד׃   32:16

Job 32:16   "So shall I wait?  But they will not speak.

                            Though they remain, they answer no more."

אַעֲנֶה אַף־אֲנִי חֶלְקִי אֲחַוֶּה דֵעִי אַף־אָנִי׃   32:17

Job 32:17   "Indeed I will speak my share;

                            I also will declare my opinion."

כִּי מָלֵתִי מִלִּים הֱצִיקַתְנִי רוּחַ בִּטְנִי׃   32:18

Job 32:18   "For I am full of words;

                            the spirit in my abdomen is my oppression."

הִנֵּה־בִטְנִי כְּיַיִן לֹא־יִפָּתֵחַ כְּאֹבוֹת חֲדָשִׁים יִבָּקֵעַ׃   32:19

Job 32:19   "Behold my belly!

                            Like wine, it could not be opened;

                       like new wine skins it could burst."

Alas, the spirit in his belly could not be opened until all the speeches were done.  And he was apparently ready to burst in his anger.

אֲדַבְּרָה וְיִרְוַח־לִי אֶפְתַּח שְׂפָתַי וְאֶעֱנֶה׃   32:20

Job 32:20   "I must speak so it can bring relief to me.

                            I will open my lips and respond."

אַל־נָא אֶשָּׂא פְנֵי־אִישׁ וְאֶל־אָדָם לֹא אֲכַנֶּה׃   32:21

Job 32:21   "Now I must not show any one favor,

                            or to any man give a flattering title."

כִּי לֹא יָדַעְתִּי אֲכַנֶּה כִּמְעַט יִשָּׂאֵנִי עֹשֵׂנִי׃   32:22

Job 32:22   "For I do not acknowledge I can give a flattering title;

                            my Maker would not quite support me."

All popular bibles have for the second line of this verse something like “for my Maker would soon take me away.”  And all commentators seem to agree that the phrase means that Elihu realizes he will soon face God, so he has to be accurate in his words to avoid flattery.  I can see this as a possible conclusion.  But the root of the second-from-last word, which I translate as would ... support me, also means to raise up or to support.  I prefer my translation for reasons you will soon see.


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