Job 34:1-35:16 Reading the Passage

The Biblical Response to the Question, “Is It Worth Serving God?” – Job 34:1-35:16

34 Then Elihu continued, (2) Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning; (3) for the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. (4) Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good. (5) Now Job has said, “I am innocent, but God has denied me justice. (6) Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I have not committed a transgression, his arrows inflict an incurable wound.” (7) What man is like Job, who drinks up derision like water? (8) He keeps company with evildoers and associates with wicked men, (9) for he has said, “It is of no benefit to a man when he tries to please God.”

(10) Now then, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil; far be it from the Almighty to do wrong! (11) Indeed, he repays a man for what he has done; he brings upon him what his conduct deserves. (12) Surely God does not do evil; the Almighty does not pervert justice. (13) Who appointed him to rule over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world? (14) If he were to recall his spirit and gather his breath to himself, (15) all mankind would perish together, man would return to the dust.

(16) Indeed, understand, hear this; listen to what I am saying. (17) Can one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn the just and mighty One? —(18) the One who says to a king, “You are a scoundrel!” and to a nobleman, “You are wicked!” (19) the one who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, because they are all the work of his hands. (20) They die in an instant, in the middle of the night; even the elite are shaken and pass away, and the mighty are removed, but not by a human hand. (21) His eyes watch the ways of men; he observes their every step. (22) There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide. (23) Indeed, God has no need to further examine men, he has no need for them to appear before him for interrogation. (24) Without formal inquisition he shatters the mighty and establishes others in their place. (25) Because he knows their deeds, he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed. (26) In a public place he punishes them for their wickedness, (27) because they turned away from following him and did not heed any of his ways. (28) They caused the cry of the poor to come before him, and he heard the cry of the afflicted.

(29) If he acquits a man*, who then can condemn that man? If he hides his face in condemnation, who can see him? This applies to both a nation and a man, (30) so that a godless man shall not reign and lay snares for the people.

(31) Has anyone said to God, “I have borne my chastisement, I will not offend you any longer. (32) Teach me what I cannot see; if I have committed iniquity, I will not do it again?”

(33) Will God deal with you on your terms, so that you may object if it is not to your liking? You must decide, not I. Tell me what you think. (34) Men of understanding will say to me, indeed, a wise man who hears me will say, (35) “Job speaks without knowledge, his words lack insight. (36) Job’s case should be prosecuted to the fullest extent, because he is answering like an impious man! (37) He adds to his sin, he encourages rebellion among us, he multiplies his words against God.”

35 Then Elihu continued, (2) Do you think that it is right for you to say, “I am more righteous than God?” (3) Is it right that you say, “What benefit is it to you, O God, if I am righteous? What do I gain by not sinning?” (4) I will answer you, and your friends with you. (5) Look at the heavens, observe them; gaze at the sky high above you. (6) If you sin, what affect does that have against God? Even if your sins are many, what does that do to him? (7) If you are righteous, what do you give him, what does he receive from your hand? (8) Your wickedness only affects a man like yourself, and your righteousness only affects fellow human beings.

(9) Due to excessive oppression, men cry out; they plead for relief from the power of the mighty. (10) But none of them say, “Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, (11) who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?” (12) They cry out, but there is no response, because of the pride of evil men. (13) Surely God will not listen to an empty cry, neither will the Almighty regard it. (14) How much less then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him—when you say that your case is before him and you are waiting for him? (15) But now, because God has not visited him in his anger, nor has he regarded his arrogance, (16) Job therefore opens his mouth with worthless speech—he multiplies words without knowledge.

*Chapter 34 verse 29 literally reads, “When he give quietness”

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.