All the Men of the Bible - Thursday, July 11, 2013

Elihu [Ĕlī'hū]—he is god himself.

  1. The father of Jeroham and great-grandfather of Samuel the prophet, who also has the name of Eliel (1 Sam. 1:1; 1 Chron. 6:34).
  2. A man of Manasseh who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chron. 12:20).
  3. A Kohathite of the family of Korah, and a Tabernacle porter in David’s time (1 Chron. 26:7).
  4. A brother of David, who became ruler over Judah (1 Chron. 27:18). Also known as Eliab.
  5. The youngest of Job’s friends, the son of Barachel, a Buzite (Job 32:2-6; 34:1; 35:1; 36:1).

The Man Who Was a Self-Assertive Dogmatist

The lineage of Elihu, the fourth speaker in Job’s dialogue, is given in fuller detail. He was the son of Barachel the Buzite, the kindred of Ram (Job 32:2). Buz was the brother of Uz and son of Nahor (Gen. 22:21). Buz is also mentioned along with Tema and the Arab tribes (Jer. 25:23).

Elihu’s name, “God is Lord,” suggests his desire to exalt the Almighty. One writer has described him as “the forerunner of Jehovah.” This youthful, somewhat self-assertive speaker reaches a high level and has “a far juster and more spiritual conception” in dealing with the problem that has confronted Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. But he gives only half the truth, and his appeal, although so lofty and eloquent, is marred by a self-assertiveness evident from his sayings, “Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment” (Job 32:9) and, “My words shall be the uprightness of my heart” (Job 33:3).

It is interesting to observe that Job did not reply to Elihu as he did to the other three, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” This was Jehovah’s word to Elihu, in which He lays the very charge at his feet which he had sought to bring against His servant Job (Job 34:35; 35:16).

Elihu’s vindication appears to be along three lines:

I. He first of all condemns Job for his self-justification (Job 32:2; 33:8, 9).

II. He sets out to modify the doctrine of the three friends by affirming that affliction is as much a judgment upon sin as a warning of judgment to come (Job 34:10, 11).

III. He then unveils in a way completely overmastering the mind, the majesty and glory of God, the climax of which is in Job 37:5.

Elihu claimed inspiration for his presence and message (Job 32:8). Eagerness was his to speak before he did, but youth and modesty kept him back (Job 32:4-8, 18, 19). What Elihu seemed to forget was, trial can overtake the saintliest of men (1 Pet. 1:7).

Devotional content drawn from All the Men of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer. Used with permission.

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