The Way of God with a Man . . . Job 38-40:14 and 42:1-6
The Voice of the Lord, out of the storm, answers Job's challenge with one of His own. In a brief address (which is, perhaps, a first draft of the longer one that precedes it), He inquires, does Job possess a voice like His? If so, let him assume God's power and destroy the wicked. Then God will sing praise to Job, who proves that he can work his own salvation. Job confesses himself overcome, uplifted, and abashed. The Voice of the Lord, again out of the storm, answers Job's challenge presenting an account of His own doings as Creator who endows all living things with instinct and provision for life. Does Job know enough to do that? Does he still desire to argue his case? Job, overwhelmed, says he will proceed no further.
The great debate moves on. The prolonged silence of the Almighty is at last to be broken. Those irrelevant spokesmen for God--the three friends--are set aside. Only God is wise enough to judge one who has declared himself proud to come to judgment. As we read Job's words in chapter 31, our expectation is at its peak.
However, in chapter 32 someone else, a wiseman named Elihu, is speaking in behalf of God. The Almighty remains, as ever, aloof and silent. It is hard, at this point, to keep our attention at high pitch. It is inconceivable that the Poet would interpose here these semiquerulous pleadings and castigations. Another author has done this and, to prepare the way, has placed at the conclusion of Job's dramatic assertion the formal statement:
31:40c The words of Job are ended.
The attention of the Poet and his circle is not on "the end" of the words of Job, but on the beginning of the words of God.