The Elder and the Younger Elihu . . . Job 32-37
The Elder Elihu rebukes Jobbecause he justified himself rather than God. He is critical of the friends because they failed to speak for God and remained silent. The justice of the all-seeing God should not be questioned. Jobdeserves punishment. The Younger Elihu, inspired by"the breath of the Almighty,"has no option but to speak. To Jobhe offers persuasive criticism and correct instruction, that Job may put himself in the right with God.
Should this great book be allowed to go to the reader unaccompanied? That was the question raised by its custodians at some unnamed date after the death of the Poet.
We do not know the history of the Book of Job in the years following the Poet's death, but his work must have carried authority from the beginning. Without doubt, his disciples treasured it for a valued masterpiece. Eventually it passed into the hands of men who had not known the Poet and was admitted, as by right, to circles in which the Hebrew books were being collected and edited.
These later custodians, who accept the bold oracles of the prophets, can also tolerate the Poet's work; but they may fear that a book so different from those of the prophets may shock the reader. They wish to offer him guidance that will bring the Book of Job into line with teaching current in their own day. For this reason they see fit to place new speeches between Job's final plea for a hearing and the reply of the Almighty.
Chapters 32 through 37, now generally regarded as an addition to the Poet's work, have almost always been assigned to a single writer.1 In our opinion, and the suggestion is not entirely new, at least two writers can be found here.2
One, whom we shall call the Elder Elihu, finds his wrath