We are introduced to a new character. Elihu seems a little mysterious, but he has apparently been present through all the conversation. He is a younger man in the community, who has kept silent until this point. He respects the elders and gave time for them to speak. But now he sees they have nothing more to say to Job. And, he’s disappointed that they have give no good answer to Job. He’s upset with their lack of compassion and concern. He’s frustrated that these older, wiser men, could give no good answer or argument against Job.
With his introduction, we are given credentials and genealogy of Elihu. This tells us is place and standing in the community. Why does he have a right to speak? Because he is recognized and known, from an established family and line. But more than that, Elihu and his ancestry give good reason to believe the person, story and events of Job may be real.
In Chapter 33, Elihu begins his address to Job. As soon as he does, we see that he really has not listened too carefully. He misrepresents Job’s words, claiming Job professed “there is no iniquity in me.” But Job never said that; his claims never went that far. Then he responds to this suggesting that Go has already answered Job, but he missed it. He answered, perhaps, in a dream or a vision. He doesn’t stop there. Maybe Job’s suffering, his physical pains, are themselves a word from God. Or possibly Go has already sent a messenger with his word, and Job did not perceive who he was. I think Elihu is guessing, even grasping at straws. But vs. 26-32 offer a wonderful understanding and description of how God speaks to man, and man’s needs.
Then Elihu denounces Job for his strong words against God. This is perhaps the crux of the book and the story of Job. Is it ok to question God? Is it ok to be angry with God, even to challenge him? Is it ok to feel God has been unjust, unfair? I think between Job and the Psalms, we can say yes to all these. Even more, it is good to express our emotions to him. But Elihu is also correct in cautioning that we remember to whom we speak and remain respectful. Job has over-stepped that line.