The three companions wandered aimlessly in the yard around as the last embers of the campfire cooled into dust. They were dumbstruck by the confidence of Job.
Unbeknownst to Job or the others, Elihu, who had traveled all the way from Buz, had kept himself hidden behind a shrub of pomegranate. The son of Barachel, he was an ancestor of Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
He wore a ram insignia on his breast, woven of intricate needlework. His cloak and turban were pristine white.
Elihu seethed with anger at everything he had heard come from Job’s mouth. Neither were Job’s companions vindicated, because they convicted Job without evidence.
The young man stepped out of dawn’s shadows. He had held his tongue up until this moment out of respect.
“I’m young,” he began, “and you’re old.”
Job and the others turned in the direction of the newcomer’s voice.
“I was afraid to say anything, knowing the opinion of a child falls on deaf ears. ‘Let experience speak,’ I thought as I listened to your rants. The longer I listened, the more I realized old age doesn’t make a person right, and understanding doesn’t come from experience. It’s the Spirit within man, the breath of God Most High that brings enlightenment.
“I’m a new wineskin without a vent, full of wine and ready to explode, so listen. I speak without bias or flattery. I’m wise enough to know flattery can get you killed.”
Job rested himself against a large stone near the opening of his tent and waited for the young man to relieve himself from whatever he had to say. Could he be an advocate, one who has come to vindicate him?
Elihu approached the pitiful shell of a man covered in sores and racked with grief and fatigue.
“Job,” he said, “I speak sincerely, from my heart. The Spirit of God made me, and His breath gave me life. I’m inclined toward God just like you, for I know I’m nothing but a pinch of clay from his fingers. Don’t fear anything I have to say, because I’m on your side.
“You say you’re without sin, yet God has made you his enemy. Let me explain how you’re wrong. Simply stated: God is wholly other than us.
“The very act of contending against him is ludicrous. You say, ‘God doesn’t answer me,’ and yet he answers in multiple ways without our comprehension.
“Have you noticed when we dream, God often opens our ears with warnings? He uses our deep sleep as a way to enlighten us so that we can make a better choice when we wake. He saves us from the grave and from death by the sword.
“He also corrects us through aches and pains. Lying sick in bed, when we can’t stand the sight of rich foods, or even bread, and our ribs show through our skin, this is a great opportunity to rest in God.
“When a man’s soul draws close to death and a Watcher mediates mercifully on his behalf and whispers the right word, saying, ‘Get him out of the pit and let vigor return to his body, for I have found the ransom,’ this is when a man prays to God and accepts Him. These are the conditions in which a person sees the face of God in joy, and God restores their righteousness.
“The sinner shouts in public, ‘I perverted the good, yet I’ve been spared! My soul is redeemed and now I gaze upon the light.’ His testimony is a witness for others to think twice before falling into mischief.
“God does this two, even three times for the one who sins, so he might have the light of life.
“Job, listen. Or if you wish to add something, feel free, because all I want is to set you free. Otherwise, hold your tongue so I can teach you wisdom without interruption.”
Inspiration: Job 32, 33