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Job 35: Songs in the Night

For more context before you begin studying, read this introduction to the book of Job.

Kierkegaard once said that whatever it may be that one comes to as a matter of course because of aging, it is not wisdom. So we see that Job's three friends, all senior, have tried to explain Job's suffering and to defend God. Now a young man, Elihu, comes into the picture. Elihu waited in the sidelines because, as he says, "Age should speak" (32:7). He is exasperated with Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar because they have failed to deal adequately with Job. But he is also angry with Job "for justifying himself rather than God" (32:2). So he jumps into the discussion offering his only slightly revised version of the stock answers, with one important variation.

Warming Up to God

Recall a situation in your life when someone "jumped to a conclusion." How did you feel?

Read Job 35

Discovering the Word

  • In verse 3 Elihu claims that Job wants to know "What profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning?" yet Job has never said this. Why is this question important to the discussion?
  • How does Elihu answer the question he poses (vv. 4-8)?
  • From verses 1-8 what is Elihu's view of God?
  • In verses 9-16 Elihu deals with a second question—one that was asked by Job: Why doesn't God answer prayer? What is Elihu's answer to this question?
  • Why does Elihu's "ministry" not offer any substantial help to Job?

Applying the Word

  • Not all of Elihu's advice is misguided. He does propose that God, if he were sought, would give cheer and comfort in the night when things seem more hopeless than ever (35:10). When, if ever, have you received from God a "song in the night"?
  • Chapter 36 is the last passage in which Job's friends attempt to explain his situation and comfort him. What have you learned about ministering to people in distress?

Responding in Prayer

Praise God for bringing us hope even in the midst of pain.

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