The reason Job’s old friends no longer respond to his defense is “because he was righteous in his own eyes” (Job 32:1). Being called right in one’s own eyes is not complimentary in scripture (Proverbs 21:2, Proverbs 31:12). We are left to guess whether the author of Job intends this statement as negative. We can be certain, however, that Elihu doesn’t realize the irony of his statement, “For I am full of words” (Job 32:18). As readers, we already are discovering that Elihu is verbose. Elihu will continue his speech for four additional chapters beyond today’s reading, but we are left today to wonder if he will add any significant insight to the previous discussions.
A positive indication is Elihu’s expressed desire to have Job answer his questions, “for I want to vindicate you” (Job 33:32). This statement should cause us to re-evaluate what Elihu is doing in his speech, especially in contrast to the other friends. Elihu’s frustration is due the fact the other friends, “found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him” (Job 32:3). With these two passages guiding us, it seems that Elihu either wants to help Job uncover secret wickedness or acquit Job of wrongdoing. The difference is subtle, but it seems that Elihu doesn’t want to begin with the assumption of guilt without evidence. This is an important improvement, and the next two days will show us how Elihu, while still problematic as counselor and friend, does provide better guidance prior to Job “taking the stand” in trial.