April 16, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Job 31-32
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Context: Chapter 31 concludes Job's five chapter speech. In his final section, Job claims his innocence with a list of sins he denies: lust (1-4), falsehoods (5-6), covetousness (7-8), adultery (9-12), mistreatment of servants (13-15), lack of concern for the poor (16-18), failure to clothe the poor (19-20), perversion of justice against the weak (21-23), trust in wealth (24-25), worship of heavenly bodies (26-28), satisfaction at a foe's misfortune (29-30), failure to extend hospitality to a traveler (31-32), concealment of a sin without confession (33-34), and abuse of land (38-40b). In verses 35-37 and 40c, Job makes an oath, similar to how we sign a contract with our name. Jobs friends do not know how to respond to his latest speech. Elihu, the youngest of the four friends with Job and who has so far remained silent, arises to speak. He was not introduced in the beginning of the book, along with Eliphaz, Bilad, and Zophar. The first five verses of chapter 32 introduces Elihu, followed by an apology by him to all present. Elihu also claims to be divinely inspired (v18).
World History: In the ancient Near East, it was customary for only the elders to speak at gatherings. The younger people were expected to remain silent unless spoken to. Elihu has abided by this rule, listening to what the others had to say. Anger was bubbling until Elihu could not remain silent anymore. Elihu, however, remains respectful as he apologizes for speaking out of turn.