Biblical People

Biblical People: Elihu (1)

Aside from the three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, we also encounter a fourth man on the scene, Elihu, son of Barakel.

The Bible doesn’t say if he came with the three others or arrived later. But Scripture does say he defers to them because they’re older. He does this as a sign of respect.

Though Elihu only speaks once, his rant is by far the longest.

He starts by responding to Job’s claim that though he calls out to God, there’s no answer. Elihu says God speaks through dreams, visions, circumstances, and audible words, even through angels. It’s up to us to perceive his message. If Job isn’t hearing, it must be his fault.

In Elihu’s limited understanding of God, he perceives the Almighty as one who fairly administers justice but nothing more. But we’re frail people, we do wrong. We sin. If God only administers justice, then he must punish us for all our mistakes. 

As Elihu continues to speak, we see him arrogantly proclaim that he has the knowledge his friends lack. He repeats his view of God’s justice and implies Job is receiving the punishment he deserves.

How does God speak to us? Are we open to hear from him regardless of how he reveals himself? Have we accepted the solution Jesus offers as an alternative to the justice we deserve?

[Read what Elihu says in Job 32:637:24.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at