The Unmasking of the Evil One in Elihu

Job 32-37

(Job 32-37)
The book of Job in the Bible is about a man who lived in the Middle East and who was a true and upright man who feared G-d and turned away from evil, a man of unparalleled godliness, as G-d said to Satan about Job: "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears G-d and shuns evil?" (Job 1:8). The Lord had blessed Job with great wealth, he had thousands of sheep and camels, also oxen and donkeys, and a large household of servants and workers so that Job was known as "the greatest of all the people of the East" (Job 1:3).
In response to G-d's praise of Job, Satan countered that if Job had not been so richly blessed by the Lord G-d, he would not have served and paid homage to the Lord so very commendably. The devil then challenged the Lord to take away all that Job possessed which included his children as well, and "he [Job] will surely curse You to Your face" (Job 1:11). The Lord gave Satan permission to do so, and Job was left ruined and all his children were killed. Nevertheless, Job humbly fell to the ground, and worshipped the Lord saying: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." In all this Job did not sin nor charge G-d with wrong" (Job 1:21-22).

Thus, the Lord countered Satan and said to him again "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears G-d and shuns evil. And still holds fast to his integrity, although you moved Me against him to ruin him without cause" (Job 2:3). But Satan answered the Lord and said..."Stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh and he will surely curse You to Your face." And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold he is in your hand, but spare his life" (Job 2:5-6). Then Satan "struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the top of his head," and while Job sat in the midst of the ashes his wife said to him, "Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse G-d and die!" But he said to her..."shall we indeed receive good from the hand of G-d, and shall we not receive evil (i.e., adversity)?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips" (Job 2:7,8,9,10).

Gold Star

The book of Job then tells us that when Job's three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar heard of all the adversity that had come upon Job they came to mourn with him, and to comfort him. We are told that they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights, without saying a word to him because they saw that his grief was very great. Then, Job finally spoke, and in turn each one of his friends replied. Job continued speaking in between their discourses, and as he had done in his replies to them, Job persevered in his entreaty to be justified by the Lord (Job 13:3,22-24; 23:3-7; 30:20). He ends his speech imploring G-d: "O that One [i.e., G-d] would hear me... that the Almighty would answer me!" (Job 31:35). It was then that the mysterious young man named Elihu enters the scene.

After introducing Elihu as the son of Barachel the Buzite of the clan of Ram, and telling us that Elihu was "burning in anger" against Job "because he [Job] justified his soul [nephesh] before G-d," and that he was also "burning in anger" against Job's three friends because "they had found no answer [maaneh = "purposeful reasons" or "rebuttals" against a person], and yet had condemned Job" (Job 32:2,3), Elihu then commences his speech, but not before we are told for the third time that "he was burning with anger" (Job 32:5), and then he spoke (v.6).

What kind of anger did Elihu have? Was it a righteous anger and a holy indignation championing the cause of G-d? Or was it a prideful ire and arrogant rage against Job for upholding his own uprightness and integrity, and anger against the three friends of Job for not being able to condemn Job and show him to be unrighteous? Even before he spoke, Elihu had prejudged Job to be wicked and "unrighteous" (Job 32:3), and he could hardly restrain himself from speaking in anger with a burst of words (Job 32:16-20). Forgetting that "he who is slow to anger is of great understanding," 1  and that "a man of great understanding [tebunah] holds his peace," 2 for "he who restrains his lips is understanding." 3 Righteous indignation is based on "a spirit of humility, and slowness to anger, and great compassion and eternal goodness, and understanding [sekel] and insight [binah] and mighty wisdom." 4  Shall a liar be able to uphold the Truth? We shall see that Elihu was not only a liar and a forger of lies as were the three friends of Job, 5  but also someone full of the pride and arrogance of the Evil One within him who envied the simplicity and uprightness of Job, whom the Lord G-d praised when Satan came before Him.

We should not forget that "by the envy of the devil death entered into the world." 6 Satan became jealous when he heard the Lord's words of praise concerning Job, before and after both his trials. 7 Satan desired to be able to hear Job curse G-d to His face, but at both times he only heard Job's words of praise and humble resignation towards the Lord. 8  From the beginning it was the devil's pride that led to his downfall, and we shall see that same pride in the Evil One within Elihu attempting to set himself above G-d. From the book of Genesis we learn that Satan is a liar, 9  and we know that his lies are found in the lips of those who harbor him in their hearts. Elihu the vindictive liar shall also be unmasked by his lies.

Gold Star  

The first thing that is said about Elihu is that he was burning in anger against Job because "Job...justified his soul before G-d" or as some translations say: "Job...justified himself rather than G-d" (Job 32:2). Elihu was angry because Job not only defended the way he had acted but also the inmost motives and thoughts of his soul towards G-d. Yet we can read that at the very commencement of the calamities that befell Job, the first thing that he did was to justify the Lord and not himself:

"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." 10

"Indeed, shall we receive good from the hand of G-d, and shall we not receive evil (i.e., adversity)?" 11

If Job had been wicked and had justified himself before G-d, it would have been as much an abomination in the eyes of the Lord as someone who would justify a wicked man. Concomitantly, if Job's friends and Elihu had condemned righteous Job, they would have all four been an abomination to the Lord, for it is written that "he who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous both of them are an abomination to the Lord." 12 And they did condemn an upright man vouched for by the Lord before and after his trials. 13 But we should be aware that Elihu not only slandered Job but also his three friends when it is said that his anger was enkindled against them "because they had found no answer [i.e. words of rebuttal against Job], and yet had condemned Job." 14 What Elihu actually said was: "and yet they had condemned [rasha] G-d," 15  a very grave accusation against Job's friends.

Gold Star


Young Elihu had said, 16 that in deference to the age of Job's three friends, and their status as wise elders, he [Elihu] had refrained from speaking and presenting his arguments against Job. Nevertheless, Elihu had no qualms to address Job by his own name and to refer to him by name in his diatribes against Job that burst forth from his mouth. Out of respect for him, the friends of Job had never addressed or referred to Job by his own name. They were undoubtedly conscious of Job's former status as "the greatest of all men in the East," 17  and of the esteem and veneration held by all towards him.18

Besides the brashness of referring to Job by his name, Elihu shamelessly confronts Job in his diatribes with such expressions as:

"If you [Job] are able to, answer me! set your words in order before me, stand up!" 19

"Pay attention [qashab] O Job, hear me. Keep silence [charash]! and I will speak." 20

"If you have anything to say, answer me...if not, listen to me, keep silence, and I will teach you wisdom!" 21

"Hear this, O Job, stand up, and understand [bin] the wonderful works of G-d." 22

In his high opinion of himself, Elihu wants Job's complete attention to his words. But first of all he tells us that the friends of Job have been confounded by Job, and have been rendered speechless:
"They [Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar] are dismayed, they answer no more, words [millim] are departed from them." 23
But as for himself: "I am full of words [millim]," 24 and he must "speak that I may find relief," 25  for he is as a "new wine-skin almost ready to burst." 26 Furthermore, these are not ordinary words that will proceed from his mouth, Elihu tells Job: "the uprightness of [my] heart are my words, and my lips shall utter pure [barur] knowledge [daath]." 27 And that is because he is so special that: "the Spirit of G-d has made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life," 28 just like Adam was uniquely and directly given life by the breathing of the Lord G-d into his nostrils. 29

The hidden wisdom found in the Holy Scriptures show us the difference between an indistinct "cry" [qara] and a distinct "voice" [qol]. Thus, upon drawing closer to a cry in the wilderness one may be able to hear and discern it to be a voice. We also learn that we go from wisdom to understanding and then to knowledge. For it is said in the book of the prophet Daniel that: "G-d gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding," 30 and "when the wise is made to understand [sakal], he receives knowledge." 31 It is in that sequence that the Lord filled Bezaleel and Hiram "with the Spirit of G-d in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge." 32 We can now understand why it is written: "does not Wisdom cry [qara] out? and Understanding put forth her voice [qol]?" 33 Elihu knew that "voice" is related to "understanding" that is why he said to Job: "If you have understanding [binah] hear this: give ear [i.e. "listen closely"] to the voice [qol] of my words" 34 but having the Evil One inside of him he presumed to have the "understanding [binah]" needed to be able to hear the "voice" behind the words of Job when he said to him: "Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the voice of your words saying: "I am pure, without transgression, I am innocent, neither is there iniquity in me." 35 Did Elihu hear the "voice" of Job's words saying this or was he hearing the slanderous voice of the Evil One within him? Let us see:

Elihu said that he heard Job say:
"I am pure [zak = "pure", "clean"]."
But Job did not say that, he said:
"My prayer is pure [zak]" 36 i.e., he never prayed for evil to befall his enemies, he addressed G-d with a clear conscience.
Elihu said that he heard Job say that he was:
"Without transgression [pesha]."
But what Job said to the Lord is:
"Why do You not pardon my transgression [pesha]?" 37

"Make me to know my transgression [pesha]." 38

"My transgression [pesha] is sealed up in a bag." 39

"If I like Adam covered my transgression [pesha] by hiding my iniquity [avon] in my bosom..." 40

Again, Elihu said that he heard Job say:
"I am innocent [chaph]."
But the word chaph ["innocent"] is found nowhere else in the Bible but in the lying lips of Elihu.

And did Job say what Elihu said he did:

"There is no iniquity [avon] in me."?
It cannot be so, because what Job really said is:
"How many are my iniquities [avon pl.]?" 41

"Why do You not...take away my iniquity [avon]?" 42

"You inquire after my iniquity [avon] and search after my sin." 43

"If I were to sin You would observe me and would not acquit me for my iniquity [avon]." 44

"You make me inherit the iniquities [avon pl.] of my youth." 45

"You sew up my iniquity [avon]." 46

When Elihu said to Job that: "I have heard the voice of your words," 47  he knew that it was only possible to do so if one possessed that special insight called binah48  Which is why he said to Job: "If you have understanding [binah] hear this: give ear to the voice of my words." 49  But how could Elihu have "understanding [binah]" when the Evil One inside of him had not departed? The book of Job tells us what the Lord said to Adam after the Fall: "Behold! the fear of the Lord that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding [binah]." 50

Although Job had always held on to his integrity and was praised by the Lord for it from the very beginning, 51  nevertheless, he was always fearful of unconscious errors and derelictions on his part. He even offered burnt-offerings to the Lord on behalf of his children in case they had in their festivities "sinned and cursed G-d in their hearts." 52  For as the Psalmist said: "Who can understand his errors? cleanse me from hidden faults." 53 Thus Job said: "Though I were righteous, my own mouth would condemn me, though I were blameless it would prove me perverse. I am blameless, yet I do not know myself." 54

But through all his sufferings, and harassed by the railings of his friends who urged him to admit guilt, and to acknowledge that it was because of his wickedness that G-d was punishing him, Job held fast to his integrity for it was all that remained to him:

"Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me." 55

"Let me be weighed in an even balance that G-d may know my integrity."  56

"My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go. My heart shall not reproach me as long as I live."  57

"My righteousness still stands." 58

"You [G-d] know that I am not wicked." 59

Job desired that G-d would justify him and he was confident in his integrity that he would come forth from his trials vindicated by his righteousness. He said to his friends: "See now, I have ordered my cause, I know that I shall be vindicated;" 60  "If He tries me I shall come forth as gold."  61

Above all Job longed to be able to speak to the Lord and to present his case before Him. Thus, he cried out: "O that I knew where to find Him that I might come even to His seat. I would order my cause before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say to me." 62   "Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with G-d." 63

But Job dreaded that G-d would appear in all His majestic power and fearsomeness while His hand was still heavy upon him. And so he said to the Lord: "I will not hide myself from Your face [if] You withdraw Your hand far from me. And let not Your terror make me afraid. Then call and I will answer, or let me speak, and You answer me."  64   Job also said to his friends: "Let Him take away His rod from me, and let not His terror affright me. Then, I would speak and not be afraid."  65

Gold Star

When Elihu first addresses Job, he portentously says to him: "Job...hear my speeches, and give ear ["pay close attention"] to all my words,"  66   he also demands visual attention for he subsequently tells Job: "Behold now, I have opened my mouth [peh], and my tongue has spoken in my palate." 67  And what he says that his tongue puts forth is no less than upright lucid words that proceed from and bear witness to his upright heart: "uprightness of heart are my words and my lips shall utter pure knowledge." 68 Job had once exclaimed: "How forcible are words of uprightness!"  69   Well, Elihu now tells Job that from the very "uprightness" of his heart shall come forth all his upright words!

Just before Elihu appeared and spoke, had not Job cried out: "O that...the Almighty would answer me!" 70  So there was Elihu saying to Job that although he was a mere mortal like Job: "Behold, I am according to your wish [lit. "according to your mouth"] in place of G-d"  71  before you. Job had been afraid that the appearance of G-d would terrify him and that the heavy burden of the hand of G-d upon him would hamper his speaking (see references 63 and 64), but Elihu reassures him: "Behold, my terror shall not make you afraid, neither shall my hand [lit. "pressure"] be heavy upon you." 72  Elihu not only assumes to speak to Job in G-d's stead but he presumes to have the capacity to produce the "dreadful terror [emah]"  73  and heavy pressure that G-d possesses and can exert. But Elihu assures Job that "my terror [emah] shall not make you afraid, neither shall my pressure ["hand" in Greek Text] be heavy upon you." Did Elihu have the capacity to trigger and send forth that kind of "terror [emah]?" No, but the Evil One inside of him could, for he is "the king of terrors."  74

Next, Elihu accuses Job of having said: "I am righteous and G-d has taken away my judgment," 75  but it was in defense of his maligned character that Job had asserted his righteousness in the face of the false accusations that his friends had brought up against him. We should remember that the Lord Himself had vouched for him when He said that there was no one like him in the earth, that Job was "a blameless and upright man, one who fears G-d and shuns evil and...holds fast to his integrity."  76

There is no doubt that Eliphaz lied and maligned Job when he said that Job's wickedness was great and that there was no end to his iniquities, and that he had exacted pledges from his kindred without cause and had left them stripped and naked. Furthermore, that Job had not given water to the weary and thirsty to drink, and had withheld bread from the hungry, sending widows away penniless and taking advantage of the dispossessed.  77  But in reality Job had done just the opposite. 78 In addition, Eliphaz had also lied when he accused Job of having said:

"How does G-d know? 
Can He judge through the dark cloud?" 79
We expose his lie when we can see that what Job actually said was:
"Shall anyone teach G-d knowledge. When it is He who judges even those that are on high?"  80

The Evil One in Elihu who once heard the Lord say to him: "have you [Satan] considered My servant Job that there is no one like him in this earth?" (as if to say: "Who is like Job in this earth, who is such a blameless and upright man...?), now mocks G-d by saying in Elihu: "Who [mi] is like Job who drinks up mockery like water and who goes in company with the workers of iniquity and walks with wicked men?"  81  This, the Evil One said of Job whom the Lord praised saying that "he feared G-d and departed from evil!" Again, the sinister one in Elihu who had in the beginning of his discourse told Job to "speak for I desire to justify you," 82  this time reverses his course and cries out presumptuously and cruelly: "My father let Job be tried [literal translation of "abi 83  yibbachen aiyob"] to the end!" 84  For he falsely accuses Job of "replying like wicked men" saying that he "added rebellion [against G-d] to his [secret] sin," and "clapped his hands [in derision] among us, and multiplied his words against G-d." 85

Gold Star

Job who knew the holiness of G-d and who had once said: "can mortal man be righteous before G-d?" 86  is again falsely accused by Elihu as having said: "my righteousness is more than that of G-d."  87   And just as the Evil One in Elihu had lied when he declared that Job had said: "It profits a man nothing that he should be in accord with G-d," 88  the lie is repeated again in falsely charging Job of saying: "What advantage have I (in being righteous), how am I better off [now] than if I had sinned?"  89  Then, Elihu says to Job: "If you be righteous, what do you give [nathan] Him? or what does He receive from your hand?" 90  What sarcasm and what arrogance! from that same Evil One in Elihu who thinks himself so pure and righteous that he is to say later on: "I [Elihu]...give [nathan] righteousness to my Maker [Paal]." 91  The usual word utilized for G-d as "Maker" is asah not paal which is the most common word used for "workers [paal pl.] of iniquity," "wickedness" and "evil"; only one other time is it used as "maker" and that is to describe derogatorily the "maker" of an idol who was of course a "sinner" and "transgressor" (see Isaiah 1:31, 28). Granted, Elihu had used the much more respectful word asah for G-d as "Maker" when in the beginning of his discourse he misled by telling Job and his friends:

"I will speak, that I may find relief, I will open my lips, and answer. Let me not, I pray you, respect any man's [ish] person [panni lit. "face"], neither shall I give flattering titles to man [Adam, i.e., mankind as a whole]. For I do not know how to give flattering titles, for in so doing my Maker [Asah] would soon take me away." 92
Yes, from the commencement of his discourses, the Evil One in Elihu wants to impress his listeners that he is someone above reproach and that he will not bow to or curry favor with anyone. He tells them that from the uprightness of his heart shall come forth his words and that his lips shall "utter pure knowledge." 93  He also lets them know that he is so astute that he can "hear the voice of words," 94  and is able to teach Job wisdom. 95  He is to tell Job that nothing but the Truth shall proceed from his lips "for truly my words shall not be false." 96

But now his blasphemous arrogance shall be exposed by his use of two critical words which serve to unmask him: paal and deah. The Hebrew word paal used derogatorily as "maker" twice, is actually the Hebrew word for "worker," often used in a bad sense, so that in saying: "I [Elihu]...will give righteousness to my Paal," 97  he is really saying: "I...will give righteousness to my Worker [Paal]." Elihu then becomes the "employer" and G-d the "employee." Who is Elihu to "give [nathan] righteousness" to anyone? Our elders knew that only G-d is truly Righteous and that all righteousness comes from "the Lord our righteousness" 98:

"The Lord alone is righteous." 99

"O Lord, Lord G-d, Creator of all things, who are...the only Righteous, Almighty and Everlasting G-d." 100

"To the Lord our G-d belongs righteousness." 101

"Mercy and righteousness comes from Him." 102

"And...the Lord our G-d is righteous in all His works which He does." 103

The Evil One in Elihu, being the devil, tries again as in the beginning of time to usurp what rightly belongs to G-d alone, and on this occasion he tries to do it in the realm of knowledge. There are four words for the term "knowledge" in Hebrew: yada, dea, daath and deah. The most basic and common term for "to know," "to be known," "to cause to know," and "to make known" is yada. It is occasionally rendered "knowledge" in our English translations of the Hebrew Holy Scriptures [Tanakh]. 104 The word dea is found to be used only five times in the Holy Scriptures and all those instances are located in the book of Job (32:6,10,17; 36:3; 37:16) where dea is rendered "opinion" or "holding forth," "knowledge" or "understanding" in the Hebrew-English translations 105  of the Tanakh. In turn daath is the most common Hebrew word for "knowledge" per se, and used as such eighty-two times in English translations of the Holy Scriptures. Then, there is deah, the special word for the very own knowledge of G-d because "the Lord is a G-d of knowledge [deah]." 106 And from of old, our people knew that "from the G-d of knowledge [deah] comes all that is, and shall be, and before were, He established all their design." 107 Yes, it is the "G-d of knowledge [deah] who has established" 108 all things, and it is through His deah that the Lord G-d designs and establishes all things.

Great is the knowledge [deah] of G-d because on the day when:

"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard lie down with the kid and the calf and the lion and the yearling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed: their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the viper's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain; because the earth will be full of the knowledge [deah] of the Lord, as waters cover the sea." 109
"To the man who is good in His sight, G-d gives wisdom, and knowledge [daath] and joy" 110 because he is good but "the wicked do not understand knowledge [daath]." 111  "Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge?" 112 Yes, for "their wickedness blinded them...they know not the Mysteries of G-d." 113 Thus our sages told us: "Let a man first do good deeds and then ask G-d for knowledge [daath] of the Torah," 114 so that we may "act with knowledge [daath]" 115 and have the "knowledge [daath] to work" 116 and to "labour in wisdom and in knowledge [daath]" 117 for the glory of the Lord. But let us always remember that it is "the Lord [who] gives wisdom and out of His mouth comes knowledge [daath]" 118  otherwise all we have is just an "opinion [dea]." 119

It is a wonderful thing to receive from the Lord the gift of "knowledge [daath]" but it is a greater thing to receive from Him the superlative gift of His very own "knowledge [deah]." For in comparison with the Lord's deah, "man is brutish in his knowledge [daath]." 120  "To whom shall He teach knowledge [deah]?" 121  Is it possible for us to learn knowledge [deah]? No. We can be informed about it and understand it but we cannot acquire deah unless G-d gives it to us, little by little, as one would feed a child. Our ancestors knew that "knowledge [deah] is hidden from men." 122  But the Lord promised that the days would come when He shall give us: "Shepherds after My own heart who will feed you with knowledge [deah] and understanding," 123 and that someday "the earth shall be full of the knowledge [deah] of the Lord, as waters cover the sea." 124

Realizing the holiness of the Lord's deah, and knowing that "from the G-d of knowledge [deah] comes all that is, and shall be and before were, He established all their design," 125  a holy man wrote in an ancient Hymn: "I give Thee thanks, O my G-d, for Thou hast done wonderful deeds unto dust, and hast manifested Thy power greatly, mightily in a creature of clay!...I know that Truth is in Thy mouth and righteousness in Thy hand and in Thy thought is all knowledge [deah]." 126  Reverential awe for the Lord precedes all knowledge for it is written that "the fear [yirah] of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge [daath]," 127  thus, Ben Sirach said: "I prayed in my youth and great was the knowledge [deah] I found." 128  And where he found that knowledge was in the Holy Scriptures: the Word of G-d wherein we discern the thoughts of the Lord through the deah of the "G-d of knowledge [deah]." 129

When we have obtained from Him the gift of His deah we shall be able to guide others to His Truth. For it is written in the Dead Sea Scrolls that "he ["the man of understanding" v.12] shall guide each man with knowledge [deah] and in this way teach them the marvelous mysteries of Truth." 130  But that "man of understanding" knew that the knowledge [deah] he had was not his own but belonged to G-d alone, who is the One who gives deah to us. So that same man cried out to the Lord: "Blessed be You, O my G-d, who have opened the heart of Your servant to knowledge [deah] is You who have taught all knowledge [deah]." 131  And "Thine, O G-d of knowledge [deah] are all the works of righteousness." 132

In those days they were not called "men [enoshi] of knowledge [deah]" who were not first called "men [enoshi] of perfect [tamim] holiness [hakodesh]." 133 It may be why Rabbi Bar Abba Tanchumah said: "If you possess knowledge [deah] what do you lack? If you lack knowledge [deah] what do you possess?" 134  "Blessed be You" - O God of knowledge [deah] - "who have given to Your servant understanding [sekel] of knowledge [deah]." 135 Who is this creature Elihu to arrogate for himself what belongs to G-d alone? Such is the abominable pride of the Evil One in Elihu that he says of himself to Job and the others: "Truly, my words shall not be false for he who is perfect [tamim] in knowledge [deah] is with you." 136  What arrogance! because only the Lord G-d is "perfect in knowledge [deah]" and in the Lord G-d's "thought is all knowledge [deah]," 137  in its utmost perfection. Furthermore, the insolent one within Elihu attempts to set himself above his Maker by relegating to Him a perfection merely in "opinion" or "holding forth," which is a lesser form of knowledge that cannot be compared to G-d's deah. Elihu says to Job regarding the Creator: "Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wonderful works of Him who is "perfect [tamim] in de`im [= "opinions," plural of dea, elsewhere used in the singular]?" 138  While he, the Evil One in Elihu, says himself to be: "perfect in deah" which is the great and unique knowledge of "the G-d of knowledge [deah]." 139

Is it not "the wicked" who say: "How does G-d know? Is there knowledge [deah] in the Most High?" 140  Yes, there is, and with the aid of the knowledge [deah] of the Most High we shall abase the wicked who try to set themselves above their Maker. Let us expose the hypocrisy of the Evil One who falsely accused Job of saying: "My righteousness is more than that of G-d." 141  How ironic! because in a serpentine way the Evil One in Elihu said himself to be "perfect in knowledge [deah]," 142  while allocating to his Maker "perfection" in mere "opinions [de`im plural of dea]" or "knowledges [de`im plural of dea]." 143 Who is like unto G-d? And who is this Elihu who had thereby said that his knowledge is greater than that of G-d?

Gold Star

Moreover Elihu blasphemed when he literally said concerning the Lord: "the Almighty we cannot find Him excellent in power and judgment and abundant in righteousness, He will not afflict." 144  The Evil One in Elihu not only blasphemed but he craftily dissimulated and lied when he said concerning "the Almighty" that "He will not afflict." In his malevolence he spoke like the wicked who say "What can the Almighty do to us?" 145 Yet the devil knows that it is in the Lord's designation as "G-d Almighty" that He does afflict and punish 146  while executing His justice. Did not the Evil One long ago do the same thing when he contradicted 147  the warning of the Lord G-d and subtly said to Eve: "You [plural] will not surely die for G-d knows that in the day you [plural] eat of it [the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] your eyes will be opened and you [plural] shall be like G-d knowing good and evil"? 148

If the Almighty is known as "the Mighty and the fearful [yare] G-d," 149 it is because in His designation as "G-d Almighty" [El Shaddai] He is "the Great, the Mighty, the fearful [yare] G-d who does...execute judgment [mishpat],"150 punishing and afflicting the wicked, and also trying the righteous with tribulations to purify them. It is the fearful Almighty G-d who is the G-d of wrath and retribution "bringing destruction for the wicked and disaster for the workers of iniquity." 151 Thus, Job knew all about "the fear [yirah] of the Almighty," 152  and that we naturally fear the pain of punishment and the dread of dying as Adam and Eve feared the threat of death affixed to disobedience. But is it not characteristic of the Evil One to revel in contradictions and mock our intelligence? Subsequently, he displays his contrariety by having Elihu irrationally say that: "He [the Almighty] will not afflict, therefore men do fear [yare] Him." 153

Not content with causing confusion by that obtuse statement the Evil One in Elihu again lies, slanders and contradicts in saying that: "the Almighty...He does not regard [raah = lit. to "see"] any who are wise in heart," 154  which is rendered in some translations: "He does not respect any who are wise in heart." 155  Elihu says this of the Almighty whom Job had said that: "He is [Himself] wise in heart and mighty in power [koach]." 156  The Evil One in Elihu had previously said that: "He [the Almighty] does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous." 157  If so, neither shall the Almighty withdraw His eyes from the wise in heart for "them has He filled with wisdom of heart to work all manner of work" 158  for Him. As the Lord said to Moses: "In the hearts of all who are wise hearted I have put wisdom so that they may make all that I have commanded you." 159  Let us know that to be "wise in heart" is to be "wise in understanding," 160  for if anyone is "wise in heart," he is "wise in understanding." 161  Otherwise, he would not have wisdom in his heart for "Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding." 162  "The wise in heart is a man of understanding," 163  and Wisdom rests in his heart, because he is good and righteous which is why it is also said that "Wisdom rests in the heart of the righteous." 164

Let us also know that "the wicked do not know, neither will they understand," 165   for "they are wicked, having no understanding," 166 yes, "none of the wicked will understand." 167 And if "evil men do not understand," 168  it is because "to depart from evil is understanding." 169  But "a righteous man understands" 170  because "a good understanding have all those who do His commands." 171  Thus, "the wise in heart will receive commandments" 172  and do them because they are righteous. We may be sure that if G-d "does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous" neither will He turn His eyes away from those who are wise in heart because they too are righteous, and "the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous." 173 We should not forget that "Wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul nor dwell in a body enslaved to sin," 174 but "to the godly He has given Wisdom." 175

It is G-d who makes the righteous to be "wise in heart" or "wise hearted." He does this, so that by the wisdom He places in their heart [ leb = "heart" and "understanding"], the "wise [chakam] in heart [leb]" may be able to do a beautiful work for the Lord, and do it with all His wisdom and understanding. Thus, it is the wise in heart who work for Him:

"Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work...according to all that the Lord had commanded." 176

"Them He has filled with wisdom of heart to work all manner of work." 177

"Moses called...every wise hearted man in whose heart the Lord put come and do the work." 178

"In the hearts of all who are wise hearted I [the Lord] have put wisdom that they may make all that I have commanded." 179

"You [Moses] shall speak to all who are wise hearted whom I have filled with the spirit of Wisdom that they may make..." 180

"And all the women who were wise hearted did spin with their hands (beautiful threads of "blue and purple and scarlet and fine linen")." 181 

"And every wise hearted man among them worked on the Tabernacle and made ten curtains woven of fine linen and blue and purple and scarlet (threads which the wise hearted women spun) with artistic designs of Cherubim they made them." 182

Shall not the eyes of the Lord be upon those who are wise in heart to make something for His Tabernacle? And shall He not see and have regard for the work they have done for Him? The Evil One in Elihu lies when he says that the Almighty has no regard for them. He has forgotten that "a wise heart that has understanding...will have success in the works of justice," 183  and in the defense of the honor of Almighty G-d. Did not a wise father say: "My son, give me your heart," 184  and "my son, if your heart is wise, my heart shall rejoice, even I myself"? 185  And will that father have no regard for his wise hearted son who labors for him?

There are some who are "wise to do evil," 186 and "wise in their own eyes." 187 It may then be rightly said that the Lord would have no regard for them. But it may not be said that the Almighty shall not see or have regard for the "wise in heart" for it is the Lord Himself who has placed wisdom in their hearts so that they may be able to do something beautiful for Him.

The last words of the Evil One in Elihu, before he is heard no more, are directed against any who are "wise in heart." He shows his animosity towards them because he knows that anyone who is "wise in heart is a man of understanding." 188  And he also knows that the understanding of the wise in heart is given to them by the Almighty. Therefore, he sought to darken our awareness of the affiliation between the wise in heart who really understand, and the Almighty. The Evil One obfuscates when he says that "the Almighty" has "no regard," esteem or interest for the "wise in heart," because he knows, and fears the bond that exists between them and Almighty G-d. For we are told in the book of Exodus, that Bezaleel the "wise hearted man" 189 was "filled...with the Spirit of G-d, in wisdom, and in great understanding [tebunah] and in knowledge [daath]" 190  by the Almighty. Our elders knew that "the understanding [tebunah] possessed by Bezaleel was from the Almighty."  191   And what is great about the "understanding [tebunah]" that the Almighty gives to the good and "wise in heart" is that  it is "by His great understanding [tebunah]" that "He [the Almighty] crushes the proud," 192  and demolishes their arguments.

Gold Star

Immediately after the Evil One in Elihu spoke falsely regarding the Almighty and the wise in heart, the Lord appeared in a great whirlwind and His voice is heard asking Job: "Who is this (i.e. "creature" not "Who is he...?") who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" 193  In His anger the Lord said this concerning Elihu who deservedly vanished then, never to be heard or seen again. For the Evil One in Elihu said in the beginning of his discourse that he would not show partiality to anyone or flatter any person, "for I do not know how to flatter else my Maker would soon take me away." 194  And that is what happened, he was taken away by the great whirlwind 195  of the Lord. Because, although he said that he did not know how to show partiality or to flatter anyone, he knew how to flatter and exalt himself when he called the Lord G-d his "Worker [Paal]," and stated that he was more perfect in knowledge than Almighty G-d. In saying: "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge [daath]?" the Lord exposes the ignorance of the Evil One, and abases him before Job. For the Evil One through Elihu had said that: "Job speaks without knowledge [daath] and his words are without understanding [sakal]," 196  and that "Job...multiplies words without knowledge." 197  The Evil One had also arrogantly told Job: "Keep silence, and I will teach you wisdom!" 198  But what can he teach Job who now humbly says to the Lord concerning himself: "Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?...I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know." 199

All the sufferings and tribulations that Job underwent, served to purify him from all the sins of his youth and from his errors. Thus, Job was now able to see the Lord with his own eyes, and know the extent of the Lord's infinite wisdom, understanding and knowledge. This made him aware of his own insignificance before the majesty and power of G-d. Therefore, "Job answered the Lord" and said to Him "I know that You can do all things and no thought is hidden from You...I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore, I scorn myself and repent in dust and ashes." 200  It was by the knowledge acquired through suffering, that Job came to know that it is by His knowledge that the Lord hides the good counsel found in His words. And that in attempting to do the same thing the Evil One in Elihu brought darkness instead of light when he tried to reprove, teach, and advise Job. For there is light in true knowledge: "the light of knowledge" 201  that does not shine for the wicked. Because "none of the wicked will understand," 202  and none of the wicked will "know" because "they have no understanding to know," 203  "the wicked do not understand knowledge." 204  "Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge?" 205  Yes, for "their wickedness blinded them, they do not know the Mysteries of G-d;" 206  "the way of the wicked is darkness they do not know," 207  and they "darken counsel by words without knowledge." The Evil One in Elihu lost forever the knowledge of G-d.

Gold Star

What is it to be an "Elihu?" 208  it is to presumptuously think oneself to be like G-d which is the reason why Eliab the eldest brother of King David was renamed Elihu. This we learn from the first book of Samuel [1 Samuel 16:1-13; 17:17-29] and the first book of Chronicles [1 Chronicles 27:18]. It happened at the time when the Lord told Samuel that He had rejected King Saul from reigning over Israel, and that Samuel was to go to Bethlehem for: "I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for Myself a king among his sons...I will show you what you shall do, and you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you." 209  When Jesse brought seven of his sons before Samuel and he saw Eliab, the tall and handsome eldest son of Jesse he was impressed, and said to himself: "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him." But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or the height of his stature for I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; because man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart."  210  Jesse having brought the rest of his sons one by one to him, Samuel asked Jesse if those seven brothers were all the sons he had, Jesse replied that he had one more son, the youngest one, who was out tending the sheep. Samuel told Jesse to bring that one to him, and when young David came before Samuel, the Lord said, "Arise, and anoint him for this is the one!" "Then, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward." 211

Shortly after the anointing, when the Philistines had gathered their armies to challenge King Saul and his army, the three older sons of Jesse went to follow King Saul to Ephes-Damim where the armies were encamped across each other. These sons were "Eliab, the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third son Shammah." 212  To them Jesse sent his youngest son David with some provisions of grain, cheeses and ten loaves of bread. Upon his arrival to the camp, David heard the daily defiance the giant Goliath made to the armies of Israel challenging them by saying: "I defy the armies of Israel this day, give me a man that we may fight together. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us. When Saul and all Israel heard these words by the Philistine they were dismayed and greatly afraid." 213  David hearing the challenge was angered and said to the soldiers: "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living G-d?" 214  His words gave heart to the men of Israel, but they angered his jealous eldest brother Eliab, when he heard what David said to them. Eliab's anger was aroused against David and he said to him: "Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride, and the evil [ra] of your heart." 215

Like Elihu towards Job, Eliab misjudged, slandered and falsely berated David, his youngest brother. He insinuated that David left home without his father's permission and abandoned the sheep in his charge to visit the encampment so that he "might see the battle" 216  between the opposing forces of the Philistines and Israel. But it was in obedience to his father's instructions that David came to his brothers. For on that day "David rose up early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper, and took [the provisions given him by Jesse], and went as Jesse had commanded him," 217  for as a good son, David obeyed his father. Then, just as Elihu had done, Eliab usurped what is a sole prerogative of the Lord, and which can only be done by Him, and that is to be able to look inside a human heart. Eliab said to David: "I know your pride, and the evil [ra] of your heart." How could Eliab say that which only G-d can do and say? It was his own resentful and jealous pride that opened his mouth to these blasphemous words. For when the Seer came to Jesse searching for the Lord's chosen among all his seven sons, Eliab saw that Samuel had only eyes for him, because he was obviously exceptionally "handsome and tall." 218  But it so happened that he was by-passed by Samuel, who anointed his youngest brother David instead. As for David's alleged "pride" according to rancorous and prideful Eliab, we can only see David's humility, because even right after being anointed by Samuel "in the midst of his brothers," 219  David went back to tending his father's sheep. Moreover, later on, upon returning from the court of the king where he had been the personal armorbearer of King Saul, David "returned to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem." 220

Years later, when David was anointed king over the house of Judah, and over Israel, he magnanimously made his eldest brother ruler over the tribe of Judah, but by then he was no longer known as Eliab but renamed "Elihu," reminiscent of that creature 221* unmasked in the book of Job, who thought he was like G-d.

Gold Star



Just as our Jewish tradition says that it was the Evil One [Satan, Sammael] who spoke through the serpent and tempted Eve, 222  so it has been shown that it is Satan who speaks through Elihu or who disguised himself as the young man Elihu. By his words and speeches the Evil One in Elihu impressed -for the most part- well known rabbis. 223  But there were also a few 224  who intuitively knew that Elihu was evil. Nevertheless, from the majority of those who commented on his speeches, Elihu garnered praise for himself from the scholars. However, we should remember that if the Evil One revealed anything good through the mouth of Elihu, it is because in His justice the Lord does compel evil to acknowledge good. 225

It is well known that through his evil subtleness Satan caused Man to disobey and thereby lose the friendship and true knowledge of G-d which comes through obedience. As a consequence, Adam and Eve had to die and return to the dust from which they were taken. As an expiatory punishment, Adam and Eve and all their progeny were to experience suffering before they would be able to produce "fruit." Adam, from toiling in the field to make the ground yield fruit (grain), and Eve from laboring to bring forth children, the "fruits" of her womb.

Regarding Adam and Eve's loss of the friendship and knowledge of G-d through their disobedience instigated by him, the Evil One is compelled to say through Elihu:

       "The wicked...if they do not obey...they shall die without knowledge."-Job 36:6,12

We already know that the Satanic serpent having caused Adam and Eve to disobey and thereby be punished by dying and returning to dust, is itself condemned to crawl and feed in that dust (see Reference 221). Therefore the Evil One in Elihu is also compelled to say concerning the Lord G-d that:

"He repays man according to his doings, and His retribution is according to man's  ways."-Job 34:11
And also according to the ways of the Evil One was he deservedly and irrevocably castigated by the Lord. A punishment made even more grievous later on by the knowledge that Job would be finally rewarded with the vision of G-d. For at one time, long before Satan-Lucifer and all the pertinent angelic cohorts fell from grace (through pride and disobedience), their greatest former bliss was the heavenly sight of the Lord G-d. This vision the Evil One lost forever, yet he must tell Job what he knows, which is that the good in their righteousness shall someday behold the face of the Lord to their infinite joy. 226

The evil One in Elihu details to Job that in the inscrutable ways of the Lord, it is by the very afflictions sent to a sinner by the hand of G-d that the humble sinner is able to effect an expiation for his sins. 227  And that these sufferings in turn, serve to open up his understanding towards true repentance. 228  But the Evil One cannot refrain from maliciously adding that these benefits of suffering are not open to Job because Job continues to prefer iniquity rather than humble submission to the salutary afflictions that come from the hand of G-d. 229  But Job proved him wrong when he said in the end to the Lord:

"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.
 Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."-Job 42:5-6

The hidden punishment of the Evil One is that in telling Job these "profound" things about the final reward of the righteous, and the Lord's condescension towards repentant sinners, the Evil One is himself tormented by the fact that these benefactions of G-d are withheld from him forever and ever. For the gate of repentance is everlastingly barred to the Evil One, who is eternally deprived of the glorious sight of the All Holy One.


What the Evil One lost forever,
Job gained by his sufferings.
For such is the wisdom
and justice of G-d.


Large Gold Star




1 Proverbs 14:29
2 Proverbs 11:12
3 Proverbs 10:19
4 1QS 4:3,4[Community Rule], Dead Sea Scrolls
5 Job 13:4
6 Wisdom 2:24 see also Josephus, Antiq. I.1.4
7 Job 1:8; 2:3,10
8 Job 1:20-22; 2:10
9 Genesis 3:4 see 2:17
10 Job 1:21
11 Job 2:10
12 Proverbs 17:15; 24:24; Exodus 23:7; Isaiah 5:20,23
13 Job 1:8; 2:3; 42:7,8
14 Job 32:3

15 In Job 32:3 all the Hebrew Bibles have a notation on the text saying that the verse was emended by the scribes [Tikkun Sopherim] to show that the original reading was "condemned G-d" but out of reverence it was changed to "condemned Job." See Rashi and Ibn Ezra ad loc. and C.D.Ginsburg's Introduction to the Hebrew Bible.

16 Job 32:4-7
17 Job 1:3
18 Job 29:2-25
19 Job 33:5
20 Job 33:31
21 Job 33:33
22 Job 37:14
23 Job 32:15
24 Job 32:18
25 Job 32:20
26 Job 32:19
27 Job 33:3, Literal translation
28 Job 33:4
29 Genesis 2:7
30 Daniel 2:21
31 Proverbs 21:11
32 Exodus 31:3; 35:31; 1 Kings 7:14
33 Proverbs 8:1
34 Job 34:16
35 Job 33:8-9
36 Job 16:17
37 Job 7:21
38 Job 13:23
39 Job 14:17
40 Job 31:33
41 Job 13:23
42 Job 7:21
43 Job 10:6
44 Job 10:14
45 Job 13:26
46 Job 14:17
47 Job 33:8-9

48 Binah is a very special gift from G-d which gives us insight into the hidden things. "Pay close attention to have knowledge of understanding [binah]" - Proverbs 4:1. Then, "with all your getting get understanding [binah]" - Proverbs 4:7. We get "understanding [binah]" by departing from evil (Job 28:28), keeping and doing His commandments, statutes, and judgments (Deuteronomy 4:6) and being good so that the Lord may give us the spirit of wisdom and understanding [binah] - Isaiah 11:2. The Essenes knew that "men of deceit" are "a people without understanding [binah]" - 1QH 2:16,19 [Thanksgiving Hymns Scroll], Dead Sea Scrolls. And they said of the wicked to the Lord: "It is because of their sins that You have hidden the fount of understanding [binah] and the secret of wisdom" from them (1QH 5:25,26, Dead Sea Scrolls). Elihu did not have binah.

49 Job 34:16
50 Job 28:28
51 Job 2:3
52 Job 1:5
53 Psalm 19:12
54 Job 9:20-21
55 Job 27:5
56 Job 31:6
57 Job 27:6
58 Job 6:29
59 Job 10:7
60 Job 13:18
61 Job 23:10
62 Job 23:3-5
63 Job 13:3
64 Job 13:20-22
65 Job 9:34,35
66 Job 33:1
67 Job 33:2
68 Job 33:3
69 Job 6:25
70 Job 31:35
71 Job 33:6, see Rashi ad loc.
72 Job 33:7

73 Re emah. Besides the common words for the reverential "fear [yirah, yare]" of the Lord i.e., "awe," there are other Hebrew words for outright "fear" or "dread" viz., pachad, magor, megurah, chath, chattith, mora and emah. The word emah denotes utter dread, extreme terror or horror as that which the Lord sent forth before the armies of Israel to rout their enemies with terror, making them flee without resistance (Exodus 23:27; Joshua 2:9).

74 Job 18:14, Rashi ad loc. identifies him as "the prince of the demons." Moreover, Moloch god of the Canaanites and Nergal god of the Babylonians were also identified as such.

75 Job 34:5
76 Job 2:3
77 Job 22:5-9
78 Job 29:12-13, 15-17,25; 31:1-32,38-40
79 Job 22:13
80 Job 21:22
81 Job 34:7-8, see Job 15:16
82 Job 33:32

83 Abi = literally in Hebrew: "My father." We should remember that "when the sons of G-d [i.e. the angels] came to present themselves before the Lord...Satan came also in the midst of them" (Job 1:6; 2:1). Because Satan, the evil one, was once an angel (i.e. a "son of G-d") too. We see his presumption in Elihu when he addresses G-d as "my father [abi]," a prerogative that Satan lost forever. The Lord Himself, in the book of Job, makes mention of His angels as"the sons [beni] of G-d [Elohim]" - Job 38:7. The Evil One in Elihu also gave himself away when he grandly announced to Job the "the Spirit [ruach] of G-d has made me" (Job 33:4) which would be proper in his originally being "made" by G-d: "who makes His angels spirits [ruach pl.]" - Psalm 104:4.

84 Job 34:36a
85 Job 34:36b,37
86 Job 9:2
87 Job 35:2, see Ibn Ezra ad loc.
88 Job 34:9
89 Job 35:3
90 Job 35:7
91 Job 36:3
92 Job 32:20-22
93 Job 33:3
94 Job 33:8
95 Job 33:33
96 Job 36:4
97 Job 36:3
98 Jeremiah 23:6; 37:16
99 Sirach 18:2
100 2 Maccabees 1:24,25
101 Baruch 1:15; 2:6
102 Baruch 3:9
103 Daniel 9:14

104 Tanakh - The Holy Scriptures [The New Jewish Publication Society Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text, 1985] renders YADA as "knowledge" 6x.

The Holy Scriptures [According to the Masoretic Text, The Jewish Publication Society of America translation,1955] renders YADA as knowledge" 16x.

105 For other Jewish Hebrew-English translations of the Bible see:

The Holy Bible: 2 Vols. The Twenty-Four Books of the O.T., Hebrew Text and English Version, Alexander Harkavy, Hebrew Publishing Co. N.Y. 1916.The Jerusalem Bible: The Holy Scriptures [Koren Tenakh], Koren Publishers, Jerusalem, 1962.
106 1Samuel 2:3
107 1QS 3:15 [Community Rule], Dead Sea Scrolls
108 1QH [Thanksgiving Hymns Scroll], Fragment 4:15, Dead Sea Scrolls
109 Isaiah 11:6-9
110 Ecclesiastes 2:26
111 Proverbs 29:7, Literal translation
112 Psalms 14:4; 53:4[5]
113 Wisdom 2:21,22
114 Tanna Debe Eliyyahu Rabbah p.31, ed.Friedman, 1902
115 Proverbs 13:16
116 1 Kings 7:14 Literal translation
117 Ecclesiastes 2:21
118 Proverbs 2:6

119 Dea is most commonly rendered "opinion" in English translations of the Hebrew Bible. It is also the Hebrew word for "opinion" in the plural in the Talmud, see Yebamoth I.2c; Kethuboth V.30a; ibid.VI.30c, Jerusalem Talmud.

120 Jeremiah 10:14; 51:17
121 Isaiah 28:9
122 1QS 11:6 [Community Rule], Dead Sea Scrolls
123 Jeremiah 3:15
124 Isaiah 11:9 see also 1Q 27 I.1,7, Dead Sea Scrolls
125 1QS 3:15 [Community Rule], Dead Sea Scrolls
126 1QS 11:3,7 [Thanksgiving Hymns Scroll], Dead Sea Scrolls
127 Proverbs 1:7
128 Sirach 51:16, Hebrew Text

129 1 Samuel 2:3, see also 1QS 3:15; 1QH 1:26; 1QH Fragment 4:15, Dead Sea Scrolls for the term "G-d of knowledge [deah]."

130 1QS 9:12,18 [Community Rule], Dead Sea Scrolls
131 1QS 11:15,16,17,18 [Community Rule], Dead Sea Scrolls
132 1QS 1:26 [Thanksgiving Hymns Scroll], Dead Sea Scrolls
133 Damascus Document B, Col.XX.2,4,5 [Genizah MSS]
134 Midrash Leviticus Rabbah I.6
135 1QH 11:27,28, Col.XIX,27,28 [Thanksgiving Hymns Scroll], Dead Sea Scrolls
136 Job 36:4
137 1QH: 11:8, Col.XIX.8 [Thanksgiving Hymns Scroll], Dead Sea Scrolls

138 Job 37:16. We have seen that the highest degree of "knowledge" is deah: the knowledge [deah] of G-d, for "the Lord is G-d of knowledge [deah]" - 1 Samuel 2:3, see also Isaiah 11:9. Yet the Evil One in Elihu says himself to be "perfect in knowledge [deah]" - Job 36:4. But regarding his Maker, the Evil One says Him to be [in comparison]: "perfect in de`im" (pl. of dea) which can only mean to be "perfect in opinions" because it would be ridiculous to say that the Lord G-d is "perfect in knowledges [de`im]." Again, the Evil One in Elihu insults his Maker in whose "thought is all knowledge [deah]," and who has knowledge [deah] of all things! In the entire Tanakh [Hebrew Bible] the word dea is only found in the lips of Elihu, it is his word used for "knowledge" or "opinion." The word dea does not exist anywhere else, it is the Evil One's own invention, used only five times in the Holy Scriptures and in all those instances only in the book of Job by the Evil One in Elihu. Thus, he does not hesitate to call it:

"my dea" - Job 32:6
"my dea" - Job 32:10
"my dea" - Job 32:17
"my dea" - Job 36:3.
And when he speaks of his dea in the sense of "knowledge" what does the Evil One say concerning it?:
"I will fetch my knowledge [dea] from afar [rachoq],
I will give [nathan] righteousness to my Worker [Paal]" - Job 36:3
Will he also give his dea to his Worker and commend His (God's) "perfection" in it?

Notice that his dea must be very high and exalted indeed, because he says of it that: "I will fetch my knowledge [dea] from afar [rachoq]."
But "that which is from afar [rachoq]...who can find it out?" - Ecclesiastes 7:24
It is the Lord who enables us by His knowledge to bring into light all that is hidden and afar.
"For from Your knowledge no one who does unjustly is hidden...where can a man hide himself from Your knowledge O G-d?" - Psalms of Solomon 9:5,6
"G-d knows the secrets of the heart" - Psalm 44:21[22].
"He reveals the deep and secret things for He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him" - Daniel 2:22.
"O Lord...You understand my thought from afar [rachoq]...such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is too high, I cannot attain to it" - Psalm 139:1,2,6.

1QS 3:15; 1QH Fragment 4:15; 1 Samuel 2:3

140 Psalm 73:11, see vv. 3,6,8,9.
141 Job 35:2,see Ibn Ezra ad loc
142 Job 36:4

143 Job 37:16. We have seen that the highest degree of "knowledge" is deah: the knowledge [deah] of G-d, for "the Lord is G-d of knowledge [deah]" - 1 Samuel 2:3, see also Isaiah 11:9. Yet the Evil One in Elihu says himself to be "perfect in knowledge [deah]" - Job 36:4. But regarding his Maker, the Evil One says Him to be [in comparison]: "perfect in de`im" (pl. of dea) which can only mean to be "perfect in opinions" because it would be ridiculous to say that the Lord G-d is "perfect in knowledges [de`im]." Again, the Evil One in Elihu insults his Maker in whose "thought is all knowledge [deah]," and who has knowledge [deah] of all things! In the entire Tanakh [Hebrew Bible] the word dea is only found in the lips of Elihu, it is his word used for "knowledge" or "opinion." The word dea does not exist anywhere else, it is the Evil One's own invention, used only five times in the Holy Scriptures and in all those instances only in the book of Job by the Evil One in Elihu.  

144 Job 37:23. In this verse Elihu literally says: "the Almighty [Shaddai] we cannot find Him [lo matsa numu] excellent [saggi] in power [koach] and judgment [umishpat], and abundant [werob] in righteousness [tzedakah], He will not afflict [lo yanneh]." The rabbis acknowledged that: "this is blasphemy" if Job 37:23 is read as it stands. However, Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi (editor of the Mishnah) by clever manipulation of the text attempted to exculpate Elihu (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 34.1). Nevertheless, as it is written in the Hebrew of the text, Elihu blasphemed.

145 Job 22:17, ancient Greek [Septuagint],
Syriac and Latin Vulgate Texts.

146 Punish: The Lord G-d has many titles and designations in the Holy Scriptures, and in each of these is an association to a particular attribute or role of G-d. In saying concerning the "Almighty" that "He will not afflict," the Evil One in Elihu maliciously lied and falsely assuaged because it is in that very title: "Almighty" that the Lord G-d does afflict. It is He who admonishes and embitters with His discipline to correct and purify people, but also to punish the unrepentant wicked ones when He executes judgment. It is the Almighty who is the G-d of wrath and affliction:

"The Almighty has afflicted me" - Ruth 1:21.
"The Almighty who has embittered my soul" - Job 27:2.
"The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me" - Ruth 1:20.

"Despise not the chastening of the Almighty" - Job 5:17.
"The Almighty troubles me - Job 23:16.
"The arrows of the Almighty are within me" - Job 6:4."What is the allotment of G-d from above, and the heritage of the Almighty from on high? Is it not destruction for the wicked and disaster for the workers of iniquity?" - Job 31:2,3:"The day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty" - Isaiah 13:6; Job 1:15.
"The threatened vengeance of the Almighty draws near" - Sibylline Oracles III 71, 97.
"The Almighty will take vengeance on them on the day of judgment" - Judith 11:17.
"Judgment shall come upon them from the Mighty G-d, and all shall perish" - Sibylline Oracles III 670-671.
"Neither will the Almighty be patient towards them till He has smitten in sunder the loins of the unmerciful, and repaid vengeance on the heathen" - Sirach 35:18.
"The Almighty...if He cuts off [people]...who can hinder Him?" - Job 11:7,10,11.
"The Almighty...He draws away the mighty with His power" - Job 24:1,22.
"The Almighty scattered kings" - Psalm 67:14.

How shall the Almighty "not afflict" when He is designated in that title as the G-d of wrath?:
"The wicked...he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty" - Job 21:17,20.
"The wrath of the Almighty" - 2 Maccabees 5:20.
"The wrath of the Almighty which is justly brought upon all our nation" - 2 Maccabees 7:38.
"O Lord Almighty, the G-d of our fathers Abraham and Isaac and Jacob...whom all things revere and tremble before the face of Thy power...irresistible is the wrath of Thy threatening against sinners" - The Prayer of Manasseh vv. 1,4,5.
"I prayed before the Mighty One and said..."What is our strength that we could bear Thy wrath? Or what are we who can endure Thy judgment?" - 2 Baruch 48:1,17.
He does afflict because in that designation the Almighty is the G-d of retribution:
"Haman the son of Amadathes, because he has done these [evil] things, has been hanged with all his family, at the gates of Susa, the Almighty G-d having swiftly returned to him a worthy retribution" - Esther 8:13, Greek Text [Septuagint].
"This is the portion of a wicked man with G-d, and the heritage of oppressors which they shall receive from the Almighty" - Job 27:13 [see vv. 14-22 for the description of all the tribulations they shall receive as retribution from the Almighty].
"Why has the Mighty One brought upon us this retribution?" - 2 Baruch 13:4.And because He does afflict: "the Almighty G-d, who at a beck can cast down both them that come against us, and also all the world" (2 Maccabees 3:18), the Almighty is therefore known as "the Mighty and fearful G-d" - Nehemiah 9:32. As in the beginning, the Evil One seeks to remove "the fear of the Almighty" (Job 6:14) from our hearts. Which is why he said in Elihu: "The Almighty...He will not afflict" (Job 37:23, see also Genesis 3:4 re 2:16-17).
147 Contradicted: in the Garden of Eden the Lord G-d commanded Adam saying: "of every tree in the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" - Genesis 2:16-17. Adam made the command known to Eve (see Genesis 3:2-3).

148 Genesis 3:4,5
149 Nehemiah 9:32
150 Deuteronomy 10:17,18
151 Job 31:3, see also reference 139
152 Job 6:14
153 Job 37:23b-24a
154 Job 37:23a, 24b

155 See: The Holy Bible- 2 Vols. The Twenty-Four Books of the O.T. Hebrew Text and English Version, Alexander Harkavy, Hebrew Publishing Co. N.Y. 1916.
The Bible - Authorized Version [King James].
The Amplified Bible- Zondervan Publishing Co. Michigan, 1964.

156 Job 9:4
157 Job 36:7
158 Exodus 35:35
159 Exodus 31:6

160 "Wise in heart" - Exodus 28:3, Hebrew Text.
"Wise in understanding" - Exodus 28:3, Greek Text

161 "Wise in heart" - Job 9:4, Hebrew Text.
"Wise in understanding" - Job 9:4, Greek Text

162 Proverbs 14:33, Hebrew Text
163 Proverbs 16:21, Syriac Text
164 Proverbs 14:33, Syriac Text
165 Psalm 82:4,5
166 Isaiah 56:11, Greek Text [Septuagint]
167 Daniel 12:10
168 Proverbs 28:5
169 Job 28:28
170 Proverbs 21:12
171 Psalm 111:10
172 Proverbs 10:8
173 Psalm 34:15 [16]
174 Wisdom 1:4
175 Sirach 43:33
176 Exodus 36:1
177 Exodus 35:35
178 Exodus 36:2
179 Exodus 31:6
180 Exodus 28:3
181 Exodus 35:25
182 Exodus 36:8
183 Sirach 3:32, Latin Vulgate Text
184 Proverbs 23:26
185 Proverbs 23:15
186 Jeremiah 4:22
187 Proverbs 3:7; Isaiah 5:21, literal translation, see also Proverbs 26:5,12 for the literal Hebrew term; "wise in his own eyes."
188 Proverbs 16:21, Syriac Text
189 Exodus 36:1
190 Exodus 31:2-3; 35:31; 36:1
191 Midrash Exodus Rabbah 48.4
192 Job 26:12
193 Job 38:2
194 Job 32:22

195 Whirlwind: In the Holy Scriptures when the wicked are removed by G-d, they are utterly taken away and snatched out of this earth literally and figuratively, as by a strong cyclonic wind. That is why when the whirlwind of the Lord appeared, Elihu and the Evil One within him, disappeared. Thus, it is written:

"The wicked...He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, as in His living and burning wrath." - Psalm 58:3[4], 9[10]

"The destruction [of the wicked] comes as a whirlwind." Proverbs 1:27

"Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord has gone forth in fury - a violent whirlwind! it shall fall forcefully upon the head of the wicked."  - Jeremiah 23:19

"As the whirlwind so is the wicked no more." - Proverbs 10:25

Job knew that:
"This is the portion of a wicked man with G-d and the heritage of oppressors which they shall receive from the Almighty...terrors take hold of him...a whirlwind steals him away in the night, the east wind carries him away." - Job 27:13,20,21

"The wicked...are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the whirlwind carries away." - Job 21:16,18

"He [the Lord] shall blow upon them [the wicked], and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble." - Isaiah 40:24

"Behold, the Lord will come with fire a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury." - Isaiah 66:15

"They [the wicked] shall the chaff that is driven by the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney." - Hosea 13:3

"You [the wicked one] shall be visited by the Lord...with a cyclone [suphah] and whirlwind, and the flame of devouring fire." - Isaiah 29:1,6

"The Lord revenges and is furious, the Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries...and will not acquit the wicked, the Lord has His way in the cyclone [suphah], and in the whirlwind [searah]." - Nahum 1:3

"The spirit of whirlwinds [searah pl.] which do His word." - Psalm 148:8

"Your enemies...O my G-d make them like the whirling dust, like the chaff before the wind...pursue them with your whirlwind and frighten them with Your cyclone [suphah]." - Psalm 82:2[3], 13[14], 15[16]

"G-d shall rebuke them [His enemies] and they...shall be chased as the chaff...before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the cyclone [suphah]." - Isaiah 17:13

"Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone and a terrifying wind shall be the portion of their cup." - Psalm 11:6

"Why will you boast yourself in evil...? Your tongue devises destruction like a sharp razor, working deceitfully, you love evil more than good, falsehood rather than speaking righteousness [i.e., the Truth], you love all devouring words O deceitful tongue! G-d shall throw you down, He shall take you away, and snatch you away out of your dwelling place and uproot you from the land of the living." - Psalm 52:1[2], 2-5[4-7]

Will the Evil One in Elihu be able to remain there when the Lord G-d Almighty comes with His whirlwind?

196 Job 34:35
197 Job 35:16
198 Job 33:33
199 Job 42:3
200 Job 42:1,2, 5-6

201 "Light of knowledge":

"Light up for yourselves the light of knowledge" - Targum to Hosea 10:12, see also Hosea 10:12, Greek Text [Septuagint] and Syriac Text.

"He ["the Most High G-d" v.23] makes the teaching of knowledge appear as light" - Sirach 24:27, Greek Text, Cursive 248

"Lighting up the light of knowledge as the sun the day" - Testament of Levi 18:3 [Testament of the 12 Patriarchs]

"He has poured forth from the fount of His knowledge the light that enlightens me" - 1QS 11:3 [Community Rule], Dead Sea Scrolls

"A torch to shine upon the world in knowledge" - 1QSb 4:27 [Book of Blessings], Dead Sea Scrolls

"When the knowledge of the Existent One shines, it wraps everything in light" - Philo Judaeus, Ebr. 44

"As light disperses the darkness, His knowledge will disperse...ignorance" - Philo Judaeus, Jos. 6

"Divine light is identical with knowledge" - Philo Judaeus, Mig. 39

202 Daniel 12:10
203 Isaiah 44:18, Greek Text [Septuagint]
204 Proverbs 29:7, Literal translation
205 Psalm 14:4; 53:4[5]
206 Wisdom 2:21,22
207 Proverbs 4:19

208 "Elihu": The name Elihu in Hebrew means: "My G-d is He" or "He is my G-d." But if the name Elihu is an instance of the use of a hireq campaginis i.e., the "i" or yod has been added to make that word sound more euphonic, then the original Elihu would have been spelled Elhu without the added "i" or yod. In that case Elhu would mean: "G-d is he" or "he is G-d" which is what Elihu in the book of Job thought he was by the manner of his speaking.
Other probable instances of a hireq campaginis being used may be found in the names: Gabriel, Melchizedek and Haniel. These would have originally been Gbr'l; Mlkzdk and Hnn'l.

209 1 Samuel 16:1,3
210 1 Samuel 16:6-7
211 1 Samuel 16:12-13
212 1 Samuel 17:13
213 1 Samuel 17:10, 9, 11
214 1 Samuel 17:26
215 1 Samuel 17:28a,b
216 1 Samuel 17:28c
217 1 Samuel 17:20

218 "Handsome and tall": All the ancient Greek Texts [i.e., the old Septuagint Greek translations of the Hebrew Tanakh], have a genuine supernumerary last Psalm composed by David the king in commemoration of his combat with Goliath:

"I was small among my brothers, and youngest
in my father's house,
I tended my father's sheep.
My hands made a musical instrument,
and my fingers tuned a psaltery.
And who shall tell my Lord? the Lord himself,
He himself hears.
He sent forth his angel, and took me from my
father's sheep, and he anointed me with the oil of his anointing. My brothers were handsome and tall, but the Lord did not take pleasure in them.
I went forth to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols. But I drew his own sword, and beheaded him, and removed reproach from the children of Israel" 
- Psalm 150[151]:1-7.
219 1 Samuel 16:13
220 1 Samuel 17:15

221* Creature unmasked. From the very beginning, the Evil One is unmasked and exposed by his own words. Shortly after his introduction into the text as "Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram" (Job 32:2), his first words to Job and his three friends, as rendered in the majority of English translations, are as follows:

"Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said: "I am young, and you are very old; therefore I was afraid [zachal] and feared to show you my opinion" - Job 32:6.
What is it that the Evil One who spoke throught Elihu would be afraid of? He was afraid of the wisdom and understanding that the very old who are good would possess. For as Job and others said:
"Wisdom is with the aged, and in long life: understanding [binah]" - Job 12:17.

"He [G-d] knows the understanding of the aged" - Job 12:20, Greek Text [Septuagint].

"O how beautiful a thing it is...for the aged to know understanding!" - Sirach 25:4, Syriac Text.

"Do not miss the discourses of the aged...because from them you will learn understanding" - Sirach 8:9.

"The word of the ancients shall be praised for the understanding [found in it]" - Sirach 9:24, Latin Vulgate.

"It is not given to youth but to old age to discern" - Philo, Aet. 77.

The Evil One fears those who truly understand because they can discern and detect a lie for :
"As the palate tries the taste of a thing, so an understanding heart [detects] the taste of a lie"- Sirach 36:24,Hebrew Text.

" The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor man who has understanding searches him out [because that poor man understands and knows real wisdom]" - Proverbs 28:11.

"An eloquent man is known far and near but a man of understanding knows when he has slipped [in his "eloquent" speech]" - Sirach 21:7.

Let us see by the Lord's understanding and knowledge how from the very beginning, the Evil One in Elihu was forced by his own nature to give himself away.
There are quite a few Hebrew words in the Holy Scriptures for to be "afraid":

achaz saar charad   daag   ragaz 
 arats   charadah   dechol   rahah 
 baath   chared   pachad   readah 
 bahal   chil   pallatsuth   saar 
 chagar   chul   raash   yagor

Yet none of these words were used by the Evil One who instead said to Job and his friends that he "was afraid [zachal]." What a strange kind of fear it was because it literally means that he was afraid like a snake or serpent crawling [zachal] rapidly away in the dust at the threat of approaching danger. The few other instances where the word zachal is used in the Holy Scriptures, all relate to the movement of snakes and serpents in the dust. It has the same meaning in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and thus other words directly derived from it mean serpent, particularly poisonous ones:

"With the poison of serpents [zochale] of the dust"
- Deuteronomy 32:24, see also Sanhedrin 110a, Babylonian Talmud.

"Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen and fatlings by the Serpent's [zochaleth] Stone which is beside Enrogel" - 1 Kings 1:9.

"They shall lick the dust like a serpent [nachash, same word used in Genesis 3:1,2,4,13,14], they shall move out of their holes like crawling [zachal] things of the earth: they shall be afraid of the Lord our G-d and shall fear" - Micah 7:17.

"Like serpent's creatures which crawl [zachal] in the dust hurling [poison] of asps (i.e., spitting cobras) like arrows" - 1QH (Thanksgiving Hymns Scroll) 5:27, Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Evil One in Elihu was compelled to use the word zachal for "afraid" because he is Satan: the primordial serpent and adversary of mankind.
And when snakes are afraid they crawl away in the dust: that is their nemesis.

In the book of Genesis we are told that the Lord G-d created, made and formed Man (Adam) from the moistened "dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). Had Adam and Eve obeyed the commandment, they would have acquired for themselves the knowledge of G-d and immortality through obedience. But because of the wiles of the Evil One in the serpent, they disobeyed, and were exiled from the Garden by the Lord G-d and condemned to die. Death would return them to the ground where they were taken from. For the Lord G-d decreed, after Man disobeyed, that he was to return to the ground where he was taken from, "because dust you are and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19).

The Evil One in the serpent by his guile made Adam and Eve to disobey and eat of the forbidden fruit. This resulted in their dying and returning to the ground as dust. Appropriately, in the wisdom of G-d, the Evil One in the serpent was condemned by the Lord G-d to eat the dust of that ground: "dust shall you eat all the days of your life" (Genesis 3:14).

In the book of Isaiah where it is said that "because the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as waters cover the sea": there will be a great peace (Isaiah 11:6-9); it is also said that in those days "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock and dust shall be the serpent's bread [lechem]"- Isaiah 65:25. Because then out of that dust the Lord shall bring forth: "the bread [lechem] of understanding" (Sirach 15:3, Hebrew Text) which shall constrain the Evil One to eat his own words. For the Lord Himself said concerning all the wicked that the day would come when: "I will feed them with judgment" - Ezekiel 34:16.

222 Re: the Devil [Satan-Sammael] being in the Serpent that tempted Eve, see Wisdom 2:24; Enoch 69:6; 2 Enoch 31:4-6; Books of Adam and Eve 13-16; 3 Baruch [Greek] 9:7; Apocalypse of Abraham 23; Apocalypse of Moses 16,26; Apocalypse of Sedrach 5; Pirke R. Eliezer 13,14; Zohar Hadash 1.35b; Torah Shelemah [Kashner] 3:10; R. Saadiah Gaon ad loc.; Eldad [Epstein] 75 seq.

223 Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon) found the Elihu chapters (32-37) of the book of Job to be as a whole "a profound and wonderful discourse" (Guide of the Perplexed, III.23). Judah ha Nasi cleverly tried to defend Elihu from the charge of blasphemy (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 34.1). Elihu also had his upholders in Rabbi Joshua ben R. Nehemiah (Midrash Genesis Rabbah 34.14ff.), Rabbi Judah (Midrash Song of Songs I.2,5), and R. Eleazar ben Azariah (Jer. Sotah 5:20). R. Hanan praised Elihu's descriptions (Midrash Genesis Rabbah 26.7) and so did R. Judah ben Simeon and R. Dostai ben R. Jannai as well (Midrash Genesis R. 13.15; Midrash Leviticus R. 35.12). Other Rabbis praised his insights (Midrash Leviticus Rabbah 26.7; 37.2). The Amora Rabbi Yannai ("the great") went so far as to say that having been taken into the secret counsel of G-d Himself: "Elihu ben Buzi shall one day disclose to Israel the secret chambers of the Leviathan and Behemoth, and Yehezekiel [Ezekiel] ben Buzi shall disclose those of the heavenly chariot [merkabah]" - Midrash Song of Songs Rabbah I.4, sect.2.

224 Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph inferred that Elihu was in reality Balaam who led Israel astray. Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah objected to that remark and defended Elihu so there was a noted debate between these two rabbis (Jer. Sotah 5:20. See I.Wiernikowski's, The Book of Job in the writings of the Talmud and Midrash [In German] pp. 13-14, also W. Bacher's, Die Agada der Tannaiten I, p. 315 and p. 217). There was also the Jewish scribe who wrote the Pseudepigraphic work called The Testament of Job, he also intuitively knew that Elihu was evil and diversely identified him as Satan (6:4), the evil one (7:1 V Text), the enemy (47:10) and as a nefarious spirit speaking through Elihu (23:2; 42:2; 27:2; 41:5 ff.; 17:1ff.).
Notwithstanding their recognition of the Evil One in Elihu, neither of these commentators was able to show how the Evil One was betrayed by his own words, and Satan was exposed to be the one speaking through Elihu.

225 See Judith 9:14; Wisdom 12:27; 18:13; 2 Maccabees 3:33-36.

226 Job 33:26

227 Job 36:15 literally says: "He [G-d] delivers the afflicted [sinner] by his afflictions and opens their ear [to hear and understand] through tribulation."

228 Job 33:16-17, 27-30; 36:8-11

229 Job 36:21

Silver Star Silver Star


Go to top of page

Home | Printing Instructions | Next Article