2016 4th Quarter
Lesson 10, November 26-December 2, The Wrath of Elihu
Tuesday, November 29
Just who is Elihu? How does his contribution to the conversation help us better understand the story of Job and the timeline of his life story?
“Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.” KJV, Job 32:2, 3.
Bible genealogies may be perceived by many to be dry, boring lists of meaningless relationships. But with the names of Job’s three friends we get a wonderful understanding of their backgrounds and how that affects their theology. We also gain insights into just where in the Bible timeline the story of Job rests.
Eliphaz the Temanite: Teman was a grandson of Esau thru Adah the Hittite (Genesis 36:2, 11, 15, 42). Teman’s father was also named Eliphaz (1 Chronicles 1:35, 36). Eliphaz the Temanite would have been related to Husham “of the land of the Temanites”, one of the kings of Edom who reigned before any king reigned over the children of Israel (1 Chronicles 1:45, 43).
Bildad the Shuhite: Shuah was the son of Abraham thru Keturah (Genesis 25:1, 2). Keturah’s nationality is unknown since it is not mentioned in Scripture like Hagar’s Egyptian heritage. However, it is feasible that she was a daughter of the Amorite allies (Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner–Genesis 14:13) who had covenanted with Abraham, having become believers of God. It could be that she was a daughter of Ephron, son of Zohar the Hittite, who sold Abraham the cave of Machpelah in which to bury Sarah (Genesis 23:8-20). These were inhabitants in the vicinity of Hebron who became believers of God through the witness Abraham bore. Keturah’s name means “incense”.
Zophar the Naamathite: Naamah is also a derivative of Naaman. It’s meaning is “beautiful, agreeable, loveliness, pleasantness.” We do not know from the Bible from whom Zophar is a descendant. But later in the Bible, we read the story of Naaman the Syrian general who suffered leprosy. It is possible that Zophar came from somewhere on the border of Syria and Arabia.
Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite: Buz was a son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham (Genesis 22:20, 21). Barachel means “God has blessed” or “that bows before God.” Buz was also brother of Bethuel. Bethuel was the father of Rebekah who married Isaac, and of Laban the father-in-law of Jacob. Laban was also known as Laban the Syrian (Genesis 25:20; 28:5; 31:20-24).
One other important set of genealogies that help us place the time of Job’s story in relationship to the writing of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Moses married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian (another son of Keturah by Abraham). When we look at the genealogies of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:2-5, we see the characters of eight or nine generations that frame the life of Job and his descendants, as well as Job’s friends and their ancestors: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Phares, Esrom, Aram, Aminadab, Naasson, and Salmon (who married Rahab of Jericho shortly after Moses’ death–all told, ten generations). Luke 3:32-34 confirms the list of names mentioned in Matthew’s account.
What else is fascinating about the relationship regarding the authorship of Job is the story of how his daughters were given an inheritance among their brethren (Job 42:13-15) when compared to the plea of Zelophehad’s daughters regarding the laws of inheritance for those men who died without any sons (Numbers 27:1-11).