Elihu continues speaking, saying that the group of men must determine among themselves what’s right. Elihu says that Job “drinks up scoffing like water” and consorts with evildoers. He also says that God repays people according to their deeds and never perverts justice. Because God is in control of the whole world, if he were to “gather to himself his breath,” all mortal creatures would die.
Structurally, this is Elihu’s second speech, and he opens by appealing to the group at large. He accuses Job of wickedness, specifically by classing Job with “scoffers” who speak falsely about God. Because God is perfectly just, Elihu asserts, it’s impossible for Job’s claims of innocence to be true. But Elihu also shifts the conversation away from the matter of Job’s guilt or innocence and toward God’s character instead.
God’s eyes, Elihu continues, are always upon mortals, and he misses nothing; evildoers can’t find darkness deep enough to hide themselves in. God crushes the wicked, especially when he hears the cries of the poor whom they have oppressed. Anyone with sense will see this and acknowledge that Job is speaking without knowledge. He wishes that Job were tested to the limit, since he speaks like he’s one of the wicked, adding rebellion to the sins he’s already committed.
Elihu picks up on language that Job himself has already used to describe God’s all-knowing power and special concern for the vulnerable. However, he follows this to the conclusion that it’s Job who doesn’t understand God. He even suggests that by asserting his innocence, Job is being rebellious, a greater fault than whatever else he might have done.