Elihu continues speaking. It’s not right, he says, for Job to assert his righteousness and to ask, “How am I better off than if I had sinned?” Elihu will answer him and his friends. He tells Job to observe the skies. Elihu says that neither Job’s transgressions nor his righteousness actually give God anything. Rather, these things affect other human beings.
Elihu argues that Job has made a basic mistake in his attitude towards God. He says Job has been arguing that he might as well have sinned, since God has made him suffer anyway. Elihu offers a different perspective by suggesting that even if Job is righteous by human standards, it’s not like that gives him special standing before a perfectly just and righteous God.
Elihu says that the oppressed cry out because of their suffering, seeking the strong’s help. But nobody calls for help from God, their Maker. And when the prideful cry out, God doesn’t heed them, either. How much less, then, must God heed those who arrogantly present their own case to God. Because God has not punished Job harshly, Job now speaks empty words, “multiplying words without knowledge.”
Elihu continues arguing that when people suffer, they tend to be short-sighted, looking for help from anyone but God. Often, too, people call for help out of pride rather than humility. People don’t learn the right lessons from their suffering, in other words. Job, Elihu asserts, is no different—and in fact he’s worse, because he refuses to see that he needs to learn a lesson.