Elihu keeps talking; he still has something to say on God’s behalf. God, he says, is mighty in every way. He doesn’t sustain the wicked but gives the afflicted what they deserve. If the afflicted have sinned, God instructs them accordingly, commanding them to change their ways. If they do, they will spend the rest of their days happily; if they persist in sinning, they will die by violence.
Here, Elihu’s argument doesn’t differ too much from those of Job’s friends. He also assumes that Job’s suffering is an instance of God teaching Job to change his ways. Unlike Job’s friends, though, Elihu directly says that he’s arguing in God’s defense—again suggesting that he thinks pretty highly of himself.
The godless harbor anger and don’t turn to God for help, so they die shamefully. On the other hand, God “delivers the afflicted by their affliction / and opens their ear by adversity.” But Job, Elihu accuses, is obsessed with the situation of the wicked. He warns Job not to end up scoffing at God or turn to further wickedness himself—that’s how he wound up where he is now.
Elihu argues that Job’s suffering is an opportunity for Job to hear God speaking to him, turn from wickedness, and find God’s deliverance. He warns Job that if Job keeps worrying about the fate of the wicked, Job might venture too far down the path of wickedness himself and miss God’s deliverance altogether.
Elihu urges Job to praise God’s work. God is great, and mortals can’t fully know him; “the number of his years is unsearchable.” Nobody can understand how he causes it to rain or lightning to strike. The “crashing” of thunder expresses God’s anger against immorality.
Elihu describes God’s greatness in overwhelming terms—God’s doings, his anger, and his agelessness are beyond the human capacity to understand. All this is meant to impress upon Job that it’s wrong to argue with God—no human being should presume to approach God on such footing.