"One Among A Thousand"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 383

Context: Job refuses to blame God, even when he loses his seven sons, his three daughters, and all his wealth. When he remains loyal to God in this adversity, Satan maintains that the test has not been severe enough, whereupon God grants Satan permission to bring physical affliction, short of death, to Job. But even when covered from crown to sole with boils, Job refuses to curse God. He is visited by his three friends: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. The three friends sit with Job in silence for seven days and seven nights before they speak; then they say that Job must be a sinner in order to receive such terrible treatment. But Job maintains his innocence in the face of all their arguments, causing the three friends finally to fall silent. Then Elihu speaks up angrily. He is angry because the three find no way to answer Job, and he is angry because Job justifies himself, rather than God. Elihu seeks in his turn to convict Job of sin which will justify the seeming punishment being visited upon the good man. Elihu maintains that God is greater than man, that He speaks to man, that He saves man, if man will but hear:

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For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

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