Then Elihu continued, saying:
Hear my words, you wise men, and listen to me, you knowledgeable ones.
Doesn't the ear test words as the palate tastes food?
Let us judge for ourselves what is right; let us decide together what is good.
For Job has declared, "I am righteous, yet God has deprived me of justice.
Would I lie about my case? My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression."
What man is like Job? He drinks derision like water.
He keeps company with evildoers and walks with wicked men.
For he has said, "A man gains nothing when he becomes God's friend."
Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding. It is impossible for God [to do] wrong, and [for] the Almighty [to act] unjustly.
For He repays a person [according to] his deeds, and He brings his ways on him.
Indeed, it is true that God does not act wickedly and the Almighty does not pervert justice.
Who gave Him authority over the earth? Who put Him in charge of the entire world?
If He put His mind to it and withdrew the spirit and breath He [gave],
every living thing would perish together and mankind would return to the dust.
If you [have] understanding, hear this; listen to what I have to say.
Could one who hates justice govern [the world]? Will you condemn the mighty Righteous One,
who says to a king, "Worthless man!" and to nobles, "Wicked men!"?
God is not partial to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of His hands.
They die suddenly in the middle of the night; people shudder, then pass away. Even the mighty are removed without effort.
For His eyes [watch] over a man's ways, and He observes all his steps.
There is no darkness, no deep darkness, where evildoers can hide themselves.
God does not [need to] examine a person further, that one should approach Him in court.
He shatters the mighty without an investigation and sets others in their place.
Therefore, He recognizes their deeds and overthrows [them] by night, and they are crushed.
In full view of the public, He strikes them for their wickedness,
because they turned aside from following Him and did not understand any of His ways
but caused the poor to cry out to Him, and He heard the outcry of the afflicted.
But when God is silent, who can declare [Him] guilty? When He hides [His] face, who can see Him? Yet He [watches] over both individuals and nations,
so that godless men should not rule or ensnare the people.
Suppose someone says to God, "I have endured [my punishment]; I will no [longer] act wickedly.
Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I won't do it again."
Should God repay [you] on your terms when you have rejected [His]? You must choose, not I! So declare what you know.
Reasonable men will say to me, along with the wise men who hear me,
"Job speaks without knowledge; his words are without insight."
If only Job were tested to the limit, because [his] answers are [like] those of wicked men.
For he adds rebellion to his sin; he [scornfully] claps in our presence, while multiplying his words against God.
Then Elihu continued, saying:
Do you think it is just when you say, "I am righteous before God"?
For you ask, "What does it profit You, and what benefit comes to me, if I do not sin?"
I will answer you and your friends with you.
Look at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds high above you.
If you sin, how does it affect God? If you multiply your transgressions, what does it do to Him?
If you are righteous, what do you give Him, or what does He receive from your hand?
Your wickedness [affects] a person like yourself, and your righteousness [another] human being.
People cry out because of severe oppression; they shout for help from the arm of the mighty.
But no one asks, "Where is God my Maker, who provides [us] with songs in the night,
who gives us more understanding than the animals of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the sky?"
There they cry out, but He does not answer, because of the pride of evil men.
Indeed, God does not listen to empty [cries], and the Almighty does not take note of it-
how much less when you complain that you do not see Him, [that your] case is before Him and you are waiting for Him.
But now, because God's anger does not punish and He does not pay attention to transgression,
Job opens his mouth in vain and multiplies words without knowledge.
Some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom prescribed by Moses, you cannot be saved!"
But after Paul and Barnabas had engaged them in serious argument and debate, they arranged for Paul and Barnabas and some others of them to go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem concerning this controversy.
When they had been sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, explaining in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and they created great joy among all the brothers.
When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them.
But some of the believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses!"
Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter.
After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them: "Brothers, you are aware that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the gospel message and believe.
And God, who knows the heart, testified to them by giving the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us.
He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.
Why, then, are you now testing God by putting on the disciples' necks a yoke that neither our forefathers nor we have been able to bear?
On the contrary, we believe we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way they are."
Then the whole assembly fell silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
After they stopped speaking, James responded: "Brothers, listen to me!
Simeon has reported how God first intervened to take from the Gentiles a people for His name.
And the words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written:
After these things I will return and will rebuild David's tent, which has fallen down. I will rebuild its ruins and will set it up again,
so that those who are left of mankind may seek the Lord- even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does these things,
which have been known from long ago.
Therefore, in my judgment, we should not cause difficulties for those who turn to God from among the Gentiles,
but instead we should write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from blood.
For since ancient times, Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, and he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath day."