Then Elihu said:
"Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning.
For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.
Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.
"Job says, 'I am innocent, but God denies me justice.
Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I am guiltless, his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.'
What man is like Job, who drinks scorn like water?
He keeps company with evildoers; he associates with wicked men.
For he says, 'It profits a man nothing when he tries to please God.'
"So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.
He repays a man for what he has done; he brings upon him what his conduct deserves.
It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.
Who appointed him over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world?
If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath,
all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.
"If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say.
Can he who hates justice govern? Will you condemn the just and mighty One?
Is he not the One who says to kings, 'You are worthless,' and to nobles, 'You are wicked,'
who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?
They die in an instant, in the middle of the night; the people are shaken and they pass away; the mighty are removed without human hand.
"His eyes are on the ways of men; he sees their every step.
There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide.
God has no need to examine men further, that they should come before him for judgment.
Without inquiry he shatters the mighty and sets up others in their place.
Because he takes note of their deeds, he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.
He punishes them for their wickedness where everyone can see them,
because they turned from following him and had no regard for any of his ways.
They caused the cry of the poor to come before him, so that he heard the cry of the needy.
But if he remains silent, who can condemn him? If he hides his face, who can see him? Yet he is over man and nation alike,
to keep a godless man from ruling, from laying snares for the people.
"Suppose a man says to God, 'I am guilty but will offend no more.
Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.'
Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent? You must decide, not I; so tell me what you know.
"Men of understanding declare, wise men who hear me say to me,
'Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.'
Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man!
To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God."
Then Elihu said:
"Do you think this is just? You say, 'I will be cleared by God. '
Yet you ask him, 'What profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning?'
"I would like to reply to you and to your friends with you.
Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you.
If you sin, how does that affect him? If your sins are many, what does that do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself, and your righteousness only the sons of men.
"Men cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.
But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night,
who teaches more to us than to the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?'
He does not answer when men cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked.
Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it.
How much less, then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him, that your case is before him and you must wait for him,
and further, that his anger never punishes and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.
So Job opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he multiplies words."
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?
If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God.
What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness.
Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.
And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.
For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless,
because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring--not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.
As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also dead.
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness."
The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone,
but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness--for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.