I have taken Elihu’s side throughout my study of Job. He’s introduced in chapter 32. His name means “My God is He.” Elihu came from the land of Buz. According to genealogical tables, Buz was a brother of Uz, the forefather to Job. The names are significant. Job and Elihu are related through a common ancestry. We also learn that Elihu is a member of the family of Ram, which has roots in the tribe of Judah and probably explains the Hebraic connection in Elihu’s theology. Scholars who write against Elihu’s words seem to ignore these connections.

One commentator observed that Elihu followed the four laws of a good listener. 1) Let others speak first. 2) Truly, listen to what’s being said. 3) Be patient and don’t interrupt. 4) Try to enter into the situation of the speaker to better understand him.

Elihu followed these principles well. He let other’s speak first. As a matter of fact all four of the characters; Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, speak several times while Elihu patiently waits. Further, while Job was speaking it seems that his three friends weren’t listening. They were simply thinking about what they’d say next. I’m afraid I’ve done my share of that. But Elihu listens carefully to Job’s comments and replies. He says, “I listened to your reasoning.” He also says, “I waited while you searched out what to say.” He didn’t interrupt to inject his own thoughts. Elihu also empathized with Job. He put himself in Job’s situation as best as he could to understand where Job was coming from. He identified with Job as a person, not as an abstract principle like the other three.

We can learn a lot about listening to others in pain from Elihu.

“I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (Job 42:5)