Elihu Declares His Opinion, Part 1 of 5 & Uzziah, King of Judah, and Jeroboam II, King of Israel

It appears that all has been said and done, and now Job just has to wait for the jury to complete the deliberation, which is You of course.  Is that correct, or is something else going to occur?

Elihu Declares His Opinion
Part 1 of 5

Jeroboam II was the son and successor of Jehoash, (alternatively spelled Joash), and the fourteenth king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one years.

His reign was contemporary with those of Amaziah (2 Kgs 14:23) and Uzziah (15:1), kings of Judah.

History
William F. Albright has dated his reign to 786 B.C. – 746 BC, while E. R. Thiele says he was coregent with Jehoash 793 B.C. to 782 B.C. and sole ruler 782 B.C. to 753 B.C.

He was victorious over the Syrians (2 Kgs 14:26, 27), conquered Damascus (14:28), and extended Israel to its former limits, from “the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain”.

In 1910, G. A. Reisner found sixty-three inscribed potsherds while excavating the royal palace at Samaria, which were later dated to the reign of Jeroboam II and mention regnal years extending from the ninth to the 17th of his reign.

These ostraca, while unremarkable in themselves, contain valuable information about the script, language, religion and administrative system of the period.

Archaeological evidence confirms the biblical account of his reign as the most prosperous that Israel had yet known.

By the late 8th century B.C. the territory of Israel was the most densely settled in the entire Levant, with a population of about 350,000.

This prosperity was built on trade in olive oil, wine, and possibly horses, with Egypt and especially Assyria providing the markets.

According to the prophet Amos, the triumphs of the king had engendered a haughty spirit of boastful overconfidence at home (Amos 6:13).

Oppression and exploitation of the poor by the mighty, luxury in palaces of unheard-of splendor, and a craving for amusement were some of the internal fruits of these external triumphs.

Under Jeroboam II, HaShem was worshiped at Dan and Beth-el and at other old Israelitish shrines, but through actual images, such as the golden calf.

These services at Dan and Beth-el, at Gilgal and Beer-sheba, were of a nature to arouse the indignation of the prophets, and the foreign cults (Amos 5), both numerous and degrading, contributed still further to arousing of the prophetic spirit.

Jeroboam’s reign was the period of the prophets Hosea, Joel, Jonah and Amos, all of whom condemned the materialism and selfishness of the Israelite elite of their day:

“Woe unto those who lie upon beds of ivory…eat lambs from the flock and calves…[and] sing idle songs…”

The book of Kings, written a century later condemns Jeroboam for doing “evil in the eyes of the Lord”, meaning both the oppression of the poor and his continuing support of the cult centers of Dan and Bethel, in opposition to the temple in Jerusalem.

A fourth counselor, named Elihu and younger than the other three, has been standing on the sidelines, giving deference to age and listening to the dialogue-dispute. 

But now he declares himself ready to show that both Job and the three other counselors are in the wrong.  Elihu’s four poetic speeches (32:5-33; ch 34; ch 35; chs 36-37) are preceded by a prose introduction (32:1-4) written by the author of the book.

“So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes” (Job 32:1).

righteous in his own eyes – He insisted on his  innocence in spite of the terrible suffering that he was experiencing.

“Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.

Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job” (Job 32:2-3).

wrath – Elihu considers Job’s emphasis on vindicating himself rather than God reprehensible, but he also believes that the friends’ inability to refute Job was tantamount to condemning God.  Elihu felt compelled to speak up for two reasons:

(1) Job justified himself and

(2) his friends had no answer.  Neither had properly understood what was really at stake in this discussion.

The golden calf shrine in Dan.
This is the shrine set up when Jeroboam set up a golden calf in Bethel and Dan.

The calf stood on the platform in the middle.

To the left you can see an outline showing where the altar sat.

“Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.

When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.

I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.

But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.

Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.

Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.

Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:

Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.

Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches” (Job 32:4-14).

Neither will I answer him with your speeches – Elihu feels that something important has been left out and where the wisdom of age has failed, he has the understanding to supply the right answers.

“They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.

When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)

I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.

For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.

Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.

I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.

Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.

For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away” (Job 32:15-22).

 

Elihu delivers a soliloquy to himself, but it is also for the benefit of those who may be listening.

Uzziah (meaning “Yahweh is my strength”), also known as Azariah, was a king of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, and one of Amaziah’s sons, whom the people appointed to replace his father; (2 Chr 26:1).

(According to James F. Drsicoll, the second form of his name most likely results from a copyist’s error.)

He is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Uzziah was sixteen when he became king of Judah and reigned for fifty-two years.

William F. Albright has dated his reign to 783–742 B.C.

Edwin R. Thiele’s chronology has Uzziah becoming coregent with his father Amaziah in 792/791 B.C.

Uzziah, King of Judah, and
Jeroboam II, King of Israel

Uzziah, called Azariah in 2 Kgs 14:21 and 15:1 -7, ruled Judah for 52 years, from approximately 792 to 740 B.C.

He “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kgs 15:3), and God blessed him both militarily and economically. Uzziah’s name appears on two seals of unknown origin and in a later inscription.

The seals read, respec­tively, “Belonging to Abiah Servant of Uzziah”  and “Belonging to Shebaniah Servant of Uzziah.” The inscription, also of unknown ori­gin, states, “Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah king of Judah—do not open!”

Jeroboam II was a contemporary of Uzziah, ruling the northern kingdom for some 41 years, from around 793 to 753 B.C. His career is summarized in just seven verses in 2 Kgs 14:23-29.

There is only one known reference to Jeroboam II outside the Bible— the famous  “Shema Seal,” found in excava­tions at Megiddo in 1904. It was sent to the Turkish Sultan in Istanbul and unfortunately lost.

Magical ceremonies
Archaeologists think that the sun stones, field stones and plant stones were used in a magical ceremony to bring a blessing of good weather to particular crops or particular pieces of land.

Most of the stones have been broken, which may be the result of ceremonially destroying the stones at the end of the ceremony, to seal the magical ceremony by consigning the symbols to the spirit world.

Before it was sent, how­ever, a bronze cast was made. Now on display at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, it depicts a roaring lion along with the owner’s name, “Belonging to Shema,” and title, “Ser­vant of Jeroboam.”

The style of the lettering dates the seal to the early eighth century B.C. This is the earliest of a number of seals and seal impressions bearing the names of Bibli­cal figures.