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In his speech to Job, Elihu says

Job 36:8-9 But if people are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction,9 he tells them what they have done — that they have sinned arrogantly

Doesn't this imply that Job suffered because he sinned arrogantly and doesn't this contradict Job 1:1

Job 1:1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

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The narrator wrote in Job 1:

1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. And this man was blameless and upright, fearing God and shunning evil.

Elihu said in Job 36:

8 But if people are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, 9 he tells them what they have done — that they have sinned arrogantly

Doesn't this imply that Job suffered because he sinned arrogantly?

Yes, according to Elihu.

Doesn't this contradict Job 1:1?

Yes, Elihu contradicted the narrator.

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The OP's question has hit upon the whole point of the book of Job- no rational, human explanation can really be found for Job's troubles. Three things should be remembered when reading Job:

  • All have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23, see V10-18)
  • While Job was sinful in the general sense, as we all are, he had not committed any obvious high crime that his "comforters" tried to accuse of, according to Job 1:1
  • The people in the book of Job, his comforters, and wife we completely ignorant of the cosmic battle and debate that is described in Job 1 & 2

Jesus forever banish these very Hebrew ideas of a person suffering in this life for their sins when we read in John 9 -

1 Now as Jesus was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth, 2 and His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God would be displayed in him.

Job had the correct attitude when he said:

  • Job 2:10 - “Should we accept from God only good and not adversity?”
  • Job 13:15 - Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him
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'Blameless' doesn't mean 'sinless'. If one were to say that these words were synonymous, then that would contradict what God has clearly revealed in regard to the nature of ALL men (bar one):

2The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Psalms 14:2-3 (KJV)

And Paul reiterates the Psalmist:

9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:9-12 (KJV)

When God tells Satan that Job is 'blameless' ('perfect', in the Hebrew) it is in reference to the practice of his religion. In other words, Job diligently followed God's instructions in regard to dealing with his sin. So, He was 'blameless', which meant the Accuser had no ammunition.

Job wasn't just diligent about addressing his own sin, but his sons' also:

5And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
Job 1:5 (KJV)

Now, it seems pretty clear to me that Job's children were wastrels, and that he knew they weren't following in his footsteps and wouldn't even consider making atonement for their sin.

Job's unaddressed sin was pride, which he didn't realise until his confession at the end of the story:

3Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful נִפְלָא֥וֹת for me, which I knew not. Job 42:3 (KJV)

The Hebrew word 1 given by the KJV as "too wonderful" is given in a clearer context in Psalm 131, as "too high":

1LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high וּבְנִפְלָא֣וֹת for me.
Psalms 131:1 (KJV)

To be clear, Job's confession was about haughtiness, and he repented of it in dust and ashes:

5I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Job 42:5-6 (KJV)

So, Elihu hit the nail on the head in regard to Job.


Notes:
  1. פָּלָא:Strong's H6381 - pālā'
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I think your answer is found in this verse:

Job 42:7 After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.

The purpose of the book of Job is to reveal the sovereignty of God. Notice it is God who summons Satan: Satan is not "on the loose" to do whatever he pleases.

Read Romans chapter 9 and see how God is in total control of all things -- everything that happens. Job suffered because God wanted to test him, which He also does to all of us in various ways. The end of all such tests is the glory of God through His saving His people through His own deliverance. You may want to look at this post about the book of Job...

Are Job's friends the voice of the Accuser?

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  • This is the best answer so far.
    – Perry Webb
    Jun 7 at 1:46
  • "Your two friends" are, more likely, Zophar and Bildad, so it isn't clearly said of Elihu
    – b a
    Jun 7 at 13:44
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The problem with Elihu

From the comparison of Job 1:1 (where Job is called by the narrator תָּם [perfect] and יָשָׁר [upright]) and Job 36:8-9, where Elihu implies that "Job suffered because he sinned arrogantly", Tony Chan, in his Answer, concludes that "Elihu contradicted the narrator".


Elihu, a young and presumptuous man, frustrated at the ineffectuality of the speeches of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, stands up with his four moralistic speeches (Job 32-37), which are nothing but an even more emphatic rehash of what the older "friends" have inconclusively attempted to oppose to Job. The "center-piece" of Elihu's moralistic discourse is the "educating value of suffering” to which God submits man, but man is stubborn and does not heed God (“For God speaks, the first time in one way, the second time in another, though a person does not perceive it." – Job 33:14).

Job and His Friends, Gustave Doré (1832-1883)

Job and His Friends, Gustave Doré (1832-1883)

The problem with Elihu is that he has been traditionally seen, in spite of his youth, as someone who manages to show Job wrong, whereas the older "friends" (Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite), have failed.

Elihu, a young and presumptuous man, frustrated at the ineffectuality of the speeches of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, stands up with his four moralistic speeches (Job 32-37), which are an even more emphatic rehash of what Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar have inconclusively attempted to oppose to Job. The "center-piece" of Elihu's moralistic discourse is the "educating value of suffering” to which God submits man, but man is stubborn and does not heed God (“For God speaks, the first time in one way, the second time in another, though a person does not perceive it. – Job 33:14).

Eventually YHWH God intervenes directly (Job 38 - 42) and speaks directly to Job, simply ignoring everything that the pretentious Elihu has said, and with some majestic images of his creative power, shows to Job how his counsel is too much above man's limited understanding for man to contend with God.

Job briefly intervenes, first to humble himself and declare how foolish of him it was to speak at all (“Indeed, I am completely unworthy – how could I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth to silence myself. I have spoken once, but I cannot answer; twice, but I will say no more” - Job 40:4-5).

Then, at the end of the Divine Speeches, when Job realizes that, while he has said nothing wrong, and has no specific fault for which his misfortunes should be considered God’s “punishment”, still he is, and should behave like a humble creature of God, and yield to God’s omnipotence and inscrutable ways.

1Then Job answered the Lord: 2“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted; 3 [you asked,]‘Who is this who darkens counsel without knowledge?’ But I have declared without understanding things too wonderful for me to know. 4 You said, ‘Pay attention, and I will speak; I will question you, and you will answer me.’ 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes! (Job 42:1-6, NETBible)

In the he Epilogue (42:7-17), YHWH condemns Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar and, at the same time, explicitly approves Job’s words.

Conclusion

The interpretation of the real purpose and meaning of the Book of Job, of how it “solves” the problem of human suffering, depends to a large extent on the role and meaning attributed to “The Speeches of Elihu” (Job 32-37)

Far from giving the right key that allows men to understand and accept a presumed “redemptive function of suffering”, “The Speeches of Elihu” are first simply ignored by YHWH God in the Divine Speeches (38 - 42), then, in the Epilogue, they are, again, totally ignored by YHWH God.

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I don't see the issue here. In setting up the story to follow, the Narrator is telling us that Job is blameless and upright. I think we are supposed to take this at face value - for what is to follow, Job is not to blame for any of it.

Elihu is speaking as a character within the story. He is trying to offer advice to Job using his own understanding of how he thinks God rules the universe. I think we are supposed to look at Elihu's response, compare it with what the Narrator said and with the divine speech at the end of the book, and see that how God rules over the universe is complex and way above our own understanding.


Edit: I'm re-reading other's answers and I see that my answer is very similar to other's. I mostly wanted to answer this from a literary perspective - that Elihu is speaking from within the story, and the Narrator is speaking from outside the story.

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There are many reasons for affliction.

  • Being righteous

    Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
  • Suffering for Christ

    we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing 2 Corinthians 4:8-11
  • Suffering injustice

    And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ish′mael; because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. Genesis 16:11

And many other things, like natural disasters, diseases (which sometimes are for the glory of God), etc.

Elihu pointed out to Job that people who sin arrogantly are held fast by cords of affliction, certainly they are. But that is just one of the many reasons for affliction, which was not Job's case. He was being afflicted because God allowed the opposer to test him.

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