Verse: Job 34:11 states, "For he pays a man according to his work and makes him find it according to his way."

This verse comes from a speech by Elihu, a younger friend of Job who speaks last among Job's friends. His speeches begin in Job 32 and conclude at the end of Job 37. Elihu's approach is somewhat different from the other three friends of Job. While they argue that Job's suffering is a direct result of his personal sin, Elihu suggests that suffering may be God's means of disciplining and purifying. In this specific verse, Elihu conveys a central theme of his discourse: the justice of God in dealing with humans. He emphasizes that God is fair and just, rewarding, or disciplining individuals according to their actions and the path they choose in life.

Chapter 34 Summary: Job 34 forms a part of Elihu’s response to Job’s complaints about his undeserved suffering. Elihu aims to defend God’s justice and righteousness in his dealings with people. He opens the chapter by calling on wise men to listen to his words and judge them fairly, setting the stage for his argument that God cannot be unjust. According to Elihu, it is unthinkable that God would do wrong or act wickedly since he is the creator and sustainer of all life. Elihu argues that if God were to gather his spirit and breath back to himself, all life would perish, and humankind would return to dust.

Elihu rebukes Job for claiming to be without sin and contends that Job’s speeches are irreverent and lack wisdom. He asserts that God is a just judge who listens to the cries of the afflicted, but he does not hear the cries of the wicked. Elihu challenges Job’s understanding of God and justice, suggesting that Job’s suffering might not be a matter of direct punishment but rather a form of divine discipline or a test of character.

The chapter is a mixture of theological reflection on God’s justice and direct criticism of Job’s claim of innocence and his questioning of God’s fairness. Elihu’s words aim to correct Job’s misunderstanding while acknowledging that God’s ways are beyond human understanding. Elihu's perspective introduces the idea that God’s purposes in allowing suffering may be complex and multifaceted, extending beyond the simplistic framework of retribution for sin.

Elihu's speech, including chapter 34, sets the stage for God's own response to Job, which begins in chapter 38. It serves as a bridge between the dialogues with Job's three friends and the climactic appearance of God, preparing the reader for the divine perspective on suffering, justice, and human limitation.