Elihu, though possibly the youngest of the four “friends,” is not short on moxie. His qualification to speak is that he is every bit as much a man as Job, that his heart is upright and that he is guided by the Spirit of God.
His initial reply in chapter 33 is to castigate Job for saying God doesn’t answer his prayers.
“Of course he does,” Elihu says. “You’re just not paying attention.”
God speaks to mankind in a variety of ways, including through pain and illness. It is in this distress that God gets a man’s attention to turn him from his wicked ways.
More difficult to understand is Elihu’s notion of “ransom.” On the face of it, it would seem Elihu believes there are angels who stand ready to find reasons to speak up for wayward men (vs. 24), finding cause for their redemption. Then, all mankind has to do is to admit sin and ask for forgiveness. But even Elihu does not give credit to the angel for the ransom; he gives the credit to God.
Did Elihu really believe angels are that helpful?
It’s hard to know. What does come through is the notion of heaven’s desire for man’s redemption. God does not ignore man. He wants what’s best for him.
What Elihu says seems to have merit. It does not, however, deal with Job’s specific problem nor add to information already presented in the book. What is added is Elihu’s arrogance and in that arrogance, Elihu states what everyone believes and no one denies. His speech, while about God, is far from helpful, but only serves to highlight his own importance. The trouble is, he cannot see it. Many of us suffer from the same malady.