Skip to main content



ELIHU (Heb. אֱלִיהוּא, once אֱלִיהוּ; "God is the one [who is to be thanked, or worshipped]"), son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, a character – first introduced, and quite unexpectedly, at Job 32:2 – who addresses Job and his three friends from 32:6 through chapter 37. (For the literary problem this creates and an analysis of Elihu's contribution to the discussion, see *Job, Book of.) The names assigned to Elihu and to his father (Barachel, "God has [or "is"] blessed") may hint that the author of these chapters approves of the point of view that Elihu represents. The tribe and family assigned to him, however ("the Buzite, of the family of Ram"), are obviously chosen, like for example, the name and tribe of *Eliphaz the Temanite, in order to conform to the setting of the oldest stratum of the Book of Job ("the land of *Uz," Job 1:1; "the *Kedemites," 1:3b); for according to Genesis 22:21, Buz was a younger brother of Uz and an uncle of Aram, with whom the Septuagint and Symmachus, probably rightly, identify this Ram. A less likely possibility is the connection of Elihu's ancestry to Ram, grandson of Judah in the late sources (Ruth 4:19; i Chr. 2:9) that are followed by the New Testament (Matt. 1:2).

[Harold Louis Ginsberg]

In the Aggadah

The aggadah praises both the wisdom and modesty of Elihu. He was called "buzi" (lit. "lowly"; Job 32:2), only because he considered himself of low account in the presence of those greater than himself (Zohar, 2:166a), and showed his wisdom in never speaking until he had listened to what Job had to say (arn1 37, 111–112). His wisdom is reflected in his statement: "Touching the Almighty, we can never find Him out" (Job 37:23). He would have merited to be mentioned in Scriptures had he done no more than describe the action of the rainfall (cf. Job 36:27 and 37:3; Gen. R. 36:7). Elihu was a prophet (Sot. 15b) and descended from Nahor, the brother of Abraham (ser 28, 141–2).


Ginzberg, Legends, index; Y. Ḥasida, Isheiha-Tanakh (1964), 65–66.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Elihu." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 17 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Elihu." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (March 17, 2019).

"Elihu." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved March 17, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.