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lamenting "why" of verse 1. Such a description of distress is integral to the laments of the Psalms.144 Thus, this new identification of the wicked in opposition to the lower classes of the socio-economic scale is due to the use of traditional forms, not to any new thoughts on the nature of the wicked.

In fact, this claim for the social location of the wicked is a quite logical outcome of their religious stance, their lack of a proper relationship to God. Elihu recog- nizes that God strikes these mighty folk because they turned aside from behind him and did not comprehend his ways so that they made the cry of the poor to come to him.145 The socially oppressive nature of the wicked is hardly a genuinely new development in wisdom material. Rather, it is a simple outcome of the fundamental defect of the wicked: they stand without a proper relationship to God.

A third factor is introduced by Elihu which is really a new dimension in designations of the wicked. Elihu

predicts that "men of understanding" (bbl-ywnx) and

the "wise man" (MkH-rbg) will say:

Job speaks without knowledge; his words are without insight.

144 145

For example, Psalms 5:9-10; 6:6-7; 10:1-11; 12:1-4. Job 34:24, 26-28.

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