Job 15: Eliphaz (2/3): Challenge & Frailty
Comments: Eliphaz steps up for a second time and in his
first part (v.1-13) challenges Job: he's failed the silence test
[v.1-6], you seem superior [v.7-9] and angry [v.12,13] forgetting
human frailty [v.14-16], but he comes with the wisdom of age [v10,11,
1: v.1-19 Eliphaz Challenges Job
Wisdom suggests silence is the best course
Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
a wise person answer with empty notions or fill their belly with
the hot east wind?
they argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value?
But you weren't silent so your mouth condemns you
you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God.
sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty.
own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against
You seem to suggest a superiority to us which is doubtful
you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the
you listen in on God's council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom?
do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that
we do not have?
The wisdom of old age is on our side; doesn't God comfort you
grey-haired and the aged are on our side, men even older than
God's consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to
So what stirs you up to anger so much?
has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash,
that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from
Humans have no grounds for confidence before God
are mortals, that they could be pure, or those born of woman,
that they could be righteous?
God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are
not pure in his eyes,
much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil
Let me impart my experience and wisdom
to me and I will explain to you; let me tell you what I have seen,
the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors
whom alone the land was given when no foreigners moved among them):
2: v.20-35 Eliphaz expounds on the Frailty & Folly of Humanity
I have observed the various manifestations of hopeless human wickedness
his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through
all the years stored up for him.
sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him.
despairs of escaping the realm of darkness; he is marked for the
wanders about for food like a vulture; he knows the day of darkness
is at hand.
and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like
a king poised to attack,
he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty,
charging against him with a thick, strong shield.
The wicked will get what they deserve, poverty and destruction
his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh,
will inhabit ruined towns and houses where no one lives, houses
crumbling to rubble.
will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure, nor will
his possessions spread over the land.
will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots,
and the breath of God's mouth will carry him away.
His deceived thinking will not let him escape destructive discipline
him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he
will get nothing in return.
his time he will wither, and his branches will not flourish.
will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive
tree shedding its blossoms.
the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume
the tents of those who love bribes.
conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their womb fashions deceit.”
It is easy to criticize the person speaking out of anguish – until
it becomes your turn!
It is also easy to sound smug when you are not the suffering one.
From a secure position it is easy to provide theology explaining
suffering and pontificate on sin and judgment, but the person
in anguish, grief, or mourning, does not want ‘answers', just
to summarize, what
have we seen Job saying? The
structure above shows us:
Job has failed the wisdom test of silence [v.1-6]
Job appears to show superiority [v.7-9] and anger [v.12,13]
yet Eliphaz comes with the wisdom of age [v.10,11] and experience
to combat human self-confidence [v.14-16]
TWO: Human Experience
human life is vulnerable physically and morally [v.20-26]
a man reaps what he sows [v.27-30]
it doesn't matter if he has deceived thinking, destruction follows