Reading through the Bible together
Now Eliphaz takes his turn. He wishes to put what belongs to the last days and apply it to the present lives of people. In this chapter Eliphaz is following a pattern of thinking that was common in the days of Job and he raises several questions: “If a man teaches others wisdom, will God benefit from it?” (v. 2); and “does God care if a man is righteous?” (v.3). These questions about God are similar to those raised by Lucifer during his rebellion in heaven.
This is totally unbiblical since we know God said “be righteous for I am righteous.” Since Job is suffering, Eliphaz concluded that God punished him. “Is not your evil great?” (v. 5). Then he lists the evil of Job: he did not honor the pledges he made and he has taken the garments of the naked ones (v. 6); the thirsty were not given water (v. 7); and the hungry were not fed (v. 7). One gets a glimpse of Eliphaz’s thinking: “A man that is strong - to him is the earth, and the respected one dwell in it” (v. 8). Job was wealthy and respected, now he is not. Then Eliphaz continues with the list of Job’s vices: widows you sent away empty (v. 9); and the strength of orphans is crushed (v. 9). According to Eliphaz, the qualities of an “Ideal Ruler” was overlooked by wealthy Job. So now there are traps around Job (v. 10) such as fear and darkness (v. 11).
Eliphaz reveals to us his understanding of God. He says that God is on high and sees the stars and galaxies. He is not like what Job seemed to say that God cannot know what’s going on here on earth because the “thick clouds are a concealment to Him” (vv. 13-14). Eliphaz misinterpreted Job’s words. He then challenges Job: Will you keep to the old way which other wicked men have walked? Don’t forget that God had filled their houses with good things, yet they had told God to depart from them. Then they were swept away by the flood. The wicked are cut off and their abundance the fire consumes. May the thinking of the wicked be far from me (vv. 16-20).
If Job repents and “acquaints himself with God, he would be at peace.” Job should “receive instruction from His mouth and place His words in his heart” (vv. 21-22). He should return to the Almighty (conversion) and then he shall be built up but he should distance injustice from his tents (v. 23). A long list of present material blessings are mentioned by Eliphaz that will follow such as Ophir [gold], and precious silver (vv. 24-25). With material blessings such as these, Job will have delight in God (v. 26). Pray to Him and pay your vows and He will listen to you (v. 27). “You will make a decision and it will be accomplished for you, and upon your ways light will shine” (v. 28).
Eliphaz tells Job to cheer up because exaltation will come to those who are humble (v. 29). Even those who are not innocent but who turn to God will be delivered by the purity of His hands (v. 30).
This world is not our home and our relationship with You keeps us preparing to leave, not to live eternally here. Like Job, keep us focused. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea