JOB CHAPTER 15
The Second Speech of Eliphaz.
ELIPHAZ ATTEMPTS TO REBUKE JOB. — V. l. Then answered Eliphaz, the Temanite, feeling constrained to reply to Job the second time, and said, v. 2. Should a wise man utter vain knowledge and fill his belly, literally, “his inward parts,” his breast, with the east wind? The east Wind was noted for its stormy bluster. His point was that Job’s own speeches were empty roarings and disproved his claim of being a wise man. V. 3. Should he reason with unprofitable talk, contending with arguments that have no point, or with speeches wherewith he can do no good? It is not only that empty words convince no one, but also that such efforts at self justification are useless, being opposed by the facts. V. 4. Yea, thou, castest off fear, bringing to naught, making void, breaking down true piety, and restrainest prayer before God, injuring and removing the proper devotional attitude, both of which are necessary for the observation of proper worship of the Lord. V. 5. For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, his statements showed that he was wholly influenced, utterly ruled, by his wickedness, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty, of clever sophists, who are adept in the art of covering their guilt with a show of innocence. V. 6. Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I, like a judge pronouncing a sentence upon one who has been found to be guilty; yea, thine own lips testify against thee. Cp. Matt. 12, 37. The position of Eliphaz was this, that Job’s empty protestations of innocence were in themselves proofs of sinful actions committed by him, on account of which God had laid such sufferings upon him. V. 7. Art thou the first man that was born? Did Job believe that he had the deepest insight into the process of creation and all the works of God? Or wast thou made before the hills, brought forth before God created the world, and therefore included in the councils of God from eternity? V. 8. Hast thou heard the secret of God, attending the divine councils and getting his information at first hand? And dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself, reserving it, keeping it secret, as a confidant of God who refrains from divulging His counsels? V. 9. What knowest thou that we know not? What understandest thou which is not in us? Cp. chaps. 12, 3; 13, 2, Eliphaz replying to Job’s pertinent questions in this manner. V. 10. With us are both the gray-headed and very aged men, or, “Also among us are the gray-haired, the aged,” much elder than thy father, these old men of the various tribes which they represented ranking with Job in wisdom, for which reason he should not presume to arrogate all wisdom to himself. V. 11. Are the consolations of God small with thee? literally, “Too little for thee are the consolations of God?” Eliphaz, who was not Buffering with overmuch modesty, meant to say that Job surely should have been satisfied with such words of comfort as he and his friends had brought. Is there any secret thing with thee? literally, “a word so gentle with thee?” for Job should realize that his friends were dealing with him in great tenderness. V. 12. Why doth thine heart carry thee away? Why should Job’s inner excitement, his wounded pride, cause him to meet their efforts with such bitter passion? And what do thy eyes wink at, with an excited, angry snapping and rolling, v. 13. that thou turnest thy spirit against God, snorting against Him in anger, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth, letting his anger break forth in vehement speeches? Altogether, Eliphaz insisted that Job’s statements disproved his wisdom, injured the proper reverent attitude toward God, and were utterly wrong. The point of his rebuke is that Job should look for the reason for his sufferings solely in himself.
ELIPHAZ ACCUSES JOB OF IMPIETY. — V. 14. What is man that he should be clean, and he which is born of a woman that he should be righteous? Eliphaz here takes up a point which he had broached in his first discourse, chap. 4, 17-20, and which Job himself had conceded, chap. 14, 1-4. If Job admitted man’s mortality and frailty in general, he should also concede his own particular wickedness. V. 15. Behold, He putteth no trust in His saints, not even in His holy angels, because they are finite and beneath Him in dignity; yea, the heavens, the very home of bliss, are not clean in His sight, they do not measure up to the essential purity of God’s nature. V. 16. How much more abominable and filthy is man, or, “much less, then, is the utterly corrupt man,” which drinketh iniquity like water? The characteristic of natural man is that he is so desirous for wickedness in one form or other that he pants for it like a thirsty person. -After this sharp arraignment of Job, Eliphaz attempts a more objective form of rebuke. v. 17. I will show thee, hear me, giving Job the information which he needed; and that which I have seen, what he has gained by experience, I will declare, v. 18. which wise men have told from their fathers and have not hid it, setting it forth without concealment, without deception, without hypocrisy or hidden meanness; v. 19. unto whom alone the earth was given, their tribe alone inhabited the land where they first settled, and no stranger passed among them, the purity of their race had been maintained from the earliest times, a fact which was considered the sign of the highest nobility. Eliphaz now sets forth this doctrine of the moral order of the world, in order to convince Job of the justice of his sufferings. V. 20. The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, writhing, twisting, and trembling in torments of one form or other, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor, rather, a definite number of years is set aside for the tyrant, the one who commits violence in any manner. V. 21. A dreadful sound is in his ears, noises that fill him with terror; in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him, falling upon him in the midst of peace, when he is expecting no such evil. V. 22. He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, he despairs of ever being relieved of his misfortune, and he is waited for of the sword, marked out, destined for its attack and for destruction by it. V. 23. He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? In the midst of plenty the miser is tortured by anxiety concerning his food. He knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand, namely, to seize him and to thrust him into punishment of the most severe kind. V. 24. Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid, fill him with terror, anguish, find alarm; they shall prevail against him, overpower, overthrow him, as a king ready to the battle, the rush of the sudden attack sweeping over him and leaving him prostrate and beaten, V. 25. For he, the wicked one, stretcheth out his hand against God, in a bold show of rebellion, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty, boasting himself in proud insolence. V. 26. He runneth upon him, even on his neck, that is, with his neck rigid, with all the muscles of his body taut for the attack, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers, as the leader of a whole army of rebels he rushes forward with his weapons of offense and of defense, v. 27. because he covereth his face with his fatness, a mark of his unbounded greed, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks, having gathered lumps of fat upon his loins as a result of his immoderate indulgence. V. 28. And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps, about to fall into ruins. The description is that of a tyrant who sets aside all regard for the opinion of men, living even among the ruins of an accursed city. The result of such unparalleled insolence is now shown. V. 29. He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, his wealth would have no stability, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth, literally, “not bow down to the earth the gains of such”; that is, even if the wicked succeed in having the finest stand of grain, the ears do not fill out; they may have a show of opulence, but it is not substantial. V. 30. He shall not depart, not escape, out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, a parching heat withering his shoots, destroying his hopes for new gains, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away, the Lord Himself sending the last great catastrophe upon him. V. 31. Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity, rather, let him not trust in vanity, he deceives himself; for vanity shall be his recompense, everyone who trusts in the vain possessions of this world will find himself rewarded with their hollow emptiness. V. 32. It shall be accomplished before his time, before his appointed time has run its course, the fulfillment of the evil will strike him, and his branch shall not be green, the picture of a decaying, palm-tree being applied to the wicked person. V. 33. He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, losing his gains before he has had any enjoyment of them, and shall cast off his flower as the olive. As the olive-tree, every other year, casts its blossoms without bearing fruit, so the godless will not realize their hopes, which are directed entirely upon vanity. V. 34. For the congregation of hypocrites, the company of the wicked and profligate, shall be desolate, barren, having no lasting good fortune, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery, the fire of God’s judgment devours the dwellings of those who build up their substance on bribery and wickedness. V. 35. They conceive mischief, pregnant with misery, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit, bearing it, bringing it forth, as a child of their wickedness. The point of this speech of Eliphaz is, of course, directed against Job, whom he wants to include in the category of such wicked and godless people as he has here described. The same bad habit of drawing unwarranted conclusions and placing innocent men under suspicion is employed to this day. and believers must guard most carefully against the practise of judging and condemning others.