JOB CHAPTER 5
The Conclusion of the First Speech of Eliphaz.
ANSWERING A POSSIBLE OBJECTION ON JOB’S PART. — V. 1. Call now, if there be any that will answer thee, rather, “will anyone reply?” Having complained against God as though he were just and God unjust, will Job find anyone to intercede for him or to help him in his trouble? And to which of the saints wilt thou turn? Would he find so much as a single angel to take his part? He whom God will not help no creature can help, and an impatient murmuring against misfortune would only challenge the anger of God. V. 2. For wrath killeth the foolish man, grief slays the complaining fool, and envy slayeth the silly one, his own impatient repining brings destruction upon himself. V. 3. I have seen the foolish taking root, like a luscious plant in rich soil, as though his prosperity would endure forever; but suddenly I cursed his habitation, that is, a sudden destruction at the hand of God occurred, which showed that his apparently prosperous dwelling was, after all, under God’s curse, Ps. 73, 18. 19). V. 4. His children are far from safety, they were without help, when the curse of God descended upon him, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them, the reference being to the gate as the place of judgment in the Oriental cities. V. 5. Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, namely, that of the man whom the Lord cast down from the height of his prosperity, and taketh it even out of the thorns, the very last gleanings of the harvest of the wicked being swept away in the calamity which befalls him, and the robber swalloweth up their substance, literally, “the thirsty,” or, “those who lay snares, swallow his wealth”; he is deprived of all he has, which was obtained either by deceit or by outright robbery, as a punishment of the Lord. V. 6. Although affliction, every kind of misery and evil, cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground, that is, the misfortunes of men are not like accidental weedy growths; v. 7. yet man is born unto trouble, man, being enticed by his own lust, inherited since the time of Adam, commits sin and as a consequence brings misery upon himself, as the sparks fly upward, carried up on high by the heat engendered in the flame. So much for man’s natural condition. V. 8. I, that is, Eliphaz on his part, would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause, leaving everything in the hands of the most high God, and not in any way impatient of His government, v. 9. which doeth great things and unsearchable, whose ways are beyond finding out and therefore beyond question on the part of men; marvelous things without number, all of which are beyond the grasp of the human mind; v. 10. who giveth rain upon the earth and sendeth waters upon the fields, the open land outside the cities, as the water of springs and brooks irrigates the land, v. 11. to set up on high those that be low, namely, by pouring out His blessings upon them, that those which mourn may be exalted to safety, raised up to prosperity. enjoy the rich benefits showered upon them. V. 12. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, bringing all their schemes to naught, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise, cannot realize what they wanted to accomplish, not bring about anything solid or lasting, no matter how great their success may seem for a while. V. 13. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness, so that they are shown to be fools before Him and their plans result in ruin to themselves, and the counsel of the froward, those who try to be cunning in setting aside His will, is carried headlong, is overthrown. V. 14. They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope in the noonday as in the night, afflicted with blindness by God, being punished for their impertinent behavior in vaunting their own wisdom. V. 15. But He saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, that is, from the sword which proceeds out of their mouth in the form of wicked slander, and from the hand of the mighty, the strong who delight in violence and bloodshed. V. 16. So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth. Believers may at all times and in all circumstances place their full confidence in Jehovah, knowing that He will always work deliverance from every evil work, no matter how hopeless the outlook.
ELIPHAZ ADMONISHES JOB TO BEAR HIS TRIAL PATIENTLY. — V. 17. Behold, happy is the man, the mortal, in all his feebleness, whom God correcteth, since such an action on the part of God shows His fatherly interest. Therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty, by a want of submission, by a rebellious attitude; v. 18. for He maketh sore and bindeth up, in order to heal the wound which He has inflicted, Hos. 6, 1; Deut. 32, 39; He woundeth, and His hands make whole. Cp. Prov. 3, 11-13; Ps. 94, 12. V. 19. He shall deliver thee in six troubles, in a great number of afflictions; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee, Ps. 91, 10. The believer, trusting in the goodness and mercy of Jehovah, is safe at all times. V. 20. In famine He shall redeem thee from death, Ps. 33, 19, and in war from the power of the sword, so that it cannot strike and kill. V. 21. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue, from all slander and reviling, which would not be able to detract from his good name. Ps. 31. 20; Jer. 18. 18; neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh, no matter what catastrophe threatens, Ps. 32, 6. V. 22. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh, knowing that they are powerless to harm him; neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth, who in ancient times were often a severe scourge. V. 23. For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field, who would not harm the fertility of the soil nor interfere with its tilling; and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee, harming neither him nor his flocks and herds. V. 24. And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle, the tent where he dwelled and all his possessions, shall be in peace, altogether safe and uninjured; and thou shalt visit thy habitation and shalt not sin, rather, in reviewing thy household, thou findest no gap, nothing would be missing of all his property. V. 25. Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, plentiful in numbers, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth, this being considered a very great blessing throughout the Bible, just as childlessness was regarded as a lack of blessing and even as a curse. V. 26. Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, in a ripe old age, in unbroken vigor, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season, dead ripe, and carried up to the threshing-floor, yielding up its riches of grain. V. 27. Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; found out by careful investigating; hear it and know thou it for thy good, the warning being again addressed to Job, lest he once more murmur and complain. Note that Eliphaz speaks the truth, but not all the truth, for the application of his statements to the case of Job did not follow. It is a dangerous conclusion to infer that a fellow Christian is under God’s wrath just because he is suffering misfortunes.