Job 15


‘Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: “Would a wise person answer with empty notions or fill their belly with the hot east wind? Would they argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value? But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God. Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against you. “Are you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the hills? Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have? The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, men even older than your father. Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth? “What are mortals, that they could be pure, or those born of woman, that they could be righteous? If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!’ Job 15:1-16

Eliphaz’s Second Speech

Back in chapter four, Eliphaz was kind in his first speech, but here his tone definitely changes. It appears as though he’s been offended by Job’s words. He more or less calls Job a bag of wind. In other words, Job’s arguments hold as much substance as the wind does. Every word which comes from Job’s mouth is useless.

Earlier, Eliphaz claimed to have received some revelation from God, Job 4:12-17, and now he asks the question, how can we think about spiritual things when we are sitting in the presence of someone who is so irreverent to God? Remember Job accused his friends of this too, Job 13:7-12, and now they accuse him of the same thing, Job 42:8 / Romans 3:23.

Earlier, Job asked for proof of his sin and now Eliphaz claims his very words are proof enough that Job has a serious sin problem and so, they don’t need any more evidence to convict Job.

He now appeals to the voice of experience, that is, what people in the past have learned and says Job needs to learn from them. Eliphaz is convinced that Job is stubborn in his refusal to respect their advice and repent.

‘Listen to me and I will explain to you; let me tell you what I have seen, what the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors (to whom alone the land was given when no foreigners moved among them): All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him. Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness; he is marked for the sword. He wanders about for food like a vulture; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. Distress and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack, because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty, defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield. “Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh, he will inhabit ruined towns and houses where no one lives, houses crumbling to rubble. He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the land. He will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots, and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away. Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return. Before his time he will wither, and his branches will not flourish. He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive tree shedding its blossoms. For the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes. They conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their womb fashions deceit.” Job 15:17-35

Here, Eliphaz goes into a lot of detail to describe how God portrays Himself to the wicked. Some commentators believe this is a quotation from the fathers which has been handed down through time.

Clarkes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Eliphaz is now about to quote a whole collection of wise sayings from the ancients, all good enough in themselves, but sinfully misapplied to the case of Job.’

Because Job is in such great distress and anguish because of his pain, and since the marauders have come upon him, Eliphaz is probably saying, that Job is a wicked man.

He is saying that although the righteous are prosperous, the marauder will steal all their goods. Darkness and destruction will overtake them and they will die before their time. Eliphaz compared Job with the wicked man whose end is before its time.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The discerning reader will not overlook Eliphaz’s strategy in this evil speech. In effect, he preached Job’s funeral, mentioning all the things he could think of that would tie his description of the wicked to what had already happened to Job. The implied prophecies were that Job would never be rich, Job 15:20, that he would soon die, Job 15:30-32. etc. These prophecies, of course, were never fulfilled. Note particularly Job 15:21 in which Eliphaz explained that God’s judgment would fall upon the wicked in the time of his ‘prosperity’, exactly as it had happened to Job. A dozen other such brutal insinuations may be detected in this shameful tirade against Job.’

It’s very true that Eliphaz spoke many truths in his speech, unfortunately, he didn’t deal with Job’s main question, why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer?

Go To Job 16


"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."