Job 22


‘Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: “Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise person benefit him? What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless? “Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you? Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless?’ Job 22:1-5

Eliphaz’s Response

Eliphaz is so rude and arrogant towards Job here, he says that Job is so full of himself and his own great attributes, he can’t clearly see the truth. He says God has little concern for those who maintain their righteousness.

Eliphaz claims he can see in Job, what Job cannot see in himself and so, he pleads with Job to see the truth, that is, his wickedness is great and his iniquities are without end.

It appears that Eliphaz is going to list Job’s sins since Job himself can’t see them. In other words, Job was suffering because of his sin.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘That view expressed here by Eliphaz completely ignores God’s love of mankind, John 3:16, the passionate desire of God Himself that man should love his Creator, Mark 12:30, and the joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, Luke 15:7. It is impossible to imagine a more evil proposition than the one Eliphaz advocated here.’

‘You demanded security from your relatives for no reason; you stripped people of their clothing, leaving them naked. You gave no water to the weary and you withheld food from the hungry, though you were a powerful man, owning land—an honoured man, living on it. And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless. That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you, why it is so dark you cannot see, and why a flood of water covers you.’ Job 22:6-11

Here, Eliphaz accuses Job of three things.

1. Oppressing others, Job 22:6.

2. Being insensitive to the needs of others, Job 22:7.

3. Discouraging those who have come to him for help, Job 22:8-9.

As a result of these three abominable sins, sudden death surrounds Job and so, Eliphaz is teaching the idea of cause and effect. He does what Bildad has done, that is, to look at the effect and reason back to the cause.

The problem with Eliphaz’s argument is seen in the fact that all unrighteous men perform, in these areas of good works.

‘Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars! Yet you say, ‘What does God know? Does he judge through such darkness? Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.’ Will you keep to the old path that the wicked have trod? They were carried off before their time, their foundations washed away by a flood. They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’ Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. The righteous see their ruin and rejoice; the innocent mock them, saying, ‘Surely our foes are destroyed, and fire devours their wealth.’ Job 22:12-20

Eliphaz says that God’s greatness and attributes aren’t seen by the wicked. Although God dwells in a heavenly environment, He involves Himself in the affairs of man.

Job didn’t say that God is distant from the righteous, he said that God deals justly with both the righteous and wicked. Eliphaz says, the wicked, like Job, are unteachable, however, the righteous are happy to be instructed by God.

The reference to the flood is possibly speaking about the flood of Noah, Genesis 6:5 / Genesis 6:13 / Genesis 6:17. God brought judgment down on the wicked generation of Noah, even though they enjoyed the goodness of His creation. When the righteous see God’s assertion on the wicked, the righteous rejoice.

‘Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfil your vows. What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’ then he will save the downcast. He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.” Job 22:21-30

Notice once again that Eliphaz asks Job to repent. Although his words are wonderful, and he didn’t condemn Job in his response, they don’t apply to Job.

Eliphaz is basically accusing Job of the following.

1. Job didn’t know God, Job 22:21.

2. Job rejected God’s law, Job 22:22.

3. Job had left God, and he lived unrighteously, Job 22:23.

4. Gold was Job’s treasure, Job 22:24.

5. Job loved silver, not God, Job 22:25.

6. Job didn’t delight in God, Job 22:26.

7. Job’s prayers were not heard, and he was not paying his vows, Job 22:27.

8. Job was in darkness, Job 22:28.

9. Job was soon to be cast down, Job 22:29.

10. Job wasn’t innocent, and his dirty hands needed cleaning! Job 22:30.

With friends like these, who needs enemies!

Go To Job 23