Job’s Second Speech: A Response to Eliphaz
Job laments his affliction:
Then Job spoke again:
Job’s friends were kind enough to sit with him in sympathetic silence for some seven days (Job 2:13). Job broke the silence with an anguished rant (Job 3), and Eliphaz responded with a poetic call to repentance (Job 4-5). Now Job will answer the words of Eliphaz the Temanite.
2 “If my misery could be weighed
and my troubles be put on the scales,
3 they would outweigh all the sands of the sea.
That is why I spoke impulsively.
4 For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows.
Their poison infects my spirit.
God’s terrors are lined up against me.
5 Don’t I have a right to complain?
Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass,
and oxen bellow when they have no food?
6 Don’t people complain about unsalted food?
Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg?
7 My appetite disappears when I look at it;
I gag at the thought of eating it!
Job explains that there is a reason for his grief and complaint. Eliphaz has offered him no real, tasty food, i.e., words of comfort. (The Reformation Bible)
Job longs for God to grant the escape of death:
8 “Oh, that I might have my request,
that God would grant my desire.
9 I wish he would crush me.
I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me.
10 At least I can take comfort in this:
Despite the pain,
I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
Job laments his weakness:
11 But I don’t have the strength to endure.
I have nothing to live for.
12 Do I have the strength of a stone?
Is my body made of bronze?
13 No, I am utterly helpless,
without any chance of success.
Job challenges Eliphaz:
14 “One should be kind to a fainting friend,
but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty.
15 My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook
that overflows its banks in the spring
16 when it is swollen with ice and melting snow.
17 But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears.
The brook vanishes in the heat.
18 The caravans turn aside to be refreshed,
but there is nothing to drink, so they die.
19 The caravans from Tema search for this water;
the travelers from Sheba hope to find it.
20 They count on it but are disappointed.
When they arrive, their hopes are dashed.
21 You, too, have given no help.
You have seen my calamity, and you are afraid.
Here is the heart of Job’s complaint against his friend: you have given no help; you are afraid. So often I have seen this, even within the church! We hit a hard time in our life, and certain friends disappear. They stay away because they don’t know what to say or do. Example: A friend of mine lost her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren in a terrible accident. She says people do not mention her family to her, because they don’t want to “remind” her of what has happened — “as if I could ever forget it,” she told me. So she gets no sympathy or encouragement in her troubles . . .
When people around us are in pain, let us be bringers of comfort and hope. Let us pay attention to the stories of the loved ones who are now gone. Let us offer the simple gifts of listening and friendship. It is not our job to fix the problem or the person; our job is just show we care. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God” (1 John 4:7).
22 But why? Have I ever asked you for a gift?
Have I begged for anything of yours for myself?
23 Have I asked you to rescue me from my enemies,
or to save me from ruthless people?
24 Teach me, and I will keep quiet.
Show me what I have done wrong.
25 Honest words can be painful,
but what do your criticisms amount to?
26 Do you think your words are convincing
when you disregard my cry of desperation?
27 You would even send an orphan into slavery
or sell a friend.
28 Look at me!
Would I lie to your face?
29 Stop assuming my guilt,
for I have done no wrong.
30 Do you think I am lying?
Don’t I know the difference between right and wrong?
The words “teach me,” “cause me,” “what does your arguing prove,” and “concede” are all demands for evidence and proof. He turns to Eliphaz and says, ‘You say that I’m suffering because of sin, but you’ve never pointed anything out specifically. Teach me and tell me what my sin is. But until you do, there’s no proof of your argument.”
What a treasure we have in a good friend! HERE is James Taylor in “You’ve Got a Friend.”
(Note to self: Who can count on me to be a true friend?)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.