Eliphaz’s Second Response to Job
In the second round of speeches, Job’s “comforters,” no longer appealing for repentance, become more condemning and vehement. Job, meanwhile, becomes more stubborn.
Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
Eliphaz criticizes Job a second time:
2 “A wise man wouldn’t answer with such empty talk!
You are nothing but a windbag.
noun. informal. derogatory.
a person who talks at length but says little of value.
How wrong Eliphaz is! Job’s situation, his despair, and his pleas for help and understanding have spoken truth to countless people through the ages.
3 The wise don’t engage in empty chatter.
What good are such words?
4 Have you no fear of God,
no reverence for him?
5 Your sins are telling your mouth what to say.
Your words are based on clever deception.
6 Your own mouth condemns you, not I.
Your own lips testify against you.
As Job becomes more vehement, his friends become more severe. At first Eliphaz was gentle and courteous (Job 4:2). Now his politeness diminishes, and he bluntly accuses Job of folly and impiety.
7 “Were you the first person ever born?
Were you born before the hills were made?
Eliphaz argued along similar lines as God later did with Job in chapters 38 and 39. They both appealed to Job to consider that he did not know as much as he thought he did. Yet, what Eliphaz thought Job didn’t know was entirely different than what God knew Job didn’t know.
8 Were you listening at God’s secret council?
Do you have a monopoly on wisdom?
9 What do you know that we don’t?
What do you understand that we do not?
10 On our side are aged, gray-haired men
much older than your father!
11 “Is God’s comfort too little for you?
Is his gentle word not enough?
12 What has taken away your reason?
What has weakened your vision,
13 that you turn against God
and say all these evil things?
Eliphaz groups Job with the wicked deserving of and receiving judgment:
14 Can any mortal be pure?
Can anyone born of a woman be just?
15 Look, God does not even trust the angels.
Even the heavens are not absolutely pure in his sight.
16 How much less pure is a corrupt and sinful person
with a thirst for wickedness!
17 “If you will listen, I will show you.
I will answer you from my own experience.
18 And it is confirmed by the reports of wise men
who have heard the same thing from their fathers—
19 from those to whom the land was given
long before any foreigners arrived.
20 “The wicked writhe in pain throughout their lives.
Years of trouble are stored up for the ruthless.
21 The sound of terror rings in their ears,
and even on good days they fear the attack of the destroyer.
22 They dare not go out into the darkness
for fear they will be murdered.
23 They wander around, saying, ‘Where can I find bread?’
They know their day of destruction is near.
24 That dark day terrifies them.
They live in distress and anguish,
like a king preparing for battle.
25 For they shake their fists at God,
defying the Almighty.
26 Holding their strong shields,
they defiantly charge against him.
The certainty of God’s judgment against the wicked:
27 “These wicked people are heavy and prosperous;
their waists bulge with fat.
28 But their cities will be ruined.
They will live in abandoned houses
that are ready to tumble down.
29 Their riches will not last,
and their wealth will not endure.
Their possessions will no longer spread across the horizon.
Hold Fast True Riches
By Martha S. Nicholson
(I often heard my mother recite this poem.)
Let me hold lightly things of this earth;
Transient treasures, what are they worth?
Moths can corrupt them, rust can decay;
All their bright beauty fades in a day.
Let me hold lightly temporal things —
I, who am deathless, I, who wear wings!
Let me hold fast, Lord, things of the skies;
Quicken my vision, open my eyes!
Show me Thy riches, glory and grace,
Boundless as time is, endless as space.
Let me hold lightly things that are mine —
Lord, Thou dost give me all that is Thine!
30 “They will not escape the darkness.
The burning sun will wither their shoots,
and the breath of God will destroy them.
31 Let them no longer fool themselves by trusting in empty riches,
for emptiness will be their only reward.
32 Like trees, they will be cut down in the prime of life;
their branches will never again be green.
33 They will be like a vine whose grapes are harvested too early,
like an olive tree that loses its blossoms before the fruit can form.
34 For the godless are barren.
Their homes, enriched through bribery, will burn.
35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
Their womb produces deceit.”
“It was hard to convince Job, and it is hard to convince us, that that fair and dutiful life had been based on guilt and hypocrisy; that all this misery was the well-deserved, well-measured requital of a life that was a lie.” (Bradley)
–quoted by David Guzik
When all things seem to be turned against us, as they were for Job — normal life completely disrupted, friends condemning us — oh, that feeling of desperation. HERE is Michael W. Smith and “Breathe.”
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.