Eliphaz’s Third Response to Job
Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
Eliphaz attacks Job’s character:
2 “Can a person do anything to help God?
Can even a wise person be helpful to him?
3 Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous?
Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect?
“Is he not simply arguing the case for the self-sufficiency of God? God needs nothing; God lacks nothing. Since God is already absolutely perfect, He did not create man out of any personal deficiency or compulsion, and therefore man cannot give anything to God. This is standard orthodox doctrine.”
In one aspect Eliphaz certainly had correct theology—God does not “need” Job in the way Job needed God. Nevertheless Eliphaz’s application of this principle was wrong in this context, because it was indeed a pleasure to the Almighty that Job was righteous (as seen in Job 1-2). According to those first two chapters, it was indeed a gain to Him that Job made his ways blameless.
4 Is it because you’re so pious that he accuses you
and brings judgment against you?
5 No, it’s because of your wickedness!
There’s no limit to your sins.
6 “For example, you must have lent money to your friend
and demanded clothing as security.
Yes, you stripped him to the bone.
This begins a remarkable list of groundless accusations against Job. Eliphaz accuses Job mainly of greed and cruelty for the sake of riches.
7 You must have refused water for the thirsty
and food for the hungry.
8 You probably think the land belongs to the powerful
and only the privileged have a right to it!
9 You must have sent widows away empty-handed
and crushed the hopes of orphans.
10 That is why you are surrounded by traps
and tremble from sudden fears.
11 That is why you cannot see in the darkness,
and waves of water cover you.
Eliphaz attacks Job’s theology:
12 “God is so great—higher than the heavens,
higher than the farthest stars.
13 But you reply, ‘That’s why God can’t see what I am doing!
How can he judge through the thick darkness?
14 For thick clouds swirl about him, and he cannot see us.
He is way up there, walking on the vault of heaven.’
15 “Will you continue on the old paths
where evil people have walked?
16 They were snatched away in the prime of life,
the foundations of their lives washed away.
“Sarcastically, he asks Job if he plans to continue going in the wrong direction – along the path of the wicked. He says this same path that Job is now traveling led to the drowning of an entire generation in Noah’s day, a reference to the Flood.”
17 For they said to God, ‘Leave us alone!
What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 Yet he was the one who filled their homes with good things,
so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.
19 “The righteous will be happy to see the wicked destroyed,
and the innocent will laugh in contempt.
20 They will say, ‘See how our enemies have been destroyed.
The last of them have been consumed in the fire.’
Eliphaz counsels Job to make himself right with God:
21 “Submit to God, and you will have peace;
then things will go well for you.
22 Listen to his instructions,
and store them in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored—
so clean up your life.
24 If you give up your lust for money
and throw your precious gold into the river,
25 the Almighty himself will be your treasure.
He will be your precious silver!
26 “Then you will take delight in the Almighty
and look up to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows to him.
28 You will succeed in whatever you choose to do,
and light will shine on the road ahead of you.
29 If people are in trouble and you say, ‘Help them,’
God will save them.
30 Even sinners will be rescued;
they will be rescued because your hands are pure.”
“Great and wonderful words are these. Had Eliphaz applied them to himself he would have found that his own imperfect acquaintance with God was the reason why he was not able to bring any real comfort to his suffering friend.”
–G. Campbell Morgan
I love the word-picture in verse 28 — and light will shine on the road ahead of you. And we remember that Christ is the light of the world as well as the salvation of the world. Which takes us to Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation,” sung HERE by the Cambridge Singers (written and directed by John Rutter).
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.