Job 4 & 5 – Eliphaz Has A Jab At Job!

Today we began actually with the last verse of the third chapter, in which Job said, “I cannot relax! And I cannot settle! And I cannot rest! And agitation keeps coming back!” (Job 3:25 translated by Francis I Anderson in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary on Job). As you may readily see, this translation is somewhat different from what you may read in the KJV, which is rather odd, or the NKJV. So we are left with Job in a state of agitation and weary.

It is at this point that Eliphaz, who may have been the eldest, since he spoke up first from Job’s three friends. Job wasn’t asking Eliphaz particularly for his counsel, but Eliphaz was going to give it anyway!

Eliphaz describes to us something about Job that we would not have known otherwise, and that was that Job had been one that those in need, the weak and the feeble had gone to for help, and he had helped. But then Eliphaz seems to be saying, “But Job, the shoe is now on the other foot! I wonder will you take a dose of your own medicine and see how you like it (vv.4-5).

Then Eliphaz “sucker punches” Job with a challenge to his ‘reverence’ and ‘integrity’ (v.6).

We may wonder at the theology of Eliphaz, maybe expecting it to be off! But in fact it would be hard to find any fault with it (cf. Gal.6:7; Hos. 10:13), even though much of it could be based on what he has seen, or observed, or wether it is based on a “supernatural manifestation” that he has had (See vv.7-11, 12-16). We are not told whether the “spirit” that appeared to him and spoke to him was of the LORD or was demonic, and so we need to be discerning (See 1 Jn.4:1-3; 1 Tim.4:1; cf. 1 Cor.12:10). And remember that Abraham had a strange encounter with the LORD in Gen.15:12-18. But just be aware that Satan is able to masquerade as an angel of light (2 Cor.11:14).

We can probably sum up what Eliphaz says to Job as “Good Theology, Bad Application!” He really thinks that he knows what the problem is and why Job is experiencing the troubles he has – it is the chastening of the LORD, and Job should be “Happy” (See vv.17-27). Whist it is true that ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’ (See 2 Tim.3:16-17), there are times to keep silent (Ecc. 3:7) and we can sometimes just weep with those who weep (See Rom.12:15), rather than having to always have an answer for everyone.

At the end of the Book of Job, in Job 42:7 the LORD says to Eliphaz, “My wrath is aroused against you…for you have not spoken of Me what is right…” In reality though, you’d be hard-pressed to find what was not right with what Eliphaz has said. Therefore we must conclude that his problem was his faulty diagnosis of Job and the wrong application of his theology!

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