Perhaps Job was so clear in his earlier responses to his friends, and so well satisfied in the rightness of his own cause, that he considered he had at least silenced all his three friends. But, it seems he had not.
In this chapter they begin a second attack upon him, each of them charging him afresh with as much vehemence as before. It is natural to us to be fond of our own sentiments, and therefore to be firm to them, and with difficulty to be brought to recede from them, acknowledging them to be wrong.*
1 Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
Eliphaz here continues to express the principles upon which he had first condemned Job. He reproves him for apparently justifying himself, and accuses him of many evil things which are unfairly inferred thence (vv. 1-16).*
2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
Speaking of "vain knowledge" Eliphaz uses a word which signifies that which is noisy, sweeping all before it; thus demanding. The east wind is a biting, destroying storm wind; thus to produce words which cause distress to others.*
3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?
4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before El.
5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.
6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.
Claims that Job is conceited and arrogant: vv. 7-16
7 Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?
8 Hast thou heard the secret of Eloah? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?
9 What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?
10 With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.
11 Are the consolations of El small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?
12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,
13 That thou turnest thy spirit against El, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?
14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.
Having gone through the first series of trials (3 accusations from his friends, as the Lord Yahshua faced three trials at the hand of the Jews, and three from the Gentiles), Job now faces a second series (chs. 15-21).*
16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
Eliphaz claims that teaching and experience proves Job a sinner: vv. 17-35.
17 I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare;
Eliphaz urges Job to humble himself before God and to take shame to himself; to humbly acknowledge his apparent great faults. He reads him a long lecture concerning the woeful estate of wicked people who harden their hearts against God and the judgments which are prepared for them (vv. 17-35).
A good use may be made both of his reproofs (for they are plain) and of his doctrine (for it is sound), though both are misapplied to Job, for neither he, nor the friends, understood the reason for the trials, nor the background to the contest between good and evil. Eliphaz opens the second trial, claiming that Job's words condemn divine law and are contrary to experience.
Eliphaz is the most argumentative of the three friends, appearing calm and reasonable in his claims. He rebukes Job for the alleged impiety of his arguments (vv. 2-16), and again urges that Job only suffered as a sinner on the grounds of experience: what he had seen and learned (vv. 17-35).*
18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it:
19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.
20 The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.
In this speech, his tone is much severer, as he has become exasperated with Job. It is also much shorter as he runs out of arguments. His rigid theory is epitomised in the statement:*
"Remember, I pray thee, who perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?" (Job 4:7). *.
21 A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him.
.. Job stands as a type of the Lord Yahshua, who was certainly "cut off out of the land of the living" (Isa. 53), though having done no sin... the illustrations of Eliphaz (vv. 20-35) are but thinly disguised allusions to Job, which must have cut the patriarch to the quick, and increased his sufferings.
In this speech, Eliphaz claims that it is only the wicked who suffer. As such he rejects the principle of sacrifice that redemption might be obtained. *
*- GEM, Logos.
22 He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.
23 He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.
24 Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.
25 For he stretcheth out his hand against El, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.
26 He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:
27 Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.
28 And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.
29 He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.
30 He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.
31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.
32 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
33 He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.
Eliphaz compares a wicked man to an olive tree whose flowers fall before their season, and consequently brings no fruit
34 For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.
35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.