The book of Job is probably the earliest record of man's experiences. It provides the key to redemption, and includes all the circumstances of life in a cameo. It is summarised by James (probably the first book written of the New Testament collection), who points us to "the patience of Job and the end of Yahweh."

Thus, the trials of man diminish into insignificance against the "end" (fulness of blessing) of Yahweh. It must have been one of the sorest trials that Job had to suffer, when his closest friends condemned him for wickedness, and refusal to acknowledge the righteousness of God. Job knew that he was not guilty of such terrible crimes against the great One he worshipped. His friends acted without knowledge of the true facts to which we are privy through the Inspired Record.

Eliphaz (whose name means "My God is Gold") claimed to have received a visitation, and this coloured his comments. • He asserts [1] That suffering stems from personal folly: vv. 1-7. [2] That as suffering is divine judgment on sin, Job should seek God's forgiveness: vv. 8-16. [3] If Job places himself in the hands of God, He may deliver him: vv. 17-27.

• But Eliphaz's basic mistake is applying to Job's present circumstances what ultimately will be, so observing all things from that biased viewpoint. He presses the teaching of the vision by the evidence of experience, and in so doing adds to the sufferings of Job -- as the misunderstanding of the apostles (and ourselves!) added to the distress of the Lord Yahshua.

This chapter today describes the conclusion of Eliphaz's first statement, which was recorded in chs. 4 and 5. Eliphaz appears as the leader of the three friends of Job (cp. 42:7) and seems to acknowledge Job's goodness in a certain degree, yet still reproaches him with unworthy mercenary motives. "Whoever perished being innocent?" he asks, and then in ch. 5 insinuates that Job neglects God (v. 8), just as though Job had not served his God with diligence.

His continued haranguing urges Job not to despise the chastening of the Almighty, but in his condemnation, Eliphaz ignores the original purpose of the trial, and was evidently unaware of the reason for the experience, as outlined in the opening chapters: to examine the "patience of Job."

• But Eliphaz continues to declare that because of man's nature, biased to sin, the only course would be to seek to God (vv. 8-9), whose rain waters the earth, who restores the meek and lowly (vv. 10-11), but who visits judgment upon the wicked, and saves the poor and needy (vv. 12-16). He urges Job therefore, to consider himself happy in being corrected by God (v. 17), for He who makes sore, will surely 'bind up' (v. 18) and grant restoration (v. 19).

He continues that Job will thereby be delivered from every subsequent misery (vv. 20-22), his prosperity will return (vv. 23-24), his family will be many (v. 25), and at the last will die at a good old age (v. 26). • The conclusion (v. 27) begs Job to consider the words spoken, for they are for his good.

But, though in some respects, Eliphaz expressed correct teaching, his application to the circumstances of Job was incorrect. They were written by the Spirit for the Lord Yahshua who would come to face even greater trials and pressures than did Job, yet without transgression. Similarly, there are vital lessons for the followers of Job in these latter days, that we might understand the divine purpose of suffering in life.

1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?

2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

3 I have seen the [fool] taking root [shoresh]: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.

But neither did this apply to Job and neither was his present trouble any new illustration of such a fact. Following this, Eliphaz counsels Job to commit his cause to God, suggesting that that was what he would do if he were in the same plight.

Upon this he expatiates at some length, in the course of which he would have him regard himself as a happy man in being the subject of the Almighty's chastening rod, endeavouring at the same time to cheer him up by calling his attention to the fact that the Almighty both maketh sore and bindeth up; both woundeth and maketh whole; and would eventually deliver him out of any number of troubles, and bless him, and make him a blessing, if only he would consent to accept of the counsel of his friends, which, said Eliphaz, was all for his good.

But as this involved Job's confession of iniquity of which he was not guilty, he could not fall in with such a view of his case; preferring rather to die outright, than confess that his purpose of life had been evil, just to suit his friends mistaken view of the providence of the situation, and just to afford them a ground of glorying over his shame and humiliation.

Eliphaz considered his view of the ways of providence in the case final, a view from which there could be no appeal: for said he,

"We have searched it, and so it is."

Just so, but things that are true in the abstract, or true in their bearing upon wicked men, become otherwise when wrongly applied, as in the instance of Job—an injustice not only perpetrated against the patient patriarch of Uz, but, what is of still more importance, involving a reflection upon God himself, and the character of his dealings with those who fear him.

The Christadelphian, Dec 1888

4 His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them.

5 Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance.

6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;

7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

8 I would seek unto El, and unto Elohim would I commit my cause:

9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:

10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:

11 To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.

12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.

13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.

14 They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night.

15 But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.

16 So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.

17 Behold, happy is the man whom Eloah correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.

19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.

20 In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword.

21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.

22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

23 For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.

24 And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin.

25 Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth.

26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season.

27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.