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Eliphaz Speaks: Job’s Wickedness Is Great


Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered:


“Can a mortal be of use to God?

Can even the wisest be of service to him?


Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are righteous,

or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?


Is it for your piety that he reproves you,

and enters into judgment with you?


Is not your wickedness great?

There is no end to your iniquities.


For you have exacted pledges from your family for no reason,

and stripped the naked of their clothing.


You have given no water to the weary to drink,

and you have withheld bread from the hungry.


The powerful possess the land,

and the favored live in it.


You have sent widows away empty-handed,

and the arms of the orphans you have crushed.


Therefore snares are around you,

and sudden terror overwhelms you,


or darkness so that you cannot see;

a flood of water covers you.



“Is not God high in the heavens?

See the highest stars, how lofty they are!


Therefore you say, ‘What does God know?

Can he judge through the deep darkness?


Thick clouds enwrap him, so that he does not see,

and he walks on the dome of heaven.’


Will you keep to the old way

that the wicked have trod?


They were snatched away before their time;

their foundation was washed away by a flood.


They said to God, ‘Leave us alone,’

and ‘What can the Almighty do to us?’


Yet he filled their houses with good things—

but the plans of the wicked are repugnant to me.


The righteous see it and are glad;

the innocent laugh them to scorn,


saying, ‘Surely our adversaries are cut off,

and what they left, the fire has consumed.’



“Agree with God, and be at peace;

in this way good will come to you.


Receive instruction from his mouth,

and lay up his words in your heart.


If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored,

if you remove unrighteousness from your tents,


if you treat gold like dust,

and gold of Ophir like the stones of the torrent-bed,


and if the Almighty is your gold

and your precious silver,


then you will delight yourself in the Almighty,

and lift up your face to God.


You will pray to him, and he will hear you,

and you will pay your vows.


You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you,

and light will shine on your ways.


When others are humiliated, you say it is pride;

for he saves the humble.


He will deliver even those who are guilty;

they will escape because of the cleanness of your hands.”


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Verses 1–4

Eliphaz considers that, because Job complained so much of his afflictions, he thought God was unjust in afflicting him; but Job was far from thinking so. What Eliphaz says, is unjustly applied to Job, but it is very true, that when God does us good it is not because he is indebted to us. Man's piety is no profit to God, no gain. The gains of religion to men are infinitely greater than the losses of it. God is a Sovereign, who gives no account of his conduct; but he is perfectly wise, just, faithful, good, and merciful. He approves the likeness of his own holiness, and delights in the fruits of his Spirit; he accepts the thankful services of the humble believer, while he rejects the proud claim of the self-confident.

Verses 5–14

Eliphaz brought heavy charges against Job, without reason for his accusations, except that Job was visited as he supposed God always visited every wicked man. He charges him with oppression, and that he did harm with his wealth and power in the time of his prosperity.

Verses 15–20

Eliphaz would have Job mark the old way that wicked men have trodden, and see what the end of their way was. It is good for us to mark it, that we may not walk therein. But if others are consumed, and we are not, instead of blaming them, and lifting up ourselves, as Eliphaz does here, we ought to be thankful to God, and take it for a warning.

Verses 21–30

The answer of Eliphaz wrongly implied that Job had hitherto not known God, and that prosperity in this life would follow his sincere conversion. The counsel Eliphaz here gives is good, though, as to Job, it was built upon a false supposition that he was a stranger and enemy to God. Let us beware of slandering our brethren; and if it be our lot to suffer in this manner, let us remember how Job was treated; yea, how Jesus was reviled, that we may be patient. Let us examine whether there may not be some colour for the slander, and walk watchfully, so as to be clear of all appearances of evil.