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22. Eliphaz Replies
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, 2Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? 3Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him that thou makest thy ways perfect? 4Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment? 5Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? 6For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing. 7Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry. 8But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it. 9Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken. 10Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee; 11Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee. 12Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are! 13And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud? 14Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven. 15Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? 16Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood: 17Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them? 18Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me. 19The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn. 20Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth. 21Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. 22Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart. 23If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. 24Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. 25Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. 26For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God. 27Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. 28Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways. 29When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person. 30He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.
Job 22:1-30. As Before, Eliphaz Begins.
1. Eliphaz shows that man's goodness does not add to, or man's badness take from, the happiness of God; therefore it cannot be that God sends prosperity to some and calamities on others for His own advantage; the cause of the goods and ills sent must lie in the men themselves (Ps 16:2; Lu 17:10; Ac 17:25; 1Ch 29:14). So Job's calamities must arise from guilt. Eliphaz, instead of meeting the facts, tries to show that it could not be so.
3. pleasure—accession of happiness; God has pleasure in man's righteousness (Ps 45:7), but He is not dependent on man's character for His happiness.
5. Heretofore Eliphaz had only insinuated, now he plainly asserts Job's guilt, merely on the ground of his sufferings.
6. The crimes alleged, on a harsh inference, by Eliphaz against Job are such as he would think likely to be committed by a rich man. The Mosaic law (Ex 22:26; De 24:10) subsequently embodied the feeling that existed among the godly in Job's time against oppression of debtors as to their pledges. Here the case is not quite the same; Job is charged with taking a pledge where he had no just claim to it; and in the second clause, that pledge (the outer garment which served the poor as a covering by day and a bed by night) is represented as taken from one who had not "changes of raiment" (a common constituent of wealth in the East), but was poorly clad—"naked" (Mt 25:36; Jas 2:15); a sin the more heinous in a rich man like Job.
7. Hospitality to the weary traveller is regarded in the East as a primary duty (Isa 21:14).
8. mighty—Hebrew, "man of arm" (Ps 10:15; namely, Job).
honourable—Hebrew, "eminent, or, accepted for countenance" (Isa 3:3; 2Ki 5:1); that is, possessing authority. Eliphaz repeats his charge (Job 15:28; so Zophar, Job 20:19), that it was by violence Job wrung houses and lands from the poor, to whom now he refused relief (Job 22:7, 9) [Michaelis].
9. empty—without their wants being relieved (Ge 31:42). The Mosaic law especially protected the widow and fatherless (Ex 22:22); the violation of it in their case by the great is a complaint of the prophets (Isa 1:17).
11. that—so that thou.
12. Eliphaz says this to prove that God can from His height behold all things; gratuitously inferring that Job denied it, because he denied that the wicked are punished here.
height—Hebrew, "head of the stars"; that is, "elevation" (Job 11:8).
13. Rather, And yet thou sayest, God does not concern Himself with ("know") human affairs (Ps 73:11).
15. marked—Rather, Dost thou keep to? that is, wish to follow (so Hebrew, 2Sa 22:22). If so, beware of sharing their end.
the old way—the degenerate ways of the world before the flood (Ge 6:5).
16. cut down—rather, "fettered," as in Job 16:8; that is, arrested by death.
out of time—prematurely, suddenly (Job 15:32; Ec 7:17); literally, "whose foundation was poured out (so as to become) a stream or flood." The solid earth passed from beneath their feet into a flood (Ge 7:11).
do for them—They think they can do everything for themselves.
18. "Yet" you say (see on Job 21:16) that it is "He who filled their houses with good"—"their good is not in their hand," but comes from God.
but the counsel … is—rather, "may the counsel be," &c. Eliphaz sarcastically quotes in continuation Job's words (Job 21:16). Yet, after uttering this godless sentiment, thou dost hypocritically add, "May the counsel," &c.
19. Triumph of the pious at the fall of the recent followers of the antediluvian sinners. While in the act of denying that God can do them any good or harm, they are cut off by Him. Eliphaz hereby justifies himself and the friends for their conduct to Job: not derision of the wretched, but joy at the vindication of God's ways (Ps 107:42; Re 15:3; 16:7; 19:1, 2).
20. The triumphant speech of the pious. If "substance" be retained, translate, rather as the Septuagint, "Has not their substance been taken away, and … ?" But the Hebrew is rather, "Truly our adversary is cut down" [Gesenius]. The same opposition exists between the godly and ungodly seed as between the unfallen and restored Adam and Satan (adversary); this forms the groundwork of the book (Job 1:1-2:13; Ge 3:15).
remnant—all that "is left" of the sinner; repeated from Job 20:26, which makes Umbreit's rendering "glory" (Margin), "excellency," less probable.
21. Eliphaz takes it for granted, Job is not yet "acquainted" with God; literally, "become a companion of God." Turn with familiar confidence to God.
and be—So thou shalt be: the second imperatively expresses the consequence of obeying the first (Ps 37:27).
22. lay up—(Ps 119:11).
23. Built up—anew, as a restored house.
thou shalt put away—rather, "If thou put away" [Michaelis].
24. Rather, containing the protasis from the last clause of Job 22:23, "If thou regard the glittering metal as dust"; literally, "lay it on on the dust"; to regard it of as little value as the dust on which it lies. The apodosis is at Job 22:25, Then shall the Almighty be, &c. God will take the place of the wealth, in which thou didst formerly trust.
gold—rather, "precious" or "glittering metal," parallel to "(gold) of Ophir," in the second clause [Umbreit and Maurer].
Ophir—derived from a Hebrew word "dust," namely, gold dust. Heeren thinks it a general name for the rich countries of the South, on the African, Indian, and especially the Arabian coast (where was the port Aphar. El Ophir, too, a city of Oman, was formerly the center of Arabian commerce). It is curious that the natives of Malacca still call their mines Ophirs.
stones of the brooks—If thou dost let the gold of Ophir remain in its native valley among the stones of the brooks; that is, regard it as of little worth as the stones, &c. The gold was washed down by mountain torrents and lodged among the stones and sand of the valley.
Yea—rather, Then shall the Almighty be, &c.
plenty of silver—rather, "And shall be to thee in the place of laboriously-obtained treasures of silver" [Gesenius]. Elegantly implying, it is less labor to find God than the hidden metals; at least to the humble seeker (Job 28:12-28). But [Maurer] "the shining silver."
26. lift up … face, &c.—repeated from Zophar (Job 11:15).
pay thy vows—which thou hast promised to God in the event of thy prayers being heard: God will give thee occasion to pay the former, by hearing the latter.
29. Rather, When (thy ways; from Job 22:28) are cast down (for a time), thou shalt (soon again have joyful cause to) say, There is lifting up (prosperity returns back to me) [Maurer].
humble—Hebrew, "him that is of low eyes." Eliphaz implies that Job is not so now in his affliction; therefore it continues: with this he contrasts the blessed effect of being humble under it (Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5 probably quote this passage). Therefore it is better, I think, to take the first clause as referred to by "God resisteth the proud." When (men) are cast down, thou shalt say (behold the effects of) pride. Eliphaz hereby justifies himself for attributing Job's calamities to his pride. "Giveth grace to the humble," answers to the second clause.
30. island—that is, "dwelling." But the Hebrew expresses the negative (1Sa 4:21); translate "Thus He (God) shall deliver him who was not guiltless," namely, one, who like Job himself on conversion shall be saved, but not because he was, as Job so constantly affirms of himself, guiltless, but because he humbles himself (Job 22:29); an oblique attack on Job, even to the last.
and it—Rather, "he (the one not heretofore guiltless) shall be delivered through the purity (acquired since conversion) of thy hands"; by thy intercession (as Ge 18:26, &c.). [Maurer]. The irony is strikingly exhibited in Eliphaz unconsciously uttering words which exactly answer to what happened at last: he and the other two were "delivered" by God accepting the intercession of Job for them (Job 42:7, 8).