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22. Eliphaz Replies

1Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,

2Can a man be profitable unto God?

Surely he that is wise is 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?

4Is it for thy fear of him that he reproveth thee,

That he entereth with thee into judgment?

5Is not thy wickedness great?

Neither is there any end to thine iniquities.

6For thou hast taken pledges of 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 honorable man, he 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, so 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, What doth God know?

Can he judge through the thick darkness?

14Thick clouds are a covering to him, so that he seeth not;

And he walketh on the vault of heaven.

15Wilt thou keep the old way

Which wicked men have trodden?

16Who were snatched away before their time,

Whose foundation was poured out as a stream,

17Who said unto God, Depart from us;

And, What can the Almighty do for us?

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,

20Saying, Surely they that did rise up against us are cut off,

And the remnant of them the fire hath consumed.

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 thy heart.

23If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up,

If thou put away unrighteousness far from thy tents.

24And lay thou thy treasure in the dust,

And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks;

25And the Almighty will be thy treasure,

And precious silver unto thee.

26For then shalt thou delight thyself in the Almighty,

And shalt lift up thy face unto God.

27Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he will hear thee;

And thou shalt pay thy vows.

28Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee;

And light shall shine upon thy ways.

29When they cast thee down, thou shalt say, There is lifting up;

And the humble person he will save.

30He will deliver even him that is not innocent:

Yea, he shall be delivered through the cleanness of thy 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.