Eliphaz rebukes Job
1: Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, 2: If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking? 3: Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. 4: Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. 5: But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled. 6: Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways? 7: Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? 8: Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. 9: By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. 10: The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. 11: The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad. 12: Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. 13: In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, 14: Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. 15: Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: 16: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, 17: Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? 18: Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: 19: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? 20: They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it. 21: Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.
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 foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. 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 God, and unto God 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 God 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.
Job answers him
1: But Job answered and said, 2: Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! 3: For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. 4: For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. 5: Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder? 6: Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg? 7: The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat. 8: Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! 9: Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! 10: Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One. 11: What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? 12: Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? 13: Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me? 14: To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty. 15: My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; 16: Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: 17: What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place. 18: The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish. 19: The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them. 20: They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed. 21: For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid. 22: Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance? 23: Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty? 24: Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. 25: How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? 26: Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind? 27: Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend. 28: Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie. 29: Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. 30: Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?
Today we read of Eliphaz one of Jobs friends who rebukes him and of Job’s answer to him. Eliphaz says to Job, Who can help himself from saying something to you. He said you have been a teacher of righteousness to many people and you have been a faithful pastor to them. But now this thing has come on you and you are troubled. Isn’t this the fruit of your fear of the Lord and your faith in God and isn’t this the outcome of your hope and righteous life? Can you think of an innocent man who perished in this way? Can you think of a righteous man who was cut down in life? I have seen that those who plough crookedness and sow evil things will reap the same fruit. They perish under the fierce heat of God. By the breath of his nostrils they are burnt up. The Lord brings his judgment on all – on the lion that roars, on the fierce lion and the young lions and the Lord causes the old lion to die from lack of food. The well fed lion’s kittens are scattered by the hand of God. I have learnt a secret thing in the dreams of the night. It was a nightmare which causes me to be frightened and trembling. Then a ghost passed in front of me causing my hair to stand up. It stood in front of me yet l could hardly make out its shape. It was silent at first and then it spoke saying. Will a man be more righteous that God? Can a man be more pure than his maker? The Lord puts no trust in his servants and even the angels of God do stupid things in comparison to the wisdom of the LORD. How much less are men who live in bodies of clay, whose cells were made of the dust of the earth and who die before a moth finishes his flight. Moths live and die within a day and they die without any man knowing it. Don’t their beautiful bodies which they have die with them? They die yet they have no wisdom. Ask anyone about what has fallen to you and to which of the righteous men will you turn? Because wrath kills the foolish man and envy kills the stupid man. I have seen the foolish man trying to establish himself. But l cursed his home. His children are in danger. They are destroyed in the business of men. Nobody will deliver them. The hungry eat their harvest and they are a prey to robbers. Affliction does not come from nothing and trouble does not appear from nowhere. Yet men are born to trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward from a fire. If l were you l would seek after the Lord and to the Lord l would make my case. He dies great things which are unable to be fathomed. He sends rain on the earth and floods on dry ground. He lifts up the low and he lifts up those that mourn. He makes the plans of the crafty to fail. He takes the wise in their own craftiness. The advice of the arrogant is taken to its ultimate end. They fall into darkness at noon. But the Lord saves the poor from the sword. So the poor look heavenward. Blessed is the man who God corrects. So do not despise the chastening of the Almighty God. He makes sore and he binds up. He wounds and he restores to health. He will deliver you when six waves of trouble break over you yes in the seventh trouble you will find that no evil will touch you. He will save you from death in the midst of famine and in war he will save you from the sword. You will be protected from the cutting criticism of men. And you must not be afraid of destruction when it comes. You will laugh in the face of destruction and famine. And you will not be afraid of wild beasts. Even the stones of the field will be on your side and the beasts of the field will be at peace with you. Your body will be in peace and you will come to your own home within sinning. You will know that your family will be great and your descendants ill be as numerous as the grass of the pasture. You will die a very old man, like a sheaf of wheat that comes at the end of harvest time. So these are our best thoughts on your case, listen and know that it is said for your good. Eliphaz had said all the very best that he could think. He had declared the very best of the wisdom of men even righteous men. He had spoken of the foolishness of the fools and the righteousness of the righteous. He had assumed that Job had been judged by the Lord for his sin. Yet he comforted him in the knowledge that the Lord will eventually have mercy on him and deliver him from all his troubles. Job answers him. He says. If all my grief were weighed it would be heavier than the whole earth. Words cannot express how l feel. The arrows of the Almighty God are in me. The poison on the arrows gives me a raging fever. The terrors of God are set in battle array against me. Does the wild ass bray when he has grass to eat? Does the ox low when he is eating? Can bland food be eaten without salt? Is there any flavour in the white of an egg? My soul draws back from eating in my time of trouble. Oh that the Lord would grant my prayer and give me the thing l long for. If the Lord wants to l would want him to destroy me. Then l would have comfort. Yes l would strengthen myself in my sorrows. Let him not spare me because l have not remained silent before the Holy One. I have no more strength to have hope. And what is the point of prolonging my life? Is my strength made of rock? Is my flesh made of brass? I cannot help myself. And have l quite lost my mind? My friends should look in pity on me and not leave off from the fear of the Lord. My brothers have dealt with me deceitfully like brooks that dry up. They are like water that is frozen and like water locked up in the snow, when they melt they disappear. They slip off the path and are lost. They are killed by the soldiers of Tema and Sheba. They are completely confused because they had hoped in God but now they have seen me they are ashamed to not understand. Your wisdom has come to nothing and when you see me you are afraid. Did l ask for your help? Did l ask you to deliver me? Can you redeem me from the hand of the Almighty? Teach me where l have gone astray and l will hold my tongue. Words that are right are forceful but your arguments do not reprove me. You reproving is based on your imagination and your speeches like a man that is desperate. They are as fleeting as the wind? You overwhelm the orphan and you dig a pit for your friend. You speak to me as if l have been lying. Have l told a lie? Can’t l taste the difference between the truth and a lie? (My comments on these long discussions seem to me to be like very free paraphrases. I am trying to express the flavour and sense of these sentences in and easily understandable English form.) Job has been accused of so secret sin which has brought on him the judgment of God yet Job protests saying I could want to die if the Lord wanted that for me. And my friends have come to try to comfort me but that are no comfort they are like snow which promises water but the water that trickles from the snow disappears as soon as it has melted. You cannot really help me says Job. You cannot deliver me. And you dig my grave but l have done nothing wrong. I can tell the difference between truth and a lie.