Eliphaz Gives a Second Speech

The clergyman was disturbed during a sermon by some noisy people. He did not scold or manifest any sign of anger. “I am always reluctant,” he said quietly, “to expose those who misbehave during services, because of an experience I had some years ago. A young … More

Rebuke

This chapter contains Eliphaz’s second address to Job (vv. 1-35). Eliphaz thought he was a wise man, so he rebuked Job for his sins. Believed to be the oldest, and considered the wisest of Job’s three friends, he began his second speech by raising the question of whether wise men often use empty, meaningless, and profitless words (vv. 1-3). He believed that Job’s ideas were a hindrance to the faith of others (v. 4).In his first speech he approached Job with an expression of courtesy, but in this second one he is more harsh and vicious. In his first address he seemed to have considered Job a sincere man, though sincerely wrong, but now he changes his tone and suspects that he has a corrupt heart. He accuses Job of having irreverent talk (vv. 1-6) and assumed wisdom (vv. 7-16).

Eliphaz believes Job has proven he is not a wise man. He doesn’t just accuse Job of pride or foolish talk, but of heresy. He says that Job’s words stem from sin within, and therefore are the basis for his being condemned (v. 6). In a sarcastic way he asked him if he was the first man to be born, or whether he was in existence before the hills (v. 7). He goes on to question Job as to what knowledge or understanding he has that they do not possess (vv. 8-9). After all, they have age and experience on their side (v. 10), and Job should be willing to accept their wisdom as superior. He tells Job that he has been offered comforting words from God (v. 11). Is that not enough? He wonders why Job has permitted passion to turn him to anger and rage (vv. 12-13). He says that this in itself proves that Job is still a sinful man (v. 14). Not even the angels in heaven could pass this test (v. 15). Therefore, man could never expect to do so (v. 16).

Application

Eliphaz, instead of being a comforter, is a debater. He is not adding anything new but is playing the same old record. He has no new information since his first speech. I can learn from Eliphaz how not to treat my friends who are suffering. When a person is down he needs someone to lift him up, and not to rebuke him and put him further down.

Job 15:1-16 (English Standard Version)

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: "Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? Should he argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which he can do no good? But you are doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation before God. For your iniquity teaches your mouth, and you choose the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you. "Are you the first man who was born? Or were you brought forth before the hills? Have you listened in the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself? What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand that is not clear to us? Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us, older than your father. Are the comforts of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you? Why does your heart carry you away, and why do your eyes flash, that you turn your spirit against God and bring such words out of your mouth? What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous? Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in his sight; how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, a man who drinks injustice like water!"

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