Eliphaz Tells Job to Listen to His Great Wisdom

A man, who was known to like liquor, explained that he drank only to drown his troubles. “After you drown them, why do you continue to drink?” he was asked. “You don’t know my troubles,” he sighed. “My troubles are excellent swimmers. I try to drow … More


Eliphaz brings up as a reminder the fate of the wicked (vv. 17-20). He points out how suffering is in store each day for those who sin. Eliphaz portrays the idea that Job was a tyrant who struck fear into other people. It seems that this friend hoped to force Job to repent, as he lists the terrible troubles that befall a sinner (vv. 21-35).

  1. Terrifying sounds are heard (v. 21). Job had certainly heard terrifying news (1:14-19).
  2. He will be attacked (v. 21). The Sabeans and Chaldeans did this to Job (1:15, 17).
  3. Darkness haunts him (v. 22). This is possibly a reference to the darkness of death.
  4. He is destined to be a victim of violence (v. 22).
  5. He wanders aimlessly, trying to escape his attackers (v. 23).
  6. Anguish hounds him (v. 24). Eliphaz points out that our own anguish destroys us.
These first six calamities (vv. 21-24) are followed by an explanation of the reasons for such punishment (vv. 25-27). Then Eliphaz continues with his list:
  1. He is forced to live in abandoned houses and crumbling residences (v 28).
  2. He Loses his wealth (v. 29).This certainly happened to Job (1:13-17).
  3. Darkness overtakes him (v. 30).
  4. Fire destroys his crops (v. 30).
  5. He will vanish (v. 30).
  6. Though gaining nothing materially he will be paid with punishment for his sin (v. 31).
  7. Tents are burned (v. 34).
  8. They are parents of vicious lies, (v. 35).


Eliphaz did not have all of his facts straight, and his attempt to jolt Job into repentance failed. If I try to deal with people in my own wisdom, my efforts will also fail.

Job 15:17-35 (English Standard Version)

""I will show you; hear me, and what I have seen I will declare (what wise men have told, without hiding it from their fathers, to whom alone the land was given, and no stranger passed among them). The wicked man writhes in pain all his days, through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless. Dreadful sounds are in his ears; in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him. He does not believe that he will return out of darkness, and he is marked for the sword. He wanders abroad for bread, saying, 'Where is it?' He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand; distress and anguish terrify him; they prevail against him, like a king ready for battle. Because he has stretched out his hand against God and defies the Almighty, running stubbornly against him with a thickly bossed shield; because he has covered his face with his fat and gathered fat upon his waist and has lived in desolate cities, in houses that none should inhabit, which were ready to become heaps of ruins; he will not be rich, and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the earth; he will not depart from darkness; the flame will dry up his shoots, and by the breath of his mouth he will depart. Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself, for emptiness will be his payment. It will be paid in full before his time, and his branch will not be green. He will shake off his unripe grape like the vine, and cast off his blossom like the olive tree. For the company of the godless is barren, and fire consumes the tents of bribery. They conceive trouble and give birth to evil, and their womb prepares deceit."

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