The First Speech of Eliphaz

John was driving home late one night when he picked up a hitchhiker. As they rode along, he began to be suspicious of his passenger. John checked to see if his wallet was safe in the pocket of his coat that was on the seat between them, but it wasn’t there! So he slammed o … More

Accusation

The chapters that follow are made up of items of discussion between Job and his three friends. Job and his friends share the same basic theology, and most of what the friends say is true, but it just doesn’t fit Job’s case. Eliphaz, the oldest, wisest and most experienced is convinced that Job is guilty of some secret unconfessed sin. (!) He rebukes Job (vv. 1- 6). (2) He gives reasons why he thinks Job is suffering (vv. 7-11). (3) He gives support to his theological viewpoint by relating a dream (vv. 12-21).  In his discussion he touches on four basic doctrinal truths).

  1. The righteous are never destroyed, but the wicked are sure to be punished (vv. 7-11).
  2. All men are imperfect in the eyes of God; therefore, even the suffering of the righteous has its justification (vv. 17-21).
  3. God can never be charged with the creation of sin and suffering, because evil is the direct result of the free will of man (5:6).
  4. Suffering serves at times to instruct the righteous and protect them from evil doing.

Eliphaz closes his discussion by asking Job to recognize and accept these four basic truths (v. 21).

He tells Job that he needs to practice what he has preached. Since nothing in Job’s circumstances points to innocence, the comforting words of Eliphaz soon turn to accusation, and the friendly discussion to a heated scene. Job is not impressed, so Eliphaz shares a personal testimony. What Eliphaz is stating is mostly truth but it is not helpful to Job.

Application

Part of what Eliphaz said was true, and part was false. It is true that those who promote sin and trouble will be punished eventually but it is false that anyone who is good and innocent will never suffer. I have no guarantee that I will not have to suffer in this life.

Job 4:1-21 (English Standard Version)


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