Daily Thought for: 31st July
Job 2. 11-13; 4. 1-21
Eliphaz seems to be the eldest and most prominent of Jobs three friends,
Job 2.11; cf. 15. 10. These men must have been of high rank and renowned
for their wisdom. After an interval of some months, 7. 3, they come to
lament with and supposedly comfort Job. In fact, they proved to be a great
trial, adding to his original calamities. Eliphaz was a Temanite which
connects him with the famed wisdom of Edom, Jer. 49. 7; Obad. 8-9. He appears
as the friends leader and spokesman. The speeches of Bildad and Zophar
are largely echoes and developments of his three speeches. He is taken
as their representative, 42. 7. His words are typical of the best wisdom
this world can offer. It is the result of ages of thought and experience,
15. 17-19, of long and mature study, 5. 27. After a weeks silence, it
is evident that these friends hold a most critical attitude towards Job.
They are like severe judges rather than sympathetic comforters. In his
first speech, ch. 4, Eliphaz considers that Jobs suffering is directly
related to his sin. To him, it is simply a matter of cause and effect.
If Job would repent, his restoration would be forthcoming. In his second
speech, ch. 15, he is annoyed with Jobs words, accusing him of iniquity,
and emphasizing the depravity of man and the awfulness of his fate in the
most extreme language. He even calls Job a hypocrite, 15. 34. In his third
discourse, ch. 22, he accuses Job directly of awful sins which he considers
were indulged in because God seemed too far away to observe these evils.
Finally, he holds out the need of repentance and rejection of iniquity
in order to enjoy restoration of health and wealth. Eliphaz is more judgmental
than sympathetic. His constant assumption was that Job must be a wicked
man and that the calamities he suffered related directly to his wrongdoing.
Like the other friends, his philosophy is that Job should not look at himself
and his suffering but look at himself and his sin. They consider that Jobs
troubles should be seen as retribution. With friends like these who needs
enemies! Eliphaz argues from the point of view of experience; he is a moralistJob
suffers because of his sins. He did not really know Job and his understanding
of God was defective. He would be shown how wrong he was, Job 42. 7.