Having answered his three friends, Eliphaz now speaks again in Job 15.1-35. He begins to dispute what Job has said and basically says Job has “filled himself with the east wind” and was full of unprofitable talk (v 1-3). Eliphaz says Job has done away with the fear of God and any true meditation and prayer to God. He says when Job talks he is uttering iniquity in his heart, and he is lying (v 4-6). Basically, he is saying that if Job was so wise he wouldn’t be so proud and full of loud boasting.
He says to Job, “Were you the first man to be born, or were you brought forth before the hills” (so old he thinks he is smarter than everyone else, including God…v 7-11)? He also says Job is prideful and full of conceit of others, and the Lord is angry with him about this (v 12-13).
Eliphaz does not understand how Job can be as innocent before God as he says he is? If God puts no trust in his holy ones (angels), and the heavens (the inhabitants thereof) are not pure, how much less is Job who is detestable and a sinner, who sins like he is drinking water (v 14-16). Eliphaz then tells him about what he has seen, and “everybody knows this.” Only the wicked suffer like Job does, and t he sooner he admits that he is a sinner the better it will be. He accuses Job of being defiant in this and being stubborn (v 17-26).
He then tells Job that even the wicked succeed for awhile (like Job did), but that is just a show. Job was actually poor and has a gross misunderstanding about God. This is a true statement about the wicked, but it was not true about Job. But Eliphaz keeps accusing Job of all sorts of sins and of “bringing forth iniquity” through deceit, corruption and foolishness (v 27-35). Job is being attacked in his body by Satan and his friends are accusing him falsely. What Job didn’t know is God is only going to let them go so far.
In Job 16.1-22 Job answers Eliphaz and we learn that Job thinks his friends are “sorry comforters.” Job tells them that what they are saying is “old news” and he has heard that before. Like his friends have said, “everyone knows these things” (Job 15.14-15). Job is giving it right back to them here (see Job 6.15). He said that what his friends have been saying is a bag of windy speeches. He could act like they do, unsympathetic and concerning (v 1-5).
Talking to them does nothing to ease his suffering and is a waste of time. If he doesn’t talk, he looks guilty. He is tired and God has “exhausted him.” His family is gone and his friends are useless. His body is wasting away and he is skin and bones, so even that testifies against him. He says that Go9d has torn him, and hunted him down. He says, “My enemy glares (sharpens his eyes) at me” thinking it is God who is his adversary, but we know he is totally mistaken here. He believes God is using his three friends as instruments to lay charges upon him and reproach him (v 6-11).
He remembers he was at ease with good things in life, but then he was shattered. He calls his diseases and his friends “his arrows” that surrounded him without mercy (v 12-14). He recounts how he demonstrated his grief with sackcloth and dust on his head. He was not a violent man and he just doesn’t understand how this is happening to him. His prayers are pure and he will not give up his conviction that his conscience is clear. He was not God’s enemy and is not the man his friends say he is (v 15-17).
Job then appeals to creation saying, , “O earth, do not cover up my blood.” In other words, let it cry out about the injustice done to him if he dies (v 18). We see Job’s struggle in v 19 when he says, “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven and my advocate is on high.” A few verses earlier he thought God was fighting against him. But in truth, he believed that there was a witness in heaven that knew the truth about him, but he is still in agony.
In this verse we see the role of Yeshua and Job’s foresight about the coming Messiah (1 Tim 2.5; 1 John 2.1) Job knew he needed a “lawyer” (advocate) and someone who knew the truth and would stand in the gap between heaven and earth for him and prove his case. In this we see that Job showed a confidence in Yeshua even before he ever came. This is called faith and this was according to the promise of God going all the way back to Eden (Gen 3.15). Although Job did not live to see Yeshua, he had confidence (faith) in that promise (v 19-22).
Job 17.1-16 continues with Job’s dialogue and it tells us that Job’s spirit is broken because of his pain, and he is surrounded by mockers. His friends had sympathy at the beginning, but now they mock him. He asks God to set things right because he does not know what to do (v 1-3). He tells his friends that deceitful tongues will be punished and for some reason God has kept them from understanding and they will be held accountable. Their lack of understanding was proof that God was displeased with them (v 4-5).
Job has been humiliated and people find it hard to believe that this has happened to a good man. They saw God behind it all put it was hard to see God’s plan. His weeping has made his eyes dim and his flesh was consumed. But, the righteous will vindicate him in the future. Job knows he is right and he will hold fast to his integrity and grow stronger (v 6-9).
Job cannot find one person who has judged him correctly and he has accepted that his good days are past and may be looking at a slow decline instead of a quick end to his misery (v 10-11). His griefs disturb him so much that he can no more sleep at night than in the day. The “light is short” means that daytime can give comfort to people in distress, but not to him because he is “in the presence of darkness” (his pains follow him during the day and the night-v 12). The grave will soon be his bed and Sheol will be like a family member who is close. It was vain and empty to feed him with hope of outward happiness (v 13-16).
In Job 18.1-27 Bildad objects to what Job has said. He basically tells Job to stop babbling and to start listening. He was getting tired of listening to Job talk. He tells Job that his condition speaks for itself, Job is in sin. Are you so important that the world will stop when you die (v 1-4)? Bildad says, “The light (reason) of the wicked goes out” because he wants Job to see that he is among the wicked. He wants Job to see that the wicked gets what is coming to them. Job’s dark outlook on life means he is wicked. Bildad believes the wicked man’s steps are shortened and his wicked days will bring him down. He walks into his own snare (v 5-10).
Bildad uses as evidence that Job is wicked all the afflictions he has suffered. He says the wicked are “full of terror” and his strength is diminished, and his skin is devoured (Job 2.7-8, 7.5, 30.30). His soul is taken (Psa 52.5) and he is taken before the king of terrors (horrors/death). He is judged and utterly consumed and there is nothing left. Nobody will remember him and this was a very evil statement because Job has lost all his children and has no heir. He says, “Those in the west (those who come after him) are appalled at his fate, and those in the east (alive now by comparison) are seized with horror. Bildad says that Job is in “the dwellings of the wicked” and this is the place for those who don’t know God (v 11-21).
In Job 19.1-29 Job feels insulted and that his friends don’t understand. They crush him with their words and insulted him “ten times” which is an idiom meaning “many.” Job says, “even if I have truly erred, my error lodges with me” meaning his sin is nothing to them, why are they so troubled about it? If they insist on this kind of proof they need to listen. He is not a guilty man and if God has sent this upon him, then God has wronged him and will not give him a fair hearing. But we can understand Job’s frustrations here, and good people have thought and said similar things under oppression. He tells Bildad that these afflictions are by God’s hand so be careful as to “why” you think they are happening and be cautious of what you say concerning his dealings (v 1-6).
Job says he prays “violence” to God because of what his friends have been saying as if he is in a courtroom, but gets no answer or help. His “troops” (afflictions) have marched against him and have camped around his tent like in a siege. Job feels like one of God’s enemies, but Job still doesn’t know that God favored him and expected him to weather these afflictions by faith, even when he is being besieged by afflictions and negative feelings (v 7-12).
He even says that God has removed his brothers from him, meaning, he expected to find comfort with family but they are so shocked that they fled from him (v 13-14). Those that dwell in his house have failed him and even seen as a foreigner in their sight, and even his servants don’t answer him when he calls. Everyone has failed him (v 15-16). His “breath is offensive to my wife” and this means his words are alien to her and she won’t answer him, just like the servant in v 16. In verse 18 it says, “young children despise me” but it is the Hebrew word “evelim” here and it means “fools, or the wicked.” His associates (Hebrew “sowdi” meaning inner council of intimate friends) abhor him, even those he loved. All he had left was the “skin of his teeth” (that which covers the teeth) or the ability to talk (v 16-20). Satan left those intact so he could talk and curse God in front of everyone.
He wants his friends to have sympathy for him instead of persecuting him as if they were in God’s place (v 21-22). Jon 19.23-27 is showing us how sure Job was in his faith, and this is how sure we should be when we hear from God. He wished his words were written and in a book “with an iron stylus and lead and engraved in the rock forever” (and they were).
Job 19.25 is an eschatological verse where he says, “I know that my redeemer lives” which is an amazing statement. He knows he has a goel (kinsman redeemer) or an “avenger of blood.” He is saying that the wrong done to him will find their avenger of blood (goel). He knows his goel lives and will avenge him. He then goes on to say that “at the last (in the latter days, the Day of the Lord) he will take his stand on the earth (Job 14.10-15; Isa11.10, 13.2, 18.3, 26.19; 1 Cor 15.50-58; 1 Thes 4.13-18; 2 Thes 2.3). Even “after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God” meaning he will be raised and his body will be incorruptible (1 Cor 15.53-55). He will behold Yehovah and his heart yearns for this resurrection.
But if everyone wants to continue this and ask themselves, “How shall we persecute him” and “What pretext for a case against him can we find” then they are to be very afraid of the sword of divine judgment and justice for themselves, for “wrath brings the punishment of the sword (to avenge the wrongs to the innocent), so that you may know there is judgment (justice by the hand of the Lord).” He tells them this because Job believes he will be vindicated so he will wait on Yehovah (v 26-29).
In Part 6, we will pick up in Job 20.1-29.