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The Job debate;- Eliphaz (again) and Job

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posted on Oct, 27 2017 @ 05:01 PM
On the face of it, the book of Job is about the troubles of one man.
Of course we understand him as a representative. We regard the story as a debate about the origins of human troubles.
Strictly speaking, why bad things happen to good people instead of being limited to bad people.

The troubles of Job were described in the first two chapters.
Job feels a sense of grievance, arising out of them, which will develop into what amounts to a lawsuit against God.
Like any other lawsuit, this case begins with a plaintiff’s complaint (ch3).
Since God is not offering an immediate response, the “comforters” who are sitting with Job begin putting forward their own counter-arguments
All three of them have spoken once, and now they are ready to start again.

Eliphaz, second speech

Eliphaz dismisses the last speeches of Job as “wind” and “unprofitable talk” (ch15 vv1-2).
He accuses Job of “doing away with fear of God” and “hindering meditation before God”, because he undermines the listener’s belief in the goodness of God.
For that reason, Job stands condemned out of his own mouth (v6).

“Are you the first man that was born?...
Have you listened in the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself? “vv7-8).
This is a retort for the similar complaint which Job made against Bildad.
Eliphaz claims the authority of knowledge handed down from ancient times;
“Both the grey-haired and the aged are amongst us, older than your father” (v10).
Why will he not listen to the assurances which God gives?
“Are the consolations of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you” (v11).
Why is he so angry against God?

The main body of the speech simply repeats the two lines of argument that he offered in his first speech.
Firstly, it is not possible for man to be righteous (and therefore to claim righteousness).
“What is man, that he can be clean…
The heavens are not clean in God’s sight, much less one who is abominable and corrupt, a man who drinks iniquity like water” (vv14-16)

The second point is the downfall of the wicked.
This is based partly on “what I have seen”, and partly on the traditions of ancient wisdom;
“What wise men have told, and their fathers have not hidden” (vv17-18)
The wicked man writhes in pain all his days.
He fruitlessly searches for bread.
Terrifying sounds are in his ears.
In prosperity, the destroyer will come upon him.
He does not believe that he will return out of darkness.
Distress and anguish terrify him (vv20-24).
This is exactly how Job has described his own experience.
But Eliphaz claims that these things happen because the wicked man “has stretched forth his hands against God” and defied him.
And because he has “gathered fat upon his loins”.
Therefore his wealth will not endure, he will not strike root, he will not escape from darkness.
If he puts his trust in emptiness, then “emptiness” is what he will get.
The “company of the godless” and the “tents of bribery” will not prosper, because their heart conceives and brings forth mischief and deceit (vv25-35).

Job’s response

Job says these friends are all “miserable comforters” (ch16 v2).
They speak without knowing his experiences, as he might have done in their place.

So he reminds them what he is going through, trying to bring it home to them.
God has worn him out and shrivelled him up, and the visible signs of that seem to testify (on the usual presuppositions) that he must have done something wrong.
He has become the victim of human hostility;
“Men have gaped at me with their mouth, they have struck me insolently upon the cheek…
God gives me up to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked” (vv10-11).
It has felt like a physical attack upon his person;
“He has set me up as his target, his archers surround me” (vv12-13).
Consequently a sense of guilt and despair has become a permanent feature of his life;
“I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and have laid my strength in the dust” (v15).
Even though there has been “no violence in my hands”. He has not earned these things through what he has done to others (v17).

“Violence”, however, as a legal concept, puts him in mind of a remarkably bold and ingenious form of legal action.
Every man has the right to complain to God about violence, especially the victims of murder, appealing for vengeance.
Job now proposes making just such a complaint, naming God himself as the perpetrator.
As in the case of Abel, his blood lies on the earth, uncovered and making its mute appeal (though Job has not, strictly speaking, been killed outright).
The formal “cry” has always been the first stage in any legal complaint (v18).
He has a witness in heaven, ready to testify, and Job is not deterred by the fact that his proposed witness is also the defendant.
Since Job cannot get help from his friends, he appeals in tears for God, as judge, to maintain the rights of Job against God as ruler of the world, just as a judge would normally maintain the rights of one man against another (vv20-21).
The celebrated appeal “from Alexander drunk to Alexander sober” has nothing on this one, which calls on God to divide himself and act in mercy and justice to restrain his own actions as God of judgement.
Another version of the same idea is that God himself, as Job’s creditor, should provide the “pledge” which will release Job from his debt. For how can anybody else do it? (ch17 v3)

Job might as well be bold. He has nothing to lose, because in a few years he will “go the way whence I shall not return”.
Already his spirit is broken and “the grave is ready for me” (ch17 v1).
He has become “a by-word of the peoples” (v6). That is, “a laughing-stock”, as he said before.
(Nevertheless, he is confident in his righteousness and his “clean hands”, and he will not be deterred.)
All his plans have been frustrated. The desires of his heart “make night into day” (v12).
That is (I think) his despair means that night has replaced day as the object of his hope.
The only thing he looks forward to now is Sheol. There he will “spread his couch”, or make his rest, in darkness. He will hail “the pit” and the worm as his companions, as his new family.

One final question remains.
What then happens to his hope?
Will it go down to Sheol with him, and keep him company there, or will it remain alive? (vv13-16)
This question is left unanswered (for the moment).

posted on Oct, 27 2017 @ 05:02 PM
Which side of the debate appears to be making the best case?


Job’s complaint

Ch3) I curse the day I was born.
Because it did not cut my life short and so protect me from the troubles of life.
Why did I not die at birth? (vv10-11)
Why is life given (or why does life continue to be given) to the man in misery who longs for death? (vv20-21)

Eliphaz (1)

Ch4) His understanding of Job’s complaint;
While Job was able to encourage others when they were in trouble, he fails to apply his own advice when the troubles fall upon himself. He has become impatient.
Job believes that his fear of God and his integrity should be enough to protect him from trouble. (vv5-6)

Based on observation;
Those who work with iniquity and cause trouble perish at the hands of God.
Those who are innocent and upright are safe. (vv7-8)
Based on direct vision from God;
NO man can be righteous before God, who finds nothing free from fault. (v17)

Ch5) Observation confirms this.
We see that people reject God and therefore suffer. (v3)
So trouble is natural to our lives (vv6-7).
The answer is to trust in God entirely (v8).
The result of this trust will be protection and security (v26).


Ch6) Restates the heaviness of his vexations.
The terrors of God are arrayed against him (vv1-4).
Restates that in the circumstances he would prefer death (vv8-10).

Eliphaz and the others have been unsympathetic.
He challenges them to specify what was wrong with his remarks.
He will tell them the truth, because his vindication is at stake (v29).
Ch7) His case is the case of men in general (v1).

The reason why he has no fear about addressing God directly;
His life is short, and once he reaches Sheol he will never return (vv7-10).
Therefore he has nothing to lose from speaking his mind.

The root of the problem is that God is paying him too much attention.
As a result, his transgressions are always being noticed, and consequently getting punished (v17).
Why should God not break this chain simply by pardoning his transgressions? (vv20-21)

Bildad (1)

Ch8) God does not pervert justice.
So Job’s children must have been penalised for their own sin (v4)
Job himself should make supplication to God.
If he is pure and upright, God will rouse himself to take action on Job’s behalf (vv5-7)

For this is the wisdom which has been handed down from bygone ages;
On the one hand, the hope of the godless shall perish (v13).
On the other hand, God will not reject a blameless man (v20).


Ch9) He knows that “it is so” (v1);
(That is, God will not, in principle, reject a blameless man.
So if a blameless man like Job finds himself rejected anyway, that needs to be put right.)

But how can a man establish himself as just before God?
The problem is that the overwhelming power of God sets him beyond contradiction (vv2-3).
How can Job, as an innocent man, plead his cause under those conditions? (vv15-17)
What power can compel God to give an account of what he does? (v19)

Even though Job is blameless, he would be forced to condemn himself out of his own mouth (v20).
But he loathes his life, so he is not afraid to say;
1. He himself is blameless
2. God destroys both the blameless and the wicked
However, these issues cannot be discussed fairly, because God will not meet him on equal terms, laying aside his dread power (vv32-35).

Ch10) Again he asks, why should God pursue his transgressions quite so diligently? (v17)
Again he asks; why was he allowed to enter the world, to experience these troubles? (v18)
But if he must live, why cannot be allowed to live his short life in peace?

Zophar (1)

Ch11) Job says that he is blameless.
But God’s wisdom is higher than ours, so his judgement of righteousness and unrighteousness must be better than ours.
In fact in Job’s case he must be exacting less of a penalty than his guilt requires (vv5-6).
So Job should repent and seek God, after which his life will be restored (vv13-15).


Ch12) Restates his basic case;
On the one hand, he himself, a just and blameless man, has now been made a laughing-stock because of his misfortunes.
On the other hand, robbers and idolaters are left free to live in peace and security (vv4-6).
He is not ignorant of the great wisdom of God as ruler of the world.
Indeed his point is that God does everything, and so must be responsible for everything (vv13-14).

Ch13) He intends to argue his case with God directly (v3).
He challenges God to meet him in debate, asking only;
That God should allow him to speak, holding back his own power.
And that God should promise to reply (vv19-22).
He demands a full account of the iniquities for which he is being punished (v23).
Ch14) Since man have been given such a short life, why punish his iniquities anyway? (vv1-3)
Why not just look away from them? (v6)
He wishes he could be allowed to hide in Sheol during the time of judgement, coming out again once it was over, and starting a fresh life free from the scrutiny of his transgressions (vv13-17)

edit on 27-10-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 28 2017 @ 05:48 PM
And the answer is?

I've read this and contemplated over and over while looking for answers for the maladies of my own life. Unfortunately there were no answers here. It seemed like it only read as an account of Job's demise but no solution to what he had to endure.

I guess to sum it up would be:

No matter if you take the good road or bad, no matter how much praying and begging you do in your life, your world can and will come crashing down one way or the other and it's only up to God to give you reprieve, not giving you back what your heart lost but to be given what he wants to give you.

With so many hopeful words found in the bible, like ask and it will be given... this chapter makes a person lose all earthly hope. ...the only hope being that you'll get better in the here after.

But... If you're not worthy of the here-after, then life and death can be damnation. So the question remains... Why do we live to suffer if in the end, you'll only suffer eternally, because you're not good enough.. or because you didn't have the right path laid out for you... and so forth.

Existence is not always a good thing.

posted on Oct, 28 2017 @ 06:09 PM
a reply to: StallionDuck
One form of answer is offered at the end of the book, but I'm trying not to anticipate the later threads. The conflicting views are a necessary part of the argument.

edit on 28-10-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 06:46 AM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: StallionDuck
One form of answer is offered at the end of the book, but I'm trying not to anticipate the later threads. The conflicting views are a necessary part of the argument.

Proceed my good man. I'd like to see where this goes.

Ever searching.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 07:44 AM
a reply to: StallionDuck
The sequence is due to come to a close in December.
Did you catch any of the previous threads?
Starting with The troubles of Job
And Job's complaint

edit on 29-10-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

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