Job Chapter Fifteen
In this chapter we have Eliphaz speaking again but this time his words become more like those of Zophar. These men are proud; they have judged Job found him guilty and Job as defied their judgment. As proud men they now fall upon Job with even worse charges than before simply because he would not acknowledge what they believe to be superior wisdom.
Read Job 15:1-16
v1-3. “THEN ANSWERED ELIPHAZ THE TEMANITE, AND SAID, SHOULD A WISE MAN UTTER VAIN KNOWLEDGE, AND FILL HIS BELLY WITH THE EAST WIND? SHOULD HE REASON WITH UNPROFITABLE TALK? OR WITH SPEECHES WHEREWITH HE CAN DO NO GOOD?”
Job was reputed to be a wise man but Eliphaz here charges him with folly, tells him he has now forfeited his reputation by speaking foolishly and so little to the right purpose. It is common for people who are disputing about something to become angry isn’t it? To exaggerate and represent the reasoning of one to be impertinent and ridiculous is common among men in this kind of a debate. We forget the doom of calling our brother “fool” don’t we? What was it Jesus told us in the sermon on the mount?
Matthew “BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT WHOSOEVER IS ANGRY WITH HIS BROTHER WITHOUT A CAUSE SHALL BE IN DANGER OF THE JUDGMENT: AND WHOSOEVER SHALL SAY TO HIS BROTHER, RACA, SHALL BE IN DANGER OF THE COUNCIL: BUT WHOSOEVER SHALL SAY, THOU FOOL, SHALL BE IN DANGER OF HELL FIRE.”
v4. “YEA, THOU CASTEST OFF FEAR, AND RESTRAINEST PRAYER BEFORE GOD.”
Eliphaz charges Job with casting off the fear of God and restraining or withholding his prior attitude of prayerfulness. What happens when men who once feared God casts off that fear? The holy spirit tells us through Peter, written years later:
II Peter 2:20-21 “FOR IF AFTER THEY HAVE ESCAPED THE POLLUTIONS OF THE WORLD THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, THEY ARE AGAIN ENTANGLED THEREIN, AND OVERCOME, THE LATTER END IS WORSE WITH THEM THAN THE BEGINNING. FOR IT HAD BEEN BETTER FOR THEM NOT TO HAVE KNOWN THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, THAN, AFTER THEY HAVE KNOWN it, TO TURN FROM THE HOLY COMMANDMENT DELIVERED UNTO THEM.”
v5-6. “FOR THY MOUTH UTTERETH THINE INIQUITY, AND THOU CHOOSEST THE TONGUE OF THE CRAFTY. THINE OWN MOUTH CONDEMNETH THEE, AND NOT I: YEA, THINE OWN LIPS TESTIFY AGAINST THEE.”
He says you are condemning yourself with your own mouth, with your own words. You have chosen to speak with the tongue of the crafty, the sly, as one who would deceive us who know the truth. Eliphaz charges Job of being as the unprofitable servant in the parable Jesus told:
Luke “AND HE SAITH UNTO HIM, OUT OF THINE OWN MOUTH WILL I JUDGE THEE, thou WICKED SERVANT. THOU KNEWEST THAT I WAS AN AUSTERE MAN, TAKING UP THAT I LAID NOT DOWN, AND REAPING THAT I DID NOT SOW:”
v7-9. “art THOU THE FIRST MAN that WAS BORN? OR WAST THOU MADE BEFORE THE HILLS? HAST THOU HEARD THE SECRET OF GOD? AND DOST THOU RESTRAIN WISDOM TO THYSELF? WHAT KNOWEST THOU, THAT WE KNOW NOT? what UNDERSTANDEST THOU, WHICH is NOT IN US?”
Do you think that you are the first man that was born? Do you think you are older, and so wiser than we? Have you heard the secrets of God? What does Paul write to the Roman brethren?
Romans 11:33-36 “O THE DEPTH OF THE RICHES BOTH OF THE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE OF GOD! HOW UNSEARCHABLE are HIS JUDGMENTS, AND HIS WAYS PAST FINDING OUT! FOR WHO HATH KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD? OR WHO HATH BEEN HIS COUNSELLOR? OR WHO HATH FIRST GIVEN TO HIM, AND IT SHALL BE RECOMPENSED UNTO HIM AGAIN? FOR OF HIM, AND THROUGH HIM, AND TO HIM, are ALL THINGS: TO WHOM be GLORY FOR EVER. AMEN.”
What do you know that we don’t know? What do you understand that we don’t likewise understand? Now they are not only condemning Job for something that he did not do but they are also turning on him in the heat of argument. How natural and how human are such words in this kind of a situation. But how do they look afterward when reviewed in the light of truth.
v10. “WITH US are BOTH THE GRAYHEADED AND VERY AGED MEN, MUCH ELDER THAN THY FATHER.”
We have all the “church” fathers on our side, all the ancient doctors and lawyers of the “church” share our opinion, Job, you’ve sinned and sinned terribly otherwise God wouldn’t be doing this to you. Of course, there was no “church” in Job’s day as we know the term today, but these men are taking the same kind of position that we would hear for the ecclesiastical community and denominational world today.
v11. “Are THE CONSOLATIONS OF GOD SMALL WITH THEE? IS THERE ANY SECRET THING WITH THEE?”
We have counseled you with the wisdom of God are these comforts we’ve brought you not important to you? If indeed these friends had brought the consolations of God then it would be something to lament about and an affront to God if Job rejected them. They ask. Is there some secret sin in your heart that keeps you from hearing and accepting our words?
v12-13 “WHY DOTH THINE HEART CARRY THEE AWAY? AND WHAT DO THY EYES WINK AT, THAT THOU TURNEST THY SPIRIT AGAINST GOD, AND LETTEST such WORDS GO OUT OF THY MOUTH?”
Eliphaz charges Job with opposition to God and places his advice on par with the advice that God would give. Why does your heart carry you away, and you make light of these things, and turn your spirit away from God? It is the character of the wicked to set their words or mouth against heaven isn’t it?
Psalms 73:9 “THEY SET THEIR MOUTH AGAINST THE HEAVENS, AND THEIR TONGUE WALKETH THROUGH THE EARTH.”
v14. “WHAT is MAN, THAT HE SHOULD BE CLEAN? AND he which is BORN OF A WOMAN, THAT HE SHOULD BE RIGHTEOUS?”
Eliphaz charges Job with thinking that he doesn’t share in the common corruption and pollution of human nature that we call sin. Man, and Job, in his fallen state cannot pretend to be clean and righteous before God, either to acquit himself to God’s justice or to seek God’s favor. David records:
Psalms 14:3 “THEY ARE ALL GONE ASIDE, THEY ARE all TOGETHER BECOME FILTHY: there is NONE THAT DOETH GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.”
Job you think you’re different? What does the apostle John record for us?
I John “IF WE SAY THAT WE HAVE NOT SINNED, WE MAKE HIM A LIAR, AND HIS WORD IS NOT IN US.”
v15. “BEHOLD, HE PUTTETH NO TRUST IN HIS SAINTS; YEA, THE HEAVENS ARE NOT CLEAN IN HIS SIGHT.”
The brightest and strongest creatures are impure before God. God places no confidence in saints and angels. He uses both, but trusts neither with his word; nor with the spiritual future of mankind without giving them his strength and wisdom to carry out his purpose. Even the heavens which to us appear perfect and flawless have specks and flaws in the sight of God.
v16. “HOW MUCH MORE ABOMINABLE AND FILTHY is MAN, WHICH DRINKETH INIQUITY LIKE WATER?”
How much worse off is man then? If the saints are not to be trusted, if God must keep his angels under strict control, how much less trust should be given to sinners like us? If the heavens which God made are not pure then how much more degraded is man who was given the freedom of mind to rebel against God. Mankind has chosen to sin and drinks in sin and iniquity like he drinks water.
Read Job 15:17-35
v17-19. “I WILL SHOW THEE, HEAR ME; AND THAT which I HAVE SEEN I WILL DECLARE; WHICH WISE MEN HAVE TOLD FROM THEIR FATHERS, AND HAVE NOT HID IT: UNTO WHOM ALONE THE EARTH WAS GIVEN, AND NO STRANGER PASSED AMONG THEM.”
Eliphaz says hear me and I will show you all of that which men have been told since the days of their fathers and what has not been hid from mankind. Mankind to whom the earth was given, or dominion over the earth was given, in other words man. Eliphaz does what man usually does in these situations. He puts down the wisdom of others and commends or enhances his own wisdom and the wisdom of men. Here he aims to show from the ancients, those aged men of old; that the wise and good ordinarily prosper in this world while the wicked do not.
“THE WICKED MAN TRAVAILETH WITH PAIN ALL his
DAYS, AND THE NUMBER OF YEARS IS HIDDEN TO THE OPPRESSOR. A DREADFUL SOUND is IN HIS EARS: IN
PROSPERITY THE DESTROYER SHALL COME UPON HIM.
HE BELIEVETH NOT THAT HE SHALL RETURN OUT OF DARKNESS, AND HE IS WAITED
FOR OF THE SWORD. HE WANDERETH ABROAD
FOR BREAD, saying, WHERE is it? HE KNOWETH THAT THE DAY OF
DARKNESS IS READY AT HIS HAND. TROUBLE
AND ANGUISH SHALL MAKE HIM AFRAID; THEY SHALL PREVAIL AGAINST HIM, AS A KING
READY TO THE
Eliphaz says, Job you’ve got it all wrong. The wicked man lives with travail, trouble and afflictions and pain all of his days. Those that are oppressors, blasphemers, persecutors, those that neither fear God nor have any regard for man live with a dreadful sound in their ears because they know that both man and God will bring them trouble. When they prosper, the destroyer will come upon them. They will be like those whom Paul describes when judgment comes. Judgment will come just when they think they’re safe and in peace:
I Thessalonians 5:3 “FOR WHEN THEY SHALL SAY,
PEACE AND SAFETY; THEN SUDDEN DESTRUCTION COMETH UPON THEM, AS TRAVAIL UPON A
WOMAN WITH CHILD; AND THEY SHALL NOT ESCAPE.”
The wicked man doesn’t believe that he shall return out of darkness and that a sword waits for him. These are also people that I have met that declare that they cannot be saved of God; they cannot repent of their sin and change to live a Christian life. They are miserable with that which they have, but they won’t seek anything better either. They’ve given themselves up for lost and won’t even try to do find reconciliation with God. They wander around as those looking for food, dreading a day of poverty, living like a miser who can’t consume what he has but refuses to share with those less fortunate. As David describes:
Psalms 59:2. “DELIVER ME FROM THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY, AND SAVE ME FROM BLOODY MEN.”
v14-15. “AND AT EVENING LET THEM RETURN; and LET THEM MAKE A NOISE LIKE A DOG, AND GO ROUND ABOUT THE CITY. LET THEM WANDER UP AND DOWN FOR MEAT, AND GRUDGE IF THEY BE NOT SATISFIED.”
People with this mindset live in fear. Trouble and anguish make them afraid, knowing that the day of darkness is at hand ready to swallow them up, and all their confidence and all their comforts will come to an end with it.
v25-28. “FOR HE STRETCHETH OUT HIS HAND AGAINST GOD, AND STRENGTHENETH HIMSELF AGAINST THE ALMIGHTY. HE RUNNETH UPON HIM, even ON his NECK, UPON THE THICK BOSSES OF HIS BUCKLERS: BECAUSE HE COVERETH HIS FACE WITH HIS FATNESS, AND MAKETH COLLOPS OF FAT ON his FLANKS. AND HE DWELLETH IN DESOLATE CITIES, and IN HOUSES WHICH NO MAN INHABITETH, WHICH ARE READY TO BECOME HEAPS.”
Tell this man of the divine law and he will look for a way to break it, he completely defies God and his authority and power. He even runs in opposition to God and to his commandments. You know sinners in general, run from God; but the presumptuous sinner, who sins with a high hand, runs upon God, fights against him, and lives in defiance to his law.
He works to gratify the appetites of the body, feeding and feasting to the full. God is forgotten and slighted because his belly has become his god and his happiness and pleasure is governed solely by the appetite of his senses. The tyrant dwells in cities that he has destroyed to gain power over them or wealth from them like David’s enemies:
Psalms 9:6 “O THOU ENEMY, DESTRUCTIONS ARE COME TO A PERPETUAL END: AND THOU HAST DESTROYED CITIES; THEIR MEMORIAL IS PERISHED WITH THEM.”
When I read this I think of the ghettos, slums, and the absentee and slum landlords that plague our major cities. I think of the drug dealers, loan sharks and other criminal elements that live off the misfortune or weaknesses of others. I think of men who made their living off of other men as slaves, indentured servants or off the sweat of another man’s brow without providing a living wage, the opportunity for their betterment or opportunity to break their chains of poverty.
v29-35 “HE SHALL NOT BE RICH, NEITHER SHALL HIS SUBSTANCE CONTINUE, NEITHER SHALL HE PROLONG THE PERFECTION THEREOF UPON THE EARTH. HE SHALL NOT DEPART OUT OF DARKNESS; THE FLAME SHALL DRY UP HIS BRANCHES, AND BY THE BREATH OF HIS MOUTH SHALL HE GO AWAY. LET NOT HIM THAT IS DECEIVED TRUST IN VANITY: FOR VANITY SHALL BE HIS RECOMPENSE. IT SHALL BE ACCOMPLISHED BEFORE HIS TIME, AND HIS BRANCH SHALL NOT BE GREEN. HE SHALL SHAKE OFF HIS UNRIPE GRAPE AS THE VINE, AND SHALL CAST OFF HIS FLOWER AS THE OLIVE. FOR THE CONGREGATION OF HYPOCRITES shall be DESOLATE, AND FIRE SHALL CONSUME THE TABERNACLES OF BRIBERY. THEY CONCEIVE MISCHIEF, AND BRING FORTH VANITY, AND THEIR BELLY PREPARETH DECEIT.
Remember that Eliphaz is speaking here of Job. He describes the assumed wickedness of Job as that of a man whose covetous mind keeps him from having enough. No matter how much of this world’s goods he gathers he continually wants more, more, more and will not be satisfied. Those in whom he dreams that his honor and his riches will continue, that is his children, his branches in this context, shall perish and those in whom he had hoped to have his memory continue shall die in the beginning of their days and never come to maturity. (What a thing to say to a man who has lost all of his children in tragedy.) Everything that he has hoped, planned and lived for has turned out to be in vain. His entire life has been lived in vain because he has realized nothing of his dreams and the end his life has nothing but pain, fear and anguish to show for it. He shall survive his offspring, and see himself stripped of them.
It is impossible for the wicked man (remember he is describing Job) that he should end well. Hypocrisy and bribery are his methods of operation, God is defied under the guise of religion and man is wronged under the guise of justice. All of these kinds of people along with their tabernacles, or dwelling places, shall be made desolate by God and consumed with fire.
The accusations, the analogies, the verbal abuse that this man is bringing upon this man of God are mind boggling. With friends like this who needs enemies?