Job Chapter Twenty-Two
Job’s so-called friends start another round of attacks on Job. Eliphaz leads off again. As we studied in chapter 21, it was part of the unhappiness of Job, as it is with many an honest man; that his friends did not understand or give credit to his honesty and integrity. He had spoken of the prosperity of the wicked as a mystery of God’s providence, but they took his words as meaning that he was criticizing God’s providence because God allows the wicked to prosper. They misinterpret his words and say that Job claims that God through his blessing of all men, even those who are wicked, countenances or condones their conduct by doing so. This was not Job’s intent at all. Isn’t it strange, sometimes, how we fail to communicate or have our words misunderstood?
Read Job 22:1-4
v1-2. “THEN ELIPHAZ THE TEMANITE ANSWERED AND SAID, CAN A MAN BE PROFITABLE UNTO GOD, AS HE THAT IS WISE MAY BE PROFITABLE UNTO HIMSELF?”
We’re told by Bible scholars that Eliphaz here insinuates that because Job has complained about his affliction; that he thought God was being unjust. Consequently, even though his statements may be true, they’re misapplied to Job. But let’s look at them in the light of the truth we can learn from them.
Would anyone who has even a smattering of knowledge about God think that God does us good because he is indebted to us? If so then we might have some argument that if God afflicts us he’s being unfair. But such is not the case, is it? Let whoever pretends that he has by any meritorious action made God his debtor, let him prove his debt, and he shall be sure not to lose it. Paul asks the question in:
Romans 11:34-35 “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?”
Who has been God’s counselor, or has given God advice. Oh, I expect we’ve known some folks in our lifetime that would have liked to have given God advice, but who has actually done so? Or who had given something to God first, that God should owe him something or that he should expect recompense or reward from God because of that gift.
Eliphaz asks if anyone can be profitable to God. It is certain that we cannot because we can give God nothing that he needs. But as we think about these things there are things that we can give God that he wants can’t we? We can give him our love, our dedicated devotion, our obedience, our reverence, and our worship.
v3. “Is it ANY PLEASURE TO THE ALMIGHTY, THAT THOU ART RIGHTEOUS? OR is it GAIN to him, THAT THOU MAKEST THY WAYS PERFECT?”
This one we’re going to have to chew on a while. Does it give God any pleasure when we life righteously? Does God gain anything out of our obedience? Does God sorrow when our ways are not perfect? In studying the commentaries on this verse I think we need to be careful. In this study I’m using primarily that of Matthew Henry, fully realizing that Mr. Henry was a follower of John Calvin and I must be cautious and wary using his material.
Eliphaz is implying that God gets no pleasure from our obedience, Mr. Henry agrees but I don’t think that I do. God has expressed his undeniable love for mankind. A love that is so deep and so perfect that we as men have a problem understanding it. So; to think that he has no delight in our worship, no pleasure from reverent prayer of faithful children doesn’t seem to be the God that would be described as a loving Father. It doesn’t seem to be the God that would be of the same mind as the Holy Spirit that is grieved when we who are among the redeem sin, see Ephesians -30. Perhaps the problem here is the speaker.
v4. “WILL HE REPROVE THEE FOR FEAR OF THEE? WILL HE ENTER WITH THEE INTO JUDGMENT?”
almost sounds as though he’s mocking Job.
Does God reprove or rebuke anyone, specifically Job because he’s afraid
of them? Of course not; God has no need to fear anything or anyone in the universe that he
controls. God rebukes the good because
he loves them; he doesn’t rebuke anyone because he fears them. Magistrates punish offenders for fear of
them, our fear of them. Pharaoh
oppressed Israel because he feared them.
It was for fear that Herod slew the children of
Read Job 22:5-14
v5-9. “Is NOT THY WICKEDNESS GREAT? AND THINE INIQUITIES INFINITE? FOR THOU HAST TAKEN A
PLEDGE FROM THY BROTHER FOR NOUGHT, AND STRIPPED THE NAKED OF THEIR CLOTHING. THOU HAST NOT GIVEN WATER TO THE WEARY TO
DRINK, AND THOU HAST WITHHOLDEN BREAD FROM THE HUNGRY. BUT as for THE MIGHTY MAN, HE HAD THE
EARTH; AND THE HONOURABLE MAN DWELT IN IT.
THOU HAST SENT WIDOWS AWAY EMPTY, AND THE ARMS OF THE FATHERLESS HAVE
Up until this time none of Job’s accusers has gotten very specific about the sins that they think has earned God punishment. But now Eliphaz decides to get real specific regarding the sins that he says Job is guilty of committing. He’s wickedness is so great that his sins are infinite, they can’t be counted.
He’s taken promises from those around him and given nothing in exchange, then imprisoned and enslaved them because they could not pay.
He’s taken the clothing off the backs of his tenants and debtors and left them naked.
He’s withheld even water to the weary that had come to his door, even when he was begged for something to drink and withheld bread from the hungry.
He got away with these crimes against his neighbors because he had control; he had the land in which these honorable men dwelt.
He has sent widows away empty handed who, when their husbands were living, troubled nobody but are now destitute and forced to seek relief.
He has even prevented those who could have helped themselves from doing so. The fatherless have been kept from gaining what they could have.
v10-11. “THEREFORE SNARES are ROUND ABOUT THEE, AND SUDDEN FEAR TROUBLETH THEE; OR DARKNESS, that THOU CANST NOT SEE; AND ABUNDANCE OF WATERS COVER THEE.”
Job because you’ve been this kind of person, it is no wonder that there are snares all around you. No wonder whichever way you turn you find only trial, tribulation, affliction and shame. No wonder you’re at your wits end, no wonder everywhere you turn you find nothing but darkness and cannot see. No wonder you’re thrashing around like a drowning man, lashing out at everyone including God, because you’re being punished for your great sins.
v12. “Is NOT GOD IN THE HEIGHT OF HEAVEN? AND BEHOLD THE HEIGHT OF THE STARS, HOW HIGH THEY ARE!”
Eliphaz now uses one of the great truths about God to try to convince Job he should have considered before he complained about his condition. No heaven is so high but that God is there; and in the highest heavens, the heavens of the blessed, the residence of His glory, He is present. In Daniel 4:26, Daniel tells King Nebuchadnezzar that he would be humbled until he acknowledged that the heavens do rule. In other words that God rules the earth and controls it through His providence.
v13-14. “AND THOU SAYEST, HOW DOTH GOD KNOW? CAN HE JUDGE THROUGH THE DARK CLOUD? THICK CLOUDS are A COVERING TO HIM, THAT HE SEETH NOT; AND HE WALKETH IN THE CIRCUIT OF HEAVEN."
Eliphaz now charges Job with thinking that he can hide his sins from God. You say; how does God know? Can he see my sin through when a dark cloud is hiding the face of the earth from God on high? Is it that you think that God cannot see through a thick cloud as he walks around heaven? You think that God is so high up that he can’t see you.
When Ezekiel was taken up by God in the Ezekiel chapter eight; the
vision that he records when God took him up to show him the sins of
Ezekiel “THEN SAID HE UNTO
ME, SON OF MAN, HAST THOU SEEN WHAT THE ANCIENTS OF THE HOUSE OF
He charges Job with this same thinking, that since they sinned in the dark, God didn’t see them. Since the Lord had forsaken the earth, he was no longer paying any attention to them and their sin.
Eliphaz has here tried to convict Job of great sin, by laying great sins (as he thought they were) out before him. He wants to awake Job to the danger of his sin, so now he goes into a rendition of the sins of the world before Job and what happened to those whose sins brought the wrath of God upon their heads.
Read Job 22:15-20
v15-20 “HAST THOU MARKED THE OLD WAY WHICH WICKED MEN HAVE TRODDEN? WHICH WERE CUT DOWN OUT OF TIME, WHOSE FOUNDATION WAS OVERFLOWN WITH A FLOOD: WHICH SAID UNTO GOD, DEPART FROM US: AND WHAT CAN THE ALMIGHTY DO FOR THEM? YET HE FILLED THEIR HOUSES WITH GOOD things: BUT THE COUNSEL OF THE WICKED IS FAR FROM ME. THE RIGHTEOUS SEE it, AND ARE GLAD: AND THE INNOCENT LAUGH THEM TO SCORN. WHEREAS OUR SUBSTANCE IS NOT CUT DOWN, BUT THE REMNANT OF THEM THE FIRE CONSUMETH.
continues to preach to Job about his sin and the expected results. Remember how the way that the men of old
trod. They sinned against God. They were totally destroyed in the great
flood; they were consumed by fire in the cities of
cut down out of time; that is they were destroyed in the prime of their
lives. Had they been faithful to God and
not stirred his wrath they could have lived good long lives and enjoyed their
blessings for many more years. Eliphaz
is not the only one to use the combination of the flood and destruction of
“AND AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOE, SO SHALL IT BE ALSO IN THE DAYS OF
THE SON OF MAN. THEY DID EAT, THEY
DRANK, THEY MARRIED WIVES, THEY WERE GIVEN IN
MARRIAGE, UNTIL THE DAY THAT NOE ENTERED INTO THE
II Peter 2:5-6 “AND SPARED NOT THE OLD WORLD, BUT SAVED NOAH THE EIGHTH person, A PREACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, BRINGING IN THE FLOOD UPON THE WORLD OF THE UNGODLY; AND TURNING THE CITIES OF SODOM AND GOMORRHA INTO ASHES CONDEMNED them WITH AN OVERTHROW, MAKING them AN ENSAMPLE UNTO THOSE THAT AFTER SHOULD LIVE UNGODLY;”
These people said to God, depart from me, I don’t need your laws and rules to live by; I have all that I can consume, I’m enjoying life as I want to live it. The righteous see the destruction of the wicked and they’re glad.
Read Psalms 52:2-7
Read Psalms 58:2-10
Eliphaz further emphasizes the common doctrine or teaching. Job’s substance is cut down so therefore he must be a wicked man; theirs was not so therefore they must be righteous. Sort of sounds like the Pharisee and the publican praying in the temple doesn’t it? (Luke 18:10-14)
Read Job 22:21-30
Now Eliphaz gives Job what would normally be some very good advice doesn’t he? The only problem is; it doesn’t apply to Job’s relationship with God. He is supposing that Job is a great sinner and telling him how to remove the pain and stain of all of that sin.
v21. “ACQUAINT NOW THYSELF WITH HIM, AND BE AT PEACE: THEREBY GOOD SHALL COME UNTO THEE.”
Acquaint yourself with God. Come to God. Don’t be such a stranger to him because of your fear of Him, go to Him in prayer seeking his blessing. Then good will come to you.
v22. “RECEIVE, I PRAY THEE, THE LAW FROM HIS MOUTH, AND LAY UP HIS WORDS IN THINE HEART.”
Hear and accept the law from God’s mouth. Lay up His words in your heart. Accept God’s rule over you, make peace with God by submitting to Him and resolving to be ruled by Him, thereby restore yourself to his love.
v23. “IF THOU RETURN TO THE ALMIGHTY, THOU SHALT BE BUILT UP, THOU SHALT PUT AWAY INIQUITY FAR FROM THY TABERNACLES.”
Return, or repent and turn to God completely without reservation. Don’t just turn from sin with some good inclinations and good beginnings but totally change your life, make it a complete reformation of your way of living, change your heart and way of living so that sin will not be found in your house.
v24-26. “THEN SHALT THOU LAY UP GOLD AS DUST, AND THE gold OF OPHIR AS THE STONES OF THE BROOKS. YEA, THE ALMIGHTY SHALL BE THY DEFENCE, AND THOU SHALT HAVE PLENTY OF SILVER. FOR THEN SHALT THOU HAVE THY DELIGHT IN THE ALMIGHTY, AND SHALT LIFT UP THY FACE UNTO GOD.”
Eliphaz makes some wild promises doesn’t he? If you will but turn your heart back to God your gold will be as plentiful as the dust of the earth. God will see your change and you will be allowed to gain a wealth of silver. Then you will find delight in God and will be able to lift up your face to God to commune with Him as a righteous child should. Wonderful advice, perhaps, a little worldly don’t your think? The promises of Eliphaz are all wrapped around worldly wealth, not spiritual wealth. He and the others in their doctrine think that the two go together. It’s no sin to be successful, it’s not even a sin to be wealthy and I heard an excellent sermon on that subject while on vacation one time. But Eliphaz, as was popular in that day, equates physical wealth with righteousness.
v27-30. “THOU SHALT MAKE THY PRAYER UNTO HIM, AND HE
SHALL HEAR THEE, AND THOU SHALT PAY THY VOWS.
THOU SHALT ALSO DECREE A THING, AND IT SHALL BE ESTABLISHED UNTO THEE:
AND THE LIGHT SHALL SHINE UPON THY WAYS.
WHEN men ARE CAST DOWN, THEN THOU SHALT SAY, there is LIFTING UP; AND
HE SHALL SAVE THE HUMBLE PERSON. HE
SHALL DELIVER THE
Job should multiply his prayers to God, again good advice but misapplied. The more often we come to the throne of God, the more welcome we will be. With all your troubles, regardless of what they are, bring your fears, woes, cares and fears to God and He will reward you guidance, strength, wisdom, comfort and good success.
If you will do this all your plans and dreams will be fulfilled, you will be able to decree something, call for something to happen and you will be rewarded. Thus the grace of God will work in you, the providence of God will provide all that you desire and pray for, and it will be given to you the way, time and manner that you want it.
You will prosper even when other men are cast down. You will be able to bear up under your troubles, you will be able to continue without fainting and falling by the wayside, you will be exalted because you have humbled yourself before God.
He will deliver to you these blessings as to the island of the innocent. You will be given the blessings of a good man who is a public good, bringing good and righteous to all of those around him.