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2015 January 5
Mocking of Job (1645-1649)
Gioacchino Assereto (1600-1649)
Szepmuveszeti Muzeum, Budapest, Hungary
Image Source: Web Gallery of Art
Explanation: In Job 15 Eliphaz begins his second answer to Job, thus beginning the second round of dialogue. In this second reply Eliphaz becomes more strident against Job than before, as depicted in the painting above.
[ THEMATICALLY AND CHRONOLOGICALLY RELATED SCRIPTURES: Job 16. Job 17. ]
[ CHRONOLOGY: General. Patriarchs (Traditional). Judges # 1. Judges # 2. Kings # 1. Kings # 2. Prophets # 1. Prophets # 2. NT # 1. NT # 2. NT # 3. ]
[ MAPS: Maps # 1. Maps # 2. Maps # 3. Maps # 4. Maps # 5. ]
Eliphaz answered Job in anger (1). He said that Job's knowledge was empty, and his belly was filled with the east wind. He said that Job's words were unprofitable and worthless. He said that Job was both fearless and prayerless before God and that his mouth uttered iniquity and craftiness. He said that Job's own mouth condemned him (2-6). He said that Job had no special knowledge either from nature or from God. And Eliphaz said that he and his friends a knew as much as Job did. Moreover, said Eliphaz, men who were older than Job's father (and therefore wiser) were with them, implying that their wisdom was not only equal to Job's, it was superior (7-10).
Then, incredibly, Eliphaz uttered a statement laced with hubris and insensitivity. The ESV best captures the sense of the statement: "Are the comforts of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you?" (verse 11). Thus Eliphaz was claiming that he and his friends were bringing the comforts of God to Job with gentle words! But the tone of the men was anything but gentle in the previous chapters; and their accusations were based only on speculation, not on evidence; so they could hardly be called "the comforts of God." Furthermore, Eliphaz accused Job of turning his spirit against God (12). Then Eliphaz, correctly, said that man could be neither clean nor righteous. He said that God did not put his trust in his saints; and even the heavens were not clean in his sight; so "How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinks iniquity like water?" Job had made similar observations (Job 9:2, Job 14:4). The question was not whether man was inherently righteous. He is not. Job and all the others knew this and acknowledged it. Rather, the question was whether Job had done something which merited the destruction that came upon him. He had not. God acknowledged Job's innocence twice in the first two chapters of the book. And Job tried repeatedly to make this point. But Job's accusers ignored it repeatedly. They held constantly to the false premise that affliction is a sure sign of punishment for sin. Rather, from a Biblical perspective, affliction comes for two reasons -- as a punishment for sin (in some cases) or as a challenge to obedience (in all cases). The supreme example of the latter is to be found in the life of Jesus Christ. He is described in Scripture as "holy, harmless, and undefiled" (Hebrews 7:26). Yet, says Hebrews 5:8, "he learned obedience by the things he suffered" (13-16).
Eliphaz then asserted that old and wise men had told him that "the wicked man travails with pain all his days"; and the destroyer comes upon him. (This is decidedly untrue in many cases, as shown in various Scriptures such as Psalm 73 and Psalm 37). Eliphaz continues such assertions throughout the rest of his speech, stating that the wicked experience darkness, sword, famine, anguish, and the like. And in the midst of his security, though he is well fed, the wicked one becomes desolate; and his trust is vain. Their habitations are consumed by fire because they conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and prepare deceit. Implicitly, Eliphaz applied all of this to Job (17-35).
1 Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?
4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.
5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.
6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.
7 Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?
8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?
9 What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?
10 With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.
11 Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?
12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,
13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?
14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.
16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
17 I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare;
18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it:
19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.
20 The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.
21 A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him.
22 He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.
23 He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.
24 Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.
25 For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.
26 He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:
27 Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.
28 And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.
29 He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.
30 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.
31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.
32 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
33 He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.
34 For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.
35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.
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