Moving on from chapter 4 to chapter 5, Eliphaz seems to really ramp up the rhetoric against Job. It seems as though he suddenly takes a more accusatory tone with him starting in verse 1.
5:1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee;
and to which of the [saints/holy ones] wilt thou turn?
So, Eliphaz seems to be taunting Job. And the assumption he makes is that neither God nor any of his angelic messengers – his holy ones – will be interested at all in helping Job in his difficulties.
Job 5 Commentary | Why No One Will Listen
Wow. Why would Eliphaz think that?
2 For wrath killeth the foolish man,
and [envy/anger] slayeth the silly one.
So, God doesn’t respond to sinners – at least in a helpful way – according to Eliphaz. In fact, God’s wrath and envy or anger lead to him always immediately killing the foolish.
And so, Eliphaz is speaking quite confidently on God’s behalf and telling Job that since he is a fool, God will not hear him – but will rather destroy him.
Job 5 Commentary | More Personal Experience
And Eliphaz has more personal experience that he thinks will reinforce his claims.
3 I have seen the foolish taking root:
but suddenly I cursed his habitation.
And he probably means that he announces the habitation of the fool accursed by God. God – according to Eliphaz – curses the dwelling of the fool – and when Eliphaz has seen that happen he “curses” that fool’s former place in the sense that he identifies that God has cursed it.
And that’s apparently what Eliphaz thinks God is doing to Job – cursing his habitation. Which means that Job is a … fool.
Job 5 Commentary | Verse 4
And Eliphaz continues…
4 His children are far from safety,
and they are crushed in the [gate/place where judgement is rendered],
neither is there any to deliver them.
And you have to admit that this is a very bold and provocative statement from Eliphaz – in light of the fact that Job’s children have literally been crushed by the roof of the house in which they had been gathering.
Job 5 Commentary | Verse 5
Yet, Eliphaz continues…
5 Whose harvest the hungry eateth up,
and taketh it even out of the thorns, [they’ll take it even if it’s behind some protective barrier…]
and the [robber/thirsty] swalloweth up their substance.
Again, this kind of thing has just happened to Job. Sabeans and Chaldeans have taken his stuff.
And this is no coincidence. Eliphaz is saying these things because he’s accusing Job of being a fool. And that’s why God has sent these things into his life.
Job 5 Commentary | Verses 6-7
6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust,
neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;
7 Yet man is born unto trouble,
as the sparks fly upward.
In other words, trouble and affliction like Job is experiencing don’t just come from nowhere. God is the one who sends them.
And yet, Eliphaz seems to broaden out a little bit in verse 7 to consider man in general – not just the fool, which he thinks Job is. Mankind is born to experience trouble just as certain as sparks fly.
Job 5 Commentary | Kinder and Gentler
And it seems as if verses 6 and 7 were a turning point for Eliphaz in his tone with Job. Because from verse 8 to the end of the chapter, Eliphaz seems to take a kinder, gentler approach to his friend Job.
8 I would seek unto God,
and unto God would I [commit/set forth] my cause:
Now, why would Eliphaz do this – seek God ad commit his cause to him – if he were in Job’s position?
Job 5 Commentary | Why Turn to God?
First of all, because God is all-powerful – verse 9.
9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable;
marvellous things without number:
And God is good – verse 10.
10 Who giveth rain upon the earth,
and sendeth waters upon the fields:
And God sets things right – especially for the humble – verse 11.
11 To set up on high those that be low;
that those which mourn may be [exalted/raised] to safety.
And God sets things straight – even for the wicked – which is of course what Eliphaz suspects Job of being – verses 12-14.
12 He disappointeth the [devices/plans] of the crafty,
so that their hands cannot perform their [enterprise/what they had planned].
13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness:
and the counsel of the [forward/cunning] is [carried headlong/brought to a quick end].
And by the way, this is the only verse from the book of Job quoted in the New Testament. Paul affirms that what Eliphaz says here is generally true of the Lord in 1 Corinthians 1:19.
14 They meet with darkness in the daytime,
and grope in the noonday as in the night.
And Eliphaz would furthermore appeal to God for help because God is very merciful to the poor at the expense of those who would oppress him – verses 15 and 16.
15 But he saveth the poor from the sword,
from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.
16 So the poor hath hope,
and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.
And – according to Eliphaz’s thinking – when Job does appeal to God, then Job will need to be ready for this – verse 17.
17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth:
therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
And it’s very likely that in Eliphaz’s mind, Job is already experiencing chastening from God. So, Eliphaz encourages Job to not despise or think little of what God is doing in his life.
But what’s the problem with Eliphaz’s thinking? …
Job’s suffering is not due to his sin! It’s not correction from God.
Yes, God may act this way – he uses suffering to chasten. But that’s not what God is doing in Job’s case. So, Eliphaz is generally right – but he’s just as wrong as can be as he applies what he thinks he knows of God to what he thinks he knows about Job.
Job 5 Commentary | Best Days Yet to Come!
And here’s more of what Eliphaz thinks God is doing in Job’s life.
18 For he [maketh sore/wounds], and bindeth up:
he [woundeth/strikes], and his hands [make whole/heal].
Yes, God has that power. And this – of course – is exactly what Job wants God to do for him. And yet – God’s not doing for him as Eliphaz says he will.
That’s because God has other plans – and he’s not going to change his plans just because Eliphaz is speaking for him and vouching that he’s going to do something.
Job 5 Commentary | Millennial Blessings!
And yet – Eliphaz continues to speak of what he is quite confident that God will do in Job’s situation. And in the next several verses, Eliphaz is very upbeat about what he is assured that God will do as soon as Job confesses his sin to him.
19 He shall deliver thee in six [troubles/calamities]:
yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.
20 In famine he shall redeem thee from death:
and in war from the power of the sword.
21 Thou shalt be hid from [the scourge of the tongue/malicious gossip]:
neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.
22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh:
neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.
23 For thou shalt [be in league/have a pact] with the stones of the field:
and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.
And so, at this point, Eliphaz is speaking of Job’s potential situation – as soon as he turns to God from his sin – as if he’ll be entering the Millennial Kingdom! Heaven and nature will sing – as it were – when Job finally turns from his sin – or, so Eliphaz thinks.
Job 5 Commentary | The Perfect Life
And Eliphaz is convinced that Job’s life will be virtually perfect as soon as he repents…
24 And thou shalt know that thy [tabernacle/tent/home] shall be [in peace/secure];
and thou shalt [visit/inspect] thy habitation, and shalt not [sin/be missing anything].
25 Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be [great/numerous],
and thine offspring as the grass of the earth.
26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age,
like [as a shock of corn/like stacks of grain] [cometh in/are harvested] in [his/their] season.
And I think it’s really interesting that this is exactly what ends up happening to Job at the end of this book. He does have more children. He does die at an old age.
But that’s not because he repented of any supposed sin. It’s because he learned to trust God’s wisdom – even when he couldn’t understand God’s ways.
Job 5 Commentary | Conclusion
And Eliphaz concludes in verse 27 with another note of confidence in his personal experience.
27 [Lo this/Look], we have [searched it/investigated this], so it is [i.e., true…];
hear it, and [know/apply] thou it for thy [i.e., own…] good.
So, there you have it! Eliphaz has fixed the problem with Job. Job is a sinner and God is punishing him for it. Yet, if Job turns to God – God will bless Job tremendously.
Job 5 Commentary | Eliphaz is Wrong
However – what Eliphaz is ignorant of is that if God worked this way, a big question posed in this book would go unanswered. Remember the question from the first 2 chapters of Job? Is it possible for a man to worship God for nothing? To worship God just because of who he is rather than what he gives?
If God were to act in line with how Eliphaz envisions him acting, we – and Satan – would never know whether Job worshipped God for nothing.
In addition to that, Job would basically have to lie and say that he had sinned and that that had caused God to turn on him. This, too, would prove that Job is worshipping God for the stuff he gives. He would have to be willing to sin – to lie – in order to have his stuff restored by God. He would sacrifice his integrity in order to get his stuff back.
So, we’ll see next time how Job responds to Eliphaz’ solicitations.