Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Eliphaz shows that man's goodness does not add to, or man's badness
take from, the happiness of God; therefore it cannot be that God sends
prosperity to some and calamities on others for His own advantage; the
cause of the goods and ills sent must lie in the men themselves
So Job's calamities must arise from guilt. Eliphaz, instead of meeting
the facts, tries to show that it could not be so.
2. as he that is wise--rather, yea the pious man profiteth
himself. So "understanding" or "wise"--pious
(Da 12:3, 10;
3. pleasure--accession of happiness; God has pleasure in man's
but He is not dependent on man's character for His happiness.
4. Is the punishment inflicted on thee from fear of thee, in order
to disarm thee? as Job had implied
will he enter . . . into judgment?--Job had desired this
(Job 13:3, 21).
He ought rather to have spoken as in
5. Heretofore Eliphaz had only insinuated, now he plainly asserts
Job's guilt, merely on the ground of his sufferings.
6. The crimes alleged, on a harsh inference, by Eliphaz against Job
are such as he would think likely to be committed by a rich man. The
subsequently embodied the feeling that existed among the godly in Job's
time against oppression of debtors as to their pledges. Here the case
is not quite the same; Job is charged with taking a pledge where he had
no just claim to it; and in the second clause, that pledge (the
outer garment which served the poor as a covering by day and a bed by
night) is represented as taken from one who had not "changes of
raiment" (a common constituent of wealth in the East), but was poorly
a sin the more heinous in a rich man like Job.
7. Hospitality to the weary traveller is regarded in the East as a
8. mighty--Hebrew, "man of arm"
honourable--Hebrew, "eminent, or, accepted for countenance"
that is, possessing authority. Eliphaz repeats his charge
that it was by violence Job wrung houses and lands from the poor, to
whom now he refused relief
(Job 22:7, 9)
9. empty--without their wants being relieved
The Mosaic law especially protected the widow and fatherless
the violation of it in their case by the great is a complaint of the
arms--supports, helps, on which one leans
Thou hast robbed them of their only stay. Job replies in
10. snares--alluding to Job's admission
11. that--so that thou.
abundance--floods. Danger by floods is a less frequent image in
this book than in the rest of the Old Testament
(Job 11:16; 27:20).
12. Eliphaz says this to prove that God can from His height behold
all things; gratuitously inferring that Job denied it, because he
denied that the wicked are punished here.
height--Hebrew, "head of the stars"; that is, "elevation"
13. Rather, And yet thou sayest, God does not
concern Himself with ("know") human affairs
14. in the circuit of heaven--only, not taking any part in earthly
affairs. Job is alleged as holding this Epicurean sentiment
Isa 29:15; 40:27;
15. marked--Rather, Dost thou keep to? that is, wish to follow
If so, beware of sharing their end.
the old way--the degenerate ways of the world before the flood
16. cut down--rather, "fettered," as in
that is, arrested by death.
out of time--prematurely, suddenly
literally, "whose foundation was poured out (so as to become) a stream
or flood." The solid earth passed from beneath their feet into a flood
17. Eliphaz designedly uses Job's own words
(Job 21:14, 15).
do for them--They think they can do everything for themselves.
18. "Yet" you say
that it is "He who filled their houses with good"--"their good
is not in their hand," but comes from God.
but the counsel . . . is--rather, "may the counsel
be," &c. Eliphaz sarcastically quotes in continuation Job's words
Yet, after uttering this godless sentiment, thou dost hypocritically
add, "May the counsel," &c.
19. Triumph of the pious at the fall of the recent followers of the
antediluvian sinners. While in the act of denying that God can do them
any good or harm, they are cut off by Him. Eliphaz hereby justifies
himself and the friends for their conduct to Job: not derision of the
wretched, but joy at the vindication of God's ways
Re 15:3; 16:7; 19:1, 2).
20. The triumphant speech of the pious. If "substance" be
retained, translate, rather as the Septuagint, "Has not their
substance been taken away, and . . . ?" But the
Hebrew is rather, "Truly our adversary is cut down"
[GESENIUS]. The same opposition exists between the
godly and ungodly seed as between the unfallen and restored Adam and
Satan (adversary); this forms the groundwork of the book
remnant--all that "is left" of the sinner; repeated from
which makes UMBREIT'S rendering "glory"
(Margin), "excellency," less probable.
fire--alluding to Job
(Job 1:16; 15:34; 18:15).
First is mentioned destruction by water
here, by fire
21. Eliphaz takes it for granted, Job is not yet "acquainted" with
God; literally, "become a companion of God." Turn with familiar
confidence to God.
and be--So thou shalt be: the second imperatively expresses the consequence of obeying the first
peace--prosperity and restoration to Job; true spiritually also
22. lay up--
23. Built up--anew, as a restored house.
thou shalt put away--rather, "If thou put away"
24. Rather, containing the protasis from the last clause of
"If thou regard the glittering metal as dust"; literally, "lay
it on on the dust"; to regard it of as little value as the dust on
which it lies. The apodosis is at
Then shall the Almighty be, &c. God will take the place of the
wealth, in which thou didst formerly trust.
gold--rather, "precious" or "glittering metal," parallel to "(gold)
of Ophir," in the second clause [UMBREIT and
Ophir--derived from a Hebrew word "dust," namely, gold dust.
thinks it a general name for the rich countries of the South, on
the African, Indian, and especially the Arabian coast (where was the
port Aphar. El Ophir, too, a city of Oman, was formerly the center of
Arabian commerce). It is curious that the natives of Malacca still
call their mines Ophirs.
stones of the brooks--If thou dost let the gold of Ophir remain in
its native valley among the stones of the brooks; that is, regard it as
of little worth as the stones, &c. The gold was washed down by
mountain torrents and lodged among the stones and sand of the valley.
Yea--rather, Then shall the Almighty be, &c.
defence--rather, as the same Hebrew means in
--Thy precious metals; God will be to thee in the place of
plenty of silver--rather, "And shall be to thee in the place of
laboriously-obtained treasures of silver"
implying, it is less labor to find God than the hidden metals; at least
to the humble seeker
But [MAURER] "the shining silver."
26. lift up . . . face, &c.--repeated from Zophar
(Isa 58:9, 14).
pay thy vows--which thou hast promised to God in the event of thy
prayers being heard: God will give thee occasion to pay the former, by
hearing the latter.
29. Rather, When (thy ways; from
are cast down (for a time), thou shalt (soon again have joyful cause
to) say, There is lifting up (prosperity returns back to me) [MAURER].
humble--Hebrew, "him that is of low eyes." Eliphaz implies that
Job is not so now in his affliction; therefore it continues: with this
he contrasts the blessed effect of being humble under it
probably quote this passage). Therefore it is better, I think, to take
the first clause as referred to by "God resisteth the proud."
When (men) are cast down, thou shalt say (behold the effects of)
pride. Eliphaz hereby justifies himself for attributing Job's
calamities to his pride. "Giveth grace to the humble," answers
to the second clause.
30. island--that is, "dwelling." But the Hebrew expresses the
translate "Thus He (God) shall deliver him who was not
guiltless," namely, one, who like Job himself on conversion shall be
saved, but not because he was, as Job so constantly affirms of himself,
guiltless, but because he humbles himself
an oblique attack on Job, even to the last.
and it--Rather, "he (the one not heretofore guiltless) shall
be delivered through the purity (acquired since conversion) of thy
hands"; by thy intercession (as
&c.). [MAURER]. The irony is strikingly exhibited
in Eliphaz unconsciously uttering words which exactly answer to what
happened at last: he and the other two were "delivered" by God
accepting the intercession of Job for them
(Job 42:7, 8).