Job 4:1-7:21 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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No Easy Answers Please
Comments for Study 3

Job 4:1-7:21
Key verse: 6:14


It is important to point out that Job probably considered Eliphaz a fellow believer and Eliphaz beliefs can be questioned because of statements like 5:1. This is how I am approaching the study. Therefore, the following points would not necessarily apply if Job was not a believer.

I. Eliphaz's Misconceptions (4:1-5:27)

>1. Why would Eliphaz be the first to speak? (Think of the society in 2,000 B.C.) Describe the spirit behind his response to Job's outburst in the previous chapter. (4:2-5) Does he believe in Job's piety and blameless ways? (4:6)

Job 4:1 "Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:"

* What follows in chapters 4-37 is a discourse between Job and his "friends". Job's friends have the following theology; sin equals suffering, righteousness equals prosperity. Their logic:
    1) God punishes sin with suffering
    2) Job is suffering
    3) Therefore, Job is a sinner.

Job has the same theology as his friends. However his logic is as follows:
    1) God punishes sin with suffering
    2) God is punishing me when I'm innocent
    3) Therefore, God is unfair.

Both theological logics may have some truth in them; but they are incorrect in regards to Job's circumstances. Both thought they were right, but they were not.

However this is looking at their circumstances with hind-sight. Neither Job nor his friends knew of the conversations in heaven between God and Satan, as we do. Nor did they have a "more complete" knowledge of God and his ways as we do since they lived before the Mosaic laws, the books of the prophets of Israel, and Jesus and his apostles. In fact there logic and understanding was very primitive compared to the spiritual realities, revealed in the Bible, which I have and have studied some. However I do note that in all my studies my understanding and logic is incomplete by far too. When I first started to study the Bible and walk with Jesus, I had logics similar to Job and his friends. But because the Holy Spirit inspiration during study, commentaries, elders teachings, and of course the book of Job and Jesus' teachings my understandings have increases and been corrected. I know they will continue to do so.

* Eliphaz is always the first to speak in these conversations. He is the eldest. He responds to Job's outburst of rage calmly, gently. Some see his as a courteous, experienced diplomat, putting the issue into perspective. Actually, he is a cold-hearted master manipulator, lecturing one who has overstepped the bounds of religious correctness. Eliphaz hasn't empathized or sympathized.

Eliphaz finds Job's anger threatening to his neat theological system, so he responds with platitudes in order to change Job's thinking. In this way he saves his theology and "peace of mind".

Job 4:2-6 ""If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking? Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?"

* In Eliphaz's opening dialogue he expresses shock that Job reacted as he did in chapter 3. This comes from the fact that Job has counselled many who were in Job's place. Most likely Job gave the same advice that Eliphaz is now going to give Job. "Why then should Job be dismayed and despair in confusion as he has done? Where is the faith with which you ministered to others? You should be able to comfort yourself," is paraphrasing what Eliphaz is questioning behind his words.

* "If someone ventures a word with you..."-Eliphaz is venting anger, not love. His fist sentence is a veiled put-down.

* "But now trouble comes to you..."-Another form of put-down is to suggest that Job's attitude is "hurting his testimony." The inference is that a believer should never show weakness of lack of faith and never give the impression his relationship with God is not solving every problem or that being a believer is less then "joy, joy, joy".

* "should not your blameless ways"-Eliphaz does not believe Job is these; his next sentence (as well as the gist of his theology) proves this. Again this is a "slam in the face".

>2. What is Eliphaz's religious belief? (4:7-11) Who does Eliphaz believe came to him in the night? (4:12-15) What deceiving words did the spirit give him to pass onto Job? (4:16-21) Summarize how Eliphaz's answer to his own question (5:1) reinforce the message he was given. (5:17, 27) Compare his religious belief to the reality of the lives of the prophets, Jesus and the apostles. (Heb. 4:15, 9:27-28)

Job 4:7-11 ""Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. At the breath of God they are destroyed; at the blast of his anger they perish. The lions may roar and growl, yet the teeth of the great lions are broken. The lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered."

* Next Eliphaz states a theological truth that he has applied to Job's situation. (See above for an outline of it.) It appears with this point along with the point made in verses 2-6, that Job has given the same counsel to others that Eliphaz is now giving to Job. The gist of this is that, "You Job are being punished because of a sin you have committed," no exception.

Job 4:12-15 ""A word was secretly brought to me, my ears caught a whisper of it. Amid disquieting dreams in the night, when deep sleep falls on men, fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake. A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end."

* Eliphaz has had what he thinks is an angel come to him. In fact this angel is either Satan, or one of Satan's fallen angels. This agent of evil gave Eliphaz advice that was misleading and deceitful. Eliphaz has taken it for the truth of God.

This is then Satan's final dart throne at Job. The first being the lost of material goods and children. The second being personal physical suffering. The third being rejection from wife and friends. Then now, the bad advice of one who says that he has been inspired by God to give him a message.

Job 4:16-21 "It stopped, but I could not tell what it was. A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice: 'Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundations are in the dust, who are crushed more readily than a moth! Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces; unnoticed, they perish forever. Are not the cords of their tent pulled up, so that they die without wisdom?'"

* The voice spoke of the superior justice and purity of God, of the impossibility of human beings being trusted, and of human mortality. It spoke of how earthbound homes can be destroyed in a day, and God scarcely even notices (19-21). Thus the voice was saying that God is unconcerned about humanity. That God has not compassion. That he only executes justice as an unconcerned, non-loving judge. This was the lie.

Job 5:1-27

* In short, Eliphaz is saying, "Nobody is listening to you Job because you are a sinner who has been judged correctly by God. Therefore repent Job; don't be bitter towards the righteous God who has judged you correctly."

Eliphaz tells the truth in part, but the spirit is which he tells it turns correct theology into a weapon of destruction. Eliphaz's theology is correct, but applied in the wrong situation to the wrong person.

Christians must beware of fashioning orthodoxy into a club which condemns instead of saves.

* Eliphaz's strict religious belief (see above) is not always true. The prophets of the LORD was mistreated and killed. Jesus was crucified and his apostles and disciples were constantly harassed, jailed, punished, persecuted, and killed. These harsh lives were not because of sin, but because of the spiritual warfare, just as in the case of Job's life.

II. Job's Objection (6:1-7:21)

>3. What does Job put on opposite ends of a scale? (2-7) What does he say the outcome is? What is he saying? Who does Job say is attacking him?

Job 6:1 "Then Job replied:"

* Job responds to Eliphaz's accusations.

Job 6:2-7 "If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas--no wonder my words have been impetuous. The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God's terrors are marshalled against me. Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass, or an ox bellow when it has fodder? Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there favor in the white of an egg? I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill.

* Job is saying:
    1) "If my anger/grief could be placed on a balance opposite my affliction there would be no contest-the pain I am suffering would far outweigh my anger/grief."
    2)"My reaction to my pain is normal, not as you say, 'Wrong.'"

* "The arrows of the Almighty are in me..."-Job's belief that God is attacking him is expressed.

>4. What does Job again say he wants? (8-10) What does he say will be his joy? What does this say about him?

Job 6:8-10 ""Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off! Then I would still have this consolation--my joy in unrelenting pain--that I had not denied the words of the Holy One."

* Job repeats his death wish; his request to God to let him die.

* "that I had not denied the words of the Holy One" -Job is not afraid to die because he knows that he is right with God.

>5. Does Job believe he has any hope and prospects in this life? (11-13) HOw does he say this justifies his request to die?

Job 6:11-13 ""What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?"

* Job says that he has no hope in this life; therefore his wanting to die is a reasonable request to God.

>6. How did all of Job's friends and neighbors respond to his condition? (14-21) How had he acted towards others? (22-23)

Job 6:14-23 ""A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty. But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow, but that cease to flow in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from their channels. Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go up into the wasteland and perish. The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope. They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed. Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid. Have I ever said, 'Give something on my behalf, pay a ransom for me from your wealth, deliver me from the hand of the enemy, ransom me from the clutches of the ruthless'?"

* Job is saying, "You are of no help, you are not dependable, for you have not stood by me and comforted me."

>7. What does he seek from his friends now? (24-30) What does he say about his previous claim of innocence?

Job 6:24-30 ""Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. How painful are honest words! But what do your arguments prove? Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat the words of a despairing man as wind? You would even cast lots for the fatherless and barter away your friend. "But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face? Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake. Is there any wickedness on my lips? Can my mouth not discern malice?"

* Job is saying, "Be a help to me. Be specific in your accusations of me. You can't because I am innocent. I am not lying. Therefore defend me."

>8. Compared to his life in the past, how does Job now see a man's life? (7:1-5)

Job 7:1-5 ""Does not man have hard service on earth? Are not his days like those of a hired man? Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired man waiting eagerly for his wages, so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me. When I lie down I think, 'How long before I get up?' The night drags on, and I toss till dawn. My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering."

* Thru his suffering, Job, who was a well-to-do "king", has learned of the life of ordinary people, which is expressed here. He has been changed from a learned theologian to an experienced theologian.

>9. Who does Job turn his conversation to? (7:7) What is the point he states to God? (7:6-10, 16) Since he believes this is true what does he say he must do? (7:11) What error about life does Job make? (John 3:15-16)

Job 7:6-10 ""My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again. The eye that now sees me will see me no longer; you will look for me, but I will be no more. As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so he who goes down to the grave does not return. He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more."

* At this point Job turns his conversation to God by addressing him, thus showing his faith in the one and only true God. Job has a lot of questions for God which revolves around one subject which he states in verse 10 and 21, the beginning and ending of his words to God. In them Job is saying to God, "You will miss me when you look for a friend when I am diseased and then dead and I will not be there."

>10. What happens when Job falls asleep? (7:12-15) Who does he believe gives him these dreams? Is he correct? What then does he ask of God again? (17-21) How does the knowledge of eternal life answer these questions?

Job 7:11-16 ""Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard? When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning."

* Job is saying to God, "Since I will not be there for you in this state and when I am dead I will speak up now."

Then he asks God several questions. The first is to release him from his anguish thru death.

Job 7:17-18 ""What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention, that you examine him every morning and test him every moment?"

* Job asks God, "Why do you spend so much time testing an insignificant creature like me, a mere man?"

Job 7:19 "Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant?"

* Job asks God, "Are you ever going to leave me alone?"

Job 7:20 "If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?"

* Here Job asks God two questions, "What have I done to turn you against me?" and "Why am I the target for you poison arrows?"

Job 7:21 "Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more."

* Finally Job asks God, "If you are a God of grace why don't you simply forgive me if I have offended you?"

Job finishes his questions as he began them in verse 10 by saying, "You will miss me when you look for a friend when I am deceased and then dead and I will not be there."

* Job does not understand and/or believe in eternal life. If he did he would be able to answer these questions. John 3:14-18 records Jesus saying, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."