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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Job 5

 

 

Verses 1-27

FURTHER OBSERVATIONS BY ELIPHAZ

(vv.1-27)

Eliphaz suggests to Job that he call out to creatures for help, even to holy ones - holy men or angels, - and see if anyone will answer him (v.1). He is implying that Job is not seeking God in his affliction, while in contrast to Job, Eliphaz claims, "As for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause" (v.8). He fears that Job has been guilty of too closely resembling a foolish man (v.2), and warns him as to what he had observed in the foolish taking root (v.3) but was suddenly exposed to a curse, his sons being far from safety, being crushed in the gate (v.3), Job's sons had died suddenly. Was Job therefore a foolish man? Eliphaz did not say so, but he implied that Job might be perilously close to such a charge, for Eliphaz had observed foolish people suffering, and reasoned that since Job was suffering as he did there must be in Job something seriously wrong. Job's harvest (all the substance he had gained) was eaten up (v.5). Why? For he says affliction does not come from the dust or trouble from the ground (v.6). In other words, trouble does not happen by chance. This is true, for there is no doubt that God is behind it; and the observation of Eliphaz in verse 7 is very true also, "man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. "Eliphaz was thinking of Job when he said this. But trouble is the portion of all mankind.

"But as for me," Eliphaz says, "I will seek God, and to God I would commit my cause" (v.8). Of course it is good to do this, but Eliphaz says it as though he was above Job's level. He continues to speak rightly of how great God is, doing great things, unsearchable and marvellous, sending rain for man's blessing, lifting up the lowly to places of dignity (vv.9-11). But Job at the time was not lifted up, so Eliphaz thought Job was not right with God!

On the other hand, he said God "frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that they cannot carry out their plans. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them" (vv.12-13). He does not at first accuse Job of deceit, but implies this might be the case since Job's plans had been frustrated. Eliphaz had observed that such things happened to crafty men, but why did he not also observe that the righteous oftentimes suffered similar frustration?

He had observed too that the Lord saves the needy from the sword and from the mouth (the cruel accusations) of powerful men and from their persecution, so that the poor have hope and injustice is silenced (vv.15-16). This is true in the long run: God will certainly silence injustice. But in the meantime injustice often seems to prevail, and for this Eliphaz had no answer.

Again, he voices an excellent principle, "Happy is the man whom God corrects" (v.17). But Job did not feel happy. Of course, God was only beginning His correcting work with Job, and Job did not discern it. Eliphaz could tell him, "Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty, for He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole. He shall deliver you in six troubles, yes, in seven no evil shall touch you" (vv.17-19). If Eliphaz had spoken this to Job in a kind and encouraging way, it may have helped Job, but he was blaming Job for not having gained such blessing by confessing he was guilty of secret sin.

In verses 20 to 27 Eliphaz describes the many blessings that would be Job's if he took the advice of Eliphaz. Actually, these blessings were eventually given to Job after God spoke to him in Chapters 38-41, and Job was broken down to judge the pride of his own sinful nature, but Eliphaz had not discerned what Job really needed, the same need that Eliphaz himself had. Perhaps Eliphaz learned this in some measure also after God spoke to him (Ch.42:7-9). But in verse 27 of chapter 5, he confidently told Job, "Behold, this we have searched out; it is true. Hear it, and know for yourself." Again, it is his own observation that he depends on, but he urges Job to hear it and know for himself. Can we so depend on another person's word as to know it is fact? No: we need more than another person's observation, we need the Word of God to be certain as to any serious matter.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 5:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/job-5.html. 1897-1910.

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