Job 15 Commentary


Eliphaz speaks (15:1-35)

The three friends are offended that their collective wisdom has not humbled Job as they had hoped. They are angered that Job continues to argue with God. Therefore, in this the second round of argument they emphasize the terrors of God’s judgment, hoping that this might bring Job to repentance.

Eliphaz, the least aggressive of the three, leads off again, though clearly even he is angered and offended at Job’s speech. Job claims to be a wise and godly person, but his rash answers have been unprofitable and irreverent. Such speech is itself proof of his guilt (15:1-6). Does Job think that he alone has knowledge of the ways of God (7-9)? Does he think that he can ignore teaching that is the fruit of generations of experience (10)? Why does he despise the comfort of his friends and turn against them with such hostility (11-13)? If even angels are not perfect, how sinful must the rebellious, self-righteous, argumentative Job appear in God’s sight (14-16. Note how Eliphaz again refers to his dream; cf. 4:18).

Job cannot ignore the lessons of experience, nor can he ignore the teaching of traditional wisdom (which, Eliphaz notes approvingly, has not been affected by foreign ideas) (17-19). Experience and traditional wisdom show clearly that pain, loss of prosperity and the feeling of hopelessness are all the results of wickedness (20-24). And the supreme wickedness, says Eliphaz, is to fight against God. When God destroys, a person should not try to rebuild (25-28).

The rebel, in punishment for his sin, suffers personal loss and an early death. He is like a healthy vine or tree that is suddenly destroyed (29-33). Such disaster is the unavoidable result of a deceitful heart (34- 35).

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