Eliphaz shows that a man's goodness profits not God. (1-4) Job accused of oppression. (5-14) The world before the flood. (15-20) Eliphaz exhorts Job to repentance. (21-30)
Verses 1-4 Eliphaz considers that, because Job complained so much of his afflictions, he thought God was unjust in afflicting him; but Job was far from thinking so. What Eliphaz says, is unjustly applied to Job, but it is very true, that when God does us good it is not because he is indebted to us. Man's piety is no profit to God, no gain. The gains of religion to men are infinitely greater than the losses of it. God is a Sovereign, who gives no account of his conduct; but he is perfectly wise, just, faithful, good, and merciful. He approves the likeness of his own holiness, and delights in the fruits of his Spirit; he accepts the thankful services of the humble believer, while he rejects the proud claim of the self-confident.
Verses 5-14 Eliphaz brought heavy charges against Job, without reason for his accusations, except that Job was visited as he supposed God always visited every wicked man. He charges him with oppression, and that he did harm with his wealth and power in the time of his prosperity.
Verses 15-20 Eliphaz would have Job mark the old way that wicked men have trodden, and see what the end of their way was. It is good for us to mark it, that we may not walk therein. But if others are consumed, and we are not, instead of blaming them, and lifting up ourselves, as Eliphaz does here, we ought to be thankful to God, and take it for a warning.
Verses 21-30 The answer of Eliphaz wrongly implied that Job had hitherto not known God, and that prosperity in this life would follow his sincere conversion. The counsel Eliphaz here gives is good, though, as to Job, it was built upon a false supposition that he was a stranger and enemy to God. Let us beware of slandering our brethren; and if it be our lot to suffer in this manner, let us remember how Job was treated; yea, how Jesus was reviled, that we may be patient. Let us examine whether there may not be some colour for the slander, and walk watchfully, so as to be clear of all appearances of evil.
Job 22:1-30 . AS BEFORE, ELIPHAZ BEGINS.
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 ( Psalms 16:2 , Luke 17:10 , Acts 17:25 , 1 Chronicles 29:14 ). 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 ( Daniel 12:3 Daniel 12:10 , Psalms 14:2 ) [MICHAELIS].
3. pleasure--accession of happiness; God has pleasure in man's righteousness ( Psalms 45:7 ), 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 Job 13:21 ). He ought rather to have spoken as in Psalms 143:2 .
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 Mosaic law ( Exodus 22:26 , Deuteronomy 24:10 ) 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 clad--"naked" ( Matthew 25:36 , 2:15 ); a sin the more heinous in a rich man like Job.
7. Hospitality to the weary traveller is regarded in the East as a primary duty ( Isaiah 21:14 ).
8. mighty--Hebrew, "man of arm" ( Psalms 10:15 ; namely, Job).
honourable--Hebrew, "eminent, or, accepted for countenance" ( Isaiah 3:3 , 2 Kings 5:1 ); that is, possessing authority. Eliphaz repeats his charge ( Job 15:28 ; so Zophar, Job 20:19 ), that it was by violence Job wrung houses and lands from the poor, to whom now he refused relief ( Job 22:7 Job 22:9 ) [MICHAELIS].
9. empty--without their wants being relieved ( Genesis 31:42 ). The Mosaic law especially protected the widow and fatherless ( Exodus 22:22 ); the violation of it in their case by the great is a complaint of the prophets ( Isaiah 1:17 ).
arms--supports, helps, on which one leans ( Hosea 7:15 ). Thou hast robbed them of their only stay. Job replies in Job 29:11-16 .
10. snares--alluding to Job's admission ( Job 19:6 ; compare Job 18:10 , Proverbs 22:5 ).
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" ( Job 11:8 ).
13. Rather, And yet thou sayest, God does not concern Himself with ("know") human affairs ( Psalms 73:11 ).
14. in the circuit of heaven--only, not taking any part in earthly affairs. Job is alleged as holding this Epicurean sentiment ( Lamentations 3:44 , Isaiah 29:15 , 40:27 , Jeremiah 23:24 , Ezekiel 8:12 , Psalms 139:12 ).
15. marked--Rather, Dost thou keep to? that is, wish to follow (so Hebrew, 2 Samuel 22:22 ). If so, beware of sharing their end.
the old way--the degenerate ways of the world before the flood ( Genesis 6:5 ).
16. cut down--rather, "fettered," as in Job 16:8 ; that is, arrested by death.
out of time--prematurely, suddenly ( Job 15:32 , Ecclesiastes 7:17 ); 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 ( Genesis 7:11 ).
17. Eliphaz designedly uses Job's own words ( Job 21:14 Job 21:15 ).
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 ( Job 21:16 ). 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 ( Psalms 107:42 , Revelation 15:3 , 16:7 , Revelation 19:1 Revelation 19:2 ).
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 Job 20:26 , 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 ( Job 22:16 ); here, by fire ( 2 Peter 3:5-7 ).
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 ( Psalms 37:27 ).
peace--prosperity and restoration to Job; true spiritually also to us ( Romans 5:1 , Colossians 1:20 ).
good--( 1 Timothy 4:8 ).
22. lay up--( Psalms 119:11 ).
23. Built up--anew, as a restored house.
thou shalt put away--rather, "If thou put away" [MICHAELIS].
24. Rather, containing the protasis from the last clause of Job 22:23 , "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 Job 22:25 , 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 MAURER].
Ophir--derived from a Hebrew word "dust," namely, gold dust. HEEREN 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 Job 22:24 thee in the place of riches.
plenty of silver--rather, "And shall be to thee in the place of laboriously-obtained treasures of silver" [GESENIUS]. Elegantly implying, it is less labor to find God than the hidden metals; at least to the humble seeker ( Job 28:12-28 ). But [MAURER] "the shining silver."
26. lift up . . . face, &c.--repeated from Zophar ( Job 11:15 ).
27. ( Isaiah 58:9 Isaiah 58:14 ).
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 Job 22:28 ) 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 ( 4:6 , 1 Peter 5:5 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 negative ( 1 Samuel 4:21 ); 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 ( Job 22:29 ); 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 Genesis 18:26 , &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 Job 42:8 ).