Job 4 Study Notes


4:1 Since Job had broken the silence (chap. 3), Eliphaz offered his concerned counsel, filled with various forms of traditional wisdom. Although Eliphaz’s counsel contained truthful observations, they failed to address the reason for Job’s condition.

4:2 In other words, “I should not say this, but . . .”

4:3-4 Stumbling and knees . . . buckling relate as much to the psychological aspects of tragedy as to the physical (Ps 109:24; Ezk 21:7; Nah 2:10).

4:5 He charged Job with hypocrisy. Job knew what to say to others in pain, but he was speechless when he himself was in pain.

4:6-9 Eliphaz’s advice was meant to be an encouragement and a gentle call for Job’s self-reflection, yet it could have implied that Job’s children deserved what they got.

4:10-11 This traditional wisdom from Eliphaz declared that individual strength could not deliver the wicked (Nah 2:11-12). The lion is at times symbolic of the wicked (Ps 7:2) or those who rely on self rather than God (Ps 34:10).

4:12-16 Eliphaz seems to have been awakened out of deep sleep to receive a supernatural message. Whether this was a theophany (appearance of God) or an angelic visitation (Dn 2:5) is uncertain. Eliphaz thought his experience had provided him with wisdom to understand one of life’s mysteries.


Hebrew pronunciation [RU ahkh]
CSB translation wind, breath, spirit
Uses in Job 31
Uses in the OT 378
Focus passage Job 4:9,15

Ruach, related to rawach (14x, be relieved, smell; Gn 8:21), denotes breath (Gn 6:17) and wind (Jb 21:18). Ruach implies air (Jb 41:16), breeze (Gn 3:8) or nostril blast (Ex 15:8). Wind can represent meaninglessness (Ec 2:17), emptiness (Jb 16:3), or divine judgment (Jr 4:11-12). Ruach can be the four winds that signify compass directions (Jr 49:36) and a building’s four sides (Ezk 42:20). Breath is associated with a creature’s spirit (Gn 45:27). Ruach may be untranslated because one’s spirit is oneself (Gn 41:8). Ruach indicates God’s Spirit (Nm 11:29) and demonic spirits (1Kg 22:21). It can be impersonal, a spirit of justice (Is 28:6). Ruach connotes mind (Ezk 20:32), will (Is 30:1), courage (Jos 2:11), or emotions (Pr 16:32). It is a feeling (Nm 5:14), an urge (Is 29:10). Ruach suggests anger (Jb 15:13) or despair (Is 61:3; lit “faint spirit”). It represents one’s strength (Jdg 15:19) or life (Gn 26:35).

4:17 The basic question was not whether man is righteous before God, but could he be truly righteous and pure before his Maker (25:4)? No one can make special claim to God based on his supposed total moral integrity.

4:18-21 Eliphaz’s point here was that because people are not sinless before God, they may expect difficulties in this life, even tragedy and death. People need to acquire godly wisdom in order to live properly before God.