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II. Eliphaz’s First Speech and Job’s Response (Job 4:1–7:21)

4:1–5:27 Eliphaz was most likely the oldest of Job’s three visitors because he spoke first. He began on a soft note, reminding Job that he had been known for his wisdom and counsel while helping many people in days past (4:3-4).

Instead of helping, then, Eliphaz had only added to Job’s misery by his accusations. And judging by Job’s reference to his friends and brothers (6:14-15), Job evidently anticipated that he was going to be attacked by Bildad and Zophar, too. His friends had thus become like streams of water that evaporate in warm weather (6:15, 17); they were all talk and no comfort.

Job challenged Eliphaz to tell him what he had done wrong. He promised that if Eliphaz got it right, he would admit his sin. Please look at me, he urged, I will not lie to your face (6:28). He wanted Eliphaz to remember that he really was dealing with a man of integrity.

Job lamented the futility, the misery, and the emptiness of life (7:1-5). His own life, he was certain, was short and would soon vanish. He would die, go to his grave, and be forgotten (7:6-10). In fact, he wished God would let him die and leave him alone (7:11-16). Job wondered why God would bother to inflict so much pain on a person for no apparent reason. And, Job’s challenge to God was essentially, what have I done to deserve this? (6:17-21).

In this opening round of speeches, a pattern develops in which Job’s friends attack, Job responds by protesting his innocence, and, in the process, he becomes more and more determined to get a fair hearing from God.

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