Job 15

1 Empty words, Job!
2 Empty words!
3 No one who is wise would talk the way you do or defend himself with such meaningless words.
4 If you had your way, no one would fear God; no one would pray to him.
5 Your wickedness is evident by what you say; you are trying to hide behind clever words.
6 There is no need for me to condemn you; you are condemned by every word you speak.
7 Do you think you were the first person born? Were you there when God made the mountains?
8 Did you overhear the plans God made? Does human wisdom belong to you alone?
9 There is nothing you know that we don't know.
10 We learned our wisdom from gray-haired people - those born before your father.
11 God offers you comfort; why still reject it? We have spoken for him with calm, even words.
12 But you are excited and glare at us in anger.
13 You are angry with God and denounce him.
14 Can any human being be really pure? 1 Can anyone be right with God?
15 Why, God does not trust even his angels; even they are not pure in his sight.
16 And we drink evil as if it were water; yes, we are corrupt; we are worthless.
17 Now listen, Job, to what I know.
18 Those who are wise have taught me truths which they learned from their ancestors, and they kept no secrets hidden.
19 Their land was free from foreigners; there was no one to lead them away from God.
20 The wicked who oppress others will be in torment as long as they live.
21 Voices of terror will scream in their ears, and robbers attack when they think they are safe.
22 They have no hope of escaping from darkness, for somewhere a sword is waiting to kill them,
23 and vultures are waiting to eat their corpses. They know their future is dark;
24 disaster, like a powerful king, is waiting to attack them.
25 That is the fate of those who shake their fists at God and defy the Almighty.
26 They are proud and rebellious; they stubbornly hold up their shields and rush to fight against God.
28 They are the ones who captured cities and seized houses whose owners had fled, but war will destroy those cities and houses.
29 They will not remain rich for long; nothing they own will last. Even their shadows will vanish,
30 and they will not escape from darkness. They will be like trees whose branches are burned by fire, whose blossoms are blown away by the wind.
31 If they are foolish enough to trust in evil, then evil will be their reward.
32 Before their time is up they will wither, wither like a branch and never be green again.
33 They will be like vines that lose their unripe grapes; like olive trees that drop their blossoms.
34 There will be no descendants for godless people, and fire will destroy the homes built by bribery.
35 These are the ones who plan trouble and do evil; their hearts are always full of deceit.

Job 15 Commentary

Chapter 15

Eliphaz reproves Job. (1-16) The unquietness of wicked men. (17-35)

Verses 1-16 Eliphaz begins a second attack upon Job, instead of being softened by his complaints. He unjustly charges Job with casting off the fear of God, and all regard to him, and restraining prayer. See in what religion is summed up, fearing God, and praying to him; the former the most needful principle, the latter the most needful practice. Eliphaz charges Job with self-conceit. He charges him with contempt of the counsels and comforts given him by his friends. We are apt to think that which we ourselves say is important, when others, with reason, think little of it. He charges him with opposition to God. Eliphaz ought not to have put harsh constructions upon the words of one well known for piety, and now in temptation. It is plain that these disputants were deeply convinced of the doctrine of original sin, and the total depravity of human nature. Shall we not admire the patience of God in bearing with us? and still more his love to us in the redemption of Christ Jesus his beloved Son?

Verses 17-35 Eliphaz maintains that the wicked are certainly miserable: whence he would infer, that the miserable are certainly wicked, and therefore Job was so. But because many of God's people have prospered in this world, it does not therefore follow that those who are crossed and made poor, as Job, are not God's people. Eliphaz shows also that wicked people, particularly oppressors, are subject to continual terror, live very uncomfortably, and perish very miserably. Will the prosperity of presumptuous sinners end miserably as here described? Then let the mischiefs which befal others, be our warnings. Though no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby. No calamity, no trouble, however heavy, however severe, can rob a follower of the Lord of his favour. What shall separate him from the love of Christ?

Cross References 1

  • 1. 15.14-16Job 25.4-6.

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. [One ancient translation] vultures; [Hebrew] where is he?
  • [b]. [One ancient translation] are waiting; [Hebrew] he wanders.
  • [c]. [One ancient translation] shadows; [Hebrew unclear.]
  • [d]. [One ancient translation] blossoms; [Hebrew] mouth.
  • [e]. [Some ancient translations] wither; [Hebrew] be filled.

Chapter Summary


Job's three friends having in their turns attacked him, and he having given answer respectively to them, Eliphaz, who began the attack, first enters the debate with him again, and proceeds upon the same plan as before, and endeavours to defend his former sentiments, falling upon Job with greater vehemence and severity; he charges him with vanity, imprudence, and unprofitableness in his talk, and acting a part unbecoming his character as a wise man; yea, with impiety and a neglect of religion, or at least as a discourager of it by his words and doctrines, of which his mouth and lips were witnesses against him, Job 15:1-6; he charges him with arrogance and a high conceit of himself, as if he was the first man that was made, nay, as if he was the eternal wisdom of God, and had been in his council; and, to check his vanity, retorts his own words upon him, or however the sense of them, Job 15:7-10; and also with slighting the consolations of God; upon which he warmly expostulates with him, Job 15:11-13; and in order to convince him of his self-righteousness, which he thought he was full of, he argues from the angels, the heavens, and the general case of man, Job 15:14-16; and then he declares from his own knowledge, and from the relation of wise and ancient men in former times, who made it their observation, that wicked men are afflicted all their days, attended with terror and despair, and liable to various calamities, Job 15:17-24; the reasons of which are their insolence to God, and hostilities committed against him, which they are encouraged in by their prosperous circumstances, Job 15:25-27; notwithstanding all, their estates, riches, and wealth, will come to nothing, Job 15:28-30; and the chapter is closed with an exhortation to such, not to feed themselves up with vain hopes, or trust in uncertain riches, since their destruction would be sure, sudden, and terrible, Job 15:31-35.

Job 15 Commentaries

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.