Job 4

Eliphaz

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 “If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking?
3 Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands.
4 Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.
5 But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed.
6 Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?
7 “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed?
8 As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.
9 At the breath of God they perish; at the blast of his anger they are no more.
10 The lions may roar and growl, yet the teeth of the great lions are broken.
11 The lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
12 “A word was secretly brought to me, my ears caught a whisper of it.
13 Amid disquieting dreams in the night, when deep sleep falls on people,
14 fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake.
15 A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end.
16 It stopped, but I could not tell what it was. A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice:
17 ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?
18 If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error,
19 how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundations are in the dust, who are crushed more readily than a moth!
20 Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces; unnoticed, they perish forever.
21 Are not the cords of their tent pulled up, so that they die without wisdom?’

Job 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Eliphaz reproves Job. (1-6) And maintains that God's judgments are for the wicked. (7-11) The vision of Eliphaz. (12-21)

Verses 1-6 Satan undertook to prove Job a hypocrite by afflicting him; and his friends concluded him to be one because he was so afflicted, and showed impatience. This we must keep in mind if we would understand what passed. Eliphaz speaks of Job, and his afflicted condition, with tenderness; but charges him with weakness and faint-heartedness. Men make few allowances for those who have taught others. Even pious friends will count that only a touch which we feel as a wound. Learn from hence to draw off the mind of a sufferer from brooding over the affliction, to look at the God of mercies in the affliction. And how can this be done so well as by looking to Christ Jesus, in whose unequalled sorrows every child of God soonest learns to forget his own?

Verses 7-11 Eliphaz argues, 1. That good men were never thus ruined. But there is one event both to the righteous and to the wicked, ( Ecclesiastes 9:2 ) , both in life and death; the great and certain difference is after death. Our worst mistakes are occasioned by drawing wrong views from undeniable truths. 2. That wicked men were often thus ruined: for the proof of this, Eliphaz vouches his own observation. We may see the same every day.

Verses 12-21 Eliphaz relates a vision. When we are communing with our own hearts, and are still, ( Psalms 4:4 ) , then is a time for the Holy Spirit to commune with us. This vision put him into very great fear. Ever since man sinned, it has been terrible to him to receive communications from Heaven, conscious that he can expect no good tidings thence. Sinful man! shall he pretend to be more just, more pure, than God, who being his Maker, is his Lord and Owner? How dreadful, then, the pride and presumption of man! How great the patience of God! Look upon man in his life. The very foundation of that cottage of clay in which man dwells, is in the dust, and it will sink with its own weight. We stand but upon the dust. Some have a higher heap of dust to stand upon than others but still it is the earth that stays us up, and will shortly swallow us up. Man is soon crushed; or if some lingering distemper, which consumes like a moth, be sent to destroy him, he cannot resist it. Shall such a creature pretend to blame the appointments of God? Look upon man in his death. Life is short, and in a little time men are cut off. Beauty, strength, learning, not only cannot secure them from death, but these things die with them; nor shall their pomp, their wealth, or power, continue after them. Shall a weak, sinful, dying creature, pretend to be more just than God, and more pure than his Maker? No: instead of quarrelling with his afflictions, let him wonder that he is out of hell. Can a man be cleansed without his Maker? Will God justify sinful mortals, and clear them from guilt? or will he do so without their having an interest in the righteousness and gracious help of their promised Redeemer, when angels, once ministering spirits before his throne, receive the just recompence of their sins? Notwithstanding the seeming impunity of men for a short time, though living without God in the world, their doom is as certain as that of the fallen angels, and is continually overtaking them. Yet careless sinners note it so little, that they expect not the change, nor are wise to consider their latter end.

Cross References 44

  • 1. S Genesis 36:11; Job 15:1; Job 22:1
  • 2. Job 32:20; Jeremiah 4:19; Jeremiah 20:9
  • 3. Deuteronomy 32:2; Job 29:23; Hosea 6:3
  • 4. Job 26:2; Psalms 71:9; Isaiah 13:7; Isaiah 35:3; Zephaniah 3:16; Hebrews 12:12
  • 5. Job 16:5; Job 29:16,25; Isaiah 1:17
  • 6. Job 29:11,15; Isaiah 35:3; Jeremiah 31:8; Hebrews 12:12
  • 7. S Joshua 1:9
  • 8. Ruth 1:13; Job 1:11; Job 19:21; Job 30:21; Psalms 38:2; Isaiah 53:4
  • 9. Job 6:14; Proverbs 24:10
  • 10. 2 Kings 18:19; Psalms 27:3; Psalms 71:5; Proverbs 3:26
  • 11. S Genesis 6:9; Job 1:1
  • 12. Job 5:11; Job 36:7; Psalms 41:12; 2 Peter 2:9
  • 13. Job 8:20; Psalms 37:25; Psalms 91:9-10; Proverbs 12:21; Proverbs 19:23
  • 14. Job 5:3; Job 15:17
  • 15. Judges 14:18; Job 5:6; Job 15:35; Psalms 7:14; Isaiah 59:4
  • 16. Psalms 7:15; Psalms 9:15; Proverbs 11:18; Proverbs 22:8; Isaiah 17:11; Hosea 8:7; Hosea 10:13; Galatians 6:7-8
  • 17. S Exodus 15:10; S Job 41:21; Job 15:30; Isaiah 30:33; 2 Thessalonians 2:8
  • 18. S Leviticus 26:38; Job 40:13; Isaiah 25:7
  • 19. Psalms 22:13
  • 20. Psalms 17:12; Psalms 22:21; Proverbs 28:15
  • 21. Job 5:15; Job 29:17; Job 36:6; Job 38:15; Psalms 35:10; Psalms 58:6
  • 22. Deuteronomy 28:41; Job 27:14; Job 29:17; Psalms 34:10; Psalms 58:6; Proverbs 30:14
  • 23. Job 5:4
  • 24. ver 17-21; Job 32:13; Jeremiah 9:23
  • 25. Job 26:14
  • 26. Job 33:14
  • 27. Job 33:15
  • 28. Job 21:6; Psalms 48:6; Psalms 55:5; Psalms 119:120,161; Jeremiah 5:22; Habakkuk 3:16; S 2 Corinthians 7:15
  • 29. Jeremiah 23:9; Daniel 10:8; Habakkuk 3:16
  • 30. Daniel 5:6; Daniel 7:15,28; Daniel 10:8; Matthew 14:26
  • 31. S 1 Kings 19:12
  • 32. Job 9:2; Job 13:18; Psalms 143:2
  • 33. Job 8:3; Job 10:3; Job 14:4; Job 15:14; Job 21:14; Job 25:4; Job 31:15; Job 32:22; Job 35:10; Job 36:3,13; Job 37:23; Job 40:19; Psalms 18:26; Psalms 51:5; Psalms 119:73; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 51:13; Malachi 2:10; Acts 17:24
  • 34. Hebrews 1:14
  • 35. Job 15:15; Job 21:22; Job 25:5
  • 36. Job 10:9; Job 33:6; Isaiah 64:8; Romans 9:21; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 5:1
  • 37. Job 22:16
  • 38. S Genesis 2:7
  • 39. Job 5:4
  • 40. Job 7:17; Job 15:16; Job 17:14; Job 25:6; Psalms 22:6; Isaiah 41:14
  • 41. Job 14:2,20; Job 15:33; Job 20:7; Job 24:24; Psalms 89:47; Psalms 90:5-6; James 4:14
  • 42. Job 8:22; Isaiah 38:12
  • 43. John 8:24
  • 44. Job 18:21; Job 36:12; Proverbs 5:23; Jeremiah 9:3

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JOB 4

Job's sore afflictions, and his behaviour under them, laid the foundation of a dispute between him and his three friends, which begins in this chapter, and is carried on to the end of the thirty first; when Elihu starts up as a moderator between them, and the controversy is at last decided by God himself. Eliphaz first enters the list with Job, Job 4:1; introduces what he had to say in a preface, with some show of tenderness, friendship, and respect, Job 4:2; observes his former conduct in his prosperity, by instructing many, strengthening weak hands and feeble knees, and supporting stumbling and falling ones, Job 4:3,4; with what view all this is observed may be easily seen, since he immediately takes notice of his present behaviour, so different from the former, Job 4:5; and insults his profession of faith and hope in God, and fear of him, Job 4:6; and suggests that he was a bad man, and an hypocrite; and which he grounds upon this supposition, that no good man was ever destroyed by the Lord; for the truth of which he appeals to Job himself, Job 4:7; and confirms it by his own experience and observation, Job 4:8-11; and strengthens it by a vision he had in the night, in which the holiness and justice of God, and the mean and low condition of men, are declared, Job 4:12-21; and therefore it was wrong in Job to insinuate any injustice in God or in his providence, and a piece of weakness and folly to contend with him.

Job 4 Commentaries