Eliphaz’s second speech
Eliphaz says that Job is wrong
v1 Eliphaz, who belonged to the people called Temanites, answered. He said:
v2 A wise man should not speak foolish words. He should not make sounds that mean nothing, like the wind. v3 He should check that his words are helpful. His speeches should always be good.
v4 But, Job, your speeches do not respect God. You suggest that prayer has no value. v5 You have spoken evil words. Your words are clever (but they are not right). v6 I do not accuse you. But your own words prove that you are wrong.
Job said that he was as wise as his friends (Job 12:3). He even said that they could learn from his words (Job 13:5-6). But Eliphaz thought that there was a terrible error in Job’s beliefs.
Job said that good men often have awful lives. And he said that evil men have good lives (Job 12:6). Eliphaz could not agree. He believed that God rewards a good man. Eliphaz also believed that God punishes an evil man. So Job’s words seemed not to respect God.
But Eliphaz was not right. Job did respect God. Job continued to praise God even when terrible things happened (Job 1:20-21).
Job has no special knowledge
v7 You were not born before everyone else. You are not older than everyone else. v8 You do not hear God’s words in heaven. You are not the only wise man. v9 You know nothing that we do not know. You have no special knowledge that is unknown to us. v10 The old wise men agree with us. They are older than both you and your father.
v11 But God comforts you. You should be glad to hear such gentle words. v12 But instead, you allow your emotions to control your behaviour. v13 You are angry with God. And you speak such terrible words.
Job’s friends believed that an older man was wiser (Job 32:7). Eliphaz said that many old people believed the same ideas as Eliphaz himself. And many people who lived long ago had the same ideas. They thought that an ill person must be an evil person. Even Jesus’ disciples (special students) had such an idea (John 9:2). But Jesus did not agree (John 9:3).
Job said that he wanted to meet God. And Job wanted to reason with God. Job was sincere when he said this. He could not explain why God had not rescued him from his troubles. But Job still trusted God.
Eliphaz thought that Job was angry with God. So Eliphaz did not realise that Job’s words were sincere. Eliphaz wanted Job to be calm. Then Job could listen to sensible advice.
Nobody is innocent
v14 Nobody is innocent. Nobody is good. v15 God does not even trust his holy servants. God even sees that heaven is not perfect. v16 So, a man cannot be innocent. Man is evil. A man even prefers to do evil things than to drink water.
Eliphaz repeated the same lesson as in Job 4:17. He said that nobody is perfect. So he thought that Job must be evil too.
Eliphaz was right to say that nobody is perfect. We must all confess our evil deeds so that God will forgive us. But Job was a sincere man. He often prayed that God would forgive people (Job 1:5).
And Eliphaz was wrong to say that God does not trust his servants in heaven. God even trusted his servant Job (Job 1:8; Job 2:3).
In fact, many people do not prefer to do evil things. Job always tried to do the right things (Job 1:1).
An ancient lesson
v17 Listen! I will teach you. I will explain the things that I have seen. v18 Wise men taught this lesson. And their fathers taught this lesson to them. v19 God gave them this country when no foreigners lived here.
v20 A wicked man always suffers pain. Such a man is cruel, so he suffers for his whole life. v21 He hears sounds that cause fear. If he is successful, a terrible enemy will attack him. v22 The wicked man does not think that he will ever escape. His enemy waits with a sword. v23 So the wicked man wanders to look for food. And the birds wait for his death, so that they can eat his body.
That wicked man knows that he will soon die. v24 He suffers terrible fears. And his troubles seem to him like a powerful king who is ready to attack.
v25 Such men suffer because they oppose God. They dare to fight against God. v26 They even attack God, like an enemy.
Eliphaz repeated the friends’ main idea. Wicked men always suffer a terrible fate. They will have an awful life and a terrible death.
Eliphaz warned Job here. Job should not accuse God. Nobody can oppose God. So Job should not argue. Job should agree that he is guilty, like everybody else.
A wicked man cannot avoid God’s punishment
v27 A wicked man might be successful. He might be greedy and fat. v28 But the inhabitants of his town will leave. His house will fall down. But he will live there, although his house is only a pile of stones.v29 That man was rich. But he will lose his wealth. He had great possessions. But he will lose his possessions.
v30 That man cannot avoid God’s punishment. He will die, like a tree that burns. A word from God will order that the man must die. v31 That man should realise that he cannot trust his foolish ideas. The only reward that such things give is foolish. v32 The man will die while he is still young.
v33 And that man will have no children. He will be like a tree without any flowers or fruit. v34 Wicked men will have no children. Even the home of a man who loves bribes (secret gifts) will burn.
v35 Wicked men will not have children. Instead, they will have trouble. And they will create foolish things. And they will make up lies, too.
Job thought that many evil people are successful (Job 12:6). Eliphaz argued that their success was temporary. Their wealth would not last. Soon, they would lose everything (verse 29).
Job had spoken about a tree that someone had cut down (Job 14:7-9). This idea gave hope to Job. Perhaps God would allow Job to live, even after death. Eliphaz thought that this was a foolish idea. If someone burns a tree, that tree will not live again (verse 30).
Eliphaz seemed to think that a person’s spirit dies with that person. He thought that the only new life after death was in our children. In other words, our children live after we are dead. They are our only hope for the future. And a wicked man would have no children (verse 33). A tree without fruit has no future after that tree dies. As Job’s children were dead, Job’s own death would be his end.
Many people believe such ideas. But the Bible does not teach this. The Bible says that heaven and hell are real places. Unfair things often happen in this world. But, in the future, God will be the judge of everybody (Philippians 2:9-11). If we trust God, we should not be afraid of death. God has prepared a wonderful home for us in heaven (Philippians 1:23).