Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 4:1. Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered — Job’s three friends reasoning on the principles of an equal providence, and supposing that affliction could happen only in the way of punishment, which necessarily inferred guilt, and thinking his complaints exceeded the bounds of decency, the eldest of them, Eliphaz, here interposes. He desires Job to recollect himself, not to give way to fruitless lamentations, but to put into practice those lessons he had often recommended to others. He reminds him of that, as he thought, infallible maxim, that those who reaped misery must have sowed iniquity, a maxim which he confirms by his own particular experience, and which he supposes was assented to by all mankind. And, in the display of this maxim, he throws in many of the particular circumstances attending Job’s calamity, intimating, that he must have been a great, though secret oppressor, and that, therefore, the breath of God had blasted him at once. He confirms also the truth of this principle by a revelation, which, he says, was made to him in a vision. He urges further, that supposing he, Job, had been guilty of no very atrocious crime; yet the common frailties of human nature were abundantly sufficient to account for any afflictions which it should please God to inflict on man; but takes care, as he proceeds, (as may be seen in the next chapter,) to let him know, they had a far worse opinion of him; representing him as wicked and foolish, and a proper object of divine wrath.Job 2:11.
Job 4:1-21. First Speech of Eliphaz.
1. Eliphaz—the mildest of Job's three accusers. The greatness of Job's calamities, his complaints against God, and the opinion that calamities are proofs of guilt, led the three to doubt Job's integrity.Eliphaz speaketh, though it will grieve Job, Job 4:1,2. Job had instructed and strengthened others in their sorrows, but now fainted himself, Job 4:3-5. Eliphaz reproacheth him with his confidence in his uprightness, which he now suspecteth; for that God’s judgments were not against the righteous, but the wicked, Job 4:6-11. His fearful visions, Job 4:12-16. The righteousness of God; the angels charged with folly; the vanity of man, Job 4:17-21.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1–11. First, Eliphaz wonders that Job, who had comforted so many in trouble, and who was a righteous man, should fall into such despair under his afflictions, forgetting the great principle that the righteous never perish under affliction. Calamity destroys only the wicked; the affliction of the righteous is designed to have a very different issue.
12–5:7. Second,—proceeding with deeper earnestness—he must advert to Job’s murmurs against Heaven and warn him from them. For can any man have right on his side in complaining of God? Only the ungodly resent the dealing of God with them. By their impatience under affliction they bring down God’s final anger upon them, so that they perish.
Ch. Job 4:1-11. Eliphaz wonders that Job, who had comforted so many in trouble, and was a righteous man, should fall into such despair under his afflictions
Eliphaz would gladly have kept silence in the circumstances of his friend, but the tone of Job’s words constrains him to speak (Job 4:2). He wonders at the despondency of Job, one who had shewn himself so skilful in comforting other good men in affliction (Job 4:3-4), and who was himself a righteous man. He should place confidence in his righteousness, and remember that the righteous never perish under affliction. God does not send trouble upon them to destroy them, but for very different ends (Job 4:6-7). It is only the wicked whom He chastises unto death, and causes to reap the trouble which they sow (Job 4:8-9), and perish like beasts of prey (Job 4:10-11). Eliphaz’s doctrine of the meaning of suffering or evil comes out in the very forefront of his remonstrance with Job.Verse 1. - Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said (see the comment on Job 2:11).
And life to the sorrowful in soul?
21 Who wait for death, and he comes not,
Who dig after him more than for treasure,
22 Who rejoice with exceeding joy,
Who are enraptured, when they can find the grave?
23 To the man whose way is hidden,
And whom Eloah hath hedged round?
The descriptive partt. Job 3:21, Job 3:22, are continued in predicative clauses, which are virtually relative clauses; Job 3:21 has the fut. consec., since the sufferers are regarded as now at least dead; Job 3:22 the simple fut., since their longing for the grave is placed before the eye (on this transition from the part. to the verb. fin., vid., Ges. 134, rem. (2). Schlottm. and Hahn wrongly translate: who would dig (instead of do dig) for him more than for treasure. אלי־גיל (with poetical אלי instead of אל) might signify, accompanied by rejoicing, i.e., the cry and gesture of joy. The translation usque ad exultationem, is however, more appropriate here as well as in Hosea 9:1. With Job 3:23 Job refers to himself: he is the man whose way of suffering is mysterious and prospectless, and whom God has penned in on all sides (a fig. like Job 19:8; comp. Lamentations 3:5). סכך, sepire, above, Job 1:10, to hedge round for protection, here: forcibly straiten.
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