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Job 4:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered- Eliphaz appears to have been the eldest. The friends speak according to age, with Elihu as the youngest coming last. The idea was clearly that the longer you lived, the more wisdom you attained; but this is deconstructed throughout the book.

Job 4:2 If someone ventures to talk with you, will you be grieved? But who can withhold himself from speaking?-
Both Job and the friends, including Elihu, so often argue that they cannot but speak. Eliphaz is here saying that whether or not Job agrees that Elihu can talk, he can't withhold himself from speaking; indeed, he argues that nobody could stop themselves from talking. And yet all are brought to silence by God's display of majesty and answers at the end. The drama sets us all up to quip 'If only you had all remained silent as you were at the beginning, when you all sat with Job in silence!'. We can control our tongue; but all concerned seemed to think that this was just impossible, and it was part of being human to talk when provoked. But self-control is possible.

Job 4:3 Behold, you have instructed many, you have strengthened the weak hands-
Another telling point of contact with Isaiah is found here in 4:3-5. Job had "strengthened the weak hands... and... the feeble knees. But now it (the weakness and feeble knees) is come upon thee, and thou faintest". This is picked up in Is. 35:3,4: "Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful (Heb. 'hasty'- both are relevant to Job) heart, Be strong... behold, your God will come". Thus Job is representative of the weak-hearted Jews in exile, and his final deliverance thus points forward to both their restoration and the final coming of the Lord to reestablish God's Kingdom on earth.

Job 4:4 Your words have supported him who was falling, you have strengthened the feeble knees-
See on :4. The idea is that now Job himself had weak hands and feeble knees (:3,5), which needed strengthening. This makes him exactly correspond with the situation of the exiles in Is. 35:3,4; the good news of the gospel of restoration was to be experienced by him.

Job 4:5 But now it has come to you, and you faint. It touches you, and you are troubled-
"Touch" is the word used by the satan in Job 1:11; 2:5, where satan argues that if Job is 'touched', he will renounce God. This is more evidence that the satan was the friends, on one level. When he fades from the narrative, the friends appear as it were in his place. It may be that Job's satan Angel was the Angel representing the three friends (satans) of Job. Because of His close identification with them, the satan Angel spoke their  thoughts as if they were his own- compare Eliphaz's thoughts here with Satan's words of Job 1:9,10. For the connection between the satan and an Angel, see on Job 1:6.

Job 4:6 Isn’t your piety your confidence?-
The Hebrew can mean both "confidence" and "folly" (s.w. Ps. 85:8). The friends were convinced Job was a fake because he was suffering.

Isn’t the integrity of your ways your hope?- Eliphaz seems to be restating Job's convictions, that his upright ways were what his "hope" was predicated upon. But Job through his sufferings comes to "hope" only for death (Job 6:8 s.w.), and feels he now has no "hope" (Job 7:6; 14:19; 17:15; 19:10). Bildad presses the same point as Eliphaz, suggesting that Job had only the "hope" of the hypocrite, and this "hope" would perish (Job 8:13; 27:8). Job had integrity, and on that basis he thought he had "hope". He suffered, and he lost that "hope", because he assumed that his sufferings meant that he was not in fact righteous. And yet he often reflects that he is righteous and is suffering unjustly. And so he is led to the realization that the "hope" of the righteous is by God's grace and not because of the "integrity of [Job's] ways". Judah in captivity likewise lost their "hope" (Ez. 19:5; 37:11). But the message of the restoration prophets was that "there is hope in your end" (Jer. 31:17); they were prisoners or exiles in "hope" (Zech. 9:12).

Job 4:7 Remember now, whoever perished, being innocent? Or where were the upright cut off?-
God's opinion of Job was that he was "upright" (Job 1:1 s.w.). But as the drama progresses, the friends argue that if Job were in fact "upright" then God would not be afflicting him (Job 4:7; 8:6 s.w.). Job absorbs this reasoning, and confesses that he is not "upright" and therefore cannot find God (Job 23:7,8 s.w.). He absorbs false guilt and becomes influenced by the guilt placed upon him by his religion and "friends" amongst the "sons of God". It's quite possible that in depression and periods of suffering, we can come to have a lower view of ourselves than that which God has of us; just as at other times we can have a higher view of ourselves spiritually than we ought to. There is true guilt, the guilt which we should take, and false guilt. And Job seems to have picked up the false guilt thrown upon him by Bildad. We too need to learn this difference between false and true guilt.

Job 4:8 According to what I have seen, those who plough iniquity and sow trouble, reap the same-
Although the friends are finally rebuked for not speaking rightly about God, Paul quotes these words in Gal. 6:8. This shows that the spirit in the New Testament can at times quote words which may be out of context, and reapply them in a new context. The accusation that Job was reaping the result of his sowing of sin was wrong; but the principle is quoted with approval, that those who sow to the flesh will reap judgment. Eliphaz overlooked the fact that the final reaping was at the last day, and not in this life. Job was driven towards understanding and faith in a "last day" judgment setting things right; for he knew that he was not reaping judgment for some specific sin. He had been righteous- and yet was not reaping the results of it. So he has to conclude that the time of reaping cannot be in this life. And he progressively longs for the coming of that day. Eliphaz may also have in view the fact that it was whilst Job was literally ploughing that the judgment came (Job 1:14). See on :9.

Job 4:9 By the breath of God they perish. By the blast of His anger are they consumed-
An allusion to the wind or spirit / breath of God coming from the wilderness and destroying Job's children. See on :8. This is all the language of the destruction of Judah by her enemies (Is. 30:33). Indeed Job's children had sinned, as had the sons [s.w.] / children of Israel. But this didn't mean that Job had personally sinned in such a way as to elicit this judgment. Job is to be understood as representing Judah in captivity. The fact their sons has been destroyed by the invaders was not in fact evidence that all of them had sinned. There was no guilt by association. 

Job 4:10 The roaring of the lion and the voice of the fierce lion, the teeth of the young lions, are broken-
This and :11 pictures a family of lions perishing. Perhaps Job is the old lion, his wife the lioness, and the cubs are his sons.

Job 4:11 The old lion perishes for lack of prey. The cubs of the lioness are scattered abroad-
See on :11. Ez. 19 likes Judah at the time of Babylon's invasion as being like a family of lions which died out. Again we see how the book of Job was reapplied to the situation with Judah at the time of their exile and restoration.

Job 4:12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me; my ear received a whisper of it-
This is typical of the sources of truth many turn to today. A person claims they had a secret revelation, unconfirmed by anyone else, unheard by anyone else, and incapable of any peer review. The contents of the claims are also unverifiable. But that is accepted as 'truth' by many. The book of Job concludes with God appealing to that which is before the eyes of every man- His power in creation, His way in history, the logical implications of the fact the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper, which lead to the conclusion that there must be a day of judgment to come, and that God must finally be revealed openly.

Job 4:13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men-
As noted on :12, Eliphaz claims nobody else heard this message, all other men were asleep, and he implies that he must be believed. Simply on the basis of his say so. And so many are eager to do that, rather than lift their own eyes and hearts to the skies and seek God for what and how He is and has revealed Himself.

Job 4:14 fear came on me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake-
This language of fear and shaking bones is that used in Ps. 53:5 about the condemned; but Eliphaz presents this as reason to accept him as telling the truth!

Job 4:15 Then a spirit passed before my face. The hair of my flesh stood up-
It's unclear whether Eliphaz is making this up (for how can a man living before mirrors were invented, in the darkness, knows what his hair looked like)- or whether it actually happened. But we will note on :18,21 that what he says is not completely true.

Job 4:16 It stood still, but I couldn’t discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes. Silence; then I heard a voice saying-
Or, a still voice, recalling the voice heard by Elijah. Eliphaz admits he couldn't discern the form and appearance of whatever revealed truth to him. Yahweh's form appeared to Moses (s.w. Num. 12:8) and indeed to all concerned in the book of Job, in His final theophany in the storm and whirlwind. That was to be the source of truth- and not the vaguely remembered, jumbled claims of a man like Eliphaz which couldn't be corroborated by his audience. The vision contrasts directly with Dt. 4:12, where Israel did not see any "form" but only heard a voice, the Divine word, which they were to respond to. But Eliphaz claims he saw the "form" right before his eyes. The form seemed to be more significant to him than the content, the voice of the words.

Job 4:17 ‘Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?-
Job did justify himself more than God (Job 32:2) and this effectively was to be read as making himself more righteous than God. Here we have the essence of the problem in the book of Job- not suffering per se, but how can man be just or right with God. The answer is given at length in Rom. 1-8- by faith in God's imputation of righteousness to us, by grace. This is how man can be "pure" before God, by His forgiveness and imputation of righteousness (s.w. Ps. 51:2,7). This question as to how to be pure before God was that asked by David, after his sin for which there was no sacrifice. And the answer was the same- to confess sin, and throw ourselves upon the grace which brings imputed righteousness to us. Job was not perfect, as he himself comes to admit; and yet he was counted righteous by God, both at the start and the end of the book. But any attempt to make ourselves righteous without this Divinely provided mechanism- is effectively to raise ourselves up above God. And that is the problem and failure of all works-based religions. The offer of being cleansed (s.w. "pure") by their maker was what the exiles were offered in the new covenant (s.w. Jer. 33:8; Ez. 36:25,33; 37:23; Mal. 3:3).


Job 4:18 Behold, He puts no trust in His servants. He charges His angels with folly-
It can be argued that the book of Job is a dialogue concerning evil and suffering, with three popular views being represented by the three friends. These views are examined and corrected by the personal history of Job, as well as by the epilogue and prologue to the book. Eliphaz seems to be representative of the idea that Job is being hit by supernaturally controlled evil- Eliphaz speaks of a force of darkness (Job 22:10,11) and sinful or faulty Angels living in an unclean Heaven (Job 4:18; 15:15). Yet the answer to all this is that the Satan figure is under God's control, all Job's misfortunes come from God and His Angels- one of whom may have been called 'the adversary' ('Satan')- are in fact all perfectly obedient to Him and not disobedient. And finally, Eliphaz and the friends are rebuked for their various wrong understandings, with God declaring Himself supreme and ultimate sovereign. Likewise Bildad's view of Angels in Job 25:5 "The stars are not pure in God's eyes" is corrected by God in Job 38:7, when He says that "the morning stars sang together and all the Sons of God shouted for joy".


Job 4:19 How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before the moth!-
Eliphaz seems to be saying that there is no way that man can ever be right with God; because, as noted on :17, he was still ignorant of the wonderful truth of imputed righteousness and justification by grace through faith. He has a very low view of human nature. Although we are indeed dust and crushed by moths as our bodies decompose, all that we posit about human nature is true of the Lord Jesus- who fully shared our nature, and yet was holy and undefiled. The Bible in fact has a far higher view of the possibilities inherent within human nature than many do today, represented as they are by the false reasoning of Eliphaz.

Job 4:20 Between morning and evening they are destroyed. They perish forever without any regarding it-
Again, Eliphaz is wrong to assume that all men "perish forever". Job correctly reasons himself towards a belief in the resurrection of the body at the last day (Job 19:25-27). And God does indeed "regard" the death of His precious ones (Ps. 116:15).

Job 4:21 Isn’t their tent cord plucked up within them? They die, and that without wisdom’
- LXX "For he blows upon them, and they are withered"- the language of Isaiah concerning the perishing of the glory of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians. These words are true for the unbelievers, but are not universally true; indeed Peter appears to allude to this verse by saying that once his tent has been taken down, yet he still has the hope of eternal life at the resurrection of the body at the last day (2 Pet. 1:13,14).