The Third Controversy: Eliphaz Begins the Third Argument

Job 22-24

Highlights from this Passage

  • Eliphaz accuses Job of being a sinner and calls him to repentance.
  • Job affirms that he knows and fears God’s power and sentence, and that he is not being punished only for his sins.
  • Job describes the wicked.
  • Job affirms God’s providence.
  • Job affirms the wicked’s destruction.


Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered,

“Can a man be profitable to God?
    Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous?
    Or does it benefit him that you make your ways perfect?
Is it for your piety that he reproves you,
    that he enters with you into judgment?
Isn’t your wickedness great?
    Neither is there any end to your iniquities.
For you have taken pledges from your brother for nothing,
    and stripped the naked of their clothing.
You haven’t given water to the weary to drink,
    and you have withheld bread from the hungry.
But as for the mighty man, he had the earth.
    The honorable man, he lived in it.
You have sent widows away empty,
    and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.
Therefore snares are around you.
    Sudden fear troubles you,
or darkness, so that you can not see,
    and floods of waters cover you.

“Isn’t God in the heights of heaven?
    See the height of the stars, how high they are!
You say, ‘What does God know?
    Can he judge through the thick darkness?
Thick clouds are a covering to him, so that he doesn’t see.
    He walks on the vault of the sky.’
Will you keep the old way,
    which wicked men have trodden,
who were snatched away before their time,
    whose foundation was poured out as a stream,
who said to God, ‘Depart from us;’
    and, ‘What can the Almighty do for us?’
Yet he filled their houses with good things,
    but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
The righteous see it, and are glad.
    The innocent ridicule them,
saying, ‘Surely those who rose up against us are cut off.
    The fire has consumed their remnant.’

“Acquaint yourself with him, now, and be at peace.
    By it, good will come to you.
Please receive instruction from his mouth,
    and lay up his words in your heart.
If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up,
    if you put away unrighteousness far from your tents.
Lay your treasure in the dust,
    the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks.
The Almighty will be your treasure,
    and precious silver to you.
For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty,
    and will lift up your face to God.
You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you.
    You will pay your vows.
You will also decree a thing, and it will be established to you.
    Light will shine on your ways.
When they cast down, you will say, ‘be lifted up.’
    He will save the humble person.
He will even deliver him who is not innocent.
    Yes, he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Then Job answered,

“Even today my complaint is rebellious.
    His hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
Oh that I knew where I might find him!
    That I might come even to his seat!
I would set my cause in order before him,
    and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which he would answer me,
    and understand what he would tell me.
Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
    No, but he would listen to me.
There the upright might reason with him,
    so I should be delivered forever from my judge.

“If I go east, he is not there;
    if west, I can’t find him;
He works to the north, but I can’t see him.
    He turns south, but I can’t catch a glimpse of him.

But he knows the way that I take.
    When he has tried me, I will come out like gold.
My foot has held fast to his steps.
    I have kept his way, and not turned away.
I haven’t gone back from the commandment of his lips.
    I have treasured up the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
    What his soul desires, even that he does.
For he performs that which is appointed for me.
    Many such things are with him.
Therefore I am terrified at his presence.
    When I consider, I am afraid of him.
For God has made my heart faint.
    The Almighty has terrified me.
Because I was not cut off before the darkness,
    neither did he cover the thick darkness from my face.

“Why aren’t times laid up by the Almighty?
    Why don’t those who know him see his days?
There are people who remove the landmarks.
    They violently take away flocks, and feed them.
They drive away the donkey of the fatherless,
    and they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
They turn the needy out of the way.
    The poor of the earth all hide themselves.
Behold, as wild donkeys in the desert,
    they go out to their work, seeking diligently for food.
The wilderness yields them bread for their children.
    They cut their food in the field.
They glean the vineyard of the wicked.
    They lie all night naked without clothing,
and have no covering in the cold.
    They are wet with the showers of the mountains,
and embrace the rock for lack of a shelter.
    There are those who pluck the fatherless from the breast,
and take a pledge of the poor,
    So that they go around naked without clothing.
    Being hungry, they carry the sheaves.
They make oil within the walls of these men.
    They tread wine presses, and suffer thirst.
From out of the populous city, men groan.
    The soul of the wounded cries out,
    yet God doesn’t regard the folly.

“These are of those who rebel against the light.
    They don’t know its ways,
    nor stay in its paths.
The murderer rises with the light.
    He kills the poor and needy.
    In the night he is like a thief.
The eye also of the adulterer waits for the twilight,
    saying, ‘No eye will see me.’
    He disguises his face.
In the dark they dig through houses.
    They shut themselves up in the daytime.
    They don’t know the light.
For the morning is to all of them like thick darkness,
    for they know the terrors of the thick darkness.

“They are foam on the surface of the waters.
    Their portion is cursed in the earth.
    They don’t turn into the way of the vineyards.
Drought and heat consume the snow waters,
    so does Sheol those who have sinned.
The womb will forget him.
    The worm will feed sweetly on him.
    He will be no more remembered.
    Unrighteousness will be broken as a tree.
He devours the barren who don’t bear.
    He shows no kindness to the widow.
Yet God preserves the mighty by his power.
    He rises up who has no assurance of life.
God gives them security, and they rest in it.
    His eyes are on their ways.
They are exalted; yet a little while, and they are gone.
    Yes, they are brought low, they are taken out of the way as all others,
    and are cut off as the tops of the ears of grain.
If it isn’t so now, who will prove me a liar,
    and make my speech worth nothing?”

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