Job 15:1 ¶ Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
Job 15:2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
Job 15:3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?
Job 15:4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.
Job 15:5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.
Job 15:6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.
This chapter begins round two of the “counsel” presented by Job’s three “friends” and the suffering man. Eliphaz once again speaks up. He basically accuses Job of spouting a lot of foolish talk for one who is supposed to be wise. None of it will profit him. He accuses him of not fearing God because he won’t admit his sin. He insists that he is not condemning Job; it is Job that is condemning himself by insisting he is innocent.
Job 15:7 Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?
Job 15:8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?
Job 15:9 What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?
These questions in verses 7-8 are meant to make Job realize that what he “knows” is very little in the scheme of things; the obvious answer to each is “No.” He wonders what makes him think his knowledge and understanding is better than theirs?
Job has been telling them why, but they refuse to believe him. As honestly as he can deduce, he has done no sin worthy of such harsh judgment from God. His experience refutes what they believe to be true. The truth is that righteous men do suffer trouble and tribulation. Jesus affirms this truth as recorded by John.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Job’s friends don’t want to believe this because that means that they aren’t immune to a similar experience.
Job 15:10 With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.
Job’s friends are persistent in their belief that they are right and Job is wrong because their beliefs are in line with those much older than Job’s father. Again, they are assuming that age and experience equals wisdom. That is a false assumption. It should contribute to one’s wisdom and understanding, but it is not a stand-alone proof of it.
Job 15:11 Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?
Job 15:12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,
Job 15:13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?
Eliphaz chides Job suggesting that he doesn’t accept God’s compassion as sufficient for him. He questions what has caused Job to have such a hard heart that he has turned against God to say such lies.
Again—He is misjudging Job based on his own assumptions.
Guzik made an interesting deduction: “It is important to remember that Eliphaz considered the consolations of God to be the advice of he and his friends. He assumed that if Job rejected their advice, he was rejecting God’s consolations.”
Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
Job 15:15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.
Job 15:16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
Eliphaz again references the message that he supposedly received in visions of the night (cf chapter 4). He repeats that man born of woman is not righteous, that God can’t even trust His angels (referencing those that rebelled against Him) that have polluted the heavens. Man is far more loathsome (from Hebrew for “abominable”) and corrupt (from Hebrew for “filthy”).
Eliphaz is basically telling the truth in this section.
Job 15:17 ¶ I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare;
Job 15:18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it:
Job 15:19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.
Eliphaz urges Job to listen to him and learn from what he has learned from experience and from those that have gone before him. After all, they were the ones to whom the earth was given.
I think it was I was listening to Joe Focht who pointed out that this seems to tie these events to a time when there were still fairly recent connections to the sons of Noah. As I thought about that a bit more, it made sense. It was Noah’s family to whom the earth was given after the flood. They would have lived for quite a long time before the population could have increased to the point that there were “strangers” among them.
Focht also pointed out that there is no mention of Abraham, Moses or God’s law; another indication that Job lived before their time.
Job 15:20 The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.
Job 15:21 A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him.
Job 15:22 He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.
Job 15:23 He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.
Job 15:24 Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.
Eliphaz posits that wicked men experience pain throughout their lives. They live with the fear that ruin and destruction could come at them from anyone at any time. They are insecure and live in terror of what their future holds.
This is another wrong assumption. It may be true for some, but there are many wicked people who do prosper in this world—much to the dismay of the righteous. (cf comments on chapter 4 and the reference to Psalm 73)
Job 15:25 For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.
Job 15:26 He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:
Job 15:27 Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.
Job 15:28 And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.
Job 15:29 He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.
Job 15:30 He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.
Eliphaz continues – Wicked men shake their fists at God in defiance and act accordingly. They use their riches to satisfy their every desire. They day will come, however, that they will come to ruin and one day lose their riches when they face God’s judgment.
This is all true. Though some may not be so blatant in their defiance of God, their actions in direct rejection of His truth prove them so.
Job 15:31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.
Job 15:32 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
Job 15:33 He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.
Job 15:34 For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.
Job 15:35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.
Eliphaz continues to describe the ruin that comes to one that is deceived and trusts in lies (from Hebrew for “vanity”). He pictures that person as a vine that loses its grapes before they are ripe and an olive tree that loses its blossoms before the fruit is formed. These sinful men will be made barren and their ill-gotten gains consumed by fire. Their hearts are full of deceit.
There are so many obvious allusions to Job’s troubles in the last part of this chapter that he must have felt like he was being repeatedly knifed in the back by one claiming to be his friend. The reference to the loss of Job’s children, the fruit of his seed, is especially heartless. I know that there is a time for tough love; but even if we give them the benefit of the doubt that they truly care about Job, the way they treat him can only be described as heartless and brutal.