Job Chapter 6: Job Replies to Eliphaz His Supposed Comforter

Jan 12th, 2010 | By | Category: Job, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Job Chapter 6: Job Replies to Eliphaz His Supposed Comforter

Job 6:1 But Job answered and said,

Job 6:2 Oh that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!

Now Job replied to Eliphaz. His “grief” was his emotional trauma and outburst. He was saying that if his grief were put on one side of the balance scale and the calamities (the testings of the Adversary—loss of property, goods, family, and health) were put on the other side, the scale would plummet downward on the side of his emotional trauma. The grief he was expressing to his supposed friends was disproportionate to the calamities and the evils that occurred in his losses. Not only could the three comforters not empathetically enter into the trauma Job was experiencing, but they thought his emotional outbursts were terrible. If they had properly weighed Job’s vexation of spirit versus the disaster and ruin he suffered, the three would have been more commiserative and sympathetic. Job was looking for comfort and help, and they were just adding to his misery.

Job 6:3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.

Job’s loss was heavier than the sand of the sea. He was saying, “My grief is becoming unbearable. It is like heavy sand weighing on my soul.” The loss that caused his trauma was much heavier than the three comforters realized. They did not properly evaluate Job’s sufferings. His attempts to justify his complaints became meaningless because of the failure of the three to properly weigh what had occurred to him.

Comment: For the last half of verse 3, the King James margin reads, “I want words to express my grief.”

Comment: Job used a lot of analogies to nature in his responses.

Reply: Yes, he talked about animals, agriculture, the heavens, and mining. He had a tremendous background of experience.

Job 6:4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.

Job’s experiences and the remarks of the three were like poison-tipped arrows that pierced him. To a certain extent, he was blaming God for permitting the experiences. Job was feeling a great loss and weakness, and as he meditated on his woeful condition, or estate, it got worse and worse. Later chapters provide details of the “terrors of God” that Job had experienced during the seven days of silence. In addition to his not eating or drinking for that period of time, all kinds of thoughts went through his mind and spirit.

Q: Does David quote from Job in the Psalms?

A: Yes, some of the Psalms give evidence that David was familiar with the Book of Job.

Job 6:5 Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?

“Does the wild ass bray or the ox low when it has food to eat?” The obvious answer was no for the animals are satisfied when eating. But what was Job’s purpose in asking the question?

He was likening Eliphaz and his two companions to the satisfied wild ass and ox. (Although the other two had not yet spoken, their attitude and actions betrayed their thinking.) The three were not complaining because they had not experienced the trials Job was having. By using these analogies, Job was telling the three that they had not empathized with him at all. They had a relatively comfortable life. Since they still had their homes, health, children, and wealth, they were calm, cool, and collected, yet they were ready to give advice to Job, who was in misery and in utter need of comfort. Instead of giving comfort, they added to his woes. When animals are eating, they are satisfied and thus do not bray or low to express discontent. But Job was in want, so he was braying and lowing.

Job criticized his comforters. Not only did they not complain, but because they were not in need, they were uttering praises and talking about the tender mercies of God. Job was complaining and saying in effect, “If you had the same experiences I am having, would you speak and act any differently?” Arab thinking is difficult for us to understand because the perspective is different from the thinking of Western culture. The subtle innuendos become very meaningful.

Job felt that he was suffering from the poison-tipped arrows of the Almighty and that the terrors of God were arrayed against him. Since the comforters did not have that experience, they were of no help to him whatever.

Q: Is the following the correct thought? Eliphaz had told Job not to complain, and now Job was saying, “You do not understand because you have not been through my experiences. Even the wild ass would bray if it did not have any grass, and the ox without fodder would low.”

A: Yes, but there is a double meaning. An animal cannot bray or low while it is eating because its mouth is already filled, and Job was drawing a lesson with regard to both himself and the three comforters.

Q: Why did Job use a variety of names for Jehovah?

A: Here Job used “the Almighty” and “God.” These were colder expressions in the sense that it was hard for Job to see the tender mercies of God in his experiences. Not understanding the permission of evil, he did not realize that God was permitting the Adversary to do the tempting and to produce the series of experiences. Job did not know another being was in the equation of the boils, property losses, etc. Consequently, he did not understand the situation—about the poison-tipped arrows and the terror of God. Job did not know the philosophy of the principle that evil is educational and preparatory for a later opposite experience of reward, glory, and honor. The three comforters also did not understand, but they concluded Job’s trials were for wrongdoing. Instead the trials were a result of doing good, and they were permitted in order to show how wonderful Job’s character was. If we had lived back there, we would not have understood either.

Job 6:6 Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?

Again the obvious answer to the rhetorical questions was no. The unsavory thing that could not be eaten without salt was tasteless food. Instead of giving proper “food” to strengthen Job in his trial—instead of providing constructive advice and comforting words—the three comforters gave flat counsel. The Apostle Paul said, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6). As a preservative, salt is constructive and healthful, and it purifies. Job was saying, “How can I

accept your advice when it contains nothing profitable?”

“Is there any taste in the white of an egg?” Commentators give multiple explanations, but the meaning would seem to be the following. The literal Hebrew is not talking about the white of an egg but about saliva that drools out of the mouth or mucus that drains from the nose. Not only was Job likening the advice the three were giving him to tasteless food, but it was really offensive. In other words, “Is there any sense from the drivel [drool] of dreams?” He was referring to an earlier comment of Eliphaz about a spirit that appeared to him in a dream and

gave advice. Eliphaz turned around and gave that same advice to Job, saying, “The experience I had with the spirit in the dream teaches us that God does not trust angels, and He trusts mankind even less. Therefore, you should seek God for comfort.” The word translated “egg” in the King James is “dream” in the literal Hebrew, and “white” is “drool” or “spittle.”

Job 6:7 The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.

Not only was the advice meaningless and disgusting, but the fact that Job was forced to listen to the advice compounded his misery. In his defenseless, sorrowful state, he had to eat their tasteless food, which was supposedly for his comfort and edification.

Job 6:8 Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!

Job 6:9 Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!

Job requested that God would grant him what he longed for: death. However, he sensed that God would not allow him to die. Job wanted God to loosen His hand even more so that he would expire and thus be put out of his misery. Although Job was undergoing unbelievable experiences, he sensed a curbing, a holding in check, and he was saying, “Couldn’t you relax your hand a little more so that I will expire?” Job sensed the scenario the book started with, namely, when God said to Satan in the second allegorical encounter, “You may cause Job all kinds of misery, but you cannot take his life.” Now Job wanted to die.

Job 6:10 Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One.

“Then [if I died] should I yet have comfort” because there is no suffering in the grave. The dead are silent, unconscious, and without pain. Job certainly did not believe in the hellfire theory.

“Yea, I would harden myself in sorrow.” If God would loosen His hand a little more, Job would help in the matter by bemoaning his fate even more intensely to hasten death. In other words, Job would cooperate by enhancing his own grief so that he would die and end his misery.

“Let him [God] not spare.” Job continued to express to Eliphaz his wish for death. “For I have not concealed [denied—NIV] the words of the Holy One.” Job knew that he had been faithful  to God and that he loved the Lord God with all his heart. His whole life, ministry, and service— his judgeship, his visiting of the sick, etc.—were conducted with the thought of being a help to others and being in harmony with God. He felt he had tried to the utmost of his ability, even though he was fallen, to be faithful to God, and God knew that, so Job was really puzzled about his difficult experiences.

The integrity of Job’s heart, service, and life will come out in later remarks. He was a most unusual individual because he bared the vows he had made to God, and he felt he had been faithful to them up to this point. Therefore, he was utterly bewildered as to the reason for his experiences. The New Testament tells that a man should judge himself in quietness (1 Cor. 11:28). In spite of our faults, when we search down deep into our heart, we know that trials come upon us (evil thoughts, evil deeds, etc.), but we also know if our will, which is the reins, or the motive behind the heart, is really to do God’s will. In searching his integrity, Job felt that he had been true and faithful, so he was bewildered and wanted to be cut off in death and thus be at rest. He would prefer to decease rather than to battle the experience any longer.

Job 6:11 What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?

Job 6:12 Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass?

Job could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. He realized there was a danger because his flesh was not as brass and his strength was not that of a stone. He was saying, “If my troubles go on any longer, I do not want to end up cursing God,” which is the very thing his wife had urged him to do to end his misery. Job wanted to die before he broke down completely and made thoroughly irresponsible remarks that could result in his utter destruction without hope of a future life.

Job 6:13 Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?

Job 6:14 To him that is afflicted pity should be shown from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.

Job had been saying he did not understand his experiences, but now he changed the subject.

He said to Eliphaz, “Even in my present situation, I still have wisdom and can understand good advice, but you are not giving it to me. In spite of all this misery, I am able to listen to what you are saying, but your words do not make sense.”

Verse 14 supports verse 13. In fact, it is like the topical sentence for the rest of the chapter. Job continued speaking to Eliphaz: “To him that is afflicted pity should be shown from his friend.” Job had expected to be comforted by his three friends and to be given some benefit and help for his misery, but his hope was in vain. As far as his own integrity was concerned, however, he still had his reasoning powers. “Is not my help in me?”

Q: If we were in Job’s place, we would have spoken plainly to the comforters: “Your advice is worthless. You do not have a clue.” But Job responded in an esoteric sort of way.

A: Yes, and that is why Rudyard Kipling said, “East is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet.” In his experiences, he found that the thinking, writing, reasoning, and grammar of the East were very different from those in our Western culture. If familiar with the language, those living in the Middle East and Asia would find Job’s reasoning more understandable. To us, Job’s reasoning is puzzling and different.

Most of the expressions Job and his comforters used were idiomatic in nature. A review of verses 2-14, stating them in “Americana” style, will show how superior Job’s reasoning was in his rebuttal to Eliphaz.

Verses 2 and 3: “Oh that my grief—the relatively brief but rash outburst utterances of my complaint before God and man—were, on the one hand, laid on the balance of the scale. Then, on the other hand, if all of the heavy burden of the calamity befalling me—the loss of cattle, servants, family, health, and esteem of neighbors and countryman—were given due consideration and lifted up and placed on the other balance of the scale, the latter would far outweigh, as the sand of the sea, the former complaints.”

Verse 4: “The poison-tipped arrows permitted of the Almighty, such as the advice and counsel you have just given, have had their delusional side effects. They produce in me a terror of God.” Or to think the matter another way: “The repetitive manner of your many sharp darts, Eliphaz, sucks up whatever spirit remains in the immune system of my soul.”

Verse 5: “Indeed you seem to view whatever I have to say as the braying of a wild ass, as the moaning of a dumb ox. The only reason you do not bray or moan for grass or fodder is because fullness of bread is before you, and you do not lack or want.”

Verses 6 and 7: “Besides, the mental food or provender set before me is unsavory, lacking salt or wise counsel. Is there any sense, substantive value, or taste to the drooling drivel of dreams that you proffer [a reference to Job 4:12-21]? Yet you seem to insist that I swallow that which but further intensifies my grief, the last thing my soul would desire or long for.”

Verses 8 and 9: “Oh, that I might have my request—oh, that God would grant me what I long for—that it would please Him to destroy me and He would further loose His hand [Job 2:6] and cut me off even out of the land of the living and not prolong my misery.” Little did Job know that Satan was the most active and responsible entity afflicting him.

Verse 10: “Then should I have comfort. Yea, to this end, I would willingly submit to even greater grief and desire further that God not spare the rod, for I have not falsely hidden the words of the Holy One or failed to declare throughout my life to others, as well as to myself, His counsel and instruction. Therefore, if death comes soon, my faithfulness of the past up to the present would not be marred but would be sealed intact.”

Verse 11: “In view of the fact that there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel of my present experience, what purpose is there that I should desire the prolonging of days?”

Verse 12: “Besides, the trauma I am going through has left me so weak and fragile that I cannot withstand much more of the same. Is my strength the strength of stones? Is my flesh brass?”

Verses 13 and 14: “However, I am not yet entirely bereft of my reasoning faculties. Up to this point in time, I have endured and maintained my integrity of purpose and, therefore, have hope, as it were, against hope.”

Verse 14: “To him that is afflicted, ought not pity to be shown from his friend, for ought not one in the giving of improper counsel realize that he forsaketh fear of retribution from the Almighty?”

Job 6:15 My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away;

In that part of the world, wadis with water would suddenly dry up. Job drew the analogy that his friends were like these wadis. They appeared to be refreshing, but in reality, they were not. No comfort was forthcoming.

Comment: The New American Standard uses the word “wadi”: “My brothers have acted deceitfully like a wadi, Like the torrents of wadis which vanish.”

Reply: Yes, “wadi” is the correct thought.

Job 6:16 Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:

Job knew about snow and ice because there were mountains and snow in the area where he lived. Strangely, in the coolness of spring, the water traveling down a stream or brook appears to be dark when its source is melting snow from a mountain. In the summer months, the water in that same brook appears lighter and more cheerful. Therefore, as the water traveled down to the desert wadis from the mountains, it looked “blackish by reason of the ice.”

Job 6:17 What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.

Job 6:18 The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.

Verses 17 and 18 refer to the phenomenon of a wadi with plenty of water that dries up quickly in the heat of the sun. Job continued to rebut the remarks of Eliphaz.

Job 6:19 The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.

The expression “troops of Tema” is a play on words. Bible dictionaries usually say that Tema had an Ishmaelite origin, an Arabic background, with people who led caravans across the desert. The “troops of Tema” and the “companies of Sheba” waited for water in the wadis so that they could replenish the water in their skins (their “bottles,” as it were).

Job was telling a little story that related to the three comforters, who had journeyed from their homelands to visit him in his time of need. These three individuals, or “brethren,” were not ordinary men, for they were advanced socially and intellectually above their compatriots. They came to Job as representatives of the accumulated wealth of wisdom from their respective homelands—as men of reputation, renowned for their wisdom. Thus the three were the “troops of Tema” and the “companies of Sheba” in that they represented the cumulative experience, counsel, and wisdom of their native provinces. The supposed purpose of their coming was to help Job. Job likened his storytelling and idiomatic play on words to the three comforters. With all the promise of what they could distribute to him, their counsel was a waste of words from his standpoint. It was drivel; it was dried up; it was of no benefit or solace to him in his need for commiseration.

Most of the statements had a double nuance when considered from the perspective of Job and sometimes, also, when considered from the perspective of how the comforters looked upon Job. And these statements often had a back-and-forth significance. Accordingly, Job was saying that when the three comforters came, he thought they would have the water to supply him with his want, but they did not. Instead Job told them of their lack in trying to comfort him.

Job 6:20 They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.

The “troops of Tema” and the “companies of Sheba” were confounded representatively in the three comforters. When the three heard about Job’s experience, they traveled from a relatively long distance. It took time for them to come conjointly to visit him. In the meantime, Job was afflicted from head to foot. The three had heard about Job’s loss of goods, property, and sons and daughters, but they were unaware of his personal physical affliction. As they were approaching Job and could see him in the distance, they were surprised and shocked at his appearance, and they were ashamed. However, their initial reaction was proper—they sat silently beside him and fasted for seven days.

When the three first saw Job, they were at a loss for words as to how to advise him, but during the seven days, they had time to reflect upon his present condition, as well as upon his loss of goods and family. They had time to think what they would say to Job when he broke the silence (Job 3:1). During the time of their silence, they were a comfort to Job; they were “brethren” to just sit quietly and sympathetically next to him. However, in reality, their commiseration lacked depth; it did not have the fullness or the sincerity that Job was hoping for when they began to speak. At this point (chapter 6), a little time had elapsed since the breaking of the silence.

All of this background was the reason Job talked about wadis and the expectation of caravan travelers traveling across the desert, or barren land. The three had hoped to be of usefulness and help to Job, but they were taken aback.

Job 6:21 For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.

Job was saying, “You see my cast-down condition and are afraid of my circumstance.” He must have been a sorry sight! Not only were they ashamed to give counsel, but they were also ashamed as Job’s countrymen, as his neighbors. Even the children mocked him. The three had come as friends to help, but when they saw him in such a state, they were embarrassed. It was like standing next to a leper or someone with a contagious disease. The three were confused, but when they began to speak, they warmed up to the situation and started to criticize Job.

Comment: The NIV captures the thought in verses 19-21: “The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope. They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed. Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid.”

Reply: Yes, that would be the thought. The “troops of Tema” and the “companies of Sheba” were represented in the three comforters.

Job 6:22 Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance?

Q: Was Job saying, “Why did you come here? I did not invite you, and you are not helping me”?

A: That is part of the explanation.

Q: Was Job also saying, “I did not ask for any financial support”?

A: Yes, that is the other part of the explanation. The three might even have come with money to give Job for his loss of goods and thus to help him financially. But in his affliction, in his being covered from head to foot with sores and being in rags and tatters, he did not care about the goods. He wanted solace of soul. He wanted internal comfort, not external temporal things. Job was resigned to his losses, for he had said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Now he was looking for comfort. In his cast-down situation, money was meaningless, so he reminded the three with rhetorical questions: “Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance?” Of course the answers were no.

Job 6:23 Or, Deliver me from the enemy’s hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?

In regard to the “enemy,” Job may have been referring to the Sabeans and the Chaldeans, who had stolen his goods and slain his servants. The “mighty” were those who were mightier than he in his present state. He was greatly reduced from a position of esteem, authority, wealth, and power. He even had a military background, as we will find out later.

Job 6:24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

What was Job looking for? He wanted to be taught. “Teach me. Give me proper advice, counsel, and sympathy. Solace of the soul is the food that I want. Cause me to understand wherein I have erred.” Job was utterly confused as to the reason for his experience, for he did not know about Satan’s part in the situation. And the three comforters, being even more confused, relied on the current philosophy of the East, which deemed  affliction to be the result of doing something wrong—and hence retribution from the Authority above.

Comment: Job was saying, “Show me where I have erred.” Instead the three were presuming his guilt because of the circumstances. Thus they were adding to Job’s problems, not helping him.

Q: Do Job’s experiences have a prophetic application?

A: Job represents the true Church, the Church of Christ, but we will have to wait for a fuller explanation. When we review all of Job’s experiences, we will determine what period of history is involved or if there is dispensational value. For instance, does the Book of Job lead up to an end-time experience, as well as provide insight into the experiences of Christians down through the age? We have always said that to understand an antitype, we should first consider the total literal circumstance, or situation, and then extrapolate, as a finished picture, the lessons that can be drawn. Yes, the Book of Job has prophetic value, but it is not a mathematical type. It shows the relatively common experiences of the true followers of Jesus throughout the entire Gospel Age. Thus a consideration of the patience of Job and his experiences is helpful to the Christian. The Apostle James said, “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:10,11).

Job 6:25 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?

“How forcible are right words!” If the three had given Job right counsel and help and bolstered him in his weakness, their words would have benefited him.

Comment: For the last half of verse 25, “But what doth your arguing reprove?” the Revised Standard Version has, “But what does reproof from you reprove?” In other words, Job did not feel he had done anything wrong, but the three kept blaming him.

Reply: The three could not put their finger upon the reason for Job’s affliction. After the seven-day fast and silence were broken by Job earlier, then Eliphaz spoke as the elder, or the more important, of the three comforters. Now Job was speaking again, so a little time had elapsed since they had listened to Job’s grief, but instead of further questioning him and trying to get behind his trauma so that they could give proper counsel, they drew the wrong conclusion and added to his discomfort by their criticisms.

Job 6:26 Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?

Comment: Verse 26 reads as follows in the NIV: “Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat the words of a despairing man as wind?”

This was a very soul-searching comment from Job. In his naiveness, he was pouring out his soul to his supposed friends, but he found that their counsel was empty. It did not supply his need. His utterances were the result of a deep emotional trauma, but the three were giving him a lecture instead of sympathy.

Job 6:27 Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.

Job was like an orphan in his experience, bereft of parents and counselors. By their comments, the three supposed comforters were digging a grave for Job, crushing his spirit.

Q: Could digging a pit also have the thought of trying to trap Job? In their counsel, were they saying things to try to get him to confess?

A: That may be a superior thought in the sense that Eliphaz was not trying to destroy Job intentionally but wanted to entrap him into confessing what the real problem was.

Comment: That thought would be consistent with verse 15, which says the three “dealt deceitfully as a brook.”

Job 6:28 Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie.

In spite of his situation, Job was saying, “Look me in the eye when you talk. Instead of giving me a lecture, speak to my soul. Do you see any guilt complex in me? You have been talking to me for some time now. Have you noticed my conscience being troubled at any time?” Job was looking with sincerity into the eyes of his friends, and he expected a similar sincerity of intent and help. Evidently, Job’s appearance was so pitiful that the three averted him with their eyes rather than look at him too intently. If the sincerity of someone’s remarks is in question, the hearer usually turns aside his eyes to meditate. Job was saying, “Put aside all the phonetics that you are overwhelming me with, and look me in the eye. Give me something pragmatic and helpful. Let’s get down to business.” We get a little clue of the disposition and character of Job by just listening to his  remarks.

Job 6:29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it.

Job 6:30 Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?

Job was saying, “Am I a dumbbell? I had a reputation of being a judge. Even though I am in this sad situation, I have not lost my marbles altogether. I am not completely dense. What you are telling me I have heard before, as you also have.”

Next, what is the thought of “return” in verse 29?

Comment: A KJV marginal reference is Job 17:10, in which Job said, “But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.”

Q: The NIV has, “Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.” Is that a good rendering?

A: The NIV may be the preferred thought, but in the past, we considered Job to be saying, “Why don’t you go back to your homeland?” In that sense, “return” would literally mean “return.” “Do not incur any more responsibility for the wrong diagnosis you have been giving me. I do not need it. The more you speak and open your mouth, the more guilt you incur in giving improper counsel. I do not want your money or your goods, and you have not given me the right advice. You have not satisfied my need, so I would suggest that you three return to your homeland.” However, there is not enough evidence to prove the thought of “return” either way.

Comment: Only Eliphaz, one of the three, had spoken thus far, yet Job was really replying to all three. Would the other two have been nodding their heads or in some way making apparent their agreement with his remarks?

Reply: Yes, because Eliphaz used the pronoun “we” in Job 4:2, “If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved?” And he also said, “Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good” (Job 5:27). The body language of the other two would have shown agreement with what Eliphaz was saying.

Before proceeding, we will review verses 15-30, the end of the chapter. All kinds of translations give all kinds of explanations as to the words Job was expressing. To properly understand what he said is important, and some translations are better than others. The NIV and the RSV are usually superior, but we will give what we feel is the accurate translation. However, the translation is only the beginning of the story. The innuendo—what Job meant—is the other part of the story. What we need to know is, Why did Job speak as he did?

Verses 15-18: “As a sudden flood of waters from frozen heights above course through a wadi, rapidly disperse, and then disappear in the searing sand of the broad desert floor, so the unexpected appearance of you three [comforters] on the horizon, each with your band of servants, camels, supplies, and so forth, to guard you from the perils of the way, was a welcome sight of promising relief to my soul; but sad to say, my brethren, imagine my disappointment with the lack of sympathy and dearth of feeling that were reflected in your ensuing remarks, Eliphaz, and in the scolding I received from your tongue.”

Verses 19-21: “Apparently, you came with the expectation of seeing a person with my reputation and status in life, although bereft of goods, still with a noble and upright bearing. But what did you find? You found one who was bedraggled, covered from head to foot with loathsome, open sores and possibly contagious disease. Those accompanying you from the famed land of Teman, [that’s a proper translation based on the Septuagint and other reasons] noted for the wisdom of its inhabitants but also inhabited by the sun-darkened Sabeans, a prior people of different lineage, had the hope of a prosperous journey and the performance of a beneficial service on my behalf. But the spectacle all of you beheld completely unnerved you. You were confounded with the loss of words—what to say being momentarily brought to naught—and perhaps also tempted not to approach too near my bodily presence. And you were ashamed, similar to my neighbors and countrymen, to be seen too close to what apparently had been accursed of God for some unknown reason. But I must say this to your credit: you did overcome your inhibitions and sit down with me for the traditional mourning period of seven days and nights.”

Verses 22-25: “Did I say, Bring to me? Give me a reward of your substance? Deliver me from the enemy’s hand? Redeem me from the hand of the mighty? Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forceful are right words properly applied, but what does your arguing reprove? Your arguments are not pertinent or relevant to the matter at hand; they miss the mark.”

Verses 26 and 27: “Do you imagine to reprove the words of one emotionally distraught, whose outbursts of expression are mere wind when compared to the cool, calm, clinical statements of a logician not under the stress? Even now as I speak, the three of you look upon me not with the former esteem you once held as a friend, but as one below that level, as one now destitute, deprived of all worldly goods and station, indeed, as it were, as an orphan. Again as I yet speak with you, Eliphaz, both Bildad and Zophar are bargaining and casting lots to see which one will have the first opportunity of plotting to ensnare and entrap me into admission of some secret sin or imagined fault.”

Verses 28 and 29: “Now all of you, agree to face and look upon me, and to your face I will not lie. Turn back, I beg you. Let it not be imputed to you for iniquity. Yet, yea, on the other hand, turn back again if you find any justification in this matter on my behalf.”

Verse 30: “Is there wrong in my tongue? Or cannot my palate discern things iniquitous?”

We have given this review to show that while Job, Eliphaz, and the others were deep thinkers, they did a lot with innuendo, making their words applicable to the situation immediately at hand. When we come to the next chapter, we will see a change, for Job dismissed the arguments of the three for the moment; that is, he disregarded the three, even though they were in his presence. Meanwhile, those who had accompanied the three on the trip were silently and patiently waiting. They were confused as to what to do, but they had to obey their masters.

Now Job would go into sort of a soliloquy. He had just made certain observations, and now he began to pour out his grievances to God. As we start chapter 7, we will see that Job started to change his mode in connection with the confrontation he was having.

(2001-2003 Study)

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Job Chapter 6: Job Replies to Eliphaz His Supposed Comforter, 3.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
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