"Can a vigorous man be of use to God": "In his previous discourse, Job argued that God"s punishments are indiscriminate, that is, they come upon the wicked and righteous alike (21:23-26). Eliphaz now speaks to that point, and his object is to show that punishment does imply guilt. He claims that since God is self-sufficient, no action on the part of man is able to influence Him" (Jackson p. 57). God is not helped or impressed by the strong man or even the wise man, thus, "God would gain nothing by deviating from strict justice in healing with human behavior" (Strauss p. 220).
He argues that the strongest of men are not useful to God and certainly a professional wise man cannot give an instruction to the Almighty. He claims that Job"s uprightness could not please or benefit God. "It was only because Job had sinned that God"s alarm system went off, causing Him to penalize Job" (Zuck p. 103). Once again we have a mixture of truth and error in what these friends believed. On one hand, God does not need man for life or existence (Acts 17:24ff), yet God does take pleasure in righteous people (Matthew 22:23; Job 1:8 "Have you considered My servant Job?"). In addition, God even uses such people to bring about His purposes (Isaiah 6:8).
The assumption is that God would not intervene is a man were righteous, God would simply send His blessings, that God would only intervene if a man were wicked.
Seeing that Job has been punished severely this is taken as proof that Job is not simply a sinner, but a sinner with transgressions without numbers. "If your suffering is limitless and God is just, then your sins must also be boundless" (Strauss p. 221).
Specific sins are now charged against Job. "Without any evidence whatsoever, Eliphaz openly charged Job with several social evils" (Zuck p. 103). In the Law of Moses it was decreed that if a man was forced to give his outer garment to a creditor as a pledge of payment, the garment was to be returned to him at night so that he would have its protection from the cold (Exodus 22:26-27; Deuteronomy 24:10-13). Job will answer this charge in 31:19-22.
Job is accused of refusing to care for weary travelers or give a meal to the hungry.
One view of this verse is that "Eliphaz was saying that the reason for Job"s inhospitable actions towards travelers was his arrogance in thinking he owned the earth" (Zuck p. 104). In spite of the fact that Job was the honorable and mighty man, Eliphaz claimed that Job refused to help those in need, even though he had plenty of money.
Here is the claim that Job rejected the widows and crushed the orphans. This sin is condemned throughout the Old Testament (Exodus 22:22; Deut. 27:19; Jeremiah 7:9; 22:3; Zechariah 7:10).
As a result Job was ensnared by such sins (compare with 18:9,11).
"Abundance of water covers you": Calamity has simply overwhelmed Job, like the waters of a flood. Crushing misfortunes are figuratively referred to as blinding darkness and destructive floods (Psalm 69:2,3).
Again Eliphaz stresses God"s distance above man (see 4:17-19; 5:9; 15:14-16). God is even higher than the farthest star.
"You say, "What does God how?"": Eliphaz claimed that Job had been very insolent to question God"s knowledge and His awareness of man. Actually, Job had said that God did know, and that was the very thing that was so frustrating to him. "Job had not said God cannot see man; in fact he affirmed just the opposite (7:17-20; 14:6)" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 745).
The idea here could be that Eliphaz is accusing Job of saying that God is ignorant of the affairs of men, that somehow the clouds obscure His sight.
Some believe that this is a reference to the flood during Noah"s time. "The foundations of their existence collapsed from beneath them, swept away as by a flood (Matthew 7:26). They were snatched away without warning" (Strauss p. 225).
"What can the Almighty do to them?" Compare with 21:14-16. Here is a sample of the words that unbelievers in the past have said (Jude 15).
Eliphaz argues that the prosperity of the wicked, that God caused, was only a prelude to disaster, like fattening up animals before the slaughter. 22:18 "But the counsel of the wicked is far from me": This is actually something that Job himself had said (21:16). "Eliphaz wanted it known that he was rejecting the ideas of the wicked, but that he was doing so by agreeing with wicked Job!" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 746).
The righteous rejoice over the destruction of the wicked. Job had said that his friends had been mocking him (21:3), now Eliphaz counters that righteous men like himself gladly mock the downfall of sinners (like Job). Notice the reference to "fire" consuming one"s possessions, another reference to Job"s personal calamities.
Here is a call to repent. Job needs to yield to God and the result will be that Job will find peace.
"Place your gold in the dust": Which appears to mean, "quit trusting in your wealth". "How could Eliphaz prove that Job trusted in his material things? In fact he now had no gold in which to trust!" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 746). Or, does this verse suggest that Job still had some personal wealth in the form of money or gold? "Ophir" was located on the southwestern Arabian coast.
The following blessings are promised if Job will only repent: Prosperity, a relationship with God, answered prayers, success of his plans, confidence, and deliverance. God"s silence will only be ended, when Job repents. A light of constant success would shine on his way.
"And he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands": The idea is that the righteous man has influence with God, and through his prayers others will be delivered (see Genesis 18:21-33). Yet God reminds us that such "influence" only goes so far (Ezekiel 14:12-18; Jeremiah 31:29-30). Later in the letter Job will intercede for his friends (42:7-10).
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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 22". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent