Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Job 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-21



Verses 1-21:

The Mildest of Job’s Accusers

Verses 1, 2 begin an extended controversy between Job and his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, followed by a younger accuser named Elihu.

The phrase "after this" means after one week of their sitting in silence with Job in dust and ashes, and after he had concluded deriding the day of his birth and why he had not then died, Eliphaz the Temanite responded, Job 2:11-13; ch. 3. Eliphaz inquired of Job directly whether or not he would be grieved or gravely offended if his friends should share their judgments in the occasion of his grief. In essence he said, "one can not hold back from speaking on such an occasion, can he?"

Verses 3-5 affirm that Job had truly instructed many and strengthened weak hands, supporting him who was falling, strengthened or supported the feeble knees, the infirm and the aged, Isaiah 35:3; 2 Samuel 4:1; Hebrews 12:12. But now he had become troubled, fainted, or fallen out with weariness, weaknesses and asserted he wished to die, having lost self-command or emotional control, 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 13:5.

Verses 6, 7 first inquire if Job’s upright conduct or behavior in life is not the basis of his fear or reverence of and hope in God, Psalms 119:116; Ecclesiastes 9:4. Then Eliphaz chides or scolds Job, asking him to name anyone who ever perished in innocence or was cut off or killed in righteousness, yet they are. in war and in peace, on the highway and in the home, Ecclesiastes 9:2; James 5:11.

Verses 8, 9 recount observations of life that Eliphaz has noted. He asserts that those who plow, sow, and plant iniquity reap what they sow, Psalms 7:14; Proverbs 22:8; Hosea 7:7; Hosea 10:13; Galatians 6:7-8. By the judgment blast of God they come to ruin, and by the breath of His nostrils, at His breathed out fury, they are consumed, brought to ruin, like the blast of an hot, dry, east wind destroys grass and crops of the fields, Job 1:16; Isaiah 5:25; Psalms 18:8; Psalms 18:15. See also Exodus 15:8; Job 1:19; Job 15:30; Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 30:33; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

Verses 10, 11 use five Hebrew terms for the lion in describing different stages of the life of the lion to symbolize calamities that come upon the strongest of the wicked among men, just as destruction comes upon the lion in spite of his strength, Psalms 58:6; 2 Timothy 4:17. There is, 1) the raging or teasing lion, 2) the roaring or bellowing lion, 3) the teeth of the young lion that hunts for prey, 4) the strong lion of old age, and 5) the stout lion, Job 29:17; Psalms 3:7; Psalms 57:4; Psalms 34:10; Psalms 58:6.

Verse 12 begins a horrid dream that Eliphaz had and relates, as if it had a godly, covert meaning. It was secretly or stealthily brought before him and he received it as a whisper, implying there was more to it than the words he heard, or more than words could utter, Job 26:14; 2 Corinthians 12:4.

Verses 13-16 describe this vision of a "spooky dream," apparently demon given. The night vision came as Eliphaz was in deep sleep, with divided or troubled thoughts, Job 33:15. Fear overcame him that made his bones to shake and tremble. Then a spirit passed before his face, evidently a demon spirit, causing his hair to stand up on his whole body. The spirit came and momentarily stopped before his eyes. There was dead silence. Then a whispering voice spoke out of the silence, Psalms 104:4; Hebrews 1:14.

Verse 17 adds that the voice rhetorically asked, "mortal man shall not be more just than God or purer than his maker, shall he?" The answer is no. But note that though man in his depraved nature is "mortal" deathly, it does not mean that he becomes extinct, goes out of existence at death. The soul of man is never said to be mortal! Hebrews 9:27-28. Man may be justified before God, only by faith in Jesus Christ, or at the point of total reliance on Jesus who died for all his sins, Romans 3:24-25.

Verse 18 asserts that "he put no trust (no longer trust) in His servants," those fallen ones He charged with folly or imperfection because of their rebellion, of those angels once called "saints" or holy servants, Job 15:15; 2 Peter 2:4; Judges 1:6; Judges 1:14-15.

Verse 19 affirms that God would surely put no more trust in men who dwell in houses of clay, with a foundation in the dust of death, than in the fallen angels. For men are crushed in death as payment for original sin as surely as moths are crushed by foundations of hard clay, Matthew 7:27; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Genesis 3:19. As a moth eats a garment, so is man a subject of crushing by the law of sin and death, Job 27:18; Psalms 39:11; Isaiah 1:9.

Verses 20, 21 conclude that men die from morning to night, all day long, in spite of any moral holiness, because of sin in them, James 1:15; Exodus 18:14; Isaiah 38:12; Psalms 90:5-6. Men perish without any really regarding it. Their excellency, station of life is soon gone and forgotten. Their wisdom dies with them, a general rule of human experience, Psalms 49:14; Psalms 49:17; Job 34:12. Only their works follow, Revelation 14:13.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-4.html. 1985.
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