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Bible Commentaries
Job 4

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Job Chapter 4

Job 4:1 "Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,"

Eliphaz: Job 2:11, Job 15:1, Job 22:1, Job 42:9

answered: Job 3:1, Job 3:2, Job 6:1, Job 8:1

Job 4:2 "[If] we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?" Eliphaz was fully aware that up until this time Job did not want his friends to talk to him. We discussed earlier, that many times deep grief has to be worked out silently within one’s self. Now, Eliphaz believed that it might be time to speak to Job. He was actually asking Job’s permission to speak to him. He had waited 7 days, and now, he felts he must speak.

to commune: Heb. a word

wilt thou: 2 Corinthians 2:4-6, 2 Corinthians 7:8-10

withhold himself from speaking: Heb. refrain from words, Job 32:18-20, Jeremiah 6:11, Jeremiah 20:9, Acts 4:20

Job 4:3 "Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands." It appears, that Job had ministered to those around him who had problems of any kind. It appears, he had instructed them in the ways of God. His instructions had strengthened those who were weak in the LORD.

Behold: Genesis 18:19, Proverbs 10:21, Proverbs 15:7, Proverbs 16:21, Isaiah 50:4, Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 4:6

and thou hast: Job 16:5, Deuteronomy 3:28, Ezra 6:22, Isaiah 35:3, Ezekiel 13:22, Luke 22:32, Luke 22:43

Job 4:4 "Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees." We knew earlier of Job’s great concern for his own children, but this shows me a man who was concerned about all of those around him, as well. Job’s advice to others in trouble had been of great help to them in their recovery.

upholden: Psalms 145:14, Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 16:23, Proverbs 16:24, 2 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Corinthians 7:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:14

feeble knees: Heb. bowing knees, Isaiah 35:3, Isaiah 35:4, Daniel 5:6, Hebrews 12:12

Job 4:5 "But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled." This friend was telling Job that he was good at giving advice, but he was not very good at taking advice. He was, also, saying, take for yourself, the advice you have given others. This friend of Job believed that this calamity, that had befallen Job, was a chastisement from God. He was thoroughly convinced that Job had done some terrible thing, and God was punishing him for it.

it is come: Job 3:25, Job 3:26

thou faintest: Proverbs 24:10, 2 Corinthians 4:1, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Hebrews 12:3, Hebrews 12:5

it toucheth: Job 1:11, Job 2:5, Job 19:21

Job 4:6 "[Is] not [this] thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?" Job feared God, and had confidence that God would see him through every peril. His hope was that he lived before God the very best that he could. He had done everything as near perfect as he knew how. It was very hard to put that confidence in God into practical application, with as much trouble as Job had at this time. The friend was making a sleight remark to Job about his righteousness. He was saying, if you were righteous in the sight of God, wouldn’t he save you from this? He had begun to insinuate that Job had sinned.

thy fear: Job 1:1, Job 1:9, Job 1:10, 2 Kings 20:3

thy confidence: Job 13:15, Proverbs 3:26, Proverbs 14:26

thy hope: Job 17:15, 1 Peter 1:13, 1 Peter 1:17

the uprightness: Job 1:8, Job 16:17, Job 23:11, Job 23:12, Job 27:5, Job 27:6, Job 29:12-17, Job 31:1-40

Job 4:7 "Remember, I pray thee, who [ever] perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?" This was, probably, some very good advice that Job had given to his friends in need who had come to him. God would not be cut off. It just appeared that way at the moment.

who ever: Job 9:22, Job 9:23, Psalms 37:25, Ecclesiastes 7:15, Ecclesiastes 9:1, Ecclesiastes 9:2, Acts 28:4, 2 Peter 2:9

Job 4:8 "Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same." With friends like this, Job did not need enemies. His friend was accusing him of sin. Iniquity, here, was speaking of both physical and spiritual evil. He was saying, "you reap, what you sow". He was convinced that Job had sinned and was refusing to repent of that sin. This was not true.

they that plow: Psalms 7:14-16, Proverbs 22:8, Jeremiah 4:18, Hosea 8:7, Hosea 10:12, Hosea 10:13, 2 Corinthians 9:6, Galatians 6:7, Galatians 6:8

Job 4:9 "By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed." It is the breath of God within all of us that allows us to live. God is in control of our birth and our death regardless of who we are or what we have done. It is also Jesus who is the Judge of all the world. It is his determination of whether we live in heaven or spend an eternity in hell.

the blast: Exodus 15:8, Exodus 15:10, 2 Kings 19:7, Psalms 18:15

by the breath of his nostrils: that is, by his anger, Job 1:19, Job 15:30, Isaiah 11:4, Isaiah 30:33, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Revelation 2:16

Job 4:10 "The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken."

the teeth: Job 29:17, Psalms 3:7, Psalms 57:4, Psalms 58:6, Proverbs 30:14

Job 4:11 "The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion’s whelps are scattered abroad." Eliphaz, now, was relating Job to evil men who were spoken of as lions. He was saying that Job had abused his power as a leader. The old lion was a tyrant who had lost his power. In this last statement, it was a terrible blow to Job, because his children were called the whelps. They were taken from Job, but they were not scattered, they were in heaven with God. Job’s friend spoke of them, as if they were lost for the sins of their father. All of the statements from Job’s friend were not true, because they were not from God.

old lion: Job 38:39, Genesis 49:9, Numbers 23:24, Numbers 24:9, Psalms 7:2, Jeremiah 4:7, Hosea 11:10, 2 Timothy 4:17

perisheth: Psalms 34:10

the stout: Job 1:19, Job 8:3, Job 8:4, Job 27:14, Job 27:15

Job 4:12 "Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof."

a thing: Psalms 62:11

secretly: Heb. by stealth

a little: 1 Corinthians 13:12

Job 4:13 "In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men," Whether this was speaking of a dream or a vision, it does not matter. There are two sources for dreams and visions. Only one source is from God. I would believe that Satan was using this friend to further attack Job. Notice, also, that the words he heard were as a whisper, which he did not hear clearly.

thoughts: Job 33:14-16, Genesis 20:3, Genesis 28:12, Genesis 31:24, Genesis 46:2, Numbers 12:6, Numbers 22:19, Numbers 22:20, Daniel 2:19, Daniel 2:28, Daniel 2:29, Daniel 4:5

deep sleep: Genesis 2:21, Genesis 15:12, Daniel 8:18, Daniel 10:9

Job 4:14 "Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake."

Fear: Job 7:14, Psalms 119:120, Isaiah 6:5, Daniel 10:11, Habakkuk 3:16, Luke 1:12, Luke 1:29, Revelation 1:17

came upon: Heb. met

all my bones: Heb. the multitude of my bones, Job 33:19

Job 4:15 "Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:" It would not matter that this was an evil spirit, he would have felt fear from it anyway. There was no question that Eliphaz had encountered the spirit, but the question is was it from God, or Satan? Satan will use members of our family and our closest friends to do us hurt.

a spirit: Psalms 104:4, Matthew 14:26, Luke 24:37-39, Hebrews 1:7, Hebrews 1:14

the hair: Isaiah 13:8, Isaiah 21:3, Isaiah 21:4, Daniel 5:6

Job 4:16 "It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image [was] before mine eyes, [there was] silence, and I heard a voice, [saying],"

there: etc. or, I heard a still voice, 1 Kings 19:12

Job 4:17 "Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?" The key to this was in the fact that the spirit planted a question in Eliphaz’s mind. God makes statements. Satan brings questions that cause us to doubt. This spirit was of Satan. Job had not tried to say that he was pure, or that he was more just than God. God had said that Job was righteous. It was God who said all of these nice things about Job. Job appears, from everything he said and did to be an humble man.

Shall mortal: Job 8:3, Job 9:2, Job 35:2, Job 40:8, Genesis 18:25, Psalms 143:2, Psalms 145:17, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Jeremiah 12:1, Romans 2:5, Romans 3:4-7, Romans 9:20, Romans 11:33

shall a man: Job 9:30, Job 9:31, Job 14:4, Job 15:14, Job 25:4, Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:20-23, Revelation 4:8

Job 4:18 "Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:" All of these accusations were lies from the father of lies, Satan. Job did not worship angels who are ministering spirits. He put his faith in the LORD, where it belonged. Just as God knew that angels were not infallible, Job knew they were not, too.

he put: Job 15:15, Job 15:16, Job 25:5, Job 25:6, Psalms 103:20, Psalms 103:21, Psalms 104:4, Isaiah 6:2, Isaiah 6:3

and his angels he charged with folly: or, nor in his angels in whom he put light, 2 Peter 2:4, Judges 1:6

Job 4:19 "How much less [in] them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation [is] in the dust, [which] are crushed before the moth?" Job’s friend was saying that God could not even trust Job to do the right thing. He was housed in a body of clay and was therefore worldly. Job’s friend was speaking lies. God did trust Job. That was what this whole attack on Job’s person was about, because God did trust him, and told Satan that He did.

dwell: Job 10:9, Job 13:12, Job 33:6, Genesis 2:7, Genesis 3:19, Genesis 18:27, Ecclesiastes 12:7, 2 Corinthians 4:7, 2 Corinthians 5:1

crushed: Job 13:28, Job 14:2, Psalms 39:11, Psalms 90:5-7, Psalms 103:15, Psalms 103:16, Psalms 146:4, 1 Peter 1:24

Job 4:20 "They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding [it]." He was speaking of the fact that all flesh dies. Part of this is true. God has no regard for the flesh of man, just for the spirit that dwells within that flesh.

destroyed: Heb. beaten in pieces, 2 Chronicles 15:6, *marg

from morning: Isaiah 38:12, Isaiah 38:13

they perish: Job 14:14, Job 16:22, Psalms 39:13, Psalms 92:7

without: Job 18:17, Job 20:7, 2 Chronicles 21:20, Psalms 37:36, Proverbs 10:7

Job 4:21 "Doth not their excellency [which is] in them go away? they die, even without wisdom." Now, we see the jealousy of Job’s wisdom by his friend. He was saying, that Job had been known as a wise man on the earth, but his wisdom would die with him.

excellency: Psalms 39:5, Psalms 39:11, Psalms 49:14, Psalms 146:3, Psalms 146:4, Isaiah 14:16, Luke 16:22, Luke 16:23, James 1:11

die: Job 36:12, Psalms 49:20, Isaiah 2:22, Luke 12:20

Job 4 Questions

1. Which of Job’s friends spoke first?

2. What was he asking Job for in Job 4:2?

3. What do we learn about Job from Job 4:3?

4. In Job 4:4, we find of Job’s great concern for whom?

5. Job’s friend was telling Job that he was good at ________ advice, but not good at __________ advice.

6. What did Job’s friend believe caused this calamity to come on Job?

7. Who was Job’s confidence in?

8. What was his hope?

9. The friend had begun to insinuate that Job had ________.

10. Job 4:7 was, probably, the same thing that _______ had said to those in trouble.

11. Quote Job 4:8.

12. By the _________ of God they perish.

13. Who is the Judge of all the world?

14. Who was Job’s friend relating him to in verse 10?

15. The whelps, in Job 4:11, were speaking of whom?

16. What were two different things that Job 4:12 and Job 4:13 could be speaking of?

17. What two very different sources do dreams and visions come from?

18. When this happened to Eliphaz, what effect did it have on him?

19. Who will Satan use to get to do us hurt?

20. What is the key to where this spirit came from?

21. Who had said that Job was righteous?

22. From everything he said and did, we can conclude that Job was an ___________ man.

23. Who were all of these lies from?

24. What are angels?

25. What was Job’s friend saying about his relationship with God?

26. God did trust ______.

27. What was the reason for the attack of Satan on Job?

28. All flesh ________.

29. God has no regard for the flesh of man. He regards the ________ ______ _______ _____ the flesh.

30. The last verse of this lesson reveals the ________ of Job’s friend.

Verses 1-5

Job 4:1-5

Job 4




This chapter and the next record the first speech of Eliphaz, loaded with the false wisdom of his day, "It merely poured vinegar, rather than oil, upon Job’s wounds." Out of the whirlwind, God Himself declared that Job’s friends, "Had not spoken of God the things that were right" (Job 42:7); and the very first word that God spoke out of the whirlwind blasted the long-winded diatribes of Job’s comforters, as "Darkening counsel by words without knowledge" (Job 38:2); and, therefore, the very worst mistake that anyone could possibly make in studying the speech of Eliphaz (or any of the rest of Job’s comforters) would be the acceptance of what he said as the truth. In the light of that fact, we shall limit our comments on those speeches. God Himself has already made the only comment that one needs in studying these speeches.

Job 4:1-5


"Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said:

If one assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved?

But who can withhold himself from speaking?

Behold, thou hast instructed many,

And thou hast strengthened the weak hands.

Thy words have upholden him that was falling,

and thou hast made firm the feeble knees.

But now it is come unto thee, and thou faintest;

It toucheth thee, and thou art troubled."

In short, Eliphaz here says, "Look, why don’t you take some of that good advice you have always been giving to other people? These words were a wound and not a comfort to Job. Eliphaz was totally ignorant of the unique suffering of Job, which was not due to his sins at all; and his self-righteous speech to Job must have sorely aggravated Job’s miseries. Eliphaz, apparently the oldest of Job’s comforters, and allowed by the others as the wisest of them, would go on and on with his "comfort."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 4:1. It should be remembered all the way through the book that these friends of Job were not inspired men. They will speak much truth and also much error. The report of their speeches is inspired, but the speeches themselves will not be so. I shall comment as far as seems necessary on their language, but wish the reader to keep constantly in mind the fact that they spoke on their own authority and that their main theory was false. All through the conversations between them and Job their position was to the effect that God never afflicts a righteous man; that Job was afflicted; therefore, Job was not a righteous man at the time of their consideration. Such was the formula if stated logically and the argument throughout will be on that basis. Job denied the theory and offered as proof the known fact that good men as well as bad were seen to be afflicted sometimes. That being the case, it follows that afflictions are not proof that the victim was unrighteous, and therefore his afflictions must be attributed to some other cause. This statement of the respective positions of the three friends on one side and Job on the other will be referred to frequently and the reader is requested to take full notice of it for his information as the story proceeds.

Job 4:2. Eliphaz made a sort of apology for speaking to Job but declared that he just had to speak.

Job 4:3-4. This paragraph was to remind Job of the teaching he had given to others. The purpose was to present a basis for accusations against him; that he had no excuse for the sins that had brought his present distress upon him.

Job 4:5-6. The idea thrown at Job is that he did not have the courage to "take his own medicine." Is not this thy fear, etc., was a taunt for Job meaning that such was all that his professions of confidence amounted to.

Verses 6-11

Job 4:6-11

Job 4:6-11


"Is not the fear of God thy confidence,

And the integrity of thy ways thy hope?

Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished being innocent?

Or where were the righteous cut off?

According as I have seen, they that plow iniquity,

And sow trouble, reap the same.

By the breath of God they perish,

And by the blast of his anger are they consumed.

The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion,

And the teeth of the young lions are broken.

The old lion perisheth for lack of prey,

And the whelps of the lioness are scattered abroad."

"Whoever perished, being innocent" (Job 4:7)? What a colossal error was this? One must suppose that Eliphaz never heard of Abel. One of the great Biblical proverbs is that one must not yoke the ox with the ass; and some of the most fantastic theological blunders are the result of doing that very thing. Men seize upon some truth, and then yoke it up with some fantastic error. The truth is that God does indeed bless, protect and provide for his people; but there is also a tremendous amount of wickedness in the world that very frequently vents its hatred and destruction against the righteous. Satan, of course, is the implacable foe of all mankind, and especially of the righteous.

"According as I have seen" (Job 4:8). Eliphaz’ theology is here revealed to have been based upon his personal observation. No man’s personal experience and observation constitute any solid ground for his theology. "The true theology rests upon the authority of divine revelation, and not upon limited human observation and speculation. Unfortunately, also, as Job later pointed out, Eliphaz’ observations and statistics were inaccurate (Job 21:17 ff)."

"The fundamental difference between Job and his friends is that they invariably found the cause of misfortune in the unfortunate, and Job, as for himself, found the cause in God." However the real cause of Job’s terrible misfortune did not lie in either center, but squarely in Satan. The Bible does not reveal whether or not Job ever knew this. The most glorious prayer ever recorded carries that epic line, "Deliver us from the evil one."

Job 4:10-11 are a rhetorical phase of Eliphaz’ speech, a metaphor, in which the lions are the wicked, and their destruction, God’s inevitable destruction of them. It was true only in the imagination of Eliphaz.

Then, in Job 4:12, Eliphaz introduced that tale about the vision he had; and, as we read it, it reminded us of some of those visions claimed by those prime time TV charlatans. No one could make a bigger mistake than to suppose that God really spoke to Eliphaz in a dream or vision. Commentators differ on just where the vision ends; but we accept the opinion that it was concluded only by the end of this chapter.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 4:5-6. The idea thrown at Job is that he did not have the courage to "take his own medicine." Is not this thy fear, etc., was a taunt for Job meaning that such was all that his professions of confidence amounted to.

Job 4:7-8. This paragraph exactly states the position of the three friends. Please read my comments on Job 4:1 for explanation of this passage.

Job 4:9-11. The blast of God means the force of God’s acts against the wickedness of men. A lion is strong and hard to overcome, yet it can be done when a greater force comes against him. Job had been a strong force but the blast of God was overcoming him. Lion perisheth for lack of prey is a figure of speech. Just as a strong beast will fail when the prey is gone, so the great professions of Job are coming to nought for lack of God’s favor to keep them in a good showing.

Verses 12-21

Job 4:12-21

Job 4:12-21


"Now a thing was secretly brought to me,

And mine ear received a whisper thereof.

In thoughts from visions of the night,

When deep sleep falleth upon men,

Fear came upon me, and trembling,

Which made all my bones to shake.

Then a spirit passed before my face;

The hair of my flesh stood up.

It stood still, but I could not discern the appearance thereof.

A form was before mine eyes:

There was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,

Shall a mortal man be more just than God?

Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?

Behold, he putteth no trust in his servants;

And his angels he chargeth with folly.

How much more them that dwell in houses of clay,

Whose foundation is in the dust,

Who are crushed before the moth.

Betwixt morning and evening they are destroyed:

They perish forever without any regarding it.

Is not their tent cord plucked up within them?

They die, and that without wisdom."

"Shall mortal man be more just than God?" (Job 4:17), or, Shall a man be more pure than his maker? If ever the mountain labored and brought forth a mole hill, we have an example of it here. What kind of a revelation is this? It tells us nothing, but seems to ask a couple of questions that might be construed as critical of Job. Were not Job’s protestations of innocence examples of a man claiming to be more just or pure than God? Almighty God Himself said of the speeches of Job’s friends that they had not spoken that which was right (Job 42:7); and this writer does not dare to allege any rightness whatever in this speech of Eliphaz. His angels he chargeth with folly (Job 4:18). Franks, making the mistake of supposing this "vision" had any truth in it, wrote that it is contrary to the doctrine of the N.T. that, "Some angels are good, and some are bad; all are fallible." Whether or not this thought was in Eliphaz’ vision, it is no basis whatever for supposing that the New Testament doctrine regarding angels in any sense contradicts the doctrine of the Old Testament. Satan, himself one of the fallen angels, is the unseen agent in the Book of Job who brought all the suffering upon that patriarch.

"Who are crushed before the moth" (Job 4:19). "A better translation of this is, "Crushed as easily as a moth.”

This is not the end of Eliphaz’ speech; he really gets down to business in the rest of it (Job 5).

E.M. Zerr:

Job 4:12-16. We do not know whether Eliphaz really thought he had this vision or was drawing on his imagination. At any rate, he professed to have some "inside" information that he wanted to pass on to Job. Of course we would expect it to be along the line of his theory as to the reason for the afflictions of his friend.

Job 4:17. This implies a false accusation against Job. He never claimed to be even as just as God, much less to be more so than he. He only denied that his afflictions were a punishment for any injustice of his.

Job 4:18. Eliphaz spoke the truth about the angels (2 Peter 2:4; Judges 1:6), but that had no bearing on Job’s case. It had not been shown that he was guilty of folly.

Job 4:19-21. If God will not tolerate sin and folly in his angels, he certainly will not suffer creatures of the earth to escape. That is true but did not figure in the case of Job because he had not been convicted of any wrong conduct.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 4". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-4.html.
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