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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Job 15

 

 

Verse 1

Job 15:1. Here begins the second cycle of the debate. Eliphaz had before said everything possible, presuming Job's real goodness—he had explained how he must accept his sufferings as a Divine chastisement, and be instructed by them. Job, however, rejects all this, and Eliphaz is consequently compelled to conclude that Job is a despiser of religion and wholly impious: all he can do is to point out the consequences of such irreligion and impiety.


Verses 2-19

Job 15:2-19 is a polemic against Job's arrogance and pretence of wisdom. Job's words are empty and violent (Job 15:2 f.). He does away with all religion (Job 15:4) and breaks the reverential stillness, which should be observed in the presence of God. It is his wickedness that inspires his words and gives to his tongue the craft of the serpent (Genesis 31) (Job 15:5). So he stands self-condemned (Job 15:6). Is he the primæval man of whom the myths tell, who sat in the council of God? (Job 15:7 f.). This mythical figure is not elsewhere found in the OT ‘but cf. the figure of Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22-31); it is, however, "a conception which spreads its branches wide over the most various regions of religion" (Bousset, Hauptprobleme der Gnosis, 1907, p. 160). What does Job know, Eliphaz continues, that the friends do not know? (Job 15:9). Age is on their side (Job 15:10). Why did he despise Eliphaz's former gentle speech, roll his eyes in anger, and defy God (Job 15:11-13)? Eliphaz can only repeat that no man or angel is pure (Job 15:14-18). What he says is ancient wisdom, come down from the fathers, before intermixture with strangers had defiled the pure tradition (Job 15:17-19).

Job 15:16 refers, as the context indicates, to man in general. To drink like water means to drink in large draughts, whereas strong liquor is drunk more cautiously.

Job 15:20-35 describes the fate of the ungodly. "The teaching which the wise have handed down is now given. While the wicked lives in outward prosperity he is constantly tormented by forebodings of disaster" (Peake). These forebodings proceed from his impiety against God (Job 15:25 f.). With Job 15:28 cf. Deuteronomy 13:16, Joshua 6:26, 1 Kings 16:34. The impious man shall perish hopelessly (Job 15:29-35). Eliphaz does not even yet, however, apply this doctrine to Job; he leaves Job to make the application for himself From Job 15:29 onwards the text is in disorder. - Job 15:29 b is hopelessly corrupt. It is best to omit the verse. Delete Job 15:30 a as a variant upon that of Job 15:22 a and read the last line "and his fruit is whirled away by the wind."

Job 15:31 is probably a gloss; it interrupts the continuity of the description of the fate of the impious with an admonition.

Job 15:32 is perhaps best read, after LXX. "His stem shall wither before his time, and his palm-branch shall not be green." With these alterations Job 15:30-33 pursues the metaphor of a withering tree.

Job 15:35 is also probably a gloss (cf. Isaiah 59:4).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 15:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/job-15.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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