Now we begin the second round of speeches between Job and his three friends. His friends are now focused on the fate of the wicked and they imply Job’s condition shows he has sinned. Again Eliphaz begins the speeches and he tells Job he is full of the east wind. The east wind was a violent and scorching wind from the desert that brought no rain. Eliphaz is implying that Job’s arguments are destructive and without any beneficial substance. He goes on to tell Job that he no longer needs to go to court because what he has been saying has condemned him. But Eliphaz has twisted Job’s words. And he turns to sarcasm, asking if Job was the first man ever. He threw Job’s words back in his face and reminded him that aged and grey haired men had a monopoly on wisdom. Job was already a mature man, having raised 10 grown children. This was most likely for effect, and Eliphaz being rude. Worse yet, Eliphaz claims to have great wisdom from his vast experiences and he will lower himself to share this with Job, no doubt at some cost to Job. From there Eliphaz begins his argument that Job is a wicked man. Eliphaz again twisted Job’s words of lament, this time about the day he was born. He made them fit the dark day of his death. He shows Job that everything that has happened to him has also happened to the wicked, again implying that Job is among the wicked. All three of his friends spoke of the terrors to come. Eliphaz told Job in essence he was marked for death, set to be killed by the sword. Along with the wicked, Job is appointed to be food for vultures. The breath of God that Eliphaz refers to May well be a theophany, a sighting of God, and that will cause Job to be burned. However, the flame of judgement will burn the unjust gain of the godless, and not against Job.
Just as before, Job replied to Eliphaz, and he calls him a miserable comforter. He also tells Eliphaz that he is the one full of hot air. He reminds Eliphaz that if their positions were reversed he could say the same things to him. But Job would be an encourager, not one who would make matters worse. Job also turned his attention to his misery. He was looking quietly, minding his own business, and the Lord shattered him. God took Job and shook him by the neck like a wild animal shake its prey. God used Job for target practice with his bow and arrows and pierced him…wounding his vital organs. He has been pierced so many times the ground is wet with his blood. God kept smashing Job, a picture of God besieging Job like someone attacking the walls of a city with a battering ram. He is wearing sackcloth as a sign of mourning, not penitence. And Job attached it to himself as though he could never be consoled so it could never be removed. He has no strength left, he has cried so much his eyes are red and yet he has done nothing wrong. Job reminded his friends that his prayer was pure because he was innocent. Job is left with a dilemma. He expected his suffering to be fatal but he also pled with God to reveal his innocence. In fact, Job’s blood would cry out that he had been innocent and he had suffered undeservedly. Job begs for a witness, a benevolent third party who would mediate between he and the Lord. He wanted an advocate from heaven. This was a legal metaphor. Job used it to express his wish for an advocate who would plead for him with God as a man pleads for his neighbor here on earth. This serves to anticipate our intercessor and advocate, Jesus Christ.
Job began to waver back and forth between defending his innocence and calling on God to defend his innocence. God has closed his friends minds to reason and listening. He is surrounded by mockers. And it is beginning to sound like Job has enough and he is ready to give up. His days are over. His hope has disappeared. His hearts desire is broken. There is nothing else left. His friends are twisting his words again. And he pictures a family reunion of his father, mother and sister in Sheol. The only good thing here is that they will be able to rest together in the dust.
Everything is beginning to wear on Job. His friends are not friendly. His suffering continues unabated. God is not listening and he is miserable. He still does not understand and he has no answers. He has not lost all hope yet but he is getting close. How much more can a guy take?
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W