Job 15:3
Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?
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(3) Should he reason with unprofitable talk?—Nay, his arguments, though pretentious and apparently recondite, are unprofitable, and can do no good.

Job 15:3. Should he reason with unprofitable talk? — Of what consequence are all his arguments? Do they carry any weight with them? Do they convince and satisfy those with whom he contends? No: they are no better than unprofitable talk. With speeches wherewith he can do no good? — Either to himself or others, but will do much hurt.

15:1-16 Eliphaz begins a second attack upon Job, instead of being softened by his complaints. He unjustly charges Job with casting off the fear of God, and all regard to him, and restraining prayer. See in what religion is summed up, fearing God, and praying to him; the former the most needful principle, the latter the most needful practice. Eliphaz charges Job with self-conceit. He charges him with contempt of the counsels and comforts given him by his friends. We are apt to think that which we ourselves say is important, when others, with reason, think little of it. He charges him with opposition to God. Eliphaz ought not to have put harsh constructions upon the words of one well known for piety, and now in temptation. It is plain that these disputants were deeply convinced of the doctrine of original sin, and the total depravity of human nature. Shall we not admire the patience of God in bearing with us? and still more his love to us in the redemption of Christ Jesus his beloved Son?Should he reason with unprofitable talk? - It does not become a man professing to be wise to make use of words that are nothing to the purpose. The sense is, that what Job said amounted to just nothing. 2. a wise man—which Job claims to be.

vain knowledge—Hebrew, "windy knowledge"; literally, "of wind" (Job 8:2). In Ec 1:14, Hebrew, "to catch wind," expresses to strive for what is vain.

east wind—stronger than the previous "wind," for in that region the east wind is the most destructive of winds (Isa 27:8). Thus here,—empty violence.

belly—the inward parts, the breast (Pr 18:8).

Either to himself or others, but much hurt; which is implied by the contrary, as is usual.

Should he reason with unprofitable talk?.... That is, the wise man, such a man as Job; does it become him to talk such idle stuff? that which is false, and foolish, and frothy, that does not minister grace to the hearer, and is not for the use of edifying; as whatever is untrue, unwise, vain, and empty, must be useless and answer no good end; nothing is profitable but what tends to increase solid wisdom and spiritual knowledge, and to exercise grace, and influence an holy life; wherefore what are profitable to the souls of men are the doctrines of the word of God, and the experiences of the grace of God, communicated by his people one to another; and nothing but these, or what agrees with them, should come out of the mouth of a wise and good man; nor can such an one expect to convince men of their errors, or reprove them for their sins with success, who deals in words of no profit:

or with speeches wherewith he can do no good? but may do a great deal of hurt both to himself and others; but the same thing is here signified in different words,

Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?
3. Should he reason] Or, will he reason, or better, reasoning with unprofitable talk. The verse is subordinate to the last, carrying out its idea.

Verse 3. - Should he reason with unprofitable talk! Such, Eliphaz implies, had been Job's talk, altogether idle and unprofitable. A wise man should have abstained from such profitless arguments. They were speeches wherewith he could do no good. Job 15:3 1 Then began Eliphaz the Temanite, and said:

2 Doth a wise man utter vain knowledge,

And fill his breast with the east wind?

3 Contending with words, that profit not,

And speeches, by which no good is done?

4 Moreover, thou makest void the fear of God,

And thou restrainest devotion before God;

5 For thy mouth exposeth thy misdeeds,

And thou choosest the language of the crafty.

6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee and not I,

And thine own lips testify against thee.

The second course of the controversy is again opened by Eliphaz, the most respectable, most influential, and perhaps oldest of the friends. Job's detailed and bitter answers seem to him as empty words and impassioned tirades, which ill become a wise man, such as he claims to be in assertions like Job 12:3; Job 13:2. החלם with He interr., like העלה, Job 13:25. רוּח, wind, is the opposite of what is solid and sure; and קדים in the parallel (like Hosea 12:2) signifies what is worthless, with the additional notion of vehement action. If we translate בּטן by "belly," the meaning is apt to be misunderstood; it is not intended as the opposite of לב fo et (Ewald), but it means, especially in the book of Job, not only that which feels, but also thinks and wills, the spiritually receptive and active inner nature of man (Psychol. S. 266); as also in Arabic, el-battin signifies that which is within, in the deepest mystical sense. Hirz. and Renan translate the inf. abs. הוכח, which follows in Job 15:3, as verb. fin.: se dfend-il par des vaines paroles; but though the inf. abs. is so used in an historical clause (Job 15:35), it is not an interrogative. Ewald takes it as the subject: "to reprove with words-avails not, and speeches - whereby one does no good;" but though דּבר and מלּים might be used without any further defining, as in λογομαχεῖν (2 Timothy 2:14) and λογομαχία (1 Timothy 6:4), the form of Job 15:3 is opposed to such an explanation. The inf. abs. is connected as a gerund (redarguendo s. disputando) with the verbs in the question, Job 15:2; and the elliptical relative clause יסכּן לא is best, as referring to things, according to Job 35:3 : sermone (דּבד from דּבר, as sermo from serere) qui non prodest; בּם יועיל לא, on the other hand, to persons, verbis quibus nil utilitatis affert. Eliphaz does not censure Job for arguing, but for defending himself by such useless and purposeless utterances of his feeling. But still more than that: his speeches are not only unsatisfactory and unbecoming, אף, accedit quod (cumulative like Job 14:3), they are moreover irreligious, since by doubting the justice of God they deprive religion of its fundamental assumption, and diminish the reverence due to God. יראה in such an objective sense as Psalm 19:10 almost corresponds to the idea of religion. שׂיחה לפני־אל is to be understood, according to Psalm 102:1; Psalm 142:3 (comp. Psalm 64:2; Psalm 104:34): before God, and consequently customary devotional meditation, here of the disposition of mind indispensable to prayer, viz., devotion, and especially reverential awe, which Job depreciates (גּרע, detrahere). His speeches are mostly directed towards God; but they are violent and reproachful, therefore irreverent in form and substance.

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