Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)XXII.
(1) Then answered Eliphaz.—Eliphaz proceeds to reply in a far more exaggerated and offensive tone than he has yet adopted, accusing Job of definite and specific crimes. He begins by asserting that the judgment of God cannot be other than disinterested, that if, therefore, He rewards or punishes, there cannot be anything personal in it.Job 22:1. Then Eliphaz answered — Eliphaz, in this chapter, charges Job home with particular facts of cruelty and oppression, which he supposes him to be guilty of, though he cannot allege one proof of them; to which he adds the atrocious crime of atheism, and a denial or disbelief of God’s providence; and this latter he assigns as the reason of Job’s obstinacy in refusing to submit and acknowledge his guilt. He compares his wickedness to that of the mighty oppressors of the antediluvian world; to that of the inhabitants of Sodom and the cities of the plain; not obscurely intimating that his end would probably be the same as theirs, unless prevented by a speedy submission and full restitution; to which he therefore earnestly presses him, and endeavours to allure him by placing full in his view the great advantages he would probably reap from such a conduct. — Heath.
(1) That all real consolation in trial must be based on correct apprehensions of the divine character and plans. Falsehood, delusion, error, can give no permanent comfort.
(2) They whose office it is to administer consolation to the afflicted, should seek after the "truth" about God and his government.
They should endeavor to learn why he afflicts people, what purpose he proposes to accomplish, and what are the proper ends of trial. They should have an unwavering conviction that he is right, and should see as far as possible "why" he is right, before they attempt to comfort others. Their own souls should be imbued with the fullest conviction that all the ways of God are holy, and then they should go and endeavor to pour their convictions into other hearts, and make them feel so too. A minister of the gospel, who has unsettled, erroneous, or false views of the character and government of God, is poorly qualified for his station, and will be a "miserable comforter" to those who are in trial. Truth alone sustains the soul in affliction. Truth only can inspire confidence in God. Truth only can break the force of sorrow, and enable the sufferer to look up to God and to heaven with confidence and joy.
Job 22:1-30. As Before, Eliphaz Begins.
1. Eliphaz shows that man's goodness does not add to, or man's badness take from, the happiness of God; therefore it cannot be that God sends prosperity to some and calamities on others for His own advantage; the cause of the goods and ills sent must lie in the men themselves (Ps 16:2; Lu 17:10; Ac 17:25; 1Ch 29:14). So Job's calamities must arise from guilt. Eliphaz, instead of meeting the facts, tries to show that it could not be so.Eliphaz’s answer: man’s righteousness profiteth not God; nor can God fear man, Job 22:1-4. He chargeth Job’s misery on his sins, Job 22:5-11; which God beheld, and knew, nor could they be hid from him, Job 22:12-14. The wicked, and their misery, Job 22:15-17. If they prospered, he would not hold with them; but their destruction the righteous should laugh at, Job 22:18-20. He exhorteth Job to know God and his law, and return to him: he should grow rich: God shall be his defence, his joy and confidence, Job 22:21-26. If he would pray, God would hear; and his desire and purpose should stand, Job 22:27-30.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 1-30. - Eliphaz returns to the attack, but with observations that are at first strangely pointless and irrelevant, e.g. on the unprofitableness of man to God (vers. l, 2), and on the slight importance of Job's case (ver. 3). After this weak prelude, however, there is more vigour in his assault. In vers. 4-9 he directly charges Job with a number of specified sins, and in vers. 10, 11 declares his sufferings to be the consequence of them. He then proceeds to accuse him of denying God's omniscience (vers. 12-14), and, alter some not very successful attempts to retort on him his own words (vers. 15-20), finally recurs to his favourite devices (see Job 5:17-26) of exhorting Job to submission and repentance, and promising him restoration to God's favour and a return of prosperity (vers. 21-30). Verses 1, 2. - Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, Can a man be profitable unto God? Job had said nothing upon this point; but perhaps Eliphaz thinks his complaints and expostulations to imply a higher value in man, and a greater claim to consideration at God's hands, than can rightly be challenged. Certainly God does not depend on man for profit or advantage of any kind. Neither our wisdom nor our goodness "extendeth to him." As he that is wise may be profitable unto himself; rather, truly he that is wise is profitable unto himself; i.e. to himself only, and not to God. Man's intelligence and researches can add nothing to God's knowledge.
And the stratagems, with which ye overpower me!
28 When ye say: Where is the house of the tyrant,
And where the pavilions of the wicked - :
29 Have ye not asked those who travel,
Their memorable things ye could surely not disown:
30 That the wicked was spared in the day of calamity,
In the day of the outburst of wrath they were led away.
31 Who liketh to declare to him his way to his face?
And hath he done aught, who will recompense it to him?
Their thoughts which he sees through, are their secret thoughts that he is such an evil-doer reaping the reward of his deeds. מזמּות (which occurs both of right measures, good wise designs, Proverbs 5:2; Proverbs 8:12, and of artful devices, malicious intrigues, Proverbs 12:2; Proverbs 14:17, comp. the definition of בּעל מזמּות, Proverbs 24:8) is the name he gives to the delicately developed reasoning with which they attack him; חמס (comp. Arab. taḥammasa, to act harshly, violently, and overbearingly) is construed with על in the sense of forcing, apart from the idea of overcoming. In Job 21:28, which is the antecedent to Job 21:29, beginning with כּי האמרוּ (as Job 19:28), he refers to words of the friends like Job 8:22; Job 15:34; Job 18:15, Job 18:21. נדיב is prop. the noble man, whose heart impels (נדב, Arab. nadaba) him to what is good, or who is ready and willing, and does spontaneously that which is good (Arab. naduba), vid., Psychol. S. 165; then, however, since the notion takes the reverse way of generosus, the noble man (princely) by birth and station, with which the secondary notion of pride and abuse of power, therefore of a despot or tyrant, is easily as here (parall. רשׁעים, comp. עשׁיר, Isaiah 53:9, with the same word in the parallel) combined (just so in Isaiah 13:2, and similarly at least above, Job 12:21, - an anomaly of name and conduct, which will be for the future put aside, according to Isaiah 32:5). It is not admissible to understand the double question as antithetical, with Wolfson, after Proverbs 14:11; for the interrogative איּה is not appropriate to the house of the נדיב, in the proper sense of the word. Job 21:28, משׁכנות is not an externally but internally multiplying plur.; perhaps the poet by byt intends a palace in the city, and by אהל משׁכנות a tent among the wandering tribes, rendered prominent by its spaciousness and the splendour of the establishment.
(Note: Although the tents regularly consist of two divisions, one for the men and another for the women, the translation "magnificent pavilion" (Prachtgezelt), disputed by Hirz., is perfectly correct; for even in the present day a Beduin, as he approaches an encampment, knows the tent of the sheikh immediately: it is denoted by its size, often also by the lances planted at the door, and also, as is easily imagined, by the rich arrangement of cushions and carpets. Vid., Layard's New Discoveries, pp. 261 and 171.)
Job thinks the friends reason a priori since they inquire thus; the permanent fact of experience is quite different, as they can learn from ערי דרך, travellers, i.e., here: people who have travelled much, and therefore are well acquainted with the stories of human destinies. The Piel נכּר, proceeding from the radical meaning to gaze fixedly, is an enantio'seemon, since it signifies both to have regard to, Job 34:19, and to disown, Deuteronomy 32:27; here it is to be translated: their אתת ye cannot nevertheless deny, ignore (as Arab. nakira and ankara). אתת are tokens, here: remarkable things, and indeed the remarkable histories related by them; Arab. âyatun (collective plur. âyun), signs, is also similarly used in the signification of Arab. ‛ibrat, example, historical teaching.
That the כּי, Job 21:30, as in Job 21:28, introduces the view of the friends, and is the antecedent clause to Job 21:31 : quod (si) vos dicitis, in tempora cladis per iram divinam immissae servari et nescium futuri velut pecudem eo deduci improbum (Bttcher, de fin. 76), has in the double ל an apparent support, which is not to be denied, especially in regard to Job 38:23; it is, however, on account of the omission of the indispensable תאמרו in this instance, an explanation which does violence to the words. The כּי, on the contrary, introduces that which the accounts of the travellers affirm. Further, the ל in ליום indicates here not the terminus ad quem, but as in לערב, in the evening, the terminus quo. And the verb חשׂך, cohibere, signifies here to hold back from danger, as Job 33:18, therefore to preserve uninjured. Ew. translates Job 21:30 erroneously: "in the day when the floods of wrath come on." How tame would this הוּבל, "to be led near," be! This Hoph. signifies elsewhere to be brought and conducted, and occurs in Job 21:32, as in Isaiah 55:12 and elsewhere, of an honourable escort; here, in accordance with the connection: to be led away out of the danger (somewhat as Lot and his family by the escort of angels). At the time, when streams of wrath (עברה, the overflowing of vexation equals outburst of wrath, like the Arab. ‛abrt, the overflowing of the eye equals tears) go forth, they remain untouched: they escape them, as being under a special, higher protection.
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