Job 5:1
Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?
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(1) Call now.—The speaker now becomes more personal and direct in his tone and bearing. He insinuates that Job is unwise” and “silly,” and promises swift destruction for all such.

Job 5:1. Call now, &c. — Wouldst thou know the reason why I relate to thee this night vision? I do it with an intent that thou mayest apply it to thyself, and thy present circumstances. Thou hast heard how weak and imperfect the best of men must be in comparison with God, but if this does not satisfy thee, if thou dost not believe what has been advanced, thou mayest inquire of others. Try, therefore, if there be any one that will defend thee in these thy bold expostulations with God. Thou mayest find fools or wicked men that will do it, but not one of the children of God. There is no good man but is of my opinion; and if an angel should appear to thee as one did to me, thou wouldst receive no other information but this.

5:1-5 Eliphaz here calls upon Job to answer his arguments. Were any of the saints or servants of God visited with such Divine judgments as Job, or did they ever behave like him under their sufferings? The term, saints, holy, or more strictly, consecrated ones, seems in all ages to have been applied to the people of God, through the Sacrifice slain in the covenant of their reconciliation. Eliphaz doubts not that the sin of sinners directly tends to their ruin. They kill themselves by some lust or other; therefore, no doubt, Job has done some foolish thing, by which he has brought himself into this condition. The allusion was plain to Job's former prosperity; but there was no evidence of Job's wickedness, and the application to him was unfair and severe.Call now - The expressions used here, as Noyes has well observed, seem to be derived from the law, where the word "call" denotes the language of the complainant, and answer that of the defendant. According to this, the meaning of the words "call now" is, in jus voca: that is, call the Deity to account, or bring an action against him: or more properly, enter into an argument or litigation, as before a tribunal; see the notes at Isaiah 41:1, where similar language occurs.

If there be any that will answer thee - If there is anyone who will respond to thee in such a trial. Noyes renders this, "See if He will answer thee;" that is, "See if the Deity will condescend to enter into a judicial conroversy with thee, and give an account of his dealings toward thee." Dr. Good renders it, "Which of these can come forward to thee; that is, "Which of these weakly, ephemeral, perishing insects - which of these nothings can render thee any assistance?" The meaning is probably, "Go to trial, if you can find any respondent; if there is any one willing to engage in such a debate; and let the matter be fairly adjudicated and determined. Let an argument be entered into before a competent tribunal, and the considerations pro and con be urged on the point now under consideration." The desire of Eliphaz was, that there should be a fair investigation, where all that could be said on one side or the other of the question would be urged, and where there would be a decision of the important point in dispute. He evidently felt that Job would be foiled in the argument before whomsoever it should be conducted, and whoever might take up the opposite side; and hence, he says that he could get no one of "the saints" to assist him in the argument. In the expression, "if there be any that will answer thee," he may mean to intimate that he would find no one who would be willing even to go into an investigation of the subject. The case was so plain, the views of Job were so obviously wrong, the arguments for the opinion of Eliphaz were so obvious, that he doubted whether anyone could be found who would be willing to make it the occasion of a set and formal trial, as if there could be any doubt about it.

And to which of the saints wilt thou turn? - Margin, as in Hebrew "look." That is, to which of them wilt thou look to be an advocate for such sentiments, or which of them would be willing to go into an argument on so plain a subject? Grotins supposes that Eliphaz, having boasted that he had produced a divine revelation in his favor Job 4, now calls upon Job to produce, if he can, something of the same kind in his defense, or to see if there were any of the heavenly spirits who would give a similar revelation in his favor. The word here rendered "saints" (קדשׁים qôdeshı̂ym) means properly those who are sanctified or holy; and it may be either applied to holy men, or to angels. It is generally supposed that it here refers to angels. So Schultens, Rosenmuller, Noyes, Good, and others, understand it. The word is often used in this sense in the Scriptures. So the Septuagint understands it here - ἤ εἴτινα ἀγγέλων ἁγίων ὄψῃ ē eitina angelōn hagiōn opsē. Such is probably its meaning; and the sense of the passage is, "Call now upon anyone, and you will find none willing to be the advocate of such sentiments as you have urged. No holy beings - human beings or angels - would defend them." By this, probably, Eliphaz designed to show Job that he differed from all holy being, and that his views were not those of a truly pious man. If he could find no one, either among holy angels or pious men, to be the advocate of his opinions, it followed that he must be in error.


Job 5:1-27. Eliphaz' Conclusion from the Vision.

1. if there be any, &c.—Rather, "will He (God) reply to thee?" Job, after the revelation just given, cannot be so presumptuous as to think God or any of the holy ones (Da 4:17, "angels") round His throne, will vouchsafe a reply (a judicial expression) to his rebellious complaint.Wrath foolish: the wicked miserable, Job 5:1-5. Evil cometh not by chance; it is natural to our condition, Job 5:6,7. This is our motive to prayer and trust in God, Job 5:8; whose unsearchable power and wisdom are against the high and crafty, for the relief of the poor, Job 5:9-16. Their happiness whom God correcteth, and God’s gracious care of such, Job 5:17-27.

Call now, i.e. invite, or make proclamation, as this word is oft used, as Deu 20:10 Judges 12:1 Jeremiah 2:2 3:12 7:2. Call them all as it were by their names; consult the whole catalogue of them all, which thou didst ever know or hear of.

If there be any, to wit, of the saints, as it follows.

That will answer thee, i.e. comply with thee, answer thy desires or expectations; try if there be any one saint that will defend or allow thee in these bold expostulations with God; or, as it is in the Hebrew,

if there be any that doth answer thee, i.e. whose opinion or disposition and carriage is answerable or like to thine. So answering is sometimes used, as Proverbs 27:19 Ecclesiastes 10:19. Thou wilt find many fools or wicked men, as it follows, Job 5:2, to answer or imitate thee in their speeches and carriages, but not one of the saints like thee; which deserves thy serious consideration, and gives thee just cause to question thine integrity.

The saints; either,

1. The angels, who are sometimes called saints, as Job 15:15 Daniel 8:13 Zechariah 14:5, because they are eminently and perfectly holy; or rather,

2. Holy men, as appears both from the word, which most commonly is so used, and from the opposition of the foolish man to these, Job 5:2, and because the example of men was more proper and effectual for Job’s conviction than of angels.

Wilt thou turn, or look? look about thee, view them all, and see if thou canst find one like thee.

Call now, if there be any that will answer thee,.... That is, call upon God, which, if seriously, and not ironically spoken, was good advice; God is to be called upon, and especially in times of trouble; and invocation is to be made in faith, in sincerity, and with fervency, and to be accompanied with confession of sin, and repentance for it; and sooner or later God hears and answers those that call upon him; but Eliphaz suggests, that if Job did call upon him, it would be in vain, he would not hear him, he going upon the same maxim that the Jews did in Christ's time, "God heareth not sinners": John 9:31; or call upon him to give him an oracle from heaven, to favour him with a vision and revelation, and see if he could get anything that would confront and confute what he had delivered as coming that way; which, if it could be done by him, would appear to be a falsehood and an imposture, since one revelation from God is not contradicted by another: or else the sense is, "call" over the catalogue and list of good men that have been from the beginning of the world, and see if there be any that "answers to thee" (n), whose case, character, and behaviour, correspond with thee; if ever any of them was afflicted as thou art, or ever behaved with so much indecency, impatience, murmuring, and blasphemy against God, as thou hast done; that ever opened his mouth, and cursed the day of his birth, and reflected upon the providence and justice of God as thou hast, as if thou wert unrighteously dealt with: or rather, "call now", and summon all creatures together, angels and men, and get anyone of them to be thy patron, to defend thy cause, and plead for thee, to give a reply to what has been said, from reason, experience, and revelation: and shouldest thou obtain this, which is not likely, "lo, there is one that can answer thee" (o), as some render the words, meaning either God or himself; thus Eliphaz insults Job, and triumphs over him, as being entirely baffled and conquered by him, by what he had related as an oracle and revelation from heaven:

and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? or "look", or "have respect" (p), that will be of any service to thee? meaning either the Divine Persons in the Godhead, sometimes called Holy Ones, as in Joshua 24:19; Proverbs 9:10; the Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Spirit, who may and should be turned and looked unto; God the Father, as the God of providence and grace for all good things; Jesus Christ his Son, as the Redeemer and Saviour for righteousness and eternal life; the blessed Spirit, as a sanctifier to carry on and finish the work of grace; but it is suggested, it would be in vain for Job to turn and look to any of these, since he would be rejected by them as a wicked man, nor would any of them plead his cause: or else the holy angels, as the Septuagint express it, and who are called saints and Holy Ones, Deuteronomy 33:2; and it is asked, which of those he could turn or look to, and could expect relief and protection from? signifying, that none of these would vouchsafe to converse with him, nor take him under their care, nor undertake to plead his cause: or rather holy men, such as are sanctified or set apart by God the Father, to whom Christ is made sanctification, and in whose hearts the Holy Spirit has wrought principles of grace and holiness, and who live holy lives and conversations; and it is insinuated, that should he turn and took to these, he would find none of them like him, nor in the same circumstances, nor of the same sentiments, or that would take his part and plead for him; but that all to a man would appear of the same mind with Eliphaz, that none but wicked men were afflicted by God as he was, and that he was such an one, and that for the reason following: the Papists very absurdly produce this passage in favour of praying to departed saints, when not dead but living ones are meant, and even turning to them is discouraged; and besides, this would contradict another tenet of the Papists, that the Old Testament saints, until the coming of Christ, were in a sort of purgatory, called Limbus Patrum, and therefore incapable of helping saints on earth that should apply unto them.

(n) "si est correspondens tibi", Bolducius. (o) "Ecce est qui respondeat tibi", Schultens. (p) Sept. "obtueberis", Montanus; "respicies", Vatablus, Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis.

Call now, if there be any that will {a} answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?

(a) He wills Job to consider the example of all who have lived or live godly, whether any of them are like him in raging against God as he does.

1. Call now, if there be any] Rather, call then, is there any …? The imperative call then is not ironical, but merely a very animated way of putting a supposition: if thou appeal then against God is there any that will hear thee or aid thee?

which of the saints] Better, the holy ones, that is, the angels, as ch. Job 15:15; Psalm 89:6-7; will any of these exalted beings receive thy complaint against God? In ch. Job 33:23 the angels are interpreters, conveying the meaning of God’s providences to men. But the converse idea that they convey men’s representations to God or intercede for them with Him is not found here, because the reference is to a complaint against God. There underlies the passage the idea that the angels are helpful to men, and the question is asked, If Job appeals to any of them against God will they hear his appeal and aid him? The question is only a vivid way of saying that they would turn away from him, abhorring his folly. Being holy, they know, for that very reason, the unapproachable holiness and rectitude of God, and the distance of all creatures from Him.

Ch. Job 5:1-7. Having laid this broad ground, Eliphaz proceeds to apply the principle to Job.

Verses 1-27. - Eliphaz, having narrated his vision, and rehearsed the words which the spirit spoke in his ear, continues in his own person, first (vers. 1-7) covertly reproaching Job, and then (vers. 8-27) seeking to comfort him by the suggestion that, if he will place himself unreservedly in the hands of God, it is still possible that God may relent, remove his chastening hand, deliver him from his troubles, and even give him back all his former prosperity. The anticipation is in remarkable accordance with the ultimate event (Job 42:10-17), and shows that Eliphaz, if not a prophet in the higher sense, is at least a sagacious interpreter of God's ways with men, and can very happily forecast the future. Verse 1. - Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; rather, call now; is there any that will answer thee? What aid, that is, wilt thou invoke, if thou turnest away from God, and reproachest him? Thinkest thou to find any one in heaven or earth to answer to the call and come to thy assistance? Utterly vain is any such hope. And to which of the saints wilt thou turn? By "the saints" are meant in this place "the holy angels" (comp. Job 15:15; Psalm 89:7; Zechariah 14:5). The question, "To which wilt thou turn?" seems to imply that there was already in Job's time some knowledge of individual members of the angelic host, such as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, etc., though we have no mention of any names of angels in Scripture until the time of Daniel (Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21). That invocation of angels was an actual practice in Job's age is, however, scarcely proved by this passage. Job 5:1 1 Call now, - is there any one who will answer thee?

And to whom of the holy ones wilt thou turn?

2 For he is a fool who is destroyed by complaining,

And envy slays the simple one.

3 I, even I, have seen a fool taking root:

Then I had to curse his habitation suddenly.

4 His children were far from help,

And were crushed in the gate, without a rescuer;

5 While the hungry ate his harvest,

And even from among thorns they took it away,

And the intriguer snatched after his wealth.

The chief thought of the oracle was that God is the absolutely just One, and infinitely exalted above men and angels. Resuming his speech from this point, Eliphaz tells Job that no cry for help can avail him unless he submits to the all-just One as being himself unrighteous; nor can any cry addressed to the angels avail. This thought, although it is rejected, certainly shows that the writer of the book, as of the prologue, is impressed with the fundamental intuition, that good, like evil, spirits are implicated in the affairs of men; for the "holy ones," as in Psalm 89, are the angels. כּי supports the negation implied in Job 5:1 : If God does not help thee, no creature can help thee; for he who complains and chafes at his lot brings down upon himself the extremest destruction, since he excites the anger of God still more. Such a surly murmurer against God is here called אויל. ל is the Aramaic sign of the object, having the force of quod attinet ad, quoad (Ew. 310, a).

Eliphaz justifies what he has said (Job 5:2) by an example. He had seen such a complainer in increasing prosperity; then he cursed his habitation suddenly, i.e., not: he uttered forthwith a prophetic curse over it, which, though פּתאם might have this meaning (not subito, but illico; cf. Numbers 12:4), the following futt., equivalent to imperff., do not allow, but: I had then, since his discontent had brought on his destruction, suddenly to mark and abhor his habitation as one overtaken by a curse: the cursing is a recognition of the divine curse, as the echo of which it is intended. This curse of God manifests itself also on his children and his property (Job 5:4.). שׁער is the gate of the city as a court of justice: the phrase, to oppress in the gate, is like Proverbs 22:22; and the form Hithpa. is according to the rule given in Ges. 54, 2, b. The relative אשׁר, Job 5:5, is here conj. relativa, according to Ges. 155, 1, c. In the connection אל־מצּנּים, אל is equivalent to עד, adeo e spinis, the hungry fall so eagerly upon what the father of those now orphans has reaped, that even the thorny fence does not hold them back. צנּים, as Proverbs 22:5 : the double praepos. אל־מן is also found elsewhere, but with another meaning. עמּים has only the appearance of being plur.: it is sing. after the form צדּיק, from the verb צמם, nectere, and signifies, Job 18:9, a snare; here, however, not judicii laqueus (Bttch.), but what, besides the form, comes still nearer - the snaremaker, intriguer. The Targ. translates לסטיסין, i.e., λησταί. Most modern critics (Rosenm. to Ebr.) translate: the thirsty (needy), as do all the old translations, except the Targ.; this, however, is not possible without changing the form. The meaning is, that intriguing persons catch up (שׁאף, as Amos 2:7) their wealth.

Eliphaz now tells why it thus befell this fool in his own person and his children.

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