If we assay to commune with you, will you be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?
Eliphaz says," Who can withhold himself from speaking?" He utters his own sentiment, but it is a very common one - far more common than the honest admission of it with which Eliphaz justifies his address to Job.
I. IRREPRESSIBLE SPEECH SPRINGS FROM VARIOUS INFLUENCES, Sometimes it is difficult to find words. What, then, are the things that break open the fountains of speech?
1. Natural temperament. Some are naturally loquacious, others as naturally taciturn. No man is responsible for his original constitution; his responsibility begins with his use of it.
2. Wealth of ideas. It is not only verbal fluency that runs into a volume of speech. One who thinks much will have the materials for talking much. Coleridge meditated deeply; Macaulay read enormously, and remembered all he read; and both were great talkers.
3. Depth of feeling. Passion elves eloquence to the least gifted person. Sympathy will seek for words. So the long contemplation of Job's sufferings urged Eliphaz to speak.
4. Provocation. Eliphaz was shocked at Job's cursing the day of his birth. Unable to enter into the tragic depths of the sufferer's grief, he could easily perceive the highly improper tone of the language used. Controversy rouses the least beautiful, but often the most vigorous, kind of eloquence.
5. Vanity. To many people there is a strange charm in the sound of their own voices.
II. IRREPRESSIBLE SPEECH MAY BE A SOURCE OF GREAT EVIL, The talker rarely seems to consider how keen a weapon he is wielding. He does not appear to remember that his words are like arrows, and that the bow drawn at a venture may inflict a mortal wound; that they are as seeds which may spring up and bear bitter fruit long after the sower has forgotten when and where he threw them broadcast over the earth. Certain points in particular need to be noticed.
1. Irrepressible speech lacks due reflection. It is hasty and ill-judged. Thus it may say far more than the speaker intended, and it may even convey a very false impression. Spoken without due thought, the hurried word may make a suggestion which mature consideration would utterly repudiate. Words lead to deeds, and thus irrepressible speech becomes an unalterable act. "Volatility of words," says Lavater, "is carelessness in actions; words are the wings of actions."
2. Irrepressible speech is likely to be inconsiderate of the feelings of others. Surely Job's three comforters could not have known what cruel barbs their words were, or they would scarcely have tormented the sufferer as they did. It is so easy to wound with the tongue, that if we talk hastily and without thought, it is most likely that we shall do so even without intending it.
3. Irrepressible speech is a slight on the mission of silence. Those seven days of silence served as a healing ministry, or at least they were days of unadulterated sympathy on the part of the three friends. Why, then, should the good men change their tactics? Evidently they had not enough faith in silence.
4. Irrepressible speech needs the preservation of Divine grace. Great talkers should especially look for help from above, that their speech may be "seasoned with salt." He who spake as never man spake is a model of wise, laconic utterance. To be safe in the use of the tongue we need to be much in company with Christ, often in converse with Heaven. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?