IV. THIRD CYCLE OF SPEECHES#The traditional three cycles of speeches breaks down in chaps. 22–27, because Zophar does not appear. This may be interpreted as a sign that the three friends see no point in further dialogue, or that Job’s replies have reduced them to silence, or that there has been a mistake in the transmission of the text (hence various transferrals of verses have been proposed to include Zophar, but without any textual evidence).
Eliphaz’s Third Speech.
1Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
2Can a man be profitable to God?#a. [22:2] Jb 9:2.
Can a wise man be profitable to him?
3Does it please the Almighty that you are just?#b. [22:3] Jb 35:7.
Does he gain if your ways are perfect?#Another irony: God will “gain,” because he will have been proved right in his claim to the satan that Job is “perfect.”
4Is it because of your piety that he reproves you—
that he enters into judgment with you?
5Is not your wickedness great,
your iniquity endless?
6You keep your relatives’ goods in pledge unjustly,#This criticism of Job by Eliphaz is untrue (cf. 31:19), but he is driven to it by his belief that God always acts justly, even when he causes someone to suffer; suffering is due to wrongdoing (cf. v. 29).
leave them stripped naked of their clothing.#c. [22:6] Jb 24:3; Dt 24:6, 17; Ez 18:12, 16.
7To the thirsty you give no water to drink,
and from the hungry you withhold bread;
8As if the land belonged to the powerful,
and only the privileged could dwell in it!
9You sent widows away empty-handed,
and the resources of orphans are destroyed.#d. [22:9] Jb 29:12–13; Dt 24:17; 27:19.
10Therefore snares are round about you,#e. [22:10] Jb 18:8–10.
sudden terror makes you panic,
11Or darkness—you cannot see!
A deluge of waters covers you.
12Does not God, in the heights of the heavens,#f. [22:12] Jb 11:8.
behold the top of the stars, high though they are?
13Yet you say, “What does God know?#g. [22:13–14] Ps 10:11; 73:11; 94:7; Is 29:15; Ez 8:12; 9:9.
Can he judge through the thick darkness?
14Clouds hide him so that he cannot see
as he walks around the circuit of the heavens!”
15Do you indeed keep to the ancient way
trodden by the worthless?
16They were snatched before their time;
their foundations a river swept away.
17They said to God, “Let us alone!”
and, “What can the Almighty do to us?”
18Yet he had filled their houses with good things.
The designs of the wicked are far from me!#The second part of the verse repeats 21:16. #h. [22:18] Jb 21:16.
19The just look on and are glad,
and the innocent deride them:#Them: the wicked. Eliphaz obviously thinks that the just can be pleased by God’s punishment of the wicked. Such pleasure at the downfall of the wicked is expressed elsewhere, e.g., Ps 58:11; 63:12. #i. [22:19] Ps 107:42.
20“Truly our enemies are destroyed,
and what was left to them, fire has consumed!”
21Settle with him and have peace.
That way good shall come to you:
22Receive instruction from his mouth,
and place his words in your heart.
23If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored;
if you put iniquity far from your tent,
24And treat raw gold as dust,
the fine gold of Ophir#Ophir: see note on Ps 45:10. as pebbles in the wadi,
25Then the Almighty himself shall be your gold
and your sparkling silver.
26For then you shall delight in the Almighty,
you shall lift up your face toward God.
27Entreat him and he will hear you,#j. [22:27] Jb 33:26.
and your vows you shall fulfill.
28What you decide shall succeed for you,
and upon your ways light shall shine.
29For when they are brought low, you will say, “It is pride!”
But downcast eyes he saves.#k. [22:29] Ps 138:6; Prv 29:23; Mt 23:12; Lk 1:52; Jas 4:10; 1 Pt 5:5.
30He will deliver whoever is innocent;
you shall be delivered if your hands are clean.#l. [22:30] Jb 17:9; Ps 18:21, 25; 24:4.