Job 5:1-7 ESV
“Call now; is there anyone who will answer you?
To which of the holy ones will you turn?
Surely vexation kills the fool,
and jealousy slays the simple.
I have seen the fool taking root,
but suddenly I cursed his dwelling.
His children are far from safety;
they are crushed in the gate,
and there is no one to deliver them.
The hungry eat his harvest,
and he takes it even out of thorns,
and the thirsty pant after his wealth.
For affliction does not come from the dust,
nor does trouble sprout from the ground,
but man is born to trouble
as the sparks fly upward.
I hope my readers are enjoying these brief thoughts on the book of Job. I have enjoyed writing them! Job is my favorite book of the Bible.
The book of Job is one of the deepest of the Biblical writings. Like many books of the Bible, one can read Job over and over again, but always find something new. I saw something new today as I read this passage.
As Eliphaz continued to admonish Job, a couple things he said stood out to me. In his illustration of the fool he said His children are far from safety… and there is no one to deliver them. Then he added The hungry eat his harvest,and he takes it even out of thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth. It’s seems strange to me that he chose those specific examples, since Job had just lost his children and lost his livestock to bandits.
If Eliphaz’s fool wasn’t Job, he was a at least a character who was like Job in terms of the disasters he endured. The clear implication was that those sort of things only happened to fools and sinners. Eliphaz was actually calling Job a fool.
Eliphaz told his “friend” Job …affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. In other words, Eliphaz was saying, “Look, Job. Bad things don’t just happen for no reason, and we all know that nobody’s perfect. God is judging you for being a sinner.”
Perhaps most stange of all, Eliphaz told Job I have seen the fool taking root, but suddenly I cursed his dwelling. If Job was the fool Eliphaz spoke of, he admitted he had spoken a curse over Job! While there is no good reason to think Job’s misfortunes were related to Eliphaz’s curse, what kind of person would curse his friends?
The Bible says that Job was the greatest of all the people of the east. Some of the most hated people even to this day are the rich and successful. When we prosper some people are happy for us, but others become envious. Eliphaz was clearly jealous of Job’s wealth. Ironically, he warned Job that jealousy slays the simple.
Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard once remarked,
Job endured everything–until his friends came to comfort him, then he grew impatient.
When Job’s “friend” Eliphaz came to show Job sympathy and comfort him, he only ended up cursing him, calling him a fool, and accusing him of sin. He was not a good friend, and his words only exacerbated Job’s suffering.
We need to choose our friends very carefully. Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20, ESV).
We also don’t need to listen to all the stupid things people say. Instead, we need to put our trust in what God says. Eliphaz called Job a fool, but God that there was none like Job on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who feared Him, turned away from evil, and steadfastly held fast his integrity.
Guess who turned out to be right in the end?