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Job 5:8-27 ESV

“As for me, I would seek God,

and to God would I commit my cause,

who does great things and unsearchable,

marvelous things without number:

he gives rain on the earth

and sends waters on the fields;

he sets on high those who are lowly,

and those who mourn are lifted to safety.

He frustrates the devices of the crafty,

so that their hands achieve no success.

He catches the wise in their own craftiness,

and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.

They meet with darkness in the daytime

and grope at noonday as in the night.

But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth

and from the hand of the mighty.

So the poor have hope,

and injustice shuts her mouth.

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;

therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.

For he wounds, but he binds up;

he shatters, but his hands heal.

He will deliver you from six troubles;

in seven no evil shall touch you.

In famine he will redeem you from death,

and in war from the power of the sword.

You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue,

and shall not fear destruction when it comes.

At destruction and famine you shall laugh,

and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.

For you shall be in league with the stones of the field,

and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.

You shall know that your tent is at peace,

and you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing.

You shall know also that your offspring shall be many,

and your descendants as the grass of the earth.

You shall come to your grave in ripe old age,

like a sheaf gathered up in its season.

Behold, this we have searched out; it is true.

Hear, and know it for your good.”

What an eloquent passage! Unfortunately, none of it is true concerning Job. Everything that Eliphaz says here is according to his assumption that Job is bearing the just punishment of sin (and perhaps he thinks his curse has rightly fallen on Job).

Eliphaz, the false prohet, sounds most convincing when his words most closely mimic truth.

Should Job seek the Lord? Of course, but not to confess any sin.

Does God catch the wise in their craftiness, and bring their schemes to an end? Absolutely, but Eliphaz has no business directing these words toward Job.

Is the one God reproves blessed? Yes, but God never disciplined Job.

Eliphaz declares that these are all things that are true and that “we” (presumably Eliphaz and Job’s two other friends, Bildad and Zophar) “have searched [this] out.” These things are certainly true, but they are obvious platitudes that even a child might know. Eliphaz may express these platitudes with a silver tongue, but they are platitudes nevertheless.

Worst of all, they are of no comfort or help to innocent Job.