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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Job 22

Verses 1-30

The Last Speech of Eliphaz

1-11. Eliphaz ignoring Job’s last speech, perhaps because he could not answer it, argues that God’s treatment of man must be impartial, since He has nothing to gain or lose at his hands. Job can therefore only be suffering for his sins, and Eliphaz suggests those of which he has been guilty.

2b. RV ’Surely he that is wise is profitable to himself’: i.e. benefits himself only.

3. Pleasure] rather, ’advantage.’

4. RV ’Is it for thy fear of him that he reproveth thee, that he entereth with thee into judgment? ’Is it likely you are suffering as you do for your goodness?

5-9. The sins with which Eliphaz now definitely charges Job were the usual faults of Eastern rulers, such as oppression and injustice. There is no reason to suppose that there was any justification for these accusations, which indeed Job repudiates in Job 29, 31.

6. Cp. Exodus 22:26; Deuteronomy 24:10-18, Deuteronomy 24:17.

8. The honourable man] RM ’Heb. he whose person is accepted.’

11a. LXX ’Thy light has become darkness.’

12-20. The distance of God’s abode and His majesty do not prevent Him from seeing men’s deeds, as sinners thought in the days of the Flood. Let not Job follow in their steps.

14. In the circuit] RM ’on the vault.’

15. Hast thou marked] RV ’wilt thou keep.’

16. Out of time] RV ’before their time.’

17. Do for them] RM ’do to us.’ This and Job 22:18 are largely a repetition of parts of Job 21:14-16, and are regarded by some scholars as an insertion.

19. It] the sinner’s downfall.

20. RV ’Saying, Surely they that did rise up against us are cut off.’ The remnant of them] RM ’that which remained to them.’

21-30. Eliphaz advises Job to make his peace with God, assuring him of restoration and prosperity.

22. The law] RM ’instruction.’

23. Thou shalt put away] RV ’if thou put away.’

24. RV ’and lay thou thy treasure in the dust, and the gold of Ophir among the stones.’ Fling thy earthly treasure away!

25. Render, ’Yea, the Almighty shall be thy treasure and precious silver unto thee!’

27. Thou shalt pay thy vows] Job should carry out the promises made to God in times of distress: cp. Psalms 50:14

28. When he has repented, all his desires will be granted.

29. RM ’When they are made low,’ i.e. Job’s ways. If he should decline in prosperity he will assert with confidence that his ways will soon take an upward turn.

30. Render, ’He (God) shall even deliver him that is not innocent, (through Job’s intercession). ’Yea, he shall be delivered through the cleanness of thy hands’ (i.e. on account of Job’s piety). This actually happens at the close of the book (Job 42:8-9).

Verses 1-40

The Third Series of Speeches (Job 22-31)

Having failed to convince Job by the argument derived from God’s greatness and wisdom, and to make good their assertion that it fared ill with the wicked, the friends have only one new line of argument left. This is a downright accusation of Job as a high-handed tyrant. Eliphaz adopts this, though he softens its severity by a fervent exhortation to Job, and a description of the felicity that awaits him if he will but make peace with God. The rest of the debate on his side is difficult to appreciate, owing to the uncertainty attaching to the distribution of the speeches. According to the present arrangement Bildad utters only a few sentences reasserting the greatness of God, and the impossibility that man should be pure in His sight. Zophar does not come forward at all. Several scholars infer from this that the poet means to suggest that the friends have exhausted their case. But since in other instances Bildad and Zophar substantially repeat what Eliphaz has said, the poet could very well have made them follow on the same lines here. Moreover, the symmetry is spoiled if Zophar does not speak. Since we have in Job 27:13-23 a description of the fate of the wicked exactly repeating the sentiments of the friends, it is a probable conjecture that this is part of Zophar’s missing speech. In that case, however, there is plausibility in the view that Bildad’s speech was originally longer than the few verses at present assigned to him. Several attempts at reconstruction have been made, the most recent (that in the Century Bible) assigns Job 25:2-3; Job 26:5-14 to Bildad, Job 26:2-4; Job 27:2-6; Job 11, 12 to Job, Job 27:13-23 (with possibly Job 27:7-10) to Zophar. Job 25:4-6 is regarded as a gloss based on Job 15:14-16, and it is supposed that the greater part of Job’s reply to Bildad, which stood between Job 27:11 and Job 27:12, has been struck out on account of its boldness. If this or a similar view is correct, Bildad repeats the theme of the friends in the first cycle of debate, Zophar that in the second.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Job 22". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.