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Bible Commentaries
Job 5

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-27

1. Eliphaz’s first speech chs. 4-5

Eliphaz’s first speech has a symmetrical introverted (chiastic) structure that emphasizes the central section.

"A Opening remark (Job 4:2)

B Exhortation (Job 4:3-6)

C God’s dealings with men (Job 4:7-11)

D The revelation of truth (Job 4:12-21)

C’ God’s dealings with men (Job 5:1-16)

B’ Exhortation (Job 5:17-26)

A’ Closing remark (Job 5:27)" [Note: Andersen, p. 111.]

Verses 1-16

Eliphaz’s counsel to Job 5:1-16

Job’s friend did not deny that the wicked fool (cf. Psalms 14:1) prospers temporarily (Job 5:3), but he believed that before a person dies, God will punish him for his sins. Jesus disagreed (Luke 13:4). The well-known comparison in Job 5:7 is true to an extent, but Eliphaz was again wrong in connecting this truth with the reason for Job’s suffering. People certainly do experience trouble in life as surely as sparks ascend from an open fire. [Note: For a synthesis of God’s revelation about man in the Book of Job, see Zuck, "A Theology . . .," pp. 226-31.]

"What God did in Job’s case, Eliphaz implied, was to bring suffering into his life as a wake-up call, an alarm to help him come to grips with the reality of his sin." [Note: Merrill, p. 380.]

"Most people will agree that ultimately God blesses the righteous, His own people, and judges the wicked; but that is not the question discussed in Job. It is not the ultimate but the immediate about which Job and his three friends are concerned, and not only they but also David (Psalms 37), Asaph (Psalms 73), and even the Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 12:1-6)." [Note: Wiersbe, p. 17.]

Eliphaz’s counsel to seek God and be restored was partially good. Job would do well to appeal to God, but not for the reason Eliphaz assumed. Eliphaz also believed God was disciplining Job for sins that he had committed (Job 5:17). Job’s suffering did have a refining effect and caused him to grow personally, but that was not God’s primary purpose in allowing Satan to afflict him, as is clear from Job 1:6 to Job 2:10. Job was not the first or the last person to find it difficult to rejoice that he was experiencing the Lord’s reproofs. Eliphaz’s oblique advice to do so was ineffective.

"Eliphaz as a counselor is a supreme negative example. Great truths misapplied only hurt more those who are already hurting." [Note: Smick, "Job," p. 896.]

"You do not heal a broken heart with logic; you heal a broken heart with love." [Note: Wiersbe, p. 17.]

Verses 17-27

Eliphaz’s reminder of God’s blessings 5:17-27

Eliphaz concluded his speech by urging Job to repent of his sin. Since God was good, He would then bless Job, who could then die prosperous and happy (cf. Deuteronomy 32:39).

"Unfortunately, and obviously without realizing it, Eliphaz sides with the Satan against God in offering this counsel, for he seeks to motivate Job to serve God for the benefits that piety brings." [Note: Hartley, p. 129.]

Eliphaz’s final statement reveals smug self-satisfaction (Job 5:27).

In this speech, Eliphaz said that Job’s suffering was a result of his sin. He asserted that sin is part of the human condition and that it brings retribution and discipline from God. He also called on Job to repent, with the promise that God would then bless him. However, he falsely assumed that Job had deliberately rebelled against God.

We should learn from this speech not to judge another person’s relationship with God by what they may be experiencing, be it adversity or tranquillity.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Job 5". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/job-5.html. 2012.
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