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Chapter 22:1-11 (ESV)

Posted on May 31, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 22:1-11 (ESV) - Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“Can a man be profitable to God?
    Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right,
    or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?
Is it for your fear of him that he reproves you
    and enters into judgment with you?
Is not your evil abundant?
    There is no end to your iniquities.
For you have exacted pledges of your brothers for nothing
    and stripped the naked of their clothing.
You have given no water to the weary to drink,
    and you have withheld bread from the hungry.
The man with power possessed the land,
    and the favored man lived in it.
You have sent widows away empty,
    and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.
Therefore snares are all around you,
    and sudden terror overwhelms you,
or darkness, so that you cannot see,
    and a flood of water covers you.

Question to consider: What’s the difference between a sin of commission and a sin of omission?

Eliphaz posed the question of whether God could possibly have anything to gain by the works of a man. He meant it as a rhetorical question with an implied “no”, but as the reader we know that Job was chosen by God precisely because He knew Job would remain faithful despite Satan having done his worst against him.

Job’s contention was that the wicked often prosper and that true justice could only be achieved if there was something beyond this life in which the Lord rewarded the faithful and punished the wicked. Eliphaz responded with another rhetorical question that asked if God’s judgment of Job was really because Job showed such fear of God. Again, it had an implied “no” in that judgment only comes upon someone worthy of it. Thus, Eliphaz concluded that Job’s circumstances led him to believe that Job had been abundantly evil.

Since Eliphaz couldn’t point to a particular transgression with which to tie the judgment, he began listing what he perceived might have been Job’s failures toward his neighbor. If Job could not be blamed for a committed sin, he must be guilty of passively letting his neighbor suffer.

According to God, a poor person could offer the shirt on his back for collateral on a loan, but at the end of the day, the lender needed to return the garment to keep the man from being cold. So Eliphaz suggested that Job must have been a merciless lender, and he must have not shown hospitality toward the poor by giving them food and drink. If those things didn’t explain the judgment against him, then maybe he had turned away widows and orphans and let them go hungry.

This idea of Job being a powerful man who is obligated to care for his neighbor in this way is in line with the idea that Job was the king of Edom known as Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah who reigned before Israel had its first human king (see 1 Chronicles 1:43-44). However, these accusations by Eliphaz were false, and in the coming chapters, Job will deny them.


Dear heavenly Father, we confess that we have not only sinned against You by what we’ve done but by what we’ve left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. Please forgive us and renew a right spirit within us. Amen.