Job 4 Summary

Job 4 Summary

This morning we’ll be studying 4 chapters in the book of Job – chapters 4-7. That’s 99 verses in approximately 38 minutes. We’ve got our work cut out for us, so let’s get right to it.

Job 4 & 5 Summary

Eliphaz to Job #1 | Job 4-5

In Job, chapters 4 and 5, Job’s first friend Eliphaz responds to Job’s anguished lament from back in chapter 3 that we studied last time…

Job 4 Summary of Verses 1-2

Eliphaz can’t help but speak | Job 4:1-2

Eliphaz begins by relating to Job that he can’t help himself from speaking – even if Job’s going to be angry and impatient with what he says – verses 1 and 2…

Job 4:1Then Eliphaz the Temanite [answered and said/replied/spoke out],

Job 4:2 If we [assay/attempt/venture] to [commune/communicate/speak] with thee, wilt thou be [grieved/impatient/weary/offended/upset]?
but who can withhold himself from speaking?

Job 4 Summary of Verses 3-4

Eliphaz recalls that Job used to help others | Job 4:3-4

The first thing that Eliphaz feels is important to point out to Job is that Job used to help others who were in trouble – verses 3 and 4…

Job 4:3 [Behold/Think how], thou hast [instructed/admonished/taught] many,
and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.

Job 4:4 Thy words have [upholden/upheld/strengthened] him that was [falling/tottering/stumbling],
and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.

 I think Eliphaz’s point is that he’s about to do for Job what Job used to do for others. That is, Eliphaz is planning now to teach, admonish, strengthen, and uphold Job.

Job 4 Summary of Verse 5

Job should welcome Eliphaz’s ministry | Job 4:5

And so, Eliphaz tells Job that he should welcome Eliphaz’s attempted ministry to him – but instead it seems to Eliphaz that Job doesn’t want it – verse 5 …

Job 4:5 But now [it/the same situation] is come upon thee,
and thou [faintest/are impatient/are discouraged/are worn out];

it [toucheth/strikes] thee,
and thou art [troubled/dismayed/terrified/horrified].

Job knows how to counsel those who are in trouble – like he is right now. And so, Eliphaz wonders why Job isn’t able to handle this better.  He’s at least telling Job that his lament from chapter 3 is a little bit of an overreaction.

So far, what Eliphaz says isn’t objectionable. Verse 5 does come close to sounding like he’s gloating over Job’s misfortune – but even that verse sounds acceptable if it’s taken in the most charitable way.

Job 4 Summary of Verse 6

Job’s piety and uprightness should give him confidence | Job 4:6

But things get worse from here. Because in verse 6, Eliphaz points his suffering friend Job to trust – not in God – but in Job’s own piety and uprightness

Job 4:6 Is not this thy [fear,/piety] thy confidence, {i.e., note the italics… }
thy hope[, and the uprightness|integrity of thy ways/your blameless ways]?

What should Job’s confidence and hope be? What is your confidence before God? It shouldn’t  be in yourself – but in God alone.

But in Eliphaz’s mind, if you do good you get good. If you do bad you get bad. And so, Job can be confident that if he returns to his blameless and upright ways, then God will stop punishing Job for leaving those paths.

Of course, we know that God is not punishing Job and Job hasn’t left the right path behaviorally. But this is how Eliphaz is thinking as he tries to understand God’s ways in Job’s life.

Job 4 Summary of Verse 7

Innocent righteous people don’t perish | Job 4:7

All Eliphaz can see is that Job seems to be perishing and being cut off by God. And in Eliphaz’s worldview, this doesn’t happen to innocent righteous people – verse 7…

Job 4:7 [Remember/Call to mind], I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent?
or where were the righteous [cut off/destroyed]?

Could you give a few examples of  the innocent righteous perishing or being cut off? The Bible is full of examples of this happening.

Job 4 Summary of Verses 8-9

Eliphaz has seen God punish wicked people | Job 4:8-9

But we’re going to see that Eliphaz is not using God’s word to construct his beliefs. He’s using his own personal observations to explain what he sees in the world around him.

And what he sees in the world around him is that God punishes wicked people – verses 8 and 9…

Job 4:8 [Even as/According to what] I have seen, [i.e., My experience shows…]

they that plow iniquity,
and sow wickedness,
reap the same.

Job 4:9 By the blast of God they perish,
and by the breath of his [nostrils/anger] are they consumed.

And this does happen, doesn’t it? God does tend to punish wicked people in this life. But he doesn’t always – and even if he decides to do so, it’s not always immediate. Additionally, just because – from your point of view – someone looks like he’s perishing and being consumed – it doesn’t necessarily follow that that person is experiencing God’s punishment for doing evil.

But at this point, Eliphaz has revealed that he believes Job is being punished by God for doing evil – hidden evil that Eliphaz hasn’t personally seen or experienced just yet. Because – after all – what innocent righteous person has Eliphaz ever seen perish? No, it’s only wicked people who experience trouble in this life.

Job 4 Summary of Verses 10-11

Lions and their offspring perish | Job 4:10-11

Well, Eliphaz continues his attempt to “comfort” Job by speaking of lions metaphorically to represent wicked people who are strong and in control at one point. But these lions eventually perish just like wicked people do – including Job, in Eliphaz’s mind – verses 10 and 11…

Job 4:10 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion,
[and/but] the teeth of the young lions, are broken.

Job 4:11 The [old/mature] lion perisheth for lack of prey,
and the stout lion’s whelps are scattered abroad.

Whether they’re young or old, lions – like wicked people – are eventually rendered feeble and they perish.

And then Eliphaz – whether he knows it or not – seems to add an extra insult to Job when he mentions the offspring of the lions being scattered. Think about what happened to Job just maybe a few months prior to this conversation. All of his children – his offspring – were killed. Do you suppose that Eliphaz took note of that and intentionally added that line in there to once more attempt to prove to Job that he’s secretly wicked and is experiencing God’s direct punishment for that secret sin?

Job 4 Summary of Verses 12-17

Vision concerning man’s righteousness | Job 4:12-17

Well, since Eliphaz enjoys relating his own personal experience so much – and indeed, this is how he has come to understand how God works in this world – he wants to relate another personal experience to Job in verses 12-17.

And the gist of this section is that Eliphaz at some point had a dream or vision wherein a spirit questioned the possibility of humans being righteous in God’s sight…

Job 4:12 Now a [thing/word] was [secretly/stealthily] brought to me,
and mine ear received a [little/whisper] thereof.

Job 4:13 [In/Amid] thoughts from the visions of the night,
when deep sleep falleth on men,

Job 4:14 Fear [came upon/seized/gripped] me, and trembling,
which made all my bones to shake.

Job 4:15 Then a [spirit/breath of air] passed before my face;
the hair of my flesh stood up:

Job 4:16 It [stood still/stopped], but I could not [discern/recognize] [the form thereof/its appearance]:
[an image/a form] was before mine eyes,

there was silence,
and I heard a voice, saying,

Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be [more just than/just before] God?
shall a man be [more pure than/pure before] his maker?

The Hebrew preposition that’s twice translated in our KJV as “more … than” in verse 17 is also translated as “before” 83 times in the KJV.

So, Eliphaz takes 5 verses to set up what this spirit – or whatever it was – supposedly said to him eventually in verse 17. And the message that this terrifying apparition related to Eliphaz was that people cannot be righteous before God.

Is that true in Job’s case? Was he righteous before God – in God’s estimation? He was. Therefore, Eliphaz is wrong here and whatever spirit he’s paying attention to is very likely not a holy one.

Job 4 Summary of Verses 18-21

Greater-to-lesser argument concerning man’s righteousness | Job 4:18-21

Yet, Eliphaz uses that personal experience of his to launch into a greater-to-lesser argument in verses 18-21 to finish chapter 4.

In verse 18, we have the “greater” – that is, God’s approach to angels’ righteousness…

Job 4:18 Behold, {he/God} put no trust in his servants; [who are these “servants”?…]
and his angels he charged with folly:

And this appears to be true. There is a number of fallen angels or demons in this world whom God has indeed charged with folly.

So, Eliphaz applies this truth to the lesser being of mankind in verses 19-21. If God doesn’t put his trust in angels – verse 19…

Job 4:19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay,
whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed [before/like] the moth?

Job 4:20 They are destroyed [from/between] morning [to/and] evening:
they perish for ever without any regarding it.

Job 4:21 Doth not their [excellency which is in them/excessive wealth] go away?
they die, even without wisdom.

And I think that what Eliphaz says in verses 19-21 is also true in a general sense. But the problem is that he’s applying it incorrectly. The reality that angels and men are fallen and sinful doesn’t mean that God can’t redeem and justify some men whose lives are then marked – not by perfection – but by righteousness before God. God did precisely this in the life of Job, but Eliphaz won’t recognize that because Job is suffering – which looks like punishment from God. And if God is punishing Job it’s due to some sin in his life.

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