1 ¶ Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said, 2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? 3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good? 4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God. 5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty. 6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee. 7 Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills? 8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? 9 What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us? 10 With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father. 11 Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee? 12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at, 13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth? 14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
As Eliphaz returns to attack Job a second time he restates the principles of what he has stated previously. Basically, he start out by saying Job is full of wind and vain. Job’s talk is useless. Eliphaz condemns Job’s manner of speaking and efforts to justify himself. He points out that Job’s own words condemn him. What does Job know that his three friends don’t? He doesn’t have any more wisdom or understanding than they do. Eliphaz claims they are older than even Job’s father, an assumption that wisdom comes with age automatically.
The gray head is a crown of glory if that person pursues righteousness.
Proverbs 16:31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
Elderly Christians are called to a certain state of mind.
Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
There is an arrogance here with Eliphaz, assigning wisdom to a person by virtue of their age rather than their actions and speech. An elderly person who has rejected Christ’s free offer of eternal life is just as much or more of a fool than a young one.
Eliphaz is dismayed that Job has not taken their effort to show him the error of his thinking more seriously. He has not taken the “consolations of God” very seriously. However, they gave advice, spoke some true things, even some very profound things, but misapplied them to Job without knowing the whole story. Why does Job, Eliphaz says, think he is privy to some secret knowledge that the others don’t have?
Paul also dealt with pious men who misapplied God’s truths.
Galatians 2:1 ¶ Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
An alternative, possibly more likely, interpretation of verse 10 is found in the comments on chapter 30, that there are other venerable and aged witnesses to this entire encounter with Job and his three friends besides the writer, Elihu.
He asks Job why he is so scornful, why his heart and his words are turned from God. Come on, Job, we’re all born sinners, no man is righteous. God doesn’t put any trust in His people, even the Heavens aren’t pure in His sight, Eliphaz says. This is true. We are all sinners and the universe bears the decay and taint of sin.
However, Eliphaz knows nothing of imputed righteousness. Speaking of Abraham, Paul said;
Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23 ¶ Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
The righteousness of Christ, who is God in the flesh, the visible image of the invisible God, is imputed to you who believe and when God sees you He sees Christ’s righteousness in regard to salvation. You are justified by belief in Christ’s resurrection, by believing what He has said about Himself, and trusting in Him for eternal life.
Verse 16 is great. We do drink iniquity like water, in our flesh. We lust after sin, in our flesh. The more educated and refined you are, the more refined your taste for slurping up wickedness.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Our heart is so eager to do sin, it is desperate. We are like people trapped in a fire in a building who are so desperate to get out we will drag those who attempt to rescue us, in our panic, to their death. The natural human condition, without Christ, is to consume sin until we burn out from it and die in it. Whether it be the garden variety of wickedness like drunkenness and adultery or more subtle things like pride and self-righteousness sin is sin and it is always against God.
But, we are legally justified before God by our faith in Christ. We have also been freed from the power of sin over us. We have no excuse if we have been born again and should be even more thankful that God has forgiven us and is still forgiving us for all practical purposes as He molds us, sanctifies us, into what He wants us to be if we are submitting to Him.
A point can be made here again that to consider that someone else’s or even your own suffering or misfortune is caused by something you did without any certain cause and effect knowledge is foolishness. Fundamentalists are notorious for seeing tragedies like a child being hit by a car and ascribing the event to some disrespectful thing he must have said to his parents. This kind of magical thinking, pretending to have a knowledge of God’s intentions that one doesn’t possess is warned against repeatedly in the very first book of the Bible that was put to ink and paper. Do you wonder why God is stressing this point over and over again? Why do you think God wants you to understand that you can take the truth of God and misapply it assuming knowledge you do not have?
The people referenced in the following passage spoken by Jesus actually think they are doing right. Have you ever considered something in your head that was sincere and heartfelt but assumed knowledge you didn’t possibly have and misrepresented God in the process?
John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.