Dave Burnette's Commentary

Job Chapter 4

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Unknown, possibly Job, Moses, Solomon, and Elihu
Date Penned: (2000-1800 BC)
Overview: Faith in God's Sovereignty Through Trials (c 1-42)
Theme: Three Friends Answer Job (c 3-31)
Message: Eliphaz Speaks (v 1-21)

Job 4 Commentary

(4:1-5) Eliphaz Speaks - Eliphaz claimed to have been given secret knowledge through a special revelation from God (4:12-17) and that he had learned much from personal experience (4:8). He argued that suffering comes as a direct result of sin, so if Job would only confess his sin, his suffering would end. Eliphaz saw suffering as God's punishment, which should be welcomed in order to bring a person back to God. In some cases, of course, this may be true (Galatians 6:7-8), but it was not trie with Job. Although Eliphaz had many good and true comments, he made three wrong assumptions: (1) A good and innocent person never suffers; (2) those who suffer are being punished for their past sins; and (3) Job, because he was suffering, had done something wrong in God's eyes. (For more about Eliphaz, see the profile and the chart. Eliphaz was from Teman, a trading city in Edom recognized for its wisdom; see Jeremiah 49:7.)

(4:7-8) A 1/2 Truth - Part of what Eliphaz said is true, and part is false. It is true that those who promote sin and trouble will eventually be punished; it is false that anyone who is good and innocent will never suffer. All the material recorded and quoted in the Bible is there by God's choice. Some of it records what people said and did, but not every word or deed is an example for us to follow. The sins, the defeats, the evil thoughts, and the misconceptions recorded about God are all part of God's divinely inspired Word, but we should not follow those wrong examples just because they are in the Bible. The Bible gives us teachings and examples of what we should do as well as what we should not do. Eliphaz's comments are an example of what we should try to avoid--making false assumptions about others based on our own experiences.

(4:12-13) A Questioned Vision - Although Eliphaz claimed that his vision was divinely inspired, it probably did not come from God because later God criticized Eliphaz for misrepresenting him (42:7). Whatever the vision's source, it is summarized in (4:7) On the surface, this statement is completely true--a mere mortal cannot compare to God and should not try to question God's motives and actions. Eliphaz, however, took this thought and expounded on it later, expressing his own opinions. His conclusion (5:8) reveals a very shallow understanding of Job and his suffering. It is easy for teachers, counselors, and well-meaning friends to begin with a portion of God's truth but then go off on a tangent. Don't limit God to your perspective and finite understanding of life.

(4:8-19) Eliphaz's Opinions -  Do angels really make errors? Remember that Eliphaz was speaking, not God, so we must be careful about building our knowledge of the spiritual world on Eliphaz's opinions. In addition, the word translated "folly" is used only here, and its meaning is unclear. We could save Eliphaz's credibility by saying he meant fallen angels, but this passage is not meant to teach about angels. Eliphaz was saying that sinful human beings are far beheath God and the angels. Eliphaz was right about God's greatness, but he did not understand God's greater purposes concerning suffering.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Hating Sin While Loving the Sinner

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Job with Chapter 4. In our text today we see Eliphaz speaks and falsley accuses Job of his sin causing his affliction. The Bible says judge not lest ye be judged but it says we are to rebuke sin. In making application we see that we should be slow to accuse others in the results of their lives but we are also to not to overlook sin in our lives and community. The results and judgement are the Lords but we are still not to overlook sin. Loving sinners and hating sin while not passing judgement should be the goal of every believer. How about you? Are you quick to judge? Let us learn from our text today and the example of Eliphaz and Job to remember to love the sinner while still hating sin. 


Job 4

Job 4

 1Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,

 2If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?

 3Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.

 4Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.

 5But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

 6Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?

 7Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?

 8Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

 9By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

 10The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken.

 11The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad.

 12Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.

 13In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,

 14Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.

 15Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:

 16It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,

 17Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

 18Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

 19How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

 20They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it.

 21Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.