Job 22 Commentary
Eliphaz is back on the podium. His simple equation is also back: righteousness equals a good and blessed life. But first is a shocker of a principle! “Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise person benefit him? What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless?”
What is Eliphaz thinking about? Is he saying our righteousness means nothing to God? And consequently, is he saying our unrighteousness means nothing to God? Well, he has just said it. What about his equation? We guess it is an impersonal principle working indiscriminately through life. Eliphaz’s scientific approach to religion is both dangerous and anti-scripture.
Eliphaz’s suggestion that the punishment on Job’s life is a working-out of a rigidly defined principle contradicts the very nature of God. He contradicts the understanding that punishment from the LORD can be an act of love meant to draw God’s children back home – that is when we can call it punishment. We know there are times when suffering isn’t punishment at all. The story of Job is a perfect example.
“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” This would be a good sermon if it didn’t come from Eliphaz. He sees submission to God as a wise and logical response to a scientific principle. Don’t touch electricity and you won’t be harmed; touch electricity and you will be harmed. Forget the relationship. It is not a factor at all. A, B, and C, and you are fine. Eliphaz’s equations are very dangerous.
Eliphaz’s God is far too distant!
Interestingly, it appears Eliphaz has added a bit of control to his excesses in the last two verses of his speech. We are not surprised at all. This is Eliphaz’s way of life. He is good at mixing truth and error in one pot. Too much error and too little truth; the meal is always very bad.
The LORD was pleased with the sacrifice of Abel. The LORD was pleased with Enoch and Noah. Abraham’s walk pleased the LORD and David was described as blameless. It would be David to ask: what is man that you are mindful of him? How dare Eliphaz speaks like this?
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