Job’s friend Eliphaz is called a Temanite. Teman was an important city of Edom and is referred to in Amos 1:12. He was probably not the same Eliphaz that is mentioned in Genesis 36:15, but as the first-born of Esau, his son was himself named Teman, which is where the name for the city probably came from.
After seven days of silence, he offers his opening speech, beginning with a compliment to Job’s integrity, but quickly we see that deteriorate to the same sort of rhetoric common to the day. Satan has already counted on Job becoming a hypocrite, and Eliphaz suggests that he has become one by way of his complaining. His self-righteous speech must have sorely aggravated Job, as he clearly demonstrates his total misunderstanding of Job’s plight, as well as the reasons for it to be happening to a man who by all other accounts had been judged innocent by his deeds. The conclusion then, from his point of view, can only be that Job is, in fact that hypocrite, for “who that was innocent ever perished?”
Eliphaz’s “vision” begins and ends with a tale from a point of view that God Himself will declare as folly, and was true only in the imagination of Eliphaz. As Coffman noted: “No one could make a bigger mistake than to suppose that God really spoke to Eliphaz in a dream or vision. Commentators differ on just where the vision ends; but we accept the opinion that it was concluded only by the end of this chapter.”
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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