Job 22:1-24:25 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. According to Eliphaz, why does Job presently find himself engulfed in spiritual darkness? See chapter 22 verses 5-11 (printed below.)

Is not your wickedness great? Is there no end to your iniquities? (6) You demanded security from your brothers for no reason; you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked. (7) You gave no water to the weary, and you withheld food from the hungry, (8) even though you were a powerful man owning land—an honored man, residing in the land. (9) You sent widows away empty-handed and you crushed the arms of the fatherless, rendering them powerless. (10) That is why you are surrounded by snares, and the prospect of sudden peril terrifies you. (11) This is why your light has become darkness so that you cannot see, and the flood waters are about to cover you. (Job 22:5-11)

According to Eliphaz, the reason Job finds himself engulfed in spiritual darkness must be because of Job’s transgressions. Indeed, Eliphaz charges that Job’s wickedness is great (22:5). In verses 6-9 Eliphaz brings a whole host of unsubstantiated charges against Job. He then concludes by asserting, “That is why you are surrounded by snares… This is why your light has become darkness so that you cannot see” (22:10a, 11a.)

2. What accusation does Eliphaz make against Job in chapter 22 verses 12-15 (printed below?)

Is not God in the heights of heaven? And consider the distant stars, how high they are! (13) So you say, “What does God know? Can he judge through the thick clouds? (14) Thick clouds hide us from him so that he cannot see as he walks around on the zenith of the heavens.” (15) Will you keep to the hidden path, the way that evil men have walked…? (Job 22:12-15)

Eliphaz accuses Job of foolishly, even blasphemously, thinking he can hide his conduct from God. Eliphaz charges Job with thinking that God cannot see through the thick clouds so as to observe and judge man’s evil deeds done in the dark (22:13b-14). Entertaining such foolish notions about God, Job is encouraged to keep walking on “the hidden path, the way that evil men have walked” (22:15), without repentance.

3. What counsel does Eliphaz give Job in chapter 22 verses 21-23 (printed below?) According to chapter 22 verse 28 (printed below,) what will be one of the benefits if Job heeds Eliphaz’s counsel?

Submit to God and be at peace with him; the benefits you will thereby derive will be good. (22) Accept instruction from his mouth and put his words into your heart. (23) If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored—remove iniquity far from your tent. (Job 22:21-23)

Then whatever you determine will be accomplished for you, and light will shine on your ways. (Job 22:28)

Having identified Job as a wicked man who thinks his ways are hidden from God and who has no desire to fellowship with God, Eliphaz now urges Job to repent. Job is instructed to “submit to God and be at peace with him” (22:21). Eliphaz assures Job that if he returns to the Almighty, he will be restored (22:23). If Job heeds Eliphaz’s counsel he can be assured of entering into fellowship with God. Job shall experience the blessing of having divine light shed upon his pathway (22:28); i.e.; he will have God’s guidance, leading him into the way of life and blessing.

4. How does Job respond to Eliphaz’s speech? See chapter 23 verses 3, 8-9 (printed below.)

If only I knew where to find him, so that I might come to his throne…(8) But I go forward and he is not there; I turn backward, but I do not perceive him. (9) When he is at work on the left, I cannot behold him; he turns to the right, but I cannot see him. (Job 23:3,8-9)

Job now responds to Eliphaz’s counsel by crying out, “If only I knew where to find him (God), so that I might come to his throne” (23:3). Eliphaz has instructed Job to seek God and return unto Him (22:21). Job’s response is that he earnestly desires to draw near to God, but God has hidden Himself from Job (23:3). In anguish of soul, Job explains his plight: in whichever direction he turns in his effort to find God, he fails to meet Him; God hides himself (23:8-9.)

5. What surprising and unexpected experience does Job describe in chapter 23 verses 15-17 (printed below?)

This is why I am terrified before him; when I think about all this, I am in dread of him. (16) God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me, (17) because I was not cut off in the presence of the darkness, nor did he conceal the thick darkness from my face. (Job 23:15-17)

Job has expressed his desire to have a direct encounter with God, and he has been frustrated that he cannot come face to face with the Almighty (23:8-9). But as he contemplates the person of God, who God is and how God is presently dealing with him (23:13-14), Job discovers that at this very moment he is, indeed, having an encounter with God and this terrifies him: “I am terrified before him; …God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me” (23:15-16). In the very darkness that has hidden God from view, Job has had an encounter with God (23:17)—an encounter with God in the divine darkness of His sovereign, inscrutable being, as did Abraham at the time God made a covenant with him (cp. Genesis 15:12-14). Here, in a surprising and unexpected way, is revealed the mercy of God: if Job feels terrified when he is exposed to a faint, “indirect,” hidden encounter with God, he would be totally overwhelmed if, at this point, he were granted a direct encounter with the Almighty.