Job 4:1-7:21 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. How does Eliphaz rebuke Job in chapter 4 verses 1-5 (printed below?)

Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied, (2) If someone ventures to speak a word to you, will you be irritated? But who can keep from speaking? (3) Look; you have instructed many, and you have strengthened feeble hands. (4) Your words have helped the tottering to stand, and you have braced up those with shaking knees. (5) But now trouble has come to you, and you faint; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. (Job 4:1-5)

Eliphaz reminds Job that he has instructed and strengthened other in their times of distress; but now when he finds himself in distress he fails to heed his own counsel: Job should apply to himself the counsel he so often offered to others (4:1-5). Eliphaz admits that Job’s words “have helped the tottering to stand, and you have braced up those with shaking knees” (4:4). But now when the situation is reversed and Job finds himself to be the one who is suffering, he faints and is dismayed (4:5). One thing that is implied about Job’s counsel to others, the very thing Job himself now needs, and the thing Eliphaz fails to minister, is compassion.

2. What counsel does Eliphaz give Job in chapter 4 verses 6-9 (printed below?) Especially note verse 6.

Should not your fear of God be your confidence? Is not the integrity of your ways your hope? (7) Consider this: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? (8) According to what I have observed, it is those who plow evil and sow trouble who reap the same. (9) By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed. (Job 4:6-9)

Eliphaz’s advice is that Job should take confidence in the fact that the righteous are sustained while the wicked are overthrown (Job 4:6-9). Job should be confident that, because of his devotion to God (his “fear of God” and his “integrity,”) God will take care of him and will bless him: God will come to his rescue (4:6). Elipaz callously counsels Job to let his fear of God (i.e.; his devotion to God) sustain him in his time of intense suffering (4:6).

3. How will Job respond to this advice offered by Eliphaz? See Job 6:14 (printed below.)

To him who is ready to faint, kindness should be shown by his friend; or else he might forsake the fear of the Almighty. (Job 6:14)

To such counsel Job responds by pleading, “To him who is ready to faint, kindness should be shown by his friend; or else he might forsake the fear of the Almighty” (6:14). Job confesses that he is ready to faint; indeed, he is at the point where he is severely tempted to “forsake the fear of the Almighty.” Due to his excruciating and seemingly unjustifiable suffering, Job is severely tempted to renounce his devotion to God—the very thing the devil desires for him to do. Eliphaz has told Job, “Let your devotion to God sustain you, knowing that God will surely reward the righteous.” Now Job tells Eliphaz, “I need your compassion, or else I may be tempted to forsake my devotion of God!”

4. How does Job describe his present condition in chapter 6 verses 1-4 (printed below?)

Then Job responded, (2) If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! (3) It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—that is why my words have been rash. (4) The arrows of the Almighty stick in me, my spirit drinks their poison; God’s terrors are arrayed against me. (Job 6:1-4)

Job declares that his anguish and misery weigh down upon him with a weight that is greater than the sand of the seashore; the heaviness of his anguish accounts for the rashness of his words (6:1-3). Job portrays God as having set Himself against His servant as a mighty adversary (6:4). The fact that God appears to be his adversary is especially grievous and inexplicable to Job, a man who has been devoted to the Lord and who has experienced the Lord’s favor.

5. What is Job’s desire (see 6:8-9 printed below?) What is his one consolation (see 6:10 printed below?)

O that my request were granted, that God would fulfill my hope, (9) namely, that God would be willing to crush me! May he release his grip and cut me off! (Job 6:8-9)

But this would still be my consolation—my joy in the midst of unrelenting pain—that I have not denied the words of the Holy One. (Job 6:10)

Job has reached such a point of despair that he desires to die (6:8-9). His request is that God would “crush” him (the Hebrew word has the meaning, “to be trampled to death”) and “cut him off.” Job’s one consolation, indeed, his “joy,” is the fact that he has “not denied the words of the Holy One.” In other words, even in the midst of this awful ordeal Job has maintained his devotion to God. Job steadfastly maintains his innocence; indeed, it is the very fact of his innocence that causes his present trial to be so inexplicable—Why is he, an “innocent,” upright man who is devoted to the Lord, suffering the fate reserved for the ungodly?—and therefore so tormenting.