The Three Friends’ Solution to Job’s Problem (4:1 – 31:40)
The First Cycle of Speeches (4:1 – 14:22)
The First Speech of Eliphaz (4:1 – 5:27)
Eliphaz the Temanite (from Teman, an Edomite town noted for wisdom), was the first of Job’s friends to speak. Eliphaz began by reminding Job of how God had used him to be a blessing and an encourager to others. He told Job it was now time for him (Job) to apply the lessons he had taught others. It should be noted that Job’s friends seemed to have the best of intentions. They seemed truly concerned about Job and desired to help him.
Even well-intentioned friends can cause greater harm in their efforts to help. Eliphaz eloquently, but coldly, argued that the righteous do not suffer affliction (4:7). “It is those who sow trouble that harvest it and suffer. God rewards the righteous and virtuous and punishes the wicked,” argued Eliphaz (4:8-9). He implied that Job must have sinned against God in some way, even if unbeknownst to Job.
Note: Perhaps Job’s friends were really concerned about themselves. In other words, if Job’s suffering was not the result of some sin against God, then the same disasters might befall them regardless of how godly they lived their lives. That must have been a very disturbing thought for Job’s friends. And, such reasoning calls into question every great hero of the faith (as in Hebrews 11:36-38) who experienced undeserved suffering. Perhaps the sufferings of these, according to Eliphaz’s argument, was really retribution for some secret sin. God would later condemn the misguided counsel of Eliphaz in Job 42:7.
Eliphaz explained to Job that the word he had shared with him came to him through a supernatural revelation. He claimed that a spirit had imparted the message to him in a hair-raising vision in the night. Eliphaz said that there is little hope for men who sin when God charges even His angels with error. He implied that it would be best for Job to humbly confess the sin and guilt that brought such terrible calamity upon him and his family