The DEEP

Eliphaz Goes Nuclear

"There is no end to your iniquities."

Job 21:27-22:11 (ESV)

“Behold, I know your thoughts and your schemes to wrong me. For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince? Where is the tent in which the wicked lived?’ Have you not asked those who travel the roads, and do you not accept their testimony that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity, that he is rescued in the day of wrath? Who declares his way to his face, and who repays him for what he has done? When he is carried to the grave, watch is kept over his tomb. The clods of the valley are sweet to him; all mankind follows after him, and those who go before him are innumerable. How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“Can a man be profitable to God? Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself. Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right, or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless? Is it for your fear of him that he reproves you and enters into judgment with you? Is not your evil abundant? There is no end to your iniquities. For you have exacted pledges of your brothers for nothing and stripped the naked of their clothing. You have given no water to the weary to drink, and you have withheld bread from the hungry. The man with power possessed the land, and the favored man lived in it. You have sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless were crushed. Therefore snares are all around you, and sudden terror overwhelms you, or darkness, so that you cannot see, and a flood of water covers you.

The argument between Job and his friends has gone nuclear. Job hits pretty hard with, “Behold, I know your thoughts and your schemes to wrong me. … How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.

But that’s nothing compared to Eliphaz saying, “Is not your evil abundant? There is no end to your iniquities. … You have sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.” Where does he get this nonsense?

Notice that he makes this ridiculous accusation, then says, “Therefore snares are all around you, and sudden terror overwhelms you, or darkness, so that you cannot see, and a flood of water covers you.” Actually, his logic is the reverse. He believes that since snares are all around you, etc., therefore there is no end to your iniquities, etc.

The temper of the disagreement has caused Eliphaz to amplify his point beyond reason. He had been saying that Job must have done something wrong to deserve his suffering. Now, in the heat of argument, he says that Job must be a horrible person to deserve it. Then he makes a bunch of specific charges that make absolutely no sense.

How is this even possible? He’s not hallucinating.


This is rooted in sin. He makes the trek to see Job and to cheer him up, but no priority can contend with Eliphaz defending Eliphaz. In the end, he’d rather accuse Job of a life of crime (and trash his original mission) than admit any possibility of an error in one of his assumptions.

Is sin stupid or what? And make no mistake, this is the condition Jesus died to deliver us from.

And don’t think the deliverance is instantaneous either. We do dumb stuff like this too.


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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.