Eliphaz – The Mystic
After a week of grief, sympathy and mourning, Eliphaz is the first of Job’s three friends to speak. From the very beginning, we must understand that these three friends represent the anti-thesis to truth and wisdom. Their words are often right and appear to be wise, but within the drama of the narrative, they are playing the role of the devil’s advocate. Throughout scripture, we often see Satan, the deceiver, speaking words of truth, while mixing them with words of error to create a more deceptive and believable lie. Following suit, these friends of Job speak truth but they ignore wisdom.
Job’s speech in Chapter 3, is from a man full of anguish and is obviously not representative of a right mind. He is expressing deep feelings which create a perfect theatrical environment for Eliphaz to speak from a wise, rational and sober perspective. The contrast is so stark that it is difficult to see the flaws of his words. The flaws are so deep that the Lord required these friends to offer sacrifices at the end. (Job 42:7-8).
Eliphaz is the most prominent of the three and is regarded as the leader based upon the greater influence and originality of his speeches (Job 4; 5; 15; 22). The speeches of the other friends are mostly echoes and reinforcements of his thoughts. Some of his major points are:
- The innocent prosper and the wicked are destroyed (Job 4:7-11)
- God’s punishment may be imposed for secret sins (Job 4:17-19)
- Those who are truly good are not forsaken by God (Job 5:17)
- No man is innocent – a depravity doctrine (Job 15:14-16)
- Job should confess any secret sins to alleviate his punishment (Job 22:21)
Eliphaz brings the traditional beliefs of the ancient world to Job. This way of thinking comes from a great deal of experience (Job 15:17-19), thoughts about ‘cause and effect’ (Job 5:27), and he is especially remembered in this drama for his dreams (Job 4:12) which is why he carries the label as a mystic.
As you contrast the philosophy of the world with God’s wisdom, are there any inconsistencies that you need to acknowledge and surrender to the Lord today?
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