Job 15


וַיַּעַן אֱלִיפַז הַתֵּימָנִי וַיֹּאמַר׃   15:1

Job 15:1   Then Eliphaz, the Temanite, responded and he said,

The plot thickens.  This chapter consists of Eliphaz’s diatribe against Job, filled with contemptuous questions, vile (sometimes veiled) accusations, foolish metaphors, and a good deal of self-righteous bluster.

הֶחָכָם יַעֲנֶה דַעַת־רוּחַ וִימַלֵּא קָדִים בִּטְנוֹ׃   15:2

Job 15:2   “Would a wise individual make an answer of empty knowledge

                              and make his belly full of the east wind?”

With his first words, Eliphaz accuses Job of having no wisdom.

הוֹכֵחַ בְּדָבָר לֹא יִסְכּוֹן וּמִלִּים לֹא־יוֹעִיל בָּם׃   15:3

Job 15:3   “Would he try to convince with speech of no use,

                              or words he could not profit by them?”

Speech of no use?  Words without profit?  Where has Eliphaz been during Job’s eloquent self-defense and ridicule of his friends?

אַף־אַתָּה תָּפֵר יִרְאָה וְתִגְרַע שִׂיחָה לִפְנֵי־אֵל׃   15:4

Job 15:4   “Yes, you would belittle fear;

                              so you would diminish devotion before God.”

The Hebrew merely hints at the type of fear he is referring to -- fear of God.

כִּי יְאַלֵּף עֲוֺנְךָ פִיךָ וְתִבְחַר לְשׁוֹן עֲרוּמִים׃   15:5

Job 15:5   “For your iniquity would instruct your mouth,

                              as you choose the tongue of the crafty.”

Now he accuses Job of treachery and deceit.

יַרְשִׁיעֲךָ פִיךָ וְלֹא־אָנִי וּשְׂפָתֶיךָ יַעֲנוּ־בָךְ׃   15:6

Job 15:6   “Your own mouth can condemn you, and not I,

                              and your own lips can testify against you.”

I’m not completely sure of what Eliphaz might mean by condemn, but it seems to me he is indeed condemning Job himself, contrary to his words.  As a matter of fact, Job has not been condemned by his own mouth.

הֲרִאישׁוֹן אָדָם תִּוָּלֵד וְלִפְנֵי גְבָעוֹת חוֹלָלְתָּ׃   15:7

Job 15:7   “Were you the first human to have been born,

                              or were you brought forth before the hills?”

Here we have a contemptuous question.  Why would Job have to be old beyond the years of a lifetime to be wise?  If this is what Eliphaz’s question means, he is himself implicitly claiming to be of ancient times as he spouts his “wisdom.”

הַבְסוֹד אֱלוֹהַ תִּשְׁמָע וְתִגְרַע אֵלֶיךָ חָכְמָה׃   15:8

Job 15:8   “Can you listen to the counsel of God

                              and withdraw the wisdom into yourself?”

Again, is he imp[lying that his own “wisdom” is from God?

מַה־יָּדַעְתָּ וְלֹא נֵדָע תָּבִין וְלֹא־עִמָּנוּ הוּא׃   15:9

Job 15:9   “What do you know that we might not know,

                              you can understand and it is not with us?”

Can you sense the contempt dripping from these words?

גַּם־שָׂב גַּם־יָשִׁישׁ בָּנוּ כַּבִּיר מֵאָבִיךָ יָמִים׃   15:10

Job 15:10   “Both a gray haired and an aged one are among us,

                              of much more days than your father.”                       [Return to Job 20:11]

Another demonstration from Eliphaz that age and wisdom don’t necessarily partner together.

הַמְעַט מִמְּךָ תַּנְחֻמוֹת אֵל וְדָבָר לָאַט עִמָּךְ׃   15:11

Job 15:11   “Are the consolations of God little for you,

                              and gentle speech against you?”

What do the words of this verse mean?  It has generated a good deal of controversy.  The first line of the couplet seems to be addressing the consolations of life (of which Job has few at this time) that God provides.  Eliphaz seems to be asking, “Are they not satisfactory enough?”  But the second line?  The only reasonable possibility is that Eliphaz is referring to his first speech (Chapter 4), which he considers gentle -- and I agree with that, at least compared to this speech.

מַה־יִּקָּחֲךָ לִבֶּךָ וּמַה־יִּרְזְמוּן עֵינֶיךָ׃   15:12

Job 15:12   “How can your heart take hold of you,

                              and why should your eyes glint,

If Job’s eyes glinted, it was not for craftiness, it was most likely due to the lengthy stream of tears he has endured.

כִּי־תָשִׁיב אֶל־אֵל רוּחֶךָ וְהֹצֵאתָ מִפִּיךָ מִלִּין׃   15:13

Job 15:13   that you could turn your spirit against God

                              and deliver from your mouth such words?”

How ridiculous!  Has Job turned his spirit against God?  Reread the last three chapters and decide for yourself.  Is Eliphaz asking this because Job said the same things happen to both evil and good people?  I don’t see any other way in which Eliphaz’s accusation could be accurate.  Job has been mostly pleading with God to hear his embittered complaint.

מָה־אֱנוֹשׁ כִּי־יִזְכֶּה וְכִי־יִצְדַּק יְלוּד אִשָּׁה׃   15:14

Job 15:14   “What is a person that he can be pure,

                              and that one born of woman could be righteous?”

How interesting!  This question affirms Job’s own observation that he is probably not righteous enough (Job 9:15).

הֵן (בִּקְדֹשֹׁו) [בִּקְדֹשָׁיו] לֹא יַאֲמִין וְשָׁמַיִם לֹא־זַכּוּ בְעֵינָיו׃   15:15

Job 15:15   “Lo, in His holy ones He may not place trust;

                              even the heavens are not clean in His sight.”

The word in the parentheses is spelled as a singular noun, which would be translated as His holy one.  But it should be plural, as spelled in the brackets with an inserted yad.

אַף כִּי־נִתְעָב וְנֶאֱלָח אִישׁ־שֹׁתֶה כַמַּיִם עַוְלָה׃   15:16

Job 15:16   “How much less when a person is abominable and corrupt,

                              drinking unrighteousness like water!”

I have to assume this is Eliphaz’s (distorted) view of Job.

אֲחַוְךָ שְׁמַע־לִי וְזֶה־חָזִיתִי וַאֲסַפֵּרָה׃   15:17

Job 15:17   “I will tell you;

                              listen to me and this that I have seen,

                     and I will declare

אֲשֶׁר־חֲכָמִים יַגִּידוּ וְלֹא כִחֲדוּ מֵאֲבוֹתָם׃   15:18

Job 15:18   that the wise would tell from their fathers,

                              that they did not conceal:

לָהֶם לְבַדָּם נִתְּנָה הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא־עָבַר זָר בְּתוֹכָם׃   15:19

Job 15:19   For them only was given the land to them

                              that no stranger passed among them:

כָּל־יְמֵי רָשָׁע הוּא מִתְחוֹלֵל וּמִסְפַּר שָׁנִים נִצְפְּנוּ לֶעָרִיץ׃   15:20

Job 15:20   All the days of an evil one, he is suffering torture,

                              and the number of years is stored up for a ruthless one.”

קוֹל־פְּחָדִים בְּאָזְנָיו בַּשָּׁלוֹם שׁוֹדֵד יְבוֹאֶנּוּ׃   15:21

Job 15:21   “The sound of terrors is in his ears.

                              During prosperity, destruction could come upon him.”

לֹא־יַאֲמִין וּב מִנִּי־חֹשֶׁךְ (וְצָפוּ) [וְצָפוּי] הוּא אֱלֵי־חָרֶב׃   15:22

Job 15:22   “He cannot believe in returning from darkness.

                              And he will wait for a sword.”

The word in the parentheses is missing a yad.  The correction is in the brackets.

נֹדֵד הוּא לַלֶּחֶם אַיֵּה יָדַע כִּי־נָכוֹן בְּיָדוֹ יוֹם־חֹשֶׁךְ׃   15:23

Job 15:23   “He is fluttering about for bread -- where?

                              He knows that the day of darkness is firmly at his hand.”

יְבַעֲתֻהוּ צַר וּמְצוּקָה תִּתְקְפֵהוּ כְּמֶלֶךְ עָתִיד לַכִּידוֹר׃   15:24

Job 15:24   “Oppression must overwhelm him,

                              and distress must prevail against him,

                      as if he were a king preparing for an attack.”

כִּי־נָטָה אֶל־אֵל יָדוֹ וְאֶל־שַׁדַּי יִתְגַּבָּר׃   15:25

Job 15:25   “When he stretches out his hand against God

                              that he would act proudly toward the Almighty,

יָרוּץ אֵלָיו בְּצַוָּאר בַּעֲבִי גַּבֵּי מָגִנָּיו׃   15:26

Job 15:26   he would run toward Him with a neck,

                              with the thickest breastworks of his shields.”

In these preceding three verses, Eliphaz is describing Job’s actions and words as an attack against God, as a warrior (or king) would against his enemy.

כִּי־כִסָּה פָנָיו בְּחֶלְבּוֹ וַיַּעַשׂ פִּימָה עֲלֵי־כָסֶל׃   15:27

Job 15:27   “When he covers his face in his fat,

                              and produces excessive fat on the loins,

וַיִּשְׁכּוֹן עָרִים נִכְחָדוֹת בָּתִּים לֹא־יֵשְׁבוּ לָמוֹ אֲשֶׁר הִתְעַתְּדוּ לְגַלִּים׃   15:28

Job 15:28   and dwells in desolate cities,

                              houses no one would stay in them,

                      which are almost as heaps,

לֹא־יֶעְשַׁר וְלֹא־יָקוּם חֵילוֹ וְלֹא־יִטֶּה לָאָרֶץ מִנְלָם׃   15:29

Job 15:29   he can not be rich,

                              and his strength will not last,

                      and their gain will not extend to the land.”

In these three preceding verses, Eliphaz claims that Job’s former life was a sham, an illusion.

לֹא־יָסוּר מִנִּי־חֹשֶׁךְ יֹנַקְתּוֹ תְּיַבֵּשׁ שַׁלְהָבֶת וְיָסוּר בְּרוּחַ פִּיו׃   15:30

Job 15:30   “He can not depart from the darkness;

                              a flame will dry up his plant,

                      and he shall come to an end in a breath of his mouth.”

אַל־יַאֲמֵן (בַּשֹּׁו) [בַּשָּׁיו] נִתְעָה כִּישָׁ־וְא תִּהְיֶה תְמוּרָתֹו׃   15:31

Job 15:31   “He should not trust in vanity, going astray,

                              when vanity will be his only compensation.”

With the word in the parentheses I will show my ignorance again.  As I see the situation, neither the word in the parentheses nor the one in the brackets is totally correct.  The word should have an aleph as the last letter, if anything.  But the word in the parentheses is poetically reasonable, and needs no correction, certainly not the one in the brackets.

בְּלֹא־יוֹמוֹ תִּמָּלֵא וְכִפָּתוֹ לֹא רַעֲנָנָה׃   15:32

Job 15:32   “Before his time it shall be accomplished,

                              that his branch is not luxuriant.”

יַחְמֹס כַּגֶּפֶן בִּסְרוֹ וְיַשְׁלֵךְ כַּזַּיִת נִצָּתוֹ׃   15:33

Job 15:33   “His sour fruit will be treated violently as if he were a vine,

                              and he will cast off his blossom as an olive tree.”

כִּי־עֲדַת חָנֵף גַּלְמוּד וְאֵשׁ אָכְלָה אָהֳלֵי־שֹׁחַד׃   15:34

Job 15:34   “For a godless gathering shall be barren,

                              as fire consumes the tents of the bribe taker.”

Is Eliphaz accusing Job’s family of having been godless?  And bribe takers?  Does he know something we don’t?  Unlikely!

הָרֹה עָמָל וְיָלֹד אָוֶן וּבִטְנָם תָּכִין מִרְמָה׃   15:35

Job 15:35   “And, conceiving mischief and bringing forth iniquity,

                              their womb must prepare treachery.”

How much more unreal and inaccurate could this chapter be?  There’s very little room left for enlargement of these unfeeling, pathetic words.


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