Job 15

Second Cycle of Speeches[a]

Eliphaz’s Second Speech[b]

Chapter 15

You in Fact Discredit Religion. 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite responded:

2 “Would a wise man respond with empty arguments
and make himself a windbag?[c]
3 Would he fill his defense with pointless talk
and speeches that serve no purpose?
4 “You in fact discredit religion
and do away with devotion to God,
5 because your iniquity dictates what you say
and you choose to exhibit a deceitful tongue.
6 Your own mouth condemns you, not I;
your own lips testify against you.

Are You the Firstborn of the Human Race?[d]

7 “Are you the firstborn of the human race?
Did you come into existence before the hills?
8 Are you a member of God’s inner council?
Do you have a monopoly on wisdom?
9 What do you know that we do not know?
What insight do you have that we do not share?
10 We ourselves have age and gray hair on our side,
people who far surpass your father in years.
11 “Are the consolations that God offers insufficient for you,
words whispered gently in your ear?
12 Why do you allow your passions to erode your judgment,
and why do your eyes flash with anger
13 so that you vent your rage against God
and permit such words to escape your mouth?
14 “What is man, that he should be without fault,
or one born of woman, that he should be righteous?
15 If God places no trust in his holy ones[e]
and the heavens are not pure in his sight,
16 how much less is man, who is vile and corrupt
and drinks up iniquity like water?

Listen to Experience and Tradition[f]

17 “I will tell you; listen to me.
I will recount what I have seen,
18 what has been related by wise men
who have faithfully transmitted the teachings of their ancestors,
19 to whom alone the land was given,
and no foreigner passed among them.
20 “The wicked man suffers torment all his days,
and limited are the years allotted to the tyrant.
21 Terrifying sounds echo in his ears,
and even when times are peaceful, marauders swoop down on him.
22 He despairs of escaping the darkness
and realizes that he is destined for the sword.
23 “In his wandering, he serves as food for vultures
and knows the day of darkness is at hand.
24 Distress and anguish overwhelm him;
they overpower him like a king prepared to attack.
25 “Because he has lifted his hands against God
and acted in brazen defiance of the Almighty,
26 rushing stubbornly against him
with his massive embossed shield,[g]
27 with his jowls heavy and gross
and his waist bulging with fat,
28 he will dwell in cities that lie in ruins,
in houses that have been abandoned
and are crumbling into a heap of rubble.
29 “He will no longer be wealthy and his riches will not endure;
no longer will his power prevail.
30 He will not escape the darkness;
intense heat will shrivel his roots,
and the wind will cause his blossoms to disappear.
31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting in what is worthless,
for he will be left bereft.
32 “His palm trees will wither before their time,
and his branches will never again be green.
33 He will be like a vine that sheds unripe grapes,
like an olive tree casting off its blossoms.
34 For the company of the godless will be completely barren,
and fire will consume the tents of those who are venal.
35 They conceive malice and breed evil,
and they give birth to deceit.”


  1. Job 15:1 In this second part of the debate, the friends of Job add nothing new, but their tone becomes more aggressive.
  2. Job 15:1 Eliphaz urges Job to reflect once again on the evil passions of human beings and on the fate of the wicked: after fleeting success, a time of remorse comes upon them and, soon after, the ruin of all their fortunes.
  3. Job 15:2 And make himself a windbag: literally, “and fill himself with a hot east wind,” i.e., the sirocco that comes in from the desert.
  4. Job 15:7 Eliphaz disparages humans in order to better destroy all of Job’s pretensions to justice.
  5. Job 15:15 Holy ones: i.e., the angels (see Job 5:1).
  6. Job 15:17 According to Eliphaz’s experience, the wicked are ceaselessly pursued by anxiety and all kinds of nightmares; they receive their punishment even in this life.
  7. Job 15:26 This is an image of an Assyrian or Babylonian soldier who takes part in an assault while protected by a massive round shield.

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