Job 22

Third Cycle of Speeches[a]

Eliphaz’s Third Speech

Chapter 22

Is God Punishing You for Your Piety?[b] 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite responded:

2 “Can anyone be of the slightest interest to God,
even if that person is recognized for his wisdom?
3 Does the Almighty derive any pleasure if you are righteous?
Does he profit if you lead a blameless life?
4 Is he punishing you for your piety
and therefore will bring you to justice?
5 Is not your wickedness great?
Is there any limit to your iniquities?

The Injustice Job Has Committed[c]

6 “You have exacted pledges from your brothers as security
and left them naked, stripped of their clothing.[d]
7 To the thirsty you offered no water to drink,
and you withheld bread from those who were starving.
8 Should the land belong only to the powerful?
Are only those who are favored allowed to dwell in it?
9 “You have sent widows away empty-handed
and left orphans without any means of support.
10 That is why snares surround you
and sudden terror causes you to cringe,
11 why light has turned to darkness, leaving you unable to see,
and flood waters envelop you.

The Unbelief of Job

12 “Does not God who dwells in the heights of the heavens
behold how lofty are the highest stars?
13 Even so, you say, ‘What does God know?
How can he possibly judge through such deep darkness?
14 He cannot possibly see through the thick clouds
as he roams through the vault of the heavens.’
15 “Will you still continue to follow the ancient way
that those who are wicked have trod?
16 They were snatched away before their time;
their foundations were swept away by a flood.[e]
17 They had said to God, ‘Leave us alone!’
and thought, ‘What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 “Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things,
even though his plans and theirs were diametrically opposed.
19 The upright rejoice at witnessing such a spectacle,
and the innocent deride them:
20 ‘See how our enemies have been destroyed,
and what remained of their wealth has been consumed by fire.’[f]

If You Return to the Almighty . . .

21 “Come to terms with God and be reconciled.
In this way good fortune will come to you.
22 Accept the instruction from his lips
and keep his words in your heart.[g]
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored;
if you remove iniquity from your tent
24 and treat gold as if it were only dust
and the gold of Ophir[h] as pebbles from the stream,
25 then the Almighty himself will be your gold
and your precious silver.
26 “For then the Almighty will be your delight
and you will lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.
28 Whatever decision you make will be successful,
and light will shine along your path.
29 For God brings low the arrogant
while he saves the humble.
30 He delivers anyone who is innocent;
if your hands are clean, you will be saved.”

Footnotes

  1. Job 22:1 In this third cycle of speeches, the debate on the human condition remains intense. Job gives a firm answer to the attacks of the three friends by protesting his innocence.
    It is important to note that the biblical text itself has reached us in a corrupt form in some places; this makes it impossible to certify fully that the discourses are assigned to the right persons.
  2. Job 22:1 If God intervenes to punish anyone, it is only because justice demands it. Indeed, Job’s situation is so lamentable that Eliphaz believes his fault must be especially grave.
  3. Job 22:6 According to Eliphaz, Job’s misfortunes are nothing but the punishment for his faults. In chapter 29, Job will deny the type of behavior of which Eliphaz is here accusing him.
  4. Job 22:6 You have exacted pledges . . . stripped of their clothing: sins that have been condemned by the Prophets (see Am 2:8).
  5. Job 22:16 An allusion to the flood (Gen 6–8).
  6. Job 22:20 Fire: moving beyond the allusion to the flood, the speaker expands his horizon to include a description of the destiny in store for all sinners.
  7. Job 22:22 Job responds to this verse in the next chapter (Job 23:12). Keep his words in your heart: see note on Ps 119:11.
  8. Job 22:24 Ophir: a section of Arabia, probably on the western coast, from which highly refined gold was imported (see 1 Ki 9:28; 10:11; Ps 45:10).

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