Eliphaz, a Temanite from Idumaea (Job 4:12), is one of Job’s three friends who seeks to comfort him. He is the first of the friends to speak to Job about his suffering and does so in what has been described as either an “Jehovistic” or “markedly Jehovistic” manner.
Eliphaz initially assumed Job’s complaint was the result of some sort of guilt. He believed that by pointing out some potential sins he had committed, they could convince Job of his innocence and restore his life back to normal. Unfortunately, this assumption proved false quickly.
Job’s complaint simply indicated that he was feeling pain. He wasn’t conscious or unconscious that his suffering was the result of some kind of sin; rather, Job was being a victim of nature and its laws.
Eliphaz was troubled by Job’s suffering, yet he could not help but wonder what was going on inside of him. If it were due to sin, God would surely put an end to it.
Eliphaz sought to motivate Job to reflect upon his situation by asking what he truly believed. He desired for Job’s heart and mind to become firm in faith and trust in God’s unchanging character.
He then asked, “To which of the holy ones will you turn?” When answering, He provided two possibilities: (1) Is there anyone who can provide this information? and (2) If so, is it one of God’s chosen people?”
The answer to his first query is yes. There are many godly people who can provide assistance.
Eliphaz then poses a rhetorical question: “Who was innocent ever perished?” He also states that “Affliction does not come from the dust nor does trouble spring from beneath the earth,” meaning Job’s troubles did not originate within him but were brought on due to his own sins.
By doing so, he reaffirms the fundamental teaching of Christianity: that all men have sinned and will bear the consequences of their transgressions. Those who act righteously in this life will be rewarded with eternal life; those who sin will suffer for it.
Finally, he emphasizes the fact that even angels have made mistakes. This serves to remind us that we should never put too much trust into human beings because they will ultimately fail us.
Eliphaz has a kind heart and makes an excellent friend, but he misunderstands some fundamental truths about human nature. This issue should be taken into account as we strive to know God better and follow Him in our daily lives.