Job's Response to Eliphaz
Eliphaz's First Speech (4:1-5:27)
Job's Response to Eliphaz (6:1-7:21)
In essence, Eliphaz had told Job his complaint that his affliction had been exaggerated by his inflated sense of innocence. Eliphaz accused Job of secret sin, which led him to lion-like abuses of people, hidden to the plain view of others and maybe even to Job (1). Job countered Eliphaz in four arguments.
Job's Four Arguments (1-7)
Argument One (2-3)
Job defended his point of view with some exaggerated examples. His first metaphor was a measure-scale. Job placed his miserable suffering on one side of the scale, and it was like the weight of all the sand of the sea. How could his complaining be equal to the weight of his suffering? His misery was like placing all the sand of the sea on one side and on the other side his wildly rash and impulsive words. How could those flimsy words be compared to his enormous burden (2-3)?
Argument Two (4)
Second, Job considered the afflictions that had wreaked havoc on his mind. He compared them to poisonous arrows he viewed as sent from God. Those poisonous-arrow afflictions were all the food his spirit had to feast upon. Those arrows had not only poisoned his spirit, but were also numbing his mind and paralyzing his ability to think straight.
Argument Three (5)
Job then asked his friends if a donkey does not bray when it cannot find grass or an ox bellow when it has no food (5). Even people complain when the food is too salty or the egg is tasteless. In essence, Job was asking his friends if they weren't setting the bar too high not to expect a bit of complaining out of him. Even the wildlife react to going footless, much less humans complaining over trivial matters. Job asserted to his friends that it would be absurd not to expect his complaint to equal his misery (6).
Argument Four (7)
Job's fourth argument was his loss of appetite. Job's food had become misery and affliction. To look at what he was being fed as a steady diet was making him gag. His first speech was not merely an act of complaining; it was an act of gagging over food so foul that no soul should have to eat it (7).
Job Laments Hopelessness (8-13)
Job then began to gag or lament once again at the thought of the miseries suffocating his life, which he was being served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Job had one wish, one way in which his life could be honored, one desire and one prayer (8)—death at the hands of God (9).
Job then paused and announced he did have one comfort in the middle of all his miseries: he had not yet once renounced the word and the will of the Holy One. Here, Job asserted his innocence (10; along with 9:21; 16:17; 27:6).
Job then declared he had nothing to live for. There was nothing in his life giving him hope, nothing to rally the strength and desire to endure on (11). Job confessed his body was human, made of flesh, not stone or bronze; he could not withstand the raging torment of the suffering (12). Job's inner resources were spent and his external strength shot; there was no possible vision for recovery left within him. All he could long for was death (13).
Job Laments Friends (14-30)
Job then told his friends who sat in agreement with Eliphaz what they should have been. They should have shown “hesed" covenant love (kindness) to their friend, even if he, Job, had forsaken the fear of God (14).
Instead, they were as committed as a dry gulch in the desert, all full of water when the high temperatures and the heavy rains were melting the snow and overflowing the banks. The summer would come, and in the middle of the summer, they were vapor-dry, all covenant vanished into thin air (15-17).
When caravans desperate for water would turn to these brooks to find some, there was nothing. The lack of hydration killed them before they could reach their destination (18).
In southern and northern Arabia, travelers were dependent upon this water to survive as they trudged across the desert to their destination. Job was as disappointed in his friends as a caravan in search of water from dried up brooks (19-20).
When Job needed some friendly water to drink in the desert of his affliction, all he found were friends too fearful to give him some refreshment. These friends were too fearful that they too might be next in line for an avalanche of misery, so instead of giving Job comforting love, they worried their minds with reasons for his suffering. They hoped they could figure out the reason for Job's suffering and then preach peace to their own hearts in not having committed the same sin as Job, thus not being targeted by God for suffering. Job's friends were seeking to sting Job with condemnation in hopes they could justify their own lives as not deserving suffering (21).
Job then reminded his friends he was not seeking a monetary gift to relieve some of his pain, nor was he begging for a hand-out (22). He had not asked them to take up arms against those who had taken from him and go save what he had lost from the callous thieves who had robbed him (23).
It should be noted here—nor had any of them offered.
All he was asking from his friends was clear evidence of what he had done so wrong as to be deserving of such wretched adversity. If they would give some cause and evidence, Job announced he would gladly shut up (24). Job was just asking for straight talk, not the implied, “We think you have some secret motives that led you to oppress people, which no one knows about but you.”
Job had wanted honest words even if painful, but instead Job got a mouth full of innuendo, unsubstantiated allegations, non-sequiturs, and nitpicking over Job's laments (25-26).
Job then accused his friends of being without affection and empathy. Job accused his friends of being so callous that they would take a young servant without a parent, "cast lots" for his possessions, and then sell the youngster off to pay off the father's debts. Job was outright telling his friends they would sell off a friend in a minute just to come up with a philosophy on suffering that made them feel safe from experiencing similar affliction from the Almighty (27).
Job then called on his friends to look him in the face and see the truth of his countenance (28).
He called on his friends to turn from their assumptions and presumptions and hypotheses concerning his guilt and begin to discern the difference between right and wrong. He was calling on them to vindicate his life, his actions, and to note with him before God that he had not deserved what he had gotten. He was begging them to taste the difference between right and wrong and to announce with him to God that his suffering did not match his righteous life (29-30).