Job 15 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. 15 21. The Second Circle of Speeches
The laudable attempts made by Job’s friends to bring him to acknowledge his sins and humble himself before God have signally failed. The sublime truths they have sought to impress on him regarding God have been without effect. He has found means to turn the point of every one of their weapons. And his passionate declarations of his innocence, and challenge of the Divine omniscience itself, with which the three friends had thought to silence him, convince them that they have to do with a man on whom just and reverent thoughts of God make no impression. The argument from the attributes of God has, indeed, been exhausted; and even if it had not, Job’s violent assault upon his friends for their use of it, and his charge that they were insincere and moved only by partizanship for God (Job 13:4 seq.), might have deterred them from arguing further in this direction. Hence the argument takes now a somewhat different form.
Job’s protestations of his innocence did not convince his friends, nor yet his challenge of God and attempt to force an answer from Him (Job 13:23 seq.). The manner of the latter shocked them by its irreverence, and the former appeared to them nothing but a crafty attempt on Job’s part to conceal his guilt. And of this guilt they were now more firmly convinced than ever (Job 15:4-6). Job’s demeanour under his sufferings only confirmed the conclusions which his sufferings themselves compelled them to draw. Perhaps his abortive appeal to heaven persuaded them that God was casting him finally off. At all events his behaviour explained to them with sufficient distinctness his afflictions, as well as made them dread a terrible issue to them, seeing Job under them could so tempt God and defy His righteousness (Job 15:6). However unwillingly, they are forced to conclude that they see in Job a type both of the calamities that befall the wicked and of their rebellious impatience under them. In this way the thoughts of the friends are drawn away from heaven to earth. God is no more their theme, but man, especially the wicked man as history and experience shew him to be dealt with in the providence of God. The effect of this change is naturally to draw the arguments of the friends closer around Job, and bring the debate to a crisis. For though the object of the three friends in drawing their dark pictures of the heaven-daring sinner and his fate is to awaken Job’s conscience and alarm him, that he may turn from his evil, their arguments are now of a kind that can be brought to the test of experience, and Job so soon as he can be induced to grapple with them has little difficulty in disposing of them.
When Job fully realizes this new turn that things are taking he is overwhelmed by it. He had anticipated that his sincere protestations of his innocence would carry conviction to the mind of his friends. But when he sees them regarding these protestations as nothing but a crafty cover of his guilt he realizes for the first time his true position. His isolation and misery come home to him in their full and bitter meaning. Men and God alike are against him and hold him guilty. For a long time Job is too much occupied with his new position to be able to turn his mind to the arguments of his friends. He is absorbed in the thought of his isolation, and dwells with affecting pathos on the thought how men hate him and flee from him. Only in his very last speech, after he has fought his way through to more composure of mind, does he seem to awaken to what the argument is which his friends are using against him, and then he deals it some crushing blows which effectually demolish it (ch. 21).
Ch. 15. The Second Speech of Eliphaz
As before Eliphaz takes the lead in the debate, and his speech strikes the key in which all the friends conduct it. His discourse attaches itself to Job’s last speech (ch. 12 14), two things in which Eliphaz lays hold of, first, Job’s contemptuous deriding of the opinions of his friends and his claim to a higher wisdom (ch. Job 12:3; Job 12:7 seq., Job 13:2); and second, his irreverence and the impiety of his sentiments (ch. Job 13:23 seq., Job 12:6). By the first the amour propre of Eliphaz is deeply hurt; and this very aged (ch. Job 15:10) and dignified counsellor, a man of pure and noble blood (ch. Job 15:19), betrays by a number of allusions to himself and his former speech (ch. Job 15:10 seq.) his sense of having been unworthily treated. Besides his irreverence in challenging God’s omniscience and seeking to thrust himself into God’s very presence, Job had spoken words destructive of all godliness, saying, that the tents of robbers were in peace, and that they that provoked God were secure (ch. Job 12:6). In opposition to such sentiments Eliphaz will shew him the truth in regard to the feelings and the fate of the wicked man. The speech thus falls into two parts:
First, Job 15:2-16, Eliphaz’s rebuke of Job’s contemptuous treatment of his friends and assumption of superior wisdom, and his irreverence.
Second, Job 15:17-35, the doctrine of Eliphaz regarding the wicked man’s conscience and fate.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".