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Job 22 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Ch. 22 31. The Third Circle of Speeches

In the first round of speeches the three friends exhausted the argument from the general conception of God. In the second they exhausted the argument from the operation of His providence in the world, as observed in the fate of the wicked. To the last Job had replied by a direct contradiction, adducing facts and testimony in proof that the fate of the wicked man in God’s providence was in no way so uniformly miserable as the three friends had represented (ch. 21.) There is, manifestly, now left but one weapon in the hands of the three friends, namely, to express openly what they had hinted at formerly in a veiled manner, and charge Job directly with great sins. This charge is made by Eliphaz in the opening speech of the third round of debate (ch. 22.)

As in the two preceding circles of debate, Job’s mind is too much absorbed in the contemplation of the great mystery of providence, which he had set before himself in ch. 21, to be able for a time to give heed to the shameful charges of Eliphaz against him. He dwells in his reply still, continuing the thought of ch. 21, upon the riddle of God’s rule of the world. He misses rectitude in this rule, and can observe no principle of moral government as he understands it. This is true not only in his own instance (ch. 23), but also on the broad field of the world in general (ch. 24.) God, though He knows his innocence, has resolved to destroy him (ch. Job 23:13). It is this feeling about God that terrifies and paralyses him, not his mere calamities in themselves (ch. Job 23:15-17). But the same absence of righteousness in the rule of the world is observed everywhere. Men cannot perceive God doing judgment and dispensing righteousness among them (ch. Job 24:1).

Bildad in his reply (ch. 25) passes by the facts adduced by Job, and touches only his arrogance in assuming to be innocent before God: How should man, who is a worm, be pure before the omnipotent ruler of the world? Such words in no way help Job. He knows God’s power and greatness not less than Bildad, and he replies by rivalling this speaker in extolling the greatness of God (ch. 26).

Then he comes to what he had not yet directly touched upon, the charges of wickedness made against him. These he denies under a solemn oath (ch. Job 27:1-6). Here follow in ch. Job 27:7 seq. and ch. 28 two passages which are difficult to fit into this part of the Book.

Finally Job takes a comprehensive survey of his mysterious history as a whole, ch. 29 31:

First, looking back with pathetic regret upon his former days, when his children were about him and he was prosperous and honoured among men, ch. 29;

Second, contrasting with this happier past his present abasement, the contempt in which he is held by the lowest of mankind, and the mysterious afflictions of God upon him, ch. 30;

And third, protesting that this affliction had come upon him for no sin of which he had been guilty; and ending with the impassioned cry that God would make known to him the charge which He has against him, ch. 31.

Ch. 22. Eliphaz directly charges Job with great Wickedness

Nothing now remains for the Friends but to make against Job openly the charge of great wickedness which they had hitherto only covertly insinuated. Eliphaz makes this charge in the present chapter. The charge, however, arises naturally out of Job’s last speech. He had there spoken as if no moral principle could be detected in God’s treatment of men (Job 21:23-26). He had said the like of this, indeed, before, but only in the heat of debate (Job 9:22): now he propounded the theory as part of a settled conviction, and sustained it by arguments. Moreover, his fascinating pictures of the felicity and joyous existence of the wicked, who bade God depart from them, were painful to a righteous mind, and naturally suggested that, in spite of his professed repudiation of them (Job 21:16), he was in secret sympathy with the principles of such men (Job 22:15). To these two points in Job’s speech Eliphaz attaches his rejoinder.

First, to Job’s statement that he missed all principle of righteousness in God’s providential rule of men Eliphaz replies that there must be some principle in it. The cause of God’s afflicting a man is not to be sought for in God Himself, as if it arose out of any self-seeking on His part, or any respect He had to Himself, for a man’s righteousness is no profit to God, neither is his wickedness any loss to Him. The reason of God’s treatment of men is therefore to be sought in themselves. But it is inconceivable that He should chastise a man for his piety. It must therefore be for his sins ( Job 22:2-5).

Having by means of this syllogism confirmed his conviction of Job’s guiltiness, Eliphaz proceeds to suggest what sins Job must have committed, which are those that a powerful, irresponsible, rich ruler of his time might most naturally be guilty of ( Job 22:6-10).

Then Job’s pictures of the joyous life of the wicked man suggest to Eliphaz the kind of feeling under which, no doubt, Job committed the sins which he must be guilty of. It was under the feeling that God was enthroned on high in heaven and took no note of the affairs of earth How doth God know? This was the state of mind of the ancient sinners who were carried away by a flood, and Eliphaz earnestly warns Job against such a feeling ( Job 22:12-20).

Finally he exhorts Job to reconcile himself with God, making Him his treasure and casting away earthly treasures. Then shall he have peace and great prosperity ( Job 22:21-30).

Consult other comments:

Job 22:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Job 22:0 - College Press Bible Study Textbook Series

Job 22:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Job 22:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Job 22:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Job 22:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges