It doesn’t seem like anything is getting accomplished between Job and his friends, they sound like our government.
The third cycle of speeches, unlike the first (chs 4-14) and second (chs 15-21), is truncated and abbreviated. Bildad’s speech is very brief (25:1-6), and Zophar doesn’t speak at all.
The dialogue between Job and his friends comes to an end because the friends can’t convince Job of his guilt – Job can’t acknowledge what is not true.
“Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?
Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment? (Job 22:1-4)
Eliphaz’s odd reasoning is as follows: Since all things have their origin in God, man’s giving back what God has given him doesn’t enhance God in any way. Indeed, God is in different to man’s goodness because goodness is expected of him. It’s when man becomes wicked that God is aroused (v 4).
“Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?
For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.
Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.
But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.
Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.
Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;
Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee” (Job 22:5-11).
In his earlier speeches, Eliphaz was the least caustic and at first even offered consolation (4:6; 5:17). But despite what he said in 4:3-4, Eliphaz now reprimands Job for gross social sins against the needy, who are naked and hungry (vv 6-7), and against widows and the fatherless (v 9).
The only proof Eliphaz has for Job’s alleged wickedness is his present suffering (vv 10-11). In ch 29 Job emphatically denies the kind of behavior of which Eliphaz accuses him.
“Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!
And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?
Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.
Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?
Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:
Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?
Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn.
Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth” (Job 22:12-20).
It appears that Job may think that God is hiding behind the clouds and is unable to see his wickedness.
Eliphaz finally appears to support the argument of Bildad and Zophar, who were fully convinced that Job was a wicked man.
Eliphaz makes a server accusation: Job follows the path of the ungodly (v 15), who defy God’s power and say, what can the Almighty do (v 17; see vv 13-14). They even have contempt for God’s goodness (v 18).
“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.
Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.
If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.
Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.
Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.
For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.
Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.
Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.
When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.
He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands” (Job 22:21-30).
Eliphaz makes one last attempt to reach Job. In many ways it’s a commendable call to repentance:
1 Submit to God (v 21), especially God’s words in your heart (v 22), return to the Almighty and forsake wickedness (v 23), 2 find your delight in God rather than in gold (vv 24-26), pray and obey (v 27) and become concerned about sinners (vv 29-30).
But Eliphaz’s advice assumes (1) that Job is a very wicked man and (2) that Job’s major concern is the return of his prosperity (see v 21). Job had already made it clear in 19:25-27 that he deeply yearned to see God and be His friend.
1 James, called the Just, had said similar things in regards to rebuking the world:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw night to God, and he will draw night to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and our joy to heaviness.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (Jas 4:7-10).
2 Paul had preached the same thing to the Athenians:
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring,
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead (the Godhead is Jesus Christ – Col 2:9) is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Act 17:22 & 24-29).
Peter had also expressed the fact that we are better than gold:
“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of person Judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last time for you,
Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (1 Pet 1:18-21).
The Threshing Floor
The threshing floor was an essential part of agriculture in the ancient Near East. Typically round, with a diameter of 25-40 feet (7.6-12.2 m), it was usually located near a village in an area exposed to wind.
Once the farmer had selected the location, he cleared the ground of stones and compressed the soil until a firm surface resulted. When the “floor” was ready, he laid recently harvested sheaves of grain on it for threshing.
The farmer then used large animals, such as oxen or donkeys, to pull heavy threshing sleds over the grain, separating the kernels from the stalks and husks.
When the threshing was completes winnowing fork was used to toss the grain into the air. The wind blew away the lighter stalks and husks (chaff), as the heavier kernels fell back to the floor.
The farmer sifted the kernels through trays to remove any dirt gathered in the process and then temporarily stored the grain in heaps on the floor or sealed it in jars for later use.
While the primary focus of the threshing floor was agricultural, the separation of the wheat and chaff became a natural and fitting symbol of judgment in the Old Testament (1 Chr 21:15; cf. Matt 3:12).
Because the floor was often the largest open area within a village, town elders were typically present to oversee the threshing of the year’s crops.
The threshing floor was a suitable locale for legal transactions, criminal trials and public decisions. Alternatively, public proceedings were often carried out at the city gate.