After Job has spoken of original sin and the resurrection, Eliphaz thinks he is out of his mind.
Eliphaz, not privy to the wisdom of God given to Job by the Holy Spirit, cannot help but react in disgust. “What is Job talking about,” he thinks to himself. “He is full of hot air and makes accusations against God! Why does he think he will be vindicated and resurrected from the dead, when clearly he is being punished for sin?”
In verse 2, we should interpret Eliphaz’s comments on wind, particularly the “east wind” which would have originated in present day Saudi Arabia, as a simple “you’re full of hot air” sort of comment. The text gives us some clue as to what Eliphaz considers the hot air to be.
For one, it is “irreverent” (Job 15:4). This would include any insinuations or assertions made by Job that God would be incorrect in punishing him.
Another would be that Job is speaking above his head (i.e. “you choose the language of the crafty,” Job 15:5). What is above Eliphaz’s head? Job’s treatment of concepts such as original sin, forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the righteous in Christ would have been confusing concepts. After all, only those with the Holy Spirit like Job can understand spiritual concepts, to the natural man like Eliphaz they are foolishness (1 Cor 1:24).
It is because Eliphaz lacks such insight that he asks Job where exactly he gets such ideas from. It’s not from age or generations of learning, for Job is not “the first man born” (Job 15:7) nor from the traditions of men older than Job’s father (Job 15:10). Eliphaz also does not think it is from revelation (Job 15:8) because unlike him who had a vision in the night (which he invokes in Job 15:14), Job makes no claim to hearing a booming voice from heaven telling him of the resurrection of the dead. Job also is not essentially smarter than his friends (Job 15:9).
So, the only conclusion Eliphaz can draw is that Job is being full of himself and speaking falsely. The “consolations of God” as he arrogantly calls his and the friends’ advice must be “too small” and insignificant for big-headed Job (Job 15:11). Elihu wants to know why Job’s pride “carries him away” from God and cause his eyes to “flash” with indignation (Job 15:12-13)?
After trying to humble Job by accusing him of arrogance, Eliphaz gets to the central thesis of his argument: man is totally depraved. This means, sinful man always deserves punishment and suffering. This conclusion, which Eliphaz believes is inspired by revelation from God, as we covered in chapter four seriously undercuts his own argument. After all, if “man, who drinks iniquity like water” (Job 15:16) “born of a woman” (Job 15:14) cannot be righteous, and the “holy ones” and “the heavens are not pure in His sight” (Job 15:15), then surely there is no hope for even Eliphaz, let alone Job! For, God would have no reason to take pleasure in absolutely anything. Every man is unrighteous and must be crushed. The angels are not good enough and in them he “puts no trust” (Job 15:15). Even heaven itself is repulsive in His sight, according to Elihu.
As we covered in chapter four, Satan’s lies are crafty. Man is unrighteous, apart from Christ. There are indeed angels God places no trust in, such as Satan. Further, even “heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You” (1 Kings 8:27) so the heavens cannot compare with God. However, the notion that all of these things are not only deficient compared to God (they are) but totally unclean and repulsive, would mean that God is compelled to destroy them. But, why would such destruction be arbitrary and inconsistent if it were deserved? Further, it negates the idea that God glories in Job, the worship of his people and the angels in both heaven and Earth.
As for the deficiency of the heavens, we cannot comment as to the exact nature of this charge. One can only say there will be a new heavens and a new Earth, and there both angels and men will be able to look upon God, something that even the angels in Isaiah could not do. For, this is a mystery too great for us and we cannot comment on the notion intelligently.
Eliphaz, after making his self-contradictory point, then puts revelation aside and seeks to teach Job by appealing to an argumentum ad populum: “what I have seen I will also declare what wise men have told and have not concealed from their fathers” (, i.e. the traditions of men, Job 15:17-18). After all, his appeal to revelation was only his “back up plan” in order to explain why anyone, at anytime, can suffer while defending God against accusations of unrighteousness. The traditions of men are not quite so lofty and simply repeat the tried but true “what comes around goes around” way of thinking.
The following trite proverbs according to Eliphaz come with God’s seal of approval. After all, God gave these men which the proverbs come from “the land” and have kept them unpolluted from outsiders that might have corrupted their thinking (Job 15:19). We already know how throughout the Old Testament, intermarriage and other relations with non-Israelites was seen as a corrupting influence. In the same way, these gentiles in the Book of Job were aware of such notions and defended their own time-honored traditions of men.
These traditions taught that evil men live in pain (Job 15:20), with a sense of constant fear and stress (Job 15:21, 24). They think of themselves as untouchable even from death, only to die by the sword (Job 15:22). The wicked ultimately go hungry (Job 15:23) even though they confidently attack God (Job 15:25-26). They are fattened by the world’s wealth and trust in it to sustain them (Job 15:27). Yet, their wealth is temporary (Job 15:28-31) and it won’t last even past their own lifetime (Job 15:32-33). Such evil men’s destruction is assured (Job 15:34), though the flames Eliphaz invokes unbeknownst to him are not figurative. They will greet the wicked in Hell.
All of these traditions teach it is bad to be evil, but they do not explain why Job suffers. They also do not explain why the wicked often escape punishment. Even though Eliphaz claims to observe these things, any of us can confirm the opposite with our own observations. So, while to Eliphaz it is obvious that Job’s suffering is the result of the fact that he “conceive[s] mischief and bring[s] forth iniquity” (Job 15:35), Job by the Spirit of God knows the truth is far different.