King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Job 4

Eliphaz reproves Job. (1-6) And maintains that God’s judgments are for the wicked. (7-11) The vision of Eliphaz. (12-21)

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Eliphaz reproves Job

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,

2 If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?

3 Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.

4 Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.

5 But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

6 Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?

And maintains that God’s judgments are for the wicked

7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?

8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

9 By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

10 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken.

11 The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion’s whelps are scattered abroad.

The vision of Eliphaz

12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.

13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,

14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.

15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:

16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,

17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it.

21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Themanite. People of this city, about twelve miles from Petra, in Arabia, were renowned for wisdom. Jer. xlix. 7. Bar. ii. 22. Pythagoras therefore visited this country. S. Cyr. con. Jul. x. — Eliphaz attempts to prove that no innocent person is chastised. He does not speak of small faults, to which any person may be exposed, and which God may severely punish. But he will have Job to be a great offender, at least in secret, and represents himself in too advantageous a light; though he was really a good man, and meant well. C. — But this did not exempt him from sin, (C. xlii.) no more than Eliu. C. xxxii. Bonum ex integra causa; malum ex quolibet defectu; as theologians agree. H.

Ver. 2. Conceived? and to which the speech of Job had given occasion. M. — Sept. “Who shall bear the force of thy words? For if thou,” &c. H.

Ver. 4. Knees. It is just that thou shouldst apply thy instructions to thyself. M.

Ver. 5. And thou. Sept. “and has touched thee. But thou makest haste” (H.) to flee. Heb. “art consternated.” We may easily prescribe for others, but when we are sick we know not what to do. C.

Ver. 6. Where? Sept. “Rather is not thy fear foolishness as well as thy hope, and the innocence of thy path?” H. — Is not all hypocrisy? M. C. — Many of the assertions of Job’s friends are true, but their inferences are false. M.

Ver. 7. Destroyed? They never were eternally. But Abel and many other just persons, have been exposed to tribulation in this world, (W.) for their greater improvement. Yet Eliphaz falsely concludes from the sufferings of Job, that he must have been a criminal. C. — If any one should now hold the same opinion, we should deem him very ignorant or foolish. But we have observed, (Pref.) that this was not so obvious at that time. Cain, the giants, Her, Onan, Sodom, &c. had been made examples of divine vengeance. But a new order of things was now commencing. Houbigant.

Ver. 8. Reap them. He insinuates that Job now reaps what he had sown. Gal. vi. 8.

Ver. 11. Tiger. Heb. Layish, means also an “old lion.” Sept. murmekoleon, “ant-lion,” which some have deemed fabulous, improperly. Bochart, vi. 5. Ælian, xvii. 42. — Eliphaz tacitly accuses Job of violence and pride. Ven. Bede. C.

Ver. 12. Private. Heretics pretend such obscure visions, rather to get credit than to edify others. S. Greg. v. 18. W. — Many suppose that Eliphaz was guilty of feigning: but the greatest part think that he had truly seen a vision, but did not draw the proper conclusion from it. C. — Prot. “Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.” H.

Ver. 13. The horror. Heb. “thoughts,” while I considered the cause of thy distress. C.

Ver. 15. Spirit: angel, or gentle breeze. C.

Ver. 16. And I. Prot. “there was silence, and I heard a voice.” Marg. “a still voice.” Sept. “But I heard a breeze and a voice.” H.

Ver. 17. Maker. It is thought that these were the words of the angel. If God punish without cause, may not the sufferer esteem himself the better of the two? You must therefore be guilty. C. — Job would never dispute; but God was infinitely more pure than man, who may nevertheless be free from grievous sins. W. — The highest angel has nothing but what he has received from God, in comparison with whom he is still as a mere nothing. But this does not prove that Job was a criminal, or that he pretended to arrogate to himself any excellence, independent of the giver of all good gifts. He did not assert that he was impeccable: yet, with God’s grace, he might be innocent. C.

Ver. 18. Angels, who fell, as the fathers explain it. E. T. — Heb. “behold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly.” C. xv. 15. and xxv. 5. and 2 Pet. ii. 4. Prot. H.

Ver. 19. Foundation. Children of Adam, whose bodies are taken from the dust. M.

Ver. 20. Understandeth. Heb. “regardeth.” Sept. “can help himself.” H. — Man is justly punished because he does not reflect on what he ought. C.

Ver. 21. And they. Heb. “doth not their dignity pass away with them? They die without wisdom.” H. — This is but too frequently the case of the great ones of this world, who never discern true from false riches. C.