Water and vegetation (Job 8:11-8:19)

“Can papyrus grow where there is no marsh?

Can reeds flourish where there is no water?

While yet in flower and not cut down,

They wither before any other plant.

Such are the paths of all who forget God.

The hope of the godless shall perish.

Their confidence is gossamer.

Their trust is a spider’s web.

If one leans against its house,

It will not stand.

If one lays hold of it,

It will not endure.

The wicked thrive before the sun,

Their shoots spread over the garden.

Their roots twine about the stone heap.

They live among the rocks.

If they are destroyed from their place,

Then it will deny them, saying,

‘I have never seen you.’

See!

These are their happy ways.

Out of the earth still others will spring.”

Here the power of God is seen in the growth of vegetation. Without water nothing will happen. Water your plants! If you forget God you are like a plant without water. Your hope will disappear. Your confidence will be delicate. Your trust will be like that in a spider web. If you lean on a house, it will fall. The wicked seem to be fine in the sun, but their roots are stuck in stone. They will be destroyed from their place. They will say that I have no idea who they are. However, others will sprout from the earth who are not wicked.

Eliphaz speaks to Job (Job 4:1-4:6)

“Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered.

‘If one ventures a word with you,

Will you be offended?

But who can keep from speaking?

See!

You have instructed many.

You have strengthened the weak hands.

Your words have supported those who were stumbling.

You have made firm the feeble knees.

But now it has come to you.

You are impatient.

It touches you.

You are dismayed.

Is not your fear of God your confidence?

Is not the integrity of your ways your hope?’”

Now finally, someone other than Job speaks. Eliphaz the Temanite, who was one of his 3 friends, felt that he was forced to speak. Although he did not want to offend Job, he started out gently. He will represent the traditional opinion of retribution that God was punishing Job for something that he had done. Eliphaz reminded Job that he had instructed many people. Using beautiful metaphors, he said that Job had strengthened the weak, supported the stumbling, and firmed up the feeble. However, now the problems have come to Job. Suddenly Job was impatient. Where was his confidence in God? Where was his hope based on his integrity? Eliphaz chided Job for being impatient and not trusting in God.