The questions for Edom (Jer 49:7-49:9)

“Concerning Edom!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

‘Is there no longer wisdom

In Teman?

Has counsel perished

From the prudent?

Has their wisdom vanished?

Flee!

Turn back!

Get down low!

O inhabitants of Dedan!

I will bring

The calamity of Esau

Upon him,

Like the time

When I punished him.

If grape-gatherers

Came to you,

Would they not

Leave gleanings?

If thieves came

By night,

Would they not pillage

Only what they wanted?”

Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah. Its biblical origin was the place where Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, went to live in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh has a series of questions for Edom. What happened to their wisdom, especially at Teman, perhaps a tribal group in Edom, since Teman was the name of the grandson of Esau. One of Job’s friends Eliphaz was a Temanite. Obadiah, an almost unknown minor prophet, seemed to take some of this diatribe against Edom into most of his work. Something has happened to the counsel and prudence of Edom. Has all their wisdom vanished? Dedan was a tribe involved in commerce. Both grape gatherers and thieves would leave something behind. They would not take everything. Thus the grape pickers would leave some grapes for the later gleaners to come along and get some of these overlooked grapes. The same is true about nightly thieves who would only take what they needed.

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Yahweh blames the three wise men (Job 42:7-42:9)

“After Yahweh had spoken these words to Job, Yahweh said to Eliphaz the Temanite.

‘My wrath is kindled against you!

My wrath is kindle against your two friends!

You have not spoken of me what is right.

But my servant Job has.

Now therefore take seven bulls!

Take seven rams!

Go to my servant Job!

Offer up for yourselves a burnt offering!

My servant Job shall pray for you.

I will accept his prayer.

That is to not deal with you according to your folly.

You have not spoken of me what is right.

But my servant Job has done so.’

So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what Yahweh had told them. Yahweh accepted Job’s prayer.”

Yahweh was not mad at Job, but rather his 3 friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. He spoke directly to Eliphaz but he told him that he and his 2 friends were wrong when they spoke about Yahweh to Job. Job was right. As a punishment, the 3 of them were to take 7 bulls and 7 rams to make a burnt offering. Job would pray for them. Thus the prayer of Job was answered in the positive by Yahweh, the God of Israel. Obviously, since they were not Jewish they were not going to go to Jerusalem. However, it was a common ancient practice to offer sacrifices for absolving sins. So now we know the rest of the story as far as the 3 amigos of Job were concerned.

Elihu points out the failure of the three wise comforters (Job 32:11-32:14)

“See!

I waited for your words.

I listened for your wise sayings.

While you searched out what to say.

I gave you my attention.

However, there was in fact no one that confuted Job.

No one among you answered his words.

Yet you do not say.

‘We have found wisdom.

God may vanquish him,

Not a human.’

He has not directed his words against me.

I will not answer him with your speeches.”

Elihu turned first to the 3 comforters, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. He said that he had listened to their wise sayings. He paid close attention, but they did not refute Job. No one was able to respond to him. They did not even say that they had human or divine wisdom. Although Job had not directed his words against Elihu, he was still going to answer Job.

The fate of the wicked (Job 24:22-24:25)

“Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power.

They rise up when they despair of life.

He gives them security.

They are supported.

His eyes are upon their ways.

They are exalted a little while.

Then they are gone.

They wither and fade like the mallow.

They are cut off like the heads of grain.

If it is not so,

Who will prove me a liar?

Who will show that there is nothing in what I say?”

Once again, these verses are not in the Jerusalem Bible. However, here it seems like the argument of Eliphaz but assigned to Job. He maintained that God prolonged the life of the mighty. He gave them support and security. However, they were only exalted for a little while. Then they were gone. They faded away. They were like grain stalks with their heads cut off. Who was going to prove him a liar?

Eliphaz wants Job to reconcile with God (Job 22:21-22:30)

“Agree with God!

Be at peace!

In this way good will come to you.

Receive instruction from his mouth.

Lay up his words in your heart.

If you return to the Almighty Shaddai,

You will be restored.

If you remove unrighteousness from your tents,

If you treat gold like dust,

If you treat the gold of Ophir like the stones of the torrent bed,

If the Almighty Shaddai is your gold,

If the Almighty Shaddai is your precious silver,

Then you will delight yourself in the Almighty Shaddai.

Lift up your face to God!

You will pray to him!

He will hear you.

You will pay your vows!

You will decide on a matter!

It will be established for you.

Light will shine on your ways.

When others are humiliated,

You say it is pride.

God saves the humble.

He will deliver even those who are guilty.

They will escape

Because of the cleanness of your hands.”

Eliphaz wanted Job to admit his guilt so that everything would be fine. He wanted him to just agree with God. Then Job would be at peace. He should listen to God and admit his failings. He wanted him to return to the almighty Shaddai. The almighty one should be his gold, silver, and precious metal. Then he could lift up his face to God since God would hear his prayers. God does not like the haughty, but prefers the humble. Eliphaz wanted Job to be humble before God. Thus even if he was guilty, God would forgive him because of his clean hands.

Eliphaz claims that Job had much and did not share it (Job 22:8-22:11)

“The powerful possess the land.

The favored people live in it.

You have sent widows away empty.

You have crushed the arms of the orphans.

Therefore snares are around you.

Sudden terror overwhelms you.

Your light is darkened.

Thus you cannot see.

A flood of water covers you.”

Eliphaz claimed that Job had land, yet he sent widows and orphans away empty handed. Thus the snares and terrors are all around him because he was not kind to others. He was now in a situation where it was dark. He could not see because a flood of water had covered him. He was in a state or personal distress.

Eliphaz accuses Job of wrong doing (Job 22:1-22:7)

“Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered.

‘Can a mortal be of use to God?

Can even the wisest be of service to him?

Is it any pleasure to the Almighty Shaddai?

Even if you are righteous,

Is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?

Is it for your piety that he reproves you?

Does he enter into judgment with you?

Is not your wickedness great?

There is no end to your iniquities.

You have exacted pledges

From your family brothers

For no reason.

You have stripped the naked of their clothing.

You have given no water to the weary to drink.

You have withheld bread from the hungry.’”

Eliphaz reminded Job that God only punishes in a just fashion. How could he be of service to God? How could he bring pleasure to the almighty one, Shaddai? Even if he was blameless and righteous, what had he gained? However, Eliphaz said that Job’ wickedness was great. He had treated people unfairly. He then enumerated the evil things that Job had done. He exacted pledges from his family. He striped clothes to make people naked. He failed to give water and bread to the hungry and thirsty people. These were explicit things that Job had done wrong.