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III. Second Cycle of Speeches

Chapter 15

Second Speech of Eliphaz. [a]Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

Does a wise man answer with windy opinions,
    or puff himself up with the east wind?
Does he argue in speech that does not avail,
    and in words that are to no profit?
You in fact do away with piety,
    you lessen devotion toward God,
Because your wickedness instructs your mouth,
    and you choose to speak like the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you, not I;(A)
    your own lips refute you.
Were you the first to be born?
    Were you brought forth before the hills?
Do you listen in on God’s council(B)
    and restrict wisdom to yourself?
What do you know that we do not know,(C)
    or understand that we do not?
10 There are gray-haired old men among us,
    more advanced in years than your father.
11 Are the consolations of God not enough for you,
    and speech that deals gently with you?
12 Why does your heart carry you away,
    and why do your eyes flash,
13 So that you turn your anger against God
    and let such words escape your mouth!
14 How can any mortal be blameless,(D)
    anyone born of woman be righteous?(E)
15 If in his holy ones God places no confidence,(F)
    and if the heavens are not without blame in his sight,
16 How much less so is the abominable and corrupt:
    people who drink in iniquity like water!
17 I will show you, if you listen to me;
    what I have seen I will tell—
18 What the wise relate
    and have not contradicted since the days of their ancestors,
19 To whom alone the land was given,
    when no foreigner moved among them:
20 The wicked is in torment all his days,
    and limited years are in store for the ruthless;
21 The sound of terrors is in his ears;
    when all is prosperous, a spoiler comes upon him.
22 He despairs of escaping the darkness,
    and looks ever for the sword;
23 A wanderer, food for vultures,
    he knows destruction is imminent.
24 A day of darkness fills him with dread;
    distress and anguish overpower him,
    like a king expecting an attack.
25 Because he has stretched out his hand against God
    and arrogantly challenged the Almighty,
26 Rushing defiantly against him,
    with the stout bosses of his shields.
27 Although he has covered his face with his crassness,
    padded his loins with blubber,
28 He shall dwell in ruined cities,
    in houses that are deserted,
    crumbling into rubble.
29 He shall not be rich, his possessions shall not endure;
    his property shall not spread over the land.
30 A flame shall sear his early growth,
    and with the wind his blossoms shall disappear.
31 Let him not trust in his height, misled,
    even though his height be like the palm tree.[b]
32 He shall wither before his time,
    his branches no longer green.
33 He shall be like a vine that sheds its grapes unripened,
    like an olive tree casting off its blossom.
34 For the breed of the impious shall be sterile,(G)
    and fire shall consume the tents of extortioners.
35 They conceive malice, bring forth deceit,(H)
    give birth to fraud.[c]


  1. 15:1 The tone of Eliphaz’s speech is now much rougher. In vv. 7–9 he ridicules Job’s knowledge with a sarcastic question about whether he was a member of the divine council before creation and thus had unique wisdom (according to Prv 8:22–31, only Woman Wisdom existed before creation). Verses 20–35 are a typical description of the fate of the wicked.
  2. 15:31 The translation is uncertain.
  3. 15:35 The plans of the wicked yield nothing but futile results. Cf. Ps 7:15; Is 59:4.

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