Eliphaz the Temanite Replies (Job 4 and 5)

Scripture Text:

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Job 4 and 5

1. What is the very first thought that comes to mind when you hear, “God told me that _____”? Fill the blank from your own experience of dealing with such a statement. What impact did it have on you?

2. What is the very first thought that comes to mind when you hear, “If you only had more faith _____”? Fill the blank from your own experience of dealing with such a statement. What impact did it have on you?

3. After seven days of mourning, Eliphaz speaks up. How do his first words strike you? Sympathetic? Instructive? Dogmatic? Well-meaning? Pastoral? Or what?

4. What neat theological formula does Eliphaz urge upon Job as the proper basis for his hope (chapter 4:6 – 11)? How does that view of the “blameless” and the “evildoers” compare with the theology of the day (see Psalm 1)? Is Eliphaz’s theology correct? How so?

5. What is Eliphaz’s source for his authoritative viewpoint (chapter 4:12 – 16)? How does he describe his spiritual experience? Does that hair-raising, mystical experience sound reliable to you?

6. What does Eliphaz say God told him (chapter 4:17 – 21)? What is the point of the angels-mortals comparison?

7. Who would serve as a mediator to help plead Job’s case (chapter 5:1; see chapter 9:33; chapter 16:19, 20)? Who are these “holy ones” (see chapter 1:6 and chapter 2:1)? Why does Job need a mediator (chapter 5:2 – 7)?

8. What is the gist of Eliphaz’s advice in chapter 5:8 – 16? What is his concept of God? His view of God working in human history? What (if anything) is wrong with Eliphaz’s views?

9. What does Eliphaz imply is the reason for suffering (verses 17 – 26)? How would these words likely be received by Job, a “blameless and upright man”, a man who has lost his security and children?

10. What is Job supposed to do with Eliphaz’s advice (chapter 5:27)? What part of Eliphaz’s advice is field-tested as true and applicable to Job?

11. What makes you feel most understood by your close friends? What do they say? Not say? What do they do? Not doe?

12. Have you ever been totally misunderstood by your closest friend? How did you feel about that?

13. How did your closest friend react the last time you faced personal difficulty? How was he or she most helpful? Unhelpful?

14. What about when the tables were turned and your friend was facing difficulty. What kind of friend did you prove to be?

15. Can “correct” theology (all the right words) ever be “bad” theology in practice? When? What real or hypothetical situations come to mind? What part of Eliphaz’s advice is true and applicable to you? In what way?

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