Eliphaz the Temanite speaks up in reply. He asks if the wise should answer with “windy knowledge,” using worthless words. He accuses Job of neglecting the fear of God—Job’s own words condemn him. Is Job, Eliphaz asks, the firstborn of humanity? Does he think he is the only wise person? Is he dissatisfied with God’s teachings? No human being can be righteous; even the heavens are unclean compared to God. How much more is this the case for a sinner?
The second cycle of speeches begins here. If the first cycle established the participants’ positions, the second round of debate entrenches those positions. Eliphaz continues building his argument that Job doesn’t fear God enough. He keeps accusing Job of arrogance and impiety, assuming that Job believes in his own wisdom and righteousness instead of seeing himself as a sinner before God.
Eliphaz continues that he will tell Job wisdom. The wicked suffer all their lives, constantly threatened by famine and violence. This is the consequence of defying God. The wicked’s wealth won’t last, and their lives will have nothing to show but evil.
Again, Eliphaz interprets human suffering as a straightforward cause and effect—the wicked suffer terrible things. Therefore, Eliphaz assumes that Job’s sufferings are the result of Job’s wrongdoing.