Next, Eliphaz the Temanite speaks up. He asks Job if even the wisest person can be of service to God. Does human righteousness bring God any pleasure? Anyway, is God rebuking Job because of his goodness? Rather, it’s because of Job’s wickedness. Job has stripped clothing from the naked, denied water to the weary, and refused to give bread to the hungry. He’s been cruel to widows and orphans. This is why Job is surrounded by snares and terrors.
Eliphaz makes his third and final speech, and he takes things up a notch—blatantly accusing Job of the basest wickedness. He accuses Job of being cruel to society’s most helpless, contradicting Job’s protests that he is righteous (which are supported by the book’s prologue). It’s because of all this, Eliphaz claims, that Job has suffered so much.
God is in the heavens, Eliphaz points out, beyond the highest stars—so Job probably assumes that God can’t see him and won’t judge him. Will Job insist on following the path of the wicked, who were taken from the earth prematurely? Such people told God to “leave them alone.” The righteous rejoice at their destruction.
Eliphaz shows that he hasn’t really been listening to Job’s arguments on his own behalf. He portrays Job as someone who actively defies God. In doing so, Eliphaz takes Job’s words from chapter 21—where Job describes the wicked as those who totally disregard God—out of context, saying this is Job’s attitude about God (which it clearly isn’t).
Eliphaz urges Job to “agree with God, and be at peace.” If he does this, spurning gold and regarding God as his “gold and […] precious silver” instead, God will restore goodness to Job’s life. God will then hear and answer Job’s prayers.
Eliphaz appeals to Job to treat God like life’s greatest treasure, more valuable than precious metals. If Job regards God as his greatest wealth (implying that Job has been hoarding earthly wealth instead), then Job will be at peace with God. Eliphaz’s appeal is, of course, an insult to Job who, though rich, was portrayed earlier as righteous in his dealings with God and with other people.