The Book of Job - Lesson 16
Eliphaz’s Second Response (Job 15.1-35)
Eliphaz appeals to the night spirit and the tradition of the elders to tell Job that he is a babbling and blaspheming fool.
Eliphaz’s Second Response (Job 15.1-35)
I. Job is a Babbling, Blaspheming Fool (15:2-6)
II. True Wisdom Belongs to the Three (15:7-19)
A. Tradition of the elders
B. The night spirit
III. Poem on the Fate of the Wicked (15:20-35)
IV. Is Eliphaz Right?
When you see what you would describe as evil and injustice in the world, how does that affect your view of God? When someone is suffering, do you assume that it’s because they are getting what they deserve? This lecture gives you an overview of book of Job by describing his situation, how he interacts with his friends and God, and what we can learn about how God is managing the world.
Because there is nothing specific in the text that tells you when the book of Job was written, the sections in Job that allude to other passages of scripture give you some helpful clues. The structure of the book of Job focuses your attention on the main subject of the book which is God’s wisdom.
Other cultures in the ancient near east created literature with themes that are similar to the book of Job. The book of Job is unique because of his character and the answer that the book provides for the situation he is in.
Job is one of the wisdom books of the Old Testament. It covers more “advanced” topics than Proverbs and uses a variety of literary genres and allusions to other Biblical passages to explain and illustrate profound truths about God’s nature and his involvement in the world.
There is limited information in the book of Job about its geographical and historical background. However, it can be helpful to understand general information about the geography and history of the area to give you a context for reading and studying the book of Job. The author of the book of Job was a Hebrew poet who had an extensive vocabulary. Being uncertain about history and geography is good because the message is timeless.
Job contains literary elements that are similar to what you find in other Biblical books that are Apocalyptic. These elements include depictions of events in heaven and on earth, the emphasis on specific numbers and persevering in your faith in God, the references to mythological animals and God’s supernatural control of all events.
Satan appears before God with an accusation against Job. Even though Job is described as, “upright and blameless,” Satan accuses Job of serving God only because Job is prosperous. God allows Satan to take away Job’s possessions, children and health. The remainder of the book is the dialogue of Job and his friends attempting to determine why this is happening.
Job curses the day he was born. When you carefully examine what he is saying, you realize that it is more intense than just saying that he wished he had never lived.
Eliphaz begins tactfully in his remarks to Job. He did not intend to do harm. However, he thinks God is causing Job to suffer because of a sin Job committed. He speaks accurately of the justice of God, but in Job’s case he misapplies it. He also gives a message he received from the, “night spirit.”
Eliphaz considers the message of the, “night spirit” a revelation from God. However, at it’s core, this message is inconsistent with God’s attitude toward Job, and creation in general.
Job’s theological worldview has fallen apart because he knows he doesn’t deserve to suffer. Eliphaz calls Job to repent. Job responds questioning why he is suffering, because according to his worldview, he hasn’t done anything to deserve it.
Bildad is direct is his rebuke and admonition of Job. He uses metaphors to get his point across.
When Job’s friends describe God as all powerful in an attempt to comfort Job, he becomes terrified because he sees God as causing his suffering and there is nothing that can stop it.
Zophar assumes that Job is being punished because he sinned and accuses him of mocking God. Job's three friends move from tactful suggestions to open hostility. As Job is searching for answers, he becomes disappointed in his friends.
Job agrees with his friends that God is causing his suffering, but disagrees with them about why it’s happening. Job believes that God will eventually vindicate him.
Eliphaz appeals to the night spirit and the tradition of the elders to tell Job that he is a babbling and blaspheming fool.
Job begins by criticizing what his friends are saying to him and then professes his faith in God. Bildad responds harshly to Job.
Even though Job’s friends have criticized him, he has grown in his faith in God. Job is worn out and begs for compassion. When he gets nothing but contempt and hostility instead, he confesses his faith and hope in God. The messianic theology of Job is different from any other book of the Bible.
Zophar uses metaphors that are found in other passages of scripture as well as Job’s own words to accuse Job of being wicked. However, Zophar made a serious error, which we need to avoid in our lives.
Job continues to wrestle with the presence of evil in the world and the apparent injustice of God.
Eliphaz attacks Job as being wicked by twisting the meaning of what Job has said previously. The irony is that Job will be reconciled to God and will pray for Eliphaz.
Job wants to lay out his case before God by claiming his innocence. Job says that God is hidden and does as he chooses, but that God neither judges the guilty nor helps the righteous. Bildad responds by contrasting God’s holiness and human lowliness.
Job sarcastically thanks the friends for their wise words, which he doesn’t think were wise at all.
This is a poem about wisdom that divides the content of the book and points to a deep truth. It is inserted by the author of the book and is not attributed to Job or the friends.
The crisis that Job is experiencing is not just the material losses and physical suffering, but also his crisis of faith. He thought he understood what his relationship with God is all about but he feels that God has abandoned him for no apparent reason. Job laments the pain he feels from being disgraced and humiliated.
This is the last major statement that Job makes, other than his responses to God that come later. Job is taking a series of oaths that he has not committed any of the sins he mentions. The Bible is distinctive in declaring that all people are created equally, in the image of God. In ancient cultures, some people intrinsically have more value than others because of heritage, wealth, gender, race, etc. God looks on everyone impartially.
Elihu is not mentioned either before or after his speech. He claims to be perfect in knowledge. Elihu thinks that the other three did not convince Job because they did not give a satisfactory answer, but Elihu ends up repeating what they have already said. He thinks that the doctrine of retribution is the answer to Job’s situation. Elihu is a warning to us that we don’t have all the answers.
The questions of the book of Job are, “How does God address the problem of evil and why do we serve God? God created a world that is stable and not chaotic. Where there was chaos, God brought in light, shape and beauty. Chaotic forces are necessary for life and God controls them.
People in ancient Mesopotamia lived in constant fear of the chaos, danger, ferocity of nature and they valued subduing, controlling and pushing back nature. Wilderness was something to be tamed and pushed back by civilization. In the Gilgamesh epic poem, Enkidu is transformed into a civilized man who protects the domestic animals from the wild animals. In Egypt, there were gods of the Black Land and gods of the Red Land. God sees everything in the world as entirely under his control.
God’s care for the animals and how this relates to the problem of Job. All of the things that we see as chaos, and out of control depend on God and thrive because he provides for them and things that he manages and glories in. God describes nature as good, unlike the night spirit that describes it with contempt and loathing. God knows how to manage the chaotic elements of creation.
The societies of the Ancient Near East had a high concept of justice. It was the duty of the rulers to uphold justice and protect the powerless. If you are a man who leads, you need to make sure that evil is held in check. Listen to people who come to you with a grievance. God is asking Job if he comprehends what it means to bring justice to the world. It involves both power and wisdom.
Behemoth is the plural form of a Hebrew word that refers to animals in general also specifically to wild animals. In Job, it’s also used as a metaphor representing the composite forces of the powers of the earth that are against God.
Behemoth is a dangerous power that God must reckon with. Some people think this is an allusion to animals that God created in Genesis 1:24. “Lady Wisdom” is the wisdom that God built into creation. Behemoth is dangerous and a force to be reckoned with, not the embodiment of good behavior. One aspect of principalities and powers is forces outside of the world we can see. In Revelation, God protects people from the fury and wrath of the beast, which is an oppressive power that seeks to take the place of God.
Job 41 describes Leviathan. Leviathan is not a natural animal like a crocodile. Sometimes Leviathan refers to a large sea creature, and sometimes death, chaos and the embodiment of evil. Satan is present at the first of the book but he is never mentioned again. In order for God to deal with evil in the world, he must defeat Leviathan.
Leviathan is a ferocious creature that no human can subdue. God is saying that he is willing to oppose Leviathan and is not frightened of Leviathan or intimidated by his boasting. God is the one who will defeat this enemy who seems unbeatable to humans. God tells Job that he will deal with Leviathan but God doesn’t tell him how he will do it. Job embraced God’s answer even though Job didn’t know how God would deal with evil.
Job announces that he has changed his outlook on evil, God’s governance of the world and his own suffering. Job knew that God is all-powerful. Now Job knows something more about how God uses his power. Should God be merciful to people who will still be evil? Eschatological is an event that can only happen by a work of God. Emergence of divine power within the historical context. Job admits that he didn’t understand the complexity that is involved in God conquering evil. God forgives Job’s three friends because Job interceded for them. God is showing his approval with job by publicly restoring him.
Job’s suffering brought him to a new understanding of who God is and what God is doing in the world. Job’s hope, and our hope, is in a heavenly redeemer that rose from the dead. Legalism comes about often when people hold to essential teachings but they don’t know God. They substitute the rules for relationship.
Job mentions composite animals similar to those described in other apocalyptic passages. Job had faith that God would do a work of salvation but didn’t understand everything that Jesus would do. There is a hidden plan of God to redeem people and conquer evil that is a major theme in apocryphal books and also in Job.
Job tells us about the heavenly mediator. Prior to his afflictions, Job’s life was almost god-like because he was relatively free of suffering. Job through his affliction, faces the problem of evil and the enormity of suffering in the human race. Even though some people commit evil and violent acts, Job describes them in pitiful terms.
Should virtue, or piety, be disinterested? If it’s not done for it’s own sake, is it real? Job’s love for God is not disinterested, but it is real.
If God is good and powerful, why do you see suffering in the world? Why do you serve God even when you experience suffering? How do you respond to others when they ask these questions? How have you answered them for yourself? These are such important questions that the entire book of Job is devoted discussing only these issues in the context of the perspective of the experiences of one person.
The theme of the book of Job is timeless and singular. There are clues about its geographical and historical setting but nothing in the book itself that identifies the place or time of its writing. However, the setting is irrelevant because the questions that are addressed in the Book of Job are ones that people have asked in all cultures, throughout time. It would be distracting and even limiting to frame the dialogue in a specific time or culture. There are enough clues in the text to give you a general idea of the culture and time it was written in to help you understand the logic and metaphors used by the main characters in their dialogue.
The complete book of Job is composed of the dialogue of Job, his friends and God regarding the issues of God's goodness, his power, and evil in the world. No historical events. No other personal, corporate or theological issues. Since these questions are central to your understanding of God's character and how he works in the world around us throughout history, the book of Job compels you to consider this question deeply and exhaustively. The point is that by the end of the book, you can understand and articulate who God is and how he works in your life and in the world.
The value of this class is that Dr. Garrett helps you understand what the text means, the historical and theological implications, and how you apply it to your life. Dr. Garrett's knowledge of the Bible, understanding of the Hebrew language and background in Ancient Near Eastern history and culture inform his insights into the message of the book and what it means to you. He is skilled at explaining technical linguistic and theological issues in a way that helps you comprehend them and see how they apply to your life. Whether you are just beginning in your study of the Bible or you have had training at an advanced academic level, studying the Book of Job with Dr. Garrett has the potential change the way you understand God and also how you live each day.
Course: The Book of Job
Lecture: Eliphaz’s Second Response
We are now into the second cycle and Job has made his opening speech, and so now Eliphaz gives his response. Here we have the second speech of Eliphaz.
I. Job is a Babbling, Blaspheming Fool
The structure is pretty straightforward. It begins by simply saying that Job is a babbling, blaspheming fool in chapter 15, verses 2-6. He says true wisdom
belongs with the three, the three friends, in verses 7-19; and then he gives a poem about Job, the wicked man, in verses 20-35. I should tell you, he doesn’t
explicitly say, “Job,” but it is clear he is talking about Job when he describes “the wicked man.”
Let’s get into it. Chapter 15, verses 2-6: “Would a wise person answer with empty notions, or fill their belly with the hot east wind? Would they argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value? But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God. Your sin prompts your mouth. You adopt the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, not mine. Your own lips testify against you.”
This is just his opening salvo; and all he is saying basically is, “Job, you are full of hot air. All you have given us is a bunch of breezy, empty, hollow arguments.” It is interesting, though, he does throw Job’s own words back into his face. He says in verses 5 and 6, “Your sin prompts your mouth. You adopt the tongue of the crafty. Your mouth condemns you, not mine. Your own lips testify against you.” This is, in fact, an echo of what Job said in chapter 9, verse 20: “Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me. If I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.”
So Job, when he said it, he was simply saying, “God, you have so confounded me that nothing I can say will get me out of this mess.” Whereas, Eliphaz is saying, “Job, you’re so guilty, you are confessing your sin even when you don’t realize it.” So again, he is simply throwing Job’s words back into his face and saying, “You are utterly guilty. Everything you say is wrong and you need to repent.”
II. True Wisdom Belongs to the Three
A. Tradition of the elders
He then exclaims that all true wisdom belongs to the three and he claims to have the tradition of the elders behind them. So we pick up in verses 7-19: “Are you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the hills? Do you listen in on God’s counsel? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have? The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, men even older than your father. Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? Why has your heart carried you away? Why do your eyes flash, so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth? What are mortals, that they could be pure? Are those born of woman, that they could be righteous? If God places no trust in his holy ones; if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, how much less mortals who are vile and corrupt and who drink evil like water? Listen to me and I will explain to you. Let me tell you what I have seen, what the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors, to whom alone the land was given when no foreigners moved among them.”
I want you to notice first of all that Eliphaz is doing something the three have already done before. They appeal to the elders and they say that older
generations are the source of all this wisdom and it is folly to turn aside from it. We have already seen this in this speech. Eliphaz simply expands upon it in more detail. We can think about this for a minute and think about what Eliphaz is saying.
We have already observed that it is indeed foolish to simply jettison what former generations of humans have believed all along. On the other hand, if the former generations had all the answers, we wouldn’t still be struggling the way we are struggling. It would just be a matter of embracing what they said and all of our questions would be answered. Certainly, the challenge that Job is facing was not answered by the older generations.
So, let’s remind ourselves: What is the teaching of the older generations? The older generations essentially teach again, what I have called “type 2 wisdom.”
This is wisdom on how to behave in this life and it is good wisdom. So, when you read in the book of Proverbs how it warns the young man to avoid the violent gang, as in chapter 1, the temptation of the young man to get what he wants through crime, through violence, just beating people up and joining a gang and having the comradery of the gang, having riches without having to work for it. That is the temptation to crime that the young man faces. The wisdom of the elders, the wisdom of Proverbs, are again what I would call, “type 2 wisdom” says, that is the way that leads to death. Sooner or later, all your crimes will catch up to you. Sooner or later, people know what you are doing and they will take you in and in the ancient world, that could be very severe punishment indeed. Type 2 wisdom, the wisdom of the elders is, “stay away from that sin.”
Proverbs also teaches the young man to avoid the prostitute and adultery and all forms of sexual immorality. So it will warn that anyone who does this, he destroys his own soul. “The door to her house is the door to death” and that a man who commits adultery is inviting all kinds of disaster upon his own head, not least from the outraged husband. These are two just basic teachings from the elders, from former generations and they are good, they are right. We could say the same thing for example, that throughout the human race there is an understanding of marriage and what marriage means and the importance of fidelity to marriage; and the fact that marriage is heterosexual. This is good. This is the teaching we have received. This has been a universal human cultural reality. It is not something that you should abandon, that you should simply overthrow and think
that you know better.
Once again, we are up against the fact that what the three friends say is not all wrong. In fact, a great deal of it is right; and often where they mess up, they are simply misapplying a right teaching to the wrong situation. So Eliphaz first appeals to the traditions of the elders. Again, this is kind of what we would call generally the conservative mentality. It is also what I have called “type 2 wisdom.” It is the kind of wisdom you find in Proverbs.
B. The night spirit
But that is not the only thing Eliphaz appeals to. In the second part of the speech that I just read he describes not only that the wisdom of the elders is with him, but that something else entirely is with him. He says, verse 14 again: “What are mortals that they could be pure, or those born of a woman?” Let’s pause right there. We can all grant the reality of that. Yes, we mortal human beings are sinful. We are of the flesh. That is taught throughout the Bible and we all acknowledge it. But then verse 15: “If God places no trust in his holy ones; if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes…” Where did he get that? Where do we ever learn that God distrusts the angels, or that God looks at heaven and says it is impure? Well, he got that from the night spirit. So Eliphaz is not only calling upon the wisdom of the elders and the conservative tradition; he is calling upon the teaching of the night spirit. He is confounding the two. He is drawing the two together as if they taught the same thing. That is a serious error on his part and it illustrates how badly the three have gone astray.
What is heresy, after all? You rarely find a heresy that is purely and entirely without any Biblical foundation whatsoever; that is, from beginning to end it is
nothing but contrary to the Bible. Most heresy is a distortion of something that is in the Bible, a gross exaggeration of something that is in the Bible.
For example, a classic heresy is the Arian heresy, the heresy that denied the deity of Christ. Well, what did they get that was right? They got correct that Jesus was truly human and this was actually contrary to an earlier heresy, the Gnostic heresy that denied Jesus was truly human. So the Gnostics got something right and something wrong. The Gnostics said that Jesus is God, but then they said, “so he can’t be man.” The Arians said, “Jesus is man, so he can’t be God.” They both took a true teaching and they distorted it, they undermined the holistic, complete Biblical picture. And it is that way always. You almost never find a heretical teaching that does not contain an element of Biblical truth; but it will be an element of Biblical truth that has been distorted, has been exaggerated or has had other things added to it. In the case of Eliphaz, what has been added to it is the teaching of the night spirit.
He says in verse 15: “Even the heavens are not pure in God’s eyes; how much less mortals who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water?” Let’s consider what he says here. First of all, notice how harshly he puts it. “We are vile, we are corrupt, we drink up evil like water.” There is a Biblical precedent for talking about humans that way. Yes, we have universal corruption. Yes, we all have sin. Yes, we all have evil within us that only the grace of God can rescue us from. But when you simply say that humans are just vile and corrupt and they drink up evil like water, that makes it sound like every person is as bad as bad can be; that people are incapable of doing anything good; that they never have compassion; that they never know how to be kind to people or how to be honest, or how to be faithful sexually. Of course, we know that is not true. There are a lot of people who do a lot of kind and compassionate things, who have consciences, who feel it deeply when they know they have done something wrong and they have harmed another person.
Human nature is complex. Let’s put it this way: We are sinners. We are of the flesh. We have suffered from Adam’s fall. We do have total depravity, if you
understand that correctly. That doesn’t mean that is all we are, that there is nothing else to be said about us and that we are vile and corrupt and drink up evil like water. Eliphaz has taken this doctrine, he has taken something received from the elders, he has combined it with the teaching of the night spirit and he has come up with an almost nihilistic picture of humanity, a picture in which there is really no such thing as goodness, there is no such thing as compassion, there is no such thing as honesty. People are just bad because that is all there is.
III. Poem on the Fate of the Wicked
He then follows with another poem on the fate of the wicked and this is very much a portrait of Job. Verses 17-35: “Listen to me and I will explain to you. Let me tell you what I have seen, what the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors, to whom alone the land was given when no
foreigners moved among them. All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him. Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness. He is marked for the sword. He wanders about for food like a vulture. He knows the day of darkness is at hand. Distress and anguish fill him with terror. Troubles overwhelm him like a king poised to attack, because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty, defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield. Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh, he will inhabit ruined towns and houses where no one lives, houses crumbling to rubble. He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the land. He will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots, and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away. Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return. Before his time he will wither and his branches will not flourish. He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive tree shedding its blossoms. For the company of the godless will be barren and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes. They conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their wombs fashion deceit.”
It sounds like he is just giving a general poem on the fate of the wicked. These are what the wicked are like, this is how God punishes them. But in fact, from beginning to end, it is a portrait of Job. This is a veiled attack on Job himself. Verse 20: “All day he suffers torment.” That is certainly Job, as Job has himself said very clearly. He suffers all day, he suffers all night, he can’t sleep, his body is racked with pain, terrifying sounds fill his ears. That is what Job has said. “Marauders attack him.” Job has spoken of marauders who attack. Everything he is saying is describing the suffering of Job. “He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness. He is marked for the sword.” Job has spoken of his despair. “He wanders like a vulture. He knows the day of darkness is at hand.” Job has spoken frequently of his death. “Distress and anguish fill him with terror.” Well, yes, Job is filled with anguish. Verse 25: “He shakes his fist at God.” That is exactly how the three friends portray Job and imagine Job. Job is hostile to God. Job is hostile to the truth. Job is shaking his fist at God and is blaspheming God; and so this is Job. “He defiantly charges against God,” verse 26. “Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges…”
That doesn’t sound like a good thing, but in the ancient world that was thought of as a good thing. Typically people think of beauty in terms of the opposite of what is common. Something very common, very easy to achieve, people typically don’t think of that as beautiful; but if something requires effort or requires special treatment, they think of that as beautiful. Thus, for example, Caucasian people in modern society where they live all their lives indoors and tend to be very white, tend to think of tanned skin as very beautiful.
In the ancient world fat people weren’t real common. Everybody lived under the shadow of famine every year of their life. Everybody went through lean years when there was very, very little to eat; and every year as the former harvest dwindled, they would have to be sparing in how much they ate until the new harvest came in. So hunger was a daily fact of life in the ancient world and you would find very few overweight people in ancient Israel or anywhere else in the ancient world. So for that reason, first of all they associated fatness with wealth, which of course they thought was a great thing. But then secondly, to them it was attractive because they never saw people like that. They thought of it as something exotic, that somebody was not skin and bones. So when he describes a person who has fatness, it is not to be thought of as if he despises this kind of person. This is a person who has achieved great success in life. This is a person who has become what everybody else wants to be; and so he says, “Though his face is covered with fat, his waist bulges with flesh, he will inhabit ruined towns.”
What does this say about Job? Well, we don’t know that Job was fat, but we do know that Job was successful, that he was wealthy, that he had thousands of
cattle. He was by the standards of the ancient Near East an incredibly rich, prosperous man, certainly not a man who would ever go hungry. So to say that
though his face was covered with fat, he would dwell in a ruined town – and in his case the ruined town would be Job’s own estates where all of his possessions were destroyed, were consumed in fire, were taken by the raiders who came through and despoiled his land. So verse 29: “He is no longer rich, his possessions are gone.” That certainly is Job. “He will not escape darkness. A flame will wither his shoots.” Fire fell down and took Job’s possessions. Verse 31: “Let him not deceive himself.” Job is deceiving himself as far as Eliphaz is concerned. He is trusting in what is worthless, namely Job’s own claims of innocence. “Before his time he will wither, his branches will not flourish.” Once again we go back to the metaphor of the plant and Job is seen here as a person who has been cut off by God like a plant that is now withering and dying. Then verse 34: “The company of the godless will be barren.” Job has lost all his children, so he now is regarded as godless and therefore in effect, barren. He has no offspring to leave his possessions to. “They conceive trouble and give birth to evil, their womb fashion deceit.”
As far as Eliphaz is concerned, Job is totally evil and he has suffered the fate of evil men.
We have talked about the progression of Job in his pilgrimage of faith. We see here again the progression of the three. If we remember, Eliphaz’s first speech was so tactful and so careful and only very gently implied that Job did something wrong. Here he gives this thinly veiled speech in which he says, “Job, all these calamities that have happened to you, you have deserved. You are evil, you are foolish, you are godless and therefore God has brought all this down upon you.”
IV. Is Eliphaz Right?
As we read Eliphaz’s words, we again need to recognize that some of what he says is true, much of what he says is false, much of it is truth that has been distorted and then misapplied. So the three friends have become in their doctrine and in their attempt to refute Job, cynical and even misanthropic, hating humanity, hating people.
This is a warning to all of us, that if we find ourselves becoming angry and hateful over our doctrinal disputes, we are following the path of the three. It is ever the case that those who feel they are defending orthodoxy and yet have somehow distorted something; when they get contradicted, they become very angry, they become very hostile and they attribute wrongly all kinds of sins to their opponents.
This is certainly the case with the Pharisees, who held to many true doctrines, but distorted them and failed to see the work of God for what it was; and in their frustration with Jesus, became more and more angry and finally convicted him as a blasphemer and sent him to death.
So the three friends and Eliphaz in particular, are a warning to us and are an example of the path into heresy.