ELIPHAZ (ĕl'ĭ-făz, Heb. ’ĕlîphaz, possibly God is fine gold)
ELIPHAZ ĕl’ ə făz (אֱלִיפַ֥ז, God is victorious). An Edomite from Teman and friend of Job.
As one of the three of Job’s friends he was wise, rich, and a ruler of men. He was their leader (42:7) and prob. the eldest. He is marked out by the courtesy with which he at first addressed Job (chs. 4, 5). Like his friends, he took for granted that Job must have committed some major sin, for only so could he explain his sufferings. But dominated, as he was, by a dream he had had of man’s sinfulness before God (4:12-21), he tried to make it as easy as possible for Job to repent. In his second address (ch. 15) one senses the note of irritation caused by Job’s rejection of his advice; the colors are darkened, and the applicability to Job heightened. The third address (ch. 22) is in many ways the bitterest of all addressed to Job, for Job had virtually denied the basis of his theology. He accused him without evidence of all the worst sins according to the concepts of the time. Even then his kindliness breaks through in a final offer of hope to Job of God’s mercy. See [[Book of Job]].
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
el’-i-faz, e-li’-faz (’eliphaz, "God is fine gold" (?)):
(1) Son of Esau by Adah, and father of Teman, Kenaz and Amalek (Ge 36:4,10; 1Ch 1:35 f).
(2) See next article.
The first and most prominent of the three friends of Job (Job 2:11), who come from distant places to condole with and comfort him, when they hear of his affliction.
That he is to be regarded as their leader and spokesman is shown by the greater weight and originality of his speeches (contained in Job 4; Job 5; Job 15; Job 22), the speeches of the other friends being in fact largely echoes and emotional enforcements of his thoughts, and by the fact that he is taken as their representative (Job 42:7) when, after the address from the whirlwind, Yahweh appoints their expiation for the wrong done to Job and to the truth.
He is represented as a venerable and benignant sage from Teman in Idumaea, a place noted for its wisdom (compare Jer 49:7), as was also the whole land of Edom (compare Ob 1:8); and doubtless it is the writer’s design to make his words typical of the best wisdom of the world. This wisdom is the result of ages of thought and experience (compare Job 15:17-19), of long and ripened study (compare Job 5:27), and claims the authority of revelation, though only revelation of a secondary kind (compare Eliphaz’ vision, Job 4:12 ff, and his challenge to Job to obtain the like, Job 5:1).
Their error is in their inveterate presupposition of Job’s wickedness, their unsympathetic clinging to theory in the face of fact, and the suppressing of the human promptings of friendship.