Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty (Job 5:17)

Eliphaz continues his argument that Job is a hypocrite, exhorting him to turn from his lack of faith (v.1-7), to cling to God (v.8-16),  and to bear the afflictions (17-26) God has given him.

While Eliphaz speaks much truth throughout this chapter, there is an underlying presupposition about Job’s spiritual state that makes the application of his words misplaced. He supposes that Job is a wicked man, a hypocrite, and therefore his afflictions have come to him in this way. He exhorts him to turn to God and bear the burden precisely because he is out of conformity with God. This is mistaken. He misunderstands that the godly man may also be troubled by afflictions in this life.

Therefore, Eliphaz puts a temptation before Job. He seeks to rob Job of his assurance that He is elect, of the church of God. He also represents his case as being unique among godly men. James Durham in his Lectures on the Book of Job comments on this:

Satan often represents folks’ condition to them, as if never (a) one’s case that believed in God before had been like theirs. He will suggest, ‘Never was anyone handled as you are.’ (Psa.22:4, with 6). Our fathers trusted in thee, etc., But I am a worm and no man, etc. It is a mercy that God has left the book of Job to stop the mouth of this temptation. We have here a pattern of many crosses, and of wrath on a man’s spirit, and infirmities [showing] under crosses, etc; therefore think it not uncouth [strange] to be so handled.

Durham exhorts us to consider the doctrines of this chapter in light of our own spiritual condition, as if they were speaking to us. Recognize that God has sent afflictions to his righteous to build them up, not to condemn them.

I am a Reformed Presbyterian. I offer all content as my own personal reflections. I am not a licensed minister.