Second Speech of Eliphaz. 1* Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
2Does a wise man answer with windy opinions,
or puff himself up with the east wind?
3Does he argue in speech that does not avail,
and in words that are to no profit?
4You in fact do away with piety,
you lessen devotion toward God,
5Because your wickedness instructs your mouth,
and you choose to speak like the crafty.
6Your own mouth condemns you, not I;a
your own lips refute you.
7Were you the first to be born?
Were you brought forth before the hills?
8Do you listen in on God’s councilb
and restrict wisdom to yourself?
9What do you know that we do not know,c
or understand that we do not?
10There are gray-haired old men among us,
more advanced in years than your father.
11Are the consolations of God not enough for you,
and speech that deals gently with you?
12Why does your heart carry you away,
and why do your eyes flash,
13So that you turn your anger against God
and let such words escape your mouth!
14How can any mortal be blameless,d
anyone born of woman be righteous?e
15If in his holy ones God places no confidence,f
and if the heavens are not without blame in his sight,
16How much less so is the abominable and corrupt:
people who drink in iniquity like water!
17I will show you, if you listen to me;
what I have seen I will tell—
18What the wise relate
and have not contradicted since the days of their ancestors,
19To whom alone the land was given,
when no foreigner moved among them:
20The wicked is in torment all his days,
and limited years are in store for the ruthless;
21The sound of terrors is in his ears;
when all is prosperous, a spoiler comes upon him.
22He despairs of escaping the darkness,
and looks ever for the sword;
23A wanderer, food for vultures,
he knows destruction is imminent.
24A day of darkness fills him with dread;
distress and anguish overpower him,
like a king expecting an attack.
25Because he has stretched out his hand against God
and arrogantly challenged the Almighty,
26Rushing defiantly against him,
with the stout bosses of his shields.
27Although he has covered his face with his crassness,
padded his loins with blubber,
28He shall dwell in ruined cities,
in houses that are deserted,
crumbling into rubble.
29He shall not be rich, his possessions shall not endure;
his property shall not spread over the land.
30A flame shall sear his early growth,
and with the wind his blossoms shall disappear.
31Let him not trust in his height, misled,
even though his height be like the palm tree.*
32He shall wither before his time,
his branches no longer green.
33He shall be like a vine that sheds its grapes unripened,
like an olive tree casting off its blossom.
34For the breed of the impious shall be sterile,g
and fire shall consume the tents of extortioners.
35They conceive malice, bring forth deceit,h
give birth to fraud.*
* [15:1] The tone of Eliphaz’s speech is now much rougher. In vv. 7–9 he ridicules Job’s knowledge with a sarcastic question about whether he was a member of the divine council before creation and thus had unique wisdom (according to Prv 8:22–31, only Woman Wisdom existed before creation). Verses 20–35 are a typical description of the fate of the wicked.
* [15:31] The translation is uncertain.
* [15:35] The plans of the wicked yield nothing but futile results. Cf. Ps 7:15; Is 59:4.
b. [15:8] Jb 11:7; Wis 9:13; Jer 23:18; Rom 11:34; 1 Cor 2:11, 16.