Eliphaz begins with a series of questions for Job - "Can a man be profitable to God, though he who is wise may be profitable to himself? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous? Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless? Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you, and enters into judgment with you?" (Job 22:2-4). Eliphaz is using heavy sarcasm here. It's as if he is saying: Job, the only type of righteousness you have is self-righteousness! God obviously wouldn't punish you just for fearing Him. Quit telling us you are innocent!
He continues - "Is not your wickedness great, and your iniquity without end?" (Job 22:5). He specifically accuses Job of stealing as well as displaying a lack of compassion toward the needy, widows, and orphans. "Therefore snares are all around you, and sudden fear troubles you" Job (22:10).
Eliphaz affirms God's place in the height of heaven and His ability to see the highest stars. He then accuses Job of saying - "What does God know? Can He judge through the deep darkness? Thick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see" (Job 22:13,14). Job never said anything like this! In fact, Job referred to God elsewhere as the "watcher of men" (7:20).
Eliphaz then asks Job how long he is going to stay in the "old way" of sin "which wicked men have trod, who were cut down before their time, whose foundations were swept away by a flood" (Job 22:15,16). How long will you stay in sin, Job? As a side note, here is clear proof that Job lived after the flood.
Eliphaz finishes speaking to Job with a strong plea for repentance:
"Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart, If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; you will remove iniquity far from your tents. Then you will lay your gold in the dust, and the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks. Yes, the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver; for then you will have your delight in the Almighty, and lift up your face to God. You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you, and you will pay your vows. You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways. When they cast you down, and you say, 'Exaltation will come!' Then He will save the humble person. He will even deliver one who is not innocent; yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands" (Job 22:21-30).
Eliphaz firmly believes that Job just needs to repent and then God would restore him and bless him greatly. In fact, he believes that Job will even be able to intercede for the guilty once he is in good standing with God again. Ironically, Eliphaz's last thought expressed here turns out to be prophetically true (as is seen in Job 42). Job will intercede on behalf of the guilty--namely, his friends!
We will consider Job's reply to Eliphaz in our next lesson.