Job – Chapter 4

With This Week's Special Guest... Elifaz!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Elifaz the Temanite was the first to reply. He said, “This is the first time in your life you’ve ever had trouble and you just give up like that? You, Job, have corrected many people, pushing them back onto the proper path, but when you get chastised, you give up? Perhaps your faith wasn’t as strong as you thought it was. Let’s look at this objectively: in your experience, did you ever see someone punished who hadn’t done anything wrong? We’ve all seen that what goes around, comes around. G-d ‘roars’ and those who have committed evil scatter.”

Next, Elifaz relates a prophetic vision he received. An angel spoke to him in a dream about Job’s situation, saying, “Is any person more righteous than G-d? Even the prophets are not infallible and the angels are likewise imperfect. Certainly this is also true of regular people, whose end is in the ground. They are undone in one fell swoop. All the things that made them swell with pride disappear. They die without wisdom.”

Now, who is Elifaz that he should be given a prophecy about Job? Elifaz was the son of Esau, the brother of Jacob. (You may recall that Esau dispatched Elifaz to avenge him on Jacob, but Elifaz let him go. See Rashi on Genesis 29:11.) Since Elifaz was raised in his grandfather Isaac’s house, he was spiritually conducive to such thing. (As far as “the Temanite,” Teman was the name of Elifaz’ son – see Genesis 36:15 – so it may have been a way of referring to that branch of the family.)

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