The Afflictions of the Good
Job 5:17-18
Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore despise not you the chastening of the Almighty:…

The view of Eliphaz seems to be —

I. THAT AFFLICTION, THROUGH WHATEVER CHANNEL IT MAY COME, IS TO A GOOD MAN A BENEFICENT DISPENSATION. "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty," etc. He regards affliction, in these verses, as coming from a variety of sources. He speaks of "famine," of "war," of "the scourge of the tongue" (slander), and points even to the ravages of wild beasts, and the stones of the field. Truly, human suffering does spring up from a great variety of sources, it starts from many fountains, and flows through many channels. There are elements both within him and without that bring on man unnumbered pains and sorrows. But his position is that all this affliction, to a good man, is beneficent. Why happy?

1. God corrects the good man by affliction. "Whom God correcteth."

2. God redeems the good man from affliction. "For He maketh sore, and bindeth up; He woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee." The affliction is only temporary: the Almighty in His time removes it. He that maketh sore binds up, He that woundeth maketh whole.

3. God guards the good man in affliction. "Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue; neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh; neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth." The Eternal is with His people in the furnace: He is a wall of fire round about them, He hides them in His pavilion. "My God hath sent His angel to shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me."

4. God blesses the good man in affliction. These blessings are indicated —

(1) Facility in material progress. "For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field; and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee." Whether the "stones and beasts of the field" here point to the obstructions of the agriculturist, or to the progress of the traveller, it does not matter, the idea is the same, — the absence of obstructions. In worldly matters the great God makes straight the path of His people.

(2) Peace and security in domestic life. "Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out."(3) Flourishing posterity. "Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great (margin, much), and thine offspring as the grass of the earth." This is a blessing more esteemed in distant ages and Eastern lands than in modern times and Western climes.

5. God perfects the good man by affliction. It will ripen the character and prepare for a happy world, Three ideas —

(1) That true religion is a life which grows in this world to a certain maturity.

(2) That when this maturity is reached, his removal from the worm will take place.

(3) That affliction is one of the means that brings about this maturity.

II. THAT THIS AFFLICTION, AS A BENEFICENT DISPENSATION TO A GOOD MAN, SHOULD BE DULY PRIZED AND PONDERED BY HIM. Reverence the chastening of the Almighty. Do not murmur; do not complain. It would be well if the afflicted saint would ever ponder the origin, the design, the necessity and tendency of his sufferings. Conclusion — This first address of Eliphaz —

1. Serves to correct popular mistakes. It is popularly supposed that the farther back we go in the history of the world, the more benighted are men: that broad and philosophic views of God and His universe are the birth of these last times. But here is a man, this old Temanite, who lived in a lonely desert, upwards of 3000 years ago, whose views, in their loftiness, breadth, and accuracy, shall bear comparison, not only with the wisest sages of Greece and Rome, but with the chief savants of these enlightened times. This old Temanite was outside the supposed inspired circle, and yet his ideas seem, for the most part, so thoroughly in accord with the utterances of the acknowledged inspired men, that they are even quoted by them.

2. Suggests a probable theological misunderstanding. Most biblical expositors and theological writers regard Eliphaz as considering Job a great sinner, because he was a great sufferer. How can this be reconciled with the fact that Eliphaz starts the paragraph with, "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth"? In the whole of the paragraph, in fact, he shows that it was a good thing for a good man to be afflicted. Does he contradict himself? It may be so, for he was human, and therefore errable; but my impression is, that Eliphaz drew his conclusion that Job was a great sinner, not merely, if at all, from his great sufferings, but from the murmuring spirit which he displayed under them, as recorded in the third chapter.


Parallel Verses
KJV: Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

WEB: "Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects. Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.

Happy Under Divine Corrections
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