Second Discourse of Eliphaz & Gezer

Job seems quite confused, but at least he’s consistent on trying to figure out what’s going on with You, instead of so many people that dismiss You when things get to tough, or even when 1 things are going good for them.

The country of Edom was founded by Jacob’s brother Esau.
He picked up the nickname “Edom” or “Red” when he sold half of his massive inheritance for a simple bowl of red bean stew.

Edom was located in the region to the southeast of Israel.

Mount Seir was a notable landmark in this region.

Edom and Israel, the people who descended from Jacob, never got along with each other.

Skirmishes between the people happened often.

Edom never got over its hatred of Israel so they certainly cheered the Babylonians on. When Israel fell because of their sins, Edom rejoiced at its fall and took the opportunity to raid the country.

They even helped the Babylonians collect the stragglers left from the war (Oba 10-15).

In delivering punishments to various nations, we learn that God often turns the sin against the sinner.

Edom rejoiced at the emptying of Israel and five years later, Nebuchadnezzar swept through again, destroying several nations and emptying their lands — including Edom.

God promised that travelers would no longer pass that way; the country would be so littered with slain that people would avoid the stench.

But most importantly, God states that the country would never be rebuilt. Just as Edom had perpetual hatred for Israel, their country would remain perpetually empty.

That has remained basically true.

Various countries have controlled the territory that was once Edom, but Edom as a nation disappeared.

When the edict was made allowing people to return to the homelands, Israel and many other countries rebuilt, but Edom never did.

During the time of the Greeks and Romans, the region was known as Idumea, which is the Greek transliteration of Edom.

The territory is currently controlled by Jordan.

“Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,

Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?

Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?

Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.

For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.

Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee” (Job 15:1-6). 

Up to this point Eliphaz has been the most sympathetic of the three counselors, but now he has run out of patience with Job and denounces him more severely than before.

“Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?

Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?

Nahal Zered
The Zered River is believed by most to be Wadi al-Hesa.

There are some difficulties with this identification, but most follow it. It is 35 miles (55 km) long and 3.5 to 4 miles (5.5 to 6.5 km) wide, and drains into the Dead Sea near the southeastern corner.

The Zered forms the southern border of Moab and the northern border of Edom.

The Israelites crossed the Zered 38 years after they first left Kadesh Barnea (Deut 2:13-14).

What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?

With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.

Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?

Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,

That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?” (Job 15:7-13)

Job, says Eliphaz, presumes to be wise enough to sit among the members of God’s council in heaven when in reality he is no wiser than ordinary elders and sages on earth.  Eliphaz chides Job for replying in rage to his friends’ attempts to console him with gentle words, which Eliphaz believes come from God Himself.

But Eliphaz has been guilty of cruel insinuations and the other two counselors have been even more malicious.  Genuine words of comfort for Job have been few indeed.

“What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.

How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare” (15:14-17).

Eliphaz’s question, What is man?  he had asked earlier in 4:17-19, so the question may not be a question where Eliphaz is looking for an answer, since the thinks he understands life and God.  But Isaiah answers the question:

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear; neither hath the eye seen.  O God, besides thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in they ways.  Behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned.  In those is continuance, and we shall be saved.

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf.  And our iniquities, like the wind have taken away” (Is 64:4-6).

Sela
The gate area and natural rock tower that forms the only entrance to the mountaintop fortress of es-Sela. The narrow entryway leading into the city can be seen at lower left. Photo by Ian Rybak.
In one of the Old Testament’s colder and more brutal episodes, King Amaziah of Judah (c. 801–783 B.C.E.), after having slain nearly 10,000 Edomites in battle near the southern end of the Dead Sea, is said to have thrown another 10,000 captives from the top of nearby Sela, where they were “dashed to pieces” (2 Chronicles 25:12; 2 Kings 14:7).
While the Biblical account provides only vague clues as to where this horrible event took place (Sela simply means “rock” in Hebrew), the archaeology of a little-known mountaintop stronghold in southern Jordan may hold the answer.

Paul also answers the unasked question centuries later:

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:21-23).

The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.

Bozrah, Capital of Edom
The modern city of Buseirah preserves the name and location of ancient Bozrah, the ancient capital of the Edomites (cf. Isa 34:6; 63:1; Jer 49:13).

The earliest significant remains at Buseireh are from 800 B.C.

It has the largest Iron Age buildings found in Transjordan, among which was perhaps the king’s palace.

A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him.

He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.

He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.

Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.

For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.

He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:

Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.

And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.

He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.

He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.

Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.

Beidha, Neolithic Site
Beidha is one of the oldest excavated Neolithic villages.

Much has eroded, but remains are preserved from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (c. 7200-6500 B.C.).

The earliest houses were round and built partly underground.

Slots in the walls held wooden beams which supported the roof.

After the site was destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt with rectangular and circular houses.

The site was abandoned in 6500 B.C. and never again inhabited.

It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.

He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.

For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.

They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit” (Job 15:20-35).

A poem on the fate of the wicked (8:11-19) Eliphaz’s caricature continues with a variety of figures: a belligerent sinner who attacks God (vs 24-26; a fat, rich wicked man who finally gets what he deserves (vs 27-32); a grapevine stripped before the fruit is ripe (v 33); an olive tree shedding its blossoms (v 33).

As long as Eliphaz rejects Job’s insistence that the wicked go on prospering, he does not have to wrestle with the disturbing corollary: the mystery of why the innocent sometimes suffer.

1 Jesus spoke a lot in parables, such as:

Little Petra
Because of its resemblance to Petra, this site is often known as “Little Petra.”

It is entered through a narrow, winding canyon (“siq”) known as the “cold Siq” (Siq al-Barid) because the high walls prevent sunlight from entering the canyon and warming it.

The Siq is 350 meters long with three wider areas inside.

Like its larger neighbor to the south, carved into the sandstone of Siq al-Barid are residences, storage areas, and tombs.

“…Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up.

Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth.

And when the sun was up they were scorched; and because they had no root they withered away.

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

But other fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold (Matt 13:3-8).

Via Nova Traiana, King’s Highway
Two highways ran north to south through Edom and Moab: the King’s Highway (shown here) and the Way of the Wilderness.

The advantage of the King’s Highway was the accessibility of water and food, but its disadvantage was difficult crossings of deep canyons.

The Israelites wanted to pass through Edom on the King’s Highway, but the Edomites forced them to go around, utilizing the Way of the Wilderness (Num 20:17-18; Deut 2:1-8).

His disciples didn’t understand the parable and they wanted to know why he spoke in parables and what it meant.

And the disciples came, and said unto him, why speakest thought unto them in parables:

He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (Matt 13:9-13).

“Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower:

When anyone heareth the words of the kingdom and understand it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.  This is he which received seed by the way side.

But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it.

Ruins of a high place for heathen worship at Petra (in ancient Edom).

Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Megaliths from the Canaanite Temple
Gezer was conquered by Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III in 1468 BCE, and the Canaanite city was destroyed in a fire.

In the Late Bronze Age (second half of the 2nd millennium B.C.), a new fortification wall was built.

A palace was built in Gezer in the 14th century B.C..

Towards the end of the Bronze Age, the population declined and the Canaanite city lost its importance.

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit and bringeth forth some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matt 13:11-17).

Job’s seed fell on good ground; it just took a while for him to bear fruit.  According to scholars, Job experienced these extremely difficult and painful times for a year.

Gezer

Solomon’s Gates
Tel Gezer in the Judean Hills – Ancient biblical city of Gezer

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Gezer was an ancient Canaanite and biblical city.

It is now a national park, and is still being excavated.

The ancient city of Gezer was strategically located at the intersection of the road from Egypt and the road between the Judean Hills and Jerusalem.

Verifications of the site come from the inscriptions in ancient Hebrew marking the boundaries of the city; approximately 13 of these rock engravings were found outside of the city.

These rocks, which read “boundary of Gezer”, date from the 1st century B.C.

The city was first excavated in 1902, and much damage was caused to the site from archaeology in its infancy.

Over the years, through various excavations, many rich finds have been uncovered.

The site is still being excavated.

History

The town was first established in the 4th millennium B.C., where the inhabitants lived in caves cut into the rock.

From the 3rd millennium B.C. (early Bronze age), an unfortified settlement inhabited the tel.

The town was then destroyed in the mid 3rd millennium B.C., and remained uninhabited until the Middle Bronze Age (first half of the 2nd century B.C.) when Gezer became a large fortified city.

The fortification was a 4 meter wide wall, with towers.

The city gate had two towers and wooden gates.

A Levitical city on the southern border of Ephraim’s territory, Gezer’s strategic position made it a difficult city for either the Israelites or any other nation to hold for any length of time.

Adjacent to the all-impor­tant coastal route and astride the main road leading eastward into the hill country, Gezer was the scene of important events and bat­tles both before and after the arrival of the Israelites.

Although Gezer was occupied during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Ages, the city grew significantly during the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1900-1500 B.C.). It was at this time surrounded by a massive wall of roughly dressed stones.

Egypt’s Thutmose III, on an inscription at Karnak, claims to have captured Gezer (c. 1482 B.C.), and the demise of the Middle Bronze city may be correlated to that event. During the first part of the Late Bronze Age, Gezer was thus subservient to Egypt.

Gezer Calendar

However, in the 10th century B.C., Gezer was conquered and destroyed by Egypt again.

The Pharaoh killed the Canaanites in the town and gave the city as a dowry to his daughter, the wife of King Solomon. King Solomon rebuilt Gezer, using forced labor, with strong fortifications consisting of a double wall with gates; the gates had three pairs of chambers which were used for conducting business.

Gezer was destroyed by Shisak, King of Egypt, in 924 B.C., during his campaign against King Jeroboam from the Kingdom of Judah.

In 733 B.C., the city was conquered by the Assyrian King, Tiglath Pileser; according to the stone relief found in the ruins of the Assyrian palace in Mesopotamia, a battering ram was used to break down the walls of the city.

Gezer became an administrative center for the coastal plains under Assyrian rule.

In the 5th-4th centuries B.C., Gezer was part of the Persian province of Yehud.

In 142 B.C., Simon the Hasmonean conquered Gezer and built a palace there, and the town thrived.

However, under King Herod, the town again lost its importance.

Indeed, during the time of Amenhotep IV (aka Akhenaten; c. 1352-1336 B.C.), the kings of Gezer sought Egypt’s assistance in dealing with Canaanite conflicts.

The Amarna Letters contain their correspon­dence with Egypt and demonstrate that, although Egypt was nominally the overlord of the Canaanite cities, it was losing its grip on Canaan.

However, Gezer was destroyed around 1210 B.C. by a later pharaoh, Merneptah. In his victory stele he claims to have captured Gezer, and indeed a cartouche of Merneptah was discovered at this level.

At the beginning of the Iron Age Gezer was occupied by the Philistines. Examples of the distinctive “Bichrome ware” Philistine pottery (decorated in two colors) have been found there, and the city at this time (corre­sponding to the late judges period and the reign of Saul) appears to have been rela­tively prosperous.

By the time of Solomon, however, it had declined considerably, as indicated by a poorer material culture in terms of architecture and pottery. First Kings 9:16 states that an unnamed pharaoh cap­tured the city burned it and presented it to Solomon as his daughter’s dowry on the occasion of their marriage.

Solomon strongly fortified Gezer, to­gether with Hazor and Megiddo in order to guard the main entry points into his kingdom. These cities all provide examples of the fortification style developed by Solomon’s engineers.

Notable features include an elaborate, four­-entryway gate with guard chambers and a kind of double wall known as a ca­semate wall. The work­manship at Gezer during this era attests to the pros­perity and sophistication of the Solomonic era.

There were relatively few private” homes, however, suggest­ing that in Solomon’s day Gezer was primarily a gov­ernmental center.

This city was violently destroyed near the end of the tenth century B.C. in an event that was probably the work of Pharaoh Sheshonk I (the Shishakof 1 Kgs 14:25).

Important archaeo­logical discoveries at Gezer, encompassing various time periods, include a series of ten large, standing stones from the Middle Bronze Canaanite settlement, the city gate that Solomon constructed and the Gezer Calendar, a text inscribed on limestone describ­ing the yearly agricultural cycle.