Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Job 4:2

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

If we assay to commune with thee - As if he had said, Should I and my friends endeavor to reason with thee ever so mildly, because we shall have many things to say by way of reprehension, thou wilt be grieved and faint; and this we may reasonably infer from the manner in which thou bearest thy present afflictions. Yet as thou hast uttered words which are injurious to thy Maker, who can forbear speaking? It is our duty to rise up on the part of God, though thereby we shall grieve him who is our friend. This was a plausible beginning, and certainly was far from being insincere.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

If we assay to commune with thee - Margin, A word. Hebrew - הנסה דבר dâbâr hanı̂câh “May we attempt a word with thee?” This is a gentle and polite apology at the beginning of his speech - an inquiry whether he would take it as unkind if one should adventure on a remark in the way of argument. Jahn, in characterizing the part which Job‘s three friends respectively take in the controversy, says: “Eliphaz is superior to the others in discernment and delicacy. He begins by addressing Job mildly; and it is not until irritated by opposition that he reckons him among the wicked.”

Wilt thou be grieved? - That is, Wilt thou take it ill? Will it be offensive to you, or weary you, or tire your patience? The word used here (לאה lâ'âh ) means to labor, to strive, to weary, to exhaust; and hence, to be weary, to try one‘s patience, to take anything ill. Here it is the language of courtesy, and is designed to introduce the subsequent remarks in the kindest manner. Eliphaz knew that he was about to make observations which might implicate Job, and he introduced them in as kind a manner as possible. There is nothing abrupt or harsh in his beginning. All is courteous in the highest degree, and is a model for debaters.

But who can withhold himself from speaking? - Margin, “Refrain from words.” That is, “the subject is so important, the sentiments advanced by Job are so extraordinary, and the principles involved are so momentous, that it is impossible to refrain.” There is much delicacy in this. He did not begin to speak merely to make a speech. He professes that be would not have spoken, if he had not been pressed by the importance of the subject, and had not been full of matter. To a great extent, this is a good rule to adopt: not to make a speech unless there are sentiments which weigh upon the mind, and convictions of duty which cannot be repressed.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Satan undertook to prove Job a hypocrite by afflicting him; and his friends concluded him to be one because he was so afflicted, and showed impatience. This we must keep in mind if we would understand what passed. Eliphaz speaks of Job, and his afflicted condition, with tenderness; but charges him with weakness and faint-heartedness. Men make few allowances for those who have taught others. Even pious friends will count that only a touch which we feel as a wound. Learn from hence to draw off the mind of a sufferer from brooding over the affliction, to look at the God of mercies in the affliction. And how can this be done so well as by looking to Christ Jesus, in whose unequalled sorrows every child of God soonest learns to forget his own?