Job's friend Eliphaz shares:

12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.
13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,
14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.
15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:
16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,
17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?
20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it.
21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.
-- Job 4:12-21 (KJV)

The OT speaks about evil spirits from the Lord. Is this an evil spirit that Eliphaz has encountered? Is he sharing a past experience with Job to buttress his opinion of Job's misfortune?

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    – enegue
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 7:23

8 Answers 8


I wouldn't say "evil spirit"; a divine dream is probably more appropriate here (see Gen 15; Num 22). Eliphaz is indeed buttressing his opinion with a past vision he saw in his dreams.

  • Or at least claims to have seen - could even be a rhetorical format understood by all present to be non-literal! But for all we know Eliphaz might well have had some similar problem in his life requiring divine intervention... Commented May 14, 2018 at 13:34

I can't tell where the spirit stops speaking and where Eliphaz begins. If the spirit is speaking the entire time, then I take issue with a couple of statements that are made.

"Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly."

God most certainly places trust in His angels. He charges them to perform specific tasks all throughout scripture. He calls us to action as well in the form of the Great Commission just to name one example. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but this coupled with another statement in verse 20 is really troubling to me.

Job 4:20 "They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it."

Is this the spirit or is this Eliphaz? I could understand Eliphaz stating this and missing this. But an angel should know that not even a sparrow falls without God noticing. He most certainly notices our passing from this life.

This speech is designed to cut down the proud. But if this is all a direct quote from a spirit, then to me, there is some theological problems with it which leads me to believe that it is a demonic spirit. But I cannot conclusively say that because I cannot tell when the spirit stops speaking and when Eliphaz begins. I have absolutely no problem with verse 17. This is a rhetorical question designed to show that man cannot be more just or more pure than God. If that's where the spirit stops, then I would say that it was an angel from God and then Eliphaz just misinterprets the rest horribly. I hope someone else can clear this up more than I.

Note: I am brand new to this site, so if this is not how I'm supposed to do things, then I apologize.

  • Welcome to the site, Adam, and thank you for being so concerned to answer correctly. If you check out our Code of Conduct you will get guidance on that. As it stands, the text indicates that this spirit speaks to Eliphaz from verse 17 through to the end of verse 21. And the Bible shows that the angel who became Satan was charged with folly (to put it mildly) along with all the other angels who forsook their position to follow him. And verse 20 speaks of mortals perishing, so there is no deception stated. A dream is being used by Eliphaz to rebuke Job but God is angry with Eliphaz (42:7).
    – Anne
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 19:40
  • Thank you Anne. I'll be sure to check that out! God bless.
    – Adam Sloan
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 3:25

@adamsloan - I believe it’s a demonic spirit speaking to Eliphaz as satan is trying everything to turn Job against God even bringing visions to his friends who he knows will relay to Job.

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    – agarza
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 18:17
  • I have to disagree in that the post does provide an answer. The OP asked "Is this an evil spirit that Eliphaz has encountered." @nya nya gave a legitimate answer, but s/he does need to provide a better basis for it. I offered my own answer below. Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 0:44
  • Can you please provide us with biblical evidence to support your view?
    – Lesley
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 13:43

I believe it is an evil spirit for a couple of reasons.

  1. The way Eliphaz describes the encounter. In the Bible people respond with fear to an angel, so fear alone doesn't imply that it's an evil spirit. However, the hair of his flesh stands up. To me, he is describing a time when an evil presence comes into your room and there is an awful, eerie feeling.
  2. The type of language he receives from the spirit about angels being charged with error. This is what happened to Satan and all the fallen angels when they rebelled against God. It's almost as though the spirit is complaining about his painful experience with God and then placing that on Job. This is how the enemy works. He is the Accuser.
  3. Lastly the fruit of Eliphaz' encounter with this spirit. He goes off and accuses Job. And later God corrects Eliphaz for being wrong to accuse Job, so he didn't have the right message.
    We have to learn to discern the difference between accusation/condemnation (what the enemy does) and conviction/correction (what God's Spirit does). The enemy wants Job to feel condemned, turn from God and die (kind of what Job's wife says. She's no help either.) God corrects Job too in the end, but the goal is for him to know God in a deeper way and that happens. Check out Job 19:25-26 "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand up on the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God." This is part of Job's revelation of God along this journey of suffering. He recognizes that He needs a Redeemer, not his own righteousness, even though God has called him righteous and because of the Redeemer after Job dies, he will still see God. This is like a revelation of the Gospel and the point of Job's suffering.
    The spirit that spoke to Eliphaz did not have this goal in mind.

And to clarify, I don't think it was sent by God, Satan seems to be "put on a leash" from his conversation with God in the beginning of Job (He's initially not allowed to touch Job and then not allowed to take his life (Job 1 and 2)). But other that what God didn't allow him to do, I think Satan had the power to choose how to cause suffering on Job. And one of the ways he brought suffering was to bring accusation upon Job from Job's closest friends. So, I believe this spirit is sent by Satan.

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    – agarza
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:53

Eliphaz reports hearing voices in a night-vision. The author does not tell us where it comes from. The point here is the Job's friend is trying to defend God from Job's questioning. Eliphaz' thinks that suffering must result from sin, so Job cannot be innocent. His message is contained in the following passage:

a figure was before my eyes, in silence I heard a voice: “Can anyone be more in the right than God? Can mortals be more blameless than their Maker?" (NAB)

This sounds very good, but Job has not claimed to be more righteous than God, and the prolog of the book tells us that the LORD himself testified that Job was "blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.” (1:8) In the end God upholds Job's version events not those of Eliphaz and the other friends who have tried to defend God's allowing the innocent Job to suffer:

the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My anger blazes against you and your two friends! You have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job." (47:7)

Conclusion: based on the principle of "knowing them by their fruits," either Eliphaz' vision was false or he falsely reported it.

The OP wants to know if Eliphaz' vision could have come from an "evil spirit from the Lord." I would say no, because there was no providential reason for God to send such a spirit as was the case in other instances of such things. The more probable explanation is that Eliphaz was expressing his own understanding of God's justice, which was simple and formulaic. How he arrived at this attitude - whether by inspiration or not - is beside the point, which is that Job's friends' simplistic moral theology did not grasp the majesty of God's justice.


Initially I thought the spirit of verse 15 was evil simply based on its tidings, but upon further evaluation, the Hebrew term being used 'ruah' is not prefaced by tu'mah (evil).

As far as the possibility of God's malak (angels/servants) being charged with error, we see an example of this in Psalm 82. (Elohim is used ontologically as an inhabitant of the divine realm, and is used in six different ways in scripture, of which a spirit's job description-malak- is included, see Ps. 8:6, 82:1-6.) Another example is Genesis 6:1-4 (bene elohim ie sons of god) resulting in verse 5's violence/wickedness, and 'rephaim' which are always painted in a bad light.

My point is, Hebrew OT scripture more clearly designates the nature of a spirit, whereas the Septuagint, or English translations, do not. So looking at an interlinear of this text helps answer the question.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Jan 13 at 4:50

The content of the message from the spirit seems similar to that of the serpent in Genesis 3.

Question conveyed with truth and followed by half-truths. God does put trust in His servants and those servants are not unnoticed.

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    – agarza
    Commented Mar 15 at 3:00
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    – RHPclass79
    Commented Mar 15 at 6:20

Satan wanted to use the dream to convince Job to believe he was not righteous and he deserves to be dealt with. Satan has employed Job's wife to convince him but it did not work so Satan needed to employ his close friend to convince him.and in the dream Satan mixed the truth with lies. verse 17 is the truth but other verses that followed are all lies. for example verse 20, " they perish forever" this statement is against John 3 vs 16 "they shall not perish but have everlasting life. Look at verse 18, God does not put truth in His servants (Angels) this statement too is against the statement Jesus Christ made when He was being tried by the pilate John 18 vs 36 And "Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” If He does not trust them how would He have made the statement of truth about angels. It was Satanic game against Job, Satan employed the same strategy when he placed a thought in the mind of Peter and Peter rebuked Jesus for saying He was going to die but Jesus Christ knew that the statement was not from Peter but Satan and Jesus quickly rebuked Satan.

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    Commented May 18 at 15:58

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