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
    Oct 18, 2017 at 7:23

4 Answers 4


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... 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
    Feb 22, 2019 at 19:40
  • Thank you Anne. I'll be sure to check that out! God bless.
    – Adam Sloan
    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.


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.

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