Job 5:13—Why does Paul quote these words of Eliphaz if Eliphaz was rebuked by God in Job 42:7 for what he said?

Problem: Eliphaz was one of the friends of Job who came to comfort him in his affliction. In Job 5:13, Eliphaz makes the following observation which Paul quotes in 1 Corinthians 3:19: “He [God] catches the wise in their own craftiness.” However, in Job 42:7, God rebukes Eliphaz and his friends because “you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” How could Paul quote Eliphaz since God rebuked him for not saying the right things?

Solution: Although God rebuked Eliphaz for his overall view of God, this does not mean that every statement Eliphaz made was incorrect. There were many particular things which Job said that were not right; however, Job’s view of God was right in general. At times, even Job recognized that some things that Eliphaz and his friends said were true. Their problem was that they misdirected the truth they knew and improperly applied it to what God was doing in Job’s life.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.