Chapter 15: The wicked do not believe
Eliphaz was not impressed by Job’s eloquent dependence on God as expressed in the previous chapters. He replied with a sharp rebuke of Job, accusing him of empty knowledge, of unprofitable talk, and of having cast off fear.
Eliphaz argued along similar lines as God later did with Job in chapters 38 and 39. They both appealed to Job to consider that he did not know as much as he thought he did. Yet, what Eliphaz thought Job didn’t know was entirely different than what God knew Job didn’t know.
Job and his friends have already argued over this point, with Zophar (among others) accusing Job of claiming to be pure and clean (Job 11:4). Job’s own admissions of sin have meant nothing to persuade his friends that not only are they sinners in a general sense, but he must also be one in a particular and wicked sense.
Job’s friends appeal to the idea of tradition and “all the wise people know this.” They speak in terms of cause and effect associations between human wickedness and received judgment, and assume that this principle is always true in all cases – especially in Job’s particular case.
Eliphaz poetically explains that the wicked may seem to succeed for a while (as Job did), but their success is only an illusion. They actually are lonely, poor, and in darkness (a true description of Job’s present state).
Chapter 16: The witness is in heaven
Job laments his miserable comforters. Job reminded his critics that all they gave him was the “conventional wisdom” explanation of an absolute relationship of cause and effect to make sense of his suffering.
Job felt trapped by both options. If he speaks, he finds no relief from his unsympathetic friends; yet silence does nothing to ease his grief.
Job here begged the creation to not erase his life. If he were to die in his crises, Job at least wanted his blood to remain evident as a testimony.