Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?
Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent?.... Here Eliphaz appeals to Job himself, and desires him to recollect if ever anyone instance had fallen under his observation, in the whole course of his life, or it had ever been told him by credible persons, that an "innocent" man, by whom he means not one entirely free from sin original or actual, for he knew there was no such persons in the world, since the fall of Adam, but a truly good and gracious man, who was not guilty of any notorious and capital crime, or did not live a vicious course of life; if he ever knew or heard of any such persons that "perished", which cannot be understood of eternal ruin and destruction, which would be at once granted, that such as these described can never perish in such a sense, but have everlasting life; nor of a corporeal death, which is sometimes the sense of perishing, since it is notorious that innocent and righteous persons so perish or die, see Ecclesiastes 7:15
Isaiah 57:1; and could it be meant of a violent death, an answer might have been returned; and Eliphaz perhaps was not acquainted with it himself, that that innocent and righteous person Abel thus perished by the hands of his brother: but this is rather to be understood of perishing by afflictions, sore and heavy ones, not ordinary but extraordinary ones; and which are, or look like, the judgments of God on men, whereby they lose their all, their substance, their servants, their children, as well as their own health, which was Job's case; and therefore if no parallel instance of an innocent person ever being in the like case, it is insinuated that Job could not be an innocent man:
or where were the righteous cut off? such as are truly righteous in the sight of God, as well as before men, who have the gift of righteousness bestowed on them, and live soberly, righteously, and godly; in what age or country was it ever known that such persons, in their family and substance, were cut off by the hand and providence of God, and abandoned and forsaken by him, and reduced to such circumstances that there could be no hope of their ever being in prosperous ones again? and Job now being in such a forlorn and miserable case and condition, it is suggested, that he could not be a righteous man: but admitting that no such instance could be produced, Eliphaz was too hasty and premature in his conclusion; seeing, as it later appeared, Job was not so cut off, abandoned, and forsaken by God, as not to rise any more; for his latter end was greater than his beginning: and besides, innocent and righteous persons are often involved in the same calamities as wicked men are, and their afflictions are the same; only with this difference, to the one they are the proper punishment of sin, to the other they are fatherly chastisements and trials of their grace, and issue in their good; the Targum explains it of such persons, as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, none such as they perishing, or being cut off.