Job’s friends have been insistent: Bad things happen to bad people. Bad things do not happen to good people.
But Job knows better – and so, really, do his friends. Job 21 is the most detailed refutation yet of their argument, but they will not give it up.
Rather than acknowledge the truth, they would rather accuse Job of crimes against humanity. That’s what you find in chapter 22 as the third round of speeches begins. Eliphaz accuses Job of withholding food from the hungry, water from the thirsty, justice from the widow and grinding hope from the lives of orphans – all untrue statements. But in his attempt to defend God, or at least what he believes about God, he becomes willing to resort to lies to pressure his point. He ends his speech with his repeating invitation to “return to the Lord.”
Interestingly, Eliphaz opens with a lie about God as well: that he gets no pleasure from the good behavior of people. As the book opened, God took great pride in the righteousness of Job. In the New Testament, an often present command is that we live in such a way as to be pleasing to God. He cares very much how we live.