on Job 22 :2
Can a man be profitable unto God - God does not afflict thee because thou hast deprived him of any excellency. A man may be profitable to a man, but no man can profit his Maker. He has no interest in thy conduct; he does not punish thee because thou hast offended and deprived him of some good. Thy iniquities are against justice, and justice requires thy punishment.
on Job 22 :2
Can a man be profitable unto God? - Can a man confer any favor on God, so as to lay him under obligation? Eliphaz supposes that Job sets up a "claim" to the favor of God, because he was of service to him, or because God had something to fear if he was cut off. He maintains, therefore, that a man can confer no favor on God, so as to lay him under obligation. God is independent and supreme. He has nothing to gain if man is righteous - he has nothing to apprehend if he is punished. He is not dependent at all on man.
As he that is wise - Margin, or, "if he may be profitable, doth his goodness depend thereon." The meaning of the passage is, a wise man may promote his own advantage, but he cannot be of advantage to God. All the result of his wisdom must terminate on himself, and not on God; compare Psalm 16:2. Of the correctness of this sentiment there can be no doubt. It accords with reason, and with all that is said in the Scriptures. God is too great to be benefited by man. He is infinite in all his perfections; he is the original fountain of blessedness; he is supremely wise; he has all resources in himself, and he cannot be dependent on his creatures. He cannot, therefore, be deterred from punishing them by any dread which he has of losing their favor - he cannot be induced to bless them because they have laid him under obligation. Eliphaz meant this as a reply to what Job had said. He had maintained, that God did "not" treat people according to their character in this life, but that, in fact, the wicked were often prospered, and suffered to live long. Eliphaz at once "infers," that if this were so, it must be because they could render themselves "serviceable" to God, or because he must have something to dread by punishing them. In the general sentiment, he was right; in the "inference" he was wrong - since Job had not affirmed that they are spared from any such cause, and since many other "reasons" may be assigned.
on Job 22 :2
22:2 Can, and c. - Why dost thou insist so much upon thy own righteousness, as if thou didst oblige God by it.