Notes for Eliphaz:
His name in Hebrew is: אליפז ‘Ĕliphaz (el-ee-faz’) Strongs #: 464; god of gold.
Eliphaz was born when his father Esau was sixty-four. (According to Jasher 29:17,
we are told that Esau was sixty-five, but it is mathematically impossible). After
the birth of Eliphaz, Esau lived another 83 years.
The only detail on Eliphaz comes through Jasher, since Genesis only mentions names
With Esau’s hatred for his brother Jacob, Eliphaz was raised to continue on his father’s
hatred. For, at the age of 13 Eliphaz was sent by his father to kill his Uncle Jacob.
At the age of 13, Eliphaz was already an expert hunter, and knew how to use the bow.
He was a very valiant young man. (1)
Taking ten of his mother’s brothers with him, he pursued after his Uncle Jacob in
order to slay him in the mountains. After lurking around for the right time to strike,
he finally confronted his Uncle Jacob near the city of Shechem. (2)
Jacob was in the process of fleeing from Esau and was headed for Haran, but here
near Shechem Jacob finally spotted Eliphaz with his uncles.
Finally, Eliphaz drew his sword in order to carry out his father’s request.
When Jacob saw Eliphaz with his drawn sword, he wondered at his nephew’s intentions
“What are you up to that you are pursuing after me with your sword?”
Eliphaz continued to advance. “My father told me to slay you and I am not going
to deviate from his orders!”
Jacob casually approached Eliphaz. “Look, my father and mother gave me gifts before
I left. Take these gifts and go home, then there would be no need of slaying me.”
Eliphaz paused lowing his sword, and he took into consideration Jacob’s offer, so
he took from Jacob all the gifts that Isaac and Rebekah had given him and Eliphaz
Upon Eliphaz’s return, he told Esau everything that happened, making Esau very angry.
“You left Jacob alive?!” Esau screamed, “I gave plain instructions that he was to
be left dead in the mountains!” However, Eliphaz and his uncles admitted to having
pity on Jacob. (3)
Years later at the age of 33, Eliphaz and Esau got word that Jacob was returning
to Hebron after being in Haran for twenty years. This news came from Eliphaz’s great
uncle Laban. This news also recreated the indignant hatred his father had for Jacob,
and Esau resolved to go to war against Jacob. When Esau called together the children
of Seir, Eliphaz was set to command over the household of Esau which were 60 men.
With the army of 360 men, Esau and Eliphaz headed to war with Jacob, but along the
way, they confronted an army of two thousand men which were divided into four camps.
This army rushed upon Esau’s army on three different occasions striking fear into
everyone. Never did Eliphaz confront such fear. Surely, if Esau was scared enough
to fall off his horse, Eliphaz may have done the same. (5)
Seeing that the fourth camp of the mysterious army could do the same, it was decided
that they would greet Jacob in peace instead, although Esau hid his hatred in his
Yahvah caused Eliphaz to have compassion upon his Uncle Jacob, for when Eliphaz saw
his uncle with his children and wives, he wept with Jacob as well as his father Esau.
Years go by without mention of Eliphaz, although he took to himself a concubine by
the name of Timna. (8)
At the age of 63 a famine started in Egypt and Canaan, but neither the Bible nor
Jasher tells us if Eliphaz and his brothers had to go to Egypt. Perhaps the famine
didn’t hit the Land of Seir.
At the age of 83, he and his father received word that Jacob had died in Egypt, so
he went with his father to mourn over Jacob. When Jacob’s bier came to Machpelah,
Esau and Eliphaz stood against Jacob’s sons so they couldn’t enter the burial cave.
“Jacob will not be buried here!” Eliphaz might have said, “This place belongs to
us and our father.” (9) This comment undoubtedly started a conflict with Jacob’s
sons which ended up being the end of Esau as well as 40 of his men.
At the death of Esau, the battle came to a truce and Jacob was buried by force in
sight of Eliphaz and his brothers. (10)
When Jacob’s sons had finished their seven days of mourning for Jacob, then Eliphaz
had his brothers wage war against Jacob’s sons in Hebron. However, the battle was
grievous against Eliphaz and his army since 80 men of the sons of Esau died, and
Eliphaz’s son Zepho was taken captive with fifty men. This battle struck fear into
all of Esau’s children and they retreated to Mt. Seir were Esau was finally buried
- minus the head, since it was buried in the battlefield near Hebron. (11)
As Eliphaz and his men fled for Mt. Seir, they were pursued by Jacob’s sons, but
the sons of Jacob only went as far as the border of Seir. However, this pursuement
caused the children of Esau great confusion as they carried Esau’s body, but Jacob’s
children didn’t kill any of them because of the confusion that was upon them. (12)
Eliphaz’s son Zepho and other relatives were still captives of the children of Jacob,
so Eliphaz resolved to go to battle again to get his son and brethren back. This
time a vast army from the children of Seir was gathered together as well as the people
from the east. This army was extremely large, and they traveled to Egypt and waged
This battle was disastrous for Eliphaz and his brothers as they battled against the
city of Rameses, Egypt, and it was in the heat of this battle that Eliphaz met his
end at the age of 83. This battle was so sore against the Edomites, the children
of the east, and the Horites that 600,000 died in the battle never being able to
deliver their brethren from captivity in Egypt. Eliphaz’s army had to retreat, but
the children of Jacob and the Egyptians pursued Eliphaz’s army as far as Succoth
where thirty more men were slain before the Edomites could escape. (13)
More About Eliphaz:
Cause of Death: Battle