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Commentary on the Book of Job

by William W. Wells

http://burningcoal.com/Commentary/Job/index.html All Bible quotes are from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated.

Copyright © 2000, 2005 - William W. Wells All Rights Reserved.

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

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Commentary on The Book of Job

Table of Contents

PREFACE Introduction to the Book of Job

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1: The Challenge 2: Skin for Skin 3. Job's Lament 4. Eliphaz: A Vision of the Night 5. Eliphaz: The Children are Crushed 6. Job: Does the Wild Ass Bray 7. Job: Am I a Sea Monster 8. Bildad: Without God 9. Job: Who Can Answer God 10. Job: You Hunt Me Down 11. Zophar: The Ass is Your Mother 12. Job: Beasts Shall Teach Thee 13. Job: My Flesh in My Teeth 14. Job: You Destroy Hope 15. Eliphaz: Your Mouth Condemns 16. Job: Cover Not My Blood 17. Job: You Hid Their Hearts 18. Bildad: He Walks into the Snare 19. Job: My Redeemer Lives 20. Zophar: As a Vision in the Night 21. Job: God Reserves Judgment 22. Eliphaz: We Are Not Cut Down

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23.Job: I Emerge as Gold 24.Job: God's Timing 25. Bildad: Man is a Worm 26. Job: Wisdom Cuts Rahab 27. Job: I Hold Fast 28. Job: God's Riches 29. Job: God Was With Me 30. Job: Final Lament 31. Job: Oath of Clearing 32. Elihu the Man 32. Elihu: I Am Full of Things to Say 33. Elihu: Ransom 34. Elihu: Who Drinks Up Scorn 35. Elihu: You Must Wait 36. Elihu: On God's Behalf 37. Elihu: God Approaches 38. God Speaks 39. God: My Care 40. Job's Reply 40. God: Behemoth 41. God: Leviathan 42. Job Submits - All is Well

APPENDIX An Index to Key Themes

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

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Introductory Comments

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Introduction

o o o o o o o

The Justification of Job The Salvation of Job Job is a Window Job as a Theodicy In Search of Job The Authorship of Job The Law of First Mention Job's Cosmology

Job As Psychology The Story of Job

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Job's World

o

A General Note

Introduction

Because I have long been interested in the problem of suffering, and in particular suffering which

appears to be unjustified, The Book of Job has drawn me to it several times. Bad things happening to good people seem to defy our sense of justice, suggesting that God has become remote, distant or perhaps indifferent. Oswald Chambers, lecturing to the soldiers in the trenches of World War I, describes it beautifully: "There are people today who are going through an onslaught of destruction that paralyzes all our platitudes and preaching" (Chambers 1990, page 20). Nightly news brings us new onslaughts and revelations of old onslaughts laughing our comfortable religion to scorn. Modern theology is paralyzed by the holocaust. C.S. Lewis adds this further thought: "pain would be no problem unless, side by side with our daily experience of this painful world, we had received what we think a good assurance that the ultimate reality is righteous and loving" (Lewis, page 14). Job, we will see, is sure that God rewards righteousness and would never treat him unjustly. Despite reading books about the work, rereading Job several times, and attending study groups on the book, I was always dissatisfied with the answers that I received. Jerome compared the book to an eel, it's very hard to get a hold of (Martini, page 23). When I talk to others there are many who seem unable to understand the book at all. One author notes, "I avoided reading and studying Job for years. This was due to it being a difficult book to understand and also due to the many erroneous teachings relating to Job" (Lucas, chapter 12). I talked with a man who had retired from the mission field in Latin America. He told me that his entire Bible was marked with notes and highlights except the Book of Job. He said he had but one or two highlights there. He just couldn't penetrate the surface of the book. The problem is that the Book of Job goes strait to the heart of some of the most profound and troubling questions of the Bible, without the benefit of low hanging fruit to lead one in. Without those juicy morsels many of us simply won't take the time to crack the surface.

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The problem is not confined to lay people. "While the book has fascinated readers for ages, it is a difficult book, difficult to translate and difficult to study. Most of it is written in poetic parallelism. But it is often very cryptic, it is written with unusual grammatical constructions, and it makes use of a large number of very rare words. All this has led some scholars to question if it was originally written in Hebrew or some other related Semitic dialect or language first. There is no indication of who the author was. It is even possible that the work may have been refined over the years; but there is no evidence for this either. The book uses a variety of genres (laments, hymns, proverbs, and oracles) in the various speeches of the participants. This all adds to the richness of the material" (NET Bible, footnote to verse 1:1). The poetry of Job gives some impressions easily, but deeper meanings hide in layers beneath the surface. Most people know little more than a thumbnail sketch of the story. This current effort is the direct result of a sermon on Leviathan (chapter 41) preached by my pastor Chris Simpson. He brought me to a new level of understanding and excitement about this work. My first impression of Job was that it is a book about endurance and suffering. My second understanding was that of the need for faith in the presence of suffering. Through the insights I have received from Chris and from further research and meditation on the text, I have come to realize that the book of Job is a pattern, both of salvation and more importantly, how one comes to salvation. The Book of Job foreshadows the new testament of Christ Jesus as thoroughly as Job himself foreshadows the suffering and redemption of Jesus. The Book of Job introduces the place of the Law, the works of righteousness and justification by faith, the refiner's way (taking up the cross), and the choice of personal righteousness (self-righteousness) or embracing God's "chief" among other important themes. Job is not released from his bondage to suffering until he is able to fall on his face and proclaim all of his righteousness but filthy rags and offer himself completely and fully to the hand of God. The book of Job is, in my opinion, the purest statement of the purpose of the entire Bible and a door to all understanding. At the heart of it, our platitudes and our preaching must be crushed in the most unambiguous way, before we will turn and see the face of God. If, as many believe, The Book of Job is the oldest book of the Bible, then it makes a perfect introduction to the entire Bible, including the New Testament. Themes, concepts and specific phrases introduced here, are repeated time and again throughout the rest of the Bible. Barnes' Notes on the Old Testament states, "The proper place for the book of Job, in order to estimate its real value and importance, is at the commencement of the Bible, or in the early part of the book of Genesis" (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 6).

The Justification of Job

Justification by adherence to the law and God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children, seems to be an underlying theme throughout. Job may not have been under Abraham's covenant, but a form of law and covenant is clearly implied in the text. This bargain with God is central to Job's argument: I have done right, so I should be blessed, not cursed. Up to the beginning of this narrative, it appears that Job has been blessed specifically because of his careful observance of God's laws. God will bring Job to a new level of relationship with Him, whereby Job will rise above the question of justification altogether. This is the relationship of Behemoth (chapter 40), abiding in God. Those who have studied Job may be surprised at this understanding of Behemoth, but I believe the material amply supports this. I will introduce some ancillary material to support this view. The Book of Job, preceding Paul by several hundred to possibly two thousand years, throws ice cold water on the notion that good works, or careful observance of the law, justifies a person before God. A clear argument for justification by faith and not by works is contained within its pages. Yet, in the same

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way that the New Testament authors affirm the importance of works, Job's righteousness is clearly important to God and to Satan, and is important to the argument from the very beginning. Job's friends assume that blessings and curses extend from the hand of God in direct proportion to a man's righteousness, and therefore assume that Job must be a sinner. Job, himself, cannot foresee the good that God is attempting to work in his life. To his eyes, God is against him, and yet he cannot see the reason. Job, too, assumes there must be a reason, based on something that he has done wrong. God goes to the heart of sin itself, not the daily peccadilloes, but to the nature of Job's relationship to God Himself. Despite Job's difficult struggle against it, God slowly and painfully works a miracle of purification in Job's life. His friends are redeemed by humbling themselves directly to Job per God's instructions.

The Salvation of Job

Job in some ways prefigures Christ. Although perfect in his ways, Job is delivered into the hands of Satan. Jesus tells Pilate, who is about to deliver him unto death by crucifixion, that the one with the greater guilt is the one with the greater authority: Satan (John 19:11). Once Job submits to God, he is made a redeemer for his three friends. The pattern is not perfect or complete, but it is there. The truly remarkable thing about it is that it is written here long before the advent of Jesus. More importantly, Job prefigures the choice of salvation. Job believes he should be acceptable to God by the merit of his perfect righteousness. Clearly God is pleased with Job. Although Job seems satisfied, Job's righteousness is clearly not enough for God. He drops Job into the refiner's crucible, an apt metaphor used liberally by Job himself. The end of Job is infinitely richer and more pleasing to God. If there is one limitation to the Book of Job, it is that we are given little insight into the change that is made in Job. I truly believe that Job is in heaven now, praying for our own arrival there. I also believe that the apostle Paul is a study in the latter end of this transformation. While the Book of Job reveals the righteousness of Job through the time of his transformation and then becomes sketchy as to the latter end of Job, the Acts of the Apostles reveals Paul's self-righteousness in sketchy detail until the time of his transformation and then begins to follow his life much closer. It doesn't help to force this comparison too far. Job and Paul are very different people and their transformations happen in very different circumstances, but I do believe that God does the same thing in Paul that he does in Job. Therefore, Paul's life can reveal the results of this process, not in a universal way, but in a specific concrete instance. If nothing else, the Book of Job is a study in God's process of transforming a person from righteousness to salvation. There is no more in depth look at this process than right here. Job fights the process all the way. Besides the acts done by Paul (Saul) against the Christians of Palestine, we know that Paul was resisting the still small voice of God until he is knocked flat by Jesus on the way to Damascus. Here Jesus reveals the struggle, "it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks" (Acts 9:5), which tells us nothing about what he has been doing to try to turn Paul, but it does tell us that considerable effort has been expended to turn Paul, but that Paul has been resisting.

Job As Psychology

The Book of Job is in many ways the most modern of all of the books of the Bible. At the same time its antiquity belies its fresh content. The language, which is rich and powerful, is also archaic. The book with its archaic wordings and strange allusions is difficult to bite and chew, much less digest. However the

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Book of Job reads like an introspective study, which gives the book a modern feel. No other book of the Bible has this same quality. The entire story revolves around Job's internal struggle to reconcile a just God with unjustified suffering. Job's three friends and especially the mysterious Elihu at the end all reflect Job's own attitudes, beliefs and character. As a result, the extended dialogs have the quality of a heated internal argument. None of the characters turn out to be correct, and only the victim is exonerated, and then after some scolding. God's answer to Job is anything but direct. He does not explain His contest with the devil. Outside of Job's continued suffering, Satan and the contest play no part at all in the story after chapter two. Instead, God describes His workings and concludes His dialog with the description of two great beasts, Behemoth and Leviathan. This has to do with internal choices that Job must make. Job understands and chooses. If the reader can penetrate the surface of the material, the intense introspective energy of it makes the Book of Job a rich resource for evaluating the teachings of Psychology, Self-Help, New Age and other self-focused attempts at spiritual healing. The Book of Job is an antidote and a clear warning against leaning on the understanding of men in the realms of the spiritual. This exposed study of Job's psychological healing process in the hands of God makes this book the single most important resource for psychology. Many psychologies and most especially "Christian" psychologies are seriously flawed because they do not understand Job.

Job is a Window

When we study the life of Joseph, Moses or Saul of Tarsus, we find countless ways in which we can apply the lessons of their lives to our own. But the story of Job is so extreme, it cuts to the bone. It is an open window on suicidal depression, on holocaust injustice, on being kicked when you're down, on loosing faith, on sending your last dove in search of dry land, on taking hope from a twig. "Even the eminent saint is not perfect in this life. Religion does not deliver him from all imperfection. It leaves the mind subject to conflict, anxiety, trouble; engaged in a fearful warfare with sin and temptation; liable to the outbreaks of impatience and murmuring; subject to the possibility of being thrown off the guard, and of saying things which will be subsequently the occasion of much regret. Now, as it is the design of revelation to exhibit religion not only in its precepts, doctrines, and commands, but as it actually exists in the mind and heart, it was important to furnish some actual illustrations of this in detail. For this purpose, nothing could be better adapted than to select just such a case as that of Job, and to exhibit him in a condition of most extraordinary trial" (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 6). We are meant to be nourished by Job's tale. There is solace to be had in seeing someone far more worthy than I suffering so much. It allows me to see my suffering as something other than punishment and rejection by God. Just possibly, I can see the loving hand of God refining me through trials to raise me up. We are meant to find new insight and new direction for life. As the questions are deep and complex, the answers are not simple. To mature as the adopted children of God, we must see what Job sees: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6). Oswald Chambers says it well: "The problem in the book of Job represents the problem of the whole world. No matter what a man's experiences may be, whether slight or terrific, there is something in this book which gives him an indication as to why the redemption was necessary, and also a line of explaining the otherwise inexplicable things of human experience" (Chambers 1990, page 120). The frustration is in peering through Job's window and seeing something familiar in the awful truth but not understanding the answer. To understand, one must continue to look upon it until it becomes clear. A true understanding of Job will loosen eternal springs of the waters of life.

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Job as a Theodicy

The Book of Job examines the biggest human problem that lies between us and our maker, the problem of pain. Job is experiencing his own private Holocaust. He does not actually die as most of the victims of Nazis did, but he is brought to the thin edge of it and left to hang there. Several traditional commentators believe the events of the book played out over several years. The question immediately arises: how do we believe in a good and loving God, if the righteous can suffer so horribly and seemingly without reason? The Book of Job would appear to indict God of making cruel sport at His most trusted servant's expense. It is variously claimed that the Book of Job is a theodicy, a defense of God, a thinking piece which examines the problem of evil and God's part in it, in order to exonerate God. A recent book by a lawyer has the provocative title Putting God on Trial. The author confidently explains, "The Book of Job is a provocative theodicy, an attempt to justify the ways of God to man," (Sutherland, 2004). But if we examine the text several important factors emerge. Although the three friends defend God vigorously, and although Job calls for a trial, and even though the mysterious Elihu claims to intercede on God's behalf, God never argues on His own behalf. God never explains Himself or defends Himself. And although Job rants Godward there is never a charge placed against Job by God, and Job never accuses God of anything more than error. Job certainly never suggests that God is not within His rights to do whatever He wishes (Smith, 1971, page 120). If the author of the Book of Job is intending to justify God, it would seem that there would be an eloquent passage, probably at the end, stating how wonderfully God dealt with Job. Instead the text reads like a dramatic retelling of an actual event where the actions of God seem somewhat capricious and downright mean. Few commentators give God high marks for His role in the drama. I recently attended a presentation on `Healing Your Image of God'. The subject of Job came up. Those who wish to indict God are quick to point to this book. As a theodicy therefore, the Book of Job is a poor defense of God. In the same way that God spends no effort to defend Himself, the book ultimately doesn't either. The Book of Job is about how God is reaching His saints. When I suggested to the teacher that God was being merciful to Job, he looked at me as if I had been eating bad mushrooms. However I am firmly convinced that the ultimate story of Job is that God in His mercy will place His coveted saints in the refining fire to bring them to the place where they can know Him face to face. I like David Wilkerson's view: if you are truly one of God's own, the question is not `if you will be put into the fire', but `when'. H.H. Rowley, speaking of the Book of Job, says, "It is of the essence of its message that Job found God in his suffering, and so found relief not from his misfortunes, but in them. God was to him now far more precious than he has ever been." (quoted in: Smith, 1971, page 128).

The Story of Job

Is the book of Job a the remembrance of a real event? Or is the story of Job a morality tale, invented as a backdrop to extended dialogues concerning the suffering of the righteous? This tale of the incomprehensible devastation poured out on the head of a single man seems to defy credibility. But woven through is a rich tapestry of personal detail. There are names, places, heredities, and random details: the daughters share in the inheritance (42:15), Job is raised with an orphan (31:17-18), his goods are not merely plundered, but plundered by Sabeans and Chaldeans (1:15-17). The many details give the narrative a texture uncharacteristic of epic tales. It has all the grit of real life. The recording and preservation of this narrative attest to the importance placed upon its power to speak into lives.

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No less persons than Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:14) and James (James 5:11) believed Job to be a real person. I am not aware of any ancient writer who doubted the voracity of the book. My conclusion is that this is a morality tale provided by God through intervention in the lives of real people. Barnes' Notes on the Old Testament contains an excellent discussion of this subject (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 1). The dialogues in heaven had to have been added after the fact as none of the characters in the narrative is ever made aware of Satan's contest with God. However Barnes notes that a rigid structure of threes pervades the book and makes all elements integral to the finished structure. Therefore he maintains the prologue and epilogue are an inseparable part of the completed book (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 5). The dialogues themselves have a polish which indicates a deliberate reconstruction possibly over several years. Job lived another 140 years after the events of the book (42:16). We don't know how long the others involved lived. Certainly they retold the events enough times that the story not only passed into the Hebrew bible, but additional narratives appear in the Midrash and in various Persian collections. What is clear is that the underlying events were very real, and that whoever did compose the poetry was not only a great poet, but knew God face-to-face. The prime two candidates would be Job himself or Moses.

In Search of Job

Bob Sorge, in his excellent book on Job Pain, Perplexity and Promotion (Sorge, pages 16-20), suggests Job, the man, lived several generations before Abraham. First, Sorge argues, Job acts as his own priest, much as does Abraham or other pre-Mosaic figures. There is no mention of God's covenant with Israel, Hebrew events or Mosaic Law. God says, "there is none like him on earth" (1:8), which would mean that he is not likely a contemporary of any of the prophets. He is not compared to any other person's righteousness. The lifespans of the biblical generations gradually diminish to the average of seventy, allowing a rough positioning by lifespan. The Septuagint following Syrian texts states that Job lived 240 years (Sorge, page 19; Clarke, note on 42:17). We know that Job is said to have lived 140 years after the events of the book (42:16), he has ten grown children prior to that time (1:2-4) and further Elihu says that he and his friends are already "very old" (32:6). Barnes notes that the Septuagint also says that Job lived 170 years after the events of the book, making him 70 years old at the time of the events (Barnes, note on 42:16). As the book of Job only gives him 140 years after the events, adjusting for that he might have only lived 210 years, still a remarkable age. Nahor, Abraham's grandfather, lived 248 years. Abraham's father lived 205 years. This suggests that Job probably lived shortly before Abraham, possibly overlapping his lifespan (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 3). There is compelling evidence to the contrary, which would place Job among the descendants of Esau, therefore a descendant of Abraham. An appendix to the Book of Job found in some versions of the Septuagint (Welch, lecture ten) says that Job's original name was `Jobab': "This man is described in the Syriac book as dwelling in the land of Ausis, on the borders of Idumea and Arabia; and his name before was Jobab; and having taken an Arabian wife, he begat a son whose name was Ennon. He himself was the son of his father Zara, a son of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha, so that he was the fifth from Abraham. And these were the kings who reigned in Edom, which country he also ruled over. First Balak the son of Beor, and the name of his city was Dennaba. After Balak, Jobab, who is called Job: and after him, Asom, who was governor out of the country of Thaeman; and after him Adad, son of Barad, that destroyed Madiam in the plain of Moab; and the name of his city was Gethaim. And the friends that came to him were Eliphaz of the sons of Esau, king of the Thaemanites, Baldad sovereign of the Sauchaeans, Sophar, king of the Minaeans" (The Companion Bible, Appendix 62; also Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 3). A king of Edom by the name Jobab is listed in Genesis and in 1 Chronicles: "Then Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah became king in his place. Then Jobab died, and Hasham of the land of the Temanites became king in his place" (Genesis 36:33-34; also 1 Chronicles 1:43-45). An Edomite would be a descendant of Esau (Genesis 36:43). I would imagine that Bela is a variation of the name Balak. It is

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interesting that Jobab is associated with a Temanite [Thaemanite]. The leader of Job's three friend is "Eliphaz the Temanite" (4:1). Eliphaz is also the name of Esau's firstborn son and Teman was Eliphaz's son (Genesis 36:15). Job comes from 'the land of Uz' (1:1). Uz was believed to lie in the region now in southern Jordan and northern Arabia. There are several places in northern Arabia or Jordon claiming to have been the home of Job, and as many as six tombs of Job (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 2). Uz is a grandson of Shem (Genesis 10:22-23). Uz is also the name of a brother-in-law to Esau (Genesis 36:28). Another Uz (in NASB, or Huz in KJV) and Buz are nephews of Abraham (Genesis 22:21). Elihu is a Buzite of the kindred of Ram (32:2) and Clarke notes, "Kemuel was the third son of Nahor; and is called in Genesis­the father of Aram, which is the same as Ram. A city of the name of Buz is found in Jeremiah 25:23, which probably had its name from this family; and, as it is mentioned with Dedan and Tema, we know it must have been a city in Idumea, as the others were in that district" (Clarke, note on 32:2). This strongly links Job, Eliphaz and Elihu to Abraham or his brother Nahor. There are also Shuhamites (Numbers 26:42) and Shunites (Numbers 26:15) as well as Naamites (Numbers 26:40) among the descendants of Abraham. Job's other two friends are Bildad the Shuhite (8:1), and Zophar the Naamathite (11:1). If the Job of this book is Jobab of Genesis 36 then he is much younger than the suppositions above would allow. His extreme age of over two-hundred years would be quite remarkable as he would have lived within a few hundred years of Moses, but lived to twice his age. Genesis 36 lists six kings following Jobab, but does not give the length of their reigns. There is no way to confirm if Jobab was the same man or not, but the evidence is compelling.

The Authorship of Job

Knowing when Job lived doesn't tell us when the book of Job was committed to writing. Jewish tradition claims that Moses wrote the book. Although they do not give it the same weight as the history and laws contained in the first five books of Moses the Pentatuach. The assumption is that Moses discovered this local story while living in Midian and collected remnants of it into the book we now know before he returned to Egypt. This would make it the first written book of the Bible. A summation of scholarship on the book is available in Adam Clarke's Commentary of the Old Testament which I use as a starting point. Clarke suggests that the scholarship points to one of three authors: Moses, Solomon or an unknown writer of the captivity period. All three positions are well supportable through textual analysis. Clarke, and apparently many scholars, prefer the last option, an unknown writer of the captivity period. This would make the date of the book about 400 B.C.E. Unger prefers a date near the time of Solomon (Unger, page 695). There is also strong support for Moses as author. The author of this book had a very clear grasp of what it means to cleave to God in the absolute worst of circumstances. An unknown writer of the captivity could fill this requirement. Portions of the Book of Job among the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that the book already had a substantial pedigree several hundred years before Christ, making authorship during the captivity period less likely. Of the three possibilities listed by Clarke, Moses is the best candidate for author of the book. Moses completely fills the role of someone uniquely qualified to understand Job. As a prince of Egypt forced to flee into the desert, he truly exemplifies someone who had everything and lost it all. As someone whose selfrighteousness caused him to act on presumption, forcing him to suffer 40 years of exile tending goats in the desert, Moses could understand what lurks in the depths of Job. Moses did not start out meek, but became the meekest man on earth (Numbers 12:3), truly a Job-like transformation, and not without the forceful intervention of divine nurture. The author of Job had to have had an incredibly deep relationship with God. Outside of Job himself, there is no one of the pre-Christian era as uniquely qualified to commit the story of Job to writing as was Moses.

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The theory of Mason Good, in his Introductory Dissertation to his translation of the work, (outlined in Adam Clarke), asserts that Moses wrote the book while living in the desert of Midian, which is close to the land of Uz and the several locations mentioned in the beginning of the book. The realizations gained from these truths, could well have been the preparation needed for Moses to meet God himself. If the book was written by Moses in his own exile, it would be the oldest book of the Bible, or from about 2000 B.C.E. (see also: Sorge, pages 15-16). Matthew Henry holds to this view: "we have reason to think it of equal date with the book of Genesis itself" (Henry, Introductory Comments, section III). Matthew Henry suggests that the author is Elihu. "It seems most probable to me that Elihu was the penman of it, at least of the discourses, because (ch. 32:15, 16) he mingles the words of a historian with those of a disputant: but Moses perhaps wrote the first two chapters and the last, to give light to the discourses" (Henry, Introductory Comments, section I). I think the evidence thin. It is hard to imagine why Elihu is not mentioned by God with the three friends for his unwarranted condemnations unless as author, Elihu used the opportunity to include a self-serving oversight. I think that the frank disclosure of his condemnations mitigates against this possibility. If one of the actual participants was the author, the one who truly understood what happened is Job. He had the means, the motive and the opportunity. With an additional 140 years to work on the memoir and his position as king, Job, who understood the significance of the event, could well have felt compelled to record this narrative in a way that not only informs, but instructs. He does allude to writing (19:23-24; 31:35) so there is no reason to rule him out as the author. Charles H. Welch, in a lecture from 1957, makes some interesting points on Moses as author. Chiefly he suggests that it is unlikely that a man of Moses high education, stranded in the desert of Midian for forty years, would not be fascinated by this local tale, particularly if there were written records to examine. "I'm morally certain that he went there and it was provided by God for him that he should have this first introduction to what faith in a living God can mean" (Welch, lecture one). He places Uz in Arabia very near Midian. Who else but Moses would collect this work regarding a man from Arabia, edit it and make it a part of the heritage of Israel. He follows the line of Matthew Henry that the book was collected by Moses, who added the first two chapters and the last and that it became an important work for the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness. "The probability is that the opening chapters which give you the history and the closing chapters which give you the history where penned as far as I can understand by Moses who had the book before him when he was forty years in Midian and came back with it as the first written testimony before he put the Book of Genesis unto parchment or whatever he wrote upon in those early days" (Welch, lecture eleven). As for certain chapters being added, Barnes suggests, "any supposition that these chapters are by a later hand, is entirely conjectural­no authority for any such belief being furnished by the ancient versions, manuscripts, or traditions" (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 4). Barnes notes that the book is divided into three sections: prologue, dialogue, epilogue. The dialogues are further divided into three rounds of dialogues in each of which Job's three friends speak. The epilogue can be divided into three, and those subdivided into threes. Barnes feels that the grammatic structure of threes resists the notion of any later additions to the manuscript (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 5). Several scholars prefer a date of authorship at the time of Solomon. "Several indications in the book would place Job's dates in the time of the patriarchs. But the composition of the book, or at least its final form, may very well come from the first millennium, maybe in the time of the flowering of wisdom literature with Solomon. We have no way of knowing when the book was written, or when its revision was completed. But dating it late in the intertestamental period is ruled out by the appearance of translations and copies of it, notably bits of a Targum of Job in the Dead Sea Scrolls" (NET Bible, footnote to verse 1:1). Perhaps because he never entered the refiner's crucible, Solomon, despite a richness of material

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generated, never seems to achieve the depth of insight which the Book of Job delivers. As a result, I myself find it unlikely that anything other than a final redaction and surface embellishment would have occurred during the time of Solomon. Barnes argues forcefully against any authorship later than the time of Moses. Importantly he notes the total lack of reference to historical events, Hebrew laws, customs, or culture beyond the time of Abraham. Could, or would, Solomon have so thoroughly disguised himself? "We are never so betrayed as to imagine that Shakespeare lived in the time of Coriolanus or of Caesar; that Johnson lived in the time and the country of Rasselas; or that Scott lived in the times of the Crusaders... in the whole range of literature there are not probably half a dozen instances where such an expedient as this has been resorted to­where a writer has made use of a foreign or an antique dialect for the purpose of giving to the production of his pen an air of antiquity. Aristophanes and the tragedians, indeed, sometimes introduce persons speaking the dialects of parts of Greece different from that in which they had been brought up (Lee), and the same is occasionally true of Shakespeare; but except in the case of Chatterton, scarcely one has occurred where the device has been continued through a production of any considerable length. There is a moral certainty that a Hebrew would not attempt it." (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 4). Barnes prefers the notion that Moses collected and published the work, but he feels that Moses could not have been the author. The general style is not that of Moses. Moreover the intrusion of so many foreign words is not typical of the books of Moses. He concludes, "we are conducted to a conclusion tended with as much certainty as can be hoped for in the nature of the case, that the work was composed by Job himself in the period of rest and prosperity which succeeded his trials, and came to the knowledge of Moses during his residence in Arabia, and was adopted by him to represent to the Hebrews, in their trials, the duty of submission to the will of God, and to furnish the assurance that he would yet appear to crown with abundant blessings his own people, however much they might be afflicted" (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 4). I myself am amply persuaded that Moses brought the book out of Midian. That Job himself wrote the work or substantial portions of it cannot be proved, but the suggestion cannot be dismissed. Possible middle ground might include the collaboration of Jethro, Moses' father-in-law and a priest of Midian, or other learned men of Midian, with Moses. Despite the structure of threes, I am not persuaded that Moses didn't see the structure and add to the front and the back, preserving the structure.

The Law of First Mention

Why is the date of authorship important? If the Book of Job is the beginning of the Biblical message, it contains the first mention of several key themes which pervade the Bible. Understanding of subsequent instances of the theme hinges, according to some scholars (Sorge, pages 14-15), on understanding the first recorded instance of that theme. If the Book of Job precedes the Book of Genesis, then is it surprising that the most important themes of the Bible are laid open here? The final chapter is already being telegraphed to our dulled senses in this book. Issues and themes include the Law, justification, fear of the Lord, embracing mercy, redemption and sacrifice, an advocate with God and more. In a sense, "fear of the Lord" is where Job is forced to dwell from the end of the prologue to the end of the book. But "fear of the Lord" as a moral issue is another matter. Ecclesiastes closes with: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Compare this to Job 28:28: "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." While Ecclesiastes closes with this, Job continues to examine the issue, a new friend arrives to rebuke Job, and finally God appears to speak to Job. Thus, "fear the Lord" is far from the final conclusion of the Book of Job. Some scholars

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would suggest that the point of God's speech to Job is to humble him by overpowering him, i.e. bring him to fear God, but we will see that God has much more to say than that. I believe that the problem of Solomon, the assumed author of Ecclesiastes, is that this is the conclusion of his wisdom, not the beginning. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). Solomon's fear does not strengthen him sufficiently and he succumbs to the blandishments of his wives. Job perseveres, either because of fear or dogged determination. He discovers a higher relationship to God. The rich flow of ideas, concepts and phrases between the Book of Job and other books of the Hebrew cannon indicate that either the book was an early work influencing many others or conversely it was a later work influenced by many other works. The modern scholar or writer places a great deal of importance on authorship. Similar to the `law of first mention', the original author is given special respect as the originator of the thought. If the Holy Spirit is the actual source of the inspiration as we believe, then the human author is of secondary interest at best. Still we are likely to rate the Book of Job more highly in our estimation if we knew that it was written by Moses and was heavily quoted throughout the rest of the Bible. Conversely, it is likely that our esteem for the material would go down if we thought that the book borrowed heavily from others and was written by an unknown scribe of the Diaspora, perhaps, as some scholars suggest, one who had never lived in Israel. The depth of the insights in this book suggest to me that this latter possibility is not likely. Unfortunately, we can only speculate as to who the actual author or authors were or which book of the Bible was written first. I fear that I am already veering too far from the heart of the book. "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith" (1 Timothy 1:4).

Job's World

The world of Job is at once Arab and Hebrew. For this reason he is beloved in both cultures. The

language of the book of Job is difficult because of the large number of words and expressions which have entered from the Arab tribes of the East. The poetry of Job is written in patterns of parallel verses, which Barnes claims is the "leading feature of the Hebrew poetry" but which is not found in Arabic poetry (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 5). These parallels, described in detail with multiple examples in Barnes, are repetitions of verses in variant or contrasting forms to greater heighten the impact of the image presented. He further suggests that although the pattern is strictly followed, the more complex patterns seen in later works of Hebrew poetry are not present. This indicates an early date of authorship (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 5). There is not the slightest hint of the dualism, the good principle battling with an equal evil principle, which becomes prevalent in the Arab world and is now recognized in Manichaeasm. For Job and for all of his friends there is never the slightest hint that there is more than one God. There is no question that idolatry is a punishable offense to God. This clearly separates them from the surrounding cultures and makes them fully Hebrew with regards to their religious sensibilities. The God of Job is the creator of all things (12:7-10; 38:4-12) and the Lord of all things (9:12; 38:12-37). The moral overtone that God blesses the righteous and punishes the unrighteous so pervades this work that citations are unnecessary.

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Job's Cosmology

The parallels between the cosmology of the Book of Job with the cosmology of the Book of Genesis and the rest of the Hebrew cannon are remarkable. It is definitely not the cosmology of Egypt nor of some primitive religion. In a lecture from 1957, Charles Welch describes the close affinity between the two worlds (Welch, lecture two). The firmament of Genesis 1:6 is the Hebrew word `râqîya' meaning expanse, from a root meaning something which is hammered out into a sheet (Strong, H7549). The Book of Job speaks of this in two places. In chapter nine (9:8) and chapter thirty-seven: "Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?" (37:18). `Spread' in the quotation is `râqa', the root of `râqîya' or `to spread' as by hammering (Strong, H7554). The Book of Revelation describes the molten glass from above before the throne of God: "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God" (Revelation 15:2). In chapter nine, Job proclaims, "[God] Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea" (9:8). The Hebrew translated `spread' here is `nâtâh', to stretch or spread out as in extending one's arms (Strong, H5186). Incidental to this quote is the notion that God walks on the waves. This will have no real meaning until Jesus walks on the waters (Matthew 14:25). Genesis 2 introduces Neshâmâh (Strong, H5397) the breath of God (Genesis 2:7) imparted to the first man Adam. This is not simply breath in the animal sense, but God's breath of life imparting the spirit of God, or `rûach' (Strong, H7307). This same idea of breath is found in the Book of Job: "while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils" (27:3), and again: "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (33:4, also 32:8). Both quotes use the words `neshâmâh' for breath and `rûach' for spirit. The Hebrew view of death is complex and ambiguous, and that complexity is reflected in Job. `Dust to dust' comes from Genesis 3, "for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19). Job says, "wilt thou bring me into dust again?" (10:9; see also 17:16 & 20:11). Job several times refers to resting in Sheol, a place of the dead with no communication with the living (3:13-17; 10:20-22; 14:20-22; 17:11-16). This squares well with the Hebrew view of Sheol (Proverbs 2:18 & 9:18; Isaiah 14:9). "Shall the dead arise and praise thee?" (Psalm 88:10). "For in death there is no remembrance of thee" (Psalm 6:5). "For Sheol cannot praise thee; Death cannot celebrate thee" (Isaiah 38:18). But the finality of death is contended in scripture. The concept of resurrection of the dead appears in prophecy: "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead" (Isaiah 26:19). The contention over the resurrection of the dead was so intense among the Jews that Paul confounds a Jewish council by mentioning it, causing a riot (Acts 23:6-10). Job's natural mind believes that death is final: "My days are past, my purposes are broken off... where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust" (17:11,15 & 16). But the Holy Spirit speaks within him, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (19:26). Like the rest of the Hebrew cannon, the book of Job is equally ambiguous on the subject of death (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 7). Also from Genesis 3 is the attempt to hide transgression (Genesis 3:7) mentioned in Job 31: "If I covered my transgressions as Adam" (31:33). Transgression won't stay hidden; the blood of the innocent cries out. God hears the cry of Abel's blood (Genesis 4:10). Job will ask that God hear the cry of his own blood when he is gone: "O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place" (16:18). We see this again in Isaiah speaking of end times: "the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain" (Isaiah 26:21).

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In the heaven dwell the "sons of God" who, God tells us in the Book of Job, were with Him when He laid the foundations of the earth: "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (38:7, see: Barnes, notes to 38:7). The Book of Genesis alludes to these `sons of God' when "God said, Let us make man in our image" (Genesis 1:26). Their presence is identified when we are told of their rebellion in Genesis chapter six. In Daniel a figure "like a son of the gods" is in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:25). He is identified as God's angel (Daniel 3:28). Angels (Judges 5:20; Daniel 8:10; Revelations 1:20) and the risen Jesus (Numbers 24:17; Revelations 22:16) are represented as stars. Satan is present with the angels in chapters one and two. It is clear that he is a tempter and an accuser There are indications of an angelic fall: "His angels he charged with folly" (4:18) and "If God places no trust in His holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in His eyes" (15:15, NIV; also 25:5). The word `satan' means `adversary' in Hebrew. The oldest books of the Hebrew testament do not name Satan. This is used by some commentators to argue for a later authorship. In the Book of Job, `satan' (1:6) is always preceded by a definitive article as in `the satan' (Smith, 1971, page 24). Clearly the author is picturing a specific being. Nevertheless the author is not meaning to imply a specific name, but naming his function. The word `satan' occurs in several scriptural settings unrelated to the angel we know as Satan. In Numbers 22:22 the angel of God stands as a `satan' (adversary) against Balaam. David is not allowed by the Philistines to join in battle against Israel for fear that he might be a `satan' (adversary) against them (1 Samuel 29:4; a similar usage can be found in 2 Samuel 19:22). Since there is little doubt that in this case the fallen angel Lucifer is the adversary, we must conclude that this represents the original usage of what came to stick as Lucifer's name. If this conclusion is correct it would argue for an older authorship.

(1:9-11; 2:4-5).

The God of Job does not vary in nature, name or any other attribute from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. While I'm sure we could draw out more of these intriguing connections, I believe the point should be clear that the Book of Job, and the religion of Job himself, conform solidly with Hebrew cosmology and if a foreign intrusion, it represents some of the most well developed and timeless thoughts on the nature of the relationship between God and man. The Book of Job needs NO updating to bring it into line with the gospel of Jesus or contemporary worship. In fact, many modern theologies, creeds and doctrines need to be revised to conform to the Book of Job. The first question is why? If Job lived in an isolated Arab area community, how is his world so readily conformed to the one that Moses, the prophets and Jesus describe? Several possibilities present themselves but I don't believe a definitive answer is possible. ONE: the Book of Job, as the first book of the Bible and a work of Moses presenting his cosmology, defines Hebrew cosmology. Is it shaped by Moses in exile contemplating with sheep and goats and conversing around the fire with Jethro his fatherin-law, the priest of Midian? This implies that certain liberties were taken in the writing of the tale, which is possible if Moses wrote it in a somewhat autobiographical mood. TWO: Similar to the first notion, it may have been written by much later authors, who adapted the story to their cosmology. It is hard to imagine that they would have taken the liberty of updating the cosmology but not update the story to fit more snuggly into Hebrew history. Reading Job, the cosmology does not appear to be pasted on as this approach would imply. It would be hard to separate the story from the cosmology. THREE: the understanding of God that Job knows and the understanding of God by Abraham are the same on all the basic points. In essence the story flows out of the same basic tradition and history. This makes perfect sense if Abraham or Nahor is Job's ancestor. This seems by far the best possibility: Job and his friends were descendants or close relatives of Abraham or his brother Nahor.

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A General Note

I am not a biblical scholar and don't wish to present myself as such. I don't read Hebrew or Greek. I do avail myself of the summations available in popular commentaries and Bible resources such as Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, available in QuickVerse, the free e-Sword or other Bible software. I have two years of seminary education, so I am aware of and competent to research scholarship. However, the goal of my commentary is to dig out meaning that ministers to the soul. Ministering to the soul has the chief aim of removing blockages which stop the flow of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was not written for the benefit of scholars. Scholarship should be able to add new and greater dimensions and clarify the meaning of authors several millenia distant from us. Scholars have a tendency to become trapped in minutiae. Heavy reliance on scholarship can lead to tunnel vision, blinding us to the full meaning of the text. Unfortunately, some scholarship is for personal aggrandizement and not edification: "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain" (1 Corinthians 3:20). My preference is to grasp the largest meaning and work backwards to the details. I don't wish to dispute respectable scholarship, but other meanings may exist which may be more important in ministering. The third century Biblical scholar Origen notes that some meanings are hidden from those who are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. "The Scriptures were composed through the Spirit of God, and have both a meaning which is obvious and another which is hidden from most readers." As a result "The inspired meaning is not recognized by all­only those who are gifted with the grace of the Holy Spirit in the word of wisdom and knowledge" (quoted in The Bible Through the Ages, page 209). "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). Some scholarship opposes the inspired meaning. Any scholarship which seeks to explain away or "demythologize" the Bible is destructive to the Bible's intent: ministry. As such, I avoid such presuppositions as being inspired by he that would discredit or render ineffective the word of God, Satan. While a crumb of truth may fall, it is much more likely that seeds of confusion, doubt and error will poison the study. Some scholars then try to "re-mythologize" the Bible, which amounts to breathing our own life back in, after having stripped the book of God inspired meaning. Scholarship which adapts the Bible to popular social theory or cultural trends, or denigrates portions of the Bible as being of a less progressive mind-set is equally destructive. The bedrock of such thinking is that the Bible was a work of men and is therefore fallible. The hubris of the presupposition that the wisdom of these modern scholars exceeds that of the inspired writings of the prophets and apostles is incredible. That said, it is occasionally important to answer questions pertaining to current popular trends, particularly popular heresies. I am finding that the Bible is always right, and I am always wrong. "Who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?" (1 Corinthians 2:16). The Bible is richly poetic, presenting multiple meanings and layers of depth by which the Holy Spirit is able to minister different things at different times. Because the meaning is as rich as you and I are complex, there can be no definitive commentary. When you re-read the same passages, new doors open continually. Any commentary, my own included, should be considered to be a set of notes, which may help you dig into the deeper meanings. Some commentary distorts the meaning, causing a stumbling block instead of an aid to the richer truths. Since the Bible is meant for application in your life, the best commentary is what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you right now. When something you read in the Bible is confusing or your mind blanks

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when you read a particular passage, there is probably a reason. Go back, ponder the passage, dig out the meaning, ask your spiritual authorities, in other words, make it easy for the Holy Spirit to speak to you. "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). If you are being led astray by other thoughts, examine the source. The Bible is meant for you. The enemy will tell you that you are incapable understanding it. If you persevere it will minister to you. If your thoughts are redirected to study some tangential question, look carefully at the question, and ask does this really matter? Answer the questions that matter. Unless you are a Bible scholar, Bible study should not be an academic enterprise. Bible knowledge should not be your source of `brownie points' in church. Study the Bible so that you can cut through the enemies' lies. How many current heresies would disappear if we would but read and study our whole Bible, instead of select passages. Study the Bible to know God, to understand His will and his workings, so that you can minister and you can be ministered to.

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Chapter One: The Challenge

· · ·

The Name of Job

o o o o

The Man Job Have You Seen Job? A Hedge About Him The Lord Gave, The Lord Takes

The Challenge Tribulation Begins

The Name of Job

Job: chapter 1 1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, `It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.' Thus did Job continually.

The man "whose name was Job". To the ancient Hebrew, this name already had connotation. The

name `îyôb' in Hebrew, is derived from the word `âyab', to hate (Strong, H347 & H340). The name `Job' indicates one who is hated or persecuted. In the Book of Genesis, God placed a curse on Adam and Eve subsequent to the fall, saying, "I will put enmity between you and the woman" (Genesis 3:15). The word `enmity' here is `êybâh' (Strong, H342) and also derives from the root word `âyab'. Job opens for us so many windows onto the nature of the enmity between man and man and man and God that it is especially appropriate that his name means `enmity' in Hebrew. The root word `âyab' appears in only one place in scripture: "I will be an enemy unto thine enemies" (Exodus 23:22). Interestingly enough, the name appears in two non-biblical fragments attached to princes, one from the region of Damascus in the nineteenth century B.C., and the other refers to a prince of Pella in approximately 1400 B.C. (Unger, page 694). This indicates that the name Job was in use in the region. The unflattering connection to `hated' could be a latter addition, as Einstein is used to refer to an intelligent person. Alternatively, the Hebrew meaning of Job may not have applied in the land of Uz. We do not know what language Job spoke. The NET Bible discourages putting too much faith in the meaning of Job's name: "There is little reason to try to determine the etymology and meaning of the name, since it may not be Hebrew. If it were Hebrew, it might mean something like `persecuted,' although some suggest `aggressor.' If Arabic it might have the significance of `the one who always returns to God'" (NET Bible, footnote to 1:1).

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The Man Job

This introduction pictures a man of great wealth, both spiritually and physically. He has a large family, which was important to men of that time. The list of his holdings indicates someone who is the envy of all. We are told that Job was "the greatest of all the men of the east" (Job 1:3). It must be assumed that Job was a king or the head of a great tribe. More than this, Job was a man who attended to his duties before the Lord with exceedingly great care. Job was careful to remain "perfect and upright" (Job 1:1). `Perfect and upright' is not used in a theological sense (i.e. without sin), but in the sense that his actions are flawless in God's eyes. He made extra supplications to the Lord, just in case his children might have sinned in some way unknown to him (1:5). His children appear to be less serious than Job in that they are described as celebrating many festivities (1:4). His children are accused of being party people, but that is more than we can read into this passage. In the passage which follows, we see that Job's righteousness has the attention of God. The LORD refers to Job as "my servant Job" (Job 1:8). Others whom God calls His servant include Abraham (Genesis 26:24), Moses (Exodus 14:31), Caleb (Numbers 14:24), David (2 Samuel 7:5&8), Isaiah (Isaiah 20:3), the prophets (2 Kings 9:7) and the suffering servant (Isaiah 52:13). This is a powerful spiritual recommendation. God is delighted with Job. It is important not forget this. The afflictions that come upon Job are not punishment. Satan's response to God shows that he is well aware of Job's righteousness and very much wants to destroy Job's righteousness. Ezekiel ranks Job with Daniel and Noah as being a man of outstanding righteousness (Ezekiel 14:14 & 20). And the apostle James commends Job's patience (James 5:11). Nothing Job has done would give God cause to curse him. Neither does Satan suggest that Job has done anything wrong for which he deserves to suffer.

The Challenge

Job: chapter 1 continued 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the Lord said unto Satan, "Whence comest thou?" Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." 8 And the Lord said unto Satan, "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" 9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, "Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face." 12 And the Lord said unto Satan, "Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand." So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

The opening scene takes place in heaven where God is holding court. The "sons of God" (1:6), which must in this context refer to the angels, have come to present themselves (Barnes, note on 1:6). They are reporting on their activities and assignments. Satan appears as well. He has a specific purpose: "he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him" (Zechariah 3:1; also Revelation 12:10). Notice that Satan is under God's dominion. He, too, is asked to report on where he'd been. Satan's report is evasive: "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it" (1:7). This phrase in Hebrew implies greater activity than the English translation indicates. The same phrase appears in Zechariah: "the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through

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the whole earth" (Zechariah 4:10, also 2 Chronicles 16:9; see Barnes, note on 1:7). This Hebrew word shût is also used by Amos: "they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it" (Amos 8:12). Satan's answer takes pains to avoid revealing any information. Like a teenager who believes that vagueness will mask his real activities, Satan here seems to believe that a lack of report will hide his activities from God. A similar scene can be found in 1 Kings where Micaiah declares this prophecy: "I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, `Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead?' And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, `I will persuade him.' And the LORD said unto him, `Wherewith?' And he said, `I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And He said, `Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so'" (1 Kings 22:19-22).

Have You Seen Job?

God ignores the reply, as many parents of teenagers do, and asks Satan if he has been noticing Job and proceeds to brag about Job like a proud papa! "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man" (1:8). God is truly delighted with Job and tells Satan. Why? The literal translation of the above quote is meaningful: "have you placed your heart on Job?" (NET Bible, footnote to verse 1:8). Apparently, Satan has already been thinking of how to corrupt Job. Moreover the Lord is aware. Jesus must warn Peter: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat" (Luke 22:31, NASB). Satan is not skipping freely about, as he indicates, but is prowling about like a hunter looking for a chance to strike: "your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). While God is indicating great pleasure with Job, Satan believes that there is some flaw to Job's character which can be used to turn him away from God. It does seem out of character for God to brag on Job, even if Job is exceptionally righteous. It is as if, when talking directly to Satan, God has shifted into moods that Satan can directly relate to. Or perhaps this is God speaking to the ages to come. God knows Satan's devices, and God sees what Satan sees. As we will see, God is about to put Job in the refiner's crucible, so Job can come to a place where he sees God face to face and clings to him heart and soul. There is a frivolousness, a nonchalance, in the dialogue between God and Satan. But, underneath, something serious is at work. Satan sees something in Job that he wishes to exploit. God is ready to allow Satan his chance, because God has His own plan in operation. God knows that Job will come through the fire refined. Author John Lucas picks up this refrain, "Does Satan point out Job? Nope, God points out Job to Satan. My humorous response is `Please Lord, I have enough problems'. It is to be noted that God will point out to Satan our life­to afflict us­but He will not reveal to Satan the purpose of the affliction. This is why Satan conspired to destroy Jesus; Satan never sees the resurrection life on the other side of the cross" (Lucas, chapter 12). God says of Job, "there is none like him in the earth" (1:8). In her commentary on Job, Jesse PennLewis remarks, "Does this not mean that he [Job] was the ripest, most matured and choicest servant of God among all who in his day sought to serve Jehovah in integrity of heart and life? And does it not imply that he was the one most fitted to be entrusted with the service of suffering, being chosen as a pattern of the ways of God in the ages to come for all His children in the furnace of trial?" (Penn-Lewis, page 21).

A Hedge About Him

We will see that God wants to refine Job, to bring Job into a much closer walk with Himself. As a smith refines metal by passing it through fire, God must often refine us by passing us through great

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tribulation. In this case, the bearer of tribulation is Satan, but by the will of God. By bragging on Job's righteousness, Satan, who has obviously been thinking about this, immediately suggests that Job's righteousness is based on the many blessings of wealth and family that surround him. "Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land" (1:10). Notice that Job, according to Satan, has been protected and blessed by God up to this point. We assume that Satan has already been probing for a way in, to attack Job, but God has placed a `hedge' or protective screen around Job, his household and all that he owns. This argument is not dead. Behaviorist psychologist Edward O. Wilson claims that Mother Teresa served selflessly, because she believed in an eternal reward (Yancey, Page 54). This psychologist believes that Teresa was self-serving after all. Take away the protection, suggests Satan, "and he [Job] will curse thee to thy face" (1:11). God immediately accepts the challenge (1:12). There are two possibilities, God doesn't want to refuse the challenge, for fear of what? Embarrassment? Or, God has some other purpose. The first answer cannot be reconciled with the God of the Bible, so until someone presents a compelling reason to do so, I will disregard it. We will examine the latter idea, but first we must examine Job and his struggle with his sudden affliction.

Tribulation Begins

Job: chapter 1 continued 13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: 14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, "The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: 15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee." 16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, "The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee." 17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, "The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee." 18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, "Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: 19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee." 20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, 21 And said, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Satan wastes no time in mercilessly destroying all that Job has. Calamity after calamity strike one on top of the other. The final culmination is the roof collapsing on all his sons and daughters who are instantly killed. Satan arranges this during a feast day, a time of joy and celebration. By piling on calamity after calamity at a time of joyful celebration, Satan hopes to overwhelm Job.

Those whose books are in order are not afraid when the auditor comes. Standing before the thundering on the mountain, Moses turns to the people to say, "Fear not: for God is come to prove you" (Exodus 20:20).

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But they were afraid. They had reason to fear for their hearts were corrupt. Before Moses returned the children of Israel were dancing naked before the golden calf made by Aaron's hands (Exodus 32). Job is being proved, but his books are in order. "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God" (1 John 3:21).

The Lord Gave, The Lord Takes

Job is remarkably composed at this incredible series of events. The oft quoted phrase, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (1:21), is delivered after a merciless assault from the Devil that has left Job threadbare and with all ten of his children dead in a matter of moments. Job was a man of vast wealth. Imagine Bill Gates suddenly thrust out on the streets with nothing to his name turning to God and saying "Blessed be the name of the Lord." In these days of believing on God for riches, would not many of us turn away from the church, like the rich young man of Luke 18:18-23, if God took everything that we owned? And worse yet is the devastating loss of his servants, many of whom must have been trusted friends and all of his ten children. The devastation of the loss of one of my two boys would be a difficult and bitter pill to swallow. While I would like to image myself turning to God with Job's faith, I have a hard time imagining that I could do it so easily. Thus Job's relative calm indicates an incredible spiritual fortitude. It seems that God's faith in Job is merited. I would like to add another dimension here, not because I wish to pick at Job, but because this will come back to haunt him. While Job has surrendered everything to God, he doesn't consider that there may be some greater good behind it. The apparent context is a contest between God and Satan. God, however, has a deeper work intended for Job. God intends to bless Job. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28). Oswald Chambers suggests that at this point it is not possible for Job to understand, he is therefore baffled. Chambers notes that, so far, Job is patient with God (Chambers, 1990, Page 21) prompting James comment on "the patience of Job" (James 5:11). By the time of his final speech, Job will appear much less patient. Patiently or not, Job will wait on the Lord until the end.

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

Page 21 of 162

Chapter Two: Double or Nothing

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Double or Nothing

o o o o

You Move Me Against Him Skin for Skin Curse God and Die They Knew Him Not

Greater Tribulation

Double or Nothing

Job: chapter 2 1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And the Lord said unto Satan, "From whence comest thou?" And Satan answered the Lord, and said, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." 3 And the Lord said unto Satan, "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause." 4 And Satan answered the Lord, and said, "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face." 6 And the Lord said unto Satan, "Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life."

Chapter two begins with a repeat of the scene in heaven described in chapter one. Again God is holding court, again Satan enters, again God asks where Satan has been and again Satan is evasive. Moreover, God brags on Job again and adds that Job has withstood Satan's attack without blemish. God has won the challenge. One addition is that in the first instance (1:6) it says, "Satan came also among them." In the second instance (2:1) it says, "Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD." In this case, Satan has a specific mission on which to report. God is in firm control of the situation.

God is taking full responsibility for Job's afflictions. "Thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause" (2:3). Satan has influenced or `moved' God against Job. In the Hebrew, this is `sûth', which Strong defines "to prick, that is, (figuratively) stimulate; by implication to seduce" (Strong, H5496). In this, I believe that God is giving Satan more credit than he is due. In essence, God is seducing Satan into believing himself to be the determining factor. But, although Satan is actually bringing on the calamity, God says, `I was persuaded to destroy him without cause.'

You Move Me Against Him

Let's get rid of a current bit of theology: God's will is God's will. God's `permissive will' bears no more than a sematic difference from His `active will'. God's will is God's intention. We could call His primary goal His active will. If, because of our recalcitrance, God must permit suffering to achieve His end goal for us, His will must follow an indirect route counter to His heart of mercy. We can call this God's permissive will. I do not desire punishment for my son, but will punish, or, for instance, permit the school to punish him, to bring him in line with my desires for him and his future. If my son says to me that the

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school punished him according to my permissive will, I am likely to suggest that not only did I permit it, but I desired it. The distinction is purely fictional. From the very beginning, before Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, God provided for punishment. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17). "The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil" (Proverbs 16:4). Satan is not only permitted to operate, but he is operating with God's complete support. It seems that this bit is the hardest for us to grasp. To look at it any other way is to reject the Bible. Satan tempts Jesus by the will of the Father. The only legitimate distinction is between the need for correction and the lack thereof. It is my highest desire that neither of my sons be required to suffer except in the cause of righteousness. The same can be said of God's desire for us. The attempt to divide between 'permissive' and 'active' will attempts to reconcile God's actions with our human concept of right and wrong. Do I need to mention what tree that fruit hangs on? God is not shy about claiming credit for all the misery we suffer. God Himself starts the punishment with Genesis 3:1417. Job has just gotten a very big lesson in the difference between his own will and God's will. Unfortunately it is only chapter two of our narrative and it will be chapter forty-two before the light penetrates Job's head. I don't imagine you'll let me off that easy, however. It get's more complicated when God promises health and well-being. "Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee" (Deuteronomy 7:12-15). The children of Israel immediately turned from God to worship a golden calf before forty days were up so their continued troubles would not contradict the conditional promise here. But Job, at least in his mind and the minds of his friends, is operating under a similar conditional promise. Job has been holding up his end of the bargain. We know from the narrative that his troubles are not because of crimes committed by his fathers. He legitimately has the right to ask, why am I being tormented so horribly? At this point, I hope we are all asking this question. Make no mistake, God puts pain, sickness or other troubles into our lives if it suits His purpose for us. At first blush, the suffering of Job, seems without purpose. We will see that it serves a very real purpose in Job's life. At this point of the narrative the reason is not apparent, but will, I hope, become apparent. More than that, God is quite willing to use cruel and unusual punishment. In this case, it's not actually punishment, since Job hasn't done anything wrong, but God is being cruel to Job, in fact, He is being unusually cruel. As Job will come to discover, our human idea of justice and what is or is not called for are simply irrelevant to God. He will not listen to Job's complaint. He will not turn aside. God knows what He wants and will not turn aside until it is accomplished. I want to show that Job's suffering is serving a purpose. All too often, we won't listen and continue to suffer needlessly. Job is in this predicament. Job eventually admits to his failure to listen (42:3) when God penetrates his thick hide. But this is getting ahead of the narrative. Job has yet to complain.

Skin for Skin

Satan is ready. He is definitely not ready to concede defeat. He sneers that if God but afflict Job's flesh Job will curse God. "Skin for skin" (2:4), says Satan. If the covering of his flesh is attacked, he will curse the covering of the Lord. Apparently this expression means to give all the skins one has (animals,

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property, even children) to protect one's life. This sentiment is echoed: "all that a man hath will he give for his life" (2:4; see Barnes, note on 2:4). Satan is certain that by moving directly into the outer court of Job's person, his flesh, he can break Job's faith. If the tone was capricious at the beginning, it is definitely less capricious now. Satan wants his prey. It is often easy for Satan to dislodge the saints with a little suffering. The saint is tied in knots: `You must have offended God', so the saint becomes despondent. Oswald Chambers comments, "There is a wicked inspiration in it; the thing underneath is the wickedness of desolation. Desolation is never a right thing; wrong things happen actually because things are wrong really. One of the dangers of fanaticism is to accept disaster as God's appointment, as part of His design. It is not God's design, but His permissive will" (Chambers, 1990, page 22). Thankfully, God's design leaves room for the wayward path. This does not imply that there is suffering that is totally capricious. All suffering serves God. The point is that in many cases, this one in particular, it is not punishment. Job's suffering is "without cause" (2:3). The Hebrew term for `without cause', is `chinnâm', "from gratis, that is, devoid of cost, reason or advantage" (Strong, H2600). The understanding is that Job has done nothing to earn this great suffering. However, technically there is a cause. God and Satan are pushing the limits of Job's faith, testing him. Satan believes that he can dislodge Job. God has a deeper purpose as well. He intends to dislodge something in Job which is blocking his ability to meet God face-to-face. God accepts Satan's new challenge, but instructs Satan that he may not kill Job. The disaster already poured out on Job is now brought to an incredible level of tribulation. If the death of his children is not personal enough, it is going to get more personal. Job must physically suffer and become a pariah. For Job, the cruelest blow yet, it the loss of his personal dignity.

Greater Tribulation

Job: chapter 2 continued 7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. 9 Then said his wife unto him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." 10 But he said unto her, "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this did not Job sin with his lips. 11 Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. 12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. 13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

Satan afflicts Job with boils all over his body so that Job is racked with pain, and must separate from his community and dwell outside the town on an ash heap. The ash heap is the dump where the refuse from cooking fires is deposited. Here he sits in misery scraping his sores with a broken bit of pottery. The soars are too loathsome to touch. As his sores were probably considered leprous (Barnes, note on 2:7) he would not have had an easy time convincing others to come to his aid, such as washing and bandaging his sores.

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Job is now `down to zero'. Satan can take him no lower. Death would be a relief. "For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord God of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains" (Isaiah 22:5). Job's case is more poignant because the seemingly frivolous reason for it is not even known. Job has lived an outstanding life before God and now stands alone and perplexed facing God's holy terror and he doesn't have a clue as to why.

Curse God and Die

Job's wife now goads him to curse God and die (2:9). She is prompting Satan's suggested course of action. This is undoubtedly Satan speaking through her by the nudge of a reasonable suggestion, much as Peter is used by Satan to try to dissuade Jesus. Discerning the actual source of the suggestion, Jesus rebukes Satan directly (Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33). Job's wife suggests that Job's integrity is no longer of any value: "Dost thou still retain thine integrity?" (2:9). In case Job doesn't think of it himself, Satan wants him to have all the excuses for throwing in the towel. Job is unmoved. He rebukes his wife and remains steadfast in his righteousness. Jessie Penn-Lewis notes, Job is "a thoroughly surrendered soul", (Penn-Lewis, page 34). Even in deep affliction, he is still faithful to God. He accepts whatever God brings him, whether it be good or bad. The classic text, The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence, takes this surrender a step further. Brother Lawrence answers a letter asking for prayer, "I do not pray that you may be delivered from your pains, but I pray God earnestly that He would give you strength and patience to bear them as long as He pleases", (Lawrence, 1967, page 53). Like Job, Lawrence assumes that affliction is ultimately from God and therefore should be accepted. It is worth noting here that Brother Lawrence had been injured as a soldier at a young age. Damage to his sciatic nerve left him in severe pain and crippled for the rest of his life. After conversion in his early fifties, Lawrence served in the kitchen at his Carmelite monastery (Lawrence, 2002, editor's introduction).

They Knew Him Not

Job's three closest friends now come to comfort him. They are clearly unprepared for the sight of total desolation that has been visited upon him. Job has become unrecognizable (2:12). Notice that these are incredibly loyal friends. I say this, because the beliefs and fears of these friends will cause them to chastise Job severely. Before opening their mouths, they spend an entire week in a silent vigil with Job. Once the dialog begins, they will stay to the end trying to save Job. As the dialog progresses and the friends come in for some harsh criticism, it is important not to forget that they are there for Job. Although he was a man of great power and privilege, everyone he knew has abandoned him, but for these three friends who come to mourn in a traditional manner: "they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights" (2:12-13). "And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied" (Ezra 9:3). "And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes: And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing" (Ezekiel 27:30-31). Seven days is a common Hebrew period of cleansing. The mourning for Jacob is seven days (Genesis The men of Jabeshgilead fast seven days after they bury Saul (1 Chronicles 10:12; 1 Samuel 31:13). Although Mosaic law would not apply, since we assume Job comes before Moses and is probably not Israelite, it is interesting to note that under Levitical law one suspected of leprosy must separate themselves for seven days. If the suspect inflammation does not spread, "the priest shall pronounce him clean" (Leviticus 13:21-23). As the men in this account clearly have a similar understanding of God's law and are related to Abraham,

50:10).

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it is reasonable to assume that this seven day period was a common practice at the time. The friends may have been ready to start their rounds of criticism right away, but in deference to Job, they withhold for the traditional period. Job, himself, is the first to break the silence.

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

Page 26 of 162

Chapter Three: Job's Cry to the Lord

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Job's Lament

o o o o

On Lamentation To Awaken Leviathan Dig for Death The Fear of the Lord

Job's Lament

Job: chapter 3 1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. 2 And Job spake, and said, 3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. 4 Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. 5 Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. 6 As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. 7 Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein. 8 Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning. 9 Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day: 10 Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes. 11 Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? 12 Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck? 13 For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest, 14 With kings and counselors of the earth, which build desolate places for themselves; 15 Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver: 16 Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light. 17 There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. 18 There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. 19 The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master. 20 Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; 21 Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; 22 Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave? 23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in? 24 For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters. 25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. 26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.

Job's cry is a deep lament out of the great pain that he is suffering. While the hand of his oppressor is

that of Satan, he knows that the authority is God's. While previously Satan was hedged out (1:10), Job is now "hedged in" (3:23) by God. He is not yet trying to reason out why he is suffering. This is a cry of

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agony, "I wish I was never born". There is no criticism or blame assigned. Job is no longer putting on the brave face. Deep and powerful as this chapter is, there is a formal dignity about it. The word `curse' here is `qâlal' meaning to make light, or despise (Strong, H7043), connotes a more formal declaration than the word `bârak' meaning to kneel (Strong, H12) rendered curse in 1:11 and 2:9 (Barnes, note on 3:1 & 1:11). This is a powerful but dignified lamentation. Like most of us, Job's first response is to turn inward. Self-centered pity is the response of the `natural' man. It leads Job to despair. "Despair is a killer, it takes away all opportunities for deliverance" (Lucas, chapter 12). Job's key to deliverance is revealed in chapter 40.

On Lamentation

There are many powerful lamentations in the Hebrew cannon, but this particular chapter of Job is likely the most powerful literary masterpiece of lamentation ever written. Images and allusions and even the wording appear in several other biblical lamentations, most prominently the lamentation of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:7-18). Compare, for instance, "Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived" (3:3) with "Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed. Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad" (Jeremiah 20:14-15). The sheer force of this chapter makes it hard to resist being swept along in it. Perhaps this is the best way to approach it. Allow the passage to pull you into the full power of his agony. Don't ride on the poetry, feel the force of the images: "Why did I not die at birth, Come forth from the womb and expire? Why did the knees receive me, And why the breasts, that I should suck? For now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest" (3:11-13, NASB). Lament, as we use the term, doesn't genuinely describe the force and power of this passage or most of the other similar `laments' in the bible. The lament is not a complaint or an accusation, it is a deep cry of agony made in the most forceful language imaginable. This is not raging for television cameras, demands for an inquiry or a lawsuit, this is a call for a curse in the classic sense, not against any person or thing, but against the most fundamental of circumstances that have left him in agony, the day of his birth. While this expresses the depths of his pain, it doesn't try to draw a target on any one person or thing.

To Awaken Leviathan

While the first two chapters are a prose prologue, this chapter begins the rich poetry that will carry through until the final epilogue. This heightens the drama of Job's cry, as if an angelic chorus had joined the telling of his misery. The game afoot in the background is to bring Job to curse God. Job does not curse God, but curses his circumstances. Job calls for a curse on the day of his birth, "Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning" (3:8). This could indicate paid specialists who call up blessings or curses, as Balaam is hired by Balak (Numbers 22:5-6; Barnes, note on 3:8). However the actual Hebrew says those "who are prepared to rouse Leviathan" (3:8, NASB). `Leviathan' is a sea monster or `a writhing serpent' (Strong, H3882). There is some uncertainty as to whether this indicates some form of black arts to awaken Leviathan, or whether Leviathan was a well known allusion at that time, as `Godzilla' would be for someone of my generation. King James gives us a more digestible understanding of the verse at the expense of understanding later, when we arrive at God's description of Leviathan in chapter 41. Barnes referring to the King James translation suggests, "This is not very intelligible, and it is evident that our translators were embarrassed by the passage" (Barnes, note on 3:8). A possible explanation is that the belief at the time was that the Leviathan during an eclipse would swallow the moon, thereby erasing a day (Smith, page 34). Job could be calling for someone to conjure up Leviathan to swallow the day of his birth.

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We will see that the allusion to sea monsters carries throughout the book of Job (7:12; 9:13; 26:12 & 41:1-34). Deep waters are the perfect allegory for the depths of a man. "The word of a man's mouth are as deep waters" (Proverbs 18:4). "Counsel in the heart of a man is like deep water" (Proverbs 20:5). In this case, Job is calling for those who are calling up something large and deadly from the depths to level a curse, as someone in a violent rage. I believe he is speaking allegorically, for his righteous sensibilities would not allow him to call on a conjuror. Leviathan comes up from the darkest depths of the soul. God will use the description of Leviathan as an allegory to describe something found in Job (chapter 41). The sea monster within is the first of several important themes which keep appearing throughout the Book of Job.

Dig for Death

"Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?" (3:11). Job begins a litany of all those who suffer and find peace in death. Job's suffering is now great enough that he would welcome death as a relief. He imagines that if he had died in childbirth, he would have been laid down in sweet sorrow with kings and councilors in the dark of Sheol. Verse 14 appears to have an allusion to the elaborate but desolate tombs built by Egyptian kings and others. To one of the Hebrew culture, it must seem a sad joke that the king's empty abode remains above while the king himself lies in Sheol next to the prisoners who take their ease in death. Job asks a timeless and difficult question: "wherefore is light given to him that is in misery?" (3:20). Why are some born to suffer? Why do some find that the life they have been given causes them to long for death, who "dig for it more than for hid treasures" (3:21). The darkness of despondency is closing around Job. His thoughts are turned inward. "Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?" (3:23). Job's entire life has become a black suffocating blanket that has left him hovering on the brink of death, but he does not die. The glory of this past is swallowed up; he can see no future but suffering until death blesses him. Satan has made sure that Job cannot see the kindness of God anywhere. Job's friends will now turn against his anguished cry. There is no one who will come to lift Job's head, not even God (Psalm 3:3). God does not come as Job expects, not because Job does not cry, but because Job does not cry with a right heart. But, we will see that God is merciful, he continues to nudge Job's understanding along, so that when God does appear, Job is ready. There are several characters in the Bible who achieve a high place in God's respect, but only after long and difficult struggles against God's call. The case of Job is unique in that it is all contained in this one series of dialogues. The only event is the hammer blow of outrageous misfortune. The entire action is contained in the struggle of the heart and soul of Job coming to meet God on entirely new terms after all artifice of religion, creed, righteousness, or deprecation has been ripped away.

The Fear of the Lord

The fear of the Lord hangs over the book of Job like a dark cloud which obscures all clarity. Christians who have noticed how prevalent the call to a fear of the Lord is in the New Testament might be similarly confounded (Matthew 27:54; Luke 7:16; Acts 9:31 & 19:17; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:21; Hebrews 10:31; 1 Peter 3:12; Revelations 14:7 and more). Job's piety is predicated on fear of the Lord, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came" (3:25-26). Out of fear of God, Job did not rest, nor was he quiet, nor did he hide (in safety), but he actively pursued righteousness. Eliphaz, in the next chapter, will allude to this fear of the Lord which motivates Job: "Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?" (4:6). Job feels the oppression of the Lord's hand upon him, and yet he knows that he has been taking all the precautions.

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Later we will see Job encapsulate God's word to him on wisdom: "the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom" (28:28). More properly, it should be said: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). Job needs to discover the true depth of meaning in `the fear of the Lord'. "Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:3-5). Job's cry will be long and muddled. Understanding will elude him for a long while (until chapter 42). Instead of crying for knowledge, Job begins to wrestle with his suffering. He also wrestles with his friends who will soon be his accusers. When Job says, "the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me". He is admitting that his fear is fear of the Lord's retribution. This is the fear of a small child who has done wrong and is afraid, not of what mom and dad think or feel, but of what mom and dad will do. Small children are by nature self-centered. Fear of retribution is self-centered. Job has carefully kept himself at the bottom of the retribution list. He is not receiving retribution. When fear of retribution is held onto for a long time, a person will pursue self-protection and self-reliance. Job is not relying on God, he relying on his righteousness. This is a form of rebellion against God and makes for a heart of stone (41:24). Fear of retribution works against Job in a severe way, for he is sure that God is angry with him. Job is convinced that this level of oppression can mean only one thing: he has done something to deeply offend God. We know that a child is maturing when he or she sees that their activities greatly upset their parents, regardless of retribution. Conversely, we know that an adult is immature when they have no care for the results of their bad behavior, but only fear retribution. Our fear of the Lord is maturing when we begin to see just how much God hates sin. Only then do we start to understand just how merciful and longsuffering God is. Understanding this in the depths of our soul is often a long and difficult task, begun when we begin to lament.

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Chapter Four: Eliphaz the Temanite

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Eliphaz the Temanite

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Strengthen Weak Knees Remember, I Pray Thee The Visions of the Night

Eliphaz the Temanite

Job: chapter 4 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, 2 If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking? 3 Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. 4 Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. 5 But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled. 6 Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways? 7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? 8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. 9 By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. 10 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. 11 The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad. 12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. 13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, 14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. 15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: 16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, 17 'Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? 18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: 19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? 20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it. 21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.

Eliphaz is quiet throughout Job's lamentation. Such bitterness was to be expected. But, on hearing Job's defense, (3:26), Eliphaz can hold his peace no longer. Clearly he has been quietly trying to reason out why Job is being punished? He naturally assumes that this great torment can only be punishment for some incredible sin hidden from the gathered friends. He begins gingerly, begging Job's patience with him, complementing Job's righteousness, but quickly proceeds to imply that Job can dish it out, but he can't take it (4:5).

Eliphaz seemed a sympathetic friend until he opened his mouth. He suggests that since Job encourages others who are troubled, why does he not encourage himself (4:3-5). Eliphaz cannot conceive of Job's difficulties being anything but a result of some sin. He is baffled that Job doesn't deal with it quickly. "Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways" (4:6)? "Who ever perished,

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being innocent?" (4:7), Eliphaz reminds Job, he will reap what he sows withstand God, Eliphaz warns (4:10-11).

(4:8).

Even the lion cannot

Strengthen Weak Knees

"Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees," (4:4). Job was one to encourage a person who was troubled or oppressed. The weak knees aren't arthritic knees, but those which are bowed under by a burden of guilt and the desire for sinful pleasures. Eliphaz takes note of this and suggests, "But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest" (4:5). There is an indignation to his tone. "Physician heal thyself." The approach that Eliphaz should be taking is to emulate Job and bring comfort to him. Instead of presumptive indignation, he could ask Job if he knows of a reason for this suffering. He could pray for Job's relief or an explanation from God. He could offer to bring cool water or some other relief. He could make an atonement sacrifice on Job's behalf. There are many things that Eliphaz could do that would be loving and Godly. But this is not what he does. Eliphaz condemns Job, not to help Job, as he wishes Job to believe, but to separate himself from Job and whatever curse Job is under. "Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?" (4:6). This is one of those difficult passages. Read it in Young's Literal Translation: "Is not thy reverence thy confidence? Thy hope­the perfection of thy ways?" (4:6, Young's Literal Translation). The NASB may be more readable: "Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?" (4:6, NASB). The implication is that Job has lost his source of strength, his fear of God; and that he has departed from the righteous path, so his hopes are cut off. Without having any example to produce, Eliphaz strongly insinuates that Job has turned from God to sin. Eliphaz projects self-confidence based upon a firm doctrine of divine justice. He is depending on his own reason based on creed in an unreasonable situation that defies his dogma. He has veered into unreality because his doctrine will allow no other path. Job is clearly guilty of sin because he suffers and only the guilty suffer. "Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?" (4:7). How often have we fabricated reasons out of thin air? Eliphaz will abuse Job for several chapters before he is humbled by God.

Remember, I Pray Thee

Like Job, the three friends equate calamity with sin. Naturally assuming that God is upset with Job, Eliphaz steps back from Job to scold him. There is a repulsive quality to this distancing, as it is based on the assumptions by Eliphaz that he would not do whatever Job has done, but if he had he would immediately deal with it correctly. Eliphaz is viewing Job's situation from the standpoint of what he knows and believes. His views have an unyielding rigidity to them, which leave no room for understanding or empathizing with Job and make Eliphaz all too certain of himself. He takes a superior tone, "Remember, I pray thee­" (4:7). Eliphaz places his self as authority: "even as I have seen" (4:8). Christians often take this high tone in evangelism or pseudo-evangelism. "The pseudo-evangelical line is that you must be on watch all the time and lose no opportunity of speaking to people, and this attitude is apt to produce the superior person. It may be a noble enough point of view, but it produces the wrong kind of character. It does not produce a disciple of Jesus, but too often the kind of person who smells of gunpowder and people are afraid of meeting him" (Chambers, 1990, page 36). None of the characters in this drama outside of God and Satan (even Satan is arguably being hoodwinked) understand what is going on. They all speak out of their passion and ignorance. God, we

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will see, is not terribly concerned that Job is questioning him, but the vehemence with which the three friends begin to accuse Job does anger God (42:7). "Job's friends were in the right place when they sat with him dumbfounded for seven days; they were much nearer to God then than afterwards. As soon as they took up the club for God, they took on a religious pose, lost touch with the reality of actual experience, and ended in being bombastic" (Chambers, 1990, page 85). The three friends have lost touch with God and instead jump to the side of where they imagine God to be. Most foolish of all, they presume to condemn Job on behalf of God when in fact they have no idea what God is doing or why.

The Visions of the Night

Eliphaz claims that he has had a vision of the night or dream, which he applies to Job (4:12-21). According to his telling of it, the vision produced a dramatic effect in him. "Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up" (4:14-15). Barnes compares this vision, not to prophetic visions, but to ghostly apparitions as `the Spirit of Loda' and the ghost of Hamlet's father (Barnes, note on 4:13). While Eliphaz likens the vision to an angelic visitation, his reaction bears resemblance to ghostly visitation of Hamlet: "How now, Horatio! you tremble and look pale: Is not this something more than fantasy?" (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1). In this vision, a shadowy figure asks if a man can question God (4:17)? Mortal man, says the vision, is insignificant to God, cast aside without regard. While Eliphaz seems convinced that this is an angelic visitation (5:1), this shadowy figure is accusing God of not caring the least for humankind (4:17-21). We have no more significance to God than a moth, the night visitor declares, and we die feeble and senile, a sure sign of God's indifference. Satan has already accused Job before God, now he uses this vision to accuse God, while pretending to be an emissary of God. The Psalms are full of passages which extoll how much care and concern God has for us (Psalm 23 is a well known example; also: Psalm 32:14-15), even to the numbering of every hair on our heads (Matthew 10:29-31; Luke 12:6-7). God will try to show this to Job in chapter 39. This shadowy figure depicts `mortal man' (4:17) as figures made in clay and rooted in the dust (4:19). `Enôsh', translated here as `mortal man' indicates a lesser person. According to Barnes, `enôsh' "is usually applied to the lower classes or ranks of people. The common opinion in regard to this word is, that it is derived from ânash, to be sick, or ill at ease; and then desperate, or incurable­as of a disease or wound" (Barnes, note on 4:17). In every way this description tries to draw the picture of humankind away from the breath placed in him and down to the base substance of existence. Eliphaz, enthralled with his vision, repeats the message as if it were the word of God. Eliphaz has become Satan's tool to further discourage and dishearten Job. All to often, Christians fail to carefully analyze what is presented to them as being from the Holy Spirit or from spiritual authority. Bizarre demonic manifestations have passed as "gifts of the spirit". Christian television regularly airs heresy which sounds true, but is antithetical to the Bible. Pastors preach from a wide range of sources outside of the gospel, without analyzing the message. Paul was forced to become ever conscious of deceitful Christians: "what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion... For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:13). But beyond blatant heresies, it is also often the case that a true word, out of season, is destructive weapon. Much of what Eliphaz and the other friends have to say to Job is very true but horribly `out of season'. It is not unusual to hear a pastor preaching from one of these monologues in the Book of Job without noting that the speaker is soon to be rebuked by God. While the things they say may be true in general, their application here is suspect.

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This material forms a narrative. The speeches are not gospel in the usual sense of the term. The speeches of the three friends are condemned by God (42:7). The speech of Elihu at the end contains blatant misquotes; so, despite a lack of mention by God, I would treat his words with a similar suspicion. Job is not condemned for speaking falsehoods, but he is condemned for "words without knowledge" (38:2). This leaves only the opening and closing descriptions and God's speeches with the weight of the gospel. However, the narrative itself is a tool of God's instruction. The story is itself the gospel message. Having digressed a bit, let's get back to Eliphaz. He has assumed the role of leadership among the three friends. He is definitely the most verbose of the three and he is just getting warmed up:

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William. W. Wells

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Chapter Five: The Children Are Crushed

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Will Any Answer

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The Children are Crushed In Six Troubles

Will Any Answer

Job: chapter 5 1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? 2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. 3 I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. 4 His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them. 5 Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance. 6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; 7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. 8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: 9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number: 10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: 11 To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety. 12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. 13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. 14 They meet with darkness in the day time, and grope in the noonday as in the night. 15 But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty. 16 So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth. 17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: 18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. 19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. 20 In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. 21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. 22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. 23 For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. 24 And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin. 25 Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth. 26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. 27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.

Having produced what he believes to be irrefutable evidence against Job, Eliphaz challenges Job, "Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?" (5:1). Eliphaz is

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turning this into a trial with Job as the defendant in the dock. Smugly Eliphaz implies that heaven has already pronounced the verdict, but, just to prove the case, he suggests Job call on heaven. The Hebrew for `saints' is `qâdôsh' meaning sacred and applied to God, angels or saints (Strong, H6918). Eliphaz is challenging Job to produce a witness to counter his, i.e. an angelic visitation. Eliphaz is confident that no holy being, either a prophet or an angel will advocate on Job's behalf (Barnes, note on 5:1). The case is opened and closed, Job is guilty. Eliphaz continues his diatribe with a whirligig of religious talk: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Who is even going to listen to you (5:1)? Wrath and envy bring the judgment of death (5:2). Fools and their children suffer death and trouble (5:3-5). We make our own trouble (5:6-7). You had better take your case to God (5:8). God is powerful (5:9-10). God elevates the lowly but reproves the wicked (5:11-16). God reproves and then blesses (5:17-18). Then God will bring incredible blessings (5:19-26).

Then Eliphaz concludes with the assurance that "we" (the three men unless an editorial `we' is assumed), have investigated the matter, and these are the conclusions (5:27). They appear to have discussed Job's case prior to their arrival, or perhaps they have gone aside to discuss. In any case, he presents his thoughts as a well considered corporate opinion.

The Children are Crushed

When Eliphaz says that, "Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple" (5:2, NIV), it is not an idle comment. He is implying that Job is filled with bitterness and envy. The understanding of sin presented throughout the Book of Job, even by Job's accusers, includes crimes of the heart, or desire, and not just physical actions. Eliphaz goes on to imply that Job, fits with one whose children "are crushed in the gate" (5:4). This is more than a tasteless remark, it is a clear slap in the face. The gate is the cities main entry and generally served as a place of business, including that of the courts (Barnes, note on 5:4). The implication is that they didn't just die, but they were judged and condemned by God because of the father's sin. Hindsight being 20-20, Eliphaz is sure that he has seen Job's fault begin to accumulate. "I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation" (5:3). There is no way to pretend that he does not mean Job. With this Eliphaz draws a clear line between himself and Job. This is the first assault on Job's character. Out of oriental propriety the friends withhold, for now, any direct condemnation which would bring a curse. Eliphaz inserts two lovely proverbs to bolster his point. First, "Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground" (5:6). The earth or dust, it the stuff humankind is made of. So the trouble is brought by non-human intervention. Compare: "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come" (Proverbs 26:2). And the second proverb, "Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (5:7). The Hebrew expression is `the sons of flame' and has been interpreted several ways including `the young of the vulture' and `the sons of demons' (Barnes, note on 5:7). The proverbs suggest that man is driven to trouble by outside agents, the sparks that fly upward.

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"I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause" (5:8). This carries with it two assumptions: `you won't get any sympathy here' and `I know because I am right with God.' Eliphaz fears to sympathize with Job, lest the damnation of Job transfer. As we know from the narrative, God's pleasure with Job far surpasses that of the three friends. Sympathy would be a better choice. Eliphaz's presumption of righteousness needs little comment. God will deal with him (42:7). Chapter five hinges on the first part of chapter four in which Eliphaz concludes that only the guilty suffer. All three friends and Job assume this to be the case. To sum up chapter five, Eliphaz suggests that it is foolishness to try to avoid God's wrath. Eliphaz warns Job against trying to outsmart God, "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness" (5:13; see Psalms 7:15, 9:15, 35:8 & 37:15), a verse quoted by Paul (1 Corinthians 3:19). The sage advice continues: "happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty" (5:17; also Proverbs 3:11-12 and Hebrews 12:5). Job should go to God and beg forgiveness, and then God will bless him: "For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole" (5:18). Eliphaz has timeless wisdom to share. His poetry is rich and beautiful. But the application of this wisdom is entirely without understanding. If Job were under a judgement of wrath, if Job were hiding some secret sin, then this advice would be sound. However, the premise is wrong and the entire lecture falls apart. In fact Eliphaz's accusations and suggested remedies are an offense to Job. We know from chapters one and two that God is quite pleased with Job and that Job is not being punished at all. There is a dangerous flaw in Job which God wants to get at, but it is subtle and slippery. Job doesn't see it, nor do his friends. Job is not hiding some secret sin, but his heart is not right either. My first inclination is that the three friends are regurgitating undigested religious teaching which is partly true. But their is more to it than that. Job will put his finger on Eliphaz's lack of sympathy.

In Six Troubles

"He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee," (5:19). Eliphaz lists benefits of turning to God and repenting: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. protection (5:20). strengthening (5:21). no fear (5:22). one with nature (5:23). you shall be in peace (5:24). many children (5:25). long life (5:26).

Partly, Eliphaz is assuring himself that Job will be OK, and partly he is urging Job on so that everything will be OK. Eliphaz is not trying to comfort Job, he is trying to comfort himself. This sentiment doesn't help Job. He is not being punished for sin. Job has no idea why his blessings have fled and curses have taken their place. In the end, all seven of these blessings will come to Job, but at this moment Job's faith in it is lacking and his friend's self-serving reassurance is cold comfort. Job has every reason to be confused. He has every reason to grieve for himself. He has no earthly reason to believe that God is holding blessings in store for him. Job is groping for a cause, for reason. Without a good reason for his current crisis, Job's faith is severely shaken. In this circumstance, Eliphaz's accusations followed by inappropriate solutions mock Job rather than comfort. The other day I heard and interview with a woman whose husband perished in the World Trade Towers collapse. She had lost all faith in God. Platitudes come easy, but how do you really return such a lost child to faith? How do you strengthen the faith of a survivor of Nazi death camps, Serbian or Bosnian torture or Stalin's Gulag? On

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some larger scale, God is trying to achieve His righteous goodness in the same way as the terrors which came on Israel 2500 years ago. But what about the victims raped, beaten, devouring their own children to stay alive? Job is being very real. Eliphaz has divorced himself from that reality. He is speaking theory that just doesn't apply.

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Chapter Six: Job Replies to Eliphaz

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Does the Wild Ass Bray?

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My Help is in Me Pity Should be Shown Teach Me My Error

Does the Wild Ass Bray?

Job: chapter 6 1 But Job answered and said, 2 Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! 3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. 4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. 5 Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder? 6 Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg? 7 The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat. 8 Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! 9 Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! 10 Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One. 11 What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? 12 Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? 13 Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me? 14 To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty. 15 My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; 16 Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: 17 What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place. 18 The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish. 19 The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them. 20 They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed. 21 For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid. 22 Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance? 23 Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty? 24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. 25 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? 26 Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind? 27 Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend. 28 Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie. 29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. 30 Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?

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The lament continues (6:2-12) as if Job has not heard Eliphaz. His tone is more thoughtful now: "Oh that my grief were throughly weighed" (6:2). `I choke on my cries' (6:3). Job lays bare his sorrow (6:2-4). "The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat" (6:7).

Job is sensitive to Eliphaz criticism and defends his right to lament. "Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass?" (6:5). The wild ass or donkey appears often in the book of Job as an allegory for man. "The wild ass is a striking image of that which is untamed and unsubdued" (Barnes, note on 11:12): "For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers" (Hosea 8:9). As in this quote from Hosea, the comparison generally implies a level of rebelliousness. "A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away?" (Jeremiah 2:24). So why does Job compare himself to the wild ass? This will be cruelly turned against him by Zophar (11:12). Two answers come to mind. First, he has been thrust out and made solitary by the circumstances placed upon him and by the shunning of all who knew him. This is a sardonic admission of his reality. But more than that, his friend has taken a tone righteous indignation reviling him, and Job knows he is now being forced into rebellion against the creed and dogma by which Eliphaz justifies his condemnations. Job knows that he is now in rebellion, not against God, but against the religious edifice to which he swore allegiance only a week before. Job's reply works on two levels. `I'm in pain here', is Job's implication, `of course I'm going to complain.' Underneath is the challenge that something is terribly out of order and it must be protested. "Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt" (6:6)? As bread requires butter to be eaten, so does my grief require I lament, before I swallow it down (Barnes, note on 6:6). "I have not concealed the words of the Holy One" (6:10). An enticing turn of phrase, Job is saying that he has been an example of the word of God, or God's instructions (NET Bible, footnote to 6:10). `Holy One' could indicate an anointed teacher, an angel or any sacred person. Job's relationship to God up to this point is not personal (42:5) so it is unlikely that he is indicating any special visitation. It is rather a statement of faithfulness in all things righteous, as in "I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). Job is understandably agitated, and the comments of Eliphaz are not helping. He continues, "Even that it would please God to destroy me" (6:9), `Don't torture me, just finish me off' (6:8-10), `I don't have the strength of brass or of stones' (6:12).

My Help is in Me

"Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?" (6:13). Job stops and wonders if his own resources have gone; if he has become foolish. What we are seeing is Job wrestling with his inner emotions. He is pulling himself together. This is important, for this is where Job is off kilter, so I will continually point this out, Job is pulling his own self together on his own steam. He is using `my help' and `my wisdom'. To characterize himself as a wild ass or donkey is not far off the mark. He is in a predicament where his own efforts and his own understanding do him no good what-so-ever. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). This is my difficulty with psychology in general. It is intended to reinforce the self. Where else is a secular scientist going to go. There are some Christian psychologists which do not fall into this trap, but most are secular psychologies papered over with Christian terminology. They are Christian in name only. Few believe in or engage in deliverance from demons, which Jesus practiced and taught his disciples, a ministry common in the early church. In the first century, the disciples combated mystery religions which took on the veneer of Christianity calling themselves gnostics. Much modern psychology is a secular, if not atheistic, self-centered philosophy which sees the individual as body and soul. Those psychologies

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which do speak of the spirit are usually influenced by the Kabalistic and gnostic philosophies of Carl Jung. Psychiatrists bring relief through drugs, but not healing. Christians have no business drinking from these wells. In essence, Job is drinking from that well. It will give him strength, but will not deliver him from his torment. His sanity is intact, wrapped as it is in personal dignity. I do not believe he is sinning, so Eliphaz is off the mark with his innuendos. Job is not guilty of any of the imagined infractions. Instead his independence is trapping him. He is wild and free­starving, cold and naked. He has lost everything. He is wracked with pain. He clutches his personal dignity, which his friends see as tragically comical. God has an entirely different approach to Job's healing. The Book of Job outlines an entirely different way to psychological health. Job is stopped and questions himself. He immediately raises the iron bars of self-assurance. Having regained his composure, Job has a powerful personal fortitude quite apart from his righteousness. Once recovered, Job delivers a stinging rebuke to Eliphaz and his friends (6:14-23).

Pity Should Be Shown

Job demonstrates that he is formidably aware of everything Eliphaz has said. Job has already been wrestling with the same questions. Job begins by challenging Eliphaz that he must not fear God, that he shows no pity (6:14). This is a serious charge. Righteousness begins with the fear of the Lord. Without that, a man is left to choose his own righteousness. The evidence against Job is circumstantial, he is afflicted. Who sinned? Job or his parents? "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3). There are several variant readings of verse 14 owing to translation difficulties and a variation between old Syriac texts, which the Vulgate follows, and the standard Hebrew text (Smith, 1971, pages 46-48). The ancient Syriac as used by the Revised Standard Version reads: "He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty" (6:14). The New American Standard Bible uses a different interpretation: "For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; So that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty." The major question is who looses their fear of God, the one who fails to show kindness or the one to whom kindness is not shown. Either way the intent is to get the three friends to show some consideration. The Anchor Bible follows the approuch favored by several translators including the King James Version: "A sick man should have the loyalty of his friend, Even if he renounce fear of Shaddai." The dialog that follows appears to favor the first more confrontational interpretation: those who have no pity do not fear God. Job compares his friends to a stream that is dried up (6:15-20). This was a rich image for men of arid lands. "An illustration of the verse before us occurs in Campbell's Travels in Africa. `In desert parts of Africa it has afforded much joy to fall in with a brook of water, especially when running in the direction of the journey, expecting it would prove a valuable companion. Perhaps before it accompanied us two miles it became invisible by sinking into the sand; but two miles farther along it would reappear and raise hopes of its continuance; but after running a few hundred yards, would sink finally into the sand, no more again to rise.' A comparison of a man who deceives and disappoints one to such a Stream is common in Arabia, and has given rise, according to Schultens, to many proverbs. Thus, they say of a treacherous friend, `I put no trust in thy torrent;' and, `O torrent, thy flowing subsides.' So the Scholiast on Moallakat says, `a pool or flood was called Gadyr, because travelers when they pass by it find it full of water, but when they return they find nothing there, and it seems to have treacherously betrayed them. So they say

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of a false man, that he is more deceitful than the appearance of water'­referring, perhaps, to the deceitful appearance of the mirage in the sands of the desert" (Barnes, note on 6:15). Seeing my misfortune, you are afraid, Job continues (6:21). Here Job has uncovered something. His three friends are justifiably afraid. If this calamity can come upon the greatest among them, what protects them? They have lost sympathy for Job in their zeal to uncover a cause. They sum up with eloquent descriptions of returning fortunes, if Job but rectify his fault. The sight of Job terrifies them. Out of fear they furiously dig for Job's fault. And out of fear they suggest, everything will be put right. Like Job, their fear, is a fear of God's retribution. Job is not going to let them off the hook until he gets off the hook. `Did I ask for anything from you' Job is now on the offensive. They have attacked him in order to find reason where none is to be had. Since the three men looked up to Job, his calamity terrifies them; their trust appears to have been misplaced. they have wrongly assumed that it is Job's fault, when actually Job is on the right track and God is pleased to bruise him (Isaiah 53:10) for his own good. Job's redemption will be theirs as well (42:9 & 10).

(6:22-23)?

Teach Me My Error

Job has been looking for his fault, but can't find one. So he demands his accusers, `please show me my sin' (6:24). "Right words", reproof based on wise discernment, carry weight (6:26), but Eliphaz is flailing without wisdom, knowledge or understanding (6:25-27). Job concludes that they should be quiet and pay attention to see if there be any sin for which Job deserves this punishment (6:28-30). How often are we unable to wait on the Lord for wisdom? It is too easy to rush to judgement based on presumed knowledge. Job scolds his friends for impatience, but we will see that he will be rebuked for this himself, first by Elihu (35:14-15) and finally impatience is implied by God's rebuke (38:2). How many, wracked by circumstances of outrageous fortune, stand with Job in a "slippery place" (Psalm 73:18). It is difficult to meekly accept the injury, or to cry out for wisdom and discernment without judgement or defense when you are whirling with weariness, confusion and accusation. "Theological combatants usually enjoy little religion. In stormy debate and heated discussion there is usually little communion with God and little enjoyment of true piety­In a heated argument a man becomes insensibly more concerned for the success of his cause than for the honor of God, and will often advance sentiments even severely reflecting on the divine government, rather than confess the weakness of his own cause, and yield the point in debate" (Barnes, Concluding Remarks to the Book of Job, section 3). The debate between Job and his friends is becoming white hot. Job is fierce in his defense and in his rebuke of the three friends. Job says, and I paraphrase, `my cry is desperate, but, (if God ignores it) it goes out to the wind' (6:26). `To condemn my cry', Job suggests, `is to dig a pit for a friend' (6:27). Job concludes with a plea to slow down and look again, "And now please look at me, And see if I lie to your face. Desist now, let there be no injustice; Even desist, my righteousness is yet in it. Is there injustice on my tongue? Cannot my palate discern calamities?" (6:28-30, NASB). Job is sure that his friends, who know him well, will see that he isn't lying. He is asking for patience and forbearance. Do I speak evil? Job questions in a desperate appeal to their conscience. "Cannot my taste discern perverse things?" (6:30). He finishes with this rich image, at once defiant and humbling with explosive reproof. `I can still taste evil when it crosses my tongue.'

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Chapter Seven: Job Replies to Eliphaz

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Job Continues His Lament

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Am I a Sea Monster You Try Every Moment I Choose Strangling

Job Continues His Lament

Job: chapter 7 1 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? 2 As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work: 3 So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me. 4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. 5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome. 6 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope. 7 O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good. 8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not. 9 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. 10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more. 11 Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 12 Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me? 13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaints; 14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: 15 So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. 16 I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity. 17 What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? 18 And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment? 19 How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle? 20 I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? 21 And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be. turns away from his companions to address his lament to God once more. Job is becoming discouraged. he is beyond misery. `As I am soon to die', he proclaims, `I will not hesitate to complain' (7:7-11). "Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth?" (7:1). In Hebrew, `appointed time' refers to the congregation of people, especially an army (Barnes, note on 7:1). The Israelites would be called for a specific campaign or for a season of service and then they would be released to return home. Job is suggesting that his time of misery has surely been extended too long.

Job

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"My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust" (7:5). We are seeing a glimpse of the problem here. Where Job was former clothed in spirituality, at least in the eyes of men; now God has made him spiritually naked. He is clothed in nothing but worms and dirt, the base elements. It appears that God has rejected Job. Job's self-image is shattered. This sense of rejection, returning to the dust so that "you shalt seek me... but I shall not be"(7:21) presents a palpable self-pity.

Am I a Sea-Monster?

Job 7:12 telegraphs things to come when Job asks, "Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep that you put me under guard" (from NIV)? The `sea', `yâm' in Hebrew, according to Strong's is from a root meaning `to roar', i.e. crashing and pounding waves (Strong, H3220). The `whale' of King James translation is `tannîym', better translated `sea monster' (Strong, H8577). The same word appears as "the great dragon" in Ezekiel 29:3: "I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself." Here the Pharaoh is pictured as clutching, possessive dragon. Job is asking: `Am I such a dragon? Am I so dangerous that I need to be immobilized?' Unknown to Job, God is worried about a great danger hidden within Job's own depths, Job's own `sea-monster'. The sea and monsters of the deep are ready allegories for the deep dark recesses of the soul: "Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me" (Psalm 69:1-2). "The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea" (Psalm 68:22). It would appear that Job already intuits what God is after. Unfortunately, he not only resists the notion, he argues with God right up through his oath of chapter 31. He doesn't actually break down and repent in recognition of his error until chapter 42, the very last chapter. I have always wondered just how long the Apostle Paul fought, in just such a way, until the Lord struck him down on the road to Damascus: "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks" (Acts 9:5). We are never shown the struggle of Paul, but here we see Job kicking against the pricks.

You Try Every Moment

The torment continues day and night (7:18). Job's sleep is now being troubled with terrifying dreams which he assigns to God. Satan is leaving no avenue of comfort. Job makes no distinction between the workings of God and the works of Satan as allowed by God.

(7:4,14)

"Let me alone" (7:16), cries Job, "What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him," (7:17)? In desperation, Job is using the argument of Eliphaz's night visitor, turning it backwards: `why am I so important to you that you peer in on me and torment me?' Convinced that God is now some cosmic parent, nit-picking and punishing every tiny infraction, Job strikes the teenager's pose. `Stop looking over my shoulder!' "Every morning" you visit to "try him every moment" (7:18). Here Job speaks generically of all humanity, but it is clear that he is really talking about himself. Job is chaffing here because his relationship with God is cold and impersonal. He does not know deep down in his gut that God loves him. In fact, right now he is afraid that God hates him. "And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (Mark 4:37-38). Even the disciples who have been walking with Jesus come to doubt in their heart in a moment of fear: `Don't you care?' Faith when everything is coming up roses is an easy thing. But let the storms arise and the waves break over the bow and our pleasant lives begin to sink under the waters, when the deep things come up to surround us, then can we still believe that God loves us and is

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here? Or do we become Deist: believing that God has withdrawn to watch from a distance; He cares, but not enough to intervene. Job would prefer such a God for he is sure that God is sifting through his rubbish to find his every peccadillo and punish him. Never-the-less, here is something truly fine about Job. He thinks that God hates him, he is totally despondent and close to suicidal, yet he does not condemn God. Satan is still loosing. Job does ask God to turn away: "How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?" (7:19). David also cries, "O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more" (Psalm 39:13).

I Choose Strangling

Job is in unbearable anguish: "my soul chooseth strangling" (7:15). Strangling was considered a cruel death. Food killed by strangling was forbidden by Jews, as cruelty was against God's law. The prohibition was sufficiently important to the leaders of the early church that they forbid it to Gentile Christians (Acts 15:20 & 29). While he may be dramatic, Job legitimately feels like he has been backed into a corner by God. In fact, Satan has him penned in. Job has not learned how to get around Satan. He will try every method imaginable except the one that works. Job concludes, "I have sinned" (7:20). This is not genuine repentance. In fact, NASB translates this as "Have I sinned?" The NET Bible underlines the confrontational tone of this passage: "If I have sinned­ what have I done to you, O watcher of men?" (7:20, NET Bible). This is desperation. `Whatever I did', he complains, "why dost thou not pardon my transgression?" (7:21). Many times we pray to God for relief or comfort or for the appearance of righteousness. Often God must change us before he will answer our prayer, but when God begins to press us, we are uncomfortable and resist the Holy Spirit. Job is fully despondent, "thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be" (7:21). He seems thoroughly drained. But he is still stiff and defiant. He has yet to become pliable before God. Job's friends cannot refrain. Job is surely correct (6:21), the sight of so much misery in a man so righteous is terrifying to his friends. There is a compulsion to find a reason for it. Bildad speaks next.

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Chapter Eight: Bildad the Shuhite

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Bildad the Shuhite

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Enquire of the Ages Can Papyrus Grow Without a Marsh? Will God Destroy a Perfect Man?

Bildad the Shuhite

Job: chapter 8 1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, 2 How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? 3 Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? 4 If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression; 5 If thou wouldst seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; 6 If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. 7 Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase. 8 For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: 9 For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow: 10 Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart? 11 Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water? 12 Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb. 13 So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish: 14 Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web. 15 He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. 16 He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden. 17 His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones. 18 If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee. 19 Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow. 20 Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers: 21 Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing. 22 They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.

Bildad goes right back to Eliphaz's argument: Why do you argue (8:2), Can God be wrong (8:3)? In

short, unvarnished, blunt dialogue he continues: `your children sinned and were killed' (8:4), `now you must go to God in supplication' (8:5). Bildad is confident that they have it right, "If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee" (8:6). Where Eliphaz is indirect, the children of `the foolish' are crushed (5:3-4), Bildad is blunt: "If your children have sinned against Him, and He have cast them away for their transgression..." (8:4). Commentator Andrew Blackwood Jr. suggests the three friends were well-intentioned, thoughtful men who spoke too soon, said too much, and said the wrong things (Smith, page 39).

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Many commentators like to contrast the three friends, and so I will throw in my own gloss on the dialog with the caveat that the friends are all quite similar and such divisions are somewhat artificial. Eliphaz is emotional. He relies on experience (4:8) and visions (4:12). Bildad is the strength of will. Having arrived at a consensus he charges ahead with no diplomatic niceties. Zophar, we will see, approaches from the head. He is cold and aloof. While these three characters have different personalities, the fact that they are not clearly separated as in a Bunyan tale, suggests that the differences are real and not didactic. The writer is describing real people and not arguments. Although the entire Book of Job is an extended series of dialogs, there is never a sense of sophistic argument.

Enquire of the Ages

Whereas Eliphaz claimed visions and experience as his guide, Bildad appeals to the wisdom of tradition for understanding (8:8-10). We too often forget the importance of tradition as a guide, in our rush to invent a new destiny, a new righteousness. "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee" (Deuteronomy 32:7). Unfortunately, tradition is a limited resource. Bildad is not plugged into the Holy Spirit so his faith relies on yesterday's Manna. Job's current predicament defies his present understanding. At the heart of it, Bildad is not relying on God, but on creed. Job wrestles with his creed, but Bildad stubbornly clings to it, until he imagines all sorts of wickedness. For Job his creed has been hollowed out. It is an empty shell through which the wind blows with a haunting cry signifying nothing. Oswald Chambers' lectures on the Book of Job to soldiers in the trenches of the "Great War". Theses men understood the limitation of creed. "During this war many a man has come to find the difference between his creed and God. At first a man imagines he has backslidden because he has lost belief in his beliefs, but later on he finds he has gained God, that is, he has come across reality. If reality is not to be found in God, then God is not found anywhere. If God is only a creed or a statement of religious belief, then He is not real; but if God is, as the book of Job brings to light, One with whom an individual gets into personal contact in other ways than by his intellect, then anyone who touches the reality of things, touches God" (Chambers, 1990, pages 50-51). Unfortunately Job is now face to face with the Holy terror of God. All too many men, faced with the horror of just how abased the human condition can go without God, accused God and turned their back. Nietzsche, proclaimed the death of God and went mad. A generation cursed God and died (2:9). Many more would follow during the Second World War. But in the midst of his own conflagration, Job looks to find the glory of God. He will find it.

Can Papyrus Grow Without a Marsh?

"Can the flag [rushes] grow without water?" (8:11) asks Bildad, "the hope of the godless will perish" Bildad exhorts Job, God is the only foundation (8:11-22). If Job, whose faithfulness is amazing, is godless, none of us have any hope.

(8:13).

It is all too easy to dismiss Bildad as Job does. It takes a truly meek spirit to see truth in a rebuke, especially if some of the rebuke is misplaced or flat wrong. Look again. There is something godless in Job. He has lost all confidence in God (6:4) and he is begging for death (6:9). The godless, "Whose hope shall be cut off" (8:14), or "Whose confidence is fragile", reads the New American Standard Bible, will lose their hope. "So are the paths of all that forget God... whose trust shall be a spider's web. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand" (8:13-15). Again Bildad illustrates the man of shallow faith: "He is like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden; it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks and looks for a place

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among the stones. But when it is torn from its spot, that place disowns it and says, `I never saw you'" (8:16-18, NIV). The image is of lush greenery coming from a poor root system. It will not last. The Septuagint calls it a place "in the midst of flints" (Barnes, note on 8:17). Jesus uses this imagery in the parable of the sower. David uses this image in Psalm 37: "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found" (Psalm 37:35-36). Bildad is describing someone whose faith is alive when everything is going well, but should the comfortable life come to an end, faith dissolves. Bildad raises the important question, is faith that has never been tried in the fire, faith at all? Bildad's prediction is dire for those whose faith fails. The earth itself will turn its back on the wicked: "If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee" (8:18). "Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness'" (Matthew 7:22-23, NASB). There is a profound weakness at the heart of Job's faith. His covenant with God appears to be broken. It is not broken. Job remains steadfastly facing God. But Job continues to question God, to challenge Him to appear and show Job his error. Job continues to wait on God right through his last speech, finishing like Luther, "here I stand, I can do no more": "Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book" (31:35).

Will God Destroy a Perfect Man?

Bildad is making some profound points in beautifully phrased verse. He is painting images which will be echoed in the Psalms, by Isaiah and even Jesus. Unfortunately his words are horribly out of season. Job could not have any more thrown at him and yet he clings to his faith in God despite everything. His circumstances have left him frustrated and confused, but his roots are extraordinarily deep. Job is not going to dry up and blow away. Bildad assures Job (and himself) that "God will not cast away a perfect man" (8:20). This is not reassurance for Job, but continued exhortation to get right with God, i.e., if you were perfect, God would not discard you. Job becomes quite sure that God does intend to cast him away (30:23). We know that Satan has specific instructions that he may not kill Job (2:6). Although he is prohibited from killing Job, Satan does want to give Job the impression that he is being disgarded "without any regard" (4:19-21). It is understandable that Job has a difficult time hearing from Bildad. Bildad's message is filled with judgments against Job. If Eliphaz lacked sympathy, Bildad is brutal. He takes the `God said it, and that settles it approach' without the slightest consideration that the circumstances might not be as he thinks. Thankfully, he is brief.

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Chapter Nine: Who Can Answer God?

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Who Can Answer God?

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The Cohorts of Rahab He Destroys the Blameless Is There a Mediator for Me?

Who Can Answer God?

Job: chapter 9 1 Then Job answered and said, 2 I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? 3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. 4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? 5 Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger. 6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. 7 Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. 8 Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. 9 Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. 10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. 11 Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not. 12 Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou? 13 If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him. 14 How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him? 15 Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge. 16 If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice. 17 For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause. 18 He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness. 19 If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead? 20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. 21 Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life. 22 This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked. 23 If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent. 24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he? 25 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good. 26 They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey. 27 If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself: 28 I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent. 29 If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain? 30 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; 31 Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me. 32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.

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33 Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both. 34 Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me: 35 Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.

Job replies to Bildad's final assertion that "God will not cast away a perfect man" (8:20) by suggesting,

"I know it is so of a truth: but how should a man be just with God?" (9:2). He eloquently speaks of the power and the strength of God (9:4-12) concluding, "Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him," (9:12)? It is not possible to contend with God (9:3,14-21): "Though I were perfect, yet I would not know my own soul" (9:21). Here, Job is arguing that even if he is perfect, or "blameless" as the NIV suggests, God can brush it aside, even to his not knowing. By His power God can simply overwhelm a man. Job speaks of God removing mountains (9:5) and causing the earth to quake (9:6). God alone creates all things (9:8), "and treadeth upon the waves of the sea" (9:8). Apparently this refers to doing the impossible. "The Egyptian hieroglyphic for what was not possible to be done, was a man walking on the water" (Barnes, Introduction to Job, note on 9:8; quoted from Burder). Only God can do the impossible.

The Cohorts of Rahab

It is worth pointing out that the `proud helpers' (9:13), are translated the `cohorts of Rahab' in the NIV, which is faithful to the Hebrew (Strong, H7293). The Hebrew word `Rahab' means `blusterer', and can also mean `proud', or `strength'. The word is also assigned to a sea monster associated with Egypt (see Isaiah 30:7 and accompanying notes: NIV Study Bible). The New Concise Bible Dictionary defines this `Rahab', (spelled differently in Hebrew from Rahab the harlot of Joshua 2) as "The name for a female monster of chaos, associated with LEVIATHAN" (New Concise Bible Dictionary, page 73). The imagery of the sea monster is important throughout the Book of Job, but tends to get lost in translation. Rahab is mentioned again in chapter 26, verse 12, where Rahab is again `proud'. In this case, in the context of the sea. The association between the deep of the ocean and the depths of a man's soul, as well as the association between the monsters of the deep and pride is particularly potent in the Book of Job. The other sea monster, Leviathan, mentioned several times starting in Job 3:8, is described in detail by God Himself in chapter 41 where the significance of the allusion should become clear. Job's intuition that what God is after comes from the depths is being reinforced. Already he has alluded to Leviathan (3:8), and challenged "Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep" (7:12). He continues by distancing himself from the helpers of Rahab (9:13).

He Destroys the Blameless

At the bottom of Job's argument is a self-confidence in his own righteousness, and a deep pessimism about God. Yes, God will cast away a perfect man (8:20). "If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice" (9:16). Job correctly states that he being wounded without cause (9:17), that is Job has done nothing to require such punishment. Satan would have him believe that God is punishing in a careless manner. In grief and frustration, Job now begins to accept the devil's argument, `to God you are of no consequence': "This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked. If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent." (9:22-23). Job has just accused God of frivolously, if not gleefully, destroying the perfect along with the wicked.

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This argument has a similar theological underpinning as our modern "Death of God" theology, which suggests that God is no longer active in our history, else why would the holocaust have been allowed, among other things. These theologians solve the confusion by claiming that God is no longer involved. While kinder to God than claiming He doesn't care, "Death of God" theology is no less pernicious. Job is accusing God of totally disregarding His own justice. "He covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he" (9:24)? Justice is made blind. Job contends that because he is righteous, and yet God does not appear to save him from torment, therefore God is obviously preventing justice. Job concludes this line of reasoning by asking, "Even if I washed myself with soap, and my hands with washing soda" (9:30, NIV), what good is it (9:29), if You "plunge me into a slime pit" (9:31, NIV)?

Is There a Mediator for Me?

Like his three friends, Job is locked into the formula that those who do good are blessed and those who do wickedly are tormented. His friends assume Job is hiding some secret sin. Convinced that he has no sin to hide, Job is looking for more creative answers to this theological breakdown. It is appearing to Job that God is hypocritical or perhaps just ignorant. Job's situation has taken on the appearance of a trial. The three friends feel that Job has been tried and convicted. Job seems to feel the same and demands his day in court. A Canadian lawyer has written a learned discourse on the Book of Job as a legal battle (Sutherland, Putting God on Trial). Job is not in a legal trial however. His is a trial of faith. None of Job's arguements or those of his friends will bring him any closer to a resolution. God will come to resolve the trial when Job declines to answer his final accuser, Elihu (33:32-33). Perhaps if my case where set before God. Given the injustice of my current situation, Job reasons, I can't get a fair trial, unless there is an arbitrator or mediator between God and myself (9:32-33). Secondly, I can speak without fear, only if God's heavy hand of judgment is withdrawn (9:34-35). So far, Job is having no problem speaking up. If he did not fear greater consequences, would Job bring greater condemnations to God? Satan's purpose, in all of this pain, is to get Job to curse God, to renounce God. Job appears to be edging that way. The next chapter contains Job's legal brief, what he would be saying to God, if he were granted a hearing. Job is not suggesting that he would curse God. He would like to defend himself in person, at the heart of it, Job still believes that God would hear his case and approve of him.

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Chapter Ten: You Hunt Me Down

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I Will Say Unto God

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Is it Good to Oppress? Sated With Disgrace Confronting God

I Will Say Unto God

Job: chapter 10 1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. 3 Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? 4 Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth? 5 Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man's days, 6 That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin? 7 Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand. 8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. 9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? 10 Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? 11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. 12 Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. 13 And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee. 14 If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. 15 If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction; 16 For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvelous upon me. 17 Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me. 18 Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! 19 I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave. 20 Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, 21 Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; 22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.

Job continues his reply to Bildad with his would-be defense before God. He begins, "Do not condemn

me, show me wherefore thou contendest with me" (10:2). What are the charges against me, asks Job. The charge against Job is that he might turn away from God if pressed to the limit (1:11 & 2:4). While this claim may appear dubious and unfair, it stems from a character flaw in Job that both God and Satan see. In

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essence, although the contest seems jocular, they are contending for the soul of Job. The energy poured into this contention show this is no whimsy. Job stubbornly clings to his rights, ignoring the `still small voice' (1 Kings 19:12). In my personal life, I not only ignored character flaws for years, but believed them to be virtues. Job believes that God is being cruel and unjust and refuses to see that God has a purpose. Now I have a question: I assume you have read the Book of Job before, did you see God's purpose? Is it just possible that you are ignoring a still small voice?

Is it Good to Oppress?

Job opens with a series of challenges to God. "Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress...the work of thine hands" (10:3)? This question implies the charge of injustice. He also questions God's mercy. Finally, Job asks, "Hast thou eyes of flesh?" (10:4). Job is questioning whether God is in His lofty domain doesn't see the situation down on the ground. Job is stepping into a very slippery place. He is embracing the challenge of Eliphaz's night vision (4:13-21). Job insists that he is not guilty (10:6), without knowing that his innocence is not in question. He questions God's ability to understand him (10:4-5). We know that it is Job who does not understand God. At this point in the tale, we are likely to ask questions about God's fairness to Job? We know that Job is innocent. We know that Job is suffering on account of a seemingly capricious bet. Job begins to challenge God on these very points. You know I am innocent (10:7) of whatever the charges are. Without knowing the charges, Job expounds: You made me, would you destroy me (10:8-9)? You poured me out like milk (10:10). You created me and blessed me richly (10:11). Now, you hide your kindness (10:13), and curdle me like cheese (10:10). On the face of it, Job has a powerful argument: If I being innocent am made to suffer so horribly, what good is all my righteousness? If some minor infraction can cause me condemnation with no chance for mercy, how can I hope to escape wrath? Why should I have been created for this torment? This reminds me of young Martin Luther's terror at the thought of forgetting some sin for which, without confession, he would be eternally condemned. Job is trapped in this vise, he doesn't know what his sin is and so he cannot repent. It appears to Job that there is no exit, he is in an existential trap. God is crushing him without cause. Job is using the argument of the `night vision' to challenge God.

Sated With Disgrace

The charge of injustice is a serious one if God is in a covenant with Job which guarantees a good life in this world based on good behavior. Job believes this to be the case. God has a much finer desire for Job, an eternal one which rises above this world. Without a relationship with God, Job's worldly righteousness has no eternal significance. Job's righteousness is the stumbling block in his way at the moment. Satan is focused on destroying Job's righteousness. Does he even see the eternal reward that Job could gain? When God has secured an eternal path to reward for Job, He will restore all of Job's worldly comfort. But, by then it will mean very little to Job. Job doesn't know some important facts. He doesn't know that God is pleased with him, and that he is not being punished. He doesn't know how desperately Satan wants his soul. And Job doesn't know the corruption in him that Satan is quietly cultivating. Job states the facts as he knows them. "I am sated with disgrace and conscious of my misery" (10:15, NASB). "Thou huntest me as a fierce lion" (10:16). One of the things which troubles Job the most is the disgrace that has befallen him. The interpretation of verse 15 from the New American Standard Bible, "I am sated with disgrace", closely matches the meaning in Hebrew (Strong, H7646 & H7036). "Sated with disgrace" wonderfully illustrates Job's agony over his fall from worldly regard. His agony over disgrace comes fully to the surface in chapter 30. Job doesn't realize how

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high he is in God's regard. He is painfully aware of how low he is in the regard of men. His priorities are badly askew. God is trying to lift Job to a much higher level, but Job is still earthbound. He is clinging to his accomplishments, he is clinging to the reward that he had among men. Like Lot (Genesis 19:15-23), he is being run out of his comfortable world. Like Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26), he is looking backwards. Mercifully, Job is not turned into a pillar of salt. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

Confronting God

Job's argument concludes bitterly, if You are going to destroy me without good cause, "I should have been carried from the womb to the grave" (10:19), I should have died at birth. Therefore, quit tormenting me that I might have some comfort before I die (10:20). Jonathan Edwards, who in several sermons vividly builds the case that only the mercy of God stands between us and eternal damnation, makes it clear, we have no rights. Moreover, he declares, our presumption to any rights is in and of itself an affront to God. "And yet now are you ready to quarrel for mercy, and to find fault with God, not only that he does not bestow more mercy, but to contend with him, because he does not bestow infinite mercy upon you, heaven with all it contains, and even himself, for your eternal portion. What ideas have you of yourself, that you think God is obliged to do so much for you, though you treat him ever so ungratefully for his kindness wherewith you have been followed all the days of your life" (Edwards, The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners, page 12). Although Job is very forceful in his confrontations with God, and although Job presumes upon his previous good fortune as a right, God ignores the offense. God will condemn Job's three friends for false accusations, but not Job (42:7). Job does not claim to speak for God and pours out his feelings without posturing. When Job wags his finger in God's face here, he is being totally honest with God: `I do not think this is right.' God's challenge to Job will be that he storms at God without understanding (38:2) instead of continuing to cry out for answers. At the heart of it, Job's assumption is no different from that of his friends: God torments the wicked and blesses the righteous. Job knows that he is righteous: "if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head" (10:15). There is never the understanding that those blessings are by God's kindness. Rather they all seem to assume a contract of sorts: If I am good, you must bless me. He is confident enough to confront God, "Thou knowest that I am not wicked" (10:7). Yet he is still in torment: "I am full of confusion" (10:15). Job is no more able to leave the confines of his elementary theology than his friends are. Job's faith in the goodness of God is shaken to the core. I cannot say it enough, this is not a capricious cruelty. God and Satan are contending for Job. God intends to bless Job with a blessing that is out of this world. Job doesn't know this, and is having a very hard time conceiving of it. It is Zophar's turn to speak up:

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Chapter Eleven: Zophar the Naamathite

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Zophar the Naamathite

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Can You Find God? The Wild Ass is Your Mother

Zophar the Naamathite

Job: chapter 11 1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, 2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified? 3 Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed? 4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes. 5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; 6 And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth. 7 Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? 8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? 9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. 10 If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him? 11 For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it? 12 For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt. 13 If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him; 14 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. 15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: 16 Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away: 17 And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning. 18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. 19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee. 20 But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.

One by one the attacks on Job by his friends are becoming more severe. Zophar begins, `you lie and

you make mockery' (11:3). `You must be answered. Because you claim to be pure', he continues, `I would like to see God Himself answer you' (11:4-5). God is being kind: "God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth" (11:6). Zophar goes on to talk about the power of God and says, `He sees vanity and wickedness.' The implication is clear: Job's claims of innocence and piety are pure vanity and wicked to the core. You should be punished more. How much more punishment could be poured out upon Job's suffering head?

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His friends add insult to his misfortune. The only further punishment would be death, which by now Job is pleading for. Zophar is a cold disassociated cynic. His tone is high and aloof, making him appear intellectual. He has no heart for Job. He delights in the witty jest that cuts to bone. Zophar speaks to his friend has if he were a serial killer. "One of the great crimes of the intellectual philosophy is that it destroys a man as a human being and turns him into a supercilious spectator; he cuts himself off from relationship with human stuff as it is and becomes a statue" (Chambers 1990, page 125).

Can You Find God?

"Canst thou by searching find out God" (11:7)? Zophar intends this as a rebuke. What God is doing is beyond Job's comprehension. God wants Job to trust in Him, even if it seems thoroughly ridiculous. As Adam and Eve rejected the `Life' (the Spirit) for the `Knowledge of Good and Evil' (the Soul), so Job, by trying to understand his situation, is refusing to trust in God. He will not see this until the Lord Himself explains it in chapters 40 & 41. By trusting in God, unconditionally, as did Christ Jesus, Job could take a giant step back from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Job can never know all that God is doing. The desire to know, opens the path to doubt, to second guessing, and to the contentiousness that is Job at this moment. If Job understands that he cannot know everything that God is doing, he is freed to wait for God. There is another dimension. Job will soon demand a face to face with God. This is not so wise. God tells Moses, "no man see Me, and live" (Exodus 33:20). Zophar is not meaning this specifically, but is referring to Job's impudent attitude. Zophar, a self-absorbed intellect, is not one to talk, but those traits most like our own bad traits tend to irritate us the most; and so Zophar spies the monster within the depths of Job and puts his finger on it. Who do you think you are to demand knowledge of God. The counter-point to this, and why Zophar's condemnation is blatantly misguided, is that we are instructed to seek God. "But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God)" (Deuteronomy 4:29-31). Does "with all thy heart" put a large caveat in this statement? Yes, I think so. Job is suffering from just this. He is punching at the air, but he is scattered. One minute he is defending his pride and his dignity, another questioning his fate, and another asking God for answers. He is double minded. On the one hand, Job wants to be chief of God's ways, but on the other he wants to be chief of man's ways. He has yet to see that the two are mutually exclusive. He must turn and clearly focus on God, which he is not yet ready to do: "if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light" (Matthew 6:22; Luke 11:34). "Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things" (Proverbs 28:5). Barnes notes, "The sentiment is expressed in a most beautiful manner; and the language itself is not unworthy of the theme. The word "searching," `chêqer', is from `châqar' to search, to search out, to examine; and the primary sense, according to Gesenius, lies in searching in the earth by boring or digging­as for metals. Then it means to search with diligence and care. Here it means that by the utmost attention in examining the works of God, it would be impossible for man to find out the Almighty to perfection" (Barnes, note on 11:7). This is an opening on an important theme: wisdom. Job will compare the search for wisdom to digging for precious metals and stones in chapter 28.

The Wild Ass is Your Mother

Zophar gets lost in his allusion that by digging for the knowledge of God you waste your time. "Who can hinder him?" (11:10), he asks. Zophar suddenly turns the discussion from seeking God to God

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searching us, seemingly suggesting that God is playing a cat and mouse game. God surely sees the wickedness that Job, so he assumes, is hiding: "For He knows false men, And He sees iniquity without investigating" (11:11, NASB). All your wisdom is pure vanity, for you will not find the knowledge you seek. Zophar cannot resist the opportunity left when Job suggested he had been driven out like a wild ass and drops a wicked insult: "an idiot will become intelligent, when the foal of a wild donkey is born a man" (11:12, NASB). Job will respond in the next chapter: "I am a joke to my friends" (12:4, NASB). `Repent and all this torment will end', pleads Zophar (11:13-19). "If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles" (11:14). As with Eliphaz and Bildad, Zophar includes a description of all the good that will come to Job if would only repent. "Thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety" (11:18). The allusion is somewhat unclear to us. It likely refers to making a fortification about oneself, either earth mounds or a protective pit. It could also refer to digging to create smoothed fields for pastures and farms (Isaiah 7:25) or digging to fertilize (Luke 13:8). But I particularly like this reference in Isaiah, "Ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged" (Isaiah 51:1). From this root in Abraham is your strength. The three friends will continue to dig for Job's secret sin until they are frustrated into silence (32:1). Failing to gain Job's repentance, Zophar summarizes, "the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost" (11:20). Job will ignore Zophar and battle his torment in his own way until God is able to make it clear to him. The beating that Job is taking from his friends is becoming monotonous. Job is entirely discounted. He must be guilty, according to them, and therefore he is both guilty and stubbornly unrepentant. On Job's part, he is frustrated and miserable. His friends are making things worse, not better. As we saw before, Job is wearing down. He answers Zophar with a high degree of sarcasm.

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Chapter Twelve: Beasts Shall Teach You

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Robbers Prosper

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To Slip With His Feet The Beasts Shall Teach With God is Strength and Wisdom

Robbers Prosper

Job: chapter 12 1 And Job answered and said, 2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. 3 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? 4 I am as one mocked of his neighbor, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. 5 He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease. 6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly. 7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. 9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? 10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. 11 Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat? 12 With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. 13 With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding. 14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening. 15 Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. 16 With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his. 17 He leadeth counselors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. 18 He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. 19 He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. 20 He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. 21 He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty. 22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death. 23 He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again. 24 He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way. 25 They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.

Job has lost patience, and is reeling into bitterness. He begins by sneering at his friends, "No doubt but

ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you" (12:2). `I know all that you are saying', Job declares (12:3). As the vehemence of his friends mounts, Job seems to be getting more focused and direct. Job also

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bitterly complains, `I am mocked and despised, while the robber prospers' (12:4-6). Zophar has just finished a rude joke at Job's expense. Zophar is a man that Job loves and respects, to be mocked by him cuts deeply. Where Job might normally retort with wit, the jest of his friend is salt to his wounds. Job, not in a mood for idle banter, answers with a sober voice. In a reference meant for his friends, he complains, "they that provoke God are secure" (12:6).

To Slip With His Feet

"He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease" (12:5). Verses 4 and 5 are difficult in the King James; they are worth looking at in the New American Standard: "I am a joke to my friends. The one who called upon God, and He answered him; The just and blameless man is a joke" (12:4, NASB). In verse four, Job clearly alludes to himself as one who is mocked or made a joke of, yet had a close relationship with God. There are countless righteous figures in the Bible who are mocked or despised. Elisha, traveling from Jericho to Bethel, is accosted by children who mock him, "Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head" (2 Kings 2:23). Elisha calls down a curse, "And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them" (2 Kings 2:24). In a contrasting example, Jesus is also mocked and tormented, but his response is quite different: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Neither does the resurrected Jesus appear to the chief priests proving them wrong, and gaining his vindication, he appears to his disciples. Job's response here is closer to that of Elisha. Job follows with a proverb which echoes with condemnation: "He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt, As prepared for those whose feet slip" (12:5, NASB). He who stands in a slippery place is sneered at by those who sit in comfort. The reference to a slippery place is interesting as the Bible often refers to place of danger into which we have placed ourselves as a slippery place. "Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint" (Proverbs 25:19). "But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked" (Psalm 73:2-3). David says his feet nearly slipped because of envy and judgmentalism. I don't believe that Job is knowingly admitting that he is close to slipping because of some fault of his own, but rather he is trying to point out the unsympathetic response of his friends.

The Beasts Shall Teach Thee

Job speaks with eloquence of the existence and power of God. Paul's `proof of God' from Romans 1:20, "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse", has clear roots here in Job: "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this," (12:7-9)? Job is not really trying to create a proof of God, but rather a proof that all things are under the hand of God. He continues "the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind" is in the palm of God's hand (12:10). Penn-Lewis sees this section as continued sarcasm, (Penn-Lewis, pages 63-64). Job is suggesting that any fool can see the breadth and power of God. She suggests an alternate translation of verse 12: "With aged men, ye say, is wisdom", which would imply that the next verse is a counter: wisdom is with God. As wisdom and understanding is gained through time, find council and understanding in God, (12:12-13). This is all meant to reflect back on the first section, because everything is under God's hand, those who provoke God are under His hand.

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Barnes takes a middle position, Job's comments are not sarcasm, but a direct assault on Zophar's exalted view of his wisdom (11:7-11). "Job says that the views which Zophar had expressed, were the most commonplace imaginable. He need not pretend to be acquainted with the more exalted works of God, or appeal to them as if his knowledge corresponded with them. Even the lower creation­the brutes­the earth­the fishes­could teach him knowledge which he had not now" (Barnes, note on 12:5). I agree with Barnes here. This is the first counter-punch in a running dialog on the subject of wisdom.

With God is Strength and Wisdom

Verse thirteen emphasizes "wisdom and strength" as well as "counsel and understanding". The Hebrew for wisdom in verse thirteen is `chokmâw', wisdom in a good sense as in wise, and for force `gebûrâh' indicating valor or victory (Strong, H2451 & H1369). Unfortunately, Job may understand this intellectually, but it has not penetrated to a deeper level. As the narrative continues, we will see God's counsel attempting to speak to Job, through the revelations of the Holy Spirit. Job is full of his concern. Although he speaks of God's council, he does not wait for it. He quickly passes on to, from his present perspective, the darker aspect of God's strength and wisdom. It would seem that 12:16 is a repeat of 12:13 with `strength' and `wisdom' reversed: "With him is strength and wisdom:" (12:16). The change in the word order follows a significant change in meaning. The two words used in the second instance are entirely different words in Hebrew, which emphasize the application of power: "the deceived and the deceiver are his" (12:16). The Hebrew `ôz' indicates strength in terms of boldness or loudness (Strong, H5797). `Wisdom' in verse sixteen is an archaic term `tûshîyâh' according to Strong's, "probably meaning to substantiate; support or (by implication) ability" (Strong, H8454). Like it or not, we are under God's power, and the road we walk on is there by God's grace alone. This aspect is outlined forcefully in the famous sermon "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God", preached by Jonathan Edwards in 1741: "It is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment" (Edwards, page 6). Job goes on to describe the devastation that God can bring to the proud, the wise and the mighty (12:14God sees to the deepest and darkest place, even to the shadow of death, so nothing is hid from Him (12:22). Job is aware of this, so he is not hiding anything from God. Job's openness before God is not in question. His pride, his last fortress, is hurt. He wants his friends to know that he does not need instructions concerning the things of God. He proceeds to emphasize this further in chapter 13. Unfortunately, as Job continues to lean on his pride, he will remain stuck.

25).

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Chapter Thirteen: My Flesh in My Teeth

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I Am Not Inferior

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Will You Speak Wickedly for God? My Flesh in My Teeth

I Am Not Inferior!

Job: chapter 13 1 Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. 2 What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you. 3 Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. 4 But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. 5 O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom. 6 Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips. 7 Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him? 8 Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God? 9 Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him? 10 He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons. 11 Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you? 12 Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay. 13 Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will. 14 Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand? 15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. 16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him. 17 Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears. 18 Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified. 19 Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost. 20 Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee. 21 Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid. 22 Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me. 23 How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin. 24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy? 25 Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? 26 For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. 27 Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet. 28 And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.

Zophar's lecture is demeaning. Job is becoming resentful towards his friends for their presumptive

prescription. "I am not inferior unto you" (13:2), Job says with bitterness. Matthew Henry's Commentary notes that Job has become angry, "the heart unhumbled before God, never meekly receives the reproofs of men" (Henry, notes to chapter 13). The dialogue is getting increasingly more tense, the three friends are judging Job unfairly, and Job is taking it badly.

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Will You Speak Wickedly for God?

Zophar has leveled a curse against Job: "Oh that God would speak, and open His lips against thee" Job is rightfully angry, but does not return a curse. His answer is calm and terse: "Surely I would speak to the Almighty" (13:3). He reminds his friend that he is seeking to speak with God.

(11:5).

Job chides his friends for their reckless speech. "ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value" (13:4). Here is a translation difficulty noted by Clarke: "The Chaldee says: `Ye are idle physicians; and, like the mortified flesh which is cut off with the knife, so are the whole of you.' The imagery in the former clause is chirurpical [surgical], and refers to the sewing together, or connecting the divided sides of wounds" (Clarke, note on 13:4). The Hebrew term for `forgers' is `tâphal' meaning to stick, as a patch (Strong, H2950). While this may seem a stretch, I do rather like the conjunction of this inability to patch, with the insight of 14:17 that God will patch. Job suggests it would be wiser to keep silent (13:5-6). "Hold your peace... that I may speak, and let come on me what will" (13:13). Disgusted, Job suggests that the best course of action for his friends is to be silent. "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding" (Proverbs 17:28). By arguing God's side without wisdom or discernment, Job tells his friends they risk the judgment of God (13:9-11). Or do they suppose they can hide from God when they contend on His behalf using wickedness and lies (13:7-8). Your wise sayings are made of ashes, and your arguments are made of clay (13:12) challenges Job. While, Clarke sees the language of surgeons, Barnes on the other hand suggests that the language is that of court proceeding (Barnes, note to 13:7-8). Either way there is something terribly mechanical about the discussion at this point, as if the strain of it is forcing them to discuss very real circumstance in the abstract.

I Take My Flesh in My Teeth

Job is comfortable enough with his legal brief that he wishes to present it to the high throne of heaven. Job is sure of his own righteousness and is willing to stake his life on it: "I take my flesh in my teeth" (13:14). Perhaps you have seen a dog or a cat do this, I have even seen vultures parade with a freshly killed chick, any prized food will do. Job's own life is the flesh, the prize, which he holds in his teeth before the throne. The King James seems to imply that Job feels he must proclaim himself: "if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost" (13:19). We will see Elihu proclaim this same sense of the necessity to speak (32:1819). Barnes suggests the real sense of the Hebrew is that he is proclaiming himself, but if he is proved wrong he will accept death willingly (Barnes, note to 13:19). Job is equally sure of God's character: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (13:15). Job's belief system is not working, but he still knows God's heart hasn't changed. Oswald Chambers tells us, "Job 13:15 is the utterance of a man who has lost his explicit hold on God, but not his implicit hold: `Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.' That is the last reach of the faith of a man. Job's creed is gone; all he believed about God has been disproved by his own experiences, and his friends when they come say, in effect, `You are a hypocrite, Job, we can prove it from your own creed.' But Job sticks to it­`I am not a hypocrite, I do not know what accounts for all that has happened, but I will hold to it that God is just and that I shall yet see Him vindicated in it all'" (Chambers, page 17). Job concludes: "He also shall be my salvation" (13:16). This is a remarkable thought: `Despite everything, I know that God will not let injustice stand against me, even if He slays me!' Job addresses God directly, asking for two things before the start of his trial: stop the punishment and take the terror from my heart (13:20-22), `then we can talk about my sins, and why I have been treated as an

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enemy of God' (13:23-27). The terror that Job speaks of here is the fear of affliction. There is another terror which he will yet experience: God's `perfect hatred' of sin. Verse 27 invokes the images of a prisoner. "Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks" (13:27). `Stocks' probably refers to shackles given the context (NET Bible, footnote 62). "Thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet" (13:27) may refer to a practice of marking the heal so to make tracking an escaped prisoner easier or alternatively it could be meant to read "you set a boundary to the soles of my feet" (NET Bible, footnote 64; also: Barnes, note to 13:27). In either reading the meaning is clear: God has made Job His prisoner. Verse 28 begins with `he'­"as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten." Job has been addressing God. Clearly the `he' is not God. This verse makes more sense attached to chapter 14, which is a general statement of the lamentable condition of man. Chapter divisions appeared very much later; this one is misplaced.

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Chapter Fourteen: You Destroy the Hope

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A Clean Thing Out of Unclean?

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Until My Change Comes Sew Up My Iniquity You Destroy the Hope

A Clean Thing Out of Unclean?

Job: 13:28 through 14:22 28 And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten. 1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. 3 And doth thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee? 4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. 5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; 6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day. 7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. 8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; 9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. 10 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? 11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: 12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13 O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. 16 For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin? 17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity. 18 And surely the mountains falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place. 19 The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man. 20 Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away. 21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them. 22 But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.

fourteen has less the character of a lament than melancholy observations on the lot of humankind. The chapter is summed up in verse one: "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble" (14:1). The Hebrew word for `man is `âdâm' (Strong, H120). Born of woman, this is not the

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Chapter

first Adam but the universal progeny. Like a passing shadow or a flower that is cut down, we are here and gone (14:2). We rot as a moth-eaten garment (13:28). "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one" (14:4). Job is observing that the very nature of man is corrupt. Whether or not he understands Adam's fall and its consequences is not clear. "The Septuagint, in the Codex Alexandrinus, reads the verse thus: `Who is pure from corruption? Not one, although he had lived but one day upon the earth'" (Clarke, note to verse 14:4). Like many of the pearls in this book, this one is dropped but never examined as if the corrupt nature of humankind where obvious to all. When God turns His back to a man, that man is without hope. As long as Job maintains faith (or hope) in God, Satan cannot crush his resolve. If hope is gone, Satan will have easy access to destroy Job and thus win the contest.

Until My Change Comes

Job contrasts the finality of a man's death to that of a tree, which might shoot up again closes the thought: "till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake" (14:12).

(14:7-12).

He

Then Job continues the thought begun in chapter 13 (13:15-16): God is just and I will be vindicated. "Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again?" (14:13-14). Revisiting the thought, Job hesitates. Vindication and the finality of death appear to be unreconcilable, unless death is not final. An unthinkable hope appears. "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come" (14:14). The Hebrew word for `change' here is `chalîyphâh', which derives from the word `châlaph' meaning `to slide by' (Strong, H2498). `Sprout' in verse seven above is this same Hebrew word `châlaph'. Is death final? A new revelation is dawning on Job, a possibility of redemption beyond the grave. `When I have died, and your anger is gone', Job begins, `then you will remember me.' "Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands" (14:15). The Hebrew word for `desire' here is `kâsaph' meaning pale (Strong, H3700; also: Barnes, note to 14:15). God will be pale longing for and fearing for my soul, declares Job. Job is battered by his theology, but his heart understands: God's heart is love for me. Job's eyes are opening. Job's life is in the midst of an enormous change, but it will change again! This change is transformation. "He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me. God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God" (Psalm 55:18-19). The `changes' here in Psalm 55, is the same Hebrew word `chalîyphâh' found in Job 14:14. Those who are never ruffled by God stay unaware of God's power and concern. But Job is ready for transformation, he is expecting change.

Sew Up My Iniquity

"For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin? My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity" (14:16-17). The evidence of the death of an enemy is the head, which I assume would be sealed in a bag to be brought to the king (1 Samuel 17:57; 2 Samuel 4:8). This suggestion of a gruesome practice conveys the idea of irrefutable evidence of sin brought before the throne of heaven. In 1st Samuel 31, the Philistines take the body of Saul slain in combat and fastened it to the wall of their temple. The men of Jabeshgilead stole the body by night so that it would be buried properly in Jabesh (1 Samuel 31:12-13). Similarly, David punishes the men who beheaded Saul's son Ishbosheth. He then gives the head an honored burial (2 Samuel 4:12). God not only repairs the breach left by sin, but He will remove the dishonor (14:17).

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So there are two very powerful thoughts glimpsed here. One is that all our sins will be exposed before God. This is not just hearsay or the prosecutor's indictment, this is the raw unvarnished stink of it. Our sins are being placed in a bag and carried to God. The second thought is that God will bind up the wound, heal the breach and make you whole. This is clearly the Holy Spirit speaking to Job as there is no way for him to know or understand the coming covenant of the body and blood of Christ Jesus. Those of us covered by the blood of Jesus can deal with our sin now. "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelations 7:14). When our bag is opened in heaven it can be found empty and our wedding garment can be spotless. I believe that Job has been received in heaven and made whole. Although this gift of insight has entered Job's brain he has little faith in it. Job blocks this lofty sentiment in gloom and sarcasm on both sides. Job is struggling with his thoughts. He will continue to struggle. In an eloquent passage to come he will question his hope: "even the thoughts of my heart. They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness. If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. And where is now my hope?" (17:11-15). In fact, although he questions its validity, the hope is there. The remarkable gifts of insight will continue and become more clear until God finally breaks his bondage to self concern in chapters forty and forty-one.

You Destroy the Hope of Man

Once again Job's heaviness returns. Job moves from the sublime to the slime. "For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth" (Psalm 44:25). Who whispers in Job's ear? The vision is abruptly forced out. The things which grow out of the dust of the earth, "thou washest away" (14:19). The sense is that of some flower reaching up to the sunlight, only to be torn away and destroyed in a sudden flash flood. Job accuses God, "thou destroyest the hope of man" (14:19). The picture is of Job, reaching to God in spirit, only to be crushed. Yet, who but God's Holy Spirit would be giving him a prophetic vision of hope, of redemption? Once again Job is convinced that God means him evil. He finishes by observing that nothing can withstand the power of God, not the rocks, or mountains, nor the health and wisdom of man (14:19-22). Once again, death appears to be final for Job: "His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not" (14:21). The last verse is difficult for the modern reader: "He feels but the pain of his own body and mourns only for himself" (14:22, NIV). The footnote to this verse in the NET Bible sheds some light on it: "In this verse Job is expressing the common view of life beyond death, namely, that in Sheol there is no contact with the living, only separation, but in Sheol there is a conscious awareness of the dreary existence" (NET Bible, footnote to verse 14:22). Job's thoughts have turned against him. He now sees an endless existence in the land of the dead filled with the pain he now suffers. Job is speaking in universal terms. He no longer has sons, so when he speaks of the legacy of sons he is speaking in generic terms. None of us, so it appears to Job, can look forward to anything beyond this lifetime. At the heart of it this is the growing absurd philosophy, popular in the sixties and seventies and a direct expression of existentialism. The devil would be delighted to have us believe that life is meaningless. Job's friends are not listening. While Job is convinced that God intends him evil, they are convinced that Job is hiding sin both from them and from God, and that Job is compounding the iniquity by challenging God. Although Job is wandering in the dark, he is attempting to confront his current reality and reconcile it to a just and merciful God. Oswald chambers defends Job's response to the three friends: "`Your statement of God is not only untrue to man, but blasphemously untrue to God.' Job states the facts of human experience, and that there seems to be an unsatisfactory end to life­`Just when I was going to grasp the thing and find the fulfillment of all my desires, I am cut off.' There are countless people like that today; just when life was at its best and highest, suddenly they are swept clean off." (Chambers, page 70).

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But Job leaves off dangling in never-ending misery. By projecting his current situation into the future Job is chewing on a damnable lie. I grew up in a time of "counter-culture". The particular damnable lie of `growing up absurd' made way for a destructive hedonism (a.k.a. `sex, drugs and rock & roll' or now simply `Party!'). Many who followed this path have achieved a self-fulfilled misery for eternity. The corrosiveness of this philosophy has continued if not strengthened in generation-x and the generation of my own children. If Job swallows this line, then in fact it will become his future, which is what Satan is betting on. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar begin the second of three rounds of indictment.

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Chapter Fifteen: Eliphaz Speaks Again

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The Tongue of the Crafty

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Are You the First Man? If God Trusts Not His Saints

The Tongue of the Crafty

Job: chapter 15 1 Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said, 2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? 3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good? 4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God. 5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty. 6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee. 7 Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills? 8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? 9 What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us? 10 With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father. 11 Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee? 12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at, 13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth? 14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? 17 I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare; 18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it: 19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them. 20 The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor. 21 A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him. 22 He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword. 23 He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand. 24 Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle. 25 For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty. 26 He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers: 27 Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks. 28 And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps. 29 He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth. 30 He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away. 31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompense.

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32 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green. 33 He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive. 34 For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. 35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

Eliphaz disregards everything that Job has to say. He lunges at Job without any niceties this time.

`You're a wise man, how can you speak from vanity?' `You suck up the east wind' (15:2). The east winds are destructive winds from out of the desert (Psalm 48:7). These are the winds that bring the plague of locusts to Egypt (Exodus 10:13), and push back the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21). "The east wind was not only tempestuous and vehement, but sultry, and destructive to vegetation. It passed over vast deserts, and was characterized by great dryness and heat" (Barnes, note to 15:2). Eliphaz is accusing Job of hot air and more. He accuses Job of creating useless arguments (15:3) when he should be begging forgiveness of God (15:4). He then goes on to accuse Job of speaking evil through crafty arguments (15:5-6), without enumerating instances. Job and his friends return to the same arguments time and again, but discount or ignore each other. While Job says that wisdom is to be had from God who was there before time, Eliphaz accuses Job of disregarding the wisdom of older men (15:9-10), and twice asks him if he has any secret wisdom from God (15:8,11). Job is arguing that his friends need to be quiet while he seeks the council of God (13:13). The friends are arguing that Job needs to be quiet while they tell him what God says (15:3).

Are You the First Man?

Eliphaz begins to pepper Job with questions. The delivery here is reminiscent of a courtroom drama where the flood of questions is not meant to illicit any particular answer, but to dislodge the defenses of the defendant. Job is accused of crafty speech, but here he appears to be on trial. His friend has become his prosecutor. Among his friends there is no defender. They have all joined forces with Satan to bring Job down. The tongue of the crafty (15:5) accuses Job through a torrent of sarcastic questions, which produce oblique suggestions. Eliphaz asks, "Art thou the first man that was born?" (15:7), (your wisdom is deficient); "Hast thou heard the secret of God?" (15:8), (God is not talking to you); "What knowest thou, that we know not?" (15:9) and "With us are... very aged men" (15:10), (we know more than you); "Are the consolations of God small with thee?" (15:11), (you are ungrateful); "What do thy eyes wink at" (15:12), (you are hiding sin). You "turn your spirit against God" (15:13). In all these things are seeming bits of wisdom, but the clear purpose here is to crush Job, so there is no question left in his soul that he is despised by God. Eliphaz presents himself as confident and clearheaded, but as Chambers notes, his weakness is being exposed: "A temporizing mind is one that takes a position from immediate circumstances and never alters that position...The weapon of a temporizing mind is sarcasm. There is a difference between sarcasm and irony. Sarcasm is the weapon of a weak man; the word literally means to tear the flesh from the bone. Both Isaiah and the apostle Paul make free use of irony, but they never use sarcasm. If a weak man is presented with facts he cannot understand, he invariably turns to sarcasm" (Chambers, page 73). If Job were to believe in his heart, as his mind is already telling him, that he is thrust out by God, permanently, Satan's victory will be complete. Job would curse God and die.

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William. W. Wells

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If God Trusts Not His Saints

"God places no trust in His holy ones" (15:15, NIV). The `wisdom' of the night vision has returned. Surely the `holy ones' who are not trusted are the angels who are cast down. Chambers further suggests that Eliphaz "tries to wear down Job's opposition by sheer ponderosity...like a theological buzzard, he sits on the perch of massive tradition and preens his ruffled feathers and croaks his eloquent platitudes. There is no trace for the fraud of Eliphaz; he vigorously believes his beliefs, but he is at a total loss to know God" (Chambers, page 72). Eliphaz turns Job's statement, that all men are rotten to the core (13:28), into an argument against him. All men are evil, he says, therefore (because you are evil) you refuse to listen to the saints and you drink up iniquity (15:14-16). Listen, Eliphaz declares (15:17), to the wisdom from many generations (15:18): "the wicked man travaileth with pain all his days" (15:20). Eliphaz is attacking haphazardly without thinking it through: `God doesn't trust the saints so you should listen to their wisdom.' The rest of the chapter is filled with the enumeration of the travails of the wicked. Laced into this dialogue are insinuated sins: "he stretcheth out his hand against God" (15:25); "he covereth his face with his fatness" (15:27); "him that is deceived trust in vanity" (15:31); "the congregation of hypocrites" (15:34); and "the tabernacles of bribery" (15:34); "their belly prepareth deceit" (15:35). The picture is of a malevolent person filled with corruption and looking for the next opportunity to give birth to evil. Although Eliphaz's attack is oblique, against "the wicked", this is a formal courtesy. There is no question that his attack is aimed at Job. This is inappropriate condemnation. The worst that can be said of Job is that he questions God, which is not the same as setting himself against God's man. The shot gun blast of questions does not cause Job to cave in, and these condemnations, rather than helping, are bricking up the dialogue between the three friends and Job.

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William. W. Wells

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Chapter Sixteen: Cover Not My Blood

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Job Replies to Eliphaz

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I Could Heap Up Words You Make Desolate My Company Cover Not My Blood

Job Replies to Eliphaz

Job: chapter 16 1 Then Job answered and said, 2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all. 3 Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest? 4 I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you. 5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief. 6 Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased? 7 But now he hath made me weary: Thou hast made desolate all my company. 8 And Thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face. 9 He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me. 10 They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me. 11 God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked. 12 I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark. 13 His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground. 14 He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant. 15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust. 16 My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death; 17 Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure. 18 O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place. 19 Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. 20 My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God. 21 O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man leadeth for his neighbor! 22 When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.

Job's answer to Eliphaz is brief (16:2-5). His answer takes on the same high tone as Elipaz (Chambers, page

79):

"Shall vain words have an end?" (16:3). `You keep saying the same thing' (16:2-3). "If your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you" (16:4), lectures Job, `but I would rather comfort you and strengthen you' (16:5).

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William. W. Wells

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It is worth asking whether Job really would comfort his friend if the tables were turned, or would he take a position not far different from that of his friends. His theology doesn't seem any different from the friends. Job's devotion to God does push him beyond the logical confines of his theology.

I Could Heap Up Words

An interesting side note on verse four: the word "heap" is `châbar' in Hebrew. Strong's defines it as "A primitive root; to join (literally or figuratively)" (Strong, H2266). Barnes further suggests, "The Hebrew word used here (châbar) means to bind, to bind together, to associate, to be confederate" (Barnes, note to 16:4). Religion, which is both Job's fountain of strength and his bane, is a word from the Latin root `religare' meaning "to bind back" (Websters). Skipping down to verse eight, Job claims, "Thou hast filled me with wrinkles" (16:8). Barnes notes that the Hebrew word translated here as `fill with wrinkles' is `qâmat'. "Probably the true notion of the word is to be found in the Arabic. According to Castell, this means, to tie together the four feet of a sheep or lamb, in order that it might be slain; to bind an infant in swaddling clothes before it is laid in a cradle; to collect camels into a group or herd; and hence, the noun is used to denote a cord or rope twisted of wool, or of leaves of the palm, or the bandages by which an infant is bound. This idea is not in use in the Hebrew; but I have no doubt that this was the original sense of the word, and that this is one of the numerous places in Job where light may be cast upon the meaning of a word from its use in Arabic. The Hebrew word may be applied to the `collecting' or `contraction' of the face in wrinkles by age, but this is not the sense here. We should express the idea by `being drawn up with pain or affliction'; by being straitened, or compressed. The meaning­is that of `drawing together'­as the feet of a sheep when tied, or twisting­as a rope; and the idea here is, that Job was drawn up, compressed, bound by his afflictions­and that this was a witness against him. The word `compressed' comes as near to the sense as any one that we have" (Barnes, note to 16:8). In both passages there is an underlying meaning of the bondages either to religious ideas, to `heap up words' (16:4), or to the binding of God's affliction (16:8). In the first case the word of God has been stripped of life­misapplied. The second approuch to binding is in the true majesty of the cross, for the cup of wrath seems to be pouring out on Job's head and yet Job stays bound to God and God alone. As Barnes paraphrases Job's reply in verse eight, "The fact that God has thus compressed, and fettered, and fastened me; that he has bound me as with a cord­as if I were tied for the slaughter, is an argument on which my friends insist, and to which they appeal, as a proof of my guilt. I cannot answer it" (Barnes, note to 16:8).

You Make Desolate My Company

Job continues with his lament, partly to his friends, partly to himself, and partly to God. Now the reproach of his friends figures prominently in his lamented afflictions. They are now listed as "my enemy" (16:9): "They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me" (16:10). Job attributes his afflictions to God, including that of his three friends: "Thou hast made desolate all my company" (16:7). Job attributes all ultimate authority and power to God. `I can't even hide my affliction', cries Job, `you wrinkle my face' (16:8) `and cause me to wince in my agony'. "God hath delivered me to the ungodly" (16:11). Job follows with a vivid description of God hunting him down and tearing at him as a predator that shakes its catch to dismember it (16:12-14). "My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death" (16:16). "I have­defiled my horn in the dust" (16:15). In humiliation, Job has laid the exhaltation of his office, his trumpet, in the dust. He has taken on the sign of penitance, sackcloth and ashes (16:15). But he does not see the reason for it. "I am a just man and my prayer is pure", reminds Job (16:17).

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Job is being attacked and torn apart on every side. This is not a man whining because his water bill is too high. Job has been broken down to nothing in his finances, in his estate, in his health, and in the esteem of men; and it all adds up to one thing in his mind, he has lost the esteem of God. We will see that the Holy Spirit tries to penetrate with profound revelations of comfort, but in each circumstance Satan counter attacks with doubt and pessimism.

Cover Not My Blood

Job cries out to be justified: "O earth, cover not thou my blood" (16:17), lest this injustice be forgotten. In verse 18, Job professes a faith that he has a witness in heaven and that God will not forget. He does not elaborate on who or what this witness is. Job's tears plead for him, even as his friends scoff (16:20). Note: the NIV translation for 16:20, "my intercessor is my friend", gives an entirely different meaning to this phrase, which doesn't appear to concur with the Strong's definitions (Strong, H7453 & H3887; also: Clarke, note to 16:20). The footnotes in the NET Bible explain the problem: "The first two words of this verse are problematic: melisay re`ay, `my scorners are my friends.' The word melis, from or related to the word for `scorner', `lis' in wisdom literature especially, can also mean `mediator' (Job 33:23) or `interpreter' (Gen 42:23). This gives the idea that `scorn' has to do with the way words are used" (NET Bible, footnote to 16:20). I actually like "my scorners are my friends" as the implication is that the scorn of his closest friends is driving Job to God: "mine eye poureth out tears unto God" (16:20). Job is still calling for a face to face session with God (16:21) despite God's silence. The chapter concludes on a despondent note, "When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return" (16:22). Chapter seventeen continues these same themes.

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Chapter Seventeen: Job Replies

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My Eyes Dwell on Their Hostility

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The Pledge You Demand A Byword of the People

My Eyes Dwell on Hostility

Job: chapter 17 1 My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me. 2 Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation? 3 Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me? 4 For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them. 5 He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail. 6 He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret. 7 Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow. 8 Upright men shall be astonished at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite. 9 The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. 10 But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you. 11 My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart. 12 They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness. 13 If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. 14 I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. 15 And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it? 16 They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust. graves are ready for me", verse one continues the closing of Chapter Sixteen. Verse two continues with Job's complaint of the affliction by those who mock or condemn him. The chapter break being a much later addition, Chapters Sixteen and Seventeen should be seen as part of one unit, Job's reply. "Surely mockers are with me, And my eye gazes on their provocation" (17:2, NASB). Broken in spirit (verse one), and now the subject of mockery and disdain, Job feels compelled to turn his gaze by the direction of the world's derision: inward to himself. This is the suggested medicine of today's science: self-analysis, self-discovery, self-help. It is the exact opposite of God's medicine, prescribed in chapter forty.

"The

Give Me the Pledge You Demand

The next three verses are difficult, especially in the King James Version. Verse 3, in the New international Version Bible, says, "Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me?" The latter derives from an idiom, `to strike the hand' comparable to `shake on it'. Job asks, "Who is he that will strike himself into my hand?" (NET Bible, footnote to verse 17:3) or `who will vouch for me'. A benefactor will give a promise of the assurance of backing which is sealed with some form of

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hand shake. Since Job's relatives have abandoned him and even his close friends will not vouch for him, he is asking God to be his `kinsman redeemer' (Welch, lecture eight). In the tradition of the day, when a person is in dire difficulty they can turn to a kinsman, usually the closest relative, who may redeem them from debt or the poverty of widowhood, as in the case of Ruth who turns to Boaz (Ruth 3:12-13), or Abraham who rescues Lot from Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:14-16). Abraham also argues on behalf of Sodom, the home of Lot, before God (Genesis 18:23-33). This tradition of redemption will be codified in Mosaic law (Exodus 21:8; Leviticus 25:23-34, 25:48-54; Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Job suggests that his friends have deserted him because God "has closed their minds to understanding" (17:4, NIV). Assuming that his friend's have deserted Job by the influence of God, it would seem logical to assume that Job would have some mercy towards his friends. Job cannot help but add the suggestion: "you will not let them triumph" (17:4, NIV). He is doggedly determined to be justified before his friends. Bitterly, Job continues, "If a man denounces his friends for reward, the eyes of his children will fail" (17:5, NIV; see the discussion in Barnes, note to 17:5). I am not aware of any way in which his friends denunciations of Job would benefit them financially. I see no reason to conclude that his friends have been disingenuous in this respect. Bitterness towards his friends is causing Job to listen to "the accuser", and therefore make unkind and unwarranted accusations. When Job's self-centeredness is completely broken he will forgive and bless his friends before God While God does not require Job to pray for his friends, God knows he will (42:8). This is the clear contrast between Job before he is refined and Job after he has emerged from the crucible.

(42:9).

A Byword of the People

`Seeing my affliction', reasons Job, `the upright will be more diligent and the righteous will not waver' I suppose Job finds some solace in the thought that his misfortunes might cause others to more diligently seek righteousness. Turning to his friends, Job accuses, "I cannot find one wise man among you" (17:10). Instead of standing in fear of God, instead of placing the life in order, they are seeking to excuse Job's tragedy. There is no excuse to be found. Yet they persist in gnawing and scraping to find some way that this is Job's particular problem and none of their own.

(17:8-9).

We are now at the heart of the matter. Job is conflicted between his honor before men and God and the still small voice (1 Kings 19:12) which urges him to let it go. It is this conflict which God addresses through the allegory of the two beasts in chapters 40 and 41. Loosing all his wealth and possessions did not rock his boat. Loosing his ten children hurt, but Job accepts it calmly (1:21). He even accepts the loss of his health with grace (2:10). But from the moment his friends attack Job's integrity (4:5), Job is thrown into contentious turmoil. "He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret" (17:6). A tabret is a small ceremonial drum used in praise and worship or public celebration. The Hebrew word `tôpheth' means `hitting' and is used to imply `contempt' (Strong, H8611). According to Barnes, "This is an unhappy translation... The Hebrew word tôpheth­or `Tophet,' is the name which is often given in the Scriptures to the valley of Hinnom­the place where children were sacrificed to Moloch" (Barnes, note to 17:6). Thus the second part of verse six should be interpreted: "And I am one at whom men spit" (17:6, NASB), a very different picture. Either translation is true to the narrative. Which complies best to the original intent is up for debate. I prefer the King James in this instance because it draws out Job's inner struggle. He wants his former glory. In a continuation of this theme, Job will close his dialogues with the notion of taking the written record of his deeds and binding them to his head as a crown (31:36). Job understands that his current low esteem is God's hand (17:4), but he is upset and is not ready to give his friends mercy: "therefore shalt thou not exalt them" (17:4).

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Job is deeply discouraged. All of his beliefs, his values, his creeds have been crushed or are in bad need of rethinking. But Job hasn't enough information yet to do that. He has to go to God in supplication. Instead he is going, based on his creed, in contention and is hitting a blank wall. God has a great a great gift for Job, but Job wants to recover the one he lost. Chambers puts the point on it: "`Discouragement is disenchanted egotism' (Mazzini), that is, the heart knocked out of self-love" (Chambers, page 89). Job very much wants to return to his former state, where he was exalted for his wisdom and for his benevolence. God is driving him away from all of that. "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me" (Jeremiah 9:23-24). We will see that Job is still looking backwards to his former glory right up through chapter twenty-nine. Finally Job crumbles into very eloquent depression. "My purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart" (17:11). 'Thoughts' here is 'môrâsh' in Hebrew, meaning "a possession; figuratively delight" (Strong, H4180). We might say his hopes are dashed, or as Barnes, "the dear possessions of his heart" (Barnes, note to 17:11) have turned to darkness (17:12). God is trying to give Job hope, while Satan is trying to tear down his hope. Currently, Satan appears to be winning: "If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister" (17:13-14), says Job, "Where is now my hope?" (17:15). Far from bringing comfort, Bildad jumps in to add further insult to injury.

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Chapter Eighteen: Bildad Answers Again

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Bildad Answers Again

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He Walks into the Snare

Bildad Answers Again

Job: chapter 18 1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, 2 How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak. 3 Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your sight? 4 He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place? 5 Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. 6 The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him. 7 The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down. 8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare. 9 The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him. 10 The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way. 11 Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet. 12 His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side. 13 It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength. 14 His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors. 15 It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation. 16 His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off. 17 His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street. 18 He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world. 19 He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings. 20 They that come after him shall be astonished at his day, as they that went before were affrighted. 21 Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.

Knowing Job's predicament, and sympathizing with him, it is increasingly hard to read the increasing

vehemence with which the three friends assail Job. `You talk too much', Bildad begins, `stop and then we will speak.' He is invoking corporate authority here. The three men are one body of thought. `How dare you compare us as beasts' (16:10) `and insult us' (18:3). Bildad then proceeds to dismiss Job, as if Job weren't even there: "He teareth himself in his anger" and describe Job's plight as the punishment of the wicked: "The light of the wicked shall be put out" (18:5). In the culture of the middle east, a curse is a serious thing. Blessings or curses cannot be undone. The most vivid picture of this is in Essau's stolen blessing (Genesis 27:33-40), which could not be undone. In the Book of Esther, the king's decree against the Jews could not be undone so a counter-decree was devised (Esther 8:6-8). Against this backdrop, Bildad is carefully speaking in generic terms, although he is clearly speaking specifically about Job. Bildad has the decency not to level any new curses against Job.

(18:4),

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He Walks into the Snare

Bildad further asserts of the wicked (i.e. Job) that "his own counsel shall cast him down" (18:7). Job, according to the friends, is causing his own suffering. "He is cast into a net by his own feet" (18:8). The three men have discussed Job's situation and decided that it because of some grave sin. Certain that Job's woes are punishment for sin which Job strongly denies, Bildad can only imagine that Job is lying. The three men suppose that Job is willfully walking into the snares set for him (18:8 & 10). By now, Bildad knows that he cannot scare Job into a confession, yet he continues to try. If nothing else, he wants God to know that he is on God's side, not Job's. He enumerates all the tragedies that Job suffers: "Terrors shall make him afraid on every side" (18:11), "destruction...shall devour the strength of his skin" (18:12-13), "brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation" (18:15), "He shall be...chased out of the world" (18:18), "he shall neither have son nor nephew among his people" (18:19). Bildad smugly concludes, "Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God" (18:21). "Bildad is certain that Job is wrong and he is right, and the puzzling thing is that Bildad can prove his statements, while Job has to remain silent" (Chambers, page 87). Look at the list: Job is hemmed in by terrors (9:17-18), his skin is being eaten away (2:7), fire has fallen on his possessions (1:16), his branch is gone (his children) (1:18-19), he has been chased out and now lives at the dump (2:8). How can Job argue against that. Noting how small Bildad's scope is, how close to `my home' and `my family' it is, Penn-Lewis suggests: "It is inevitable that Job should be misunderstood by such a man. How could he comprehend the depth of surrender to God shown by Job? Even more, how could he understand God's deepest purposes for His devoted servant in placing him in the crucible?" (Penn-Lewis, page 80). In fairness to Bildad, Job doesn't understand either. At the end of the book, we know about the contest between God and Satan, but Job still doesn't and neither do any of the other men. Only Job can truly appreciate the change that God will make in him. Against that background, the contest is a trifle.

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Chapter Nineteen: Job Replies to Bildad

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Job Replies to Bildad

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I Know that My Redeemer Lives You May Know Judgment

Job Replies to Bildad

Job: chapter 19 1 Then Job answered and said, 2 How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? 3 These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me. 4 And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself. 5 If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach: 6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net. 7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. 8 He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. 9 He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. 10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. 11 He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. 12 His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. 13 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. 14 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. 15 They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. 16 I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth. 17 My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body. 18 Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. 19 All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. 20 My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. 21 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. 22 Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? 23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. 28 But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? 29 Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

Again, Job's reply is brief. "How long will ye vex my soul" (19:2)? "Ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me" (19:3). "And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself" (19:4).

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"If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me" (19:5), Job begins to describe again his situation as he sees it: "Know now that God hath overthrown me" (19:6), "Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard" (19:7), "He hath stripped me of my glory" (19:9), "He hath destroyed me on every side" (19:10), "His troops come together, and raise up their way against me" (19:12), "He hath put my brethren far from me" (19:13), "My kinsfolk have failed" (19:14), "My breath is strange to my wife" (19:17), "I am escaped with the skin of my teeth" (19:20). Compared to his earlier vehemence, this section seems calm and accepting of the situation. There is no defensiveness or asking why. This isn't directed to God, but to Bildad and his companions. Job says, if you want to despise me, here it is (19:5). He simply asks, `Please have some pity' (19:21). Beyond her exhortation to "curse God and die" (2:9), we know very little about Job's wife. She has apparently abandoned him, "though I entreated for the children's sake of mine own body" (19:17). It is hard to fathom what he means by this as the children are assumed to be all dead. Various answers get tendentious. A literal translation might yield, "though I entreated, for the sons of my belly" (NET Bible, footnotes 42 & 43). I believe he is merely saying, `because we have had children together', beyond that he has nothing to offer her at present (Barnes, note to 19:17). One assumes that his wife is also very old, so the mother of his children in the end book may be another woman. We are not told.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives

In this calm, there is a flash of light penetrating the darkness. This needs to be written down in stone and remembered, says Job (19:23-24), I will be justified: "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me" (19:25-27). For the Christian reader, this is the most astounding revelation. Barnes contains a careful and deliberate analysis of the text and concludes that this is an accurate translation. He does, however, suggest that a less loaded translation is possible, i.e.: `I know there will be one to speak for me, even if my flesh is consumed' (Barnes, notes to 19:25-27). He also includes other objections to the prophesy of Jesus theory, chiefly that Job is redeemed, as far as his present misery is concerned, in the flesh by the end of the book. His conclusion is that if it is not speaking clearly of Jesus, "I can regard it as a most beautiful and triumphant expression of confidence in God, and as wholly worthy to be engraved, as Job desired it might be, in the solid rock forever" (Barnes, notes to 19:27). With Barnes, I see no reason to get dogmatic about this passage. I see in it the clear inspiration of the Holy Spirit speaking to Job. Its application as prophecy is entirely peripheral to the lesson this book has for us. Where earlier Job asks, "If a man die, shall he live again?" (14:14), he now appears confident that even if he die and his flesh is consumed entirely, yet he shall rise up in the flesh. This is not Job's theology nor the understanding of his day. This can only be the pure and unadulterated inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Where earlier Job begged for an advocate (9:32-33), in Chapter 17 he claims an advocate in heaven, now he is confident "that my redeemer liveth" and "that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (19:25). Jonathan Edwards notes that earth in verse 25 is `awfawr', generally translated `dust'. "The meaning of this :­Christ will stand over the dust of the dead saints. [`My Redeemer.'] The word also is as it was used among the Hebrews signified `near kinsman,', as in Ruth iii.12" (Edwards, 1992, page 112). Here is a revelation of higher kinship, and redemption. Clearly it is beyond Job's comprehension as yet. Graciously, God is speaking to Job, to assure him and to encourage him against all of the voices, both those around him and those coming from within him, that are crushing his spirit and seeking to turn him from God.

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You May Know Judgment

Job is not in a place where he is ready to reciprocate with much graciousness towards his friends. Justification, is becoming so important to Job, that the significance of what he has just said is lost on him. In verse 28, Job again addresses his friends: "But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?" My problem, says Job, is between God and myself. If I am justified by God, if my redeemer comes for me, you will have to answer to God for persecuting me. Job should be filled with the awe of redemption, he is gloating instead: "Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword" (19:29). As my pastor likes to say, the cake is not yet done. Job's vision is so fixed on himself that the incredible revelation of resurrection and redemption has made barely a ripple in his demeanor. Contending with God has hardened him. Job's attitude is: I deserve redemption. He is taking on a bunker mentality. As his friends continue to slash at him, Job will pronounce them his enemies and level a curse against them (27:7). None of us, not even Job, as he will soon discover, are in any position to demand redemption.

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Chapter Twenty: Zophar Continues

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Zophar Continues

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As a Vision in the Night The Eye Also Which Saw Him The Viper's Tongue

Zophar Continues

Job: chapter 20 1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, 2 Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste. 3 I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer. 4 Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, 5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? 6 Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; 7 Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? 8 He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. 9 The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him. 10 His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their goods. 11 His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust. 12 Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; 13 Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth: 14 Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him. 15 He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly. 16 He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him. 17 He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter. 18 That which he labored for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein. 19 Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not; 20 Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired. 21 There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods. 22 In the fullness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: every hand of the wicked shall come upon him. 23 When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating. 24 He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through. 25 It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him. 26 All darkness shall be hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle. 27 The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him. 28 The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath. 29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.

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Zophar "makes haste" (20:2) to answer. Perhaps he is unnerved by Job's sudden exaltation of spirit: `Do

you not understand' (20:4), `Hypocrisy and wickedness last but a short time' (20:5). He is in a reactive mode. He has felt the sting of Job's reply. "The sense is, `you have accused me of that which is ignominious and shameful, and under the impetuous feelings caused by such a charge I cannot refrain from replying'" (Barnes, notes to 20:3). Zophar counters with condemnation: "Though his excellency mount up to the heavens... Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung" (20:7 and 8). "Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth... it is the gall of asps within him" (20:12-14). "Heaven shall reveal his iniquity" (20:27). "This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God" (20:29).

As a Vision in the Night

Zophar attacks the loftiness of Job's tone (19:25-27), by countering that `those with their head in the clouds' (20:7 and 8, see: Penn-Lewis, page 86) `will still suffer the consequences of their iniquity.' Zophar continues to believe that Job is hiding sin. Zophar, belittles Job's vision as a fleeting thing (20:8). Yet Job's vision is one of the most remarkable visions of all antiquity, "I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (19:25-26). The utter foolishness of this sneer would not be apparent for two-thousand years. Without intending to, he also belittles the significance of Eliphaz's vision earlier (4:12-15). The fact that Eliphaz's vision has not been spoken of again would seem to indicate an admission on the part of the three friends that it was unreliable. Even still, as we have seen, the thoughts implanted tend to resurface (15:15). Of the three, Zophar appears the most stiff in his thoughts. He appears as an academic, unwilling to misphrase or mispronounce. He would rather sit back and carefully craft an argument. Barnes suggests that he has the appearance of a hypocrite projecting the appearance of "uncommon excellence", the `eminence' of a wise and pious man (Barnes, notes to 20:6). He is least likely to accept a `night vision' as a valid argument. He is like those who pass visions off as indigestion tickling an over-active imagination in the dreams.

The Eye Also Which Saw Him

As earlier, Bildad implied a multitude of sins, Zophar suggests his own laundry list of wickedness: hypocrisy (20:5), pride (20:6), and implies that Job has ignored and abused the poor, and stolen someone's home (20:19). By now, none of the three are suggesting any redemption for Job. Although pride is mentioned, this is not some insight of Zophar's, it is a broad shot-gun blast of accusations. "He shall fly away as a dream" (20:8). Job has faded in Zophar's estimation. He suggests that Job will vanish from memory as if he never existed; as if his substance was little more than that of the night vision. "The eye also which saw him shall see him no more" (20:9). There is a challenge in this statement. With nothing left for the eye to see, all trace of Job, past, present and future, ceases. No one will vouch for his memory. He has no heir. His legacy is stolen. It will be as if Job had never existed. "His bones are full of the sin of his youth" (20:11). "Hebrew literally is, `His bones are full of his secret things' (âlûmay)" (Barnes, notes to 20:11). Zophar is accusing Job of undisclosed sin.

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The Viper's Tongue

Job was gloating in the last chapter over his eventual justification. Zophar is running over in descriptions of punishments: "He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly" (20:15). The image is beyond earthy: the greedy will vomit out all their wealth, and then God will vomit out the greedy; or as the Septuagint reads, "Out of his house let an angel drag him" (Barnes, note on 20:15). Zophar continues: "the viper's tongue shall slay him" (20:16), "every hand of the wicked shall come upon him" (20:22), "the bow of steel shall strike him through" (20:24), "a fire not blown [lightning, God's fire] shall consume him" (20:26), "and the earth shall rise up against him" (20:27). All of these things seem to be in play. In particular, the three friends display a viper's tongue which slays Job in spirit. I grew up during the 1960's when unnecessary wealth and especially the display of it was considered foolish and repugnant. A beat up Volkswagen beetle and thrift store clothing were the height of culture. I can relate to Zophar who displays a haughtiness towards wealth. "Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired" (20:20). American culture turned to a long period of conspicuous consumption, where we discovered one thing: the more we had, the less secure we felt. Zophar says, `they have it, but they won't keep it.' We have psychologized the malignant thought, `they have it, but they don't enjoy it.' Zophar gloats, `God's wrath will come upon the wicked when they are about to stuff their belly more' (20:23). Zophar is hoping for God to reveal the cause. "Heaven shall reveal his iniquity" (20:27). While they continue to take shots at Job, the three friends are all desperate to know what Job's great sin really is. If Job has not sinned then not only is all of their theology likely to crumble, but Zophar, Bildad or Eliphaz could be the next to suffer as Job suffers.

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Chapter Twenty-one: Job Replies to Zophar

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Job Replies to Zophar

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The Wicked Go Unpunished God Reserves Judgement

Job Replies to Zophar

Job: chapter 21 1 But Job answered and said, 2 Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations. 3 Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on. 4 As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled? 5 Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth. 6 Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh. 7 Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? 8 Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes. 9 Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. 10 Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf. 11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. 12 They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. 13 They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. 14 Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. 15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? 16 Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me. 17 How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger. 18 They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away. 19 God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it. 20 His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty. 21 For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst? 22 Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high. 23 One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet. 24 His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow. 25 And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure. 26 They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them. 27 Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me. 28 For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? and where are the dwelling places of the wicked? 29 Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens, 30 That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath. 31 Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done? 32 Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.

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33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him. 34 How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?

His anger is cooled, and Job is answering with considerable restraint, even courtesy. Clarke attributes

this to his vision of 19:25-26 (Clarke, footnotes to 21:34). "Hear diligently my speech," Job asks for a respite from discourtesy, "and after that I have spoken, mock on" (21:2-3). Zophar distances himself from visions and dreams, through mocking jabs. He wants to examine Job as one would examine a lab specimin. Job tries to regain the urgency of the moment. Job also tries to disengage from the combative tone by reframing his argument as one between himself and God, not one between himself and fellow man (21:4). "My complaint" is `sîyîch' in Hebrew, from the root word `sîyach' meaning "`to bring out, to put forth, to produce'­as buds, leaves, flowers; and then it means `words'­as brought out, or spoke" (Barnes, notes to 21:4). This hints again at the rebirth alluded to in chapter 14 (14:14). Despite the seeming preposterous nature of it, Job clings to the faith that if he continues to put forth his argument, God will relent. As Job waits, "should not my spirit be troubled?" (21:4). When Eliphaz describes his `night vision', his description is rich with emotion: "Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake" (4:14). Job describes a similar turmoil which resurfaces at the thought of his vision: "Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh" (21:6). What he is remembering isn't clear. While this could refer back to 19:25-26, it appears that he is drawing from a larger vision which includes not only his future redemption, but also the future judgment to come on those who now appear to be `getting away with murder'.

The Wicked Go Unpunished

You should be astonished (21:5), he cries, look at how the wicked go unpunished (21:7-15). `Why do the wicked prosper [while I suffer]' (21:7-13) intimates Job, when "the counsel of the wicked is far from me" (21:16). As we have seen, Job prefaces this with the implication that he has already seen the answer, which he will immediately demonstrate. The rhythm of this is very close to that of Psalm 73. "Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches" (Psalm 73:12). But look at how David begins: "But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked" (Psalm 73:2-3). He begins with the understanding that this comparison is to his own detriment. Unfortunately Job does not display this depth of understanding. David recounts how he had come to his envy: "Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me" (Psalm 73:1316). While David has seen the danger of allowing this envy and judgment to build up in his heart, to "offend the generation of his children", Job has not progressed this far. His heart is still full of self righteousness. Comparison still fills his thoughts. He sees the judgment of the wicked, but he does not see his own lack of mercy and compassion. He does not see as God sees and he does not have God's heart. David's turnaround comes when he goes to pray: "Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.

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Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee" (Psalm 73:17-22). His heart turns from envy and criticism to grief over their final demise. "So foolish was I... I was as a beast before thee." This is the point at which Job is failing so miserably. His prayers are a challenge to God, a rough demand. What does come through, comes in bits and pieces. Job in his impatience is continually trying to form the answers. He never stops to wait upon the Lord.

God Reserves Judgement

Job does see more and more. He has already seen his own redemption. He also sees the judgment of those who do not turn to God. "God layeth up His iniquity for His children: He rewardeth him, and he shall know it" (21:19). Job is beginning to understand that even though the wicked may enjoy some worldly pleasure now, it will not last. (21:17-21, and 29-33). Though one is fat and comfortable and another die in misery, they both lie down in the dust to be covered by worms (21:23-26). Though they may be buried in a prominent grave marked by a `token' ("as a flag, beacon, monument", Strong, H226) and set "by the way" (21:29; see: Clarke, footnotes to this verse), judgment still awaits: "the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction­ they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath" (21:30). This is the flip side of his earlier vision that "my redeemer lives" (19:25). Job's faith in this day of destruction appears to be shaky: "While he is carried to the grave, Men will keep watch over his tomb. The clods of the valley will gently cover him; Moreover, all men will follow after him, While countless ones go before him. How then will you vainly comfort me, For your answers remain full of falsehood?" (21:32-34, NASB). Here he distinctly suggests that the wicked may rest in peace. If there is no "day of wrath", then what solace is righteousness?

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Chapter Twenty-two: Eliphaz Concludes

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Eliphaz Concludes

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We Who are Not Cut Down You Will Lay Up Gold

Eliphaz Concludes

Job: chapter 22 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite, answered and said, 2 Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? 3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect? 4 Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment? 5 Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? 6 For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing. 7 Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry. 8 But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it. 9 Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken. 10 Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee; 11 Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee. 12 Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are! 13 And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud? 14 Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven. 15 Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? 16 Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood: 17 Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them? 18 Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me. 19 The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn. 20 Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth. 21 Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. 22 Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart. 23 If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. 24 Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. 25 Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. 26 For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God. 27 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. 28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways. 29 When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person. 30 He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.

In his third and last dialog, Eliphaz begins correctly, "Can a man be profitable unto God" (22:2)? For

Job is seeking to be justified based on his works. Sad to say, Eliphaz picks up the refrain of his `night

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vision' now. "Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous" (22:3), he asks. This is exactly how Satan would like us to think. God's only interest is in reproof and condemnation. Eliphaz accuses Job of infinite sin (22:5), or sins without number (Barnes, notes to 22:5). He then goes on to recount imagined wickedness, namely ill-treatment of the poor (22:6-9), which he lays on Job's account. `Because of this the Lord has ensnared you' (22:10), Eliphaz chides with confidence, `did you think God could not see?' (22:1214). There is a great deal of confusion concerning the notion of fruit, profit and justification. Job's perfect ways are a delight to God and an irritant to Satan. God not only wants fruit from us, He demands it. "I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelations 22:12 & 20:12-13). "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Revelations 2:5). "If it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down" (Luke 13:6-9). The important thing that Job is not understanding is that perfect works do not give him any rights. Our bill of "inalienable rights" is human fabrication. We have no rights before God. The good we do, does not profit God, but if submitted in humility to God, it does profit us, for God does delight in our cheerful obediance. A minor translation difficulty can be found in verse 11, which Clarke deals with extensively: "The sense of this passage, in the connection that the particle or gives it with the preceding verse, is not easy to be ascertained. To me it seems very probable that a letter has been lost from the first word; and that ô which we translate OR, was originally or LIGHT. The copy used by the Septuagint had certainly this reading; and therefore they translate the verse thus: Thy LIGHT is changed into darkness; that is, Thy prosperity is turned into adversity. "Houbigant corrects the text thus: instead of o chosech lo tireh, or darkness thou canst not see, he reads chosech lo or tireh, darkness, not light, shalt thou behold; that is, Thou shalt dwell in thick darkness. Mr. Good translates: `Or darkness which thou canst not penetrate, and a flood of waters shall cover thee.' Thou shalt either be enveloped in deep darkness, or overwhelmed with a flood" (Clarke, note on 22:11; NET Bible, footnote to 22:11).

We Who are Not Cut Down

Verses 15 and 16 appear to be a reference to the flood, God's ultimate reproof for the wicked. The wicked, turning their back on Noah, "Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?" (22:17). Eliphaz is describing the wicked who Job states live in comfort (21:7-16), but he says, they were "overflown with a flood" (22:16). Job separates himself from the wicked, stating, "the counsel of the wicked is far from me" (21:16). Eliphaz, meaningfully, attaches Job's statement to the wicked (22:18) who are then laughed to scorn by the righteous (22:19). In a final bit of smugness, Eliphaz adds, "Whereas our substance is not cut down" "the remnant of them the fire consumeth" (22:20), a possible reference to Sodom and Gomorrah. Unfortunately, this could also be a reference to the fire which consumed Job's sheep (1:16). "Acquaint now thyself with him" (22:21), Eliphaz returns to his earlier theme: if Job turns to God and repents then everything will be set right. "Receive, I pray thee, the law from His mouth, and lay up His words in thine heart" (22:22). The implication that Job is totally ignorant of God is all too clear. While Job's relationship with God is in need of improvement, the three friends are desperately in need of a relationship with God, rather than their doctrines and creeds. While the three friends become more and more obtuse, Job, who understands Gods character much better than his friends, is beginning to receive morsels of insight into the true nature of his current situation. We will see more of this in the chapter that follows.

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You Will Lay Up Gold

"If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up" (22:23), continues Eliphaz, "Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks" (22:24). The glitter of gold and the consuming fire (22:20) for the wicked, occupy Eliphaz's thought. Where Bildad shows us a home and hearth insularity, and Zophar is academic in his approach, Eliphaz is worldly. His arguments are large, colorful and widely varied. This is likely why he takes the leadership. Gold, silver and precious stones dance in his imagery. In an odd moment of seeming prescience Eliphaz says, "When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person" (22:29). "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Matthew 23:12; also Luke 14:11 & 18:14, James 1:9, 1 Peter 5:6). Unknown to Eliphaz who clearly has Job cast in the role of the humbled one, Job is to be introjected in the place of an intercessor. When you [Job] say, `there is lifting up', then the humbled person is saved. In a translation note, the "island" of verse 30, "He shall deliver the island of the innocent", is an apparent mis-translation. "The word rendered island ('îy) commonly means, indeed, an island, or a maritime country; see Isa. 20:6, note [Barnes]. It is, however, used as a `negative' in 1 Sam. 4:21, in the name `Ichabod'­'îy-kâbôd...It is probably an abbreviated form of ('ayîn) `not, nothing'" (Barnes, notes to 22:30). Therefore the NIV Bible reads: "He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands." (22:30, NIV). Eliphaz cannot imagine at this point that he is one who is `not innocent' and that ironically he will be delivered by the cleanness of Job's hands. This is not intended to be prophecy, but is further expostulation on Eliphaz's part. Job sees fire and gold in an entirely different light from that of Eliphaz. Job isn't ready to comprehend the gold that is coming. The gold that he is to receive will give him the ability to deliver Eliphaz from wrath, turning back-handed encouragement into genuine prophecy. But first Job returns to his lament.

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Chapter Twenty-three: I Shall Emerge as Gold

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Job Replies

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I Shall Emerge as Gold A Heart Made Soft

Job Replies to Eliphaz

Job: chapter 23 1 Then Job answered and said, 2 Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. 3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! 4 I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. 6 Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. 7 There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge. 8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: 9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: 10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. 12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. 13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. 14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. 15 Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him. 16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: 17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

This is not really a lament so much as Job capturing the refrain of his lament (23:2) and his call for a

face to face meeting with God (23:3-4). The word translated`bitter' in verse 2 is `merîy', which can also mean `rebellion' (Strong, H4805). The NAS Bible favors: "Even today my complaint is rebellion" (23:2, NASB, see Clarke, note on 23:2). I suggest that Job is not committing himself to rebellion, but is stating something more than bitterness. He is protesting his affliction or `complaint'. Perhaps the verse could read: `Today my complaint would be argued.'

I Shall Emerge as Gold

Job is certain that if he could come before God, he would be able to present his arguments (23:3-4). Job questions, "Will He plead against me with His great power? No; but He would put strength in me" (23:6). Job is confident: "so should I be delivered for ever from my judge" (23:7). The sense is that of exoneration in court (Clarke, note on 23:7).

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`While as hard as I search, I cannot find God' (23:8-9). Job is frustrated. "He knoweth the way that I take" (23:10). Grabbing Eliphaz's mention of gold and jewels, Job creates an allegory: the gold that God is digging for is not in the ground: "When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (23:10). Job appears to assert that there is no dross to be removed. The Job who goes into the fire, so he believes, will be the one who emerges. The spirit of it is that he is willing to enter the fire to be exonerated. Job is the one most surprised to find there is reason for the refiner's fire. I don't imagine his friends ever understand. Job reasserts his steadfastness in God (23:11), and the value he places on God's word, "I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (23:12). "I am afraid of Him" (23:15), admits Job, `because I know God cannot be turned and He may well have more troubles yet in store for me' (23:13-14). Deeper down, though he won't admit it to himself, Job knows that the refiner's fire has the purpose of burning away the dross. If he remains in the fire, there is a reason. "The curse causeless shall not come" (Proverbs 26:2). Again, let me remind you, Job is not under this curse because he has done anything wrong. God is trying to change the condition of Job's heart. A condition by which Satan is hoping to exploit Job and bring him to ruin.

A Heart Made Soft

"For God maketh my heart soft" (23:16). Perhaps Job is sensing what God is after. Job, not being ready to surrender, knows that God will continue to press until he does. In my own life, I have resisted the pressure of God only to see the pressure increase until I did surrender. Job appears to know this. Is Job beginning to see what God is after? Perhaps, but he is resisting. "As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you." (Ezekiel 22:20). There is a hardness in Job that is melting before the refiner's fire. As we are seeing, despite his own resistance, Job is hearing the Spirit speak to him more and more. Like Saul on the road to Damascus, Job is being driven where he has no choice but to listen. Job is still frustrating God's purpose. God will finally declair "thine own right hand can save thee" (40:14) as Christ will ask, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks" (Acts 26:14). I suppose it is reassuring to know that even the greatest of saints do not always come willingly to God's call. Job is bold before God. At first his boldness is in the confidence of his own righteousness (23:7). "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God" (I John 3:21). His insight has revealed something more: "Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face" (23:17). Job now understands that this suffering has a purpose, even if Job doesn't fully understand it. This gives him a boldness that is not surface, but is deep down and internal. A boldness of faith.

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Chapter Twenty-four: God's Timing

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God's Timing

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Souls of the Wounded Cry Out They are Foam on the Water

God's Timing

Job: chapter 24 1 Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days? 2 Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof. 3 They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge. 4 They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together. 5 Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children. 6 They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked. 7 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold. 8 They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter. 9 They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor. 10 They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry; 11 Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst. 12 Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them. 13 They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof. 14 The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief. 15 The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face. 16 In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light. 17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death. 18 He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards. 19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned. 20 The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree. 21 He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow. 22 He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life. 23 Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways. 24 They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. 25 And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?

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Chapter twenty-four is Job's reflections on God's timing. "Why... do they that know Him not see His Days" (24:1)? "His days" is a reference to judgment. For us the question might be that with so much corruption rampant in entertainment, politics and the church, why does not God send Christ to end it all. I am not that eager to see the final judgment come, until I am fully renewed in mind and heart. At that point, I imagine that I will be too busy helping others to want to rush judgment. Those who long for judgment, often falsely believe themselves ready. Job is not asking for judgment here, but asking why do they not fear the judgment of God?

Souls of the Wounded Cry Out

Some four thousand years later we still ask these questions. Why doesn't God smite the wicked. Men still move boundary stones (24:2), the stones that mark out a piece of property. Why is it that a man or a corporation makes an agreement, and then changes it, so that the portion of the victim is suddenly smaller? Perhaps the contract carried a hidden clause, or one party lobbied congress for a change in the law, perhaps there was insider knowledge. The Rockefellers are still wealthy, the Kennedys are still rich and powerful, and Gates sneers at judge Jackson. We can argue about who should or should not be on the list, but the point is clear: God appears to let the dishonest gain stand. "As wild asses" the poor go forth, "rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food" (24:5) has the sense of rising early (`betimes') to scavenge (Strong, H2964) the barren wastes (Strong, H6160) for food (Clarke, note on 24:5). The wild ass is a potent image for Job because of comparison with the domestic ass which was important to the work of the Hebrew community. The wild ass, confined to the wilderness, does not join in the life of the community, therefore its wealth. Now Job, himself driven out, speaks of others left outside of the blessings of community life. In this country of wealth, how many young mothers or fathers "gather the vintage of the wicked" (24:6) for long hours in low paying jobs, while their children suffer? Many a "soul of the wounded crieth out" (24:12) from hiding under bridges or in doorways. Tortured and tormented by life, they are now tormented in the dark. There are those who are well educated, where brought up in good Christian homes, but they turn their back on God and teach evil (24:13). These should be the ones to suffer. Instead, they are the ones who dominate our universities, our entertainment industry, the media, advertising. We do not see God punishing them. They become famous for flaunting their wealth, their free expression, their lust. How many thieves and murders go unpunished (24:14)? How many adulterers ruin lives and families (24:15), but still there seems to be no reproach from above. Jeremiah asks. "O Jehovah, that I might contend with You; yet let me speak with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are all those happy who deal treacherously?" (Jeremiah 12:1). He asks for their destruction, "Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter" (Jeremiah 12:3). And then replies with God's answer, "if they will not obey, I will uproot and destroy that nation, says Jehovah." (Jeremiah 12:17). Job also forsees the destruction of the wicked.

They Are Foam on the Water

"God layeth not folly to them" (24:12). Don't be fooled, says Job, their doom is upon them, "if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death" (24:17). Their back is turned as they dig through the mud walls to loot and to steal in the dark of the night (24:16). This applies to anyone who covets the world, the things of the flesh, soulish things. They are digging through walls of earth, and their back is on God. This applies to many who loudly proclaim the Lord, but their desire is elsewhere. All that they have is cursed (24:18) and disappears quickly, and they shall not be remembered (24:20). Jacob (Israel) blessing his

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sons refers to the insolence of Simeon and Levi when they took it upon themselves to slay Shechem and Hamor and the men of their city, "in their self will they digged down a wall" (Genesis 49:6). He is referring to the destruction of the good will between himself and the surrounding tribes. God places a wall between us and that which is not for us. We are constantly digging down this wall. In Ezekial's vision he digs a hole in the wall to look in on the evil done by the priests of Israel (Ezekiel 8:8). Paul refers to digging down the alters of God (Romans 11:3). Scholars have argued over the last verses (24:18-20) suggesting that the words contradict Job's general tone, so that some suggest it should read: "You say...", or even that this is a portion misplaced and is actually part of a missing speech, Zophar's third (Smith, pg. 98). These are possible but my first inclination is to believe that this is Job. He believes these things vehemently even if he doesn't see himself in this circumstance. This is the wonderful grittiness of the Book of Job. It doesn't flow gracefully from a carefully structured treatise, it pours out of the wells of the soul. Job must be confident that the wicked will come to destruction in order that he can be confident that his redeemer lives (19:25). Verse 18 is rendered in different ways. Swift water can mean `foam on the water' (24:18, NET Bible, footnotes 34 & 35), which seems to blend well verse 19, in which gains vanish quickly (24:19). Barnes suggests this implies the image of a thief ready to dart: "I do not know, however, that this comparison of a thief, with a light object on the waters, is to be found any where else, but it is one of great beauty. The word rendered `swift' (`qal') may denote either that which is swift, or that which is light. In Isa. 30:16, it is applied to a fleet horse. Here it may be rendered, `He is as a light thing upon the face of the waters.'" (Barnes, notes to 24:18). Even though they appear to be safe and secure, "[God's] eyes are upon their ways" (24:23). "They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low" (24:24). We see the lives of the rich and famous, or perhaps their children, sometimes several generations, seem to fall under a curse. Drugs and alcohol take their toll. They are thrown into court, or the hospital for sexual sins. Some are dead of suicides, overdoses or more mysterious causes. Others simply draw their shades and hide away. It is interesting to study prominent families and the sins which pass generation to generation, as well as the curses that follow them. The Kennedy's are one of the more obvious examples. But, in most cases, even the most flamboyant and perverse appear to be untouched in any noticeable way. It appears to us that God is allowing evil to go unpunished. God does see them, states Job (24:23-24). Job challenges, "if it be not so now, who will make me a liar" (24:25). Job's friends are not likely to engage in this debate, for surely the wicked often go unpunished to the eyes of this world. The further argument that Job is trying to get across is that since God does not immediately punish the wicked, and that good fortune does not necessarily indicate righteousness, so too, travails are not an immediate indication of unrighteousness. The larger question is why is Job engaging this debate at all. Job's friends are not likely to listen, so why is Job trying to vindicate himself to his friends? Is Job's faith in his own righteousness less than rock solid? Or is he desperate for vindication in the eyes of the world?

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Chapter Twenty-five: Bildad Interrupts

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Bildad Interrupts

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A Final Note on the Friends

Bildad Interrupts

Job: chapter 25 1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, 2 Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places. 3 Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise? 4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

Bildad's final speech is short (five lines). God is all powerful and all knowing (25:2-3). "How then can man be justified with God" (25:4)? "How can he be clean" (25:4)? To God, the sun and the moon are dim, and the stars are not pure (25:5). "How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm" (25:6)?

Bildad's argument is fizzling. He hasn't been able to legitimately pin Job down to any particular sin so he resorts to the `everyone is sinful' argument. Everything he says here is scriptural. This of course means that Bildad and the other friends are included. Using this standard as a basis, however, do they understand that Job's agony, if deserved, is, therefore, also their just reward? Teased out, this argument is not likely to please Bildad at all. The argument also contains the implication of Eliphaz's vision: you mean nothing to God. If God chooses to destroy you, He will. The love and mercy of God are not within Bildad's experience, at least not as he gazes on Job. Barnes notes: "At this stage of the controversy, since they had nothing to reply to what Job had alleged, it would have been honorable in them to have acknowledged that they were in error, and to have yielded the palm of victory to him. But it requires extraordinary candor and humility to do that; and rather than do it, most people would prefer to say something­though it has nothing to do with the case in hand" (Barnes, notes to 25:6).

A Final Note on the Friends

Author Philip Yancey suggests that if chapters 3 thru 37 where presented without the prologue in heaven (chapters 1-2) or God's dialogue and acquittal (chapters 38-42), the three friends and Elihu would look much better in the eyes of subsequent generations: "To truly grasp the prescience and timelessness of the book, consider the arguments of Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar in light of contemporary thinking. Does God send suffering as punishment for sins? Ask any hospitalized Christian whether he or she has heard that suggestion. The most vigorous assertion of Job's

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friend's­that God makes good men prosper and evil men stumble­I hear virtually every time I watch religious television. Those programs say little about Job's kind of faith, which perseveres even when nothing works out the way it should. Christians today may also claim a `word of knowledge' to back up their beliefs, as did Eliphaz. He appeals to a cryptic vision of a `spirit' who restates Eliphaz's own line of argument and even implies that Job should turn to God for a miracle (4:12-17, 5:8-10). "In short, Job's friend's emerge as self-righteous dogmatists who defend the mysterious ways of God. Confident of their proper doctrine and sound arguments, they cast judgment on Job. To them the issue seems clear-cut: given a choice between a man who claims to be just and a God they know to be just, what possible defense could Job have?" (Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read. Page 55). Oswald Chambers speaks to the rigid beliefs of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar: "The friend's speeches prove that when Providence or suffering contradicts any form of creedal belief, the holder of the creed becomes vindictive in trying to justify what is threatened, and no longer discerns the truth" (Chambers, pages 88 & 89). Because their creed says that they are right with God, the three friends doggedly cling to their creed in defense against the uncertainty that its invalidation would bring. They could be learning from Job's plight. God could be teaching them as well as Job, but they love their creed more than the truth. The truth is that they do not have a living relationship with God. The tradition of knowledge that they have is threadbare and, in this case, obstructive.

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Chapter Twenty-six: Job Replies

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Job Replies to Bildad

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Whose Spirit Speaks from You? He Cut Rahab to Pieces Who Can Understand the Thunder?

Job Replies to Bildad

Job: chapter 26 1 But Job answered and said, 2 How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength? 3 How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? 4 To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee? 5 Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof. 6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. 7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. 8 He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. 9 He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. 10 He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. 11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. 12 He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. 13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. 14 Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?

"How hast thou helped him that is without power?" Job answers Bildad's `hows' with sarcastic

`hows' of his own (26:2). `How have you counseled the lost, or shared wisdom' (26:3)? `Your words that should be meant to build up, only serve to break down. Is this your desire for your friend?'

Whose Spirit Speaks from You?

"Who has helped you utter these words?" Job asks, "and whose spirit spoke from your mouth" (26:4, NIV)? This is the most stinging rebuke yet. Job implies that an evil spirit is speaking through Bildad. Job has just realized that his friends are being used. His merciless tone implies that he believes them to be willing participants. In a more oblique way, Job speaks of "dead things" formed below the deep and living in the deep (26:5). God's vision penetrates the deep: "Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering" (26:6). `God sees where your words come from,' Job warns his friend. Clarke and other scholars are uncomfortable with verse 5. "This verse, as it stands in our version, seems to convey no meaning; and the Hebrew is obscure; harephaim, `the Rephaim,' certainly means not dead things; nor can there be any propriety in saying that dead things, or things without life, are formed under the waters, for such things are formed everywhere in the earth, and under the earth, as well as under

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the waters" (Clarke, note on 26:5; see also:Barnes, notes to 26:5). He goes on to quote several older texts which substitute `giants' for `dead things', believing that the giants who perished in the great flood are intended. The allusion would seem quite out of place. Clarke then suggests that `sea monsters' may be intended. Strong's seems comfortable with `dead things' (Strong, H7496). Interestingly, the word here translated `formed' is `chûl' or `chîyl' in Hebrew and is "A primitive root; properly to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), that is, (specifically) to dance, to writhe in pain" (Strong, H2342). Whatever they are `dead things', `sea monsters' or antedeluvian `giants', they are writhing in the depths and God sees them. Given the context, the depths would seem to refer to the location of the `spirit' speaking through Bildad. Job has joined his friends in leaving off all niceties.

He Cut Rahab to Pieces

Job answers Bildad's portrayal of God, with his own. God hangs the earth in space (26:7). God holds the waters in the clouds (26:8). Job has amazing scientific insight, but what he sees is the amazing power of God. "By His power He churned up the sea, by his wisdom He cut Rahab to pieces" (26:12, NIV). Notice that the King James Bible has translated `Rahab', the name of a sea monster associated with Egypt, as `proud'. Similar to the translation difficulty for chapter 3, verse 8, this may make the immediate passage digestable, but depletes the deeper meaning. The use of `proud' here seems out of place. The context, referring back to verses 4 and 5 above, is things living in the deep, spirits who speak out through men. By wisdom, God cuts Rahab to pieces. In Job 9:13, we saw that Rahab has helpers. In a very similar sort of reference to Rahab, see Psalm 89:10: "Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain." The context of this Psalm is David's covenant with God. The implication is that though Rahab is crushed or cut up as if dead, Rahab is not dead. We should not push this analogy too far. Rahab can refer to Egypt (see: Isaiah 30:7), although the context would seem to prohibit that. Several levels of meaning are concurrently possible. "By His spirit He hath garnished the heavens; His hand hath formed the crooked serpent" (26:13). Two very different images are being juxtaposed. His "spirit" is `rûach' (Strong, H7307), the `breath' of God which garnishes or `brightens' (Strong, H8235) heaven. In contrast, God also forms the crooked serpent. `Formed' in this verse is the same word used in verse 5 above, meaning to twist or to writh in pain (Strong, H2342). The `crooked serpent' is `bârîach nâchâsh' in Hebrew (Strong, H1281 & H5175). Isaiah proclaims the day of deliverance when, "the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea" (Isaiah 27:1). Here the `piercing serpent' is the same two words in Hebrew `bârîach nâchâsh'. Isaiah calls captive Babylonians `bârîach' (Isaiah 43:14, see Strong) in the only other Biblical use of that word. `Bârîach' is defined by Strong's as "a fugitive, that is, the serpent (as fleeing), and the constellation by that name" (Strong, H1281).

Who Can Understand the Thunder?

Job is pouring out his heart here. Something is pricking him, rubbing against the back of his head. He is seeing the light of God and the darkness in which shines Leviathan. This is precisely the contrast that God will force him to see in chapters 40 and 41. But, like a child refusing each new spoonful, Job continues to turn away and not examine the thought. He settles for an effusion of high sounding adorations. We know so little and understand even less. "Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand" (26:14)? It would appear that Job's scientific knowledge is several thousand years ahead of that of Europe. "He stretcheth out the north over

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the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them" (26:7-8). Here he alludes to the desolate wastelands of the arctic, the earth hanging in space, and clouds containing water. But mostly, he knows that he knows very little. "How little a portion is heard" refers to a faint whisper. The idea is that God's tiniest whisper is overpowering and we cannot understand it (Clarke, note on 26:14).

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Chapter Twenty-seven: Job Holds Fast

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Job Holds Fast

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God Has Taken His Soul

Job Holds Fast

Job: chapter 27 1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, 2 As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; 3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; 4 My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. 5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. 6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. 7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous. 8 For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? 9 Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him? 10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God? 11 I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal. 12 Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain? 13 This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty. 14 If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread. 15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep. 16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay; 17 He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver. 18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh. 19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not. 20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night. 21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place. 22 For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand. 23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.

Having answered Bildad's interruption, Job returns to his discourse on God's season for punishment of

the wicked of chapter twenty-four. He is becoming steadily more intense, "while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; my lips shall not speak wickedness" (27:2-4). With all that Satan has thrown against him, Job remains resolute in his respect for God. Satan is trying to drive him away from God. For a time, Job was becoming despondent and self-focused. But the harder the devil drives at him, the more Job looks to God. Job is getting stronger, his vision getting clearer rather than weaker. "God forbid that I should justify you" (27:5), Job points his argument at his accusers, "My righteousness I hold fast" (27:6). His friends are challenging Job to confess to sins he has not committed. To satisfy you, Job implies, I would have to

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create a sin. I won't do that. He rightly refuses to budge in spite of the disdain of his friends. If God is righteous, He will not condemn without cause. Job is in an odd bind, he is under the heavy hand of God but he knows of no sin for which he should be condemned. In chapter 31 he will make an `oath of clearing', in essence challenging God to look upon his righteousness. God will rebuke him for his rashness. The fact that Job's ways are perfect does not make him perfect heart and soul, but he can't see that as yet. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Job is being called to see the condition of his heart. The hand of God is maturing Job.

God Has Taken His Soul

Job pronounces a curse on his accusers: "Let mine enemy be as the wicked" (27:7). Earlier he refrained from reciprocating when Zophar cursed him (11:5). Job has had enough. There can be no mistaking that Job is speaking of his friends. The word translated here as `hypocrite' means "soiled (that is, with sin), impious" (Strong, H2611). "For what is the hope of the hypocrite... when God taketh away his soul" (27:8)? Be it here or there, there is judgment for the wicked. When the hypocrite is suffering as I am suffering, Job points his argument directly at his friends, "Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God" (27:10)? This question implies a selfrighteous gloating, which Job will condemn: "If I rejoice at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him..." (31:29). Job is very real. He has his good moments and his not so good moments. For the most part, Job displays the patience of a saint. "I will teach you by the hand of God" (27:11), Job goes on, "ye yourselves have seen it, why then are ye thus altogether vain?" (27:12). "The original is very emphatical: hebel tehbalu, and well expressed by Mr. Good: `Why then should ye thus babble babblings!' If our language would allow it, we might say vanitize vanity" (Clarke, note on 27:12). "The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered" (27:19). Gold and silver are not indicators of righteousness (27:16-19), Job penetrates Bildad's self-righteousness defense. "For God shall cast upon him, and not spare" (27:22), and then those who looked up to the rich man will turn on him: "Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place" (27:23). Job's theology on judgment beyond the grave is continuing to develop. Here he suggests that the evil man, though he be rich, will not be `gathered' [unto God], but the `east wind', the hot desert storms will hurl him out and God will `cast' or hurl Himself upon the wretched soul. "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26). The contention is becoming intense. One of the friends lists the punishment of the wicked, while staring at Job, and now Job is listing the punishment of the wicked, while staring at them. Far from comfort, the two drawn sides are ratcheting up judgment against the other. Some scholars contend that 27:7-23 is a fragment of a lost speech (Zophar's third presumably). "It is virtually impossible to ascribe 27:7-23 to Job" (New Concise Bible Dictionary, page 276). I suppose that the thought is that Job would never condemn his friends as they have condemned him. As we have no way to know for sure, outside of the unearthing of a new manuscript, this must remain an interesting supposition. I have no difficulty assigning the speech to Job. And I rather like the contrast of viewpoints concerning the place of gold.

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Chapter Twenty-eight: Where is Wisdom

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A Place for Gold

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Far From Men He Dangles and Sways Where is Wisdom Found

A Place for Gold

Job: chapter 28 1 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it. 2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone. 3 He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death. 4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men. 5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire. 6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold. 7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: 8 The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it. 9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots. 10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing. 11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light. 12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? 13 Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. 14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. 15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. 16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. 17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. 18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. 19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. 20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? 21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. 22 Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. 23 God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. 24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; 25 To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. 26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: 27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. 28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

Having fully vented his anger, Job now returns to the wonderful allegory of chapter twenty-three. How is the refiner's gold found?

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Far From Men He Dangles and Sways

Verses one through eleven describe the incredible ingenuity of men searching for precious metals and jewels. "He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots" (28:9). Some of this is difficult understand, but Job appears to have a good understanding of the mining practices of his day. He mentions draining away water (28:4), damming up water (28:11), and even changing the course of rivers (28:10), all common practices today. Clarke adds several interesting technical details showing how thoroughly the mining practices are being described here (Clarke, note on 28:1-11). "Far from men he dangles and sways" (28:4, NIV). Miners toil beyond the reach of the lions (28:8), where even the birds cannot see (28:7). "The thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light" (28:11). Mining today can seem pretty fantastic, but this is from three or four thousand years ago. Bringing these stones and metals to the light must have been almost mystical to the imaginations of the men of his day. We can do all this, Job says, but what about the gold of wisdom and understanding. How can it be mined? An interesting side note showing the importance of gold to the men of the time: four different words for `gold' are used in verses 15 through 16. `Segôr' (28:15) means shut up or secured gold (Strong, H5458). `Kethem' (28:16) means carved out or raw gold (Strong, H3800). `Zâhâb' (28:17) means something which shimmers, or gold colored (Strong, H2091). And `pâz' (28:17) means pure gold, or fine wrought gold (Strong, H6337; Clarke, note on 28:16).

Where is Wisdom Found

"Where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof" (28:12-13). Look everywhere, even under the sea, you will not find it (28:13-14). The most fabulous fortunes of precious things cannot buy wisdom and understanding (28:15-19). "Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears" (28:22); Satan does not know wisdom, but he has heard of it. "God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof" (28:23), for `He is made all things' (28:24-27). The true riches do not come from under the ground by the hand of man, Job concludes, the true riches of God are the wisdom and understanding that come from the fear of God and righteousness. "And unto man he said, `Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding'" (28:28). Job must get beyond fear: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever" (Psalms 111:10, see also: Proverbs 1:7). "Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:3-6). Job is still in fear of the Lord, but God will soon bring him to a place where he understands the fear of the Lord, where he will truly find the knowledge of God. In a sense, I liken the fear of God to the sign over the broad gate, ignored by so many who enter there, but those who see and recognize its meaning turn and enter the narrow gate.

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Chapter Twenty-nine: God Was with Me

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Job Reflects

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When the Almighty was With Me

Job Reflects

Job: chapter 29 1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, 2 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; 3 When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; 4 As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; 5 When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; 6 When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil; 7 When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! 8 The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up. 9 The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. 10 The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth. 11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: 12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. 13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. 14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. 15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. 16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. 17 And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth. 18 Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand. 19 My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. 20 My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand. 21 Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel. 22 After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them. 23 And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain. 24 If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down. 25 I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners.

From the lofty heights of God's riches, Job now turns back to himself. "Oh that I were as in months

past, as in the days when God preserved me" (29:2). Chapter twenty-nine is Job's nostalgic look backwards. Note that his first remembrance is that of God's care towards him (29:2-5), even before that of his children (29:5). This backward glance is pathetic or worse. Seeing what Job has become contrasted against what Job was is chilling almost repulsive. It is hard to empathize with Job without a worm of dread entering.

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Outside of the brief opening remarks (1:1-5), this is the best look we get of Job the man, before God and Satan change the equation. Even though the chapter is almost syrupy in its admiration for Job's life, we have no real reason to doubt his description, considering that God himself admired Job (1:8). Barnes suggests that the wording of verse one indicates a pause to allow a reply (Barnes, notes to 29:1). The lack of reply to Job is one of the reasons for Elihu to jump into the fray against Job (32:5). The length of Job's reply without answer, until Elihu's interruption, indicates that the three friends have chosen silence for whatever reason.

When the Almighty was With Me

Job briefly mentions his worldly blessings, "When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil" (29:8), and then tells how he was honored by the young and old, nobles and princes (29:7-11). The picture is of very blessed man, who counts his righteousness as the reason. By Job's testimony, his righteousness flowed out to those around him in continual kindnesses so that he was widely admired and beloved. "I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him" (29:12). Job took care of the widows for dying men (29:13). He cared for the poor and disabled (29:15-16). He was careful to search out the truth before passing judgement (29:15-16) and punished the wicked, returning that which was stolen (29:17). "If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down" (29:24). The picture is that of a benevolent and kind man who very presence radiates joy. Having reached a level of comfort, Job had said to himself, "I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand" (29:18). Job paints the picture of total self-satisfaction: "My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand. Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel" (29:20-21). "I chose out their way, and sat chief" (29:25). This is the picture of a self-realized man. Financially successful, a pillar of the community, head of a large family, almost universally admired. He has every reason for satisfaction with himself. But personal satisfaction is Job's greatest danger. Selfsatisfaction is at the heart the matter. Because of his righteousness, Job is satisfied with himself. Job clearly understands that his blessings come from God. But he believes that he is entitled to these blessings on the basis of his righteousness, his works. Self-satisfaction is the hook that Satan believes he can use. Job's righteousness brought him comfort with his walk before the Lord. Job is dangerously close to self-righteousness. As the self expands, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit diminishes until the living Word of God, the still small voice, is cut off altogether. Oswald Chambers states it this way, "When a man comes to Jesus it is not sin that is in the way, but self-realization, pride, his claim to himself... Self-realization is anti-Christian" (Chambers, 1992; from The Place of Help, 1935). God is not reaching Job.

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Chapter Thirty: The Final Lament

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Job's Last Lament

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They Spit in My Face You Dissolve My Substance The Churning Never Stops

Job's Lament Returns

Job: chapter 30 1 But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock. 2 Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished? 3 For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste. 4 Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat. 5 They were driven forth from among men, (they cried after them as after a thief;) 6 To dwell in the cliffs of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks. 7 Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together. 8 They were children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth. 9 And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword. 10 They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face. 11 Because he hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me. 12 Upon my right hand rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction. 13 They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they have no helper. 14 They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters: in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me. 15 Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue my soul as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud. 16 And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me. 17 My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest. 18 By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat. 19 He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes. 20 I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me: I stand up, and thou regardest me not. 21 Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me. 22 Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance. 23 For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living. 24 Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction. 25 Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor? 26 When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness. 27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me. 28 I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation. 29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls. 30 My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat. 31 My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.

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There is no question that self-satisfaction is blown apart for Job now. He is still satisfied with his righteousness; but, his life, once satisfying, is now a horror. Where before Job was held in the highest esteem, now he is derided by the lowest of the low (30:1-14). Job does not wish to admit it, but this sense of rejection by all those who formerly held him in honor, is the most painful blow of all. Job's estimation among men is so very important to him. "And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction" (Zechariah 1:15).

"Among the bushes they brayed" (30:7). Again Job uses the image of the wild ass for those whose call derides him (see my discussion on 6:5). Where in chapter 24 (verse 5) Job treats the poor with compassion as if their struggle was unjust, here Job implies that the poor who sneer at him are justifiably driven out to the wastelands. Job is not always consistent. The implication is that those who are despised of men, dare to insult him now.

They Spit in My Face

"Children of base men: they were viler than the earth. And now am I their song... They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face" (30:8-10). People shrink from Job, for fear of contamination with his blight, or they come to triumph over him. I think there are very few of us who cannot recall an incident in which some other child gloated over us when we had been injured or insulted. While this is more obvious on the playground, in more subtle fashion this happens in the workplace, the supermarket or the church all the time. Gossip is a mature expression of this evil. Do you not imagine that the gossip lines are burning up with Job's fall seemingly from grace. The greater the fall the more intense the gossip. When a president, prime minister or a CEO is chastised, everyone has an opinion as to how and why punishment should be handed out. Is this not an ugly sort of triumphalism? Though we have not changed our own stature at all, suddenly we feel much greater. The "children of base men" are simply parading their elevation, as a cat parades with a dead mouse. This triumph lurks even under the dialogues of Job's best friends. "Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver him now, if He will have him" (Matthew 27:4143). "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him" (Psalm 22:6-8). As in this Psalm, Job feels the scorn of everyone and all he can do is appeal to God, but the heavens appear to have shut against him. Not only is Job in a worse condition than the poorest of the poor, but he cannot retaliate against his abusers. Those who would have shrunk from him before, now feel free to insult and abuse Job because "He hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me" (30:11). His bow is unstrung (Barnes, notes to 30:11). "On my right the tribe attacks" (30:12, NIV). The NAS Bible translates `tribe' above as `their brood', which closely matches the Strong's definition. Jesse Penn-Lewis suggests `the rabble' (Penn-Lewis, page 123). Perhaps crowds gather just to jeer at him or to trip him up. According to Barnes, "The word rendered `youth' (pirchach) occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is probably from pârach, `to sprout, germinate, blossom'; and hence, would mean `a progeny,' and would be probably applied to beasts" (Barnes, notes to 30:12). Job is not immune to the desire to sneer. Even in his misery, he does not spare his reproach towards those who huddle under bridges or push shopping carts full of cans. His complaint is that these `beasts' are now sneering at him.

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You Dissolve My Substance

It is almost impossible not to be on Job's side at this point, but Job is drawing away from God. Selfpity is getting the best of him. Job returns to bitter lament (30:15-19). And again, Job complains, "I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me" (30:20). And finally, Job accuses, "Thou art become cruel to me" (30:21), You "dissolvest my substance" (30:22), that is, my firm countenance is turned to jelly, I am in fear, "For I know that thou wilt bring me to death" (30:23). Verse 24 gives the translators fits. "Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction" (30:24). The New International Version Bible reads a little different: "Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress (30:24, NIV). The New American Standard Bible is different again: "Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, Or in his disaster therefore cry out for help?" (30:24, NASB). In fact, it seems that no two translators agree, and from their comments (NET Bible, footnotes to verse 30:24) it would seem that none are entirely satisfied. Barnes suggests that "Job means to state a general and important principle­that there was rest in the grave. He said he knew that God would bring him down there, but that would be a state of repose. The hand of God producing pain, would not reach there, nor would the sorrows experienced in this world be felt there, provided there had been a praying life" (Barnes, notes to 30:24). And more, in the grave the reproach of men will not reach him. Job's faith is stymied by his reality. The two are at odds. Everything in him says that God will not leave him, that God is not cruel, but the opposite appears to be his situation. He doesn't abandon his faith, yet he feels it crumbling beneath him. He resolves that God will leave him peace in the grave. It is a highly diminished expectation. Think of the disciples, storm tossed, their own substance dissolving, they cry out in fear "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (Mark 4:38). Like Job, their faith foundered on the sharp edges of what appeared to be immutable reality. "And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" (Mark 4:40). God, speaking to Job will tell him that freedom from his troubles has been at hand all along: "I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee" (40:14). God does not see the world as we do. "And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish" (Luke 21:16-18). Does this not seem to be a contradiction? Job is looking earthward and seeing his misery. But, God is looking to the eternal spirit and knows what a gift is in store for Job. Those tortured and killed for Christ are not diminished but receive an extra reward (Revelations 6:9-11). "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure" (James 5:10-11). This same verse goes on to speak of the patience of Job. Although Job is frustrated and his faith is taking some hard hits, he has not stopped believing that God's heart is faithful to him. Down to zero and lower than dirt, Job is still God's man.

The Churning Never Stops

Job is beyond frustration. Inside he is seething. "The churning inside me never stops" (30:27, NIV), or as the King James says, "My bowels boiled, and rested not" (30:27). "I am a brother to dragons" (30:29). Barnes suggests, "The word `brother' is often used in this sense, to denote similarity in any respect. The word `dragons' here (tannîyn), denotes properly a sea-monster, a great fish, a crocodile; or the fancied animal with wings called a dragon" (Barnes, notes to 30:29). Tannîyn is the same word rendered `whale' in 7:12. It is also the word rendered `serpent' when Moses casts down his rod in Pharaoh's court. And tannîyn is particularly associated with Leviathan. "Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness" (Psalm 74:13-14). "Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death" (Psalm 44:19).

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Job says, "My bowels boiled" (30:27). God describes Leviathan, "He maketh the deep to boil like a pot" (41:31). Paul describes his inner turmoil in a similar way: "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:23-24). While Paul seems to refer cheifly to the lusts of the flesh at war with his higher desires for God in this passage, the war within Job is more a lust of the soul. Job deeply desires to be seen as righteous, he wants justice, vindication and peace. Instead, it seems that all the hounds of hell are arrayed against him. All his pride is stripped away. Job sees God's hand in it, but not for his benefit. The war within Job is a battle against the perceived injustice of God. Job is a man above all others in righteousness. Every bit of theology he knows says that God will bless him because of it. But it appears that the exact opposite is the situation. He tries to remind God, "Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor" (30:25)? This is not the reward Job expected (30:26). This argument comes to dominate Job's final speech, chapter thirty-one, as he lays out all of his good works.

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Chapter Thirty-one: Oath of Clearing

·

The Oath of Clearing

o o o

Count All My Steps Accuse Me in Writing I Bind It as a Crown

The Oath of Clearing

Job: chapter 31 1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? 2 For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? 3 Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity? 4 Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? 5 If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; 6 Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity. 7 If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; 8 Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. 9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbor's door; 10 Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. 11 For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. 12 For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase. 13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; 14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? 15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? 16 If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; 17 Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; 18 (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;) 19 If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; 20 If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; 21 If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: 22 Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. 23 For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure. 24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; 25 If I rejoice because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; 26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; 27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: 28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above. 29 If I rejoice at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: 30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul. 31 If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied. 32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller. 33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:

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34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door? 35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. 36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. 37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him. 38 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; 39 If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: 40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

I am so righteous, begins Job's closing argument, that I wouldn't even look at a young woman (31:1).

Job has pulled himself together for an `oath of clearing' (Penn-Lewis, page 129). This is a challenge to God: look and see if you find... and he begins to list various possible sins, and suggest awful punishments if he is found guilty. This oath of clearing was a common practice in the Middle East. The Egyptians believed that the dead would be brought to account for their life in the afterlife. A formula for this declaration before the gods is found in the Egyptian Book of the Dead: · · · · · · · · · · · "I have not committed sins against human beings, I have not mistreated cattle. I have not blasphemed against God. I have not struck the wretched. I have not caused diseases. I have not starved anyone. I have not murdered anyone. I have not stolen loaves from the spirits. I have not committed pederasty. I have not done impure actions. I have not falsified measures of produce..."

The Egyptian belief was that if someone uttered this declaration who had in fact transgressed in one of these areas, they would be burned immediately (Martini, page 59). Samuel, sealing the anointing of Saul as king, makes an oath of clearing: "Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you" (I Samuel 12:3). David uses this same formula: "O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:) Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honor in the dust. Selah" (Psalm 7:3-5). The character of Job's oath is more defiant. "For what portion of God is there from above" (31:2)? Job wants to know how God is repaying his righteousness. Aren't the wicked the ones who get "strange punishment" (31:3)? I'm being treated like a bad guy, but can't God see I'm a good guy (31:4)? Job's theology is not wrong, it is just very limited. God has blessed Job, but now Job is being called to

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something finer, something higher. Job alluded to the refiner's fire in chapter twenty-three neither he or his friends have any understanding of what is happening.

(23:10),

but

A clear contrast might be found in David's cry: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24). Here David is holding himself out to be transformed of God. Psalm 17, is an example of a more diffident statement of innocence. But, even here David concludes with a statement of pure faith: "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness" (Psalm 17:15). "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, `Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths': But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil" (Matthew 5:33-37). God takes the business of oaths quite seriously (Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 19:12). Job understands this fully. He is putting forward this oath of clearing so that his friends will see he is hiding nothing. Job is trying desperately to be justified before his brethren. The young Elihu who is about to speak, clearly doesn't believe Job (34:7-8). It is a performance which breeds self-satisfaction at best.

Count All My Steps

"I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" (31:1). Clarke suggests the sin in question may be idolatry rather than lust: "umah ethbonan al bethulah And why should I set myself to contemplate, or think upon, Bethulah? That Bethulah may here signify an idol, is very likely. Sanchoniatho observes, that Ouranos first introduced Baithulia when he erected animated stones, or rather, as Bochart observes, ANOINTED stones, which became representatives of some deity. I suppose that Job purges himself here from this species of idolatry. Probably the Baithulia were at first emblems only of the tabernacle; beith Eloah, `the house of God;' or of that pillar set up by Jacob, Genesis 28:18, which he called beith Elohim, or Bethalim; for idolatry always supposes a pure and holy worship, of which it is the counterfeit" (Clarke, note on 31:1). I would tend to agree with Clarke only because the sensibility of starting with the more egregious sin. The first four of the ten commandments cover direct offenses to God, including idolatry. Job, although not under that covenant, clearly understands the gist of God's law. Similarly verse 5, "If I have walked with vanity..." (31:5), uses the Hebrew word `shâv' which can also mean `idolatry' (Strong, H7723; also Clarke, note on 31:5). "It seems evident that the whole of Job's discourse here is a vindication of himself from all idolatrous dispositions and practices" (Clarke, note on 31:5). Job begins the litany of sins that he might commit and advises the appropriate punishments to which he would willingly submit, if he were guilty. If I have been deceitful, or if I have stolen (31:5-7), then let someone steal my crops, or let my shoots (Barnes, notes to 31:8) be uprooted (31:8). If I have committed adultery (31:9), let my wife do the same (31:10). If I had refused to honestly listen to the complaint of those who serve me (31:13), then how can I expect God to listen to me (31:14)? If I refuse to feed the poor, the widow, the orphan (31:16-17), and if I refuse to cloth them (31:19-20), or if I beat away the orphans (31:21), then let my arm be broken off (31:22). Job indicates that he was raised with orphans and has raised them (31:18). Fear of the Lord is Job's guiding force: "For destruction from God was a terror to me" (31:23). It is popular for Christians to class `old testament' morality as inferior because of its lack of understanding of the sins of the heart. Job clearly understands that an evil desire or an evil thought is an offense to God (as 31:1) and he includes these in his declaration. He is trying to be thorough. Job goes on to list evil thoughts which he has been careful to avoid. If gold was my assurance, or I was overly proud of my wealth (31:24-25), or if I have secretly worshiped ("kissed my hand" at) the sun or the moon (31:26-27), I should be punished (31:28).

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Accuse Me in Writing

As Job continues with his list he is becoming agitated. He is not completing his thoughts. If I have gloated over the downfall of my enemy (31:29), I didn't even curse him (31:30), or if I have kept the best meat for myself (31:31), I opened my doors to travelers (31:32), if I have lied about my transgressions like Adam (31:33)... Job stops and wails, "Oh that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense­let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing" (31:35). Job wants his day in court. This `oath of clearing' is of no use, if God refuses to listen. I grew up in a region with lots of snow in winter, so loosing vehicles stuck in snow was not unusual. The rule was to put the car in low gear and go slow. Once the wheels spin freely you have to back off on the throttle until they begin to catch. I remember vividly trying to push out a man from Georgia who had chains on his car but still couldn't get loose because he was trying so hard. I tried to give him advice, but he refused to listen. Instead he pressed the throttle down full so that the wheels spun violently. He spun his wheels all the way through the snow and dug his chains an inch down into the asphalt before the car started to move. He left me covered in snow and bits of asphalt. This is Job. He is trying so hard that everything churns around him, but there is still no answer from heaven. He is still stuck. Although he throws his full weight against it, heaven is as iron to Job. `My arms are too short to box with God' proclaims the title of a play about the deaf. "I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron" (Leviticus 26:19). Job's righteousness has become his stumbling block. He believes himself justified by his righteous life (his works) and demands to be heard of heaven. His oath of clearing is his final full disclosure statement. But the supreme judge refuses to hear his plea. In the Book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream of a great tree cut down to a stump and bound with brass and iron. Daniel interprets the dream that Nebuchadnezzar must humble himself to God or be cut down and sent into the field as a beast. Because of his pride, Nebuchadnezzar is made mad and is driven out into the fields to eat grass until he does humble himself (Daniel 4:9-33). Because of pride the heavens are closed against Job.

I Bind It as a Crown

Job's viewpoint is deeply flawed. No citizen is considered special simply because he or she adheres to the law. A citizen is expected to stay within the law or be punished. God demands that we adhere to His commandments. This prevents us from sinking into greater crime (sin). That does not make us pure or holy and does not give us special privileges with God, it merely keeps us from punishment, from cursing ourselves further. Living among the lawless, Job believes his law abiding character is holiness. He is immensely frustrated at not getting a hearing. Job is abundantly sure of his innocence. Before God Himself I could take my record book, he declares, "and bind it as a crown to me. I would declare unto Him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto Him" (31:36-37). I have a right to be proud, is Job's declaration. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6), declares Isaiah when he finally realizes his true self-worth. Job cannot see that his self-realized righteousness is but excrement with which he writes his proud record of lawfulness. He puffs himself up to declare, he would bind his record to his head to show God. I am reminded of a dog I had who would leave his deposit on the lawn, sniff it and turn brightly to me wagging his tail as if to say `look what I made'. I don't mean to make light of Job's situation, which is gravely serious. I am trying to illustrate that although Job has pleased God with his diligence, he is still naked before God. Going forward, his record is of no use, he can only rely on faith in the goodness and mercy of God. By his righteousness, Job is on the threshold of holiness. But he has yet to enter the gates. Because he is feverishly trying to reason out

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his circumstances, Job has become a froth of words. Because he has no understanding, he is a froth with no substance. Stretching his thoughts over his faith, his faith is becoming a pale water mark fading in the smoking lamp of his own reasoning. There is only one crown that we can wear into the presence of God. "In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people" (Isaiah 28:5). The shed blood of Jesus, a sacrifice for the cleansing of His people by which mark we may approach the throne of God. Job as yet has no crown that he can wear before God. Job finishes his final `if', not even the furrows in the field will accuse me. He closes defiant. He will stay in this defiant stance until God has finished describing Leviathan.

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Chapter Thirty-two: Elihu the Buzite

· ·

Elihu the Buzite

o o o

Elihu the Great Enigma Great Men are Not Always Wise I Am Full of Things To Say

Elihu the Buzite Speaks

Elihu the Buzite

Job: chapter 32 1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. 3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. 4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. 5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.

The three friends fall into silence. Job refuses to listen to their condemnations, so they have nothing more to say. To them, Job's current condition shows that he is under God's condemnation. Elihu says, "they were amazed" (32:15). The word translated `amazed' is `châthath' meaning to knock flat (Strong, H2865). Clarke mentions a significant variation in several of the older texts, causing verse one to read, "because he was righteous in their own eyes" (Clarke, note on 32:1). By this reading, the three friends, by the strength of Job's defense, have come to believe him. This would place the introjection of the new character Elihu in an entirely different light, the recalcitrant defender of the creed.

And so, a youngster enters the narrative to take up the argument. Elihu is a true mystery of the Bible. He has not been mentioned up to now, nor is he mentioned after he quits speaking, leading many scholars to conclude that his section is a later addition. This may be. We really have no way to know. The argument is a scholar's distraction. Elihu's speech is scripture and few scholars would be vain enough to edit the corpus of the Bible. Elihu adds powerfully to the debate that will culminate in God's appearance. First, Elihu sums up the argument so far. Second, he will set the stage for Gods appearance in chapter thirty-eight. And finally, while Job has told us about himself in terms of what he has done, I believe that Elihu provides a mirror into the character of Job himself. This is essential to understanding God's dealing with Job.

Elihu the Great Enigma

Elihu is an enigma, not only because of his mysterious appearance and equally mysterious disappearance from the dialog, but because opinions vary so widely concerning which side he is on. According to one, "Elihu definitely belongs to God, and God has much to say through Elihu the prophet" (Lucas, chapter 12).

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Lucas understands well what God is after in Job, and it is worth quoting extensively from his gloss on Elihu's speech: "That He may withdraw man from his own purpose and cut off pride from him" (33:17). "Memorize verse 17 and never forget it. Your valleys, tribulations, afflictions, chastisements, hardships are designed to cause verse 17­to withdraw you from your purpose, your goal, your motives and cut off the pride that gave you your own purpose­AT THE ROOT, but ONLY when you hear from heaven the voice that reveals the purpose of your affliction. This is the Father's voice of instruction! The Holy of Holies is given the name in Solomon's temple as `THE ORACLE OF GOD'. This name literally means `THE SPEAKING PLACE'. When we talk about a life in the Holy of Holies we are talking about a life that `hears from heaven', a life that has ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying. Some want a `Holy of Holies' for the sole purpose of giving them a `sense of God', but the true Holy of Holies speaks to us and we are to heed that voice­THEN we will `sense God in our midst'. It is only THEN can we stand holy in the midst of our holy God. It is only then shall we have God's GLORY upon our life" (Lucas, chapter 12). On the other hand is Oswald Chambers who suggests that Elihu puts creed and legal relationship first, simply because, like Job, he has no personal relationship to God (Chambers, pages 111-120, also page 129). "In Elihu, the passion for authority is represented" (Chambers, page 111). "Elihu is stating with enourmous airs that `Humanity' is another name for God" (Chambers, page 123). Robert Fyall, in his book How Does God Treat His Friends?, says, "Elihu takes great slabs of truth and constructs a monstrous edifice without doors or windows" (Fyall, page 103). Barnes says, Elihu "comes with great apparent modesty, and yet with great pretensions" (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 5). My own position is that Elihu is a little of both, occasionally filled with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but other times filled with himself ad nauseum. In a similar position, Jesse Penn-Lewis maintains that Elihu is genuinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, but when he receives no honor for his message becomes self-possessed and angry. "The difference between Elihu the interpreter and Elihu the man is very plainly to be seen. Elihu appears to have been wounded by the persistent silence of Job and his friends. In his self-hurt he ceases to speak on God's behalf, loses his quiet restraint, and begins to make charges against Job as the elder men had done" (Penn-Lewis, page 159). Elihu delivers incredible prophesies of redemption, as did Job. He also falls into fits of self-focused anger, as does Job, but without the excusing circumstances that Job labors under. In all, Elihu resembles Job in his vision, his self-focus and his temperament. As a result, he aids the narrative most by providing another way to look in on the character, both good and bad, of Job.

Elihu the Buzite Speaks

Job: chapter 32 continued 6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. 7 I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. 8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. 9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. 10 Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion. 11 Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. 12 Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words: 13 Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.

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14 Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches. 15 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking. 16 When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;) 17 I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion. 18 For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. 19 Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. 20 I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer. 21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. 22 For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

Because, by Elihu's own admission, he is much younger (32:6-7), it is conceivable that his presence has

simply been ignored according to the custom of the time. He jumps into the debate because he is bursting to talk.

Great Men are Not Always Wise

Elihu attempts to be deferential, but he is upset with both Job and the three friends, and he doesn't hold back. He insults them almost immediately: "Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. Therefore I said, Hearken to me" (32:9-10). Elihu excuses his brashness, "When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more)" (32:16), I just had to speak, "For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me" (32:18). This is very nearly Job's comment: "for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost" (13:19). Elihu alludes to compulsion by `the spirit'. He is referring to `the inspiration of the Almighty' (32:8). Despite his unbridled passion, Elihu, has listened carefully to Job, which the three friends have not. He has also listened to Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, and found their replies wanting: "There was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words" (32:12). This is not the spirit of the inspiration of the Almighty, which will condemn the friends for false accusations, but the spirit religious self-confidence which condemns them for not convincingly condemning Job. Elihu believes it important to listen for God's inspiration to receive understanding (32:8), the word for inspiration here is actually `neshâmâh' or breath, as when Jesus breaths on the disciples and they receive the Spirit (John 20:22). Like Eliphaz in chapter four, Elihu also claims to have heard from an inner voice (32:18), which, in Elihu's case, Penn-Lewis suggests is the genuine inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Penn-Lewis, pages 139-140). As we will see, Elihu has profound things to say, indicative of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

I Am Full of Things to Say

"My belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles" (32:19). More properly this should read `to burst like a new skin.' The word `bottle' is `ôb' meaning a mumble and is applied to wine skins. Strong's suggests this is because of the sound of the sloshing in a skin, however he notes that a necromancer, one who contacts the dead, is also called by the same name (Strong, H178). We today call strong drink `spirits', I would imagine the same allusion applied in Job's day. An additional point from my experience in younger days, wine or beer that is bottled too soon will ferment and build up too much pressure and break the bottles. I believe the technique in those days was to use new skins with more stretch, and to vent the gases off when the skins became too tight. "His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones" (Jeremiah 20:9). I do believe that Elihu is genuinely inspired, unfortunately, Elihu is also struggling with a strong spirit of religious self-confidence, similar to the one that the Lord is working on in Job: "Let me not, I pray

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you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away" (32:21-22). Elihu is absolutely confident of his place in God, as was Job before he was struck down so severely. It appears that Elihu is a younger version of Job himself. One could easily imagine Job making the same penetrating analysis of himself, were the hand of the Lord not crushing him. Elihu is able to dispassionately observe, where Job is caught thrashing in the pool of his self-pity and the disconnect between his beliefs and his situation. The speech of Elihu could easily be seen as Job looking at himself, trying to put the pieces in place. In this light, Strong's derives the name `Job' from `hated' or `persecuted' (Strong, H347). Other commentators note that this only holds up if the name is Hebrew. It seems unlikely that his birth name would be `hated'. It could be nickname given by history. Or conversely the sense of persecution could have become attached to the name through usage. `Elihu' in Hebrew means `God of Him' (Strong, H453), which could be a birth name. As clever and enticing as the conjunction of Elihu and Job may sound, and I did seriously consider that Elihu could be Job, the theory falls in pieces when Elihu savagely distorts the context of one of Job's statements to brutalize him (34:9). However the character of Elihu is a clear window into the character of Job. Both have genuine touches of the Holy Spirit. Both are too fully self-possessed. Both fear the Lord and seek to be in His favor. Both are passionate to a fault. If the author of the Book of Job is in fact Job, then the inclusion of Elihu's discourses may have been especially pertinent to Job because of the close affinity of Elihu's thoughts and sentiments to Job's own thinking, prior to this his change.

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Chapter Thirty-three: Ransom

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In a Dream or a Vision

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God Speaks Once or Twice I Have Found a Ransom

In a Dream or a Vision

Job: chapter 33 1 Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words. 2 Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth. 3 My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly. 4 The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. 5 If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up. 6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay. 7 Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee. 8 Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, 9 I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me. 10 Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy, 11 He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths. 12 Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. 13 Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters. 14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. 15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; 16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, 17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. 18 He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword. 19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: 20 So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. 21 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out. 22 Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. 23 If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: 24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. 25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth: 26 He shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. 27 He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; 28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. 29 Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, 30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. 31 Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.

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32 If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee. 33 If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.

Elihu speaks directly to Job: `I am a man just like you, made by the breath of God' (33:4), `so you can

argue against me' (33:5). "Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead" (33:6), referring to Job's request for an arbiter (9:32-34). He continues, claiming to stand in on God's behalf, yet being mortal, `you need not fear me' (33:6). Elihu begins to quickly sum up Job's major arguments towards God: "Behold He invents pretexts against me; He counts me as His enemy. He puts my feet in the stocks; He watches all my paths" (33:10-11, NASB). Chambers notes there are two types of submission. The submission of fatalism and the submission of faith. He contends that Elihu is demanding that Job submit to his fate and accept that he is wrong, God is right. Whereas Job's submission is that of faith: `this isn't adding up; but, though He slay me, I will still trust in His character of justice and mercy' (Chambers 1990, page 114).

God Speaks Once or Twice

Elihu counters Jobs arguments, "Behold, in this thou art not just... God is greater than man" (33:12). His argument leaps ahead without filling in the gap. Because God is greater, it is wrong to conclude that God is inventing sins, counting you as an enemy or punishing you. These presumptions cannot be supported without knowing God's purpose. Elihu continues, "Why do you complain against Him?" (33:13, NASB). `God doesn't answer complaints' `He may well have spoken to you in a dream more than once' (33:14-16); the implication is that Job wouldn't hear. Elihu in intimating that God has already spoken to Job, trying to turn his behavior and to keep him from pride (33:17-18). This is probably true.

(33:13).

A second way that God speaks to us is through our afflictions or `chastening' (33:19). Physical afflictions can be linked directly to spiritual afflictions: stiff necks (Deuteronomy 31:27: Acts 7:51), hard hearts (Deuteronomy 31:27; Mark 10:5), poor eyesight or blindness (1 Samuel 3:2; Job 17:5; Acts 9:8; Psalms 69:23), infirmity (Psalms 69:23). The reasoning is running backwards: since sin can cause afflictions, and afflictions indicate sin. This is not necessarily so. The disciples reason in the same way, asking Jesus, "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:2). Jesus answers, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3). Job's case is very much the same. The works of God will be made manifest in Job. Since we are building to God's directly fingering Job's pride, all-be-it a seemingly righteous selfeffacing pride, let us note that both Elihu here and later (33:17, 35:12, 36:9 & 17) and Job (31:25) are well aware of pride as a sin. They are convinced that they have taken steps to keep from pride, and I don't doubt that they have. In our current culture of `pride' movements and initiatives it is easy to carried away with believing in the positive energy of self-affirmation and forget just how devastating it can be, most particularly in our relationship with God. Both Job and Elihu by their righteousness are hearing the Holy Spirit and confounding the devil, but they are both confounded themselves as their self-righteousness blocks them from entering the holy of holies. Elihu has already edged into suggesting that God has some complaint against Job, even though he speaks in the third person, of "man". He speaks of chastening in terms of afflictions that exactly match Job's current condition (33:19-22).

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I Have Found a Ransom

Elihu addresses the call for a mediator (9:33) suggesting that often ("one out of a thousand") God sends a messenger to interpret (33:23 & 29), and to save a man from the pit (33:24 and 30). Opinions vary widely on just what Elihu means by a messenger. Some feel Elihu is referring to himself, some to Messianic prophecy, but the context seems to indicate a angel or an `angel-interpreter' (Barnes, notes to 33:23). PennLewis suggests that the original Hebrew for `interpreter' here means "to treat as a foreigner" and the same word is used for `ambassador' as in Isaiah 43:27 [`teacher' in the King James Bible], (Penn-Lewis, page 147; Also, Strong, H3887). Elihu emphasizes the great difference between our understanding and God's by suggesting that we are foreigners. The New American Standard Bible calls these mediators `angels'. Because of our fall from grace, someone must stand between us and God. Elihu is not meaning to reach this far Barnes argues, "it seems probable that Elihu, in this passage, by the messenger which he mentions, referred to someone who should perform the office which he himself purposed to perform­some man well acquainted with the principles of the divine administration; who could explain the reasons why people suffer; who could present such considerations as should lead the sufferer to true repentance; and who could assure him of the divine mercy" (Barnes, notes to 33:23). Barnes notes that this view most closely matches Elihu's character and purpose here. An indication of angelic or especially messianic intervention would lie outside of his description, "He shall pray unto God, and He will be favorable unto him" (33:26) Whether he means it or not, Elihu says some remarkable things here. In fact, I am sure he is dumb to his insight. Elihu places in the mediator's mouth, "I have found a ransom" (33:24). He clearly prefigures the eternal mediator, Christ Jesus, who will become the final ransom. The mediator prays to God, God will hear and restore the man to righteousness (33:26). God will look, and "if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right... He will deliver his soul from going into the pit" (33:27-28). This is the solution to sin: repentance plus the mediator's ransom equals deliverance. Then, the redeemed "will sing to men... He has redeemed my soul" (33:27-28, NASB). Elihu addresses Job rudely, as if he were not his elder: "hold thy peace, and I will speak" (33:31). He opens the floor to Job: "If thou hast anything to say, answer me" (33:32), but not surprisingly Job declines to comment. Job has finally gotten enough wisdom to quit sparring with men and wait for God. Elihu continues at a fresh pace. Jesse-Penn Lewis suggests that the heat of chapter thirty-four represents Elihu's lapse from speaking in the Spirit into his own `self-sensitiveness', owing to Job's refusal to comment (Penn-Lewis, page 157).

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Chapter Thirty-four: Drinking Scorn

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Who Drinks Up Scorn

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We Will Decide What is Right God Does Not Misjudge a Man

Who Drinks Up Scorn

Job: chapter 34 1 Furthermore Elihu answered and said, 2 Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge. 3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat. 4 Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good. 5 For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment. 6 Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression. 7 What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water? 8 Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men. 9 For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God. 10 Therefore hearken unto me ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. 11 For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. 12 Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. 13 Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? 14 If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; 15 All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. 16 If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words. 17 Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just? 18 Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly? 19 How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands. 20 In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand. 21 For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. 22 There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. 23 For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God. 24 He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead. 25 Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed. 26 He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others; 27 Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways: 28 So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted. 29 When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only: 30 That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared. 31 Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: 32 That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.

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33 Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest. 34 Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me. 35 Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom. 36 My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men. 37 For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.

"Hear my words", Elihu turns to the three friends, "For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth

meat" (34:2-3). He is upset at the lack of reception he has gotten from Job, and turns his back to Job: "Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good" (34:4). This is the ugly side of Elihu, the one that runs, not to God, but to the self-sufficiency of personal knowledge, (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), and to the support of the others whom he has just finished criticizing. There are those who suspect that Elihu is a pre-carnate visitation of Christ. Clearly, Elihu is unaware that Job is innocent and that his tribulations are not of his own making. Spurred on by his anger, Elihu begins to spew forth vile accusations ending with a curse against Job. There is no better proof that this is not Christ or anything like him. If he is not heard from again after the Lord arrives, it may be because he ran as fast as he could and never returned. I am being factitious. Because he loves God, Elihu was likely cowed by the appearance of God as much as was Job. But, like Job, Elihu loves the world and his place in it. He is, in the terms of the New Testament writers, double-minded. This Janus head catches him at the threshold of heaven, always looking back (Genesis 19:26) and so unable to enter.

We Will Decide What is Right

`Job says that he is guiltless' (9:21 and 16:17), reasons Elihu (34:5), and that `God won't hear his case' (19:7; 27:2), furthermore Job challenges that he should not lie and say he is unrighteous (27:5-6; 34:6). With disgust, Elihu says, "What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water" (34:7)? Here Elihu has completely melded with the other three, quoting Eliphaz, "How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?" (15:16) with the additional coloring that Job seems not to care that he is scorned, i.e. he is devoid of shame. He will not repent, but sits with the sinners, and adds to his shame saying, "It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God" (34:9). "Therefore..." (34:10). We are back to threadbare argument of the three friends: "God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment" (34:12), "He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others; Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways" (34:26-27). The proud Elihu is driven to anger by Job's dismissal in not answering. He has just turned Job's words on their head to use against him. Job justifiably feels let down by God. Job does say, "If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent" (9:23). In chapter twenty-one he elaborates on this thought that the wicked prosper and the just may be tormented. However, in conclusion, Job quotes the wicked, "What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?" (21:15). He follows up, "Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me" (21:16). `I could never listen to that', says Job. But Elihu, claims that Job is saying that. It is no wonder that he gets no response from Job, any more than the chief priests got a response from Jesus (Mark 15:3-5). "Speak what thou knowest" (34:33). Job has gone to great lengths to answer his friends and peers, but to no avail. He has no reason to answer this youngster. It is in fact beneath him to answer. Elihu doesn't see

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it that way. He closes this chapter with great vehemence: "My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men. For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God" (34:36-37). Elihu is angry that his wisdom is spurned. At this point, Elihu has solidly aligned himself with Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, trying to outdo them in insult, derision and now cursing.

God Does Not Misjudge a Man

There are some fresh arguments here. "There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. For he will not lay upon man more than right [He does not need to consider a man further, (NASB)]; that he should enter into judgment with God" (34:22-23). These chewy verses imply that a mediator won't change anything between you and God because God knows all the evidence. It is not possible to hide. Speaking under the Spirit in the last chapter, Elihu put forward the suggestion that the mediator may advance a ransom. He seems to withdraw that now. God is not under the compulsion to reconsider, but God, in His mercy, does wait for us. Elihu's careful attention seems lacking here: "Suppose a man says to God, `I am guilty but will offend no more. Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.' Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent?" (34:31-33). Elihu suggests that Job is unwilling to repent. Job has several times asked for his sin to be revealed (10:2; 13:23; 23:4-5 and 31:35). It is hard to imagine that he would not be willing to repent were sin revealed. "Shall He recompense on your terms, because you have rejected it?" (34:33, NASB). Elihu is now firmly caught in the same trap that has snared the others, Job's torment is a result of some undisclosed sin known to God. Job's refusal to accede to this notion and repent indicates stubbornness and rebellion. As far as the law is concerned, Job, we know, is perfect. God is pressing Job to step beyond the law. This is beyond the comprehension of any of the gathered men. Elihu accuses: "Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom" (34:35). Although true, Job's four detractors are about to have a rude awakening. They all are in the same boat. All misjudge the situation, and all speak at length without wisdom, since none of them have any knowledge of the causes of Job's calamity. Job's three friends will be harshly rebuked for their false report of Job, which Elihu is now guilty of as well. Elihu finishes with a savage curse: "My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end" (34:36). Some translations place this in the form of a prayer: "My father, let Job be tried" (Clarke, note on 34:36). This involves the translation of the Hebrew word âbeh or âbiy, which means `father' in Hebrew, but is never used in the Book of Job to refer to God as the implication would be here. Therefore Barnes suggests, "The probability is, therefore, that the word is from âbâh­`to breathe after, to desire'" (Barnes, notes to 34:36). This is the most common rendering of the word. Either way the implication would be that of a curse. The NET Bible tries to avoid the controversy: "But Job will be tested to the end" (NET Bible, footnote to 34:36), but leaves the impression that Elihu is merely giving a well meant warning. Finally, Elihu accuses Job of rebellion. It would appear that the rebellion that most offends him is that of not being listened to. He will have no more words of encouragement or offerings of redemption. He appears to write off Job with this. Despite all of their vehemence, none of the other three have slammed the door as firmly.

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Chapter Thirty-five: You Must Wait

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What Profit Shall I Have

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Words Without Knowledge

What Profit Shall I Have

Job: chapter 35 1 Elihu spake moreover, and said, 2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's? 3 For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin? 4 I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee. 5 Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou. 6 If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? 7 If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? 8 Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man. 9 By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. 10 But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; 11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? 12 There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men. 13 Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it. 14 Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. 15 But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity: 16 Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.

In a free form manner, Job has questioned God and God's justice. Job has come down squarely on

God's side, he just can't say why. Still full of himself, Elihu tries to latch onto Job's queries only to hideously distort Job's conclusions. He presumes to quote Job, "My righteousness is more than God's... What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin" (35:2-3)? The actual quote is: "What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him" (21:15)? The preceding verse clarifies: "Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways" (21:14). "They" being "the wicked" (21:7). Job is roundly condemning this thought, which Elihu now puts in Job's mouth. Nowhere does Job vaunt himself above God in righteousness. No wonder Job is silent. Where he to speak, he would not contain his anger.

Words Without Knowledge

Having presumed a false argument, Elihu goes on to answer (35:3-4). God is unaffected by our righteousness or our sin (35:6-7). In chapter 7, Job was wishing that God would not take so much interest in his sin (7:16-19). Elihu is tip-toeing close to the `night vision' of Eliphaz (4:12-21). Fyall notes, "if Elihu is

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right God will simply not appear to Job, and thus it is difficult to imagine a greater marginalising of Elihu than the spectacular appearance of God which is shortly to happen" (Fyall, page 100). Elihu continues: "by... the multitude of oppressions... the oppressed cry" (35:9). Elihu begins to slide off into a defense of God, answering Job's statements, "The earth is given into the hand of the wicked" (9:24), "Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them" (24:12). Elihu suggests that the victims have failed to call on God: "But none saith, Where is God my maker" (35:10). Because of the pride of evil men the cry is not heard, (35:12), God won't listen to vanity (35:13). The Hebrew word translated as `vanity' is `shâv', which Strong's defines as `guile' or `vanity' in the sense of falsity (Strong, H7723). The sense is: you can't fool God with a two-pronged implication: that the oppressed multitudes are not heard by God because of their corruption, and that Job too is lying to God. "How much less when you say you do not behold Him," Elihu scolds, "The case is before Him, and you must wait for Him!" (35:14, NASB). This New American Standard translation, which uses the word `wait', seems to bring out the meaning indicated by the Hebrew word `chûl' (Strong, H2342). "The word which is used here (tchûlël, from chûl) means `to turn around'; to twist; to be firm­as a rope is that is twisted; and then to wait or delay­that is, to be firm in patience" (Barnes, notes to 35:14). This is is the same word we saw in verse 26:5 and again 26:13 referring to dead things and serpents. The word is used the refer to birth: "wast thou made before the hills" (15:7), "hinds do calve" (39:1; also Psalm 29:9), as in the writhing of birth-pangs. It also refers to strong pain: "The wicked man travaileth" (15:20). Finally, it is used in this sense, being bound in the midst of transformation: "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him" (Psalm 37:7); and again, "I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings" (Psalm 40:1-2). Wait and God will bring more wrath, or clarify your sin (35:15). To speak before that is to "multiplieth words without knowledge" (35:16). This is the core of God's opening statement to Job, in chapter 38. Elihu may be an imperfect vessel, but, here, his council is excellent, probably led by the Holy Spirit. Elihu is not listening to his own advise. Too eager to speak for God, he rushes ahead with horrid presumption. Elihu's own vanity won't let him wait on the Lord. He, too, multiplies words without knowledge, even as he scolds Job, his elder, for the same. "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding" (Proverbs 17:28). By this point Job has shut his lips and is waiting. He further declines to reply to Elihu which, as I mentioned, seems to have enraged the proud young man.

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Chapter Thirty-six: On God's Behalf

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On God's Behalf

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My Words Are True God Does Not Despise You

On God's Behalf

Job: chapter 36 1 Elihu also proceeded, and said, 2 Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God's behalf. 3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. 4 For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee. 5 Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom. 6 He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor. 7 He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted. 8 And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction; 9 Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. 10 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity. 11 If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. 12 But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge. 13 But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them. 14 They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean. 15 He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression. 16 Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness. 17 But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee. 18 Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. 19 Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength. 20 Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place. 21 Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction. 22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him? 23 Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity? 24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. 25 Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off. 26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. 27 For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof; 28 Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. 29 Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle? 30 Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea. 31 For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance. 32 With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt. 33 The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

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"Elihu also proceeded" (36:1). Barnes suggests that each of the friends has had three speeches, with the exception of Zophar who failed to speak up the last time, and now, according to Hebrew commentators this remark indicates that this is added, i.e. Elihu is proceeding into a forth speech (Barnes, notes to 36:1). "Suffer me a little" (36:2). Elihu appears to be struggling to hold his audience. Elihu does add to the narrative, but at this moment he has put off all four of his elders none of which cares to dignify him with a reply.

"He that is perfect in knowledge is with thee" (36:4). Elihu promotes himself as a great teacher: "I have yet to speak on God's behalf. I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker" (36:2-3). As for whether, "He that is perfect in knowledge" indicates that Elihu believes God to be present, or whether Elihu believes himself to be perfect in knowledge, the context leaves it open to debate. But the fact that he immediately describes the ways in which he will summon knowledge and form eloquent praise would indicate that he believes himself to be the great teacher. In actuality, both views seem remarkable. Elihu declares his words to be true and makes this statement, forming one sentence, (I don't know if this applies to the original Hebrew). The obvious assumption is that Elihu is saying his words are true because he is perfect in knowledge. If this is the case, this statement stands out as incredibly arrogant, if not blasphemous. By the end of this chapter, the presence of God is descending in power, so it is possible that Elihu is genuinely sensing the Spirit. If this statement is Elihu's announcement that the Holy Ghost is present, it is the first time that anyone has acknowledged the immediate presence of God. Up to this point, God has been addressed in third person for the most part. When Job reaches desperation he has shouted to the Lord, as one shouts to the clouds above, fully admitting that he is not getting an answer. Unfortunately, Elihu begins to trot out the same tired theology that all three men are well versed in, and which is not solving the questions of the hour. If he were genuinely sensing the spirit, I would imagine that he would make way. So, unfortunately we should conclude that Elihu believes himself to be the one perfect in knowledge.

My Words Are True

Elihu's theology is predictable: those who obey God "shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures" (36:11), and those who do not "shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge" (36:12). Both Elihu and Job have flashes of insight into deeper understandings of God and His workings, but essentially they both agree, those who do right are blessed and those who do wrong are torn asunder. For Job, his present circumstances would seem to put him in the camp of the unrighteous. He is devastated in the physical, so his righteousness is called into question as well. Job is simply unable to explain his great affliction. His theology works against him, and yet he holds to it (21:17-20). He cries out, but God isn't answering (19:7). Elihu and the three friends reach for the obvious answer: "thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked" (36:17). They don't know what the sin is, but there must be one. Elihu goes on to warn Job, "beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee" (36:18).

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

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God Does Not Despise You

The Spirit is moving again for Elihu. He softens his `what are you to God' approach here: "Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any" (36:5), and "who teacheth like him?" (36:22). He warns Job, "Do not turn to evil; for you have preferred this to affliction" (36:21). Job is caught in an unseen balance. His choice is to harden himself against God, who appears for all intents and purposes to have abandoned him completely, or to turn to God in faith and believe that God's goodness is still there, even in his affliction. This is a very difficult choice. It is Job himself who clings the most firmly to the faith that God will not desert him in the final judgment (19:25-27). Elihu is still seeing things in black and white, lightning or gentle rain: "For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance" (36:31). God will soon appear from out of a whirlwind. Elihu speaks of rain (36:27-28), the movements of the clouds, the thunder (36:29), and lightning (36:30). One almost feels the clouds gathering: "With clouds he covereth the light" (36:32), the thunder rumbling: "noise thereof", and the cattle looking for shelter, (36:33). A powerful storm is approaching rapidly.

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William. W. Wells

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Chapter Thirty-seven: God Approaches

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God Approaches

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Listen to the Roar of His Voice Would You Ask to be Swallowed?

God Approaches

Job: chapter 37 1 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. 2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. 3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth. 4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. 5 God thundereth marvelously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. 6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. 7 He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work. 8 Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places. 9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. 10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. 11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: 12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. 13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy. 14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. 15 Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine? 16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge? 17 How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind? 18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass? 19 Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness. 20 Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up. 21 And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them. 22 Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty. 23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. 24 Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.

Why doesn't Elihu shut up? God's majestic storm is piling up all around, while Elihu continues to jabber. He describes the majesty of God's approach, he talks of the power and mystery of God and he continues to scold Job. In fairness, if he remained silent, we would not have this wonderful description of what is happening.

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Listen to the Roar of His Voice

Job does remain silent. Elihu and the three friends feel that God is comfortable with them, so they are unconcerned for themselves, but marvel at the awesome presence: "my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place" (37:1). Job knows that he is the center of God's attention. He doesn't know why he is afflicted and he doesn't know what God will do, so he fears this approach. His silence is a dread silence. He has never experienced the fear of the Lord like this. "Hear attentively the noise of his voice" (37:2), thunder booms across the sky (37:2-5), "God thundereth marvelously." Lightning rakes the horizon, "unto the ends of the earth" (37:3). Animals scurry for shelter (37:8), as sleet, rain and torrential downpours begin (37:6). God breathes and freezing winds approach from the north, while whirlwinds appear from the south (37:9-10). The winds shift about at God's command (37:12). "He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work" (37:7). This conveys the idea of closing a box or letter and securing it with a wax seal. We might say that the force of God's tempest boxes us in, where we must wait, witnessing the power of God to work miracles of life or destruction. Elihu ruminates on the gathering storm from the standpoint of an observer: God's rains may be "for correction, or for His land, or for mercy" (37:13). The rains may fall to nourish the plants and streams, or for mercy, as in the case of Elijah's prayers which relieved a punishing drought (1 Kings 18:41-45). But in this case, everyone assumes God is coming for correction.

Would You Ask to be Swallowed?

"Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God" (37:14). Elihu returns to scolding. "Teach us what we shall say to Him; We cannot arrange our case because of darkness" (37:19), (i.e. ignorance). How can we argue with God, when we don't know what the charges are, what the facts are, or what God will accept. Elihu returns to his most important theme: it is better to stand still and wait. "Should He be told that I want to speak? Would any man ask to be swallowed" (37:20)? If a man speaks out of turn, in ignorance, "he shall be swallowed up" (37:20) by God. Elihu is not his best disciple. Suddenly the winds cease, the clouds clear and a golden light pours down (37:21-22). Verse 22 literally says, "From the north cometh gold; with God is terrible majesty" (37:22, Darby's New Translation). In this silence and awesome splendor, Elihu, unable to stay silent, lays down a final dart: "he respecteth not any that are wise of heart" (37:24). Elihu is brushed aside, as God comes to speak directly to Job.

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

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Chapter Thirty-eight: God Speaks

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God Speaks

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Gird Up Your Loins When I Made the World Who Can Give Understanding?

God Speaks

Job: chapter 38 1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. 4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it, 10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? 12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; 13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? 14 It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. 15 And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. 16 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? 17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? 18 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. 19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, 20 That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? 21 Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great? 22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, 23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? 24 By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? 25 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; 26 To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; 27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? 28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? 29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? 30 The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. 31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? 32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? 33 Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? 34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?

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35 Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are? 36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart? 37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, 38 When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? 39 Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, 40 When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? 41 Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

For those who equate sympathy with love, notice that God gives no sympathy. God comes and challenges immediately. Who are you to question me? You know nothing (38:2). God is direct and to the point. You "Darkeneth counsel", He says, which refers to extinguishing the light (Strong, H2821) of advice (Strong, H6098). Job knows too little and talks too much. This is a common problem with those who are fervently religious. There is a reason why we have two ears and one mouth.

The curse of the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" is trying to use our own reason when the answers are far beyond our grasp. The result is not a clarity of vision, but rather confusion, offense to our neighbor or to God, heresy and more. Job, who is being condemned for making the answer harder to see rather than easier, is actually the least offensive to God of the current cast of characters. God will show that Job's continued suffering is because he is trying to use reason instead of prayer to fathom the depths of God's way.

Gird Up Your Loins Like a Man

"Gird up now thy loins like a man" (38:3). When preparing to travel a person ties a belt or sash about the midsection (Exodus 12:11). Because of the long loose clothing worn at that time, it was necessary to gather up the garments and belt them before physical exertion such as running (Exodus 12:11; 1 Kings 18:46; 2 Kings 4:29 & 9:1) or fighting (2 Samuel 22:40; 1 Kings 20:11). This also speaks strongly of attentiveness and alertness (Isaiah 5:27) and self control (Isaiah 11:5). Barnes comments, "The idea here is, `Make thyself as strong and vigorous as possible; be prepared to put forth the highest effort.' God was about to put him to a task which would require all his ability" (Barnes, notes to 38:3). Importantly, the loins are connected to fear. "His thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another" (Daniel 5:6; see also: Isaiah 45:1). This is a biblical way of saying, `he messed his pants.' Thus, `gird up your loins' has the additional meaning of `be brave': "gird up thy loins... be not dismayed at their faces" (Jeremiah 1:17) or as the NIV reads: "Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you." God is saying, `you wanted to see me, here I am. Are you ready?' Notice that although Job wants to question God, God has no intention of allowing Job an open floor. "I will demand of thee, and answer thou me" (38:3).

When I Made the World

The rest of this chapter is the Lord asking a torrent of questions (thirty-nine in this chapter and twenty more in the next two chapters according to my notes). These are not questions that Job can intelligently answer: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" (38:4), "Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?" (38:16), "Have the gates of death been opened unto thee?" (38:17), "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" (38:31). These are questions meant show Job his relative ignorance.

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William. W. Wells

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It may appear that God is putting Job down. It is not. God is softening Job for His final point. For this, Job must understand, not in an intellectual way, but in a visceral way, the power and the attentiveness of God. This chapter deals with God's breadth and power. But the imagery includes images such as the womb (38:8 & 29), swaddling bands (38:9), raising children (38:31-32,39, & 41), and imparting wisdom and understanding (38:36). Intellectually, Job understands the power of God: "Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south" (9:9), and "Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number" (9:10). Job knows that he can't contend with God: "If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand" (9:3), and "Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou" (9:10)? And yet, Job's understanding does not reach the core, for he does ask to contend with God (10:2), and proceeds to build his case (10:3-22). God has placed a heavy burden on Job. He has allowed Satan to torment Job beyond comprehension. Job's desire to contend with God and to be justified (31:4) is a form of rebellion against this yoke. While Job has not denied God, he has definitely been wagging his finger in God's face. If I place myself in Job's shoes, I would have to think that Job is being mild. I complain when I get a traffic ticket.

Who Can Give Understanding?

"Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart" (38:36)? Job knows very well that he cannot understand his situation apart from God: "where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living" (28:12-13). Yet, he stubbornly insists that God hear him. He presumes that he understands his own situation and that God would not violate the agreement that he presumes to be in force: if I am good, You will bless me. Contemporary Christians often rely on a variation of this: if I stand on faith, You will bless me. Job is frustrated and disappointed as are so many Christians. God tried to penetrate Job's contentious front, through his friends, who unfortunately serve the devil's bidding better; through Elihu, and chiefly through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Job is still resisting, continuing "to kick against the pricks" (Acts 9:5). It is now time for Job to stop the rebellion in his heart and to accept what God has placed on him, difficult as it is. He will discover that the most difficult task, the heaviest yoke is light: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30). Job's rebellion, like all rebellion, stems from the belief that he has been abandoned, rejected. Job believes that God has turned his back on him: "If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice" (9:16). Rejection is this root that God goes after next, as He begins here (38:39) to explain the care with which He maintains all things.

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William. W. Wells

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Chapter Thirty-nine: God Speaks

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God's Care

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Their Babies Thrive You Are Not Forgotten

God's Care

Job: chapter 39 1 Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve? 2 Canst thou number the months that they fulfill? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth? 3 They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows. 4 Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them. 5 Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass? 6 Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings. 7 He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. 8 The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing. 9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? 10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? 11 Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labor to him? 12 Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn? 13 Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? 14 Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, 15 And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. 16 She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not her's: her lab our is in vain without fear; 17 Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding. 18 What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider. 19 Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? 20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. 21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. 22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. 23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. 24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. 25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. 26 Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? 27 Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? 28 She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. 29 From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. 30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.

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While God's questions continue unabated, the questions are softer in tone and purpose. God's power and Job's relative insignificance still rest behind these questions, but these questions point directly to the care with which God watches over the least significant creature.

Their Babies Thrive

While Job may carefully watch over his domestic herds, can he watch over the mountain goat or the deer when they are ready to give birth (39:1-4)? And who watches over the wild donkey (39:5-8), or the wild ox (39:9-12)? Job cannot domesticate them, yet, "Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them" (39:4). It is God who watches over them. More than that, some animals don't watch over their own young at all. The ostrich abandons her eggs and is unconcerned (39:13-16, for a more complete discussion of Ostriches as they relate to this passage see: Barnes, notes to 39:14-16), for God has made her that way (39:17). Again, God is watching over them. Can you give strength to the horse (39:19), or take it away (39:20)? God makes the horse full of power and fearless (39:20-25). The hawk and the eagle soar because God made them that way (39:26-27). These questions are meant to slap Job to his senses. They are not, as some commentators suppose, meant to humble Job with his relative insignificance. Job has become self-absorbed and self-focused. Often people who have been involved in a lot of psychotherepy or who read self-help continually become as Job is now, focussed entirely on their personal situation. This is God trying to jar Job awake. Open your eyes and see, God has woven a rich tapestry of life and He watches over each tiny aspect. God is not simply passing Job a note, reminding him, God is in Job's face with question after question confronting Job so that he cannot escape. Each question penetrates to a deeper level until the core is exposed. Another vivid example of this is Jesus question to Peter after the resurection: "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?" (John 21:15). Peter answers, `you know I do.' Jesus asks again, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:16). And Peter answers in the same manner. Jesus repeats the question again, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:17). Now he has achieved his effect, lanced the wound of Peter's three denials: "Peter was grieved" (John 21:17). Here God is trying to "open the doors of his face" (41:14). As we will see, Job is still not moving.

You Are Not Forgotten

God is spelling it out. Job: everything is in my hands. "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God" (Luke 12:6)? If God is being oblique here, it is because Job must get it down in his gut (his loins): Job you are not forgotten! Satan has been constantly pushing the message that Job is forgotten of God: through his wife's discouragement (2:9), Eliphaz's vision (4:17-21), the incessant condemnations, and finally Elihu (35:6-7). Bildad states Satan's case very well: "How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm" (25:4-6)? Given Job's miserable condition and his limited theology, his spirit is being crushed. In fact, Bildad's statement is not incorrect. But given the circumstances, it adds to the general sense that God has turned His back on Job. Gently, God is trying to pry open Job's discouraged eyes: `Job, see how I care for all living things.' Poor Job. God is leading Job like a little child through God's special garden. Look Job, see there and there. One by one God points out all the things he is caring for. Job is intractable. All he can see is the might and power of God. Job feels he is wronged but he can do nothing to achieve justice. He is at the mercy of the Most High. While it is easy to appreciate mercy and it is easy to celebrate justice, it is hard

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for Job who must wait in faith for he is not seeing mercy or justice. The subtle message of God's care is not penetrating. At the root of it is Job's mighty fortress: himself, his own righteousness. Having done all things in perfect accord with God's law, Job believes that he is entitled to a rich and comfortable life according to his own standards. Job keeps falling back on his rights. In the United States we have a "Bill of Rights" which are self stated as "inalienable". Or look at this from the Declaration of Independance: "the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them". We have entitlements which cannot be taken away, so our founding fathers presummed. Job is functioning under this same delusion, I am righteous so I am entitled. What God is trying to show Job is that He has Job's best interest at heart if Job would but believe it. Job has lost all faith in God's compassion towards him. God is gently trying to persuade Job that under all the misery, God's love and care are still active. As we will see, it is not working and stronger medicine is needed.

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Chapter Forty: Behemoth

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Job Replies to God Gird Up Your Loins

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Getting Satan Off Your Back The Power of God Not a Hippopotamus One is Not Like the Other Righteousness in the Loins The Navel of the Belly The Sinews of His Stones The Maker's Sword In the covert of the Reeds If the River Rages

Two Creatures

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Behemoth

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Job Replies to God

Job: chapter 40 1 Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said, 2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. 3 Then Job answered the Lord, and said, 4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. 5 Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.

OK! So you want to contend with God, you who wish to teach God, you wish to show God where He is wrong, the floor is open... (40:2). Job is given the opportunity to complain directly to God. Standing in the awesome presence, Job humbles himself and declines to answer (40:4-5). Author Philip Yancey exclaims, "I have a hunch that God could have read a page from the phone book and Job would have meekly consented" (Yancey, page 62). And so it appears to be.

God sees the heart of Job. This is tactical humility and not heartfelt understanding. "The Lord must have from him a more frank confession of repentance and a deeper turning from himself and the past than this contrite response" (Penn-Lewis, page 183)! Many of us, in our walk, are turning to the Lord, but finding no solace. Job gets no solace here. Job is maintaining a right to his rights. His heart is not fully surrendered to the Lord. Yet, he has been pouring himself out to the Lord. The great preacher Charles Finney addresses this: "Much prayer, or that which is called prayer, is after all nothing by lusting in the Bible sense of the term. It is a craving of the mind after some selfish good. Much prayer is nothing but the pouring out of the cravings of a selfish heart. The Apostle James speaks of this state of mind: `Ye lust, and have not: ye kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.'" (Finney, page 17). How many times have you heard this cropped to "you have not, because you ask not" (James 4:2-3)? Job is believing in relief according to his vision of what is right. It is self-centered desire. James is very clear about this and is not complementary:

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William. W. Wells

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"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4). God has tried to prod Job. He has appeared before Job. He has contrasted His power with His care. Job is clearly intimidated, but that is not God's purpose. If that were His purpose it would be better to occasionally appear and fry an egregious offender. All His might and power is set aside, God is wooing Job. Job will not open his eyes. God must expose the thing at the core of Job which resists the worship of God as He stands before Job. God will share something special: Job's way out of his torment. Some commentators would like to reorder things in the last three chapters so that Job's replies come altogether, but God gets the last word. The repeat of "gird up your loins" is presumed to be added to make sense of stitching fragmented scrolls back together incorrectly (Clarke, notes on 40:1 & 7). The theory is that the last chapters being on the outside of the roll are the most vulnerable to damage. I don't see much fruit in these speculations. The narrative is clear as is. The separation of Behemoth and Leviathan help insure that they are not to be taken as an extension of God's description of His care for the animals as these scholars suggest (Clarke, note on 40:24), but are distinct allegorical descriptions of spiritual types.

Gird Up Your Loins

Job: chapter 40 continued 6 Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? 9 Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? 10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. 11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. 12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. 13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. 14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

Does Job think that he can demure and this resistance will stop God? The contention is still churning

inside Job. God sees it. God repeats his opening challenge, answering out of the whirlwind and not out of a gentle breeze (40:6). "Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me" (40:7). Dear Job, I see your heart, "Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?" (40:8). Here is the third set of instructional questions, or more properly challenges. `Are you ready to judge' (40:9-13)? `Job, can you rise up above the proud and bring them into judgment' (40:11-13)? Face the facts Job, if you can't pass judgment on the kings of the earth, how do you hope to pass judgment on God? If you are so powerful, then: "thine own right hand can save thee" (40:14). Such irony is not a trait normally associated with God, but Job is being stubborn. God tries to reason with him, but Job doesn't appear to hear anything. Job is walled off, shielded so tightly the very air will not pass through (41:15-17). If you believe, as I did for years, that Job is just a guiltless pawn in a quarrel between God and Satan, look again. Job is under indictment. Compared to you and me, Job may be a saint, but in the midst of this

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struggle, God has dug something up in Job and its not gold. Job has not done anything wrong, his ways are still perfect, but there is a hardness, a resistance to God that allows the devil free access to continue to torment Job. Satan still believes he will win. What is Job doing that is so wrong? He is holding on. He is holding on to his righteousness. He is holding on to the memory of all the good things he has done. He wishes to wave them in front of God. Luke tells us of the ruler who comes to Jesus asking, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life" (Luke 18:18)? Jesus' reply, which is not the answer, is off-putting. Apparently he was already sensing flattery and self-satisfaction. "Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother" (Luke 18:19-20). The ruler answers that he has followed the law from his youth. Jesus does not suggest that he is wrong, but answers, and this is the answer to the rulers question, "Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me" (Luke 18:22). The man went away sorrowful for he had a large stake in the things of this world. He would not open his hand and loose the riches of this world in order to receive the gift of eternal life. In another example, Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, came to Israel to seek Elisha. He had contracted leprosy and was told that Elisha could cure him. He arrived in great pomp and circumstance, terrifying the King of Israel, but Elisha didn't even go out to meet him. Instead he sent a messenger to tell him to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River. The general was very angry. "Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?" (2 Kings 5:11-12). He was expecting signs and wonders. He expected to be reverenced. "So he turned and went away in a rage" (2 Kings 5:12). This man was ready to reject the healing touch because his pride was offended.

Getting Satan Off Your Back

It would seem that Job has nothing left to hold on to. But, like the Syrian general, he still has his righteousness, even if no one else believes him. Job is holding on to what he knows is right and what he knows is wrong. This is forbidden in one place specifically: the Garden of Eden. Our personal judgment is reserving the right to chose what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil. Acting on one's own understanding of good and evil is eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). This may seem esoteric, but bear with me. In Biblical analogy, fruit is the result of actions taken. "In an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience" (Luke 8:15). "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life" (Romans 6:22). The tree of knowledge, is not of evil only, but, the knowledge of good and evil. As soon as Adam and Eve decided that their opinion was good and acted on that judgment, against the instructions of God, they were eating the fruit. I have heard all sorts of teachings on just what that fruit might have been. If it mattered, the Bible would tell us. What matters is that Adam's judgment was set over and against God's. At this moment, in his heart Job is eating that very same fruit even though he is not doing anything sinful. In the crucible of supreme trial he is holding to Adam's choice, choosing his own opinion, and so remains under Adam's sin and therefore Adam's curse. Verse 14 works two ways. It is a bridge between what comes before and what comes after. First there is the undercutting of Job's self-righteousness and pride. "Hast thou an arm like God?" (40:9); "then... thine own right hand can save thee" (40:14). But, there is more here than that. God is letting Job in on a secret: "I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee" (40:14). Let go! You are not the captain of this ship. You are not able to judge the kings of this earth. Open your hand and release your white

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knuckle grip on this world, and then your hand will be filled. The mountains themselves will feed you (40:20). I would be remiss if I did not broach one topic here. To come to the wedding feast, you must wear a wedding garment. "And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 22:11-13). The wedding garment is the white garment of righteousness. "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" (Revelation 3:5). You must repent, confess your sins, make yourself clean by the washing of the blood. "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14). Righteousness is essential. But paradoxically, even though we must be righteous or have cleansed ourselves from all unrighteousness, we are not justified, we cannot demand entry to God's presence. "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Righteousness is essential, but it is only the first step. What is the secret to getting Satan off your back? "Behold now Behemoth" (40:15).

Two Creatures

What follows is the description of two huge creatures, Behemoth and Leviathan. Because these two creatures are critical to the understanding of the entire book of Job, I must make some preparatory comments. On the surface this concluding description by God is puzzling at best. Many writers ignore the two beasts, or skim quickly over them. Carlo Martini catches the prevailing sentiment: "God's second discourse (40:6-41), which has caused rivers of ink to run from the pens of the exegetes, for it is difficult to determine what, if anything, of importance it adds to the first discourse. What is the point of the almost baroque descriptions of the two great animals: the hippopotamus and Leviathan? Why this delight in description that seems to detract from the dramatic climax which the book has now reached?" (Martini, pages 109-110).

The Power of God

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary suggests that these two creatures are ways in which God shows Job his own relative insignificance. This interpretation is suspiciously close to the `night vision' of Eliphaz in chapter four, which is clearly not of God. His appears to be a popular opinion. Penne-Lewis paraphrases Gods discourse of chapters 40 and 41 with, "Behemoth is Mine, and and you are Mine. I have the sovereign right of doing what I will with Mine own. AND JOB IS VANQUISHED!" (Penn-Lewis, page 189). Martini, quoted above, in similar fashion, suggested that they represent Egypt and Mesopotamia under God's power (Martini, page 110). The suggestion is the same: God creates and controls the most powerful, so you had better toe the line. Barnes states this in a more mild fashion: "The general impression designed to be secured by this whole address is that of awe, reverence, and submission" (Barnes, Introduction to Job, section 5). Everything will be put right after Job is thoroughly cowed. This view of God leads to the most jaded relativized vision of the Almighty. According to this viewpoint, God comes out to be a cosmic bully. Those who subscribe to social darwinism often see this sort of `primitive' view of God in the older books

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of the Bible. Only in later books of the Bible, will God appear merciful and longsuffering. I hope that I have so far demonstrated that there is nothing primitive about the concept of God displayed here. It is the God of Moses: "The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation" (Exodus 34:6-7). This is the same God Jesus introduced us to. If God were overpowering Job here, why doesn't Job collapse into terminal depression? By this view, Job has been bullied into a corner for no known reason. All he can do is sit down and be quiet, a child unjustly condemned. Instead, Job's demeanor is completely transformed: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (42:5-6).

Not a Hippopotamus

Behemoth, it is suggested is a hippopotamus, and Leviathan is often referred to as a whale, a seamonster or crocodile (Barnes, notes to 40:15 and 41:1 contain extensive discussions). Adam Clarke's Commentary spends a great deal of time trying to decide exactly what these two creatures are, but neither Barnes or Clarke spend any time examining their significance to Job. Clarke goes to great length to argue that Behemoth is a mammoth or a mastodon. There are several who argue that Behemoth represents a dinosaur (Jackson, ChristianCourier.com). The importance of the two creatures do not lie in what they are, but in what they describe. What they may or may not be based on in the physical or mythical realm is of only tangential interest. A mastodon could not save Job from Satan. God is sending Job an important message. Behemoth is "the chief of the ways of God" (40:19), and is linked with Job's deliverance. "Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee. Behold now Behemoth..." (40:14-15). Leviathan, on the other hand, "is a king over all the children of pride" (41:34). Leviathan is blocking Job's path to God. There are two non-canonical books with descriptions of the two creatures which might help to fill in the background understanding of Behemoth and Leviathan. The first is from the book of Second Esdra (also known as 4,5 and 6 Ezra; the earlier 2 Ezra is now called Nehemiah and 3 Ezra is now 1 Esdra) found in the Slavonic Bible and in the Latin Vulgate Appendix: "The dumb and lifeless water produced living creatures, as it was commanded, so that therefore the nations might declare your wondrous works. Then you kept in existence two living creatures; the one you called Behemoth and the name of the other Leviathan. And you separated one from the other, for the seventh part where the water had been gathered together could not hold them both. And you gave Behemoth one of the parts that had been dried up on the third day, to live in it, where there are a thousand mountains; but to Leviathan you gave the seventh part, the watery part; and you have kept them to be eaten by whom you wish, and when you wish" (2 Esdra 6:48-52, NRSV). This creation account tells us little about the two creatures kept in existence at that time except to suggest that they are both water creatures to be eaten, but one is living in dry land.

One is Not Like the Other

The second reference is from The Book of Enoch and gives a description of the two creatures in the context of judgment. "That day has been prepared for the elect as a day of covenant; and for sinners as a day of inquisition. In that day shall be distributed for food two monsters; a female monster, whose name is Leviathan, dwelling in the depths of the sea, above the springs of waters; And a male monster, whose name is Behemoth; which possesses, moving on his breast, the invisible wilderness. His name was Dendayen in the east of the garden, where the elect and the righteous will dwell" (Enoch 58:6-8, page 67).

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Biblical scholars believe the Book of Enoch to have first appeared about one hundred and fifty years before Christ. Although it was not included in the Hebrew canon, I mention it here, as it gives us an independent evaluation of what Behemoth and Leviathan represented to the Jews before the time of Jesus. This book is quoted by Jesus and several of the New Testament writers, and Jude mentions the book by name (Jude 14-15). The desert dwelling of Behemoth here seems to contrast with the physical details of Job, but only when assuming these creatures to be physical creatures of our animal kingdom (i.e. hippopotamus and crocodile). More important is that these creatures form a contrast meant to lead men who eat them either to "a day of covenant" or "a day of inquisition". Enoch goes on to say, "These two monsters are by the power of God prepared to become food, that the punishment of God may not be in vain" (Enoch 58:14, page 68). Here, Behemoth dwells in physically humble circumstances. He lives in a barren desert and crawls on his belly. Yet, he possesses "the invisible wilderness". His place is "in the east of the garden, where the elect and the righteous will dwell." Leviathan appears to dwell in riches: "the depths of the sea, above the springs of waters." In the description of Job chapters forty and forty-one, both creatures appear to be water dwelling. As we saw in 2 Esdra, both are originally water dwelling, but one is now land dwelling. In the book of Enoch and the book of Job humility seems to be characteristic of Behemoth, but very much not of Leviathan. In a reference to Leviathan and dragons, Psalms refer to the above mentioned slaying by God to become food: "Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness" (Psalm 74:13-14).

Behemoth

Job: chapter 40 continued 15 Behold now Behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. 16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. 17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. 18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. 19 He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. 20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. 21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. 22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. 23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. 24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.

The Book of Job describes a massive creature who dwells at the waters edge Behemoth (be-haymohth'). First notice that Behemoth is not carnivorous. He "eats grass as an ox" (40:15). He is not seeking to "bite and devour" (Galations 5:15). Rather, despite his power, Behemoth is peaceful. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).

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Righteousness in the Loins

"His strength is in his loins" (40:16). The loins speak of passion. Moses is instructed to have the loins or mid-sections of his priests (Aaron and his sons) covered in a linen girdle or breeches from the loins to the thighs (Exodus 28:42). This separates them from the world. God instructs Jeremiah to make such a girdle and then bury it (Jeremiah 13:1-4). When he unearths it again, it has rotted away (Jeremiah 13:6-7). And so the Lord says, "After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory" (Jeremiah 13:9-11). "This evil people­which walk in the imagination of their heart" (Jeremiah 13:10). "Seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God." (Numbers 15:39-40). Behemoth seals his passion to the Lord for praise and for glory. Further the passions of the flesh are firmly belted. "And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins" (Isaiah 11:5).

The Navel of the Belly

"His force is in the navel of his belly" (40:16). The navel speaks of attachment, and the belly speaks of digestion and gestation. Ezekiel blames Jerusalem's sin on their failure to cut the navel at birth by severing their attachment to the Amorites, Canaanites and Hittites (Ezekiel 16:3-4) who bring perversion to the people of God. God foresaw this temptation and so instructs the children of Israel, "drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places" (Numbers 33:52). "If ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides" (Numbers 33:55). Some Bible translations speak of the `muscles of his belly' (NIV). The Hebrew term in the Strong's can indicate a `cord' or `sinew'. Attachment to God is an important aspect of Behemoth, therefore I prefer the King James translation. The alternate translation does retain the bulk of the allegorical significance. The root meaning of our english word `religion' similarly means a `cord' or `binding'. Proverbs 3 speaks of righteousness, mercy, leaning on God, not yourself, so that, "It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones". Again the sense is that of holding onto God over and above "thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). Emotions cook in the belly. Brooding fills the belly until `we have had our belly full' or `we can't stomach any more.' As the Book of Enoch indicates, the importance of the two creatures, is that we take in the one which will bring us into covenant with God. Ezekiel's vision brings him before God: "Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them" (Ezekiel 3:3-4). Fill yourself with the richness of God. "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38). I have to wonder if Behemoth was not in Christ's thoughts, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that

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eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever" (John 6:53-58).

The Sinews of His Stones

"He moveth his tail like a cedar" (40:17). "The Hebrew word (châphêts) means `to bend, to curve;' and hence, it commonly denotes `to be inclined, favorably disposed to desire or please'" (Barnes, notes to 40:17, also: Strong, H2656). I witnessed the power of Hurricane Gloria passing over Long Island. I was astounded at the strength of the pine trees which were bent flat to the ground by the power of the wind. What was truly astonishing is that they immediately popped back up when the wind ceased. As a carpenter, I know that wood, because of its ability to absorb a tremendous shock and still return to its original shape is sometimes more durable than steel. Axes, shovels and other tools have wooden handles for that reason. Barnes suggests that this is suggesting more than flexibility, but the willingness to bend (Barnes, notes to 40:17). God continues His description: "The sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron" (40:17-18). This speaks of a strong foundation. The frame of the Behemoth, the bones, are as strong as iron and brass, the metals of Job's day. From this we conclude that the Behemoth is solid at the core. Even when he bends, there is vast strength. The clue to that strength is the odd middle reference "the sinews of his stones are wrapped together." "Stones" or testicles is translated as "thighs" in other English translations. I assume this is for modesty's sake. Strong's defines the Hebrew word `pachad' to mean `testicle' (Strong, H6344). At the risk of immodesty, I believe something important is revealed here. Both because of the importance of lineage to the Hebrews and because of the awesome mystery of procreation, the testicles take on sacred character. A man who is injured there is forbidden to enter the assembly of the Lord (Deuteronomy 23:1). If two men are fighting, and the wife of one seizes the other man's genitals, her hand is to be cut off (Deuteronomy 25:11-12). It can also be said that the testicles are the seat of lusts and passions that defile, degrade and destroy if not carefully controlled. Mosaic law is filled with stringent rules regarding sex, marriage, rape, incest, homosexuality and bestiality. Punishment for transgression is grave. So we return to Behemoth: "the sinews of his stones are wrapped together." His passions, and I don't assume that this refers only to sexual lust, are tied up or under control. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Proverbs clarifies this further. "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones" (Proverbs 3:7-8). A healthy and strong relationship to God come from righteousness and humility. This strength is not obtained by `self-control' but by bending the desire to God.

The Maker's Sword

"He that made him can make his sword to approach unto him" (40:19). Meekness, even unto death. This is a special characteristic of Behemoth. "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). Behemoth willingly stretches forth his neck to the sacrificial blade. "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Submission by reason of attachment to God is a special source of strength. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). The authority you have to rebuke the devil, is in exact proportion to your submission to God. Job's walk is submitted out of fear, but his heart is held back. Now that the maker's sword cuts him, Job cries foul. Behemoth is strong by reason of absolute and total submission to God.

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An alternate translation of this passage reads: "He is the chief of God's ways: he that made him gave him his sword" (40:19, Darby; see also: Barnes, notes to 40:19). This translation is less revealing of the special character of one who is chief of the ways of God. But it reveals an aspect of God's chief in action. God's living word is His sword, made available to all who come near. Jesus in particular is seen in John's vision with the sword. "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword" (Revelations 1:16).

In the covert of the Reeds

"He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens [marshes]" (40:21-22). Behemoth hides in God. All glory is surrendered to God and the Lord's comfort surrounds him. The Lord speaks to the meek, unassuming, person, for they are willing to listen. "The meek will he teach his way" (Psalm 25:9). God commissions Isaiah to "preach good tidings unto the meek" (Isaiah 61:1). God used Moses powerfully because "Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3). The meek are therefore set apart for salvation: "God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth" (Psalm 76:9; also: Psalms 37:11, 147:6, and 149:4). "For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation" (Psalm 149:4). The meek are fed continually: "Surely the mountains bring him forth food" (40:20), and "The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about" (40:22). "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty... He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him" (Psalm 91:1 and 15). God takes care of his servants. "I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it" (Psalm 81:10). This passage from Psalm 81 is speaking in the context of obedience (or lack of it). By reason of his submission (40:19), the Behemoth is cared for by God Himself (40:20).

If the River Rages

"When the river rages, he is not alarmed; he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth" (40:23, NIV). Having surrendered all, Behemoth is fully in the hands of God, and has found full assurance of the eternal love: "in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me" (Psalm 56:4). Job's complaint: "They came upon me as a wide breaking-in of waters" (30:14). While Job struggles, Behemoth is calm. Behemoth is not surrendered to the world, but to God. "He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares" (40:24). A note that might prevent confusion: In verse 24, the term translated in King James as `snares' is `môqêsh' meaning a noose or "by implication a hook (for the nose)" (Strong, H4170). This tells us that Behemoth's eyes are opened and the world cannot put its nose ring in him. The word used for a hook in verse 1 of the next chapter is entirely different. `Hook' in chapter 41 verse 2 is still another word in Hebrew. Since many commentators equate Behemoth and Leviathan, confusion is generated when these two lines are juxtaposed. Most translations cause verse 24 to resemble the next line, chapter 41, verses 1 and 2. The actual shift in meaning is clear when observing the radical shift in context between the description of "the chief of the ways of God" (40:19) and "a king over all the children of pride" (41:34). Behemoth is always on watch, so the enemies barbs cannot hook him. "My God: in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler" (Psalm 91:2-3). Behemoth faces Satan's darts without succumbing. He is strengthened in adversity. When Jacob blesses Joseph, he points to the fact that the enemies darts have been leveled against Joseph without mercy, but he is made strong by God. "Joseph", Jacob declares, "is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over

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the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under" (Genesis 49:22-25).

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Chapter Forty-one: Leviathan

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Leviathan

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Can You Put a Hook in His Nose? Who Stands Before Me? The Pride of Leviathan Light From His Sneezes Hard as the Lower Millstone King Over All the Children of Pride

Leviathan

Job: chapter 41 1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? 2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? 3 Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? 4 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? 5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? 6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? 7 Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? 8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. 9 Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? 10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me? 11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine. 12 I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. 13 Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle? 14 Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. 15 His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. 16 One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. 17 They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered. 18 By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. 20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. 21 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. 22 In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him. 23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved. 24 His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. 25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves. 26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon. 27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. 28 The arrow cannot make him flee: sling stones are turned with him into stubble. 29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. 30 Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire. 31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. 32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.

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33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. 34 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride. God turns to paint the picture of a creature who is a total contrast to Behemoth. Understanding Behemoth should be the answer already, "ye have not, because ye ask not" (James 4:2). Turn to God with all your heart and with all your soul. Look again at James. He continues, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?" (James 4:3-4). There is more, so I suggest you read it all. Do you remember that the Hebrew word for enmity is the root word for the name Job (chapter 1)? God spends more than twice as much time describing his second allegory as he does the first. Leviathan (liv-yaw-thawn', although the popular pronunciation is Liv-I'-a-thawn) the word indicates writhing (Unger, page 73), as in a serpent or sea creature. Leviathan is often associated with Babylon, and another sea monster Rahab (9:13 and 26:12, translated as "proud" in KJV) is associated with Egypt. In opening, the picture seems to repeat the last verse of chapter forty: "Canst thou put an hook into his nose?" (41:2), compared to "his nose pierceth through snares" (40:24). There is a difference. This mention that Behemoth escaping the snares, fits into an almost reverential description. The description of Leviathan which follows begins questions intended to expose Leviathan as a wild and dangerous beast. Would you bring a very large crocodile into your living room? Would you give it to your daughter as a pet?

Abruptly,

Can You Put a Hook in His Nose?

"Canst thou draw out Leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?" (41:1) and "Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee" (42:3)? In chapter 40, by the KJV, Behemoth pierces the hook in the raging floods. In that context he is not hooked, or more precisely he is not snared in times of trouble. Regarding the Leviathan, the first hook (chapter 41, verse 1) in Hebrew is `ag-môn', which according to Strong's indicates rushes (Strong, H100). Rushes woven into a cord suggest a fishing line more than the hook itself as the rest of the verse suggests. Verse 1, therefore, questions whether the Leviathan can be caught and pulled in, or whether his tongue can be tied up or bridled (see also 41:13). "The idea is, that he could not be led about by a cord, as tame animals may be" (Barnes, notes to 41:2). The second verse directly asks, "Canst thou put an hook into his nose" (41:2)? This gets at the character of Leviathan. He is uncontrollable. It is not possible to befriend Leviathan with kind words (41:3), or to strike a bargain with Leviathan (41:4). If you try to capture or to tame Leviathan, you will fail (41:7,9), so "remember the battle, do no more" (41:8). No one can tame him or bridle him (41:13)? Throughout the limited Biblical literature on Leviathan there is never a suggestion that Leviathan is tamed by God. Although God may slay Leviathan, He does not try to domesticate him. Think of someone who is "out of control" when they come to Jesus. The sign that they are genuine is that they begin to get their life "under control." We have the choice of bringing ourselves to God, "I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me" (Psalm 39:1). Or the alternative is to be bridled by God, "I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest" (2 Kings 19:18 & Isaiah 37:29). James speaks directly to the evils of the unbridled tongue: "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure

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religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (James 1:26-27). And even more strongly, "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell" (James 3:2-6). Not only can Leviathan not be bridled, but his tongue cannot be tied down (41:1 & 13).

Who Stands Before Me?

"None is so fierce that dare stir him up" (41:10). Leviathan is a powerful force when stirred up. In Job's first lamentation he cries, "May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan" (3:8, NIV). Those who dare to awaken Leviathan dare to awaken something menacing and uncontrollable. God questions: "Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him" (41:11)? The word translated `prevent' here is `qâdam' in Hebrew, meaning to project, precede or come before (Strong, H6923; NET Bible, footnote to verse 41:11). `Standing before' can cause to prevent or block, but could also indicate supplication or simply meeting. All of these meanings appear in the various Biblical uses of the word: "shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?" (Micah 6:6). `Repay' is `shâlam', to make safe (Strong, H7999). "Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live" (2 Kings 4:7). `Pay' here is the same word `shâlam'. This woman clears her debt, to make her home safe. `Shâlam' in nearly identical with `shâlôm' or peace. The words are somewhat interchangeable. "The beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee" (5:23). Here, according to Strong, the Hebrew word used for `peace' is `shâlam'. So, while verse 11 could be suggesting that someone or something is preventing God from completing judgment, it could simply mean: `who has called Me, that I may bring peace.' Returning to the first reading, Jonathan Edwards' margin note for verse 11 suggests, "These words are a great evidence that leviathan is here spoken of as a type of the devil. For no other leviathan was ever subject to God's moral government, or ever rebelled against Him that God should repay him." (Edwards, 1992, page 116, #149). We have a clue to the identity of the Leviathan from Job's first lamentation: "Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning" (3:8). The word `mourning' in the King James Version Bible is actually `Leviathan' in the Hebrew. In this case, Leviathan is rising up from the depths of someone in bitterness. Leviathan comes from inside. God's thumb is upon Job. Job is contending with God. Job, God reminds, cannot possibly win. In modern terms, you could say that Job was a self-actualized man. Job had reached a pinnacle of financial success (1:3), had the admiration of nobles, princes (29:9-10), and even God Himself (1:8). "He maketh a path to shine after him" (41:32). Did not this description of Leviathan, also describe Job, who now laments that "He [God] hath stripped me of my glory" (19:9), "He hath made me a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret [drum]" (17:6), "children of base men... spare not to spit in my face" (30:8-10). Job longs to be justified, pleading "hide me in the grave... until thy wrath be past" (14:13), "O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place" (16:18), "Oh that my words... were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever" (19:23-24). In the strength of his self-image, Job is difficult to bridle.

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

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The Pride of Leviathan

Leviathan is handsome and powerful. "I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion" (41:12). But his facade is a wall: "Who can open the doors of his face" (41:14)? What hides behind Leviathan's teeth? "Who can discover the face of his garment" (41:13)? The word discover is `gâlâh' meaning to expose or make naked (Barnes, notes to 41:13). The suggestion is that it is impossible to see behind the facade. Knowing the traditions, having a night vision, being well read, and doing the do of religion creates an aura righteousness. The appearance is that of holiness, but as we all know appearances can be deceiving. Horrible perversities hide behind clerical collars more effectively than behind drug store counters. But more often, the appearance of righteousness is real as in the case here with Job. His righteousness is no put on. His righteousness is a trap which brings a self-confidence of righteousness, i.e. self-righteousness. "His scales are his pride... One is so near to another, that no air can come between them" (41:15-16,23). All the bits and pieces of the righteous life fit so tightly that they cannot be moved (41:17), and air, the breath of God, the Holy Spirit cannot enter. On the outside Job is so beautifully polished in the ways of righteousness that his religion becomes his prison. Every `t' is crossed and every `i' is dotted, but the living presence of God cannot enter. This was the state of the Pharisees in Jesus' day, and is the state of many Christians today. The Pharisees who confront Jesus are filled with carefully crafted legal arguments. Their reasoning binds them into a rigid viewpoint from which they cannot escape. Jesus tries to penetrate their mental shell (Matthew 9:14-15; 16:6-12; Luke 6:7-10; 7:36-50; John 3:1-6; 9:39-41), but to no avail. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also" (Matthew 23:25-26; Luke 11:39). This shell of righteousness closed in upon the self and sealing out the Holy Spirit encloses like a tomb. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Matthew 23:27). "Their throat is an open sepulcher; they flatter with their tongue" (Psalm 5:9). "In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him" (41:22). This curious verse teased out in the Hebrew indicates the back of the neck retains force and that fear dances before him. "It does not refer to the motion of the animal, as if he were brisk and rapid. but it is a poetic expression, as if terror played or pranced along wherever he came. Strength `resided' in his neck, but his approach made terror and alarm play before him wherever he went; that is, produced terror and dread" (Barnes, notes to 41:22). "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51). "Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another" (Psalm 75:5-7). "The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth" (Isaiah 23:9).

Light From His Sneezes

Inside the Leviathan is a seething cauldron (Job 41:20), out of his mouth come sparks, flames and smoke, (Job 41:19-21). The Leviathan creates his own light. "By his neesings [sneezes] a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning" (41:18), and "He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary [white]" (41:31-32). Isaiah speaks of those who walk in darkness by the benefit of their own light (Isaiah

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50:10):

"Behold, all you who kindle a fire, Who encircle yourselves with firebrands, Walk in the light of your fire And among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from My hand: You will lie down in torment" (Isaiah 50:11). Because we view a man's light from our own measure of light, we are easily misled. We think that what is of the devil should be obviously evil. Oswald Chambers reminds us of Jesus words: "that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15) "The satanically-managed man is often moral, upright, proud, and individual; he is absolutely self-governed and has no need of God" (Chambers, page 15). A born-again Christian who ceases to seek out the Holy Spirit, but succumbs to the temptation to follow their own governing principles is easily side-tracked. The light they produce may have the appearance of righteousness, they may be a popular Christian teacher on television, but Satan is able to bump them, to nudge them into a fruitless ministry or worse into various perversions of the gospel. This is not the light from above, but a light from one's own making, the light of one's own wisdom. Though the Leviathan appear in light, he is yet in the deep (41:32). "Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish" (Psalm 49:18-20). His light is a false light that makes the deep dark places to appear to be well lit. Leviathan causes commotion: "He maketh the deep to boil like a pot" (41:31). I believe that this is referring to the chaos caused by someone dominating the atmosphere. "By reason of breakings they purify themselves" (41:25). This implies he causes acts of righteousness by force. This fits very well with the picture of a Pharisee, modern or ancient. Experts seeing the creature's description as a description of might and power are troubled by the passage. NIV reads, "When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing." The NET Bible includes this footnote on verse 25: "This verse has created all kinds of problems for the commentators. The first part is workable: `when he raises himself up, the mighty [the gods] are terrified.' The mythological approach would render 'elim as `gods.' But the last two words, which could be rendered `at the breaking [crashing, or breakers] they fail,' receive much attention. Dhorme suggests `majesty' for `raising up' and `billows' (gallim) for `elim, and gets a better parallelism: `the billows are afraid of his majesty, and the waves draw back' (p. 639). But Rowley does not thinks this is relevant to the context, which is talking about the creature's defense against attack. The RSV works well for the first part, but the second part need some change; so Rowley adopts: `in their dire consternation they are beside themselves' (p. 263)" (NET Bible, footnote to 41:25). I have no skill or training in Hebrew and cannot enter an academic debate on the issue, and so merely suggest that placing the description in the context of an allegory for the spirit of religious pride, the King James Bible makes perfect sense. Everything within boils and he is not happy unless everything around him boils as well.

Hard as the Lower Millstone

By hardening himself, the Leviathan's heart has become stone, "yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone" (41:24). Jesus is grieved at the hardness of heart in the Pharisees by which they would not allow healing on the Sabbath lest it offend the letter of the Law (Mark 3:5). This hardness is the closing the heart against the Holy Spirit, as when the thoughts turn inward to the world of the self. The Pharisees could not hear the Word spoken, but turned to the deceit of their own thoughts, their personal beliefs. "Exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13). Hardening is caused by closing down, most often because of some form of deceit. Many theological positions are just this sort of deceit. These deceits include dispensationalism, `death of God', deism, `word faith', liberation theology, most Christian psychology and more. "And he saith unto them, Is it

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lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts" (Mark 3:4-5). The Pharisees were convinced that it was essential to honor God by total compliance with the rules governing the Sabbath which they had worked out based on Mosaic law. For the most part they were genuine in their desire to honor God's law, but they were deceived, and so opposed God in the flesh. "The house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted. Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead" (Ezekiel 3:7-9). But hardness comes through dullness, laziness, confusion and distraction as well. Even those who sat at the feet of Jesus could not see and could not hear. "They were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened" (Mark 6:51-52). Here the disciples are amazed that Jesus, walking on the water calms a fierce storm "for their heart was hardened." They had just come from witnessing the multiplication of loaves and fishes, but failed to ponder its implication. If Jesus could make one fish become a thousand, why should they be amazed that he could quell a storm? Their dullness continues. In chapter 8 of Mark, Jesus again multiplies loaves and fishes. The needs of the flesh are a slight thing to Jesus. When challenged to pay tribute, as if this would be some difficulty, Jesus scoffs at the concern. He creates the most ridiculous scenario imaginable: go fishing and the first fish you catch will have the money in his mouth (Matthew 17:24-27). Jesus made the task seemingly impossible to show just how slight this concern really was. The disciples are still not understanding. When Jesus begins to discuss the leaven of the Pharisees, the disciples become concerned that Jesus is upset that they forgot to bring bread. "Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?" (Mark 8:17-21). Because of hardness, their heart is still fixed on bread, but it's not about bread. The resurrected Jesus must scold the disciples again, "Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen" (Mark 16:14). Jesus had already appeared to the two Marys and two other disciples, but the eleven discarded the reports because their heart was cold. Consider the man seeking healing for his deafmute son: "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him." (Mark 9:23-25). Jesus was only asking for an attempt at belief and the heart to say, "help thou mine unbelief." It appears that the disciples failed to have this bit of faith, the size of a grain of mustard seed. `Surely,' they must have reasoned, `if Christ were to appear, he would appear to us first.' This is hardness created by vain presumption of the sort that caused them to jostle for the seat on the right hand of Jesus (Matthew 20:21; Mark 10:37) but not at his feet (Mark 5:22, 7:25; Luke 7:38-48, 8:41 & 17:16; John 11:32 & 12:3).

King Over All the Children of Pride

Whereas we saw earlier that Behemoth was submitted to the maker's sword (40:19), Leviathan is not moved. "The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold" (41:26). He is impervious, laying in the mud and on that which is sharp and jagged (41:30). His ears do not hear, his eyes do not see. The Lord sums up,

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"Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear" (41:33). And finally the Lord hits His point, "He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride" (41:34). The Leviathan is a perfect picture of religious pride. All the knowledge, the beliefs, the dogmatic assertions (dogma) form a carpet of scale over him so tight that the air (pneuma) or Spirit of God cannot get in. Out of the mouth come boastings, criticisms and condemnations. His words form a rich tapestry of brilliant thoughts and ideas. Those in disagreement with Leviathan will be burnt. All the space around the Leviathan is disrupted (to boil) as the Leviathan tries to turn everyone towards himself and away from detractors. Leviathan creates his own light, a false luminescence. A personal wisdom. All too often we mistake the radiance of Leviathan for genuine spirituality. The Leviathan in Job strangles Job's soul. Job's three friends saw that "he was righteous in his own eyes" (32:1), and knew that Job would not listen. Job sees it now.

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

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Chapter Forty-Two: Happy Endings

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Job Humbles Himself

o o o

You Can Do Anything When He Prayed Blessed More Than His Beginning

God Puts All Aright

Job Humbles Himself

Job: chapter 42 1 Then Job answered the Lord, and said, 2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

God has perfectly summed up Self-Righteous Pride, the pride of the Pharisees, but He has also unveiled true righteousness. Job suddenly sees. He doesn't need to be prodded to answer now. His answer is a genuine appreciation: "things too wonderful for me, which I knew not" (42:3). Job concludes, "now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (42:5-6). Isaiah has a similar experience, when the vision of the Lord touches him, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5).

You Can Do Anything

While Job understood God's power intellectually, now he understands it in the raw. "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee" (42:2). Job suddenly sees himself totally exposed, naked before the Lord. He sees himself, where he did not see himself before. Job appears to quote God, "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?" (42:3, 38:2). It is not a direct quote. Job uses the Hebrew term `âlam', to veil (Strong, H5956), rather than `châshak', to darken (Strong, H2821). Job is stating things more forcefully than God now. I covered over Your advice, without knowledge. There is a tone of greater culpability in this word change. While God limits Job's `darkening' to words spoken in ignorance (38:2), but Job `veils' "without knowledge" (42:3) implying there may be other areas contributing to his intentional ignorance. Job answers directly, "therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not" (42:3). He is admitting that he has opened his mouth in bitter frustration, failing to believe that God would not cause him to suffer without a cause. This is the ever present question of faith. In the end, God graciously shows Job the way out, but does not explain any of the causes. In the manifest presence of God, Job's faith springs back to life, and he sees the folly of his struggle. Zacharias is smitten dumb because he wanted proof from the angel who told him he would have a son in his old age (Luke 1:20). "Because thou believest not my words", the angel says, you

Commentary on the Book of Job William. W. Wells Page 156 of 162

will be unable to speak until the prophesy is fulfilled. Because Job doubts God, he struggles needlessly. God tells Job that he could have been free at any moment (40:14). Job quotes again, "Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me" (42:4, 38:3). "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee" (42:5). God is before Job in full splendor. Job's situation hasn't changed but he has forgotten all of his problems. Job's choice is to hang on to his last vestige of pride, his wounds, his dignity, his integrity, or to fall down and worship God. It is the choice of Leviathan or Behemoth. Job chooses the latter. Job is ready to cleave fully to the Lord despite all of his tragic circumstances. "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit" (Psalm 34:18). Having surrendered his glory to God, God is ready to truly honor Job: "Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation" (Psalm 91:14-16).

God Puts All Aright

Job: chapter 42 continued 7 And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job. 10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. 12 So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. 15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. 16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. 17 So Job died, being old and full of days.

God turns now to level His anger on the three friends who criticised Job and forsook him. Because

they have dared to condemn Job in God's name, God condemns them. Job for all of his "neesings" is

Commentary on the Book of Job William. W. Wells Page 157 of 162

accepted as "having spoken right" of God. The critical difference is that for all of Job's conjectures, challenges and demands, he never presumes to speak for God.

When He Prayed

God demands that the three friends humble themselves, not to God, but to Job. They must bring seven bulls and seven rams and offer them under Job's covering. This must have been a standard offering. Baalam requests Balak make just such an offering (Numbers 23:1 & 29). The three must seek Job's blessing. God simply says, "my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept" (42:8). Job is not required to pray for them. This is the true moment of truth for Job. If Job has truly forsaken himself and placed himself entirely in God, his injured pride will become unimportant. His pride must now be a disgusting memory, which blots out the injury done to him. As the Lord has forgotten Job's prideful contention, Job forgets the accusations of the three men. In the final act by which he pre-figures Christ, Job blesses those who have poorly used him. This is the moment, not before, when Job is set free from the tormentor: "the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends" (42:10). Almost immediately, Job's fortunes return. "Also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before" (42:10). Job returns to his home where all of his family and acquaintances returned to comfort him, to bless him and give him money and give him a ring. The money is called `qesîtâh' in Hebrew (Strong, H7192). Clarke notes that "`kesitah' signifies a lamb; and it is supposed that this piece of money had a lamb stamped on it, as that quantity of gold was generally the current value for a lamb" (Clarke, note on 42:11, also note on Genesis 33:19). In this regard, the lamb is the sacrifice demanded for the Passover of the Lord's wrath before the Israelites leave Egypt (Exodus 12:3-10). It is the most common sacrifice demanded in the law of Moses. Here the price of a lamb cleanses and restores each person's relationship to Job. The ring is an ear ring or nose ring (Barnes, notes to 42:11). This too is a sign of humility before Job.

Blessed More Than His Beginning

When we truly understand what Job has gained, his financial gain is anti-climatic. Surely the wealth is of little significance to Job compared to his new depth of relationship to God. He now stands comfortable under the wings of God (Psalm 91:4). Job has seven more sons and three more daughters to replace the ten children lost. Oddly enough, we are told about the daughters, but not the sons. We are given their names and told that they received a portion of Job's inheritance along with the brothers (42:14-15). For an interesting discussion of this, see Bob Sorge's Pain, Perplexity and Promotion (Sorge, pages 155-164). This remarkable man, Job lives to see four generations of children. But, his true legacy is this study of a man's struggle in the refiner's fire. The Book of Job represents the most complete description of the final struggle between self-righteousness and Godly righteousness. It is the only proper starting point for any Christian psychology. Wisdom which does not grasp the Book of Job, is doomed to falter, as did Solomon. Perhaps the best ending to Job is included in this line added to chapter 42, verse 17, which some versions of the Septuagent include in an appendix: "And it is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up" (The Companion Bible, Appendix 62).

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

Page 158 of 162

An Index to Key Themes

·

Awaken:

o o

3:8 "to rouse Leviathan" 41:10 "that dare stir him"

·

Beasts:

o o o o o o o

also: Sea Monster; Wild Ass 12:7 "beasts shall teach" 39:1 "Do you know the time?" 35:11 "beasts shall teach" 40:15 two creatures 40:15 Behemoth 41:1 Leviathan

·

Belly:

o o o o o o o o

3:11 "I came out of the belly" 15:2 "fill his belly with wind" 15:35 "their belly prepareth deceit" 20:15 "cast them out of his belly" 20:20 "quietness in his belly" 20:23 "the fury of his wrath" 32:19 "my belly is as wine" 40:16 "navel of his belly"

·

Binding or Bondage:

o o

16:4 "I could heap up words" 31:36 "bind it as a crown"

·

Breath of God:

o o o o o

4:9 "the breath of his nostrils" 27:3 "while my breath is in me" 32:8 "the inspiration of the Almighty" 33:4 "the breath of the Almighty" 37:10 "By the breath of God"

·

Bursting:

o o o

4:2 "who can withhold himself" 13:19 "if I hold my tongue" 32:19 "wine which hath no vent"

·

Closed Minds:

o o o o

16:7 "desolate all my company" 17:3 "closed their minds" 19:13 "my brethren far from me" 41:24 "a piece of nether millstone"

·

Creator God:

o o o

12:07 "beasts shall teach" 35:11 "beasts shall teach" 38:04 "where were you"

·

Curses:

o o o

3:3 "let the day perish" 3:8 "to rouse Leviathan" 27:07 "as the wicked"

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

Page 159 of 162

·

Death:

o o o o o o

3:21 "dig for it more" 6:9 "let loose His hand" 7:15 "I choose strangling" 13:15 "though he slay me" 14:20 "send him away" 17:14 "the worm my mother"

·

Deliverance:

o o o

also: Redemption 5:19 "in six troubles" 40:14 "your right hand can save"

·

Dig:

o o o o o

3:21 "dig for it more" 6:27 "you dig a pit" 11:07 "digging, can you find God" 11:18 "you shall dig about" 24:16 "in the dark they dig"

·

Dust/Dirt

o o o o o o o o

2:12 "dust upon their heads" 5:06 trouble "out of the ground" 7:05 "clothed in dust" 14:19 "out of the dust" 16:15 " defiled my horn in the dust" 19:25 "in the latter day on the earth" 28:02 " taken out of the earth" 42:06 "repent in dust and ashes"

·

Evil Prospers:

o o o

12:6 "robbers prosper" 21:7 "why do the wicked live?" 24:12 "wounded souls cry out"

·

Eye Has Seen:

o o o o o o o

7:7 "mine eye shall no more see" 7:8 "the eye of Him has seen" 10:18 "no eye had seen me" 20:9 "the eye also which saw Him" 28:7 "the vulture's eye hath not seen" 29:11 "when the eye saw me" 42:5 "now mine eye sees Thee"

·

Fear of the Lord:

o o o

3:25 "the thing that I fear" 4:6 "is not this thy fear?" 23:15 "I am afraid of Him"

· · ·

Flesh:

o

13:14 "my flesh in my teeth"

Gold:

o

see: Dig, or Redemption

Hardness:

o o

see: Closed Minds 41:24 "a piece of nether millstone"

Commentary on the Book of Job

William. W. Wells

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·

Hidden in God:

o o o

1:10 "a hedge about him" 8:11 "papyrus without a marsh?" 14:13 "hide me in shoal"

· ·

Judgement:

o

21:30 "the day of wrath"

Justification:

o o o o o o

6:5 "does the wild ass bray" 10:2 "I will say unto God" 16:17 "cover not my blood" 19:24 "graven in rock" 22:20 "we are not cut down" 31:36 "bind it as a crown"

·

Mediator:

o o o o o

9:33 "is there any daysman" 13:7 "speak wickedly for God?" 33:5 "in God's stead" 36:2 "on God's behalf" 41:11 Who Stands Before Me?

·

Perfect Man:

o o o o

1:8 "a perfect and an upright man" 8:20 "cast away a perfect man" 27:11 "teach by the hand of God" 36:4 "He that is perfect in knowledge"

· ·

Power of God:

o

9:12 "who can hinder Him?"

Ransom:

o o o

also: Mediator 17:3 "the pledge You demand" 33:24 "I have found a ransom"

·

Rebirth:

o o

14:14 "till my change comes" 21:04 "is my complaint to man"

·

Redemption:

o o o o o

14:4 "clean thing from unclean" 17:3 "the pledge you demand" 19:25 "my redeemer lives" 22:24 "you will lay up gold" 23:10 "come forth as gold"

·

Refiner's Fire:

o o o o

7:18 "try every moment" 16:7 "laid waste my company" 23:16 "makes my heart soft" 28:1 "a place for gold"

·

Sea Monster:

o o o o o o

3:8 "to rouse Leviathan" 7:12 "Am I a Sea Monster?" 9:13 "cohorts of Rahab" 26:12 "cuts Rahab to pieces" 30:29 "a brother to dragons" 41:1 Leviathan

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William. W. Wells

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·

Sprout:

o o o

14:14 "it will sprout again" 21:04 "is my complaint to man" 30:12 "rise the youth"

·

Visions:

o o o o o

4:12 Eliphaz's vision 20:8 "chased away as a vision" 21:6 "trembling holds my flesh" 26:4 "whose spirit spoke?" 33:15 "in a vision of the night"

·

Wait:

o o o o

6:24 "I will hold my tongue" 14:14 "until my change comes" 35:14 "you must wait for Him" 38:36 "who gives understanding"

·

Wild Ass:

o o o o o

6:5 "does the wild ass bray" 11:12 "a wild ass is born a man" 24:5 the poor as wild asses 30:7 "among the bushes they brayed" 39:5 "sent out the wild ass free"

·

Wisdom:

o o o o o

11:12 "a wild ass is born a man" 12:9 "Who knoweth not" 28:12 "shall wisdom be found" 35:12 "none gives answer" 36:4 "He that is perfect in knowledge"

END OF FILE

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Page 162 of 162

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