by Ken Cayce

Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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Job Explained

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Book of Job Explained

"Title": As with other books of the Bible, Job bears the name of the narrative's primary character. This name might have been derived from the Hebrew word for "persecution," thus meaning "persecuted one." Or from an Arabic word meaning "repent," thus bearing the name "repentant one." The author recounts an era in the life of Job, in which he was tested and the character of God was revealed. New Testament writers directly quote Job twice (Rom. 11:35; 1 Cor. 3:19), plus Ezek. 14:14, 20; and James 5:11 show that Job was a real person.

"Authorship": The book does not name its author. Job is an unlikely candidate because the book's message rests on Job's ignorance of the events that occurred in heaven as they were related to his ordeal. One Talmudic tradition suggests Moses as author since the land of Uz (1:1) was adjacent to Midian where Moses lived for 40 years, and he could have obtained a record of the story there. Solomon is also a good possibility due to the similarity of content with parts of the book of Ecclesiastes, as well as the fact that Solomon wrote the other Wisdom books (except Psalms, and he did author Psalms 72 and 127). Though he lived long after Job, Solomon could have written about events that occurred long before his own time, in much the same manner as Moses was inspirited to write about Adam and Eve. Elihu, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, and Ezra have also been suggested as possible authors, but without support.

The date of the book's writing may be much later that the events recorded within. This conclusion is based on;

(1) Job's age (42:16);

(2) His life span of nearly 200 years (42:16), which fits the patriarchal period (Abraham lived 175 years; Gen. 25:7);

(3) The social unit being the patriarchal family;

(4) The Chaldeans who murdered Job's servants (1:17), were nomads and had not yet become city dwellers;

(5) Job's wealth being measured in livestock rather than gold and silver (1:3; 42:12);

(6) Job' priestly functions within his family (1:4-5); and

(7) A basic silence on matters such as the covenant of Abraham, Israel, the Exodus, and the Law of Moses. The events of Job's odyssey appear to be patriarchal. Job, on the other hand, seemed to know about Adam (31:33), and the Noahic flood (12:15). These cultural and historical features found in the book appear to place the events chronologically at a time probably after Babel (Gen. 11:1-9), but before or contemporaneous with Abraham (Gen. 11:27).

The name of the author is not indicated in the book. That Job himself could not have written all of it is shown by the inclusion of the record of his death (42:17). Some have suggested that Moses wrote the account. This hypothesis would explain its inclusion in the canon, but that's mere speculation.

As far as the date is concerned, a distinction must be drawn between the date of the events and the date of composition. Most conservative scholars are agreed that the patriarchal age is indicated as the likeliest setting for the events, because Job, the father, acts as priest for the family, and because there is no mention of the tabernacle, temple, law, or national institutions. On the other hand, such primitive conditions could have easily persisted into later times outside of Israel. Indeed, the homeland of Job is said to be Uz, apparently located near Edom (compare Lam. 4:21). Also, a foreign locale is indicated in that the book shows a distinct preference for the generic word for God, Elohim, as opposed to the personal name of God, Yahweh (or Jehovah). In spite of the uncertainty of the time or place of the events, the theology of the book is clearly pure monotheism.

The date of composition is widely disputed. Suggested dates range from the patriarchal age to the Babylonian exile. If the events transpired during the patriarchal period, the book probably would have been written shortly afterwards in order to preserve the story. On the other hand, there was a notable flowering of wisdom literature during the reign of Solomon, and the Book of Job may well have been part of those achievements, especially if its events may be dated later in a foreign locale. The doubt surrounding the date of the book should not obscure its message, which is certainly applicable to any age.

"Introduction": At its beginning, Job seems to be a book about human suffering. By its conclusion, the true subject of the book emerges: God's sovereignty.

In a matter of probably hours, Job had lost everything that was important to him except his wife and his own life. But he held fast to his integrity, determined to unravel the mystery of why he, a man who had done his utmost to live an upright life, was being treated by God as the chief of sinners. If he was a sinner deserving divine punishment, he demanded his friends tell him what he had done, which they could not. He also asked the same of God, and received more silence in response.

The truth is, Job never received an answer as to why he suffered. But more importantly, he received a deeper understanding of who God is.

The Bible is unique because the reader knows, at least in part, what the main character would have loved to know: Job suffered because Satan accused him of a self-serving devotion to God, claiming that Job was not really righteous but was simply currying God's favor. God used the accusation as an opportunity to prove Satan wrong, and all the hurtful events in Job's life unfolded from there.

In the Old Testament, sin and suffering were connected because of the nature of the covenant. It was believed that keeping God's statutes resulted in blessing, and not keeping them resulted in cursing (Lev. 26:1-46); Deut. 28:1-68). Even though Job lived in the patriarchal period (before the Law was given), such a natural law would have been understood. So Job's friends could be excused from assuming Job guilty of a secret sin, secret and serious, given the level of calamity that befell him. But the Bible adds more ingredients to the recipe for suffering, all of which are found in this book.

To begin with, righteous people like Job do sometimes suffer. Righteous does not mean totally sinlessness, but living upright in God's sight. The book portrays Job as a faithful man who honestly tried to do right before God, and who acknowledged his errors and sought to correct things when he faltered (42:1-6). Still, he suffered, but not because of sin. So deeper questions must be asked and answered. Job asked, but he got an answer he was not expecting.

Second, a third party operates between God and man, with God's permission. In Job, we see Satan's primary method of spiritual warfare: attempting to discredit God in man's sight. Satan cannot harm God, but he can attempt to influence how man perceives God, whether as unjust, unfair, or unloving. Satan causes Job to suffer unjustly in an attempt to get Job to attack God. He also accuses Job of being self-serving, trying to make God look unjust in the eyes of the heavenly hosts for not punishing a sinner like Job. But Satan's plot was foiled by the third variable, that there can be godly purposes in suffering unrelated to sin or punishment.

Job suffered so he might have a deeper and more accurate knowledge of God. This happened without him even knowing about the precipitating conversation between Satan and God.

As one of the longest books in the Bible, Job can be captured under four headings:

"Prologue" (chapters 1 and 2): the setting for Job's suffering;

"Dialogues" (chapters 3 and 27): accusations and answers between Job and his friends;

"Monologues" (chapters 28:1 to 42:6): discourses by Job, Elihu and God;

"Epilogue" (chapter 42:7 - 17): Job's understanding of God and Job's restoration.

"What does all of this mean": Job speaks of foundational themes every human being contends with, especially in times of suffering.

"God's Character": The book of Job defends the character of a loving and righteous God in spite of earth's obvious evils and injustices. Although Job was unaware of the interaction between Satan and God, Job comes to the conclusion that God is just and good. That is the lesson of the book for anyone who questions God without access to all the facts (38:1-42:6).

"Trust": Job was forced to walk by faith rather than by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). He could not see what the reader sees in chapters 1 and 2. Job's perspective is best summarized in 13:15 "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him." Job continued to plead his innocence before God but was prepared to die trusting Him.

"Sovereignty": Although Satan wreaked havoc in Job's life on earth, the limits of his activity were (and are) clearly set by God. Satan can go only so far. This serves as a template for viewing evil on earth. Satan does not operate as a free agent but is always under the sovereign and deciding hand of God (chapters 1 and 2).

So what does it mean for you?

In Job's most dreadful and difficult situation, this broken man caught startling glimpses of God and God's work in his life beyond what he, or perhaps anyone else, had ever seen. Millennia before Jesus walked this earth as the God-Man, Job saw One who would be Redeemer, Mediator, Friend, Guide, Advocate, and Perfecter of faith, Job saw these intense, beautiful images through his tears.

Those who turn fully to God in their great sorrow, even if they argue, plead, and protest in His presence as job did, will find a pathway nearer to the tender mercies of heaven than they have ever walked before.

Believers talk about trusting in the Lord with their whole heart and refusing to lean on their own understanding. But no one really knows what that means until circumstances cast them headfirst into a dark and painful place. If we give ourselves fully to God in those moments, we will obtain keepsakes of Him to treasure now and forever.

"Historical Setting": The occasion and events that follow Job's sufferings present significant questions for the faith of believers in all ages. Why does Job serve God? Job is heralded for his righteousness, being compared with Noah and Daniel (Ezek. 14:14-20), and for his spiritual endurance (James 5:11). Several other questions are alluded to throughout Job's ordeal. For instance, "Why do the righteous suffer?" Though an answer to that question may seem important, the book does not give such an answer. Job never knew the reasons for his suffering and neither did his friends. The righteous sufferer does not appear to learn about any of the heavenly court debates between God and Satan that precipitated his pain. In fact, when finally confronted by the Lord of the universe, Job put his hand over his mouth and said nothing. Job's silent response in no way trivialized the intense pain and loss he had endured. It merely underscored the importance of trusting God's purposes in the midst of suffering because suffering, like all other human experiences, is directed by perfect divine wisdom. In the end, the lesson learned was that one may never know the specific reason for his suffering; but one must trust in Sovereign God. That is the real answer to suffering.

The book treats two major themes and many other minor ones, both in the narrative framework of the prologue (chapters 1 and 2), and epilogue (42:7 to 17), and in the poetic account of Job's torment that lies in between (3:1-42:6). A key to understanding the first theme of the book is to notice the debate between God and Satan in heaven and how it connects with the 3 cycles of earthly debates between Job and his friends. God wanted to prove the character of believers to Satan and to all demons, angels and people. The accusations are by Satan, who indicted God's claims of Job's righteousness as being untested, if not questionable. Satan accused the righteous of being faithful to God only for what they could get. Since Job did not serve God with pure motives, according to Satan, the whole relationship between him and God was a sham. Satan's confidence that he could turn Job against God came, no doubt, from the fact that he had led the holy angels to rebel with him (see note on Rev. 12:4). Satan thought he could destroy Job's faith in God by inflicting suffering on him, thus showing in principle that saving faith could be shattered. God released Satan to make his point if he could, but he failed, as true faith in God proved unbreakable. Even Job's wife told him to curse God (2:9), but he refused; his faith in God never failed (see 13:15). Satan tried to do the same to Peter (see Luke 22:31-34), and was unsuccessful in destroying Peter's faith (see John 21:15-19). When Satan has unleashed all that he can do to destroy saving faith, it stands firm (Rom. 8:31-39). In the end, God proved His point with Satan that saving faith can't be destroyed no matter how much trouble a saint suffers, or how incomprehensible and undeserved it seems.

A second and related theme concerns proving the character of God to men. Does this sort of ordeal, in which God and His opponent Satan square off, with righteous Job as the test case, suggest that God is lacking in compassion and mercy toward Job? Not at all. As James says, "You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful" (James 5:11). It was to prove the very opposite (42:10-17). Job says, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (see verse 2:10). God's servant does not deny that he has suffered. He does deny that his suffering is a result of sin. Nor does he understand why he suffers. Job simply commits his ordeal with a devout heart of worship and humility (42:5-6), to a sovereign and perfectly wise Creator, and that was what God wanted him to learn in this conflict with Satan. In the end, God flooded Job with more blessings that he had ever known.

The major reality of the book is the inscrutable mystery of innocent suffering. God ordains that His children walk in sorrow and pain, sometimes because of sin (Num. 12:10-12), sometimes for chastening (Heb. 12:5-12), sometimes for strengthening (2 Cor. 12:7-10; 1 Peter 5:10), and sometimes to give opportunity to reveal His comfort and grace (2 Cor. 1:3-7). But there are times when the compelling issue in the suffering of the saints is unknowable because it is for a heavenly purpose that those on earth can't discern (Exodus 4:11; John 9:1-3).

Job and his friends wanted to analyze the suffering and look for causes and solutions. Using all of their sound theology and insight into the situation, they searched for answers, but found only useless and wrong ideas, for which God rebuked them in the end (42:7). They couldn't know why Job suffered because what happened in heaven between God and Satan was unknown to them. They thought they knew all the answers, but they only intensified the dilemma by their insistent ignorance.

By spreading out some of the elements of this great theme, we can see the following truths in Job's experience:

1. There are matters going on in heaven with God that believers know nothing about; yet, they affect their lives.

2. Even the best effort at explaining the issues of life can be useless.

3. God's people do suffer. Bad things happen all the time to good people, so one cannot judge a person's spirituality by his painful circumstances or successes.

4. Even though God seems far away, perseverance in faith is a most noble virtue since God is good and one can safely leave his life in His hands.

5. The believer in the midst of suffering should not abandon God, but draw near to Him, so out of the fellowship can come the comfort, without the explanation; and

6. Suffering may be intense, but it will ultimately end for the righteous and God will bless abundantly.

"Interpretation - Purpose": The literary genre of the book has defied classification events. It should therefore be regarded as a unique piece of didactic poetry based on historical events. We cannot assume that the author intended the book to be like a reporter's presentation of what happened in real life. People from the Middle East are much more poetic in language than Westerners. In the poetic form the book's message is most appropriately preserved for perpetuity.

Many suggestions have been made as to the purpose of the book. However, the overriding intention seems to be to demonstrate to man the inadequacy of human reason to account for the suffering of the innocent. There is a mystery of divine freedom which does not contradict God's goodness or sovereignty but remains elusive to man. Therefore, man is resigned to an attitude of trust and dependence on a good God whose workings man cannot fathom.


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Chapter Selection


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Job 1 Job 16 Job 31
Job 2 Job 17 Job 32
Job 3 Job 18 Job 33
Job 4 Job 19 Job 34
Job 5 Job 20 Job 35
Job 6 Job 21 Job 36
Job 7 Job 22 Job 37
Job 8 Job 23 Job 38
Job 9 Job 24 Job 39
Job 10 Job 25 Job 40
Job 11 Job 26 Job 41
Job 12 Job 27 Job 42
Job 13 Job 28  
Job 14 Job 29  
Job 15 Job 30  

Job 1

Job Chapter 1

The book of Job is an interesting story of a man who loves God very much, and yet is severely tested to see if he will remain loyal. There are those who believe that Job is nothing more than a parable that we might learn from. There are others who believe the events in Job occurred during the exile. Most scholars agree that it is possibly some of the oldest writings.

In this book, we can see the evidence of Satan working to destroy man. He accuses Job in the presence of God. It is a book of loyalty to God on Job's part. It is also, a book of almost endless endurance in the face of great stress. We will also see that in some of our darkest hours, the battle must be our own. Job's wife tried to get Job to curse God and die. Job's friends were no encouragement at all.

We may also learn from this that suffering is not always brought on by sins in our lives. It may be to strengthen us, as it did Job in this book. This deals with the question of why do good people suffer? Job was being accused unjustly by Satan for following God for what he could get out of him. We also see the great love that God bestows upon those who are faithful to the end. I personally believe that Job was a real man, with real problems. I believe also, that he was not a practicing sinner. He was in right standing with God. We will leave our speculations behind, and begin with this most interesting of books.

Verses 1:1 - 2:13: This prose prologue provides critical background to Job's experiences that establishes upfront that God is sovereign (meaning possessing supreme or ultimate power), over all things, including Satan. This section identifies the main persons and sets the stage for the drama to follow.

1-5: For Job to be "that man was perfect and upright", means he stood out among his peers in every respect. First and foremost, he is introduced as a pious believer in Yahweh, one who "feared God and eschewed evil", and "a perfect and an upright man" (1:8).

Job 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."

The first two chapters are written in prose and serve as a prologue to the poetic saga that follows. Likewise, the epilogue (42:7-17), is also written in prose.

"Uz": Job's home was a walled city with gates (29:7-8), where he held a position of great respect. The city was in the land of Uz in northern Arabia, adjacent to Midian, where Moses lived for 40 years (Exodus 2:15).

"Job": The story begins on earth with Job as the central figure. He was a rich man with 7 sons and 3 daughters, in his middle years with a grown family, but still young enough to father 10 more children (see 42:13). He was good, a family man, rich and widely known. "Perfect and upright ... feared God ... eschewed evil" (compare 1:8). Job was not perfect or without sin (6:24; 7:21; 9:20); however, it appears from the language that he had put his trust in God for redemption and faithfully lived a God-honoring, sincere life of integrity and consistency personally, marriage point of view (2:10), and parentally (1:4-5).

One of Job's friends, Eliphaz, was from Teman, a well-known Edomite city. Four great attributes are ascribed to Job: "perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed" [shunned] "evil". His life could not have been more exemplary.

"Job" was a real person (as Ezekiel 14:14-20 and James 5:11 indicate). He was a native of the land of Uz (verses 1 and 19), which scholars have located either northeast of Palestine, near desert land, probably between the city of Damascus and the Euphrates River, or to the southeast, in the area of Edom. Job probably lived before or around the time of Abraham (2167-1992 B.C.). He was very wealthy (verses 3, 10); he and his sons were homeowners in a large city of the region (verse 4; 29:7); and he was a respected and popular judge, and benefactor of his fellow citizens (29:7-25). He was a righteous man in God's eyes (verses 1, 5, 8, 2:3; Ezek. 14:14-20; James 5:11). The events related in this book were initiated by God (verses 6-8), for God did not allow Job's trials because of any sin in his life (2:3). Job emerged from the severe testing with a fresh appreciation of God's sovereignty and sufficiency for the believer's life (42:1-6).

Job was not a fictitious character, as some have claimed. In (Ezekiel 14:14 and 20), Job is linked with two other Old Testament characters; Noah and Daniel. The land of Uz is a region many scholars have connected with Edom, lying south of Israel, north of Arabia (Gen. 36:21, 28: 1 Chron. 1:42; Lam. 4:21).

The introduction to this book in verse 1 lets us know that this is not to be connected to any of the previous books, and certainly does not belong to any of the books that come afterward. There was a land of Uz near the land of Edom. Whether this is the same as that, we cannot say. There also was a man who bore the name of Job in (Gen. 46:13), "And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron." Nearly everyone agrees this is not the same person. Job in verse 13, means hostile, or cruel. This Job we are beginning to study was the opposite of that. Notice that Job here is perfect and upright. The only One who lived since the time of Adam and Eve, that was perfect and upright within Himself was Jesus. This is probably saying that he was perfect and upright in the sight of God. "Eschewed" means to turn off, decline, remove, and many more similar things. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so we can easily see that Job was a wise man. He put away evil. In this, I see a man who is in right standing with God.

Verses 2-3: Not only was Job's life upright, but he was prosperous. Numerous children, especially sons, and abundant livestock were the status symbols of wealth and greatness in that day.

Job 1:2 "And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters."

By his wife, in lawful wedlock, who was now living, and after mentioned.

"Seven sons and three daughters": Next to his religious character, his graces, and spiritual blessings, and as the chief of his outward mercies and enjoyments, his children are mentioned. And which are indeed blessings from the Lord, and such as good men, and those that fear the Lord, are sometimes blessed with (see Psalm 127:3). And to have numerous offspring was always esteemed a very great favor and blessing, and as such was reckoned by Job.

The number "seven" means spiritually complete. "Three" is a number of the God head. I believe the number of the children of Job indicates a perfect family.

Job 1:3 "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."

"Sheep ... camels ... oxen ... she asses": As typically in the ancient Near East, Job's wealth was not measured in money or land holdings, but in his numerous livestock, like the patriarchs (compare Gen. 13:1-7).

"Greatest ... of the east": A major claim by any standard. Solomon held a similar reputation, "Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east" (1 Kings 4:30). The "east" denotes those living east of Palestine, as the people of the northern Arabian Desert did (Judges 6:3; Ezek. 25:4).

We see that the blessings of Job were not just limited to having a large family. He was blessed greatly in the size of his farm animals as well. In fact, we might even say that Job was a very wealthy man. The oxen were spoken of in a manner that we could safely assume they were used as horses are today. The household spoken of, was perhaps speaking of his servants. The fact that he was the greatest of all men of the east, lets us know he was living somewhere in the Middle East.

Verses 4-5: If this is the earliest book in the Old Testament, as some believe, it is also the earliest written picture of a godly family, God-honoring parents and God-fearing children. The events in Job take place during the time of the patriarchs, when the head of the family acted as the priestly intercessor for his household.

Job 1:4 "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."

"Everyone his day": Of the week (7 sons). This reference to the main meal of each day of the week, which moved from house to house, implies the love and harmony of the family members. The sisters are especially noted to show these were cared for with love.

Most scholars believe that the feast spoken of here, was for a birthday of one of the boys. The statement "their houses" indicates they each had their own house. Each son gave a big feast every time they had a birthday. This was a special occasion to call the sisters to come and feast with them.

Job 1:5 "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."

"Sent and sanctified them": At the end of every week, Job would offer up as many burnt offerings as he had sons (see Lev. 1:4), officiating as family priest weekly ("continually"), in a time before the Aaronic priesthood was established. These offerings were to cover any sin that his children may have committed that week, indicating the depth of his spiritual devotion. This record is included to demonstrate the righteousness and virtue of Job and his family, which made his suffering all the more amazing.

"Burnt offerings": This kind of offering was known as early as Noah (Gen. 8:20).

Job was a spiritual man as clearly revealed by his sensitivity to sin and its consequent need for sacrifice.

We know that before the priesthood was established, the father of the family acted as that family's priest. In this case, Job called the children to him and sanctified (set them apart for God), them after each of the feasts. There was no one particular sin they had committed, but Job wanted to make sure they were right with God at all times. All good parents should be concerned about the spiritual welfare of their children. Today the way we make sure of that, is with our prayers. Everything I see in all of these verses indicates to me, that this is a family who lived very early on in history. The burnt offerings seemed to be an animal for each son. It seemed, that on a very regular basis, Job cleansed his sons and sacrificed for them.

Verses 1:6 - 2:10: Job's testing will be a result of this divine-satanic conflict, an interaction he knew nothing about.

Job 1:6 "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them."

"Sons of God" Job's life is about to be caught up in heavenly strategies as the scene moves from earth to heaven, where God is holding council with His heavenly court. Neither Job nor his friends ever knew about this. The angelic host (38:7; Psalms 29:1; 89:7; Dan. 3:25), came to God's throne to render account of their ministry throughout the earth and heaven (1 Kings 22:19-22). Like a Judas among the apostles, Satan was with the angels. Sons of God in this passage refers to angelic beings that periodically appears before the Lord to report on their activities. "Satan" is considered one of them, though fallen from his original sinless state. His name means "Adversary," and in this narrative, he lives up to its meaning. "Satan" is an angel, a created being, and though powerful, he is not omnipotent, omniscient, nor omnipresent. Although Satan is a fallen creature, he has access to God. The passage shows that Satan has access to God's presence, though this does not seem to be Satan's abode.

"Satan": Emboldened by the success he had with the unfallen Adam in paradise (Gen. 3:6-12, 17-19), he was confident that the fear of God in Job, one of a fallen race, would not stand his tests. And he had fallen himself (see Isa. 14:12). As opposed to a personal name, Satan as a title means "adversary," in either a personal or judicial sense. This demon is the ultimate spiritual adversary of all time and has been accusing the righteous throughout the ages (see Rev. 12:10). In a courtroom setting, the adversary usually stood to the right of the accused. This location is reported when Satan in heaven accused Joshua the High-Priest (Zech. 3:1). That he is still unsuccessful is the thesis of (Romans 8:31-39).

This is not speaking of sons of God in the sense that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. This is actually speaking of angelic beings. Notice that Satan was set out separate from the sons of God. We know that Satan is the accuser of men before the Father. This presenting themselves before the LORD was almost in the sense of giving an account of their doings.

Verses 7-8: "Going to and fro in the earth": The picture is of haste. No angel, fallen or holy, is an omnipresent creature, but they move rapidly. In Satan's case, as prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), and ruler of demons (Matt. 9:34; 12:24), the earth is his domain where he prowls like a "roaring lion ... seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). God gave him Job to test.

Job 1:7 "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."

"The Lord ... said": Lest there be any question about God's role in this ordeal, it was He who initiated the dialogue. The adversary was not presiding. If anything, Satan raised the penetrating question that might well be asked by anyone, perhaps even Job himself: Does Job serve God with pure motives, or is he in it only as long as the blessings flow?

"From going to and fro in the earth" refers to Satan's activity. Though he does not admit it here, Satan's character clearly shows that his many travels are for evil purposes. In (1 Peter 5:8), "Satan" is described as "your adversary the devil ... seeking whom he may devour". The activity of Satan indicates that he has only limited access to God. This account in Job emphasizes that God is sovereign over Satan. It also teaches that Satan is a finite being and therefore not omnipresent. Nor can he touch God's servants without God's permission.

Of course, the LORD already knew what Satan had been doing. The questioning of Satan was possibly for the benefit of the other angels. We know that the purpose of Satan going through the earth and searching is part of his evil desire to destroy. If he can find anyone who will succumb to him, he will destroy him.

Job 1:8 "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?"

"Perfect and upright" denotes that Job's integrity and way of life corresponded to God's expectations, not that he was sinless. This description contrasts with instances where children of God did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6; 21:25).

The initiative in the conversation lies with God, but He may well have simply expressed what was on Satan's mind. God's view of Job is the same as the description given (in 1:1).

Satan was accusing the men of the earth before the LORD all the time. This appears, that he had not brought up Job to the LORD, because he had not been able to find fault with him. There were just a few men in the Bible that God had singled out as being servants true to Him. Noah was another example of that. About the highest praise God could have for man was that in God's sight, he was perfect and upright. God was proud of Job for his faithfulness.

Verses 9-11: Satan asserted that true believers are only faithful as long as they prosper. Take away their prosperity, he claims, and they will reject God. He wanted to prove that salvation is not permanent, that saving faith can be broken and those who were God's could become his. That is the first of the two great themes of this book. Satan repeated this affront with Jesus (see Matt. Chapter 4), Peter (see Luke 22:31), and Paul (see 2 Cor. 12:7). The Old Testament has many promises from God in which He pledges to sustain the faith of His children (compare Psalms 37:23, 28, 97:10; 121:4-7; for New Testament texts, compare Luke 22:31-32; Jude 24).

Job 1:9 "Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?"

Satan acknowledges the accuracy of God's evaluation of Job but questions Job's motives. The question of why people serve God is as important as the question of suffering in this story. The "hedge" (verse 10), represents all that God does to protect His children. A godly man is invincible until God is finished with him.

Satan usually attacks with a question. He asked Eve, in the garden, did God say? It was strange that he would question God. He was actually trying to get God to doubt Job. He tried to say that Job had plenty of reason to follow God. Satan is the essence of selfishness and pride, and he tries to imply that Job was also.

Job 1:10 "Hast not thou made a 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."

A fence, a wall of protection all around him? All that he had; He encompassed him about with his love as with a shield, a hedge which could not be broken down by men or devils. He surrounded him with his almighty power, that none could hurt him. He guarded him by his providence and He caused his angels to encamp about him. Yea, he himself was a wall of fire around him.

"And about his house": Not the house in which he dwelt; though Satan could have gladly pulled down that about his ears, as well as that in which his children were. But it designs his family, who were also by Providence protected in their persons and estates, and preserved from the temptations of Satan, at least from being overcome by them.

"And about all that he hath on every side? His sheep, his camels, his oxen, and his asses. For otherwise these would not have escaped the malice and fury of this evil spirit they afterwards felt. But as these were the gifts of the providence of God to Job, they were guarded by his power, that Satan could not hurt them without leave.

"Thou hast blessed the work of his hands": Not only what he himself personally wrought with his own hands, but was done by his servants through his direction, and by his order. The culture of his fields, the feeding and keeping of his flocks and herds; all succeeded well. Whatever he did, or was concerned in, prospered.

"And his substance is increased in the land": Or "broke out"; like a breach of waters (see 2 Sam. 5:20). Exceeded all bounds; his riches broke forth on the right hand and on the left, and flowed in, so that there were scarce any limits to be set to them. He abounded in them. His sheep brought forth thousands; his oxen, camels, and asses, stood well, and were strong to labor. And his wealth poured in upon him in great plenty. All which was an eyesore to Satan, and therefore would insinuate that this was the sole spring and source of Job's religion, devotion, and obedience.

This was a true statement. God had blessed Job, his family, and all of his possessions. Job had been faithful to God, and God had blessed him mightily. We read many times in the Bible of the blessings God bestows on righteous men.

(Psalms 1:1-3) "Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." "But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

Job 1:11 "But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face."

Withdraw thine hand of providence, power, and protection, with which thou hast covered and screened him; and, instead of that, "send" forth thine afflicting hand. Not barely in a way of chastisement and correction, but in wrath and vengeance, consuming and destroying all he had. And this he desires might be done now, immediately, without delay, while Job was in the midst of his prosperity. For Satan was in haste to have mischief done to him, being an object of his great hatred and enmity.

Satan was judging Job by his own standards. This would be what Satan would do, if he were in Job's place. Satan is not righteous. He is the chief of all sinners. He challenged God to take away Job's possessions. Satan said that Job would curse God if he took away everything he had. Satan was saying that Job's loyalty was just because he was blessed of God.

Job 1:12 "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."

"Power": God allowed Satan to test Job's faith by attacking "all that he has." With God's sovereign permission, Satan was allowed to move on Job, except that he could not attack Job physically or take his life.

God permits but does not order Satan to test Job. Satan's power is always exercised under the control of God. He is limited by the unlimited power of God.

This is a very important Scripture for all believers to see. Satan had no power over Job, except what God allowed him to have. The Christians are under the same protection that Job had been. Satan cannot attack any believer, unless God allows it. We must also take note that God limited what He allowed Satan to do to Job. Job's trial was to prove his loyalty to God. The trials that we have are to make us stronger in the LORD.

Verses 13-19: The disasters that befell Job were of human agency ("Sabeans" and "Chaldeans"), and of natural sources ("fire" and "wind"), though Satan's power was behind it all. Sabeans were a nomadic Bedouin tribe known for their treachery and cruelty. They often plundered other peoples as a means of survival. Chaldeans were also a band of nomadic marauders at this time. They later conquered Babylon. All of these tragic events evidently took place on the same day, and of all the hundreds of Job's servants, only four survived to bear the bad news. Human life was lost in all four disasters.

Three times the text says these events happened "while he was yet speaking", meaning they happened one right after the other. As one messenger was leaving, the next one was bringing more bad news, completely immersing Job in tragedy. With 4 rapid fire disasters, Satan destroyed or removed Job's livestock, servants and children. Only the 4 messengers survived.

Job 1:13 "And there was a day when his sons and his daughters [were] eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:"

That is, on the day on which the regular turn came for the banquet to be held in the house of the older brother (compare the notes at Job 1:4).

"And drinking wine" This circumstance is omitted (in Job 1:4). It shows that wine was regarded as an essential part of the banquet, and it was from its use that Job apprehended the unhappy results referred to (in Job 1:5).

We discovered in an earlier verse of this lesson, that this was, probably, a birthday party. It was the oldest son's birthday. This was a time of great joy and merriment.

Job 1:14 "And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:"

Satan brought Job's troubles upon him on the day that his children began their course of feasting.

"And said, the oxen were ploughing": The five hundred yoke of oxen Job had (Job 1:3), which were all out in the fields, and employed in ploughing them. And to plough with such was usual in those times and countries, as it now is in some places (see 1 Kings 19:19).

This lends a stronger indication that the feast Job's children were having, was not a national holiday. Had it been a national holiday, they would not have been plowing the fields.

Job 1:15 "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."

"Sabeans": Literally "Sheba," part of Arabia. These people were terrorizing robbers, who had descended from Ham (Gen. 10:6-7) and/or Shem (Gen. 10:28).

The Sabeans were Arabs in the ancient times supposedly. It became a common name for all Arabs. They had raiding parties to continually plunder the wealth of others. It appears they came to take what belonged to Job. They killed his servants and took his animals.

Job 1:16 "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."

"Fire of God ... heaven": This probably refers to severe lightning.

Ordinarily Satan would not control the lightning, but in this case, God had given him permission to do this.

Ephesians 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"

So many people use the Scripture above to prove that Satan had power over the elements. I might remind them to look at the word prince. He may be prince of the power of the air, but the LORD is King of the air, and everything else. The prince rules under the authority of the King.

Job 1:17 "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."

"Chaldeans": A semi-nomadic people of the Arabian desert, experienced in marauding and war (Hab. 1:6-8).

Satan was making sure that everything the LORD had given him permission to do, would be done all at once to overwhelm Job. Notice in each instance, only one was left to come and tell of the tragedy that happened. Satan wanted the impact of all of it to come on Job at once.

Job 1:18 "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:"

A servant of one of Job's sons, who was in waiting at the feast before mentioned, and here again repeated.

"And said, thy sons and thy daughters were eating, and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house (See Job 1:13).

Job 1:19 "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.

"Great wind": Most likely a tornado-type wind (compare Isa. 21:1; Hosea 13:15).

To Job, as well as all parents, his children were the dearest thing he had. To lose them all at once was even more terrible. If anything would cause Job to turn against God, this would be it. This wind was like a cyclone. The Scripture above means people of both gender. The daughters died, also.

Verses 20-22: Satan failed. Instead of cursing God, Job worshiped. He had lost two of life's most precious possessions: family and wealth. Yet he remained upright. A third blessing, his health, was left alone. This godly man became a grieving man who still worshiped while he mourned. To affirm god's goodness in the midst of desolation is as much an act of worship as it is a sign of integrity.

"Worshipped": He heard the other messages calmly, but on hearing about the death of his children, he expressed all the symbols of grief (Gen. 37:34; Jer. 41:5; Micah 1:16), but also worshiped God in the expression of (verse 21). Instead of cursing, he blessed the name of Jehovah. Job's submissive response disproved the adversary's accusation (1:9-11). So far, Job was what God claimed him to be, a true believer with faith that cannot be broken (verse 8).

Job 1:20 "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,"

Whereon he was sitting in a disconsolate posture.

Rent his mantle": To testify his deep sense of and just sorrow for the heavy hand of God upon him, and his humiliation of himself under his hand (see Gen. 37:34). "Shaved his head": I.e. caused the hair of his head to be shaved or cut off, which was then a usual ceremony in mourning, of which (see Ezra 9:3; Isa. 15:2; 22:12; Jer. 7:29; 41:5; Micah 1:16).

"Fell down upon the ground": In way of self-abhorrence, and humiliation, and supplication unto God.

"And worshipped": To wit: God, who is expressed in the following verse, and who is the only object of religious worship. Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, and of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.

Job was not overwhelmed by the loss of his animals. He was not centered on his wealth. The loss of his children was too much for him to not be moved by it. The renting of his clothes and the shaving of his head, were signs of deep sorrow and mourning. It all had the opposite effect on him as Satan had planned however. He fell on his face before the Lord and worshipped.

Job 1:21 "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."

Either literally, where he was conceived and lay, and from whence he came into the world, though he afterwards wishes he never had, or had died as soon as he did (Job 3:10).

"Blessed be the name of the Lord": For all his blessings and mercies. For all the gifts of nature and providence that had been bestowed, which could not be claimed, and of which he knew himself unworthy. And for the continuance of them so long with goodness and mercy had followed him all the days or his life hitherto. And still he had mercies to bless God for: his wife was still with him, he had some servants left, his own life was spared. He continued as yet in health of body, and therefore could sing of mercy as well as judgment. Nor is there any state on earth a man can be in, but there is something to bless God for. Wherefore the apostle's exhortation will always hold good, "in everything give thanks" (1 Thess. 5:18).

These were words that Satan had not wanted to hear. LORD is Jehovah here. Job realized that everything he had, including his children, were gifts from God. He did not have anything when he was born and was willing to end his life the same way, if that was what the LORD chose. Job realized that this number of tragedies could not have happened had it not been a supernatural act. He was aware that this was allowed by the LORD. Job's statement, "blessed be the name of the LORD" is the opposite of cursing God.

Job 1:22 "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."

"Sinned not, nor charged God": Better, "sin by charging God with wrong". Hasty words against God in the midst of grief are foolish and wicked. Christians are to submit to trials and still worship God, not because they see the reasons for them, but because God wills them and has His own reasons which believers are to trust.

Job did not let anything that happened make a sinner out of him; he did not turn to evil when evil came upon him.

Death of those very near and dear to you has a tendency to do one of two things. The tragedy will drive you away from God, or make you much closer to God. In this case, it made Job even stronger in his loyalty to God. Satan's plan had failed.

Job Chapter 1 Questions

  1. What is the book of Job about?
  2. There are those who believe the book of Job is nothing more than a ___________.
  3. What are two other time tables that people put on Job?
  4. This book gives evidence that Satan tries to __________ man.
  5. In some of the darkest hours, the battle must be _______ _______.
  6. What terrible thing did Job's wife try to get Job to do?
  7. What encouragement were his friends?
  8. We may also learn from this, that suffering is not always brought on by ______ in our lives.
  9. What does the author believe about Job?
  10. Where did Job live?
  11. He was __________ and ___________, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
  12. Is this the same Job as the one spoken of in Genesis?
  13. What does "eschewed" mean?
  14. Fear of God is the beginning of _________.
  15. How many sons and daughters did Job have?
  16. How many sheep did he have?
  17. The household spoken of was Job's __________.
  18. What do most scholars agree the feast day of verse 4, was speaking about?
  19. What did Job do immediately after their feast day?
  20. All good parents should be concerned about the ____________ welfare of their children.
  21. Who tended to priestly duties, before the time of the priesthood?
  22. Who were the sons of God in verse 6?
  23. Satan is the ___________ of men.
  24. What question did God ask Satan?
  25. What was the purpose of Satan going through the earth?
  26. Satan was trying to get God to doubt ________ intentions.
  27. How did Satan describe the protection around Job?
  28. Satan was judging Job by his _______ standards.
  29. Satan had ______ power of Job, except what God ____________.
  30. What terrible news did the first messenger bring to Job?
  31. What was the fire of God in verse 16?
  32. What does the author remind us of about in Ephesians 2:2?
  33. Who fell upon the camels, and took them away?
  34. What was the worst news of all that one of the messengers brought?
  35. When Job heard of the death of his children, what did he do?
  36. What will the death of those very near to us do to us?
  37. Did Job sin or accuse God foolishly?

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Job 2

Job Chapter 2

Verses 1-8: A second test results in the loss of Job's health. The identification of the disease signified by "sore boils" is not clear, though its description is very vivid. In any case the boils covered his entire body, were visible to others, and were very painful. Job is now so impoverished that he can only scrape himself with a "potsherd" or piece of broken pottery.

Verses 1-6: This is a nearly identical replay of the scene (in 1:6-12), except that this test would be focused directly on Job. Satan's phrase "skin for skin" falsely accused Job of sacrificing his children, his animals, and his servants in order to preserve his own life.

Job 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."

The scene changes again to the heavenly court, where the angels came before the Lord and Satan was also present, having been again searching the earth for victims to assault (see notes on 1:6-8).

The presenting of themselves before the LORD indicates that they were to come, and give an account to the LORD about the things they had been doing. We discussed in the last lesson that the sons of God here, meant the angels. Again, we see that Satan was mentioned separately. He was really an archangel. Satan, Michael, and Gabriel seemed to each rule over 1/3 of the angels in heaven.

Job 2:2 "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."

Satan actively works for the downfall of Christians, "going to and fro ... up and down" across the earth (1 Peter 5:8).

The following Scripture shows that Satan never changes. He is still seeking whom he may destroy.

1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"

Notice that Satan is under control of the LORD. He is accountable to the LORD for all that he does.

Job 2:3 "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."

"Still he holdeth fast his integrity": God affirmed that Job had won round one.

"Without cause": God uses the same expression the adversary used (in Job 1): "for nothing" (1:9), and "without cause" (2:3). The message behind God's turn of words is that the adversary is the guilty party in this case, not Job who had suffered all the disaster without any personal cause. He had done nothing to incur the pain and loss, though it was massive. The issue was purely a matter of conflict between God and Satan. This is a crucial statement, because when Job's friends tried to explain why all the disasters had befallen him, they always put the blame on Job. Grasping this assessment from God, that Job had not been punished for something, but suffered for nothing related to him personally, is a crucial key to the story. Sometimes suffering is caused by divine purposes unknowable to us.

Satan had said that Job did not serve God "for nothing" (1:9), and now God uses the same Hebrew word to defend Job, saying he was still blameless even though Satan "movedst" God against Job "without cause". This play on words highlights Job's unwavering character and unconditional trust in God, apart from any material blessings from God.

The one thing we must remember in this verse, was the statement from the LORD that the attack on Job was without cause. This was not a punishment from God for evil that Job had done. Job stayed faithful to God under the worst of circumstances. Satan had told God that Job would curse Him to His face, if God took the hedge of protection away. Satan lost the battle. Job did no such thing. He worshipped God even more than before the trouble began. I would say that Job really was a perfect and an upright man in all of his actions. The worst of problems had come, and he stood steadfast in his belief.

Verses 4-5: "Skin for skin": Satan contended that what he had done to Job so far was just touching the skin, scratching the surface. Job endured the loss of all that he had, even the lives of his children, but would not endure the loss of his own well-being. If God allowed Satan to make the disaster a personal matter of his own physical body, the Adversary contended, job's faith would fail.

Job 2:4 "And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life."

This is a more extreme form of the insinuation of (Job 1:9). He means Job takes care to have his quid pro quo; and if the worst come to the worst, a man will give up everything to save his life. If, therefore, Job can save his life at the price of subservience to God, he will willingly pay that price rather than die; but his service is worth no more than that selfish object implies.

We can see in this, just how brutal Satan can be if he is turned loose to have his way. He was saying that Job was left in no danger of losing his own life, so he had not been tested to the extreme.

Job 2:5 "But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face."

"But touch his bone and his flesh": That is, smite him, not slightly, but to the quick, to the bones and marrow, so that he may feel pain and anguish indeed.

"And he will curse thee to thy face": Will openly and daringly blaspheme thy perfections, and reproach the dispensations of thy providence, and so will let go his integrity. Satan knew, and we find by experience, that nothing has a greater tendency to ruffle the mind, and put its passions into disorder, than acute pain and distemper of body.

Many a person in our day, has faced the pain of cancer in his body. Some of the people, indeed, do turn from God during these stressful times. Others draw closer than they have ever been to God, who is their only help. Satan is vicious, he will do anything he can to destroy a person's life.

Job 2:6 "And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he [is] in thine hand; but save his life."

"Save his life": The Lord sovereignly limited the Adversary, although health seemed preferable. Job believed that to be the case (7:15), as did his wife (2:9).

This is the ultimate test. The LORD had confidence that Job would handle this properly. Notice again, Satan could go no further than God allowed him to go. Job would not die of this illness.

Verses 7-8: These "boils" ("burning sores"), were the same affliction that plagued the Egyptians (in Exodus chapter 9). Job's disease was not merely painful but life-threatening (2 Kings 20:7, Isa. 38:21). A "potsherd" was a broken piece of pottery. His sitting among the "ashes" was a way of publicly demonstrating his intense state of grief (Jonah 3:6; Esther 4:3).

Job 2:7 "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."

"Satan ... smote Job": This appears to be an exceptional case with no other exact parallel in Scripture. In the gospels, demons caused physical problems when they dwelled within people (compare 13:11, 16), but that is not the case here. God's permissive will operated for purposes Job can't know; God was hidden from him along with the reasons for his suffering.

"Sore boils": Although the nature of Job's affliction cannot be diagnosed exactly, it produced extreme physical trauma (2:13; 3:24; 7:5, 14; 13:28; 16:8; 19:17; 30:17, 30; 33:21). One cannot fully understand Job's conversations throughout the book without considering the extraordinary physical distress he endured in a day without medicine or pain relief. His boils would have been similar to those of the Egyptians (Exodus 9:8-11) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:7).

Satan probably rushed out to see what damage he could do to Job, before he got over the grief of losing his children. It is almost as if he went immediately from the presence of the LORD to afflict Job. This was not just ordinary boils, this was something much more serious and was very painful as well. It appears, Satan covered Job from head to toe with them.

Job 2:8 "And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes."

"Potsherd ... ashes": Suffering terribly Job took himself to where the lepers go: the ash heap outside the city, where he scraped at his sores with a piece of broken pottery, perhaps breaking them open to release the infection.

Job sat in the ashes as a way of mourning. A "potsherd" is a piece of pottery made from clay. This type of sore was probably draining fluid, and Job was scraping the fluid from his body.

Verses 9-10: Job's wife suggested that Job do what Satan had predicted: "curse God." After all she had been through, it is no wonder she was ready to give up all hope. But Job recognized that both "good" and "evil" come from God's hand, though one by His active will and the other by His permissive will. God can permit evil things to happen for good ends (Gen. 50:19-20). "In all this did not Job sin" is proof enough that Satan was wrong and was sorely defeated. Satan does not appear again in the book.

Job 2:9 "Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die."

"Thine integrity": Through all this, Job's faith remained strong in the confusion, so that his wife could not accuse him of insincerity as Satan had. Her argument in effect was "let go of your piety and curse God; then He will end your life for blaspheming," (i.e. death under these conditions would be preferable to living). She added temptation to affliction because she advised him to sin.

Job's wife unknowingly urged her husband to do exactly what Satan wanted him to do: "curse God and die." Although on the surface this appears to be an accusation, her words may be a declaration that actual death would be better than ceaseless misery.

Job's wife had not said anything when the other attacks from Satan came, but now she realized this was definitely an attack on Job personally. She suggested that Job do the very thing that Satan said he would do. Many times, Satan uses our family to make matters worse and not better in this type of circumstance. She was no help at all.

Job 2:10 "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."

"Foolish": Not meaning silly or ridiculous, but acting as one who rejects God or God's revealed will. The word is used of the unwise in the Psalms (14:1; 53:1), and in Proverbs (30:22). She is not seen nor heard of again in this book, except indirectly (in 42:13-15).

"Receive": Job lived out and explained the text of (Deut. 29:29). His words and deeds demonstrated his confidence in God and vindicated God's confidence in him.

In another testament to his integrity, Job again responded as he did to the first trial (1:21-22), resisting the temptation to speak ill of God within his grief or to grow impatient and give up. His reply to his wife indicated he had a better understanding of God than she did.

Even in this terrible pain and suffering, Job still stayed faithful to God. He not only did not take his wife's advice, but scolded her for saying such a thing. Job it seems, had great respect for his wife over the other women. He knew this was not her usual actions. She just found it extremely hard to see him suffer like this. He warned her not to be like the foolish women.

Verses 11-13: Some time must have elapsed before the three friends arrived since it would have taken time for them to communicate and then make the trip. "Eliphaz" seems to have been the eldest and most prominent. He was from Teman, a well-known Edomite city where wise men lived (Jer. 49:20; Obad. Chapters 8 and 9). "Bildad the Shuhite" lived in the same general area inhabited by the descendants of Shuah, one of Abraham's sons by Keturah (Gen. 25:1-2). "Zophar" also lived nearby in the area of Naamath. Little is known about any of these men. Though these three friends have been considered the most unsympathetic comforters in history, a few compliments may be paid to them: They did come to visit Job, they wept with him, they sat with him in silence for seven days and nights, and they at least told him what they thought to his face and not behind his back. Their extended silence clearly teaches that there are times of grief so great that it is better not to speak than to say the wrong thing, as their subsequent conversation revealed. Here is one of the most moving scenes in the whole story, as Job's friends came to comfort and commiserate with him in his pain, they expressed all the traditional gestures of grief.

"Eliphaz ... Bildad ... and Zophar" were three sages who shared Job's faith in God and whose initial intentions, to come "together" and "mourn with him" were the right ones. The intensity of their mourning, from the moment they saw Job and during "seven days" of silence, was appropriate for the devastation he had experienced (Gen. 50:10; Rom. 12:15).

Job 2:11 "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."

"Temanite": Most likely Teman was a city of Edom (Gen. 36:4, 11; Jer. 49:7, 20; Ezek. 25:13; Amos 1:12; Obad. 8 and 9).

"Shuhite": The Shuhites were descendants of Abraham through Keturah (Gen. 25:2, 6).

"Naamathite": A resident of an unknown location probably in Edom or Arabia, although some have suggested Naamah on the Edomite border (Joshua 15:41).

True friends come to the aid of a friend in need. A good friend will pray with you, when there is trouble. A good friend will know the kind of person you are, and will not attack you like the rest of the world. These three men that came to Job, were friends of long standing. It appears, they were used to all getting together, and each helping the other decide what to do about problems. Distance is not a problem with true friends. All three of Job's friends came a long way to be with him. Because they were wise men, he honored their opinion. They came to comfort him and to mourn with him. "Eliphaz" means struggle against. "Bildad" means son of contention. "Zophar" means chatterer. It appears, these three friends came from different lands and met at Job's dwelling.

Job 2:12 "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."

"When they lifted up their eyes afar off ": Namely, at some convenient distance from him; whom they found sitting upon the ground, probably in the open air.

"And knew him not": His countenance being so dreadfully changed and disfigured by the sores.

"They lifted up their voice and wept": Through their sympathy with him, and great grief for his heavy affliction.

"And they rent every one his mantle": As it was usual for people to do in great and sudden calamities.

"And sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven": Either on the upper part of their heads toward heaven, or threw it up into the air, so that it fell upon their heads, and showed the confusion they were in. All which things were marks of great grief and affliction, and were the usual ways of expressing sorrow in those days.

The boils covered his body so completely, that they did not even recognize Job when they saw him. Job was seated in a bed of ashes outside of his home. The friends could see him sitting there, but could not recognize his body covered in sores. When they saw him and knew it was Job, their grief overcame them. They tore their clothes, and threw ashes on their heads in extreme grief for the fate of their friend.

Job 2:13 "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."

"His grief was very great": The expression actually meant that his disease produced pain that was still increasing. The agony was so great, his friends were speechless for a week.

Sometimes, a person's grief is so great that it is better not to speak to them. At those times, there is comfort in the presence of good friends. The seven days is questioned by many scholars, but I believe the time to be literal. The friends could have been fed, while they sat there. They could have wrapped up in their outer garments, and slept there with Job. It is possible that they fasted for this time, but probably they didn't, since it was not mentioned.

Job Chapter 2 Questions

  1. What did the presenting of themselves before the LORD indicate?
  2. Who were the sons of God in verse 1?
  3. Who was listed separately that stood before the LORD?
  4. What did the LORD ask Satan?
  5. Who is Satan accountable to?
  6. What was the main statement we must remember in verse 3?
  7. What had Job done, after the worst of attacks that Satan put on him?
  8. Satan said all that a man hath will he give for _____ ______.
  9. What did Satan tell God to do to Job, that Satan was sure would cause him to curse God?
  10. What restriction did God put on what Satan could do to Job?
  11. What was his next attack on Job?
  12. Where did Job sit, while he was afflicted?
  13. What is a "potsherd"?
  14. What suggestion did his wife give him?
  15. How did Job answer her?
  16. Who were Job's three friends?
  17. Why did they come to see Job?
  18. What does "Eliphaz" mean?
  19. What does "Bildad" mean?
  20. What does "Zophar" mean?
  21. Where did they find Job?
  22. Why did they not recognize him?
  23. How long did they stay with Job?
  24. What did they say to him?

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Job 3

Job Chapter 3

Verses 3:3 - 42:6: This whole section is poetry, a dramatic poem of speeches attempting to understand Job's suffering.

Verses 3:1 - 37:24: This section covers the cycles of speeches between Job and his well-meaning friends, including Elihu (chapters 32-37).

Verses 3:1 - 14:22: The first cycle of speeches given by Job and his 3 friends begins. Job was the first to break the week-long silence with a lament (3:1-26).

Verses 1-26: In Job's introductory soliloquy, he despairs of his life and experiences even greater sadness when he realizes God will not let him die (Psalm 58:8).

Verses 3:1 to 10: Job began his first speech by cursing the day of his birth, which should have been a day of great rejoicing and welcomed the day he would finally die. In short, Job says "I wish I'd never been born" (see 3; 6-7; 9-10; 12-14; 16-17; 19, 21, 23-24; 26-31; 40:3-5; 42:1-6 for Job's speeches).

Job 3:1 "After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day."

"Cursed his day": Job was in deep pain and despair. What God was allowing hurt desperately, but while Job did not curse God (2:8), he did curse his birth (verses 10-11). He wished he had never been conceived (verse 3), or born because the joys of his life were not worth all the pain. He felt it would have been better to have never lived than to suffer like that; better to have never had wealth than to lose it. Better to have never had children than to have them all killed. He never wanted his birthday remembered, and wished it had been obliterated from the calendar (verses 4-7).

"After this", that is, after the seven days of silence, Job broke the silence. Whereas the first two chapters were written in prose, everything in 3:3 - 42:6 is in poetry.

Job "cursed his day" (birth), in a manner that conveyed great suffering and depression. These are the words of a man who was so broken, he no longer cared what he said, but he did not curse God.

Job refused to curse God. He was cursing the day he was born. He had sat there 7 days, not saying a word to anyone. His three friends had come to be with him. From the statement above, he had realized that his friends thought that something he had done had caused this punishment to come to him. I see this so much among church people even today. If someone has a problem, they are quick to say that it is judgement from God. It is more likely that they are like Job here. Satan does not bother with those he already has in his camp. It is the true believer he is after. I was complaining about some persecution levelled against our church one day. A friend said, Praise God they are attacking you, Satan is not even bothering some churches.

Job 3:2 "And Job spake, and said,"

Hebrew, "answered," that is, not to any actual question that preceded, but to the question virtually involved in the case. His outburst is singularly wild and bold (Jer. 20:14). To desire to die so as to be free from sin is a mark of grace; to desire to die so as to escape troubles is a mark of corruption. He was ill-fitted to die who was so unwilling to live. But his trials were greater, and his light less, than ours.

After 7 days of silence, he spoke. Notice, Job spoke first. The friends could begin to talk to him now.

Job 3:3 "Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night [in which] it was said, There is a man child conceived."

Let the remembrance of that day be utterly lost; yea, I heartily wish that it had never been. Such wishes are apparently foolish and impatient, and yet have been sometimes forced from wise and good men in grievous distresses. Not as if they expected any effect of them, but only to show their abhorrence of life, and to express the intolerableness of their grief. And to give some vent to their passions, in which it was said with joy and triumph, as happy tidings (compare Jer. 20:15).

"Conceived": Or rather, brought forth, as this word is used (1 Chron. 4:17); for the time of conception is unknown commonly to women themselves, and doth not use to be reported among men, as this day is supposed to be.

No one could blame Job for such despair as this. His sorrows have finally overwhelmed him, and he wished he had never lived.

Job 3:4 "Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it."

I wish the sun had never risen on that day; or, which is the same thing, that it had never been. And when that day returns, instead of the cheering and refreshing beams of light arising upon it, I wish it may be covered with gross, thick darkness, and rendered black, gloomy, and uncomfortable.

"Let not God regard it from above": From heaven, by causing the light of heaven to visit it; or, let God make no more inquiry after it than if such a day had never been.

Job 3:5 "Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it."

I.e. a black and dark shadow, like that of the place of the dead, which is a land of darkness, and where the light is darkness. As Job explains this very phrase (Job 10:21-22). Or so gross and palpable darkness, that by its horrors and damps may take away men's spirits and lives.

"Stain it": Take away its beauty and glory, and make it abominable, as a filthy thing. Or,

"Challenge it": I.e. take and keep the entire possession of it, so as the light may not have the least share in it.

"Terrify it": To wit, the day, i.e. men in it. Let it be always observed as a frightful and dismal day.

It is as if he was saying that it was a very dark day, when he was born. This again, was speaking of the terribleness of the day he was born. He was just saying, that it had to be a very dark day and night when he was born.

Job 3:6 "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."

The night of conception; Job imprecated evils on the day he was born, now on the night he was conceived in, the returns of it.

"Let darkness seize upon it": Let it not only he deprived of the light of the moon and stars, but let a horrible darkness seize upon it, that it may be an uncommon and a terrible one.

"Let it not be joined unto the days of the year": The solar year, and make one of them. Or, "let it not be one among them", let it come into no account, and when it is sought for, let it not appear, but be found wanting. "Or let it not joy" or "rejoice among the days of the year", as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and others interpret it. Or be a joyful one, or anything joyful done or enjoyed in it.

"Let it not come into the number of the months": Meaning not the intercalated months, as Sephorno, nor the feasts of the new moon, as others. But let it not serve to make up a month, which consists of so many days and nights, according to the course of the moon. The sense both of this and the former clause is, let it be struck out of the calendar.

Job 3:7 "Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein."

Destitute of all society of men, meeting and feasting together. Let it afford no entertainment or pleasure of any kind

"Let no joyful voice come therein": No music, no harmony of sound be heard, no cheerful or pleasing voice admitted! Let no expressions of joy be so much as once attempted, however engaging and affecting they may be.

All of this was speaking of the amount of gloom that surrounded Job. He had forgotten all of the good, and was only remembering the terrible last bit of time. Job wished that the night of his conception and the day of his birth had been blotted from the calendar. This was a sound of hopelessness.

Job 3:8 "Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning."

"Let them curse ... mourning": Those who pronounce the most powerful curses, even to arousing the destructive sea monster (see note on 41:1; compare Psalms 74:14; 104:26; Isa. 27:1).

Instead of cursing God, Job cursed his own birth. "Mourning" is better taken as "Leviathan," an ancient sea monster who came to symbolize opposition to God's creative force. "To raise up" Leviathan would be to bring the world back to a state of chaos (Gen. 1:2) and negate the birth of Job).

Job 3:9 "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:"

That adorn the heavens with so much beauty and luster, never be seen that night.

Let it look for light, but have none": Let it wait with the greatest impatience for some pleasing refreshment from thick, heavy clouds hanging over it; but let not the smallest degree of light appear.

"Neither let it see the dawning of the day": Neither let it perceive the least glimpse of those bright rays, which, with so much swiftness, issue from the rising sun.

Strangely enough this is the way that many people feel, when they are very ill and in great pain. Some people in our society today feel this way in their spirit, even without problems like Job had here. Many people cannot face the realities of life, and kill themselves. If Job had not had such great faith in God, he might have contemplated something like that. The light was not there for him was what he was trying to say.

Job 3:10 "Because it shut not up the doors of my [mother's] womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes."

Because it did not confine me to the dark prison of the womb, but suffered me to escape from thence.

"Nor hid sorrow from mine eyes": Because it did not keep me from entering into this miserable life, and seeing or experiencing those bitter sorrows under which I now groan.

Verses 11-26: Job left the matter of never having been born (verses 1-10), and moved to a desire to have been stillborn (verses 11-19), then to a desire for the "light" of life to be extinguished in death (verses 20-23). There was no hint that Job wanted to take his own life, for there was nothing stopping him. Job still trusted God for His sovereign hand in the matter of death, but he did consider the many ways in which death would be a perceived improvement to the present situation, because of the pain.

Job 3:11 "Why died I not from the womb? [why] did I [not] give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?"

That is, as soon as he came out of it; or rather, as soon as he was in it, or from the time that he was in it. Or however, while he was in it, that so he might not have come alive out of it. Which sense seems best to agree both with what goes before and follows after. For since his conception in the womb was not hindered, he wishes he had died in it; and so some versions render it to this sense.

"Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?" Since he died not in the womb, which was desirable to him. He wishes that the moment he came out of it he had expired, and is displeased because it was not so (see Jer. 20:17). Thus, what is the special favor of Providence, to be taken out of the womb alive, and preserved, he wishes not to have enjoyed (see Psalm 22:9).

He was wishing he had never been conceived. Since he was conceived, he wishes he had died at birth. All of life was looking futile to him at the moment.

Job 3:12 "Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?"

"Knees" to "prevent me" probably refers to the loving practice of holding a newborn child on the knees something people still do today. Job wondered why his mother had not just abandoned him at birth if he was going to have a life that ended up like this.

Verses 13-19: Job described death as he understood it: as a time and place of relief from suffering. He believed it to be the great equalizer. The New Testament presents a more complete picture of death (1 Cor. 15:12-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

Job 3:13 "For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,"

Free from those torments of body, and that anguish of mind, which now oppress me.

Job was wishing that his mother had not nourished him. He felt if he had died at birth, he would not have had these great sorrows.

Job 3:14 "With kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves;"

I.e., gorgeous tombs and splendid sepulchers, which, being inhabited only by the dead, are desolate. Or it may mean that the places so built of old are now ruined and desolate. In the former sense it is possible that the Pyramids may here be hinted at.

Job was speaking of the futility of building great kingdoms for themselves that died anyway.

Job 3:15 "Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver:"

A large abundance of it while they lived, but now, being dead, were no longer in the possession of it, but on a level with those that had none. Nor could their gold, while they had it, preserve them from death, and now, being dead, it was no longer theirs, nor of any use unto them. These princes, by this description of them, seem to be such who had not the dominion over any particular place or country, but their riches lay in gold and silver, as follows.

"Who filled their houses with silver": Had an abundance of it, either in their coffers, which they hoarded up, or in the furniture of their houses, which were much of it of silver. They had large quantities of silver plate, as well as of money; but these were of no profit in the hour of death. Nor could they carry them with them; but in the grave, where they were, those were equal to them, of whom it might have been said, silver and gold they had none.

The princes who had stacked up gold, died and left it for someone else.

Job 3:16 "Or as a hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants [which] never saw light."

Another condition which would have relieved him from the experience of suffering.

This is speaking of death coming to all. Job was still wishing he had died at birth. He was saying, he wished his mother had miscarried.

Job 3:17 "There the wicked cease [from] troubling; and there the weary be at rest."

I.e., in the grave, the place indicated, but not distinctly expressed.

The wicked are never satisfied. The wicked may stop trouble on this earth, but they have a terrible fate awaiting them. The weary are not the same as the wicked. Even Christians get weary. There is a perfect rest awaiting those who die knowing the LORD.

Job 3:18 "[There] the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor."

That is, one as well as another; they who were lately deprived of their liberty. Kept in the strongest chains and closest prisons, and condemned to the most hard and miserable slavery, rest as well as those who were captives in much better circumstances.

"They hear not the voice of the oppressor": Or exactor or taskmaster, who urges and forces them, by cruel threatening and stripes, to labor beyond their strength. Job does not here take into consideration their eternal state after death, of which he speaks hereafter, but only their freedom from worldly troubles, which is the sole matter of his present discourse.

The prisoners are oppressed on the earth. In those days, prisoners were either chained up, or they were forced to do hard labor. The oppressor in this instance, would be those who were the taskmasters. When this life is over, all of that stops.

Job 3:19 "The small and great are there; and the servant [is] free from his master."

I.e. persons of all qualifies and conditions, whether higher or lower.

"Are there": In the same place and state, all those kinds of distinctions and differences being for ever abolished.

There will be no separations in heaven. God is no respecter of persons. All go to the same heaven, or the same hell. The servant is no longer under the master after death.

Verses 20-26: Although Job repeatedly asked "why" his life went on (five times), he was not considering suicide. His lament centered on why God preserved his life. God's people can ask why (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34), but they must remember that God is not obligated to give an answer.

Job 3:20 "Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter [in] soul;"

Wherefore giveth He light, namely, God. Often omitted reverentially (Job 24:23; Eccl. 9:9). Light, that is, life. The joyful light doesn't suit the mourners. The grave is most in unison with their feelings.

In this chapter, all the way through, Job was speaking of a better place awaiting. Those that live in abject poverty on this earth, will live in splendor in heaven. There are some who have a miserable plight on this earth. It seems, they live where there is no light, but in heaven where God dwells, there is continuous light.

Job 3:21 "Which long for death, but it [cometh] not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;"

I.e., desire and pray for it with as much earnestness as men dig for treasure. But it is observable that Job did not lay violent hands upon himself, nor do anything to hasten or procure his death. But notwithstanding all his miseries and complaints, he was contented to wait all the days of his appointed time, till his change came (Job 14:14).

Job counts himself among those who seek death. He was miserable in life, as the people he mentioned were miserable. He knew there was coming a day, when all pain and suffering would be done away with.

Job 3:22 "Which rejoice exceedingly, [and] are glad, when they can find the grave?"

To be thus impatient of life, for the sake of the trouble we meet with, is not only unnatural in itself, but ungrateful to the Giver of life, and shows a sinful indulgence of our own passion. Let it be our great and constant care to get ready for another world: and then let us leave it to God to order the circumstances of our removal thither.

Even Paul looked forward to the death of the physical body, so that he could be with the LORD. He knew it was necessary to live on this earth, until he had completed his mission. However all believers' sin. Those in Christ are looking forward to that heavenly home, where all the sorrows of this life are done away with. Verse 22 is not speaking of suicide. It is speaking of rejoicing on that day, when we shed this physical body, and rise to heaven in our spiritual bodies.

Job 3:23 "[Why is light given] to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?"

"Hedged in": Satan spoke of a hedge of protection and blessing (1:10), whereas Job spoke of this hedge as a prison of living death.

Job was speaking of himself here. He had lived in the light. He felt that God had given the Light of God to him. The Light seems to be unable to get him out of this time of being hedged in. Job felt useless to witness of that Light at this point. He felt this was from God and there was nothing he could do about it.

Job 3:24 "For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters."

"Sighing ... roarings": These destroyed any appetite he might have had.

Verses 25-26: "Which I greatly feared": Not a particular thing but a generic classification of suffering. The very worst fear that anyone could have was coming to pass in Job's life, and he is experiencing severe anxiety, fearing more.

Job 3:25 "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me."

(Compare Prov. 28:14). It means that he had always had in remembrance the uncertainty and instability of earthly things, and yet he had been overtaken by a calamity that mocked his carefulness and exceeded his apprehensions.

These two Scriptures (24-25), in my opinion, have been grossly misunderstood. We are told in the beginning of these lessons, that Job feared God. We are not told that he feared anything else. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. His fear of God is what he was speaking of here that had come true. Job wanted to please God in all that he did. He was careful to keep the relationship with God open. He prayed and sacrificed regularly. We know that God found no fault in Job's fear, because it was God who told Satan that Job was perfect and upright.

Job, in a verse above, knew that it was God who allowed him to be hedged in. I believe that greater than Job's pain from the sores on his body, was a feeling in his heart that he might have in some way offended God. There was no error on Job's part. This was an attack of Satan on a righteous man. His roarings were like a mourning. He desired that close fellowship with God he had known in the past.

Job 3:26 "I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came."

This cannot refer to the time of his prosperity; for he certainly then was in safety. God having set a hedge about him, so that none of his enemies, nor even Satan himself, could come at him to hurt him.

"Neither had I rest, neither was I quiet": Which also was not true of him before his afflictions, for he did then enjoy great peace, rest and quietness. He lay in his nest at ease, and in great tranquility; and thought and said he should die in such a state (see Job 29:18). Nor is the sense of these expressions that he did not take up his rest and satisfaction in outward things. And put his trust and confidence in his riches, and yet trouble came upon him. But this relates to the time of the beginning of his troubles and afflictions, from which time he was not in safety, nor had any rest and peace. There was no intermission of his sorrows; but as soon as one affliction was over, another came.

"Yet trouble came": Still one after another, there was no end of them. or, as Broughton renders it, "and now cometh a vexation"; a fresh one, a suspicion of hypocrisy; and upon this turns the whole controversy, managed and carried on between him and his friends in the following part of this book.

Trials and troubles come to everyone. It is not the number or severity of the trials that come that make us different. It is the way we handle those troubles when they come. Christians are not exempt from trials. The following is what Jesus said about this very thing.

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Our peace is not because there is no tribulation. Our peace is in Christ. In the middle of terrible tribulation, we can experience His peace. I would rather be like Job, who wanted to please God in whatever circumstance he was in. If I were not experiencing any hardships, I would be concerned that Satan did not find me a threat to him.

Job Chapter 3 Questions

  1. When Job finally spoke, he cursed _____ ______.
  2. How long had he sat without saying anything?
  3. What had Job realized about his friends, while they were sitting there?
  4. Who is Satan generally after?
  5. What did Job say in verse 3?
  6. He was really wishing he had never ________.
  7. What was he saying about the day he was born, in verse 4?
  8. What was verse 7 telling us about Job?
  9. The statements that Job was making, in verse 9, is the same way many people feel who are _______ ______.
  10. In verse 11, he was wishing he had never been __________.
  11. In verse 14, Job is speaking of the _____________ of building great kingdoms for themselves.
  12. The princes who stacked up gold, ________ and left it for someone else.
  13. There is a ________ ______ for those who die knowing the LORD.
  14. What was the plight of prisoners in that day?
  15. There will be no ______________ in heaven.
  16. God is not a ____________ of persons.
  17. In this entire chapter, what was Job speaking of?
  18. Why do some people look forward to death?
  19. What great apostle looked forward to death?
  20. Who was Job speaking of in verse 23?
  21. Who did Job believe his great distress was from?
  22. Job's roaring was poured out like the __________.
  23. What was the only fear that Job had?
  24. Fear of God is the beginning of _________.
  25. How did Job attempt to keep his relationship with God open?
  26. Who told Satan that Job was perfect and upright?
  27. What was the greatest pain that Job felt?
  28. This was an attack of Satan on a ____________ man.
  29. Troubles and trials come to __________.

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Job 4

Job Chapter 4

Verses 4:1 - 27:23: Three rounds of dialogue occur between Job and his three friends. (Chapter's 4-14), contain the first round of dialogue.

In verses 4:1 - 5:27: This is Eliphaz's first speech. His main emphasis is that no one who was innocent has ever suffered as much as Job (who ever perished, being innocent?); thus God has brought this punishment to chasten a sinful Job and restore him to righteousness (see chapters 15 and 22), for Eliphaz's other speeches. He spoke profoundly and gently, but knew nothing of the scene in heaven that had produced the suffering of Job.

Verses 1-6: In Hebrew, "Eliphaz" means "My god is Gold." His name and native land ("Teman"), were associated with Esau and Edom (Gen. 36:11; 1 Chron. 1:36; Jer. 49:7). Eliphaz began his speech with sarcasm, essentially accusing Job of not practicing what he preached.

Job 4:1 "Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,"

The actual dialogue with his friends begins here and takes up most of the book. It consists of three cycles in which each friend speaks and Job replies, with the exception that in the third cycle Zophar does not speak. "Eliphaz" speaks first because he was probably the eldest and wisest. He was also the most compassionate of the three. Eliphaz takes the position of a theologian, emphasizing the greatness of God and His judgment of sin. Bildad takes the position of a traditionalist, emphasizing the principles of wisdom, which he suggests Job has violated. All three of them take a negative view of Job, assuming that he has done something to bring this trouble on himself.

Verses 2-6: Job's friend finally spoke after 7 days of silence and began kindly by acknowledging that Job was recognized for being a wise man. Unfortunately, with the opening of their mouths for the first speech, all the wisdom of their silence departed.

Job 4:2 "[If] we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?"

Or, (without a note of interrogation), thou wilt be grieved. Our words will undoubtedly vex thee, and not comfort thee, as we intended and desired to do. We must not use words of comfort, but of sharp reproof, which will be irksome to thee. And this makes me desire to be silent, if it were possible.

"Who can withhold himself from speaking": When he hears such unreasonable and ungodly words coming from such a person as thou art, whereby thou dost accuse thy Maker, and reproach his providence, and contemn his blessings? No man who hath any respect to God, or love to thee, can forbear reproving thee.

Eliphaz was fully aware that up until this time Job did not want his friends to talk to him. We discussed earlier, that many times deep grief has to be worked out silently within one's self. Now, Eliphaz believed that it might be time to speak to Job. He was actually asking Job's permission to speak to him. He had waited 7 days, and now he felt he must speak.

Job 4:3 "Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands."

It is well known thou hast given good counsel unto others, teaching them those lessons which, it appears, thou hast not thyself learned. And wilt not practice, namely, patiently to bear afflictions, and to submit to God's will and providence in all things.

And thou hast strengthened the weak hands": Hast encouraged those that were dispirited; hast administered counsels, supports, and comforts to such as were unable to bear their burdens, or to do their duty.

It appears, that Job had ministered to those around him who had problems of any kind. It appears, he had instructed them in the ways of God. His instructions had strengthened those who were weak in the LORD.

Job 4:4 "Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees."

That was ready to sink under his pressures, or to fall into sin, or from God, through despondency and distrust of his providence and promise, or through impatience.

"And thou hast strengthened the feeble knees": Such as were weak-hearted, and fainting under their trials.

We knew earlier of Job's great concern for his own children, but this shows me a man who was concerned about all of those around him as well. Job's advice to others in trouble had been of great help to them in their recovery.

Job 4:5 "But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled."

That is, the evil which thou didst fear (Job 3:25), or that which had come upon those whom thou didst so comfort.

"And thou faintest": There is no more spirit left in thee: and thou canst not practice thy own advice.

"It toucheth thee, and thou art troubled": It is now come to be thine own case, and thou art struck with consternation.

This friend was telling Job that he was good at giving advice, but he was not very good at taking advice. He was also saying, take for yourself the advice you have given others. This friend of Job believed that this calamity that had befallen Job, was a chastisement from God. He was thoroughly convinced that Job had done some terrible thing, and God was punishing him for it.

Job 4:6 "[Is] not [this] thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?"

The meaning seems to be, "Should not thy fear or piety be thy confidence, and the uprightness of thy ways or hope? Should not the piety you were so ready to commend to others supply a sufficient ground of hope for thyself?" Or we may understand, "Is not thy reverence, thy confidence, thy hope, and thy integrity shown to be worthless if thou faintest as soon as adversity toucheth thee?" The drift of the speaker is virtually the same in either case.

Job feared God, and had confidence that God would see him through every peril. His hope was that he lived before God the very best that he could. He had done everything as nearly perfect as he knew how. It was very hard to put that confidence in God into practical application, with as much trouble as Job had at this time. The friend was making a deceptive remark to Job about his righteousness. He was saying, if you were righteous in the sight of God, wouldn't he save you from this? He had begun to insinuate that Job had sinned.

Verses 7-11: Eliphaz illustrated his belief in the principle of divine retribution ("plow" and "reap"), with an example from the animal kingdom: if a lion does not catch its prey, then it and its cubs will suffer.

Job 4:7 "Remember, I pray thee, who [ever] perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?"

This was, probably, some very good advice that Job had given to his friends in need who had come to him. God would not be cut off. It just appeared that way at the moment.

"Who ever perished, being innocent"? Eliphaz, recognizing Job's "fear of God" and "integrity" (verse 6), was likely encouraging Job at the outset by saying he wouldn't die because he was innocent of any deadly iniquity, but must be guilty of some serious sin because he was reaping such anger from God. This was a moral universe and moral order was at work, he thought. He had oversimplified God's pattern of retribution. This simple axiom, "the righteous will prosper and the wicked will suffer," does not always hold up in human experience. It is true that plowing and sowing iniquity reaps judgment, so Eliphaz was partially right (Gal. 6:7-9; 1 peter 3:12), but not everything we reap in life is the result of something we have sown (see notes on 2 Cor. 12:7-10). Eliphaz was replacing theology with simplistic logic. To say that wherever there is suffering, it is the result of sowing sin is wrong (Exodus 4:11; John 9:1-3).

Job 4:8 "Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same."

"Even as I have seen," that is, Eliphaz's argument was based on personal experience. "They that plow iniquity ... reap the same," meaning, you reap what you sow. Therefore, Job must be suffering because of sin.

With friends like this, Job did not need enemies. His friend was accusing him of sin. Iniquity here, was speaking of both physical and spiritual evil. He was saying, "you reap, what you sow". He was convinced that Job had sinned and was refusing to repent of that sin. This was not true.

Job 4:9 "By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed."

They and their works, those that plough, the sowers, and reapers of iniquity; the allusion is to the blasting of corn by the east wind, or by mildew, etc. Having used the figures of ploughing and sowing before; and which is as soon and as easily done as corn, or anything else, is blasted in the above manner. And denotes the sudden and easy destruction of wicked men by the power of God, stirred up by his wrath and indignation, because of their sins. Who when he blows a blast on their persons, substance, and families, they perish at once.

"And by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed": Meaning his wrath and anger, which is like a stream of brimstone, and kindles a fire on the wicked, which are as fuel to it, and are soon consumed by it. The allusion is to breath in a man's nostrils, and the heat of his wrath and fury discovered thereby. Some think this refers to Job's children being destroyed by the wind (see Isa. 11:4).

It is the breath of God within all of us that allows us to live. God is in control of our birth and our death regardless of who we are or what we have done. It is also Jesus who is the Judge of all the world. It is his determination of whether we live in heaven or spend an eternity in hell.

Verses 10-11: Wanting to demonstrate that wicked men experience calamities in spite of their strength and resources, Eliphaz illustrated his point by the destruction that comes on lions in spite of their prowess. Five Hebrew words were used here for lion, emphasizing the various characters of wicked people, all of whom can be broken and perish.

Job 4:10 "The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken."

Understand vanishes, or perishes (out of Job 4:9). Or, is restrained, or suppressed, as may be gathered out of the following branch of this verse.

"And the teeth of the young lions are broken": The power of such mighty ones to do mischief is taken away from them, and they and their families are brought to ruin. The teeth of lions are very strong in both jaws; they have fourteen teeth, four incisors or cutters, four canine or dog teeth, six molars or grinders.

Job 4:11 "The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad."

Dares not venture out of his den in search of prey, amidst the roar of thunder. The blaze of lightning, and the violence of the storm, that blast of God, mentioned in the preceding verse.

"And the young lion's whelps are scattered abroad": Are so affrighted with the lightning and thunder, that, being separated, they flee in different ways, and cannot find the path which leads to the den of the lioness, their dam. Thus do the divine judgments suddenly oppress, scatter, and bring to nothing the fierce and powerful tyrants of the earth, and unexpectedly strip them of all their wealth gotten by injustice and oppression.

Eliphaz now, was relating Job to evil men who were spoken of as lions. He was saying that Job had abused his power as a leader. The old lion was a tyrant who had lost his power. In this last statement, it was a terrible blow to Job, because his children were called the whelps. They were taken from Job, but they were not scattered, they were in heaven with God. Job's friend spoke of them, as if they were lost for the sins of their father. All of the statements from Job's friend were not true, because they were not from God.

Verses 12-20: This frightful dream ("in thoughts from the visions of the night"), which Eliphaz claimed was from God, supposedly affirmed his view of how divine justice works (see note on 4:7-11). His words offered Job no comfort; instead, they conveyed God as a judge unfamiliar with mercy.

Verses 12-16: "A thing was secretly brought to me": Eliphaz spoke of a mysterious messenger in a vision, eerie fantasy, or a dream. He claimed to have had divine revelation to bolster his viewpoint.

Job 4:12 "Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof."

He now proceeds to enforce and illustrate what he has said in highly poetical language, which has been versified in one of Byron's Hebrew Melodies.

"Secretly brought to me": Literally, was stolen for me. Joseph uses the same expression of himself (in Genesis 40:15).

"Mine ear received a little thereof": Compared with the inexhaustible resources remaining unrevealed. The word used for little is only found once again, and in the mouth of Job (Job 26:14).

Job 4:13 "In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,"

While Eliphaz was thinking of and meditating upon divine things, or while he was revolving in his mind some night visions he had, before this was made unto him (see Dan. 2:29). In meditation, the Lord is often pleased to make known more of his mind and will to his people. And this is one way in which he would do it in former times, in a vision either in the day, as sometimes, or in the night, as at others, and as here (see Num. 12:6).

"When deep sleep falleth on men": On sorrowful men, as Mr. Broughton renders it; such who have been laborious all the day, and getting their bread with sorrow and trouble, and are weary. Who as soon as they lie down fall asleep, and sleep falls on them, and to such it is sweet, as the wise man says (Eccl. 5:12). Now it was at such a time when men ordinarily and commonly are asleep that this vision came.

Whether this was speaking of a dream or a vision, it does not matter. There are two sources for dreams and visions. Only one source is from God. I would believe that Satan was using this friend to further attack Job. Notice also, that the words he heard were as a whisper, which he did not hear clearly.

Job 4:14 "Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake."

Either caused by the apparition following. Or sent by God to humble him, and to prepare him for the more diligent attention to, reverent reception of; and ready compliance with, the Divine message.

Job 4:15 "Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:"

He does not intimate whether it was the spirit of a man, or an angel who thus appeared. The belief in such apparitions was common in the early ages, and indeed has prevailed at all times. No one can demonstrate that God could not communicate his will in such a manner as this, or by a messenger deputed from his immediate presence to impart valuable truth to people.

"The hair of my flesh stood up": This is an effect which is known often to be produced by fear. Sometimes the hair is made to turn white almost in an instant, as an effect of sudden alarm; but usually the effect is to make it stand on end.

It would not matter that this was an evil spirit, he would have felt fear from it anyway. There was no question that Eliphaz had encountered the spirit, but the question is, was it from God or Satan? Satan will use members of our family and our closest friends to do us hurt.

Job 4:16 "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],"

That is, the spirit, or the angel in a visible form. It was before going to and fro, but now it stood still right against Eliphaz, as if it had something to say to him, and so preparing him to attend to it. Which he might do the better, it standing before him while speaking to him, that he might have the opportunity of taking more notice of it. But, notwithstanding this advantageous position of it.

"I could not discern the form thereof": What it was, whether human or any other.

"An image was before mine eyes": He saw something, some appearance and likeness, but could not tell what it was. Perhaps the fear and surprise he was in hindered him from taking in any distinct idea of it. Or that particular notice of it, so as to be able to form in his own mind any suitable notion of it, or to describe it to others.

"There was silence": Both in the spirit or image, which, standing still, made no rushing noise. And in Eliphaz himself, who kept in his breath, and listened with all the attention he could to it. Or a small low voice, as Ben Melech interprets it: so it follows:

"And I heard a voice": A distinct articulate voice or sound of words Very audibly delivered by the spirit or image that stood before him.

Verses 17-21: This is the content of the message which is, in effect, that God judges sin and sinners among men (described in verse 19 as "houses of clay"), as He did among angels (verse 18; compare Rev. 12:3-4).

Job 4:17 "Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?"

Here is the conclusion of Eliphaz's revelation, that Job suffered because he was not holy enough, not righteous enough.

The key to this was in the fact that the spirit planted a question in Eliphaz's mind. God makes statements and Satan brings questions that cause us to doubt. This spirit was of Satan. Job had not tried to say that he was pure, or that he was more just than God. God had said that Job was righteous. It was God who said all of these nice things about Job. Job appears, from everything he said and did to be a humble man.

Job 4:18 "Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:"

Imperfection is to be attributed to the angels, in comparison with Him. The holiness of some of them had given way (2 Peter 2:4), and at best is but the holiness of a creature.

"Folly": Is the want of moral consideration.

All of these accusations were lies from the father of lies, Satan. Job did not worship angels who are ministering spirits. He put his faith in the LORD, where it belonged. Just as God knew that angels were not infallible, Job knew they were not too.

Job 4:19 "How much less [in] them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation [is] in the dust, [which] are crushed before the moth?"

"Houses of clay": (2 Cor. 5:1). Houses made of sun-dried clay bricks are common in the East; they are easily washed away (Matt. 7:27). Man's foundation is this dust (Gen. 3:19).

"Before the moth": Rather, "as before the moth," which devours a garment (Job 13:28; Psalm 39:11; Isa. 50:9). Man, who cannot in a physical point of view, stand before the very moth. Surely cannot in a moral sense, stand before God.

Job's friend was saying that God could not even trust Job to do the right thing. He was housed in a body of clay and was therefore worldly. Job's friend was speaking lies. God did trust Job. That was what this whole attack on Job's person was about, because God did trust him and told Satan that He did.

Job 4:20 "They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding [it]."

The process is continual and unceasing, and when we consider the ravages of time on history, we may well say (as in Job 4:20), that "none regardeth it."

The next verse however, may seem to imply that they themselves are unmindful of their decay, it is so insidious and so complete.

He was speaking of the fact that all flesh dies. Part of this is true. God has no regard for the flesh of man, just for the spirit that dwells within that flesh.

Job 4:21 "Doth not their excellency [which is] in them go away? they die, even without wisdom."

Whatsoever is really or by common estimation excellent in men, all their natural, and moral, and civil accomplishments, as high birth, great riches, power, and wisdom, etc. These are so far from preserving men from perishing, as one would think they should do, that they perish themselves, together with those houses of clay in which they are lodged.

"Which is in them go away": I.e. die and perish, as that phrase is oft used as (Gen. 15:15; Joshua 23:14; Job 10:21; Psalm 58:9; Eccl. 12:5; Matt. 26:21), with, as beth is oft used, them; it does not survive them.

"Without wisdom": Either;

(1) Like fools, wise men and fools die alike (Eccl. 2:16); or

(2) They never attain to perfect wisdom, to that wisdom which man once had, much less to that wisdom which is in God, which Job conceived he hath.

Otherwise he would not so boldly censure the counsels and works of God as unrighteous or unreasonable, because his human and narrow capacity cannot fully understand them. Moreover, as folly is oft put for unrighteousness and wickedness, so is wisdom for justice and goodness. Which is so known, that it is needless to prove it. And so by wisdom here may be meant that perfect justice and purity which Job arrogated to himself, and which Eliphaz here denies to all men (Job 4:17).

Now we see the jealousy of Job's wisdom by his friend. He was saying that Job had been known as a wise man on the earth, but his wisdom would die with him.

Job Chapter 4 Questions

  1. Which of Job's friends spoke first?
  2. What was he asking Job for in verse 2?
  3. What do we learn about Job from verse 3?
  4. In verse 4, we find of Job's great concern for whom?
  5. Job's friend was telling Job that he was good at ________ advice, but not good at __________ advice.
  6. What did Job's friend believe caused this calamity to come on Job?
  7. Who was Job's confidence in?
  8. What was his hope?
  9. The friend had begun to insinuate that Job had ________.
  10. Verse 7 was, probably, the same thing that _______ had said to those in trouble.
  11. By the _________ of God they perish.
  12. Who is the Judge of all the world?
  13. Who was Job's friend relating him to in verse 10?
  14. The whelps, in verse 11, were speaking of whom?
  15. What were two different things that verse 12 and 13 could be speaking of?
  16. What two very different sources do dreams and visions come from?
  17. When this happened to Eliphaz, what effect did it have on him?
  18. Who will Satan use to get to do us hurt?
  19. What is the key to where this spirit came from?
  20. Who had said that Job was righteous?
  21. From everything he said and did, we can conclude that Job was an ___________ man.
  22. Who were all of these lies from?
  23. What are angels?
  24. What was Job's friend saying about his relationship with God?
  25. God did trust ______.
  26. What was the reason for the attack of Satan on Job?
  27. All flesh ________.
  28. God has no regard for the flesh of man. He regards the ________ ______ _______ _____ the flesh.
  29. The last verse of this lesson reveals the ________ of Job's friend.

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Job 5

Job Chapter 5

Job 5:1 "Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?"

"Saints": Angelic beings (4:18), are in view. Job was told that not even the angels could help him. He must recognize his mortality and sin if he would be healed.

According to Eliphaz, Job was abandoned and heaven would not answer his "call" for assistance because of his assumed wrongdoing.

If God did not help Job, there was surely no help available to him through any of the saints.

Verses 2-6: Job was told not to be a fool or simpleton, but to recognize that sin is judged, wrath kills, envy slays, foolishness is cured (verses 2-5), and this wasn't merely a physical matter (verse 6), but came from man's sin. Sin is inevitable in man; so is trouble (verse 7).

Job 5:2 "For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one."

That is, say some, a man's wrath and impatience prey upon his spirit, and so hasten his death. But the meaning seems rather to be, as Bishop Patrick observes, that "God in his anger and indignation destroys the wicked, and such as err from his precepts." It is probable that Eliphaz intended to distinguish Job by the characters of foolish and silly one, to insinuate that all his misfortunes were owing to his folly and weakness, or to his sins and vices. By the foolish is meant the rash and inconsiderate man, who does not weigh things impartially. And by the silly one, the man who, for want of true wisdom, is soon deceived with false opinions, and with appearances of present things.

Eliphaz believed that Job had placed his trust in something, or someone, other than God. He couldn't figure out with his mind what was happening to Job, and he was seeking reasons that were logical. We find that with many of the people who study the book of Job, they are so busy trying to figure out what Job did to cause this calamity that they miss the whole meaning of the book. Job did not do anything to bring this problem on. The fact that he was righteous in the sight of God caused this.

Verses 3-7: Eliphaz was convinced that 'trouble" always starts somewhere; it does not just "happen" such as ("trouble spring out of the ground"). By saying that he had seen sinners prosper ("taking root"), only to lose everything in the end, Eliphaz wrongly suggested that Job's sin led to the death of his children.

Job 5:3 "I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation."

I have observed the wicked man whom I term foolish, as being destitute of true, that is of heavenly wisdom. Not only prosperous for the present, but as it seemed, firm and secure for the future. Being strongly fortified with power and riches, and children too. So that there was no likelihood or apparent danger of a change; but suddenly, in a moment, before any one's expectation.

"I cursed his habitation": I saw, by the event which followed his prosperity, that he was a man under a divine curse. And that, notwithstanding the seeming depth and strength in which he vainly promised himself a permanent, unshaken situation for many years, all his hopes were built on a weak and false foundation. Thus, Eliphaz answers an objection concerning the present seeming prosperity of the wicked, which he confesses that he himself had sometimes observed. But which, he insists was of short duration, destructive judgments from God unexpectedly overwhelming them.

Eliphaz was saying that he had seen people who dealt foolishly with God, and were destroyed. He still believed that something that Job did caused God to turn on him.

Job 5:4 "His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither [is there] any to deliver [them]."

"They are crushed": Rather perhaps, they crush one another. Their internal rivalries and dissensions bring them to ruin. They exemplify the house divided against itself.

We see Eliphaz blaming Job for the death of his children. He was saying, the sins of the father had fallen upon his children.

Job 5:5 "Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance."

Which they now justly and confidently expect to reap, after all their cost and labor for that end, but are sadly and suddenly disappointed. Which is a great aggravation of their misery.

"The hungry": I.e. the poor, whose necessities make them greedy and ravenous to eat it all up. And from whom he can never recover it, nor any thing in recompence of it.

"Out of the thorns": Or out of the fields, notwithstanding the strong thorn hedges wherewith it is enclosed and fortified, and all other dangers or difficulties which may be in their way. They will take it, though they be scratched and wounded by the thorns about it.

"The robbers": So called from their long hair, which such persons nourished. Either because of their wild and savage kind of life, which made them neglect the trimming of their hair and body. Or that they might look more terribly, and so frighten all those who should endeavor to oppose them. Or the thirsty, as the word may signify from another root. And so it answers well to the hungry, in the former branch. Swallowed up greedily, and so as there is no hope of recovering it.

We see that Job's land had been over-run by those who would steal his crops. His servants were dead, and could not keep them away. There were not even enough servants left to tend the crops, and they were over-run with thorns.

Job 5:6 "Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;"

Or rather, "for" or "indeed", this being a reason showing that wicked men are justly afflicted and punished. Seeing their afflictions come not from the creatures, though they may be instruments, but from God for the sins of men.

"Neither doth trouble spring out of the ground": The same thing as before in different words, neither sin, the cause of trouble, the effect of sin. Sin may very fitly be expressed by a word which signifies trouble, because it is both troublesome, wearisome, and offensive to God, and brings trouble to the bodies and souls of men here and hereafter. Here Eliphaz begins to lower the tone of his voice, and to speak to Job in a seemingly more kind and friendly manner. Observing to him the spring of afflictions, and giving him advice how to behave under them.

Eliphaz was still trying to say that the evil that Job had done was like a seed that brought in a crop of affliction.

Job 5:7 "Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward."

"Sparks": Literally "the sons of Resheph," an expression which describes all sorts of fire-like movement (Deut. 32:24; Psalm 78:48; SOS 8:6).

Eliphaz was telling Job that man was evil, and that it was inevitable for trouble to come. Just as sure as a spark of a fire goes up and not down, the troubles come to all.

Verses 8-27: Speaking in spiritual platitudes, Job's friend presumed to know the cause of Job's suffering. Eliphaz also told him if he would just submit ("despise not"), to the ("chastening of the Almighty"), Job would reap a harvest of blessing. But no one can make such a prediction. Eliphaz modeled how not to address another person's affliction.

Job 5:8 "I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:"

Job's solution was to go to God and repent, his friend thought.

Eliphaz was telling Job, if this was him, he would repent and seek God's help.

Verses 9-16: The whole of Eliphaz's argument is based on the moral perfection of God, so he extolled God's greatness and goodness.

Job 5:9 "Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number:"

Here Eliphaz enters upon a discourse of the infinite perfection and greatness of God's nature and works; which he does partly as an argument to enforce the exhortation to seek and commit his cause to God (Job 5:8). Because God was infinitely able, either to punish him yet far worse, if he continued to provoke him, or to raise him from the dust, if he humbly addressed himself to him. And partly that by a true representation of God's excellency and glory. And of that vast disproportion which was between God and Job, he might both convince Job of his great sin in speaking so boldly and irreverently of him, and prevent his relapse into the same miscarriage.

Eliphaz seemed to be a man who knew a great deal about God. His real mistake was in judging his friend. Sometimes people who mean well, say cruel things to those they love. We know that God does do great and wonderful things. In the next few verses, we will see the things Eliphaz listed as some of these great and wonderful things of God.

Job 5:10 "Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:"

Not upon the land of Israel only, as the Targum and Jarchi (see Deut. 11:11); but upon the whole earth. This is particularly mentioned as being of God, and which none of the vanities of the Gentiles can give. And it is a free gift of his, which tarries not for the desert of men, and is bestowed on the godly and ungodly. And is a great blessing of goodness, which enriches the earth, makes it fruitful, and through it, it produces plenty of good things for man and beast.

"And sendeth water upon the fields": Or "out places"; places outside of cities and towns, such as gardens, fields, and deserts, where showers of rain are sent of God to water them. Many of which are not under the care of man, but are under the providence of God. The Targum and Jarchi interpret this of Gentile lands, as distinct from the land of Israel, to whom God "gives" rain, and to the other "sends" it. Some render it, "upon the streets". That is, upon persons that lie in the streets, and have no houses to dwell in, and to whom rain in hot and dry countries was welcome.

God had promised to give rain in due season for those who loved him. Eliphaz reminded Job that God would do this for him, if he would repent and return to God. The truth was, Job had never wandered from God.

Job 5:11 "To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety."

The consequences which proceed from the fore-mentioned happy change, from God's sending a refreshing rain upon the earth, after a long drought are inexpressibly great and beneficial. Those who had been reduced to straits and difficulties, and, by the pressing necessities arising therefrom, had been brought very low. And obliged to submit to mean and laborious employments, are now enabled to lift up their heads with joy, and appear in a very different condition.

"That those which mourn may be exalted to safety": That through the blessings of Providence flowing in upon them. Like a plentiful stream of water upon a barren and thirsty land, they may be raised from their former state of extreme poverty and want, and may find themselves placed in a comparatively safe and comfortable situation. Without any apparent reason to fear a relapse into their former difficulties and distresses. Thus, he gives Job another example of God's great and wonderful works, to comfort and encourage him to seek unto him. Forasmuch as he could easily raise him from the depth of his distress, however great, as he was accustomed to raise others in the like condition.

God is no respecter of persons. He would be the One to raise the lowly. Those who mourned God would bring joy.

Job 5:12 "He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform [their] enterprise."

Such as are determined to work evil, and to cover it with lies, as hypocrites normally do, and as Job's friends charged him with doing. God breaks the hopes and designs of such men; as he has now removed their expectation and taken away their outward happiness.

"Their enterprise": Or anything what is solid or substantial. Or wisdom, i.e. their wise counsel or crafty design. They cannot execute their cunning contrivances.

Eliphaz was possibly saying, that Job's wisdom was not wisdom at all. That he was crafty and scheming to get where he was. God would tear down such an enterprise, but Job did not do that.

Job 5:13 "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong."

Paul used this line from Eliphaz (in 1 Cor. 3:19), to prove the foolishness of man's wisdom before God.

Eliphaz again, was warning Job that the wicked were caught in the trap they had laid for others. He was even saying, that the counsel that Job had given others was of no use at all.

Job 5:14 "They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night."

I.e. In plain things they run into gross mistakes and errors, and commonly choose those counsels and courses which are worst for themselves.

"Darkness": often notes misery, but here ignorance or error, as it is also used (Job 12:25; 37:19), and elsewhere.

"Grope": Like blind men to find their way, not knowing what to do.

Eliphaz said that Job's light had gone out, and that he was groping around in the dark even though the sun was up outside.

Job 5:15 "But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty."

According to the order in which the words stand in the Hebrew, the translation is, But he saveth from the sword,

"From their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty, the poor. Schultens thinks it should be interpreted, from the sword which proceedeth out of their mouth, meaning, their cutting and killing reproaches. A sense this which is approved by Buxtorf, and which receives no small confirmation from different passages of Scripture, in which reproachful language is stigmatized by the name of a sword (see Psalm 57:4; 64:3). Dr. Waterland's translation of the verse is to the same purpose. But he saveth the poor from destruction by their mouth,

"And from the hand of the mighty. The general sense undoubtedly is, that God saveth such as, being poor, are defenseless, and therefore flee to him for refuge, from the censures, slanders, threatenings, and deceitful insinuations of their enemies. From the false swearing of witnesses, and the unrighteous sentences of corrupt judges, by which things their characters, or estates, or lives, may be exposed to great hazards.

God truly does save the poor from the oppressor. He not only saves them from being destroyed by their actions, but by their words as well. Job knew this was true, but he knew that he was not the oppressor, which he was being accused of being either.

Job 5:16 "So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth."

See (Psalm 107:42), where the same phrase occurs.

This was a reprimand of Job for complaining of his plight. Eliphaz said that God had stopped the mouth of Job.

Job 5:17 "Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:"

"Happy is the man whom God correcteth": Eliphaz put a positive spin on his advice by telling Job that enviable or desirable is the situation of the one God cares enough to chasten. "If only Job admitted his sin, he could be happy again" was the advice.

This was a true statement which did not apply to Job. It was not God who was chastening Job, it was Satan. We know, and I am sure that Job knew, that God chastens those he loves.

Verses 18-27: The language of this section promising blessing for penitence was strongly reminiscent of (Lev. Chapter 26), which elaborated the blessing of a faithful covenant relationship with God. If Job confessed, he would have prosperity, security, a family, and a rich life.

Job 5:18 "For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole."

That is, he afflicts.

"And bindeth up": He heals. The phrase is taken from the custom of binding up a wound (see notes on Isa. 1:6; 38:21). This was a common mode of healing among the Hebrews; and the practice of medicine appears to have been confined much to external applications. The meaning of this verse is, that afflictions come from God, and that He only can support, comfort, and restore. Health is his gift; and all the consolation which we need, and for which we can look, must come from him.

By the grace of God, we are healed, or we are sick. It is God who decides the circumstances that we live in. God controls His creation.

Job 5:19 "He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee."

To wit, if thou seek to him by prayer and repentance.

"Six": I.e. manifold or repeated; as six is used for many (Prov. 6:16).

There shall no evil touch thee": To wit, so as to undo or destroy thee, as touching is used (Joshua 9:19; Heb. 11:28; 1 John 5:18; see also Gen. 26:11, 29; 2 Sam. 14:10; Psalm 105:15; Zech. 2:8). Thou shalt have a good issue out of all thy troubles, though they are both great and many.

We see some encouragement here. Eliphaz was telling Job that possibly, after 7 troubles came upon him, the LORD would help him. He believed the 7 troubles to be justified punishment for the sins of Job.

Job 5:20 "In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword."

From that terrible kind of death. Eliphaz might think that Job feared perishing by want, as being so poor, that he needed the contributions of his friends for his relief.

"And in war from the sword": These things he utters with more confidence, because the rewards or punishments of this life were more constantly distributed to men in the Old Testament, according to their good or bad behavior, than they are now. And, because it was his opinion, that great afflictions were the certain evidences of wickedness. And consequently, that great deliverances would infallibly follow upon true repentance.

Throughout the Bible, we see famine as a severe punishment from God on the unfaithful. War is another punishment we have seen, that God sends on those who are unfaithful. God did eventually remove them both, and turned and blessed His people.

Job 5:21 "Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh."

I.e. protected, as in some secret and safe place.

"From the scourge of the tongue": From false accusations and virulent slanders and reproaches, either by diverting their tongues to other persons or things, or by clearing thy integrity.

"Neither shalt thou be afraid": Thou shalt have no cause to fear it, because God will secure thee in it and from it.

"When it cometh": To wit, upon others; near thee, or round about thee.

God will protect those of His own from the destruction of the evil tongue. He will keep them from destruction. Those who are truly of God have no need to fear these things. Job would be delivered too, even though his friend did not believe he would. He had done nothing to cause this problem. Job was persecuted without a cause. This perhaps, could be a type that Job was going through of the suffering of the righteous One on the cross. Jesus was without sin, and yet was persecuted.

Job 5:22 "At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth."

(Rather, devastation).

"And famine": Rather, dearth. The word is not the same as that used (in verse 20), but a weaker cue.

"Thou shalt laugh": "Thou shalt smile".

"Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth": I.e., destructive and ferocious wild beasts, like the Indian "man-eaters" are enumerated among God's "four severe plagues" (Ezek. 14:21; compare 2 Kings 17:25). In ancient times, they were sometimes so numerous in a country that men were afraid to occupy it.

The LORD afflicts His own, to cause them to return to Him. Those who belong to God should not fear famine or wild beasts. God is our very present help in trouble. This friend of Job's was trying to convince Job that he had to be a sinner, or else God would be His protector in all of this.

Job 5:23 "For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee."

"In league ... at peace": Even the created order will be in harmony with the man whose relationship with God is corrected through God's disciplinary process.

This is a description of the condition of those who are in fellowship with God. They will not even dash their foot against a stone. It appears that they would be in harmony with all of God's creation.

Job 5:24 "And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle [shall be] in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin."

That thy tent is in safety.

"Tabernacle shall be in peace": Or, tent or dwelling is in peace.

"Visit thy habitation": Or, perhaps muster or look over, thy homestead. The reference is to his cattle and possessions.

"Shalt not sin": Literally shalt not miss or fail. That is probably, he shall find that his actual possessions correspond to what he expected. The general meaning is, thou shalt miss nothing.

These promises from God to those who love Him, were spoken by Eliphaz to cause Job to repent and get back in right standing. Again, I say they are futile as Job was already in right standing with God. The only one angry with Job was Satan, because he could not get Job to curse God.

Job 5:25 "Thou shalt know also that thy seed [shall be] great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth."

Partly by assurance from God's promises, and the impressions of his Spirit; and partly by experience in due time.

"Thy seed shall be great": Thy posterity, which God will give thee instead of those which thou hast lost, shall be high, and honorable, and powerful. Or, shall be many.

"Thine offspring": Which shall come out of thy own loins as branches out of a tree, as the word signifies. And this word seems added to the former to restrain and explain it, by showing that he did not speak of his spiritual seed, as Abraham's seed is in part understood, but of the fruit of his own body. As the grass of the earth; both for its plentiful increase, and for its flourishing greenness.

Job was aware of the promises of God to bless his offspring if he remained faithful to God. Job was a man who knew and understood the promises of God. Eliphaz tried to say that Job rejected the chastisement of God, and all of this had been taken from him.

Job 5:26 "Thou shalt come to [thy] grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season."

That is, thou shalt have long life; thou shalt not be cut down prematurely, nor by any sudden calamity. It is to be remembered that long life was regarded as an eminent blessing in ancient times (see notes at Isa. 65:22).

"Like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season": Margin, "ascended." As a sheaf of grain is harvested when it is fully ripe. This is a beautiful comparison, and the meaning is obvious. He would not be cut off before his plans were fully matured. Before the fruits of righteousness had ripened in his life. He would be taken away when he was ripe for heaven, as the yellow grain is for the harvest. Grain is not cut down when it is green; and the meaning of Eliphaz is, that it is as desirable that man should live to a good old age before he is gathered to his fathers. As it is that grain should be suffered to stand until it is fully ripe.

In the pain and suffering that Job had endured, he had no desire to live a long life. He had even wished he had never been born.

Job 5:27 "Lo this, we have searched it, so it [is]; hear it, and know thou [it] for thy good."

It is not my single opinion, but my brethren concur with me, as thou wilt hear from their own mouths. This is no rash or hasty conceit, but what we have learned by deep consideration and hard study, long experience and diligent observation. Both of God's word, so far as he hath been pleased to reveal himself, and of the course and methods of his providence and dealing with men in the world.

"Know thou it": For to us thou seem by thy words and carriage to be wholly, or in a great part, ignorant of these things. For thy good; let the advantage which will come unto thee by following this counsel remove thy prejudice against it.

Eliphaz said to Job, that he had said all of this for his own good. He tried to tell Job that he should listen and repent. Job was in right standing with God. He knew all of these things and believed them, except he knew in his own heart, that he had not turned away from God.

Job Chapter 5 Questions

  1. If God did not help Job, who would?
  2. For ________ killeth the foolish man.
  3. What did Eliphaz believe that Job had done?
  4. Why do many people overlook the meaning of the book of Job?
  5. What caused the trouble of Job?
  6. What was Eliphaz saying in verse 3?
  7. In verse 4, he was blaming Job for the __________ of his children.
  8. Why could the robbers come in and take Job's crops?
  9. What terrible thing was Eliphaz still trying to say about Job in verse 6?
  10. Just as sure as ________ fly upward, man is born to trouble in this life.
  11. Eliphaz told Job, if this were him, he would do what?
  12. What was Eliphaz's mistake?
  13. Who sends the rain?
  14. God is no ___________ of persons.
  15. What was Eliphaz saying about Job's wisdom?
  16. What did he say about the counsel Job had given others?
  17. Eliphaz said that Job was _________ around in darkness.
  18. Happy is the man whom God _______________.
  19. Despise not the _____________ of the Almighty.
  20. It is _______ who decides the circumstances we live in.
  21. Throughout the Bible, __________ is used as a severe punishment from God.
  22. Job was persecuted without a __________.
  23. Who was Job a type of?
  24. God is our very present _______ in trouble.
  25. Eliphaz was trying to convince Job of what?
  26. In verse 23, it is speaking of being in harmony with all of God's ___________.
  27. Why would Job not want to live to old age?
  28. What did Job know in his heart?

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Job 6

Job Chapter 6

Verses 6:1 - 7:21: Job's response to Eliphaz was recorded. On top of his physical misery and his tempting wife, he had to respond to ignorance and insensitivity from his friend, by expressing his frustration.

Job replied to Eliphaz that his suffering was without reason: "my righteous is in it": His friends seemed more intent on arguing their point than on trying to understand his situation. Yet in the end, "what doth your arguing reprove?"

Verses 1-13: At first Job does not respond to Eliphaz but only continues his lament. His grief was so great that he could hardly reply.

Job 6:1 "But Job answered and said,"

Though Eliphaz thought his speech was unanswerable, being he and his friends had judged unquestionably true. And the fruit of strict, laborious, and diligent search and inquiry; or, "then Job answered", as the same particle is rendered (Job 4:1). After he had heard Eliphaz out; he waited with patience until he had finished his discourse, without giving him any interruption. Though there were many things that were very provoking, particularly in (Job 4:5). And when he had finished, then he made his reply. And this was no other than what every man has a right, to answer for himself when any charge or accusation is brought against him. When his character is attacked, or his good name, which is better than precious ointment, is taken from him. And is what all reasonable men, and the laws of all civilized nations allow.

Verses 2-3: The heaviness of his burden caused the rashness of his words.

Verses 2-7: Job used several metaphors to describe his suffering:

(1) The Sand of the sea, which implies a vast amount (Gen. 22:17; 32:12), and profound weight (Prov. 27:3);

(2) As though shot with "arrows" (Lam. 3:12-13), an Old Testament expression for judgment; and

(3) Tasteless, like the "white of an egg." Job's point, life had lost all its pleasure.

Anyone who has come to this place in his or her life understands these feelings completely.

Job 6:2 "Oh that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!"

Were fully understood and duly considered! O that I had an impartial judge! That would understand my case, and see whether I have not just cause for such bitter complaints.

"And my calamity laid in the balances": Would that some more equal person than you might lay my complaint and my sufferings one against the other, and judge sincerely which is heaviest!

In this, Job gave his answer to the accusations of Eliphaz. Job felt that he was being unjustly judged by his friends. They had not suffered the great loss that he had, and there was no way for them to understand his grief. The amount of his grief was understandable, if you weighed it against the calamities that had happened.

Job 6:3 "For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up."

Which is much heavier than dry sand.

"Therefore my words are swallowed up": My voice and spirit fail me. I cannot find or utter words sufficient to express my sorrow or misery.

Job said that some of his statements might have been a little rash. His troubles were more than the weight of all the sand of the sea however. His words were but nothing covered by the calamities.

Job 6:4 "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."

"The arrows of the Almighty ... terrors of God": Here are figures of speech picturing the trials as coming from God, indicating that Job believed these were God's judgments.

His greatest wound in all of this was in his heart. He felt that the Almighty had taken his spirit. He was fully aware that all of this had to be allowed by the Almighty. His heart was broken, because he had loved the Almighty with everything he was.

Verses 5-7: These are all illustrations of the fact that Job complained because he had reason. Even animals expect palatable food.

Job 6:5 "Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?"

Neither wild animals, as the wild ass, nor tame, as the ox, are dissatisfied when well-supplied with food. The braying of the one and the lowing of the other prove distress and want of palatable food. So, Job argues, if he complains, it is not without cause; namely, his pains, which are, as it were, disgusting food, which God feeds him (end of Job 6:7). But he should have remembered a rational being should display a better spirit than the brute.

Now this was an explanation of his complaining. He had never complained before, because he had nothing to complain about. The answer to the question above is no. The wild ass brays when he is hungry, and there is no food. The ox lows when there is no fodder to eat. Now that everything is taken away from Job, he cried out in pain for what used to be.

Job 6:6 "Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt? or is there [any] taste in the white of an egg?"

"Unsavory": tasteless, insipid. Salt is a chief necessity of life to an Easterner; whose food is mostly vegetable.

"The white": Literally, "spittle" (1 Sam. 21:13), which the white of an egg resembles.

The flavor of food is enhanced by the salt on it. The whites of eggs do not have any flavor. His life had lost its pleasantness as well. The loss of his children had taken the joy out of his life. This disease had caused his life to be a dread, and nothing pleasant.

Job 6:7 "The things [that] my soul refused to touch [are] as my sorrowful meat."

To "touch" is contrasted with "meat." My taste refused even to touch it, and yet am I fed with such meat of sickness.

The second clause literally is, "Such is like the sickness of my food." The natural taste abhors even to touch tasteless food, and such forms of nourishment. For my sickness is like such nauseous food. (Psalms 42:3; 80:5; 102:9). No wonder I complain.

We see that Job was explaining his terrible life now, but was also answering Eliphaz who had no right to judge him.

Verses 8-9: "My request": Job's request was that God would finish whatever process He began. Death was desirable for no other reason than it would be relief from the inevitable course of events (see Chapter 3).

Job 6:8 "Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant [me] the thing that I long for!"

Baffled in the direction of his fellow creatures, he turns, like many others, to God as his only hope. Although it is rather from God than in God that his hope lies. However exceptional Job's trials, yet his language is the common language of all sufferers who think that relief, if it comes, must come through change of circumstances rather than in themselves in relation to circumstances. Thus, Job looks forward to death as his only hope; whereas with God and in God there were many years of life and prosperity in store for him.

So strong is this feeling in him that he calls death the thing that he longs for, his hope or expectation. (Compare Job 17), where even the hope that he had in death seems to have passed away and to have issued in blank hopelessness.

Job 6:9 "Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!"

"Cut me off": This is a metaphor from a weaver, who cuts off the excess thread on the loom (Isa. 38:12).

Eliphaz had spoken of God granting long life to those who loved God. That was the very thing that Job did not want. It would be no life at all without his health and his children to share it.

Job 6:10 "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."

"The words of the Holy One": Job had not been avoiding the revelation of God that he had received. The commands of the Holy One were precious to him and he had lived by them. This was confusing to him, as he couldn't find any sinful source for his suffering. He would rejoice in his pain if he knew it would soon lead to death, but he couldn't see any hope for death or deliverance in himself (verses 11-13).

Job knew that he would be in heaven with his LORD if he died, because he had not denied Him. It appears that Job had spread the good news of God. He had never hidden his belief in God. Notice the change of the name that Job called God here. The Holy One means that he recognized the holiness of God. He knew there was a reason for everything that was happening, and that as bad as it was, it was the right thing for Job.

Job 6:11 "What [is] my strength, that I should hope? and what [is] mine end, that I should prolong my life?"

For a perfect restoration of health, suggested by Eliphaz. Since it was so sadly weakened by the present affliction, which made death more desirable than life lengthened out in so much weakness, pain, and sorrow. Or "that I should bear", such a weight and heavy load that lay upon him, and crushed him, and to which his strength was not equal; or continue and endure.

"What is mine end, that I should prolong my life?" What end can be answered by living, or desiring a long life? His children were gone, and none left to take care of and provide for. His substance was taken away from him, so that he had nothing to support himself, nor to be useful to others, such as the poor. He had lost all power, authority, and influence, among men, and could be no more serviceable by his counsel and advice. Or by the administration of justice and equity as a civil magistrate. And as to religious matters, he was reckoned a hypocrite and a wicked man by his friends, and had lost his character and interest as a good man. And so for him to live could answer no valuable end. So therefore, he desires to die. For what is here (and in Job 6:12), contain the reasons of his above request.

Job realized that he was very ill. He knew that all of his strength was gone. Why would he want to live in a body filled with sickness?

Job 6:12 "[Is] my strength the strength of stones? or [is] my flesh of brass?"

Is it like such especially which are foundation and corner stones that support a building? Or like a stone pillar, that will bear a prodigious weight? No, it is not.

"Or is my flesh of brass?" Is it made of brass? Or is it like to brass for hardness, or for sustaining any weight laid on it? It is not. Therefore it cannot bear up under the heavy load of afflictions on it, but must sink and fail. It is but flesh and blood, and that flesh like grass, weak and feeble. Therefore, death is better than life laden with such an insupportable burden.

Job could not pretend that his body would be as strong as a rock, or his flesh as brass. He was sick and his flesh was weak.

Job 6:13 "[Is] not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?"

This would be better rendered in an affirmative manner, or as an exclamation. The interrogative form of the previous verses need not be continued in this. The sense is, "alas, there is no help in me!" That is, "I have no strength; I must give up under these sorrows in despair." So it is rendered by Jerome, Rosenmuller, Good, Noyes, and others.

"And is wisdom quite driven from me?" This also, should be read as an affirmation, "deliverance is driven from me." The word rendered wisdom means properly a setting upright; then help, deliverance; and then purpose, enterprise (see the notes at Job 5:12). Here it means that all hope of deliverance had fled, and that he was sinking in despair.

Job 6:14 "To him that is afflicted pity [should be showed] from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty."

Job does not really answer Eliphaz's contention but simply pleads for "Pity" from his friends. He seems to answer the tone of Eliphaz's speech rather than the specific charges.

"Afflicted pity ... from his friend": Job rebuked his friends with sage words. Even if a man has forsaken God (which he hadn't), should not his friends still show kindness to him? How can Eliphaz be so unkind as to continually indict him?

Here is a good reminder to those who long to comfort the wounded: "Pity should be showed" by anyone who is a "friend" to the "afflicted".

He had received no help from his friends. They wanted him to help himself. True friends should be comforters, not accusers. True friends would have known Job well enough, to know that he was not involved in sin. They should have believed in Job. They did not. They brought railing accusations against him. We say they because Eliphaz was speaking for all three of them. Job had not forsaken the fear of the Almighty, but if he had, they still could have shown him some trust and love instead of joining the crowd who criticized him.

Verses 15-23: Job described his friends as being about as useful with their counsel as a dry river bed in summer. "You are no help," he said (verse 21), "although all I asked for was a little sympathy, not some great gift or deliverance" (verses 22-23).

Job 6:15 "My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, [and] as the stream of brooks they pass away;"

I.e. my kinsmen or three friends. For though Eliphaz only had spoken, the other two showed their approbation of his discourse, or at least of that part of it which contained his censure of Job's person and state.

"Have dealt deceitfully": Under a pretense of friendship and kindness dealing in an unrighteous manner and unmercifully with me. And adding to these afflictions which they said they came to remove.

"As the stream of brooks": Which quickly vanish, and deceive the hopes of the thirsty traveler.

Their friendship for him had left like the water in a brook flows to a lower place. It was not stable, but went away.

Job 6:16 "Which are blackish by reason of the ice, [and] wherein the snow is hid:"

Literally, "Go as a mourner in black clothing" (Psalm 34:14). A vivid and poetic image to picture the stream turbid and black with melted ice and snow, descending from the mountains into the valley.

"And wherein the snow is hid": In this, the snow dissolved is, in the poet's view, "hid" in the flood.

Job 6:17 "What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place."

The ice and the snow, which when the weather becomes warm, they melt away and disappear. In like manner, he suggests his friends ceased to be friends to him in a time of adversity. The sun of affliction having looked upon him, they deserted him, at least did not administer comfort to him.

"When it is hot they are consumed out of their place": When it is hot weather, and the sun has great strength then the waters, which swelled through the floods and fall of rain and snow, and which when frozen, looked black and big as if they had great depth in them. They were quickly dried up, and no more to be seen in the place where they were. Which still expresses the short duration of friendship among men, which Job had a sorrowful experience of.

This was another way of expressing their transient loyalty to him. When the ice is frozen it stays right there. When trouble comes (it waxes warm), it melts and runs off. Their friendship could not stand the heat of this time.

Job 6:18 "The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish."

That is, the waters when melted by the heat of the sun, and the warmth of the weather, run. Some one way, and some another in little streams and windings. Till they are quite lost and the tracks of them are no more to be seen. Denoting that all appearance of friendship was quite gone, and no traces of it to be found.

"They go to nothing, and perish": Some of them are lost in little meanders and windings about. Others are exhaled by the heat of the sun, and go into "Tohu", as the word is, into empty air. So vain and empty, and perishing, were all the comforts he hoped for from his friends. Though some understand this of the paths of travelers in the deserts being covered in the sand, and not to be seen and found.

Job was calling them good-time friends. Their friendship dissolved at the very first sign of trouble.

Job 6:19 "The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them."

"Tema ... Sheba": Tema in the north, named for the son of Ishmael (Gen. 25:15; Isa. 21:14), and Sheba in the south (Jer. 6:20) were part of the Arabian Desert, where water was precious.

The troops of Tema were speaking of Arabs descended from Ishmael. They were nomads. They were here today and gone tomorrow. The troops did not all go in at once. Sheba waited behind.

Job 6:20 "They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed."

When they came to the places where they hoped to find water. Finding none were ashamed of their vain hope, and reflected upon themselves for being so foolish as to raise their expectations upon such a groundless conjecture.

"They came thither, and were ashamed": Which is the same thing expressed in different words; and aptly enough describes Job's disappointment in not meeting with that relief and comfort he expected from his friends. To whom he makes application of all this in the following words of (Job 6:21).

Job had looked for friends who loved him, and would stand beside him. He was ashamed of his friends when they did not stand beside him in his sorrow. These caravans came to sell, and were disappointed when their benefactor was no more.

Job 6:21 "For now ye are nothing; ye see [my] casting down, and are afraid."

As the dried-up brook is to the caravan, so are ye to me, namely, a nothing. Ye might as well not be in existence.

"Ye see ... and are afraid": Ye are struck aghast at the sight of my misery, and ye lose presence of mind. Job puts this mild construction on their failing to relieve him with affectionate consolation.

As far as Job was concerned these so-called friends were nothing in his eyes. They stood against Job for fear they might be incriminated.

Job 6:22 "Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance?"

"Or, is it because I said? Is this, or what else is the reason why you are afraid of me, or alienated from me?

"Bring unto me": Give me something for my support or relief. Did either my former covetousness or my present necessity make me troublesome or chargeable to you?

"Give a reward for me": Either to the judge before whom I am brought and accused, that he may give a favorable sentence in my behalf; or to the enemy who hath taken me captive. "Or, give a gift for me": I.e. for my use or need. Did I send for you to come and visit me for this end? Nay, did you not come of your own accords? Why then are you thus unmerciful to me? You might at least have given me good and comfortable words, which is the easiest and cheapest part of a friend's work, when I desired and expected nothing else from you.

Job 6:23 "Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?"

At no time have I called on you to rescue me from a foe.

"Or, Redeem me?" That is, rescue me from the hand of robbers. The meaning is, that he was in no way beholden to them. He had never called on them for assistance; and there was therefore no claim which they could now have to afflict him further by their reflections. There seems to be something peevish in these remarks; and we need not attempt to justify the spirit which dictated them.

The answer to all of this was no. He had not asked for any help at all from them, even though everything had been taken from him. He did not even ask for them to intervene with the Almighty for him. They had come of their own freewill with no comfort for Job in the physical, or in the spiritual sense.

Verses 24-30: "Teach me ... cause me to understand wherein I have erred": Job was not admitting to having sinned. Rather he said to his accusers, "If I've sinned, show me where." The sufferer indicted his friends for insensitivity, and while not claiming sinlessness, he was convinced there was no sin in his life that led directly to such suffering.

Job 6:24 "Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred."

"Wherein I have erred" is a call for specific sins to be cited by the friends, perhaps with a note of sarcasm.

Now Job told them if he was wrong about them, he would say no more. He could not understand what he had done to cause their friendship to not mean more to them.

Job 6:25 "How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?"

How weighty and impressive are words of truth! Job means that he was accustomed to feel their power, and to admit it on his soul. If their words were such, he would listen to them with profound attention, and in silence. The expression has a proverbial cast.

"But what doth your arguing reprove?" Or rather, what doth the reproof from you reprove? Or what do your reproaches prove? Job professes a readiness to listen to words of truth and wisdom. He complains that the language of reproach used by them was not adapted to instruct his understanding or to benefit his heart. As it was, he did not feel himself convinced, and was likely to derive no advantage from what they said.

Had they spoken truth, he would have gladly listened. They had done nothing to help. They had just given him less hope than he had before they came.

Job 6:26 "Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, [which are] as wind?"

"It cannot be your intent to reprove mere words, as mine confessedly are (Job 6:3). And as you seem to count them (Job 6:13). If so, they are hardly worth the trouble bestowed upon them, but might be left to answer themselves."

He wanted to know just exactly what he had done that they knew of, that would have given the impression he was a sinning man. It seems they were not blaming him for his actions, but for his words.

Job 6:27 "Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig [a pit] for your friend."

"Fatherless" was both a personal lament and a reminder to Job's friends that all of his children had died.

This was a way Job had of expressing their lack of feeling for those in need. They had given him no way out. They had already dug his grave in their thoughts.

Job 6:28 "Now therefore be content, look upon me; for [it is] evident unto you if I lie."

Be pleased either:

  1. To look upon my countenance, if it betrays any fear or guilt, as if I spoke contrary to my own conscience. Or rather;
  2. To consider me and my cause further and better than you have done. That you may give a more true and righteous judgment concerning it.

"Is evident unto you": You will plainly discover it. A little further consideration and discourse will make it manifest, and I shall readily acknowledge it.

Job was saying they should know in their own hearts that he was telling them the truth.

Job 6:29 "Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness [is] in it."

From the ill opinion you have of me, and from your hard censures, and entertain other sentiments concerning me. Or it may be, upon these words of Job, his friends might be rising up as usual to take their leave of him, and break off conversation with him. And therefore, he entreats they would return to their seats, and resume the debate, and give a friendly hearing of his case.

"Let it not be iniquity": Either let it not be reckoned an iniquity to return and go on hearing his case. Or he entreats that they would take care not to sin in their anger and resentment against him, nor go on to charge him with iniquity. Or it may be rendered, "there is no iniquity"; that is, it should be found that there was no such iniquity in him as he was charged with. Not that he was free from all sin, which no man is, but from that which his friends judged he was guilty of, hypocrisy.

"Yea, return again": He most earnestly implores them to return and patiently hear him out.

"My righteousness is in it": In the whole of this affair before them, and which was the matter of controversy between them. Meaning, not his justifying righteousness before God, but the righteousness of his cause before men. He doubted not, but when things were thoroughly searched into, that his righteousness would be as clear as the light, and his judgment as the noonday. That he should appear to be a righteous man, and his cause a just one; and should stand acquitted and free from all charges and imputations.

It is as if Job was telling them to start all over again and examine this. They would find that this was not because of any iniquity in Job's life. Job reminded them that he had lived righteously before the LORD. If they had taken the time to check all of this out before they started their criticism, they would have known he had done nothing to deserve this.

Job 6:30 "Is there iniquity in my tongue? Cannot my taste discern perverse things?"

Consider, if there be any iniquity or untruth in what I have already said, or shall further speak? Have I hereto uttered anything that is faulty?

"Cannot my taste discern perverse things": That is, my understanding which judges of words and actions, as the palate does of meats. I hope it is not so corrupted but that I can discern what is bad, even though spoken by myself.

Job Chapter 6 Questions

  1. Oh that my grief were ___________ weighed?
  2. What was Job doing in this chapter?
  3. Why could his friends not understand his grief?
  4. How could you understand his great grief?
  5. He compared the weight of his grief with what?
  6. The arrows of the __________ were within him.
  7. What was his greatest wound?
  8. Doth the wild ass ________ when he hath grass?
  9. What is verse 5 explaining?
  10. The flavor of food is enhanced by ________.
  11. What had taken the joy of Job's life away?
  12. What was the desire of Job, in verse 9?
  13. It would be no life for Job without what two things?
  14. When did Job feel he would have comfort?
  15. What question did he ask in verse 11?
  16. What strong things did he compare his strength to in verse 12?
  17. Where did his friends expect him to get help from?
  18. True friends should be _____________.
  19. Eliphaz was speaking for whom?
  20. What did Job compare the friend's deceit with in verse 15?
  21. What were verses 16 and 17 describing?
  22. What was Job calling his friends in verse 18?
  23. Who were the troops of Tema?
  24. What did he call them in verse 21?
  25. What questions did he ask them in verses 22 and 23?
  26. What was the answer to those questions?
  27. What did Job say he would do, if he was wrong about them?
  28. Had they spoken truth, he would have gladly ____________.
  29. What specific sin could they accuse him of?
  30. What should these friends have done, before they started their criticism?

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Job 7

Job Chapter 7

Verses 1-21: After having directed his words at his friends in chapter 6, Job then directed them at God. Throughout this section he used words and arguments that sounded much like Solomon in Ecclesiastes, i.e., "labor, vanity, trouble and breath."

"Appointed time" has a general meaning here (14:14; Isa. 40:2), but typically refers to military duty or a hired laborer. Job's service to God now seemed like a repetitive, joyless activity. Nothing comforted him, nothing assured him.

In verses 1-10: "Like the days of a hireling?" He felt like a slave under tyranny of his master, longing for relief and reward (verses 1-2); he was sleepless (verses 3-4); he was loathsome because of worms and scabs, dried filth, and new running sores (verse 5); he was like a weaver's shuttle, tossed back and forth (verse 6); he was like a breath or cloud that comes and goes on its way to death (verses 7-10). In this discourse, Job attempted to reconcile in his own mind what God was doing.

Job 7:1 "[Is there] not an appointed time to man upon earth? [are not] his days also like the days of a hireling?"

Job now turns to God to continue his lament.

We know that it is God who determines how long each of us lives. He allots the amount of time He gives us to accomplish the things we have been assigned to do as well. A hireling is someone who is hired to do a specific job.

Job 7:2 "As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as a hireling looketh for [the reward of] his work:"

The shadow, i.e. the sun-set, or the night, the time allotted for his rest and repose (Psalm 104:23).

The reward of his work, Hebrew his work; which is often put for the reward of it (as Lev. 19:13; Isa. 40:10; 49:4). Or the end of his work.

The servant was waiting until nightfall to rest. The hireling was waiting until payday. He was waiting to be paid for the work that was finished.

Verses 3-4: Months of vanity": indicates the length of Job's suffering. In addition to physical distress, he also suffered with insomnia (Psalm 39:4).

Job 7:3 "So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me."

This so respects not so much the desire and expectation of a hired servant (which is expressed Job 7:2), as the ground and reason of it, which is plainly implied. To wit, his hard toil and service, which makes him thirst after rest.

"I am made to possess": God, by his sovereign power and providence, hath given me this as my lot and inheritance.

"Months": So he calls them rather than days, to note either the irksomeness or tediousness of his affliction, whereby every day seemed a month to him. Or their length and continuance, which, as some infer from here, had now been upon him some months.

"Of vanity": Empty and unsatisfying, or false and deceitful, not giving me that ease and rest which they promised me, and I expected.

"Wearisome nights": He mentions nights, because that is the saddest time for sick and miserable people. The darkness and solitude of the night being of themselves uncomfortable, and giving them more opportunity for solemn and sorrowful thoughts and reflections upon their own miseries.

The months of vanity were speaking of months that accomplished nothing. The wearisome nights were speaking of pain and suffering that seems to be magnified at night.

Job 7:4 "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."

To get some rest and sleep. The night in Hebrew, the evening; the part put for the whole (as it is Genesis 1:5).

"To and fro": From side to side in the bed, as men in grievous pains of the body or anxiety of mind often do.

"Unto the dawning of the day": So this Hebrew word is used also (1 Sam. 30:17; Psalm 119:147).

Job was speaking of the nights that seemed never to end. He tossed all night long.

Job 7:5 "My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome."

Which were bred out of his corrupted flesh and sores, and which it seems, covered him all over like a garment.

"And clods of dust": The dust of the earth on which he lay.

My skin is broken": By ulcers breaking out in all parts of it.

His skin was so infected, that worms were in the sores. This was speaking of the disease being so bad that the sores ran with puss. His sores were so terrible that he had begun to hate his own flesh.

Verses 6-10: The metaphors here convey life's transience, paralleling language that is found in the Psalms (Psalms 39:4-6; 62:9; 89:47-48; 144:3-4). While such realities drove the psalmist to God, Job spoke as one without hope.

Job 7:6 "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope."

My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle. Which passes in a moment from one side of the web to the other. So the time of my life hastens to a period; and therefore vain are those hopes which you would give me of a restoration to my former prosperity in this world.

"And are spent without hope": Of enjoying any good day here.

The weaver's shuttle moves rapidly. This was saying, that looking back over his life seemed like it passed in a hurry. In comparison to his long weary nights, his days were long. One day brought no more hope of a cure for his disease than the day before.

Job 7:7 "O remember that my life [is] wind: mine eye shall no more see good."

Or, "breath"; Man's life is in his breath, and that breath is in his nostrils, and therefore not to be accounted of, or depended on. Man appears by this to be a poor frail creature, whose life, with respect to himself, is very precarious and uncertain. It is but as a "vapor", an air bubble, full of wind, easily broken and dissipated, and soon vanishes away. It is like the "wind", noisy and blusterous, full of stir and tumult, and, like that, swiftly passes and sweeps away, and returns not again.

This is an address to God; and so some supply it, "O God", or "O Lord, remember", etc. Not that forgetfulness is in God, or that he needs to be reminded of anything; but he may seem to forget the frailty of man when he lays his hand heavily on him. And may be said to be mindful of it when he mercifully takes it off. What Job here prays for, the Lord often does, as he did with respect to the Israelites (Psalm 78:39).

"Mine eye shall no more see good": Meaning not spiritual and eternal good, here and hereafter. He knew he should, after this life, see his living Redeemer even with the eyes of his body, when raised again. That he should see him as he is, not through a glass, darkly, but face to face, in all his glory. And that for himself, and not another, and even see and enjoy things he had never seen before. But his sense is, that he should see or enjoy no more temporal good. Either in this world, being without hope of any, or in the grave, whither he was going and would shortly be. And therefore entreats that some mercy might be shown him while he lived; to which sense the following words incline in the next verse.

The wind comes and goes no one knows where. His days were like that also. He did not know when this would all end. He did not know where this was leading. He was full of despair and believed that all of his good times were over.

Job 7:8 "The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no [more]: thine eyes [are] upon me, and I [am] not."

That is, I shall go down to the grave, and be no more seen upon earth. Neither friend nor enemy shall behold me after that.

"Thine eyes": God's eyes. God still sees him and watches him; this is a certain consolation; but will it last?

"Are upon me, and I am not": I am on the point of disappearing. Even now I scarcely exist.

Job felt that he was near death. When death came and they put him in the grave, he would not be seen again on the earth.

Job 7:9 "[As] the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no [more]."

Being dissolved by the heat of the sun.

"And vanisheth away": Never to return again.

"So he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more": Never until the general resurrection. When you see a cloud, which looked great, as if it would eclipse the sun, suddenly dispersing and disappearing, say: Just such a thing is the life of man, a vapor that appears for a while and then vanisheth away. He shall return no more to his house. He shall no more be seen and known in his former habitation. It concerns us to secure a better place when we die: for this will own us no more.

Clouds appear for a moment in time, and then suddenly vanish away. Job believed his life was the same way. He had no hope of living again upon this earth.

Job 7:10 "He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more."

In a literal sense, built or hired by him, or however in which he dwelt. And if a good man, he will have no desire to return to that any more, having a better house, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Or in a figurative sense, either his body, the earthly house of his tabernacle, a house of clay, which has its foundation in the dust. To this he shall not return until the resurrection, when it will be rebuilt, and fitted up for the better reception and accommodation of him. Or else his family, to whom he shall not come back again, to have any concern with them in domestic affairs. Or in part of the business of life, as David said of his child when dead, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (2 Sam. 12:23).

"Neither shall his place know him any more": The place of his office, or rather of his habitation. His dwelling house, his farms and his fields, his estates and possessions, he shall no more know. They shall not own, and acknowledge him as their master, proprietor, and possessor, these, coming at his death go into other hands, who now are regarded as such. Or the inhabitants of the place, country, city, town, village, or house in which he lived, shall know him any more. No more being seen among them, he will soon be forgotten; out of sight, out of mind.

This is true of all who die upon the earth. The house you lived in will be inhabited by the next generation. You will have no need for it anymore.

Verses 11-21: Job now turned his lament toward God, with questions that centered on his prolonged misery. If Job's life was a breath that would inevitably expire one day (James 4:14), why did God bother guarding him like some monster of the "sea"? Why not train His eye elsewhere and let Job pass away?

Job 7:11 "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."

"Therefore": On the basis of all he had said (in verses 1-10), he felt he had a right to express his complaint.

Job had decided that since his life seemed to be so hopeless, he would complain. He had not previously revealed his bitter feelings. Now he would open up and reveal the hurt that he felt.

Job 7:12 "[Am] I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?"

"Sea or a whale": The sea and the whale are two threatening forces that must be watched or curbed due to their destructive force. Job was not like that.

Job is saying, "Is it so needful to watch me as you would watch a threatening sea monster?"

Job was not an animal, or a sea that had no control over their lives. He was a man with feelings. He was restrained as if he had no thoughts or feelings. He felt as if God had forgotten him.

Verses 13-16: The agony Job experienced was constant. He could barely sleep, yet when he did, he was haunted by nightmares he believed came from God. Hence, Job pled with God to "let me alone" so death could bring relief.

Verses 13-14: Even when he slept, he had terrifying dreams so that he longed for death (verses 15-16).

Job 7:13 "When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint;"

When he thought within himself that he would lie down upon his bed and try to get a little sleep, which might comfort and refresh him, and which he promised himself he should obtain by this means. As he had formerly experienced.

"My couch shall ease my complaint": He concluded, that by lying down upon his couch, and falling asleep, it would give some ease of body and mind. That his body would, at least, for some time be free from pain, and his mind composed and should cease from complaining for a while. Which interval would be a relief to him, and of considerable service.

Job 7:14 "Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:"

This is an address to God. He regarded him as the source of his sorrows, and he expresses his sense of this in language indeed very beautiful, but far from reverence.

"And terrifiest me through visions": (See the notes at Job 4:13). This refers to the visions of the fancy, or to frightful appearances in the night. The belief of such night-visions was common in the early ages, and Job regarded them as under the direction of God, and as being designed to alarm him.

In the past, he had lain down at night and found peace and rest in his own bed. The sickness in his body would not even allow him to rest when he lay down for the night. He had bad dreams that tormented him, even in his sleep. His visions were even of evil things.

Job 7:15 "So that my soul chooseth strangling, [and] death rather than my life."

Not to strangle himself, as Ahithophel did, or to be strangled by others, this being a kind of death inflicted on capital offenders. But rather, as Mr. Broughton renders it, "to be choked to death" by any distemper and disease, as some are of a suffocating nature, as a catarrh, quinsy, etc. and kill in that way. And indeed, death in whatsoever way is the stopping of a man's breath; and it was death that Job chose, let it be in what way it would, whether natural or violent. So weary was he of life through his sore and heavy afflictions.

"And death rather than my life": Or, "than my bones"; which are the more solid parts of the body, and the support of it, and are put for the whole and the life thereof. Or than these bones of his, which were full of strong pain, and which had nothing but skin upon them, and that was broken and covered with worms, rottenness, and dust. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "and my bones death". That is, desired and chose death, being so full of pain (see Psalm 35:10).

He did not desire to live in this tormented state. Strangling was thought of as a disgraceful way of dying, but he would have even preferred that to living in this torment.

Job 7:16 "I loathe [it]; I would not live always: let me alone; for my days [are] vanity."

The word for "vanity" is the same word often translated "meaningless" or "futile" in Ecclesiastes. Scripture often used it to depict the transience of life (Eccl. 1:2-4).

Man does not live in this body forever. Job wanted to know why he could not just die now and cut the time short.

Verses 17-19: The language in these verses resembles that of (Psalm 8:4), except that Job associates God's excessive attention with testing. Despite Job's feelings of worthlessness, he felt that even in the trivial things of life, God would not allow him one moment of peace "till I swallow down my spittle":

Verses 17-18: Why is he so important, Job wonders, that God would spend all this attention on him? Why did God cause all this misery to one so insignificant as he?

Job 7:17 "What [is] man, that thou shouldest magnify him? And that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?"

What is there in that poor, mean creature called man, miserable man, which can induce thee to take any notice of him, or to make such account of him? Man is not worthy of thy favor, and he is below thy anger. It is too great a condescension in thee, and too great an honor done to man, that thou should contend with him, and draw forth all thy forces against him, as if he were a fit match for thee. Therefore do not, O Lord, dishonor thyself or magnify me.

"And that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?" Should concern thyself so much about him, as though he were a creature of great dignity and worth, or were near and dear to thee.

At this point, Job did not have much regard for his own self. He could not imagine why God would love so wretched a creature as himself. Job was saying that man was so useless that he could not imagine why God would elevate him to be made in the image of God.

Job 7:18 "And [that] thou shouldest visit him every morning, [and] try him every moment?"

That is, for the purpose of inflicting pain. This language Job intends undoubtedly to be applicable to himself, and he asks with impatience why God should take a pleasure in visiting with suffering each returning day a creature like him?

"Every morning": Why is there no intermission even for a day? Why does not God allow one morning, or one moment, to pass without inflicting pain on a creature so feeble and so frail?

"And try him": Or, prove him; to wit, by afflictions.

"Every moment": Constantly; without intermission.

Job was feeling that he had fallen short of the expectations of God. Job was saying that man was under the eye of God every moment of every day. It seems that any weakness in man is tried. It is as if man is under inspection constantly. I think the problem is, that Job had examined his past actions and could not find what he had done wrong. He actually thought that he had forgotten some sin he had committed, and that God was holding him responsible for that sin.

Job 7:19 "How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?"

"Till I swallow down my spittle": This strange statement was an Arabic proverb, indicating a brief moment. Job was asking for a moment "to catch his breath," or in the case of the proverb, "swallow my spittle."

Job was asking God not to examine him every moment of every day. He did not want God to leave him. He just wanted God to not examine him quite as closely.

Job 7:20 "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?"

"I have sinned" is better as, "If I have sinned."

Job realized that he had been singled out to mark. God had not revealed to him the challenge Satan had put before Him pertaining to Job. Notice Job did not say what his sin was, because he did not know what the sin was. It is as if he was saying, "If I have sinned, I am sorry". I cannot go back and change the past. He was a burden to himself.

Job 7:21 "And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I [shall] not [be]."

Seeing thou art so gracious to others, so ready to preserve and forgive them. Why may not I hope for the same favor from thee?

"For now shall I sleep in the dust": If thou dost not speedily help me it will be too late, I shall be dead. And so incapable of receiving those blessings which thou art accustomed to give to men in the land of the living;

"And thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be": When thou shalt diligently seek for me that thou mayest show favor to me, thou wilt find that I am dead and gone, and so will lose the opportunity of doing it. Help therefore speedily. The consideration of this, that we must shortly die, and perhaps may die suddenly, should make us all very solicitous to get our sins pardoned, and our iniquities taken away.

Job was sure death was near. He wanted God to forgive him so that he could rest in peace when he died. Job knew that if he did sin, which he was not sure he did, God is a forgiving God. Job was saying that God would stop this chastisement sometime, but he would probably, already be dead when He did stop it. This was a man in great despair.

Job Chapter 7 Questions

  1. The days of man on earth are ___________.
  2. His days are like the days of a _________.
  3. What is a hireling?
  4. What does a hireling look for?
  5. What were the months of vanity speaking of?
  6. Why were the nights wearisome for Job?
  7. In verse 5, we see that his flesh was clothed with _________.
  8. His disease had become so terrible, that he hated his ______ ______.
  9. When Job looked back over his life, it seemed to have passed in a ________.
  10. Why was his life compared to the wind?
  11. In verse 8, Job felts as if he was near ________.
  12. How is he compared to a cloud?
  13. In verse 10, we see that the house he used to live in, would now be inhabited by the _______ ______________.
  14. How had Job found peace in his past life?
  15. Why had Job decided to complain?
  16. Job did not desire to live in this ____________ state.
  17. Why was strangling mentioned?
  18. What questions did Job ask God in verse 17?
  19. Job felt that he had fallen short of the ______________ of God.
  20. What was Job asking for in verse 19?
  21. What had God not revealed to Job?
  22. Why did Job not say what his sin was?
  23. Why did Job want God to pardon his transgressions?
  24. If Job had sinned, Job knew God is a ____________ God.
  25. Job knew God would stop the chastisement sometime, but believe he would be _________ by that time.

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Job 8

Job Chapter 8

Verses 1-22: The second friendly accuser, Bildad, now offered his wisdom to Job. Bildad, also absolutely certain that Job had sinned and should repent, was ruthless in the charges he raised against God's servant (see Job chapters 18 and 25 for Bildad's other speeches).

Verses 1-4 Bildad wastes no time getting to the heart of his argument: Job is full of hot air ("like a strong wind," verse 2). If Job is to be exonerated, then God would be unjust, and that cannot be (verse 3). Job's children must have sinned to incur divine judgment (verse 4).

Job 8:1 "Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,"

This was the second of Job's friends that came to visit him (Job 2:11). And is mentioned next to Eliphaz there, and takes his turn in this controversy in the same side. Which no doubt was agreed upon among themselves, as well as the part each should bear, and the general sentiment they should pursue, which was the same in them all. Some have observed, that Job's friends were like the messengers that brought him the tidings of his losses, before one had done speaking another came. And so as soon as one of his friends had delivered his discourse, and before Job could well finish his reply, up starts another to charge him afresh, as Bildad did here.

In verses 2-7 Bildad accused Job of defending his innocence with a lot of hot air and reasoned that Job's circumstances were God's judgment on his sins and those of his family. Again, this is logical, based on the principle that God punishes sin, but it failed to account for the mystery of the heavenly debate between God and Satan (see chapters 1 and 2). He was sure something was wrong in Job's relationship with God, thus his call for repentance, with the confidence that when Job repented he would be blessed (verses 6 and 7).

Verses 2-3: Job, in a state of deep sorrow (6:3, 26), spoke honestly about the agony of his losses. But because Bildad misunderstood the complexity of the circumstances, unaware that God was allowing a righteous man to suffer, he rushed to judgment.

Job 8:2 "How long wilt thou speak these [things]? and [how long shall] the words of thy mouth [be like] a strong wind?"

Rather than offering religious platitudes as Eliphaz had done, "Bildad", a coldly intellectual debater who saw life in black and white, coarsely attacked Job's character. Contending that Job was a windbag, "words ... like a strong wind": trying to justify himself before God. Bildad believed he was positioned to defend God.

It appears that Bildad, the second friend, spoke very bluntly to Job. He was probably a little younger than Eliphaz and less experienced. He spoke strongly and disrespectfully to Job. He spoke of the words of Job, as being pushy and forcing their way like a strong wind would.

Job 8:3 "Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?"

"Almighty pervert justice": Bildad took Job's claims for innocence and applied them to his simplistic notion of retribution. He concluded that Job was accusing God of injustice when God must be meting out justice to Job. Job tried to avoid outright accusations of this sort, but the evidence led Bildad to this conclusion because he had no knowledge of the heavenly facts.

Bildad's first speech focuses on God's justice, saying that since Yahweh cannot undermine ("Pervert justice"), the judgment on Job and his sons and daughters must have been deserved.

Of course the answer to this was no. This younger friend seemed to accuse Job of saying that God's judgement was unfair. God does justice at all times. He is fair in all His dealings with men.

Verses 4-7: Bildad also believed the principle of retribution was at work (see note on 4:7-11), except he asserted that the sin of Job's children caused God to "cast them away" to their deaths. According to him, prosperity was only a prayer away "seek unto God ... make thy supplication").

Job 8:4 "If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;"

Bildad assumes this absolutely; Eliphaz had only hinted at it (Job 10:4). Both presume to know what could be known only to the Searcher of hearts.

"And he have cast them away for their transgression": Literally, and he have delivered them into the hand of their transgressions; abandoned them, that is, to the consequences of their wrong-doing. The allusion is, of course, to the fact recorded in (Job 1:19), when the house fell on the children.

Bildad accused Job's children of sinning so greatly against God that He disposed of them. He was bluntly judging them, and also calling their death a punishment from God.

Job 8:5 "If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;"

Bildad saw in the fate of Job's children not only proof that they had sinned but that their sin was deadly. He saw in Job's afflictions proof equally decisive that he had sinned. But the fact that he was still spared, however severe his afflictions, gave a different complexion to his sin, and also suggested a different meaning for his afflictions. They were chastisements meant for his good, and Bildad is enabled to hope the best for Job, if he will rightly take his trials to heart.

"And make thy supplication to the Almighty": Not pleading any merit of his own, as deserving of any blessing on account of what he had done. But ask what he should as a favor, as a free gift, in a way of grace and mercy, as the word signifies.

This brazen friend was even accusing Job of not praying to God. He was actually saying that Job had not cried out to the Almighty. His accusations of course, were not true. Job had even scolded his wife for suggesting that he curse God and die. Job had submitted himself to the LORD immediately and completely, as soon as he heard of his children's death.

Job 8:6 "If thou [wert] pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous."

That is, of a sincere heart and blameless life toward God and men.

"Surely now he would awake for thee": He would raise, or stir up himself. Thus David prays, using the same word, Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment.

"And make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous": He would certainly have a regard to thee, and restore the concerns of thy house and family to their former splendor. He says the habitation of thy righteousness, to signify that if it were such, and he would manage his affairs with righteousness and not wrongfully, God would prosper him accordingly. And perhaps also to intimate, that because he had not prospered they had cause to suspect that he had acquired his property by fraud and oppression.

This friend had made up his mind that all of this calamity had come upon Job for his sins. He told Job if he were a righteous man, God would have already heard him and come to his rescue. This same teaching has sprung up again in our day. We hear some ministers say that if you are in right standing with God, you will automatically be prosperous. This was not true for righteous Job, and is not true for many saints of our day as well. God does prosper some of His children, but not all of them.

Job 8:7 "Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase."

In fact, this was Job's outcome (compare 42:10-17), not because Job repented of some specific sin, but because he humbled himself before the sovereign, inscrutable will of God.

Job was now reduced to near nothing. If God did decide to bless him, He could greatly increase Job again. I do not believe this friend of Job believed that God would do this for Job. He felt as if Job deserved all of the punishment he had endured.

Verses 8-10: Here Bildad appealed to past authorities, godly ancestors who taught the same principle, that where there is suffering, there must be sin. So, he had history as a witness to his misjudgment.

Tradition is not necessarily correct. The past is supposed to be a rudder to guide a person, not an anchor to hold him or her down.

Job 8:8 "For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:"

"Inquire ... of the former age": Bildad seems to be basing his case on wisdom tradition, unlike Eliphaz who appealed to experience.

His advice to Job was that he should search through the past history for an answer to this dilemma. His fathers, or grandfathers, might have had a similar problem. It appears from this, that there had been some kind of records kept prior to Job's lifetime.

Job 8:9 "(For we [are but of] yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth [are] a shadow:)"

"We," i.e. "of the present generation, old men though we may be, are but of yesterday. Our experience is as nothing compared with the long, long experience of the past centuries, wherein the men of old "stored wisdom with each studious year". Not like ourselves, hurried and pressed by the shortness of the term to which life is now reduced. But having ample time for reflection and consideration in their long lives of five, six, seven, centuries (Gen. 11:10-17). Which enabled them to give their attention to everything in its turn, and to exhaust all the experiences that human life has to offer.

"And know nothing": I.e. comparatively. Sir Isaac Newton said that he felt like a child gathering shells upon the seashore, while the great ocean of truth lay unexplored before him.

"Because our days upon earth are a shadow": (Compare Job 14:2; Psalm 102:11; Isa. 40:6). So brief and fleeting that they can scarcely be called a reality.

Life on earth is short-lived. The moment in time is so short, that it would be difficult to learn much from it. In times of old, the people lived hundreds of years and experienced many more things. Their lives can be of use to us as a teacher.

Job 8:10 "Shall not they teach thee, [and] tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?"

Assuredly they will inform thee that it is as we say.

"And utter words out of their heart": Not partially, but sincerely, speaking their inward thoughts. Not rashly, but from deep consideration; not by hearsay from others, but their own knowledge and experience.

Job's friend believed that he had made errors that could have been avoided, had he studied his ancestors.

Verses 11-19: He further supported his simple logic of cause and effect by illustrations from nature. Again, he accused Job of sin, but surely he had forgotten God as well (verse 13).

While God does use nature to communicate and teach, Bildad's attempt to sermonize was insensitive, for the cause of Job's every problem was not a hypocritical relationship with God. Pious platitudes and spiritualizing only cause further damage. True friends seek to understand rather that condemn.

Job 8:11 "Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?"

No, at least not long, or so as to lift up his head on high, as the word signifies. The rush or bulrush, which seems to be meant, delights in watery places, and has its name in Hebrew from its absorbing or drinking up water. It grows in moist and watery clay, or in marshy places, which Jarchi says is the sense of the word here used. The Septuagint understands it of the "paper reed", which, as Pliny observes, grows in the marshy places of Egypt, and by the still waters of the river Nile.

"Can the flag grow without water?" Or "the sedge"; which usually grows in moist places, and on the banks of rivers. This unless in such places, or if without water, cannot grow long, or make any very large increase, or come to maturity. So some render it, "if the rush should grow up without" etc.

The rush here was speaking of the papyrus which grew in the very wet mire of a lake or river. The flag was a water plant as well. When the water was gone, both of them would die. In a spiritual sense, this is telling Job to draw water from his roots. Water in this particular sense, would be the Word of God.

Job 8:12 "Whilst it [is] yet in his greenness, [and] not cut down, it withereth before any [other] herb."

It grows and flourishes in a rich greenness up to a certain point; if no one touches it. But the water fails from the root, and it fades, collapses, and is gone.

"It withereth before any other herb": The ground may be all green around it with ordinary grass and other herbs, since they only need a little moisture, but the water-plant will collapse unless it has its full supply.

This was speaking of a time when it had grown to its greatest height. When the land dried up where it was planted, it quickly died. At the peak of the greatness of Job, this terrible calamity had come.

Job 8:13 "So [are] the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish:"

So do those proceed on their way by whom God has been forgotten. They spring up in apparent strength and lusty force. They flourish for a brief space; then, untouched by man's hand, they suddenly fade, fall, and disappear, before the mass of their contemporaries. Job is, of course, glanced at in the expression, "all that forget God," though it is the last thing that he had done.

"And the hypocrite's hope shall perish": Or, the hope of the ungodly man shall perish (compare Job 13:16; 15:34; 17:8).

This is a true statement, but did not apply to Job. Job had not forgotten God. He was not a hypocrite. His troubles had come because he loved God.

Job 8:14 "Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust [shall be] a spider's web."

That is, whose wealth and outward glory, which is the foundation and matter of his hope, shall be suddenly and violently taken away from him. Or, as the Hebrew may be translated: whose hope shall be irksome or tedious to him, by the succession of earliest expectations and great disappointments.

"Whose trust shall be a spider's web": Which though it be formed with great art and industry, and may do much mischief to others. Yet is most slender and feeble, and easily swept down, or pulled in pieces, and unable to defend the spider that made it. The application is obvious.

This friend did not truly know Job. He had judged Job without any evidence of any of this. It appears to the natural eye, that Job's hope was cut off. A spider builds a web to trap its prey. This was a terrible statement to make about Job.

Job 8:15 "He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure."

He shall trust to the multitude and strength of his children and servants, and to his wealth, all which come under the name of a man's house in Scripture.

"But it shall not stand": That is, not be able to uphold itself, nor him that trusted to it.

"He shall hold it fast": Or, he shall take fast hold of it to strengthen and uphold himself by it. But his web, that refuge of lies, will be swept away, and be crushed in it. Or, by holding it fast, may be meant, that he shall endeavor to support his house by strong alliances, but it will be to no purpose.

"But it shall not endure": Gold perishes, riches come to nought, wealth is no enduring substance, nor is a man's righteousness lasting. Only Christ's righteousness is everlasting. True grace endures to eternal and issues in it; but external gifts, speculative and rational knowledge, and a mere profession of religion, fail, cease, and vanish away.

He was accusing Job of building upon something besides the Rock of God. He was actually accusing Job of building on shifting sand. Everyone around Job had a negative reason for his trouble. Job knew this was not true.

Job 8:16 "He [is] green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden."

Bildad here introduces a third and more elaborate simile. The hypocrite, or ungodly man (verse 13), is as a gourd (Jonah 4:6). Or other rapidly growing plant, which shoots forth at sunrise with a wealth of greenery, spreading itself over a whole garden, and even sending forth its sprays and tendrils beyond it (compare Gen. 49:22). Lovely to look at, and full, apparently, of life and vigor.

"And his branch shooteth forth in his garden": Rather, over his garden or beyond his garden.

Again, he was speaking of the prosperity of Job, which was well known by everyone. He was prospering in every way.

Job 8:17 "His roots are wrapped about the heap, [and] seeth the place of stones."

The heap of stones where the tree stands. It strikes its roots among them, and implicates and twists them about them, and secures itself and grows up notwithstanding them. And this expresses the seeming stable state and condition of hypocrites for a season, who not only flourish, but seem to take root; and who maintain their ground amidst some difficulties. This fitly agrees with and describes such hearers of the word, and professors of religion, comparable to the seed sown on stony ground (Matt. 13:5).

"And seeth the place of stones": Or, "the house of stones"; a house built of stones, high and stately. Yet this tree rises higher than that, overtops and overlooks it; and is represented as viewing it thoroughly, or looking down upon it, and all around it, being so high and so spreading. The Targum renders it, implicates the house of stones. But this seems to be designed in the former clause: all this suits very well with good men, whose "roots are wrapped about the fountain". As the words may be rendered; about the love of God, in which they are rooted and grounded, and are like trees planted by rivers of water, the river of divine love, which refreshes, revives, and makes them fruitful. And about Christ, the fountain of gardens and well of living waters; in whom they are rooted and built up, increase, flourish, and are established. And though they are among stones, and attended with many difficulties, yet they abide and surmount all; believe in hope against hope, and see and enjoy. Yea, even dwell in the house of stones, the church of God, built on a rock, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail.

The water that fed the plant in the verse above, was coming from the stones like a spring does. It appears the plant had wrapped around the rock to ensure itself of the life-giving water.

Job 8:18 "If he destroy him from his place, then [it] shall deny him, [saying], I have not seen thee."

Either God, who is the Savior of good men, and the Destroyer of the wicked; or the owner; or any other man. For this is an indefinite speech, and may be taken passively and impersonally; which is very common in the holy text and language.

"From his place": in which he was planted.

"Then it": I.e. the place; to which denying him and seeing him are here ascribed figuratively, as we have often seen.

"I have not seen thee": I.e., I do not know nor remember that I was ever planted here. He shall be so utterly crushed and destroyed, that there shall be no footstep, nor name, nor memorial of him left there.

This was speaking of the sudden calamity that came upon Job, just as this plant was suddenly uprooted.

Job 8:19 "Behold, this [is] the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow."

Bitter irony. The hypocrite boasts of joy. This then is his "joy" at the last.

"And out of the earth": Others immediately, who take the place of the man thus punished; not godly men (Matt. 3:9). For the place of the weeds is among stones, where the gardener wishes no plants.

"And out of the earth shall others grow": A fresh crop of weeds always springs up in the place of those torn up. As there is no end of hypocrites on the earth.

Each plant lives for a short time, and then another takes its place. That was what Job's friend was saying here. Job would be replaced by another.

Verses 20-22: Bildad held out the possibility of restoration to Job, but it must have been cold comfort after the wave of insults (Psalms 35:26; 109:29).

Job 8:20 "Behold, God will not cast away a perfect [man], neither will he help the evil doers:"

"God will not cast away a perfect man": This comment contains a veiled offer of hope. Job could laugh again but he must take steps to become blameless. But Bildad, like Job, was unaware of the dialogue between the Sovereign Judge and the Accuser in the opening chapters of the book and unaware that God had already pronounced Job "blameless" twice to heavenly beings (1:8; 2:3), as had the writer (1:1; compare Psalms 1:6; 126:2; 132:18).

Job 8:21 "Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing."

This is very elliptical. The full phrase would be, "God will not cast away a perfect man. Therefore, if thou be such, he will not cast away thee, till he fill thy mouth with laughter, and thy lips with rejoicing," or "with shouting for joy."

Job was just and upright. Bildad had no way of knowing that Job was anything but an upright man. Bildad had judged Job severely and unjustly. In that sense, Bildad was an evildoer. He was stating in the verse above, if Job was a righteous man, God would not cast him away. God would fill his mouth with laughing, and his lips would rejoice.

Job 8:22 "They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought."

The Chaldeans and Sabeans, who had plundered him of his substance, when they should see him restored to his former prosperity, beyond all hope and expectation. And themselves liable to his resentment, and under the displeasure of Providence: the phrase denotes utter confusion, and such as is visible as the clothes upon a man's back (see Psalm 132:18).

"And the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to naught": Or, "shall not be"; shall be no more. Be utterly destroyed, and no more built up again. Even such dwelling places they fancied would continue for ever, and perpetuate their names to the latest posterity. But the curse of God being in them, and upon them, they come to nothing, and are no more. Thus ends Bildad's speech; Job's answer to it follows.

Bildad was speaking judgement upon the friends of Job in this. These friends included him. They had hated Job without a cause. This shame would not be long in coming. Judging others was a dangerous thing to do, especially a righteous man such as Job.

Job Chapter 8 Questions

  1. Bildad was a ________.
  2. What did he say that the words of Job's mouth were like?
  3. How did he speak to Job?
  4. What was the answer to these questions?
  5. Bildad accused Job's children of what?
  6. What was he calling Job's children's death?
  7. What did he accuse Job of in verse 5?
  8. What did he call God in verse 5?
  9. Job had scolded his wife for what?
  10. What had Job done immediately on hearing of his children's death?
  11. What had Job's friend made up his mind about?
  12. What are many ministers, today, telling their people brings automatic prosperity?
  13. What was verse 7 saying?
  14. Bildad told Job to inquire of whom?
  15. Our days upon earth are a __________.
  16. What was the rush in verse 11?
  17. What was the flag?
  18. Whose hope shall perish?
  19. Why does a spider build a web?
  20. What happened to the house in verse 15?
  21. Where did the water come from, that was feeding the plant in verse 17?
  22. What was Job's friend saying in verse 19?
  23. What would God do for the perfect man?
  24. Who was Bildad speaking judgement upon in verse 22?

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Job 9

Job Chapter 9

Verses 9:1-10:22: Job did not so much respond to Bildad as to God. Here, he introduces a new theme, his need for a "mediator" to stand before Yahweh to plead his case. Job wanted an occasion to speak to God about the injustice of his suffering.

Job, in a mood of deep despair, responded to Bildad's accusations with arguments surrounding God's nature, also raised by Bildad, and started to rationalize something about which he would later admit he knew dangerously little. Job concluded that God is holy, wise, and strong (verses 4-10); but he wondered if He is fair (verse 22), and why He wouldn't make Himself known to him. Before the mighty God, Job felt only despair. If God is not fair, all is hopeless, he thought.

From verses 9:1-35: As Job expressed his sense of futility about finding vindication (though I were righteous), before almighty God, he revealed something deeper. Job could not dispute with God; he could not discern God's ways; and now he was unsure whether he could depend on God.

Job 9:1 "Then Job answered and said,"

Without taking notice of Bildad's harsh expressions and severe censures, or his unfriendliness to him. He enters directly into the argument, grants some things, confutes others, and defends himself and his conduct.

Verses 2-15: The "sea" was viewed as a force of evil in the ancient world (38:8-11), and the "Stars" were objects of worship for some. Job realized that the greatness and wisdom by which God created the world were the very things that would prevent any mere mortal from winning a case against Him (Psalm 104:2-3; Isa. 40:22).

Job 9:2 "I know [it is] so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?"

That God does not "pervert justice" (Job 8:3). But (even though I be sure of being in the right), how can a mere man assert his right, "be just" with God. The Gospel answers (Rom. 3:26).

Job was agreeing that a righteous man generally would not face these problems. We must remember in all of this, that God did not forewarn Job of the challenge of Satan. It would not have had the impact on the angels and even on us, if Job had endured these hardships, because he knew God would restore him at the end. The thing that made Job's stand for God so powerful, was the fact that he did not know. Job had made a humble statement "how should a man be just with God?" Job was saying that man was not perfect. He had attempted to live perfectly before God, and it appeared to him at this point that he must have failed in some way.

Job 9:3 "If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand."

"Contend with Him": Job referred to disputing one's innocence or guilt before God as a useless endeavor. Psalm 130:3 illustrates the point, "if thou ... shouldest mark iniquities (keep record of sin) ... who shall stand (innocently in judgment)?"

Job complains that one cannot argue with an infinite God about justice; God could ask a thousand unanswerable questions.

If a man would be so foolish as to try to contend with God, the man would not be able to answer one of a thousand things that God would ask.

Job 9:4 "[He is] wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened [himself] against him, and hath prospered?"

He is infinitely wise, and searches all men's hearts and ways, and discovers a multitude of sins, which men's short-sighted eyes cannot see. And therefore can charge them with innumerable evils, of which they thought themselves innocent, and sees far more malignity than men can discern in their sins.

"Mighty in strength": So that, whether men contend with God by wisdom or by strength, God will be conqueror.

"Who hath hardened himself": Obstinately contended with him. The devil promised himself that Job, in the day of his affliction, would curse and speak ill of God. But, instead of that, he sets himself to honor God and speak highly of him. As ill pained as he is, and as much as he is taken up with his own miseries, when he has occasion to mention the wisdom and power of God, he forgets his complaints, and expatiates, with a flood of eloquence, on that glorious subject.

"And hath prospered?" Job fully admits the wisdom of all that Eliphaz (Job 4:17), and Bildad (Job 8:3-6), have said, or hinted, with respect to his inability wholly to justify himself. No one has ever taken this line of absolute self-justification, and prospered.

Who is man that he should contend with God? God is all powerful. He is the source of all strength. He is Wisdom to the utmost. No man who hardens his heart against God could ever prosper.

Job 9:5 "Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger."

In order to show how vain it was to contend with God, Job refers to some exhibitions of his power and greatness. The "removal of the mountains" here denotes the changes which occur in earthquakes and other violent convulsions of nature. This illustration of the power of God is often referred to in the Scriptures (compare Judges 5:5; 1 Kings 19:11; Psalms 65:6; 114:4; 144:5; Isa. 40:12; Jer. 4:24).

"And they know not": This is evidently a Hebraism, meaning suddenly, or unexpectedly. He does it, as it were, before they are aware of it. "Let destruction come upon him at unawares," or, as it is in the Hebrew and in the margin, "which he knoweth not of."

"Which overturneth them in his anger": As if he were enraged. There could scarcely be any more terrific exhibition of the wrath of God than the sudden and tremendous violence of an earthquake.

The main thing we must see in this verse through verse 13, is that God is in total control of all the elements of the earth. Not only must we know that he is in control, but we must notice that Job knew this and he was the one who was making this statement. There will be a time, at the Word of God, when the mountains will be no more. This is spoken of clearly during the wrath of God which is yet to come.

Job 9:6 "Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble."

"Pillars ... tremble": In the figurative language of the day, this phrase described the supporting power that secured the position of the earth in the universe.

It is God who sends the earthquake, to cause people to repent and come to Him. The pillars are speaking of the supports for the earth's crust. We learned that a movement of rock deep beneath the earth's surface, is really what causes the earthquake.

Job 9:7 "Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and stealeth up the stars."

A magnificent idea of God's power, and, of course, quite true. All the movements of the earth and of the heavenly bodies are movements which God causes, and could at any moment suspend. The sun only rises upon the earth each day because God causes it to rise. If he were once to suspend his hand, the whole universe would fall into confusion.

"And stealeth up the stars": Either covers them with a thick darkness, which their rays cannot penetrate, or otherwise renders them invisible. The idea is that God, if he pleases, can remove the stars out of man's sight, hide them away and seal them up.

The sun is no more than a container for light. There will be a time, when there will be no need for the sun or the moon.

Revelation 21:23 "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof."

Job 9:8 "Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea."

I.e. by his own power, without any other help.

"Spreadeth out the heavens": He spread them out like a curtain (Psalm 104:1-2). And he in a manner spreads them again every day, i.e. keeps them spread for the comfort and benefit of this lower world. And does not roll and fold them up, as he will do in due time (see Isa. 34:4; 2 Peter 3:10; Rev. 6:14). Or, boweth down the heavens, as the same Hebrew verb is rendered (Psalm 18:9). So, it is a further description of a black and tempestuous season, wherein the heavens seem to be brought down and nearer to the earth.

"Treadeth upon the waves of the sea": I.e. represses and rules them when they rage and are tempestuous. For treading upon any thing signifies in Scripture the use of power and dominion over it (as Deut. 33:29; Job 40:12; Psalms 60:12; 91:13; Luke 10:19).

The heavens surround the earth. One of His very first creations were the heavens. Jesus showed a manifestation of His ability to tread upon the waves, when He walked on the Sea of Galilee.

Job 9:9 "Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south."

Arcturus, Orion ... Pleiades": Three stellar constellations (compare Job 38:31-32).

"The chambers of the south": These were other constellations in the southern hemisphere, unseen by those who could see and name the 3 in the northern skies.

These are speaking of constellations in the sky. These, too, were created by God, and are under His complete control. Arcturus (the great bear), is one of the three most brilliant stars in the southern hemisphere. Orion is south of Taurus and Gemini, and is made up of a myriad of stars. Pleiades is a constellation of 7 large stars and numerous small stars. It is seen in the eastern sky. The chambers of the south are unnamed stars. It is unusual that a man in history, as early as Job, would know of the stars.

Job 9:10 "Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number."

He adopts the very words his former antagonist, Eliphaz, had used (in Job 5:9).

Job had said this same thing in answer to Eliphaz. Job knew all of the greatness of God that Bildad had mentioned, and even more. He never questioned the greatness of God.

Job 9:11 "Lo, he goeth by me, and I see [him] not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not."

This again, is an expression Eliphaz had used (in Job 4:15). Here in words of great sublimity, Job depicts the unapproachable majesty of God omnipotent, but invisible, and shows the utter hopelessness of entering into judgment with Him. Unfortunately, though this is a proposition to which all must assent, yet none is virtually so much repudiated or practically so often contravened. Men still cast about to justify themselves before God, and will do so till the end of time. But it is in teaching such as this, that the Book of Job has laid the foundation of the Gospel by preparing for its acceptance by overthrowing man's natural and habitual standing that is grounded in himself.

This is another way of saying that God is a Spirit. The natural eye cannot see God. We may be aware of His presence, but we cannot actually see Him or touch Him with our physical hands.

Job 9:12 "Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?"

If he determine to take away from any man his children, or servants, or estate, who is able to restrain him from doing it? Or, who dare presume to reprove him for it? And, therefore, far be it from me to quarrel with God, whereof you untruly accuse me.

The answer to this is no one. We cannot and should not, question the actions of God. Job had not questioned God in this at all.

Job 9:13 "[If] God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him."

"The proud helpers under him": This is symbolic of the ancient mythological sea monster (compare 3:8; 7:12). God smiting the proud was a poetic way of saying that if the mythical monster of the sea (a metaphor for powerful, evil, chaotic forces), could not stand before God's anger, how could Job hope to? In a battle in God's court, he would lose. God is too strong (verses 14-19).

When the anger of God is toward those who rebel against Him, there is only one outcome. Those who rebel against Him fall.

Job 9:14 "How much less shall I answer him, [and] choose out my words [to reason] with him?"

If he be the Lord of earth and heaven, if he rule the sun and the stars, if he tread down the sea, if he be impalpable and irresistible, if he hold the evil power and his helpers under restraint, how should I dare to answer him? How should any mere man do so?

"And choose out my words to reason with him?" Job feels that he would be too overwhelmed to choose his terms carefully, and yet a careless word might be an unpardonable offence.

Job was saying, that under no circumstances would he try to change God's mind about anything. Job knew that God is right about everything. To reason with God would be a great error.

Job 9:15 "Whom, though I were righteous, [yet] would I not answer, [but] I would make supplication to my judge."

"Though I were righteous": He means here, not sinless, but having spiritual integrity, i.e., a pure heart to love, serve and obey God.

Job was explaining that he would pray and ask God to help him, but he would not argue with God. Even a perfect righteous man, as far as a man can be, would not have the right to argue with God. God's will and His way are perfect and they are unchangeable.

Job 9:16 "If I had called, and he had answered me; [yet] would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice."

I.e. prayed, as this word is commonly used. To wit, unto my Judge, for a favorable sentence, as he now said, and therefore it was needless here to mention the object of his calling or prayer.

"Yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice": I could not believe that God had indeed granted my desire, though he had done it. Because I am so infinitely below him, and obnoxious to him, and still full of the tokens of his displeasure. And therefore, should conclude that it was but a pleasant dream or fancy, and not a real thing (compare Psalm 126:1).

Job was saying, even if he had challenged God and God answered him, he would know that it had been the will of God all long. It would not have been the challenge of Job, but the will of God.

Job 9:17 "For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause."

"God" that is, "would not likely be patient to hear my justification, and calmly weigh it, when he is already overwhelming me with his wrath. Breaking and crushing me (compare Gen. 3:15), where the same word is used with a very storm of calamity." The sentiment can scarcely be justified, since it breathes something of a stubborn or disobedient spirit. But this only shows that Job was not yet" made perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10).

"And multiplieth my wounds without cause": A further assertion, not of absolute sinlessness, but of comparative innocence. Of the belief that he had done nothing to deserve such a terrible punishment as he is suffering (compare Job 6:24, 29).

God would not be likely to hear the complaint of Job, since the punishment of God had already begun. Job was thoroughly convinced, he had done nothing to cause this terrible calamity that had come upon him. He was right.

Job 9:18 "He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness."

"He gives me no breathing space," that is, "no time of relaxation or refreshment. My existence is one continual misery" (compare Job 7:3-6, 13-19).

But filleth me with bitterness": Literally, with bitter things or bitterness.

Job was having great difficulty even in breathing. Somehow, he was beginning to be filled with bitterness toward life itself.

Job 9:19 "If [I speak] of strength, lo, [he is] strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time [to plead]?"

Or think of it, or betake myself to that, and propose to carry my point by mere force, as some men do by the power and authority they are possessed of. Alas, there is nothing to be done this way. I am a poor, weak, and a feeble creature in body, mind, and estate. I am not able to contend with so powerful an antagonist on any account, in any way. God is strong, he is the "most strong", as some render it. He is mighty, is the Almighty; the weakness of God is stronger than men. There is no disputing with God upon the foot of strength.

"And if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?" If I think and propose to put things upon the foot of justice, to have the cause between us issued in that way, I cannot expect to succeed by right, any more than by might. He is so strictly just and holy, that no righteousness and holiness of mine can stand before him. He is God, and I a man, and therefore not fit to come together in judgment. And he a pure and holy Being, just and true, and without iniquity, and I a sinful polluted creature. And besides, there is none superior to him that I can appeal unto, none that can appoint a place, or fix a time, for the hearing of the cause between us. Or that can preside in judgment and determine the matter in controversy. Nay, there is not one among the creatures that can be a mediator, an arbiter or umpire. Yea not one that can be so much as employed as council, that can take the cause in hand, and plead it. And be a patron for me, and defender of me; so that, let me take what course I will, I am sure to be nonsuited and worsted (see Jer. 49:19).

This plainly was saying that Job was not strong enough to contend with God. The only strength that Job had was in the LORD.

Job 9:20 "If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: [if I say], I [am] perfect, it shall also prove me perverse."

Job was affirming again that his suffering was not due to sins he was not willing to confess. Even at that, God found something to condemn him for, he felt, making it hopeless, then, to contend with God.

If Job tried to justify himself before the LORD, he would not be able to. His justification was like ours. He was just as if he had never sinned because he was forgiven of God. If a person tried to justify himself, he would sin in the process. He who says he had not sinned is a liar, and the truth is not in him. He would sin, because he would be lying. No one but Jesus Christ was ever perfect.

Job 9:21 "[Though] I [were] perfect, [yet] would I not know my soul: I would despise my life."

Really and truly so, not conscious of any sin in thought, word, or deed. This is only a case supposed.

"Yet would I not know my soul": I would not own myself to be so before God. I would not insist upon such perfection in his presence, as what would justify me before him. Since I am sensible the highest perfection of a creature is imperfection when compared with him. Or the sense may be, should I say I were "perfect, I should not know my own soul". I should plainly appear to be ignorant of myself, as all perfectionists are. They do not know their own souls, the plague of their hearts, the evil of their thoughts, the vanity of their minds. They do not take notice of these things, or do not look upon them as sinful. They know not the nature of sin, and the exceeding sinfulness of it.

"I would despise my life": Even if ever so innocent, perfect, and just. His meaning is, that he would not insist upon the continuance of it on that account. He had no such value for it, such a love of life as to contend with God upon the foot of justice about it. Nor did he think it worth asking for, so mean an opinion had he entertained of it (see Job 7:16).

Job's perfection was in the LORD. Job was feeling as if he hated his own life at this point.

Job 9:22 "This [is] one [thing], therefore I said [it], He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked."

In the other things which you have spoken of, God's greatness, power, and justice, I do not contend with you; but this one thing I do, and must affirm against you.

"Therefore I said it": I did not utter it rashly, but upon deep consideration.

"He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked". God sends afflictions promiscuously upon good and bad men.

Job had concluded there was no difference. All have sinned. He was saying, it rains upon the just and the unjust. There seems to be no difference. The great difference is in the life to come.

Job 9:23 "If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent."

If some common judgment come upon a people, which destroys both good and bad. Or if God inflicts some grievous and unexpected stroke upon a holy person.

"He will laugh at the trial of the innocent": God will be pleased to see how the same, or a similar scourge, which is the perdition of the wicked, is only the trial of the integrity, faith, and patience of the innocent. That is, of his own people, and a means of their further purification and improvement.

The scourge here, is possibly speaking of something like a war, where the good and the bad come to the same fate. It appears that Job believed God was laughing at his problem here. This was just a man in total despair speaking.

Job 9:24 "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?"

"Covereth the faces of the judges": Job here indicted God for the inequities of His world. He accused God of treating all the same way, unfairly (verses 21-23), and of even covering the eyes of earthly judges so that they would not see injustice. These are the charges that bring about God's rebuke of Job (chapters 38-41), and for which he eventually repented (42:1-6).

It appears to Job that the wicked people of this earth were set in the high places. The covering of the faces of the judges was showing that their judgement was not fair. Job believed it was God who covered the faces of the judges. Job had suddenly begun to blame God for the conditions of society. He knew if God wanted to, He could change it.

Verses 25-26: Couriers running with messages, ships cutting swiftly, and eagles swooping rapidly convey the blur of painful, meaningless days of despair that move by.

Job 9:25 "Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good."

Or "than a runner" in a race, in order to obtain the prize. Or than one that rides post, or runs on foot to carry a message, such as were Cushi and Ahimaaz. And such are generally swift of foot, or ride on swift horses, who are so employed. And yet Job says his days are swifter, or passed away more swiftly than such. Meaning either his days in general; or rather particularly his prosperous days, as Mr. Broughton interprets it. These no sooner came but they were gone.

"They flee away": Like a shadow, or a dream, or a tale that is told.

"They see no good": Or he saw, perceived, or enjoyed no good in them. Not but that he did see and enjoy much good, even much temporal good, which is what is intended; but this was no sooner had than it was taken away, that it was as if it had never been. The evil days of trouble and sorrow, in which he had no pleasure, came so quick upon him.

A post is like a letter that is sent swiftly. Job was saying that it appeared that even as a person's life began it was headed for the end. It is but for a short time at the longest. Job was so despondent at this moment, that he saw no good in life.

Job 9:26 "They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle [that] hasteth to the prey."

"Swift ships" The ships of reed. These skiffs, constructed of a wooden keel and the rest of reeds, are the "vessels of bulrushes" (of Isa. 18:2). They carried but one or two persons, and being light were extremely swift. The ancients were familiar with them.

"As the eagle": Which generally flies most swiftly (Deut. 28:49; Jer. 4:13; Lam. 4:19), especially when its own hunger and the sight of its prey quickens its motion.

Job was speaking of the swiftness of the passing of his life away here. The ships leave the port, not to be seen again for a long time. The eagle swoops down and gets his prey and flies away.

Verses 27-28: Job said if he promised to change to a happy mood, he would break that promise and God would add that to His list of accusations.

Job 9:27 "If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort [myself]:"

If I resolve that I will leave off complaining, and will be more cheerful, I find it all in vain. My fears and sorrows return, and all my efforts to be cheerful are ineffectual.

"I will leave off my heaviness": The word rendered "my heaviness" here denotes literally "my face." And the reference is to the sad and sorrowful countenance which he had. "If I should lay that aside, and endeavor to be cheerful."

"And comfort myself": The word rendered comfort here in Arabic means to be bright, to shine forth. And it would here be better rendered by "brighten up." We have the same expression still when we say to one who is sad and melancholy, "brighten up; be cheerful." The meaning is, that Job endeavored to appear pleasant and cheerful, but it was in vain. His sorrows pressed heavily on him, and weighed down his spirits in spite of himself, and made him sad.

Job might say that he would forget his complaint but it would still be in his heart, even if he did not utter it. He says perhaps if he did not talk about it, it would not be so heavy upon him.

Job 9:28 "I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent."

My fears return. I dread the continuance of my griefs, and cannot close my eye to them.

"Thou wilt not hold me innocent": God will not remove my sorrows so as to furnish the evidence that I am innocent. My sufferings continue, and with them continue all the evidence on which my friends rely that I am a guilty man. In such a state of things, how can I be otherwise than sad? He was held to be guilty; he was suffering in such a way as to afford them the proof that he was so, and how could he be cheerful?

God thinks of murmuring as sin. Fear of anything except God is also sin. God wants us to trust and have faith.

Verses 29-30: "God seems to have found me guilty" Job concluded, "why then labor I in vain" Even if I make every effort to clean every aspect of my life, You will still punish me." This was deep despair and hopelessness.

Job 9:29 "[If] I be wicked, why then labor I in vain?"

Rather, I shall be guilty, that is I have to be, shall be held guilty. God has resolved so to consider me. Everywhere in these verses guilt and afflictions mean the same thing, the one being the sign of the other.

Job believed that God had already judged him and found him guilty of some sin he was not even aware of. He was asking, why he should labor to try to find out what he had done, if he was already condemned?

Job 9:30 "If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;"

Either by sanctification, cleansing my heart and life from all filthiness. Or rather declaratively or judicially, i.e. if I clear myself from all imputations, and fully prove my innocence before men.

"With snow water": I.e. as men cleanse their bodies, and as under the law they purified themselves, with water. Which he here calls water of snow, either because by its purity and brightness it resembled snow; or because in those dry countries, where fresh and pure water was scarce, snow water was much in use. Or because that water might be much used among them in some of their ritual purifications, as coming down from heaven.

Job 9:31 "Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me."

Yet would God with ease undo his work, show his purity to be impure, his righteousness to be filthy rags. And thus, as it were, plunge him once again into the mire and clay from which he had sought to free himself, and hold him forth a more loathsome wretch than ever.

"And mine own clothes shall abhor me": So loathsome would he be that his very garments, stained and fouled by his disease, would shrink away from him and hate to touch him.

He was saying that all the cleansing in the world could not make him clean with God.

Job 9:32 "For [he is] not a man, as I [am, that] I should answer him, [and] we should come together in judgment."

When Job said, "for he is not a man, as I am", he did not anticipate that one day God would become a Man, a "Daysman" (mediator), to bridge the gap that Job so painfully described. Fully God, Jesus could reach out one hand to His Father in heaven. Fully man, He could reach out His other hand to humanity.

"We should come together in judgment": Job acknowledges that, as a mere man, he had no right to call on God to declare his innocence or to contend with God over his innocence. Job was not arguing that he was sinless, but he didn't believe he had sinned to the extent that he deserved his severe suffering. Job held on to the same simplistic system of retribution as that of his accusers, which said that suffering was always caused by sin. And he knew he was not sinless, but he couldn't identify any unconfessed or un-repented sins. "Where is mercy?" he wondered.

God is not a man, except in Jesus Christ who took on the form of man that He might experience man's problems.

Verses 33-35: "Neither is there any daysman betwixt us": A court official who sees both sides clearly, as well as the source of disagreement, so as to bring resolution was not found. Where was an advocate, an arbitrator, an umpire, or a referee? Was there no one to remove God's rod and call for justice?

Job 9:33 "Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, [that] might lay his hand upon us both."

"Daysman" is a mediator. Job cries out for an advocate or impartial judge who could arbitrate the case between himself and God (compare 1 Tim. 2:5).

The daysman is speaking of someone like a mediator. The High Priest (Jesus Christ), would become that Mediator between God the Father and all of mankind. He hung between heaven and earth on the cross as our Mediator. It was this Jesus who put mankind back into right standing with God.

Job 9:34 "Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:"

Not his government over him, of which the rod or scepter is a sign. Job did not want to be freed from that. But, his rod of affliction, or stroke, as the Targum. The stroke of his hand, which, though a fatherly chastisement, lay heavy upon him, and depressed his spirits. So that he could not, while it was on him, reason so freely about things as he thought he could if it was removed. And for which he here prays:

"And let not his fear terrify me": Not the fear of him as a father, which is not terrifying, but the fear of him as a judge. The terror of his majesty, the dread of his wrath and vengeance, the fearful apprehensions he had of him as a God of strict justice. That would by no means clear the guilty, yea, would not hold him innocent, though he was with respect to the charge of his friends. Being now without those views of him as a God gracious and merciful. To these words Elihu seeks to have respect (Job 33:6).

His rod was taken away from mankind when Jesus took our stripes, and took our sin upon his body on the cross. All of these things Job was asking for, occurred for us in Jesus.

Job 9:35 "[Then] would I speak, and not fear him; but [it is] not so with me."

I.e. I would speak freely for myself, being freed from the dread of his majesty, which takes away my spirit and courage, and stops my mouth.

"But it is not so with me": I am not free from his terror, and therefore cannot and dare not plead my cause boldly with him. And so have nothing else to do but to renew my complaints; as he does in the next words. Others thus, but I am not so with myself, i.e. I am in a manner beside myself, distracted with the terrors of God upon me. Or rather, for I am not so with myself, or in my own conscience, as I perceive I am in your eyes. To wit, a hypocrite and ungodly man. So this is a reason why he could speak to God without slavish fear, because he was conscious to himself of his own integrity.

We can come boldly before the throne of God, because Jesus opened the way for us. Job admitted he was not in such a position with God at that time. He would wait patiently for God to change his circumstances.

Job Chapter 9 Questions

  1. What must we remember about the problems that came upon Job?
  2. Job was feeling that he must have ________ God in some way he was unaware of.
  3. It would be a _________ thing for man to contend with God.
  4. No man who hardens his heart against God could ever _________.
  5. From verse 5 through 13, we must see that God is in _________ __________.
  6. What is verse 6 speaking of?
  7. When did Jesus manifest His control over the water?
  8. What constellations that God made are mentioned by name?
  9. Which one of them is called the bear?
  10. Job never questioned the ____________ of God.
  11. Why could Job not see God?
  12. We _____ _____ and __________ _____ question the actions of God.
  13. What is the outcome, when someone rebels against Him?
  14. Job explains that he would pray and ask God to help him, but he would not ________ with God.
  15. Job was having great __________ in breathing.
  16. The only strength that Job had was in the ________.
  17. In verse 20, Job says his own _________ condemns him.
  18. He who says he has not sinned is a _______.
  19. It rains upon the ________ and on the ________.
  20. It appears to Job that the wicked people were in ______ _______.
  21. What is a post?
  22. In verse 26, what did Job compare to the swiftness of life?
  23. Even if Job stopped complaining out loud, he would still have the complaint in his ________.
  24. God thinks of murmuring as _____.
  25. Fear of anything, except God is ______.
  26. How is the only way that verse 32 could be fulfilled?
  27. Who is the daysman?
  28. When was his rod taken away from mankind?

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Job 10

Job Chapter 10

Verses 1-7: Job correctly identified himself as "not wicked", but he hid his increasingly strong declaration of innocence in accusations against God.

Job 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."

Compare the note at (Job 7:16). The margin here is: "cut off while I live." The meaning in the margin is in accordance with the interpretation of Schultens. The Chaldee also renders it in a similar way: My soul is cut off. But the more correct interpretation is that in our common version; and the sense is that his soul or that he himself was disgusted with life. It was a weary burden, and he wished to die.

"I will leave my complaint upon myself": The literal sense is, I will give way to it; I will not restrain it (compare Job 7:11).

"I will speak in the bitterness of my soul" (see the notes (Job 7:11).

Job begins this by saying that he really did not want to live in the pain and suffering. His worst pain was that of his heart feeling that he might have displeased God. He was sick in his soul with bitterness toward his hopeless life.

Job 10:2 "I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; show me wherefore thou contendest with me."

"Condemn me": Not the condemnation of Job's soul, but Job's physical suffering as a punishment. He held nothing back in his misery (verse 1), but asked God to show him why all this had happened.

Job wanted to know what God had condemned him for that he might repent. He loved God so much that he wanted to be back in fellowship with God. I do not believe that Job even cared about all of the wealth. His hurt was that he might have unknowingly offended God.

Job 10:3 "[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?"

"The work of thine hands": This is a biblical expression identifying what someone produces, in this case man, as created by God (compare 14:15; Psalm 102:25; Heb. 1:10).

Job believed that God was oppressing him, who had spent his time doing the will of God and had let the wicked go free. Job had no idea what was going on.

Verses 4-7: "Seest thou as man seeth": Because he believed he was innocent, Job facetiously, somewhat sarcastically, asked if God was as limited in His ability to discern Job's spiritual condition as were Job's friends. He concluded by affirming that God did know he was innocent and that there was no higher court of appeal (verse 7).

Job 10:4 "Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?"

No, "eyes of flesh" cannot see in the dark: but darkness hides not from God. Eyes of flesh are but in one place at a time, and can see but a little way. But the eyes of the Lord are in every place, and run to and fro through the whole earth. Eyes of flesh will shortly be darkened by age, and shut up by death. But the eyes of God are ever the same, nor does his sight ever decay.

"Or seest thou as man": Man sees the outside only, and judges by appearances: but thou seest my heart.

Job was expressing the superiority of God to man here. His eyes were not as those of man. God sees into the heart of man. Man can only see the physical. God sees into the heart and soul, as well as the physical. He is above man, and His judgements are above man's.

Job 10:5 "[Are] thy days as the days of man? [are] thy years as man's days,"

In short-lived man, shortsightedness and prejudice are excusable, but not in one whose days are unlike man's days who's "years endure throughout all generations" (Psalm 102:24). Such a one ought to be above all human infirmity.

"Are thy years as man's days?" We should have expected "as man's years." But it marks the disparity more strongly to say, "Are thy years not greater in number even than man's ( literally, "a strong man's) days?"

Of course, the answer to this is no. God is eternal. Man's days are numbered. Most of mankind can expect to live about 70 years on the earth. God is forever. He is the Beginning and the Ending.

Job 10:6 "That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?"

Art thou governed by human passions and prejudices, that thou dost thus seem to search out every little obliquity and error? Job here evidently refers to the conduct of man in strictly marking faults, and in being unwilling to forgive. And he asks whether it is possible that God could be governed by such feelings as these.

Job 10:7 "Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and [there is] none that can deliver out of thine hand."

Or "in", or "upon thy knowledge it is that I am not wicked". It is a thing well known, quite clear, and manifest, without making such a search and inquiry. Not that he thought himself without sin, and could appeal to the omniscience of God for the truth of that. For he had confessed before that he was a sinner, and wicked, as to his nature and birth, and the many infirmities of life (see Job 7:20). But that he was not that wicked person, and a hypocrite, as his friends took him to be, and as might be concluded from the sore afflictions that were upon him. He did not live in sin, nor indulge himself in a vicious course of life. Sin did not have dominion over him, and he had not secretly cherished any reigning iniquity, and lived in the commission of it. And for the truth of this he could appeal to the searcher of hearts.

"And there is none that can deliver out of thine hand": That is, out of his afflicting hand, until he is pleased to release him from it himself. For this is not to be understood of deliverance from the avenging hand of justice, from hell and wrath, and everlasting destruction. For there is one that can and does deliver his people from sin and Satan; from the world, the law, its curses and condemnation, and from wrath to come.

In the very same statement that Job said God inquirest of Job's iniquity. He said God knew that he was not wicked. The heart of Job was pure. Job also knew that no one could deliver him out of the hands of God.

Verses 8-12: Again, he returned to the question "Why was I born?" The answer that God had created him is given in magnificent language, indicating that life begins at conception.

Job could not fathom why God would give him life and bother to have cared for his well-being in the past, only to "destroy" him now (Psalm 119:73). He likened such treatment to a cheese maker pouring out "milk" and giving it time to "curdle, only to discard it (10:10).

Job 10:8 "Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me."

I.e. all of me; all the faculties of my soul, and all the parts of my body, which are now overspread with sores and ulcers. I am wholly thy creature and workmanship, made by thee and for thee.

"Thou dost destroy me": Or swallow me up, to wit, without cause, or any eminent provocation of mine. As if thou does delight in doing and undoing, in making and then destroying your creatures which does not become thy wisdom or goodness.

Job 10:9 "Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?"

I.e. of the clay; the note of similitude here expressing the truth of things (as it does John 1:14), and elsewhere. Or, as a potter maketh a vessel of the clay; and so this may note both the frailty of man's nature. Which of itself decays and perishes, and doth not need such violent shocks and storms to overthrow it. And the excellency of the Divine artifice, commended from the meanness of the materials out of which it was made. Which is an argument why God should not destroy it.

"Wilt thou bring me into dust again?" Will You now causelessly and violently destroy thy own work? But the words are and may be read without an interrogation.

"And thou wilt bring me into dust again": Out of which I was made: I must die by the course of nature, and by the sentence of thy law; and therefore while I do live give me some ease and comfort.

Job was aware that he was no more than putty in the hands of the LORD. The LORD made him, and the LORD could destroy that clay and start again. Job was saying in this, "I am in your hands to do with as you wish". The Creator can do with His creation as He wishes.

Verses 10-11: A reference to the development of the embryo from its origin in the womb.

Job 10:10 "Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?"

Thus he modestly and accurately describes God's admirable work in forming the fetus in the womb, out of a small and liquid substance, gradually coagulated and condensed. As milk is curdled into cheese, into the exquisite frame of man's body.

Job 10:11 "Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews."

Covered my inward and nobler parts, which are first formed. So he proceeds in describing man's formation gradually.

"And fenced me with bones": The stay and strength of the body; and some of them, as the skull and ribs, enclose and defend its vital parts.

Job was fully aware that God started with a shapeless form and made him. His skin and flesh were brought on to the bones that God had formed. He was but a clay doll, until God breathed the breath of life into him. His body, spirit, and soul were all from God.

Job 10:12 "Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit."

Thou didst not only give me a curious body, but also a reasonable soul: thou did at first give me life, and then maintain it in me. Both when I was in the womb, (which is a marvelous work of God), and afterward, when I was unable to do anything to preserve my own life.

"And favor": Thou didst not give mere life, but many other favors, such as nourishment by the breast, education, knowledge, and instruction.

"Thy visitation": The care of thy providence watching over me for my good, and visiting me in mercy.

"Preserved my spirit": My life, which is liable to manifold dangers, if God did not watch over us every day and moment. Thou hast since done great things for me, given me life, and the blessings of life, and daily deliverances. And will you now undo all that you have done? And shall I, who have been such an eminent monument of thy mercy, now be a spectacle of thy vengeance.

Job using words like "granted" showed that he knew his very existence was of God. He looked back with appreciation to the wonderful life he had before, and realized it was by the grace of God.

Verses 13-16: Job wondered if God had planned in His divine purpose not to be merciful to him.

Job 10:13 "And these [things] hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this [is] with thee."

Job implies that his sense of God's goodness is embittered by the thought that while showing him such kindness, He had in reserve for him the trials and sorrows under which he was then laboring. while showering good upon him, He intended eventually to overwhelm him with affliction. This was the purpose He had hidden in His heart.

This is speaking of the foreknowledge of God, who knows everything even before it happens. Job was not complaining to God about his troubles, but was saying that God knew about them.

Job 10:14 "If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity."

If I commit the least sin.

"Then thou markest me": Thou does not connive at, or pass by my sins, but does severely and diligently observe them all, that thou mayest punish me.

"And thou wilt not acquit from my iniquity": Pardon, pity, and help me, but are resolved to punish me with rigor: words of great impatience and distrust. But he was so oppressed and overwhelmed with his troubles that it seems he could not look up with any comfort or confidence. Without were fighting's, within were fears, so that between both he was full of confusion.

Job had been fully aware that the wages of sin was death. He was careful to sacrifice for his children in the chance that they might have sinned. He was fully aware of the penalty for sin. He tried to live a righteous life.

Job 10:15 "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;"

Meaning an ungodly hypocrite, as my friends esteem me, then I am truly and extremely, and must be eternally, miserable.

"Righteous": I.e. an upright and good man: so, whether good or bad, all comes to one; I have no relief.

"Yet will I not lift up my head": Or, yet can I not, the future tense being used potentially. Yet I have no comfort, nor confidence, or hopes of any good. Lifting up the head or face is oft mentioned as a sign of comfort and confidence (as Psalm 3:3 Luke 21:28). As, on the contrary, grief and shame are described by its dejection or casting down.

"Confusion": Or reproach, from my friends, and from others (Job 30:1). And from God too, who casts me off, and makes me contemptible. I have abundance of shame in the disappointment of all my hopes, and the continuance and aggravation of my misery, notwithstanding all my prayers to God to remove or mitigate it. And I am confounded within myself, not knowing what to say or do. Let my extremity move thee to pity and help me.

Job was confused because he knew he was not a wicked man. He was willing to accept punishment for sins that he committed. He did not quite understand, if God said he was righteous, why he must pay for sins he did not commit. In this again, he was a type of Christ who paid the price for sin on the cross, for every one of us when He had not sinned.

Job 10:16 "For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou showest thyself marvelous upon me."

"As a fierce lion": God is compared to a lion who savagely pursues his prey.

Job's disease did not get any better, it just seemed to get worse every day. The sufferings of Job were not just ordinary diseases of their day. They were marvelous in that they were unknown.

Job 10:17 "Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war [are] against me."

"Renewest thy witnesses": Job said God seemed to be sending people to accuse him. With each witness came another wave of condemnation and increased suffering.

It seemed to Job that everything was happening to him at once. His animals and servants were lost in a war of sorts. His own friends had witnessed against him. The indignation of God seemed to be upon him, because his plight was worse and worse.

Verses 18-22: Since he had not been "carried" from the "womb" to the grave, Job asked for peace in his remaining days, and a peaceful path to "the grave".

Job 10:18 "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!"

"Brought me forth out of the womb": Job returned to the question of why God allowed him to be born. This time he was not just lamenting the day of his birth, but he was asking God for the reason He allowed it to occur.

Job 10:19 "I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave."

So short an existence would have been the next thing to no existence at all, and would have equally satisfied my wishes.

This was just another way of saying, "Why was I ever born"?

Verses 20-22: "Since I was destined to these ills from my birth, at least give me a little breathing room during the brief days left to me, before I die," he said. Death was gloomily described as "darkness."

Job 10:20 "[Are] not my days few? cease [then, and] let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,"

My life is short, and of itself hastens apace to an end. There is no need that thou should push it forward, or grudge me some ease for so small a moment.

"Let me alone": or, lay aside, or remove, thy hand or anger from me.

Job felt that he was near death and he wished that God would let him die now and stop some of this suffering. He was asking God to shorten his life.

Job 10:21 "Before I go [whence] I shall not return, [even] to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;"

"The land of darkness": A reference to death.

Job was not speaking of heaven here, but of the darkness of the grave. He was even thinking that God might have found wrong in him so great, that he would go to hell when he died.

Job 10:22 "A land of darkness, as darkness [itself; and] of the shadow of death, without any order, and [where] the light [is] as darkness."

Job did not deny that as a sinner he deserved his sufferings; but he thought that justice was executed upon him with peculiar rigor. His gloom, unbelief, and hard thoughts of God, were as much to be ascribed to Satan's inward temptations, and his anguish of soul, under the sense of God's displeasure, as to his outward trials, and remaining depravity. Our Creator, come in Christ our Redeemer also, will not destroy the work of his hands in any humble believer; but will renew him unto holiness, that he may enjoy eternal life. If anguish on earth renders the grave a desirable refuge, what will be their condition who are condemned to the blackness of darkness for ever? Let every sinner seek deliverance from that dreadful state, and every believer be thankful to Jesus, who deliverers from the wrath to come.

It was almost as if Job was saying, if I am going to hell where there is no light and all is total confusion, why delay it? Just let me go on and get this over with.

Job Chapter 10 Questions

  1. How did Job begin this chapter?
  2. What was his worst pain?
  3. Job wanted to know what God had ______________ him for.
  4. What did Job really care about, if it was not the loss of his wealth?
  5. Who did Job believe was oppressing him?
  6. What did Job call himself in verse 3?
  7. What is the answer to those questions?
  8. What can God see, that man cannot see?
  9. God is ___________.
  10. What is the approximate life span of mankind?
  11. In verse 7, Job said, "Thou knowest I am not _________".
  12. Job was aware that he was no more than ______ in the hands of the LORD.
  13. The Creator can do with His __________ as He wishes.
  14. What did Job say that God started with, when he made him?
  15. What does "granted", in verse 12, show?
  16. Verse 13 is speaking of the ________________ of God.
  17. If I sin, then thou __________ me.
  18. The wages of sin is _________.
  19. If I be wicked, ______ unto me.
  20. Job was confused because he knew he was not a _________ man.
  21. How was he a type of Christ, here?
  22. Thou huntest me as a fierce _________.
  23. It seemed that Job felt that everything was happening to him ___ ________.
  24. In verse 21 and 22, what is this place of darkness?

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Job 11

Job Chapter 11

In Verses 1-20 we see Zophah's first speech to Job. He joins his suffering friend in desiring an audience with God, but for the opposite reason, so that "God would speak" clearly to Job about the depth of his "iniquity" and his need to repent.

Zophar the Naamathite now stepped in to interrogate Job. He was quite close to his friends and chose to pound Job with the same law of retaliation. Job must repent, he said, not understanding the reality. He was indignant at Job's protests of innocence (see Job chapter 20 for Zophah's other speech).

Verses 1-3: Zophar is full of reproof and condemnation. He clearly assumes that Job is guilty, calling him a talker, a liar and a mocker. Job's friends took his claims of integrity to the extreme, as if he was saying he was sinless, and then attacked him for it.

Job 11:1 "Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,"

The third of Job's friends, that came to visit him (see Job 2:11), and who perhaps might be the youngest, since his turn was to speak last. And he appears to have less modesty and prudence, and more fire and heat in him; than his other friends. Though he might be the more irritated by observing, that their arguments were baffled by Job, and had no manner of effect on him, to cause him to recede from his first sentiments and conduct.

Verses 2-3: "A man full of talk be justified": The allegations against Job moved to a new level. Not only was Job guilty and unrepentant, he was also an empty talker. In fact, Job's long-winded defense of his innocence and God's apparent injustice was sin worthy of rebuke, in Zophah's mind.

Job 11:2 "Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?"

Truly, sometimes it should not. Silence is the best confutation of impertinence, and puts the greatest contempt upon it. Zophar means, do you think to carry your case by your long, tedious discourses, consisting of empty words, without weight or reason?

"And should a man full of talk be justified?" Shall we, by our silence, seem to approve of your errors? Or, shall we think thy cause the better because you use more words than we do?

Zophar, Job's third friend, had supposedly come to comfort Job in his sorrows. He was not a comfort. He began this scalding reprimand of his friend Job by saying that he spoke a multitude of words. A multitude of words in Scripture is spoken of as folly, or even sin. He was speaking to Job, as if he was a foolish sinner. He was saying that all of the talk that Job had done would not justify him.

Job 11:3 "Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?"

That is, your false opinions and assertions, both concerning yourself and your own innocence, concerning the counsels and ways of God.

"Make men hold their peace?" As if your arguments were unanswerable. And when you mock both God and us, and our friendly and faithful counsels.

"Shall no man make thee ashamed?" By discovering your errors and follies.

Zophar was the worst of the three friends. He was accusing Job of lying and even of mocking God.

Job 11:4 "For thou hast said, My doctrine [is] pure, and I am clean in thine eyes."

"Clean in thine eyes": Job never claimed sinlessness; in fact, he acknowledges that he had sinned (Job 7:21; 13:26). But he still maintained his innocence of any great transgression or attitude of unrepentance, affirming his sincerity and integrity as a man of faith and obedience to God. This claim infuriated Zophar, and he wished God Himself would confirm the accusations of Job's friends (verse 5).

He had condemned Job in his heart already. He was speaking of Job's statement that his doctrine was pure. Job knew that he was clean in the eyes of the LORD. We know that he was too, because that was what God told Satan about Job.

Verses 5-6: Pastor and scholar Andrew W. Blackwood wrote about this passage, "Such a remark might have considerable value if spoken while looking into the mirror. But from a man who is not suffering, to a man who is suffering, this remark is cruel and utterly without any value at all."

Job 11:5 "But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;"

Plead with thee according to thy desire: he would soon put thee to silence. We are commonly ready, with great assurance, to interest God in our quarrels. But they are not always in the right who are most forward to appeal to his judgment, and prejudge it against their antagonists.

Job 11:6 "And that he would show 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]."

"Secrets of wisdom": Job would have been much wiser if he had only known the unknowable secret of God; in this case the scene in heaven between God and Satan would have clarified everything. But Job couldn't know the secret wisdom of God (verses 7-9). Zophar should have applied his point to himself. If God's wisdom was so deep, high, long and broad, how was it that he could understand it and have all the answers? Like his friends, Zophar thought he understood God and reverted to the same law of retaliation, the sowing and reaping principle, to again indict Job. He implied that Job was wicked (verses 10-11), and thought he was wise, thought actually he was out of control as if he were a "wild donkey" (verse 12).

As terrible as the attack of Satan had been on Job, Zophar felt that it was not enough for the sins of Job. Zophar wanted God to speak out loud and condemn Job, where they could all hear it. In God is all Wisdom and Truth. Zophar was saying to Job, that he had no wisdom. He thought if Job had been wise, he would have repented of his sins by now.

Job 11:7 "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?"

Literally, can you attain to the searching out of God? Can you suppose, that is, that whatever your wisdom, learning, subtlety, sagacity, power of insight, you will be able to search out and fully know the character, attributes, modes of thought and actions of the Most High? No. In one sense, all men do well to profess themselves "Agnostics". Not that they can know nothing of God, but that they can never know him fully and never exhaust the knowledge of him. As the apostle says, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God"! "how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?" (Rom. 11:33-34).

"Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" Rather. Can you attain to the perfection of the Almighty? Understand, i.e., his inconceivable perfectness.

He was asking Job if he thought that he really could know God? He was saying that the wisdom and knowledge of Job would not help him to know God. He was telling Job, that in no way could he measure up to the expectations of the Almighty God. Zophar was a tormenter, not a comforter.

Job 11:8 "[It is] as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?"

Literally, the heights of the heavens; what can you do? But the meaning is probably that expressed in the Authorized Version. God's perfectness is unattainable by man's thought, as the heights of the heavens are by his feet. Deeper than hell; literally, than Sheol, or the receptacle of the dead (see comment on Job 10:21). Paul speaks of the "deep things," or rather, "the depths" of God (see 1 Cor. 2:10).

"What canst thou know? How small a part of the Divine nature can any man thoroughly comprehend and know!

Job 11:9 "The measure thereof [is] longer than the earth, and broader than the sea."

Length is generally ascribed to the earth, and width to the sea. The ends of the earth are used for a great distance, and the sea is called the great and wide sea (see Psalm 72:1). But God and his perfections, particularly his wisdom and understanding, are infinite (Psalm 147:5). And will admit of no dimensions; as his love, so his wisdom, has a height which cannot be reached, a depth that cannot be fathomed, and a length and breadth immeasurable (see Eph. 3:18). From hence it appears that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and incomprehensible; and since he is to be found in Christ, and in him only, it is in vain for us to seek for him elsewhere. Next the sovereignty of God is spoken of.

This was speaking of the perfection of the Almighty filling the earth and the seas. The following Scripture says it best.

Verses 10-12: In his rhetorical question in 9:12, Job had compared his own cries to the braying of a wild donkey (6:5). Here, Zophar echoes his question but draws the opposite conclusion and accuses Job of being foolish and "empty-headed" (Psalms 10:14: 39:5).

Job 11:10 "If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?"

Namely, a person or family.

"And shut up": In prison, or in the hands of an enemy, or in the net of affliction and trouble (Psalm 66:11).

"Or gather together": Make our condition straight and narrow, as some interpret it. Or, gather together as tares to the fire, or gather to himself man's breath and spirit (Job 34:14).

"Then who can hinder him? From doing what he pleases with his creatures? Who can either block the sentence, or oppose the execution? Who can control his power or arraign his wisdom and justice? If he, who made all out of nothing, thinks fit to reduce all to nothing; if he that separated between light and darkness, dry land and sea at first, is pleased to gather them together again. If he that made, think proper to unmake, who can turn him; alter his mind, or stay his hand, or impede or impeach his proceedings?

The answer of course, was no one, not even Satan. We must keep remembering that God gave Satan permission to do this to Job. This was in no way a punishment on Job for sins. This was a proving to Satan and to the on-looking angels that Job was truly a righteous man, and that nothing Satan could do to him would change that.

Job 11:11 "For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider [it]?"

Though men know but little of God, and therefore are very unfit judges of his counsels and actions, yet God knows man exactly. He knows that every man in the world is guilty of much vanity and folly, and therefore sees sufficient reason for his severity against the best men.

"He seeth wickedness also": He perceives the wickedness of evil men, though it be covered with the veil of religion.

"Will he not then consider it?" Shall he only see it as an idle spectator, and not observe it as a judge to punish it?

The worst of this was that Zophar was accusing Job of being vain in his own conceit. He was saying that Job had been pretending to be a Godly man, but was not faithful to God in his heart.

Job 11:12 "For vain man would be wise, though man be born [like] a wild ass's colt."

Man, who since the fall is void of all true wisdom, pretends to be wise, and able to pass a censure upon all God's ways and works.

"Born like a wild ass's colt": Ignorant, dull, and stupid, as to divine things, and yet heady and untraceable. Such is man by his birth; this evil is now natural and hereditary, and therefore common to all men. Of consequence it is not strange, if Job partake of the common distemper.

Zophar believed that the troubles which had come to Job was because he was vain and puffed up with pride. Zophar believed they came on Job to cause him to repent.

Verses 13-20: Zophar continues to assume that Job is a sinner but reminds him that God will forgive his sin upon his confession and repentance.

Zophar asserted that God operates on the basis of "You give Me something, and I will give you something." But God does not operate this way. His creation has nothing to give Him that is worth any value (Isa. 64:6).

Verses 13-14: Zophar started out this section speaking directly to Job, "If thou prepare ..." and concluded speaking proverbially, "But the "eyes of the wicked ...". In so doing Zophar avoided directly calling Job wicked, but succeeded with ever greater force by being indirect. In the end, he told Job that his sin would bring about his death.

Job 11:13 "If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;"

Thy business, O Job, is not to quarrel with thy Maker, or his works. But to address thyself to him by prayer and supplication, sincerely repenting of all your hard speeches, and other sins against God, and seeking him with a pure and upright heart; without which your prayers will be in vain.

"Stretch out thine hands": I.e. pray, which is here described by its usual gesture (as Job 15:25; Psalm 88:9).

"Towards him": I.e. to God, as appears both from the nature of the thing, and from the context.

Job 11:14 "If iniquity [be] in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles."

If you have in your hand, or possession, any goods gotten by injustice or oppression, as it seems they supposed he had. Or, he means more generally, if you allow yourself in any sinful practices, the hand being put for action, whereof it is the instrument.

"Put it far away": Keep yourself at a great distance, not only from such actions, but also from the very occasions and appearances of them.

"Let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles": That is, in thy habitation, either in thyself or in thy family. Whose sins Job was obliged, as far as he could, to prevent or reform, as it seems he had done (Job 1:5). He said, tabernacles, because anciently the habitations of great men consisted of several tents or tabernacles.

He was giving Job advice here. He wanted Job to put his wickedness far from him, so that God would hear his plea for forgiveness.

Job 11:15 "For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt not fear:"

With cheerfulness and holy boldness.

"Without spot": Having a clear and unspotted conscience.

"Yea, thou shalt be steadfast": Shall have a strong and comfortable assurance of God's favor, and shalt be settled, without any fear of losing thy happiness.

After Job had driven his iniquity out of his life, then he could look to heaven and to God for help. He reminded Job that if he was steadfast in the LORD, he had nothing to fear.

Job 11:16 "Because thou shalt forget [thy] misery, [and] remember [it] as waters [that] pass away:"

Thy happiness shall be so great that it shall blot out the remembrance of thy past miseries.

"And remember it as waters that pass away": Remember it no more than men remember either a land-flood, which, as it comes, so it goes away suddenly and leaves few or no marks or memorials behind it. Or the waters of a river, which pass by in constant succession.

Zophar believed that if Job would repent, his troubles would go away and he would remember them no more. It would be gone as the water passes away.

Job 11:17 "And [thine] age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning."

Literally, shall arise above the noonday; i.e. "exceed it in splendor." Instead of the "thick darkness" to which Job is looking forward (Job 10:21-22). He shall bask in a light brighter than that of the sun at noon.

"Thou shalt shine forth": The Hebrew cannot possibly bear this meaning. The uncommon word used is allied with "obscurity", and if a verb should mean "thou shalt be obscure," rather than "thou shalt shine forth." But it is perhaps a substantive, meaning "darkness;" and the translation of the Revised Version is perhaps correct: "Though there be darkness."

"Thou shalt be as the morning": "Thy light," as Professor Lee explains, "shall gradually rise and expand itself far and wide." It shall dispel the darkness, and take its place," shining more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18).

Zophar was saying if Job would do as he had suggested, he would not face the darkness of the grave and hell. He would bask in the Light of the LORD which was greater than the noonday sun. He would be renewed in the LORD.

Job 11:18 "And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig [about thee, and] thou shalt take thy rest in safety."

From coming into like darkness, difficulties, and distress again, and from every evil and enemy. Nothing shall come nigh to disturb and hurt, nothing to be feared from any quarter, all around: or "shalt be confident". Have a strong faith and full assurance of it, in the love of God, in the living Redeemer, and in the promises which respect the life that now is, and that which is to come.

"Because there is hope": Of the mercy of God, of salvation by Christ, and of eternal glory and happiness, as well as of a continuance of outward prosperity. Faith and hope mutually assist each other. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and hope of better and future things on a good foundation encourages faith and confidence.

"Yea, thou shalt dig about thee": To let in stakes for the pitching and fixing of tents to dwell in, and for more commodious pasturage. Or for wells of water, for the supply both of the family and the flocks. Or rather, for ditches and trenches to secure from thieves and robbers, or for drains to carry off floods of water.

"And thou shalt take thy rest in safety": Lie down on the bed and sleep in the night season in peace and quietness, having nothing to fear. Being well entrenched, and secure from plundering and flooding. And, more especially, being hedged about and protected by the power and providence of God (see Psalm 3:5). The Targum is, "thou shall prepare a grave, and lie down, and sleep secure."

Zophar was saying something that really would happen to Job after he was restored. It was not something that Zophar really wanted for Job however. He said this to remind Job of the wonders of how it used to be. Job's hope was not in what Zophar had said, or not said, but in the LORD.

Job 11:19 "Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make [thee] afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee."

Either lie down on his bed, as before, or by his flocks, and where they lie down, and none should disturb him or them. Not thieves and robbers, such as the Chaldeans and Sabeans had been to him, nor lions, bears, or wolves.

"Yea, many shall make suit unto thee": Make their supplications, present their requests and petitions for relief under necessitous circumstances, or for protection from the injuries and insults of others. As the poor and needy, the widow and fatherless, had done to him in times past, when in his prosperity, and when he was a friend unto them, and the father of them (see Prov. 19:6). Or, "the great ones shall make suit to thee"; to have his favor and friendship, his counsel and advice, his company and conversation. He should be applied unto and courted by men of all sorts, which would be no small honor to him (see Psalm 45:12).

When Job was restored, there would be no warring parties from his neighbors. Instead of stealing from Job, they would be bringing things to him. Again, this was not what Zophar wished for Job, but it was what would happen.

Job 11:20 "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."

Or be consumed. Either with grief and fears for their sore calamities; or with long looking for what they shall never attain, as this phrase is taken (Psalm 69:3; Jer. 14:6; Lam. 4:17). And this shall be thy condition; O Job, if thou persist in thine impiety.

"They shall not escape": They shall never obtain deliverance out of their distresses, but shall perish in them.

"As the giving up of the ghost": I.e. shall be as vain and desperate as the hope of life is in a man, when he is at the very point of death. Or, as a puff of breath, which is gone in a moment without all hopes of recovery.

Zophar was speaking this, as if it was the fate of Job. In reality, he was speaking of himself and what would come to him, because he had spoken evil of Job. He was saying that Job had no other hope, but death. He would be needing the prayers of Job to save himself from the fate he just spoke of Job.

Job Chapter 11 Questions

  1. Zophar had supposedly come to ________ Job.
  2. A multitude of words in Scripture is spoken of as _________.
  3. _________ was the worst of three friends.
  4. Job said that his doctrine was ________.
  5. Job was pure in _______ eyes.
  6. As terrible as the attack of Satan on Job had been, Zophar wanted it to be _________.
  7. Zophar thought that Job would have ___________, if he had any wisdom.
  8. In verse 7, Zophar says that Job would never measure up to what?
  9. Zophar was a _____________, not a comforter.
  10. What did the perfection of the Almighty fill?
  11. Who can hinder God?
  12. We must keep remembering that _______ gave Satan permission to attack Job.
  13. What was Zophar accusing Job of in verse 11?
  14. In verse 12, what was Zophar saying he believes?
  15. Why did he say that Job should put his wickedness far from him?
  16. When did Zophar say that Job could look to heaven for help?
  17. Zophar says that Job would not face the darkness of hell and the grave, if he would do what?
  18. What, that we read in verse 18, really would happen to Job?
  19. Did Zophar want this for Job?
  20. What was verse 19 speaking of?
  21. What would happen to the wicked?
  22. Who did Zophar think this wicked was?
  23. Who was really the wicked one?
  24. Who would have to pray for Zophar to save him?

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Job 12

Job Chapter 12

In verses 12:1 - 14:22, Job responded in his defense with strong words, completing the first cycle of speeches.

Verses 12:1 - 13:19: In his reply, Job mocked his friend's claims, sarcastically stating that all "wisdom shall die" with them. Zophar and the others did not hold a corner on wisdom; Job was also a wise man who trusted fully in the ways of the Lord. Job declared that he would continue to look to God for forgiveness, protection, and provision. ("Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him").

Job 12:1 "And Job answered and said,"

In reply to Zophar, and in defense of himself; what is recorded in this and the two following chapters.

Verses 2-4: Job responded with cutting sarcasm directed at his know-it-all friends (verse 2), and then reminded them that he understood the principles of which they had spoken (verse 3), but they were irrelevant to his situation. On top of that, he despaired at the pain of becoming a derision to his friends, though he was innocent (verse 4).

Job 12:2 "No doubt but ye [are] the people, and wisdom shall die with you."

Job takes the opportunity, now that all three friends have spoken, to give his opinion of their counsel: "No doubt ... wisdom shall die with you". This statement is dripping with sarcasm, but is an appropriate answer to these three who thought that they had all the answers to his dilemma.

This was the first sarcastic remark that Job had made. He had been treated so poorly by his friends, and especially by Zophar, that I am not surprised. He said that these three friends thought they were wise. He said he supposed that all of the wise people of the earth would die, when they died. This was really how ridiculous they had been to him.

Job 12:3 " But I have understanding as well as you; I [am] not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?"

Hebrew, a heart. Which is oft put for the understanding (as Job 34:34; Jer. 5:21; Acts 8:22). I.e. God hath given me also the knowledge and ability to judge of these matters.

"I am not inferior to you": In these things which he speaketh, not in a way of vain-glorious boasting, but for the just and necessary vindication both of himself; and of that cause of God. Which for the matter and substance of it he maintained rightly, as God himself attests (Job 42:7).

"Who knoweth not such things as these?" The truth is, neither you nor I have any reason to be puffed up with our knowledge of these things; for the most foolish and barbarous nations know that God is infinite in wisdom, and power, and justice. But this is not the question between you and me.

Job suddenly spoke of himself as having as much wisdom as any of his friends. He was not morally or intellectually inferior to any of them. They had no right to presume that he was of less stature with God than they were.

Job 12:4 "I am [as] one mocked of his neighbor, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright [man is] laughed to scorn."

"The just upright man": If this sounds like presumption, one only needs to recall that this was God's pronouncement on Job (1:8, 2:3).

They had accused him of mocking God, and he had not. They were the ones who had mocked Job. They mocked Job, and he had always been true to God. He had lived as near the perfect life in God's sight as he knew how. He had always been upright in his dealings with God and man.

Job 12:5 "He that is ready to slip with [his] feet [is as] a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease."

"A lamp despised in the thought": When all was at ease with Job's friends, they didn't need him, and even mocked him.

Job had fallen into misfortune by none of his own doing. They believed because he had fallen, that God was punishing Job. They despised Job for no reason at all.

Job 12:6 "The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth [abundantly]."

"God bringeth": Job refuted the simplistic idea that the righteous always prosper and the wicked always suffer, by reminding them that God allows thieves and sinners to be prosperous and secure. So, why not believe He may also allow the righteous to suffer?

It sometimes appears to Godly people that those who are living as robbers, and thieves are prospering. Job attributed their prosperity to the hand of God. It appeared to Job that the houses of the robbers were prospering.

Verses 7-25: Job believes in God's omnipotence too, though here he emphasizes its destructive capacity.

In verses 7-10 all these elements (animals, birds, earth and fish) of creation are called as illustrations that the violent prosper and live securely (verse 6). God made it so that the more vicious survive.

Job 12:7 "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:"

Job here begins his review of all creation, to show that God has the absolute direction of it. The order of beasts, birds, and fishes, is that of dignity (compare Gen. 9:2; Psalm 8:7-8). Job maintains that, if appeal were made to the animal creation, and they were asked their position with respect to God, they would with one voice proclaim him their absolute Ruler and Director.

"And the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee": The instincts of birds, their periodical migrations, their inherited habits, are as wonderful as anything in the Divine economy of the universe, and as much imply God's continually directing hand.

Job is using the beasts and the fowls to prove that the hand of God is in control of everything. If the beasts and birds could speak they would proclaim God Ruler of them all.

Job 12:8 "Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee."

If the material earth be intended, the appeal must be to its orderly course. Its summers and winters, its seedtime and harvest, its former and latter rains, its constant productivity, which, no less than animal instincts, speak of a single ruling power directing and ordering all things. If the creeping things of the earth, the reptile creation being meant, then the argument is merely an expansion of that in the preceding verse. The instincts of reptiles are to be ascribed, no less than those of beasts and birds, to the constant superintending action and providence of the Almighty.

"And the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee": The testimony will be unanimous, beasts, birds, reptiles, and fishes will unite in it.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He created fish also as He is Creator God. It should not be strange to anyone, that the Creator of all the earth would be ruler over His creation.

Job 12:9 "Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?"

Or "by" or "from all these" creatures. What man is there so stupid and senseless, that does not discern, or cannot learn, even from irrational creatures, the above things, even what Zophar had discoursed concerning God and his perfections, his power, wisdom and providence? For, by the things that are made, the invisible things of God are clearly seen and understood, even his eternal power and Godhead (Rom. 1:20). Particularly it may be known by these, and who is it that does not know thereby;

"That the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?" Made this visible world, and all things in it, to which Job then pointed as it were with his finger. Meaning the heavens, earth, and sea, and all that in them are, which were all created by him. Hence, he is called the Former and Maker of all things. And which are all the works of His Hand. That is, of His power, which is meant by His Hand; that being the instrument of action. This is the only place where the word "Jehovah" is used in this book by the disputants.

Somewhere behind all of the happenings upon the earth, is the Hand of God. Job knew that God had allowed his persecution. He did not know why, but he knew God had to give permission for these terrible things to happen to him. He was fully aware of who God is, and what His power is.

Job 12:10 "In whose hand [is] the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind."

A brief summary of what had been said (in verses 7-8), to which is now appended the further statement that in God's Hand; wholly dependent on him, is the entire race of mankind also.

"And the breath of all mankind": Literally, and the spirit of all flesh of man.

The entire of humanity, and in fact all living things on the earth and even the earth itself, is in the Hand of the LORD. Even the very breath we breathe is a gift from God. God breathed the breath of life in us giving us the power to live.

Job 12:11 "Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?"

Rather, as the mouth (literally palate), tastes his meat. Does not the understanding ear discern and appropriate sound knowledge, as the palate discerns and relishes wholesome food? The ear (as well as the eye, Job 12:7-10), is a channel of sound information.

This is speaking of the senses of man being in tune with God as well.

Job 12:12 "With the ancient [is] wisdom; and in length of days understanding."

"With the ancient is wisdom": The questioning force of the preceding verse may carry over to make this a question also. "Shouldn't ancient men be wise?" If this is true, then (verse 12), is stinging sarcasm against Job's aged friends who gave unwise advice (compare 15:10), and heard and spoke only what suited them (verse 11).

This was a profound statement from Job. The older people have learned much that they know from the school of experience. The older people are wiser, because of the things they have faced in their lives and found a way to overcome. Understanding comes from accumulating learning.

Verses 12:13 - 13:3: This section gives vivid definition to the wisdom, power and sovereignty of God (verse 13). Job, despite his questions about his suffering, affirms that God's power is visible in nature, human society, religious matters, and national and international affairs. Job, however, expressed this in terms of fatalistic despair. Job knew all this and it didn't help (13:1-2); so he didn't want to argue with them anymore, he wanted to take his case before God (verse 3).

Job 12:13 "With him [is] wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding."

While his distress clouded this truth at times, Job knew deep down that God was the only reality in his life.

This is speaking of God. He is the source of all wisdom and strength. God's wisdom and understanding never changes. It is God who makes it possible for us to understand. It is His strength that makes it possible for us to do all things.

Job 12:14 "Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening."

To wit, houses, castles, and cities, which God designed to destroy utterly.

"He shutteth up": If he will shut up a man in prison, or in any straits or troubles.

"There can be no opening": Without God's permission and providence.

God builds up and God tears down. This was never more evident than in the nation of Israel. God made Israel great. He made Solomon the richest man who had ever lived. He became unfaithful to God and God took the kingdom away from his family. Israel fell and was taken into captivity because of their unfaithfulness.

Job 12:15 "Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth."

God, at his pleasure, causes great droughts, which are among the worst calamities that can happen. He withholds the blessed rain from heaven (Deut. 11:17; 1 Kings 8:35; 17:1), and the springs shrink, and the rivers dry up, and a fruitful land is turned into a desert. And famine stalks through the land, and men perish by thousands.

"Also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth": I.e. he causes the flooding. Once upon a time he overwhelmed the whole earth, and destroyed almost the entire race of mankind, by a deluge of an extraordinary character, which so fixed itself in the human consciousness, that traces of it are to be found in the traditions of almost all the various races of men. But, beside this great occasion, he also in ten thousand other cases, causes by means of floods; tremendous ruin and devastation, sweeping away crops and cattle, and even villages and cities. Sometimes even "overturning the earth," causing lakes to burst, rivers to change their course, vast tracts of land to be permanently submerged, and the contour of coasts to be altered.

All of nature is at God's command. He brings great droughts and brings floods as he did in the time of Noah. God used the flood in Noah's time to destroy the people of the earth, because of their great evil.

Job 12:16 "With him [is] strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver [are] his."

Rather (as in the Revised Version), with him is strength and effectual working. God has not only the wisdom to design the course of events (verse 13), but the power and ability to carry out all that he designs.

"The deceived and the deceiver are his": Not only does God rule the course of external nature, but also the doings of men. "Shall there be evil in a city, and shall not he have done it?" (Amos 3:6). He allows some to deceive, and others to be deceived. Moral evil is thus under his control, and, in a certain sense, may be called his doing. But it behooves men, when they approach such great mysteries, to be very cautious and wary in their speech. Job touches with somewhat too bold a hand the deepest problems of the universe.

God not only plans the events of the earth, but He has the power within Himself to see that it is done. God rules people, as well as nature. He is the Creator of them all. The person who is deceived was made by God. The deceiver was created by God as well. All mankind is God's creation. Only those who believe are His sons.

Verses 17-25: A series of action verbs point to God's sovereignty. While no explanation is given for Job's suffering, these terms underscore that no event or circumstance can affect God's sovereign might and purpose.

Job 12:17 "He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools."

The wise counsellors, or statesmen, by whom the affairs of kings and kingdoms are ordered, he leads away as captives in triumph. Being spoiled either of that wisdom which they had, or seemed to have; or of that power and dignity which they had enjoyed.

"And maketh the judges fools": By discovering their folly, and by infatuating their minds, and turning their own counsels to their ruin.

The wise counsellors are earthly men, and they are still in the control of God. He can build them up or tear them down as He desires. The judges of the earth must remember that they will someday stand before the Judge of all the world. He judges in righteousness.

Job 12:18 "He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle."

He takes from them the power and authority wherewith they ruled their subjects. Ruled them with rigor, perhaps tyrannized and enslaved them. And he divests them of that majesty which he had stamped upon them, and by which they kept their people in awe. These God can, and often does, take away from them, and thereby free the people from their bonds, of which we have abundance of instances in the history of different nations.

"And girdeth their loins with a girdle": He reduces them to a mean and servile condition. Which is thus expressed, because servants used to gird up their garments, (which, after the manner of those parts of the world, were loose and long), that they might be fitter for attendance upon their masters. He not only deposes them from their thrones, but brings them into slavery.

Job 12:19 "He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty."

Rather, priests. In antiquity priests occupied influential places. Compare what is said of Melchizedek (Gen. 14; of Jethro, priest of Midian in Exodus 2:16). And of the influence of the priests in several crises of the history of Israel. On "spoiled" (see Job 12:17).

"The mighty": Literally the established or perennial. Being in apposition with priests, usually a hereditary class. The word describes those who occupied high permanent place among men.

Kings are king, because God ordained it. When a king becomes evil, God may send another king to put him into captivity. It is God who looses him to greatness, or binds him as a common criminal. We saw this very thing in our study of Israel's captivity in Babylon. God led the king of Babylon to take the king of Israel. Later on, God had another king to overthrow the king of Babylon.

Job 12:20 "He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged."

God deprives trusted statesmen of their eloquence and destroys their reputation and their authority.

"And taketh away the understanding of the aged": He turns wise and aged men into fools and drivellers, weakening their judgments and reducing them to imbecility.

Sometimes, God will take a powerful statesman and make him unable to speak. The aged are sometimes, turned into people with no understanding. The Alzheimer's disease does this to many of the elderly.

Job 12:21 "He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty."

I.e. he makes them contemptible to their subjects and others.

"Weakeneth": Hebrew, he looseth the girdle; which phrase signifies weakness (as Isa. 5:27); as the girding of the girdle notes strength and power (as Isa. 22:21; 45:5). Both these phrases being taken from the quality of their garments, which being loose and long, did disenable a man for travel or work.

The king of Babylon was thought of as one of the mightiest men of the world, until the handwriting appeared on the wall condemning him and the city of Babylon. This of course, was the hand of God.

Job 12:22 "He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death."

I.e. the most secret and crafty counsels of princes, which are contrived and carried on in the dark.

"And bringeth out to light the shadow of death": There is nothing secret which God cannot, if he choose, reveal. Nor is there anything hid which he cannot make known. Dark, murderous schemes, on which lies a shadow as of death, which men plan in secret, and keep hidden in their inmost thoughts, he can, and often does, cause to be brought to light and made manifest in the sight of all. Every such scheme, however carefully guarded and concealed, shall be one day made known (Matt. 10:26). Many are laid bare even in the lifetime of their devisers.

There are no things planned by men that God does not know. They may have planned it in some secret place, but God knows all of their plans. Even plots to kill someone are known of God. Death was defeated for all believers, when Jesus rose from the grave. In that sense, death was defeated by the Light (Jesus Christ).

Job 12:23 "He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them [again]."

In this discourse of God's wonderful works, Job shows that whatever is done in this world both in the order and change of things, is by God's will and appointment. In which he declares that he thinks well of God, and is able to set forth his power in words as they that reasoned against him were. What before he said of princes, he now applies to nations and people, whom God does either increase or diminish as he pleaseth.

"He enlargeth the nations": He multiplies them, so that they are forced to send forth colonies into other lands.

"Straiteneth them again": Or, leads them in, or brings them back, into their own land, and confines them there.

Israel became almost three million people while they were slaves in Egypt. Just over seventy people went into Egypt and almost three million came out. This same three million were reduced to just a remnant by God for their unfaithfulness.

Job 12:24 "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."

The word heart here evidently means mind, intelligence, and wisdom (see the notes at Job 12:3).

"Of the chief of the people": Hebrew "Heads of the people;" that is, of the rulers of the earth. The meaning is, that he leaves them to infatuated and distracted counsels. By withdrawing from them, he has power to frustrate their plans, and to leave them to an entire lack of wisdom (see the notes at Job 12:17).

"And causeth them to wander in a wilderness": They are like persons in a vast waste of pathless sands without a waymark, a guide, or a path. The perplexity and confusion of the great ones of the earth could not be more strikingly represented than by the condition of such a lost traveler.

When the leader of the people is filled with confusion and wanders in the wilderness, they wander around as sheep without a shepherd.

Job 12:25 "They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like [a] drunken [man]."

Like blind men, as the men of Sodom, when they were struck with blindness. Or "they grope", or "feel the dark, and not light", as the Targum. As the Egyptians did when such gross darkness was upon them as might be felt.

"And he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man": That has lost his sight, his senses, and his feet, and knows not where he is, which way to go, or how to keep on his legs. But reels to and fro, and is at the utmost loss what to do. All this is said of the heads or chief of the people, in consequence of their hearts being taken away, and so left destitute of wisdom and strength.

Those who walk in darkness have no direction in their lives.

John 11:10 "But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him."

Job Chapter 12 Questions

  1. What was the first sarcastic remark that Job had made?
  2. Who did he make the statement to?
  3. In verse 3, how did he compare himself to them?
  4. Job said, he was as one ___________ of his neighbor.
  5. They had accused him of __________ God.
  6. Job had fallen into _____________ by none of his own doing.
  7. It, sometimes, appears to Godly people, that those who are living as robbers, and thieves are ___________.
  8. What was Job using the beasts and the fowl, in verse 7, to prove?
  9. In the _________ God created the heavens and the earth.
  10. It should not be strange to anyone that the _________ of all the earth would rule over His ___________.
  11. Somewhere, behind all the happenings upon the earth, is the hand of ____ _______.
  12. Even the very breath we breathe is a ________ from God.
  13. Verse 11 is speaking of what?
  14. How have the older people become wise?
  15. What does understanding come from?
  16. Who is the source of wisdom and strength?
  17. ____ builds up, and ______ tears down.
  18. What is a good example of that?
  19. What is a good example of God bringing a flood?
  20. All mankind is God's ____________.
  21. Only those who ________ are His sons.
  22. What must earthly judges keep in mind?
  23. What is a modern disease that takes away the understanding of the elderly?
  24. When did the king of Babylon fall?
  25. When was death defeated for all believers?
  26. What was a good example of God increasing the nations?
  27. When the leader of the people is filled with confusion, the people wander as ________ without a ____________.

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Job 13

Job Chapter 13

Job 13:1 "Lo, mine eye hath seen all [this], mine ear hath heard and understood it."

All this which either you or I have discoursed concerning the infinite power and wisdom of God, I know, both by seeing it, by my own observation and experience.

We see that Job's patience with his three friends was wearing a little thin. Everything they had said to him, he already knew from the experiences of his life. Many of the things they had accused him of, he had taught against himself. He understood everything they were saying, but they would not believe that he had not sinned in the ways they discussed.

Job 13:2 "What ye know, [the same] do I know also: I [am] not inferior unto you."

"I am not inferior unto you" shows the deep resentment that Job had toward his friends' unsympathetic diagnosis.

This is a repetition of a statement made in the last lesson. His friends had thought they would instruct him on repenting and reaching the LORD in prayer. He was as well acquainted with the LORD as they were.

Verses 3-4: After a litany of wounding words from his friends, who he declared a bunch of useless quacks ("physicians of no value"), Job all the more desired an audience with God. He used similar pronouncements regarding Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar elsewhere (16:2-3; 17:10).

Job 13:3 "Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God."

I would rather debate the matter with God than with you. I am not afraid of presenting my person and cause before him, who is a witness of my integrity, and would not deal as unmercifully with me as you do.

Job had no intention of trying to prove his innocence to anyone, but God. It is not a sin to reason with God. In fact, He invites his people to come and reason with Him. God is not so unreachable, that he will not hear our plea to Him.

Verses 4-19: Job addressed his ineffective counselors.

In verses 4-5, Job couldn't hold back from a blistering denunciation of his useless counselors, telling them that their silence would be true wisdom (verse 13).

Job 13:4 "But ye [are] forgers of lies, ye [are] all physicians of no value."

I.e. authors of false doctrine, to wit, that great afflictions are peculiar to hypocrites and wicked men.

"Physicians of no value": Unfaithful and unskillful; prescribing bad remedies, and misapplying good ones.

His friends had pretended to come, so they might comfort him and help him. Instead, they have made him feel worse than he did before they came.

Job 13:5 "O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom."

Since what they said of him was not true, nor anything to the purpose, or that tended to the comfort of his afflicted soul, but the reverse. And therefore he could have wished they had never broke silence, but continued as they were the first seven days of their visit. And now, since they had spoken, and had done no good by speaking, but hurt, he desires for the future they would be silent, and say no more.

"And it should be your wisdom": It would be the greatest evidence of it they could give. They had shown none by speaking; it would be a proof of some in them, should they hold their peace; a very biting expression this is (see Prov. 17:28).

They would have been much wiser to have just sat with him without saying anything, than to have criticized him and made matters worse.

Job 13:6 Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.

Job entreats his friends that they would be no longer speakers, but hearers; that they would graciously agree to sit still, and hear what he had to say. Though he was greatly afflicted, he had not lost his reason, and wisdom was not driven out from him (Job 6:13). He had still within him his reasoning powers, which he was capable of making use of, and even before God, and desires that they would attend to what he had to say on his own behalf.

"And hearken to the pleadings of my lips": He was capable of pleading his own cause, and he was desirous of doing it before God as his Judge. And begs his friends to be silent, and hear him out, and then let judgment be given, not by them, but by God Himself.

The friends of Job might listen to these pleadings, but they were really addressed to God. He was asking God to hear his reasoning.

Job 13:7 "Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?"

"Wickedly for God ... deceitfully for him": He accused them of using lies and fallacies to vindicate God, when they asserted that Job was a sinner because he was suffering.

The so called friends of Job asked the question above. They were thoroughly convinced that Job had sinned, and that the calamity that came upon him was a judgement from God. They did not want him to sin further by reasoning with God.

Job 13:8 "Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?"

"Will ye accept his person": "Are you wise enough to argue in God's defense" he asked? To think that is very brash and really mocks God by misrepresenting Him (verse 9), and should lead to fear of chastening (verses 10-11).

God did not need Job's friends to take His side. He was perfectly capable of deciding this for Himself. They were automatically assuming that God would not listen to Job.

Job 13:9 "Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye [so] mock him?"

Will it be to your credit and comfort?

"Search you out": I.e. narrowly examine your hearts and discourses, whether you have uttered truth or falsehood. And whether your speeches proceed from true zeal for God, or from your own prejudices and passions, and from a desire to curry favor with him.

"Do ye so mock him": To wit, by covering your non-charitableness and corrupt affections with pretenses of piety, as if God could not discern your cunning or clever devices. Or by pleading his cause with weak and foolish arguments, which is a kind of mockery to him, and an injury to his cause. Or by seeking to flatter him with false praises, as if he did distribute the things of this world with exact justice, prospering only the good, and severely afflicting none but wicked men?

Job now turned to the friends and asked them of their own motives. He would like to know if they were examined as closely as he had been, would they be able to stand. They were mocking Job, and perhaps would have had an even worse time had they been found wanting in any area. They should consider their own faults, before they began to find fault in others.

Job 13:10 "He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons."

Even though it is his own person which you accept, his own cause that you unduly favor, He, as the God of truth, and Maintainer of right, will assuredly reprove and condemn you.

This was a statement against the friends that they had become his friends, because of his high standing. He had been a wealthy man, when they became his friends. He was questioning their motives in becoming his friends. Had they been his friends because of their great admiration for his belief in God, or were they his friends because of his wealth?

Job 13:11 "Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?"

Will not the very Excellency and perfection of God cause you all the more to fear, since they will be arrayed against you? God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, who is no respecter of persons, and hates those who are respecters of persons. Will by his very purity and truth be offended at your conduct, and induced to punish it.

His Excellency is speaking of God. God is Truth and Purity to the utmost. He is no respecter of persons. He has no respect for those who are respecters of persons. These three friends of Job should be afraid of God judging them for their respect of persons.

Job 13:12 "Your remembrances [are] like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay."

"Ashes ... clay": Ineffective and worthless.

Ashes are easily blown away. They had forgotten the good that Job had done. They were too earthy for Job. He spoke of them as a clump of clay without spirit.

Job 13:13 "Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what [will]."

That I may freely utter my whole mind.

"Let come on me what will": For the event of my discourse with God, wherewith you threaten me, I am willing to submit myself to Him, to do with me as He pleaseth. For I know He will not judge so severely and partially of me, or my words, as you do, but will accept what is good, and pass by any circumstantial defects in my person or speech. Knowing that I speak from an upright heart.

Job was asking his friends to leave him alone, so that he could speak with God. Job explained to them that he would take his chances with God. Job trusted God completely.

Job 13:14 "Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?"

A proverb meaning "why should I anxiously desire to save my life?" Like an animal who holds its prey in its mouth to preserve it or a man who holds in his hand what he wants to secure, Job could try to preserve his life, but that was not his motive.

Job was saying that the words that come from his mouth might devour him. He realized also, that he is taking his very life in his hands when he speaks to God, but he was willing to take that chance. Frankly it could not be worse for Job than it already was.

Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him."

"Though he slay me, yet will in trust in him" expresses the unquenchable faith of one who lives by faith, not by sight. Even when it appears that God Himself has turned against Job, he will still trust in God.

Job assured his accusers that his convictions were not self-serving, because he was ready to die trusting God. But still he would defend his innocence before God, and was confident that he was truly saved and not a hypocrite (verse 16).

Because he had not been present to hear the interaction between God and Satan, Job could not know the significance of these words, which delivered a direct answer to Satan's taunts (in 1:9-12 and 2:4-6). Job's declaration proved his unconditional "trust" in God. Ultimately for Job, God was enough.

Job was placing his trust in God. He would not change the ways that he had been, because he had no guilt of sin in his life. He would present himself to God the same as he had been all along. His trust in God was greater than any fear that he might have. He knew that God was just and fair. He had nothing to fear.

Job 13:16 "He also [shall be] my salvation: for a hypocrite shall not come before him."

I rest assured that he will save me out of these miseries, sooner or later, one way or other. If not with a temporal, yet with an eternal salvation after death; of which he speaks (Job 19:25). "For a hypocrite": Or, rather, "but a hypocrite shall not come before him". If I were a hypocrite, as you allege, I dare not present myself before him to plead my cause with him, as now I desire to do. Or could I hope for any salvation from or with him in heaven.

Job was absolutely assured that God would save him in due time. He might die in his misery, but God would save his soul. Job was saying, "I will not be a hypocrite and try to be something that I am not". God would not have any time for a hypocrite.

Verses 17-19: "Declaration ... cause ... justified ... ordered". The language of a courtroom came out strongly. Job could not just be silent and die (verse 19). He finished strongly before turning to God in prayer (13:20 - 14:22).

Job 13:17 "Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears."

This he desired before (Job 13:6), and now repeats. Either because they manifested some dislike of his speech, and some desire to interrupt him; or, because he now comes more closely to the question. The foregoing verses being mostly in the way of preface to it.

"And my declaration": That is, the words whereby I declare my mind.

David cried out to God to hear him so many times. Every believer sometime or other, has cried out to God to hear his prayer. This was basically the same thing. Job wanted God to listen carefully to his request.

Job 13:18 "Behold now, I have ordered [my] cause; I know that I shall be justified."

To wit, within myself. I have seriously and sincerely considered the state of my case, and what can be said either for me or against me. I am ready to plead my cause.

"Justified": I.e. acquitted by God from that hypocrisy and wickedness wherewith you charge me, and declared a righteous and innocent person, human infirmities excepted.

We do not justify ourselves. It is God who justifies. Justification means just as if we had never sinned. Job had carefully planned what he would say to God, and would take full responsibility for what he said.

Job 13:19 "Who [is] he [that] will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost."

A marvelous confession, equivalent to, "If I give up my faith in Him who is my salvation, and my personal innocence, which goes hand-in-hand therewith, I shall perish. To give up my innocence is to give up Him in whom I hold my innocence, and in whom I live."

Job was not absolutely sure whether God Himself would hear him, or whether He would send an angel to hear Job out. Job felt that if he had to wait any longer, he would die.

Verses 13:20 - 14:22: Job transitions here from reply to lament, pleading with God for an audience. Job turned to reason with God (verse 3), and pleaded his case.

(In verses 20-22), Job asked God to end his pain and stop frightening him with such terrors (verse 24), then speak to him. He was concerned with his misery, but even more with his relation to the God he loved and worshiped.

Job 13:20 "Only do not two [things] unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee."

This is an address not to Zophar as in the place of God, as to me, but to God himself. By this it appears, that though in modesty he does not mention him, yet he it is having the main, if not the sole regard unto (in Job 13:19). For his desire was to speak to the Almighty, and reason with God, and have nothing more to do with his friends (Job 13:3). But before any pleadings begin on either side, he is desirous of settling and fixing the terms and conditions of the dispute. He requests that two things might be granted him, which are mentioned in (Job 13:21).

"Then will I not hide myself from thee": Through fear or shame, but boldly appear before God, and come up even to his seat, and plead with him face to face.

Job 13:21 "Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid."

I.e. "thy afflicting hand." Job views all his physical suffering as having come directly from the hand of God. Momentarily caused by Him, and therefore removable by Him at any moment. He has no thought for secondary causes.

"And let not thy dread make me afraid": Job speaks here and elsewhere of spiritual terrors. Those vague and impalpable fears which suggest themselves inwardly to the soul, and are far more painful and dreadful, than any amount of bodily anguish. Unless he is free from these, as well as from physical pains, he cannot plead his cause freely and fully.

We see that Job was asking for a temporary stop of the pain in his body, while he talked with God. He also wanted his great fear of God to be momentarily removed, so that he could speak without trembling. He wanted to be able to boldly come to God with his statement. He was asking permission, and not demanding it.

Job 13:22 "Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me."

Either call him by name in open court, and he would answer to it. Or arraign him at the bar, and exhibit charges against him, and he would make answer to them and clear himself. His sense is, that if God would take upon him to be plaintiff, and accuse and charge him with what he had to object to him, then he would be the defendant, and plead his own cause, and show that they did not of right belong unto him.

"Or let me speak, and answer thou me"; Or he would be plaintiff, and put queries concerning the afflictions he was exercised with, or the severity of them, and the reason of such usage, and God be the defendant, and give him an answer to them, that he might be no longer at a loss as he was for such behavior towards him. This is very boldly said indeed, and seems to savor of irreverence towards God. And may be one of those speeches for which he was blamed by Elihu, and by the Lord himself. though no doubt he designed not to cast any contempt upon God, nor to behave ill towards him. But in the agonies of his spirit, and under the weight of his affliction, and to show the great sense he had of his innocence, and his assurance of it, he speaks in this manner. Not doubting but, let him have what part he would in the debate, whether that of plaintiff or defendant, he should carry the cause, and it would go in his favor. And though he proposes it to God to be at his option to choose which he would take. Job stays not for an answer, but takes upon him to be plaintiff, as in the following words.

Whenever the Lord was ready, he could call for Job and Job would be ready. If God did not prefer to call Job, Job would speak and God could answer.

Job 13:23 "How many [are] mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin."

"How many are mine iniquities and sins?" Job wanted to know how many so that he could determine if his measure of suffering matched the severity of his sin, and he could then repent for sins he was unaware of.

This was not a statement that he had no sin. This was a true statement, that if he had sinned he was unaware of what the specific sins were. Job truly did want to repent of any sin he had committed, and make it right with God. He just did not know what to change.

Job 13:24 "Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?"

I.e. withdraw your favor and help which you used to give me; as this phrase is commonly used (as Deut. 31:17; Psalm 13:1; 102:2).

"Holdest me for thine enemy": I.e. deal sharply with me as if I were your professed enemy.

Job had always enjoyed the presence of God. He suddenly had that taken away from him. It seemed to Job that God was hiding from him. He did not understand why he seemed to be God's enemy.

Job 13:25 "Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?"

Job compares himself to two of the weakest things in nature, a withered leaf, and a morsel of dry stubble. He cannot believe that God will employ his almighty strength in crushing and destroying what is so slight and feeble. A deep sense of God's goodness and compassion underlies the thought.

A withered leaf that had fallen from a tree and dry stubble are some of the most helpless things in the world. A little puff of wind can blow them away. Job was feeling as helpless as both of them. It seems, he could not help himself.

Job 13:26 "For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth."

"Writest bitter things against me": This a judicial phrase referencing the writing down of a sentence against a criminal used figuratively for the extreme suffering as if it were a divine sentence as just punishment for extreme sin. Job felt God might be punishing him for sins committed years earlier in his youth.

Job seemed to say to God, that He was drawing up papers full of accusations against him that he might be tried with. Job had possibly been a sinner in his youth, and the only thing that Job could think of that God might accuse him of were those past sins.

Job 13:27 "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."

"Lookest narrowly unto all my paths": In another context, these words would speak of protection, but here, Job questioned whether or not God had held him on too tight a leash. The comment amounts to saying that God is being overly rigorous toward Job's sin, as compared to others.

God had not actually put him in stocks. The disease that he had possibly, kept him as immobile as he would have been, had he been in stocks. There were marks on Job's feet, and in fact, on every other part of his body as well. What Job did not know, was that Satan had put the marks there.

Verses 13:28 - 14:12: Without the benefit of the New Testament Scriptures, Job had no knowledge of resurrection or the age to come. Still, he well knew the fixed nature of death in this life, that once people die, their physical bodies do not wake up. His understanding was consistent with the New Testament, which teaches that the bodies of those who die in this age remain in the grave until the coming of Christ in the last days (1 Thess. 4:13-17; Rev. 20:4-6).

Job 13:28 "And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten."

"He, as a rotten thing": He refers to man in general, who is here compared to a rotting garment, an apt illustration of his corruption.

This general comment on the plight of man should not be separated (from 14:1), which it introduces.

Job was speaking of the disease that was ravishing his body. His skin was rotting away. Soon his flesh would be like a moth-eaten garment.

Job Chapter 13 Questions

  1. Job's patience with his friends was growing a little ______.
  2. Many of the things they accused Job of he had __________ __________.
  3. What did Job tell his friends in verse 2?
  4. Who did Job desire to reason with?
  5. Is it a sin to reason with God?
  6. What did Job call his friends in verse 4?
  7. His friends had pretended to come to ________ him.
  8. What should they have done, instead of what they did?
  9. Who was verse 6 addressed to really?
  10. Who was asking the questions in verse 7?
  11. What were Job's friends automatically assuming in verse 8?
  12. Job asked his friends of their own _________.
  13. Did they have a right to mock Job?
  14. Why had they become Job's friends in the first place?
  15. Who is "his excellency", in verse 11, speaking of?
  16. What does the reference to ashes, in verse 12, mean?
  17. Why did Job tell his friends to hold their peace?
  18. What was Job saying in verse 14?
  19. Job was placing his trust in ________.
  20. What was Job absolutely sure that God would do for him?
  21. Who was Job speaking to in verse 17?
  22. Who justifies us?
  23. What does "justification" mean?
  24. Job would take full ________________ for what he said to God.
  25. Who did Job think God might have to listen to him, rather than God, Himself?
  26. What two things did Job ask God for immediately?
  27. Why did he want those two things?
  28. What was verse 23 saying?
  29. What did a withered leaf and dry stubble have to do with Job?
  30. In verse 28, Job was speaking of what?

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Job 14

Job Chapter 14

Verses 1-22: The Book of Job is filled with references to the brevity of man's life. This is especially true of chapter 14. Man "is of few days" (verse 1), "Like a flower" (verse 2), and so on. His viewpoint is very similar to the Preacher in Ecclesiastes.

(In verses 1-12), Job embraced the fact of God's control over the issues of this life, but challenged their meaning. Life is short (verses 1-2), all are sinners (verse 4), and days are limited (verse 5), then comes death (verses 7-12). In light of this, Job asked God for a little grace instead of such intense judgment (verse 3), and a little rest from all the pain (verse 6), and suggested that a tree has more hope than he did (verse 7).

Job 14:1 "Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble."

In the last verse of chapter 13, Job thought of himself as one of the race of men, and now he speaks of the characteristics of this race.

"Born of a woman": The offspring of one herself weak and doomed to sorrow (Genesis 3:16), must also be weak and doomed to trouble (compare Job 15:14; 25:4).

It appears to me, that Job was speaking of the flesh of man in this Scripture. The natural man is born of a woman. Most all of the natural men of our day, can look forward to about seventy years of life. Some, by great strength, might even live to be a hundred. Even if a man lived to be a hundred, his days would be few. The flesh of man is not made to live forever. The body wears out from much age, and finally gives way. Life on this earth is filled with trials and tribulation. This was the thing that Job was relating here.

Job 14:2 "He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not."

Out of his mother's womb (Job 1:21).

"Like a flower": Which quickly grows up and makes a fair show, but soon withers, or is cut down.

"As a shadow": Which being made by the sun, follows its motions, and is in perpetual movement, until at last it vanishes and disappears.

A flower blooms in the springtime, and is cut down in the fall. Eastern flowers usually last but one day, and they are gone. Oh, what a brief life. Shadows do not last very long either. They change constantly, and then are gone when the sun goes down.

Job 14:3 "And dost thou open thine eyes upon such a one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?"

Either to take thought or care about him. Or rather, to observe all his ways, that you may find cause of punishment. He is not a fit match for thee. It is below thee to contend with him, and to use thy infinite wisdom and power to crush him. This seems best to suit with the scope and context.

"Bringest me into judgment with thee": I.e. plead with me by thy judgments, and thereby, in a manner, force me to plead with thee, without granting me those two necessary and favorable conditions, expressed in (Job 13:20-21).

Why would God bother with such short lived, mortal man? It seemed amazing to Job that God would choose one man out of all humanity to judge. Job was aware that something was different about his circumstance compared to other men, but he had not decided why this was so.

Job 14:4 "Who can bring a clean [thing] out of an unclean? Not one."

How can man be clean that is born of woman, who is unclean? This question is reiterated by Bildad (Job 25:4). We ought perhaps, rather to render: "Oh, that the clean could come forth from the unclean! But none can."

Men are born in sin. Perhaps, Job was speaking of the uselessness of trying to become righteous, after beginning in sin.

Job 14:5 "Seeing his days [are] determined, the number of his months [are] with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;"

Job here returns to the consideration of the shortness of man's life. "His days are determined;" i.e. they are a limited period, known to and fixed beforehand by God. They are not like God's days, which "endure throughout all generations" (Psalm 102:24). The number of his months are with thee. "With thee" means "known to thee", "laid up in thy counsels." Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass. "His bounds" are "the limit of his lifetime." The three clauses are redundant. One idea pervades them all.

The number of days and years of man's life is only known of God. He has our days numbered. Not everyone lives to adulthood, and certainly, not all live to be seventy years old. Only God knows the length of your life upon this earth. God lives in one eternal day. Our lives do not end when our flesh dies. Our spiritual bodies will rise out of the flesh bodies when the flesh dies.

Job 14:6 "Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as a hireling, his day."

Withdraw thine afflicting hand from him.

"That he may rest": That he may have some present comfort and ease. Or, and let it cease, i.e., the affliction, which is sufficiently implied. Others: And let him cease, i.e., to live, or take away my life. But that seems not to agree with the following clause of this verse, nor with the succeeding verses.

"Till he shall accomplish, as a hireling, his day": Give him some respite till he finish his course, and come to the period of his life which thou hast allotted to him. As a man appoints a set time to a mercenary servant.

Job was asking God to give rest to the weary body that was enduring until it died. This turning from him was speaking of a pause in constantly searching man out. Job was speaking of himself.

Job 14:7 "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."

But man, though a far nobler creature, is in a much worse condition, and when once he loses this present and worldly life, he never recovers it. Therefore, show some pity to him, and give him some comfort while he lives.

A tree can spring up from its roots, even after it is cut down. Sometimes, the tree that comes up from the root, will be even stronger than the tree that was cut down.

Job 14:8 "Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;"

Man may claim a peaceful life, since, when separated from it by death, he never returns to it. This does not deny a future life, but a return to the present condition of life. Job plainly hopes for a future state (Job 7:2; 14:13). Still, it is but a vague and trembling hope, not assurance; excepting the one bright glimpse (in Job 19:25). The Gospel revelation was needed to change fears, hopes, and glimpses into clear and definite certainties.

Job 14:9 "[Yet] through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant."

As soon as it smells it, or perceives it, is sensible of it, or partakes of its efficacy. Denoting both how speedily, and how easily, at once as it were, it buds forth through the virtue either of rain water that descends upon it, or river water by which it is planted, or by any means conveyed unto it. Particularly this is true of the willow, which delights in watery places; and, when it is in the circumstances before described, will by the benefit of water bud out again, even when its stock has been seemingly dead.

"And bring forth boughs like a plant": As if it was a new plant, or just planted. So the Vulgate Latin version, as "when it was first planted"; or as a plant that sends forth many branches. The design of this simile is to show that man's case is worse than that of trees, which when cut down sprout out again, and are in the place where they were before. But man, when he is cut down by death, rises up no more in the same place. He is seen no more in it, and the place that knew him knows him no more. Where he falls he lies until the general resurrection.

This is speaking of the roots appearing to be dead, and coming back to life, when water gets to the roots.

Job 14:10 "But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where [is] he?"

His body by degrees rotting away; or is cut off, as this word is used (Exodus 17:13; Isa. 14:12).

"Where is he?" I.e. he is nowhere; or he is not, to wit, in this world, as that phrase is commonly used (see Job 3:16; 7:8, 21).

Job was speaking of the flesh of man, as if it was what man really was. The flesh of man does die, and does not live again. The flesh which was made of dust returns to the dust of the earth. The ghost that man gives up, is the spirit that rises from that body to live either in heaven or hell.

Job 14:11 "[As] the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:"

The words may be rendered either without the "as", and denote dissimilitude. And the sense is, that the waters go from the sea and return again, as with the tide.

"And the flood decayeth and drieth up": And yet is supplied again with water: "but man lieth down, and riseth not again" (Job 14:12). Or else with the "as", and express likeness; as the waters when they fail from the sea, or get out of lakes, and into another channel, never return more. And as a flood, occasioned by the waters of a river overflowing its banks, never return into it any more. So man, when he dies, never returns to this world any more.

The flood always goes away and leaves the clay of the earth. The river that dries up does the same. This was Job saying that he had dried up, and was returning to the clay of the earth.

Job 14:12 "So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens [be] no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep."

Or "and", or "but man lieth down"; in the grave when he dies, as on a bed, and takes his rest from all his labors, toil and troubles, and lies asleep, and continues so till the resurrection morning.

And riseth not": From off his bed, or comes not out of his grave into this world, to the place where he was, and to be engaged in the affairs of life as he was before, and never by his own power. And whenever he will rise, it will be by the power of God, and this not till the last day, when Christ shall appear in person to judge the world.

Notice, "till the heavens be no more". The body of man lies in the grave decaying away to return to the dust it came from. Job was not denying that there would be a resurrection, but was speaking of the immediate death awaiting him.

(In verses 13-17), Job asked to die and remain in the grave until God's anger was over, then be raised to life again when God called him back (verses 13-15). If he were dead, God wouldn't be watching every step, counting every sin (verse 16); it would all be hidden (verse 17). Here was the hope of resurrection for those who trusted God. Job had hope that if he died, he would live again (verse 14).

Verses 13-14: Sheol is the Old Testament term for the place of the departed dead. Job longs for death as a release from the trials of earth. His question, "If a man die, shall he live again?" is answered (in 19:25-26; see the note on 19:23-27). There are several questions raised in this book. They all express man's desire to know who he is, why he was born, and where he is going.

Job 14:13 "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!"

In some secret and safe place, under the shadow of thy wings and favor, that I may have some support and comfort from thee.

"Until thy wrath be past": While I am oppressed with such grievous and various calamities; which he calls God's wrath. Because they were, or seemed to be, the effects of his wrath.

"A set time": To wit, to my sufferings, as thou hast done to my life (Job 14:5).

"Remember me": I.e. wherein thou will remember me, to wit, in mercy, or so as to deliver me. For it is well known that God is frequently said to forget those whom he suffers to continue in misery, and to remember those whom he delivers out of it.

Job would rather die and have his body lie in the grave, so that he would be hidden, until the anger of God was passed. He knew that God would not forget him, and let him stay there forever.

Job 14:14 "If a man die, shall he live [again]? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come."

Although Job speaks here about the finality of death in this age, Jesus taught that anyone who dies in this age will indeed "live again" in the next, either dwelling in the presence of Almighty God (John 11:23-26; 1 Cor. 15:3-57), or in the suffering and torment of hell (Rev. 20:13-15). Life is never finished at the grave for the Christian, the grave is where real life begins.

The answer to this is of course yes. It was as if Job was wanting the answer to that to be no. He wanted to depart to get out of his pain and suffering. He was looking to that time when he would be changed. His body of flesh would give way to his spiritual body.

Job 14:15 "Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands."

First, at death, thou shalt call my body to the grave and my soul to thyself, and I will cheerfully answer, "here I am". Gracious souls readily answer death's summons, and appear to his writ. Their spirits are not forcibly required of them, as was that of the rich man (Luke 12:20), but willingly resigned by them. And the earthly tabernacle not violently pulled down, but voluntarily laid down. Second at the resurrection thou shalt call me out of the grave by the voice of the archangel, and I will answer and come at thy call.

"For thou wilt have a desire to the work of thy hands": A love for the soul, which thou hast made. And new, made by thy grace; and for the body, which is also the work of thy hands, and to which thou wilt have a desire, having prepared glory for it in a world of glory.

Job was the "work of thine hands" here. Job knew that he was God's creation. He knew that God would call him, and he would answer.

Job 14:16 "For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?"

Figures expressing the keen scrutiny with which God watches man's life in order to detect his false steps and observe his every sin (compare Job 13:27).

God knew each step that Job had made. He also knew if Job had sinned. Mankind has no secrets from God. God knows even the things that are done in secret.

Job 14:17 "My transgression [is] sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity."

As writings or other choice things, that they may be safely kept, and all of them brought forth upon occasion. And not one of them forgotten or lost (Compare Deut. 32:44; Job 37:7; Hosea 13:12).

"Thou sewest up mine iniquity": I.e. thou keeps all my sins in your memory, and fastens the guilt of them upon my conscience. Or, thou adds to my sin, one sin to another; the follies of my youth (Job 13:26), or to those of my younger years. Or, thou adds to my punishment, i.e. thou punishes me more than mine iniquities deserve, all things considered. For this sinful thought seems sometimes to have risen in Job's mind, as may be gathered from different parts of this book. Which therefore Zophar decries and disproves (Job 11:6).

This was as if God had a bag that he put each sin into and sealed them up, so they could not escape.

Verses 18-22: The Christian response to suffering should be neither denial nor fatalistic surrender. Jesus offers people hope beyond the immediacy of their pain. The promise of eternal life prevents present anguish from having the last word.

Job returned to his complaint before God, and reverted to a hopeless mood, speaking about death as inevitable (verses 18-20), and causing separation (verse 21). He was painfully sad to think of it (verse 22).

Job 14:18 "And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place."

Rather: But (compare Job 13:3-4).

The "mountain falling" is the mountain from which great forces detach pieces, as man is subjected to the shattering strokes of God. The second clause shows this to be the meaning.

Job was comparing his loss of everything he had, including his children, with the sudden collapse of a mountain. When a volcano erupts, sometimes half of the mountain comes off at the top. Rocks are thrown sometimes for miles away from where they had been. Just as this calamity of the mountain had been sudden, Job's loss was sudden.

Job 14:19 "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."

The turbulent waters wear away the stones of the brook by their constant action.

"Thou washest away": Rather, the floods thereof (i.e. of the waters), do wash away the soil of the earth.

"And thou destroyest": I.e. so thou destroyest. The "hope" of man which God destroys is not the specific hope of a renewed life (Job 14:7). This idea is dismissed; but more general, the hope of life.

The never ending washing of water over rocks can finally cut a hole into them. The never ending pain of Job's had cut a hole into his heart. He was full of despair and hopelessness.

Job 14:20 "Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away."

When once thou take away this life, it is gone forever. For he speaks not here of man's future and eternal life in another world.

"He passeth": I.e. he dies, or is about to die. Man's death is oft called a passage, or a going, to intimate that it is not an annihilation, but only a translation of him into another place and state. His countenance; either,

(1) His visage, which by death and its harbingers is quite transformed in color and shape, as we see by daily experience. Or;

(2) The face and state of his affairs, as to worldly riches, and pleasures, and honors, all which he leaves behind him.

"Sendest him away": To his long home by death.

Job would feel like fighting back, if he had known this was an attack from Satan. He knew it was useless to fight God. Job thought God was sending this endless oppression, and he was aware he would not be able to endure for long.

Job 14:21 "His sons come to honor, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them."

The meaning seems to be, "If his sons come to honor, it is of no advantage to him. In the remote and wholly separate region of Sheol he will not be aware of it."

"And they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them": Equally, in the opposite case, if his sons are brought low, he is ignorant of it, and unaffected by their fate.

After a man is dead, his family can come to honor him, but he would not even know they were there.

Job 14:22 "But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn."

This is man's condition; he is miserable both when he dies, because he dies without hope of returning to life, as he had discoursed before. And (as he now adds), while he lives, while his flesh is upon him, and his soul within him. While the soul is clothed with or united to the body, he feels sharp pain in his body, and bitter grief in his soul. Seeing therefore the state of man upon earth is so vain and unhappy every way, Lord, give me some comfort to sweeten my life, or take away my life from me.

A man in such great pain as Job is here, was sorrowful of soul.

Job Chapter 14 Questions

  1. Man that is born of woman is of _______ ________, and full of trouble.
  2. What was Job speaking of in this verse?
  3. What is the normal life expectancy today?
  4. The flesh of man is not made to live ___________.
  5. What is man compared to in verse 2?
  6. How long do Eastern flowers generally last?
  7. How is a shadow like the flower?
  8. What was amazing to Job about God's relationship with man?
  9. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
  10. The number of days and years of a man's life are known only of _________.
  11. What happens when our flesh dies?
  12. In verse 6, what was Job asking for?
  13. How can a tree live again, after it is cut down?
  14. What is the ghost that man gives up at the death of his flesh?
  15. What is left when the flood goes away?
  16. What does the author want you to notice in verse 12?
  17. Even though Job died and was in the grave, what did he know God would do?
  18. If a man die, shall he live again?
  19. His body of flesh will give way to his _________ body.
  20. Who was the "work of thine hands" in verse 15?
  21. What was meant by transgressions sealed up in a bag?
  22. How is one way a mountain falls suddenly?
  23. What was Job comparing to the mountain falling suddenly?
  24. The never-ending washing of water over rock will do what to it?
  25. This never-ending pain of Job was doing what to him?

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Job 15

Job Chapter 15

From here to 21:34: These chapters include the second round of speeches between Job and his friends. (From here to verse 6), Eliphaz deemed Job's words the product of wind and bombast. He began by accusing Job of sinning by attacking God with his complaints. He felt Job was guilty of empty words and had not exhibited godly fear and righteous prayer (verse 4), but rather was sinning in his prayer (verses 5-6).

Verses 1-35: This time, in his second speech, "Eliphaz" employs one of the oldest strategies in debate: if you cannot win the argument, attack your opponent. Believing that Job's latest statements revealed his inward corruption, Eliphaz once again indicted his so-called friend.

Eliphaz returns for his second session (see Job verses 4-5).

The second cycle of speeches given by Job and his 3 friends. Job's resistance to their viewpoint and his appeals energized them to greater intensity in their confrontation.

Job 15:1 "Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,"

Or, who was of Teman, as the Targum. The first of Job's friends and comforters, the oldest of them, who first began the dispute with him. Which was carried on by his two other companions, who had spoken during their turns. And now in course it fell to him to answer a second time, as he does here.

"And said": as follows.

The second round of discussion becomes more heated. Now that Job has heard and answered all three friends, he is regarded by all three as quite arrogant.

Job 15:2 "Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?"

Eliphaz begins his second speech with a question. There are over three hundred questions in the Book of Job (more than in any other book in the Bible). They express the viewpoint of wisdom and the search for understanding. Their constant use in the book clearly reflects its Near Eastern origin.

Eliphaz was criticizing Job for his talking. He thought all of Job's talk was in vain. He thought that God regarded it no more than He would the blowing of the wind. The east wind in that part of the world was the worst of winds.

Job 15:3 "Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?"

Of what consequence are all his arguments? Do they carry any weight with them? Do they convince and satisfy those with whom he contends? No: they are no better than unprofitable talk.

"With speeches wherewith he can do no good?" Either to himself or others, but will do much hurt.

Eliphaz was saying that Job's talk was unprofitable. He was telling Job that all of his talk would do no good at all. He had a terrible opinion of Job. He truly felt that Job's sins were so great, that God would not even listen to him.

Job 15:4 "Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God."

"Thou castest off fear", that is, the fear of God. Eliphaz makes a serious accusation that Job is actually undermining devotion to God by others.

He forgot that Job had asked God to take away his fear of Him. Job had spoken boldly of his belief that God would save him. Eliphaz believed that Job was not showing reverence toward God. He even believed that Job was hindering other's prayers to God.

Job 15:5 "For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty."

Eliphaz now accuses Job of "iniquity" and being "crafty" deceitful, whereas in his first speech he seemed to assume Job's sincerity.

Eliphaz believed that Job's tongue was speaking from a heart filled with iniquity.

Job 15:6 "Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee."

Or shows thee to be a wicked person, guilty of things charged upon thee. Out of thine own mouth thou art convicted, there needs no other evidence to be brought against thee, that is sufficient: and thou saves me, and any other, the trouble of passing the sentence of condemnation upon you. You have done it yourself, your own mouth is judge and jury, and brings in the verdict, and pronounces it, as well as is the witness, as follows, and is instead of a thousand witnesses (Job 9:20).

"Yea, thine own lips testify against thee": And therefore, there was no need of producing any other testimony. What he had said showed that his talk was vain and unprofitable. Unbecoming a wise man, and tending to make null and void the fear of God among men, to discourage all religious exercises, and particularly prayer before God.

Now he was saying that the words he was speaking were condemning himself. He believed that Job had been acting in an irreverent way in speaking to God. Job was in very good company being accused of sinning with what he said. They accused Jesus of speaking blasphemy, and therefore worthy of death. How wrong they were, and how wrong Eliphaz was here.

Verses 7-13: Eliphaz condemned Job for rejecting the conventional wisdom, as if he had more insight than other men (verses 7-9), and could reject the wisdom of the aged (verse 10), and the kindness of God (verse 11).

Verses 7-10: With God, true knowledge is not necessarily linked to age but to consistent obedience (Psalm 119:99-100). Knowledge and wisdom come from doing what God instructs and discovering that He always knows what is right (Deut. 4:6; 1 Tim. 4:12).

Job 15:7 "[Art] thou the first man [that] was born? or wast thou made before the hills?"

This is a retort upon (Job 12:2; 12:7; 12:9), where Job had claimed equal knowledge for the inanimate creation.

"Wast thou made before the hills?" As wisdom herself was (Prov. 8:23). Did thou exist before the earth was created, and distinguished into mountains and valleys?

He was accusing Job of believing that he had supernatural intelligence. He was also asking Job if he was the firstborn of God. In other words, he was saying, are you trying to compare yourself to God.

Job 15:8 "Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?"

Rather, "Wast thou a listener in the secret council of God?" God's servants are admitted to God's secrets (Ps 25:14; Gen. 18:17; John 15:15).

"And dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?" Rather, didst thou take away, or borrow, thence (namely, from the divine secret council), thy wisdom? Eliphaz in this (Job 15:8-9), retorts Job's words upon himself (Job 12:2-3; 13:2).

No mortal man had ever been included in the counsel of God, and yet that was what Eliphaz was saying that Job believed he had done. He was really saying cutting things to Job, especially when he said that Job thought he was the only wise man on the earth.

Job 15:9 "What knowest thou, that we know not? [what] understandest thou, which [is] not in us?"

Which are pretty near the words of Job to his friends (Job 12:3), and to the same sense is what follows.

"What understandest thou which is not in us?" In our hearts, minds, and understanding. Or among us, which one or other, or all of us, have not: yet all men have not knowledge alike. Some that profess themselves to be wise, and to have a large share of knowledge, are fools. And such who think they know something extraordinary, and more than others, know nothing as they ought to know. And such who have gifts of real knowledge have them different one from another. Even of the things known there is not a like degree of knowledge, and particularly in spiritual things. Some are little children in understanding, some are young men and know more, and some are fathers, and know most of all. An equality in knowledge belongs to another state, to the latter day glory, when the watchmen shall see eye to eye. And all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, and especially to the ultimate glory, when saints will know as they are known.

Job 15:10 "With us [are] both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father."

"With us" seems to mean "of our party," or "on our side." Eliphaz claims that all the greybeards of the time, as well as all the ancient men of past times (compare Job 8:8, and below in verse 18), are on his side. And think as he does.

"Much elder than thy father": Men, i.e. not merely of the preceding, but of much more distant generations.

This is the first indication that Job was not an extremely elderly man, even though he had 10 children. It appeared that one of Job's friends was as old as Job's father. It probably would have been Eliphaz, because he always spoke first. Old age is not always what makes a person wise however. Wisdom is a gift from God. God gave great wisdom to Solomon, when he was very young.

Job 15:11 "[Are] the consolations of God small with thee? Is there any secret thing with thee?"

The "consolations of God" here refer probably to those considerations which had been suggested by Eliphaz and his friends, and which he takes to be the "consolations" which God had furnished for the afflicted. He asks whether they were regarded by Job as of little value. Whether he was not willing to take such consolations as God had provided, and to allow them to sustain him instead of permitting himself to speak against God?

"Is there any secret thing with thee?" any secret wisdom and knowledge which they were strangers to; or any secret way of conveying comfort to him they knew not of? Or any secret sin in him, any Achan in the camp (Joshua 7:11), that hindered him from receiving comfort, or put him upon slighting what was offered to him.

Eliphaz was still saying that he and the other two friends had offered a solution to Job. He should repent of his sins and seek the LORD with all his heart, and then perhaps God would stop the punishment against him.

Job 15:12 "Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,"

Why do you suffer yourself to be transported by the pride of your heart, to use such unworthy and unbecoming expressions, both concerning us and concerning God and his providence?

"And what do thine eyes wink at?" Or, why do they wink? As though it was only thou who perceives it.

He said that Job was winking at the sins he committed. His heart had convinced him he was not guilty.

Job 15:13 "That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest [such] words go out of thy mouth?"

Not against men, his friends only, but against God himself, being filled with wrath and indignation at him. Showing the enmity of his heart unto him, and committing hostilities upon him. Stretching out his hand, and strengthening himself against him. Running upon him, on the thick bosses of his buckler, as after expressed.

"And lettest such words go out of thy mouth?" As in (Job 9:22).

Eliphaz was saying that Job was rebellious toward God and was too proud to admit his sins. Of course, this was not true. Job had asked God to tell him what his sins were so that he could repent.

Verses 14-16: A strong statement with regard to the sinfulness of man (Rom. 3:23), that attacked Job's claim to righteousness. (Verse 15), refers to holy angels who fell and brought impurity into the heavens (Rev. 12:1-4). The truth is accurate, that all men are sinners, but irrelevant in Job's case, because his suffering was not due to any sin.

Job 15:14 "What [is] man, that he should be clean? and [he which is] born of a woman, that he should be righteous?"

Hebrew: Frail, or sick, or wretched man? His mean, original and corrupt nature; showed him to be unclean.

"Which is born of a woman": From whom he derives infirmity, corruption, and guilt, and the curse consequent upon it.

"That he should be righteous": To wit, in his own eyes, as thou O Job are.

This is the same message that those who are trying to live holy before their Lord get today. They are accused of trying to work their way to heaven. That is the furthest thing from the truth. Those who try to live as near holy lives as they can, are appreciative of the free gift of salvation God has given them. Their holy lives are trying to be like Him. This was the same thing with Job here. Eliphaz was saying it was impossible for man to live a righteous life. Job had done his best to do just that.

Verses 15-20: Retributive justice was not only Eliphaz's philosophy but that of all three friends. They did not see that while suffering is ultimately the result of original sin not all suffering is the result of a person's particular sin.

Job 15:15 "Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight."

His holy ones": I.e. His angels (compare Job 5:1).

"The heavens": These are here the material heavens, not the celestial inhabitants (compare Job 25:5).

Exodus 24:10: "And they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the very heaven in its clearness" (see also Ezek. 1:22).

There is no one except God that is without spot or blemish in God's eye. It is by grace we are saved. The angels in heaven are not absolutely perfect either. We know that 1/3 of them left their first estate and followed Lucifer.

Job 15:16 "How much more abominable and filthy [is] man, which drinketh iniquity like water?"

If saints are not to be trusted, much less sinners. If the heavens are not pure; if heavenly beings, who maintained their allegiance to their Maker, are not free from imperfection, when compared with God, much less is man, who is degenerated, and has rebelled against him.

"Which drinketh iniquity like water": Who, besides his natural proneness to sin, has contracted habits of sinning; and sins as freely, as greedily, and delightfully, as men, especially in those hot countries, drink up water.

Eliphaz was saying that if even the heavens, and the angels in heaven were not clean, the earth and its inhabitants were filthy. They were filled with iniquity.

Verses 17-35: Eliphaz once again returned to the same perspective and indicted Job for sin because Job was suffering. To support his relentless point, he launched into a lengthy monologue about the wicked and their outcomes in life, including many parallels to the sufferings of Job. He had pain, and didn't know when his life would end (verse 20). He suffered from fear, every sound alarmed him, and he thought his destroyer was near (verses 21-22). He worried about having food (verse 23). His suffering made him question God (verses 24-26). Once well-nourished, housed and rich (verses 27-29), he would lose it all (verses 30-33). Eliphaz concluded by calling Job a hypocrite (verses 34-35), saying that this was the reason things were going so badly.

Eliphaz again appeals to his personal experience for authority: "That which I have seen." He then surveys the judgments that fall on the wicked, thus implying that Job is to be numbered among them.

Job 15:17 "I will shw thee, hear me; and that [which] I have seen I will declare;"

I will prove what I have affirmed, namely, that such strokes as thine are peculiar to hypocrites and wicked men.

"And that which I have seen I will declare": I will not speak from hearsay, but only from my own observation and experience.

Job 15:18 "Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid [it]:"

Which they have received from their ancestors and communicated to others. Knowledge among the ancients was communicated chiefly by tradition from father to son. They had few or no written records, and hence, they embodied the results of their observation in brief, pious sayings, and transmitted them from one generation to another.

"And have not hid it": They have freely communicated the result of their observations to others.

These were the beginning verses of things that Eliphaz believed he had observed during his lifetime. He said that even the wise men of old and the fathers had warned their children of the punishment that came to those who sin. He was speaking this as an attack on Job. He said these things were not secret.

Job 15:19 "Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them."

By the gracious gift of God: This he alleges to make their testimony more considerable, because these were no obscure men, but the most worthy and famous men in their ages. And to confute what Job had said (Job 9:24), that the earth was given into the hand of the wicked. By the earth he means the dominion and possession of it.

"No stranger passed among them": No person of a strange nation and disposition, or religion, passed through their land, so as to disturb or spoil them, as the Sabeans and Chaldeans did you. God watched over those holy men so that no enemy could invade them; and so he would have done over thee, if thou had been such a one. It seems evident, that Noah and his sons, Melchizedec, Abraham, and others of the patriarchs, who lived before Job, are here intended.

This helps to date Job as a very ancient writing. He was speaking of a time when there were very few men upon the earth. There were no wars. Each man was given his plot of ground by God.

Job 15:20 "The wicked man travaileth with pain all [his] days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor."

That is, lives a life of care, fear, and grief, by reason of God's wrath, the torments of his own mind, and his outward calamities.

"The number of his years is hidden": He knows not how short the time of his life is, and therefore lives in continual fear of losing it.

"To the oppressor": To the wicked man: he names this one sort of them, because he supposed Job to be guilty of this sin. And in opposition to what Job had affirmed of the safety of such persons (Job 12:6), and because such are apt to promise themselves a longer and happier life than other men.

Now he was beginning to list the terrible things that come to those who sin. He was most assuredly slanting this toward Job, who he believed to be a sinner. He was speaking as if all sinners suffer all the days of their lives, which is really not a correct statement. Many sinners are not punished on this earth.

Job 15:21 "A dreadful sound [is] in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him."

Even when he feels no evil, he is tormented with perpetual fears and expectations of it, from a consciousness of his own guilt, and a sense of God's all Seeing Eye and righteous judgment.

"In prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him": In the most peaceable and prosperous time, he is not in safety, nor does he think himself to be so. But he is always fearing someone or other will injure him as he has injured others. And that some enemy will invade and destroy him suddenly and unexpectedly. He knows both heaven and earth are incensed against him; and that he has done nothing to make his peace with either.

This was really saying that he was fearful at every sound, thinking harm might come to him.

Job 15:22 "He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword."

"Darkness" is calamity, and the words mean that the wicked man anticipates a calamity which shall be final, and from which, when it befalls him, there shall be no escape.

"He is waited for of the sword": So he feels in regard to himself. He is marked out for the sword, i.e., the hostile sword or the avenging sword of God (Job 19:29; Isa. 31:8).

He was afraid of the dark, because he felt someone was lurking in the dark to kill him.

Job 15:23 "He wandereth abroad for bread, [saying], Where [is it]? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand."

He anticipates the time when he shall be a hungry wanderer, roving in search of bread and crying:

"Where is it?" The picture of the rich oppressor tormented by visions of famine is very graphic.

"Ready at hand": Or, at his side; the dark day of calamity stands constantly beside him ready to envelop him in its shadows. Such is his own foreboding ("he knows").

This was speaking of starvation coming to those who had sinned. The day of darkness, in this particular instance, was the day of death. He was threatening Job that he would starve to death.

Job 15:24 "Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle."

When trouble comes, instead of trusting and hoping, and comforting himself in God, as good men do in such cases (1 Sam. 30:6), he is full of torment. Dreading the issue of it, and concluding it will end in his utter ruin, as he has great reason to do.

"They shall prevail against him": Though he would gladly shake off his fears, and uses many expedients to free himself from them, he is not able; they overpower him.

"As a king ready to the battle": With forces too strong to be resisted. He that would keep his peace must keep a good conscience.

Eliphaz was speaking specifically of the troubles of Job in this verse. He believed that Job's troubles were like the troubles a vicious king brought when he overthrew a country.

Job 15:25 "For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty."

He sinned against him with a high and outstretched hand; that is, boldly and presumptuously, as one that neither desired his favor, nor feared his anger. Thus, he gives the reason of the fore-mentioned calamities that befell him, which was his great wickedness in the time of his peace and prosperity.

"And strengthened himself against the Almighty": Putteth his forces in array, as if he would fight with him who is almighty, and therefore irresistible. This aggravates the madness of this weak and contemptible worm that he should dare to fight against the omnipotent God!

This was another accusation that Job had threatened God. He said that Job thought he was stronger than God. This was a terrible untruth.

Job 15:26 "He runneth upon him, [even] on [his] neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:"

Rather, with his neck. It is not God who runs upon the wicked man, as our translators seem to have supposed, but the wicked man who rushes furiously against God. Like an infuriated bull, he makes his charge with his neck. I.e. with head lowered and neck stiffened, thinking to carry all before him.

"Upon the thick bosses of his bucklers": Rather, with the thick bosses of his shield. The metaphor of the bull is dropped, and God's enemy represented as charging him like a warrior. With the shield-arm outstretched, and the heavy bosses of the shield pressing him down.

Job 15:27 "Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on [his] flanks."

This is mentioned as the reason of his insolent carriage toward God. Because he was fat, rich, potent, and successful, as that expression signifies (Deut. 32:15; Psalm 78:31; Jer. 46:21). His great prosperity made him proud and secure, and regardless of God and men.

"Maketh collops of fat on his flanks": His only care is to pamper and please himself, and satisfy his own lusts, and in defense and pursuance of them he contends with God.

This was a statement that Job had run against God like a charging warrior. He would have his head down running straight ahead. I personally believe that Eliphaz had gone too far. (In verse 27), he was even calling Job a glutton.

Job 15:28 "And he dwelleth in desolate cities, [and] in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps."

Not only was he sensual and gluttonous, but he was covetous and greedy also. He dwelt in cities which his hand had desolated.

"In houses which no man inhabiteth": Since he had driven their owners from them.

"And which were ready to become heaps": I.e. were in a ruinous condition.

None of this had made this man anything. He lived in a ruined state. Again, Eliphaz was referring to Job's children's homes which were destroyed by the storm.

Job 15:29 "He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth."

Meaning he shall not increase, or maintain, his riches.

"Neither shall his substance continue": His riches shall make themselves wings, and take their departure.

"Neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth": Rather, neither shall their possessions be extended upon the earth.

Surely the riches of Job had been taken away, and that was what Eliphaz was stressing here. Eliphaz had been jealous of all of the blessings that God had bestowed upon Job. It seems he was a little thrilled that Job had lost it all now.

Job 15:30 "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."

His misery shall have no end.

"The flame": God's anger and judgment upon him.

"Shall dry up his branches": His wealth, and power, and glory, wherewith he was encompassed, as trees are with their branches.

"By the breath of his mouth": This expression intimates, with how much ease God subdues his enemies: his word, his blast, one act of his will, is sufficient.

"Shall he go away": Hebrew, go back. That is, run away from God faster than he ran upon him (Job 15:26). So, it is a continuation of the former metaphor of a conflict between two persons.

The branches were speaking of Job's children who had been destroyed. He was trying to say that the dark day that began with the loss of Job's children would continue.

Job 15:31 "Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence."

Rather, let him not trust in vanity (or in falsehood), deceiving himself. All the supports and stays of the wicked are vanity, unsubstantial, futile, utterly vain and useless. It is only a man who "deceives himself" that can trust in them.

"For vanity shall be his recompense": Such as those that do trust, gain nothing by it. They sow vanity and reap vanity.

He was saying that Job had deceived himself in thinking that he was in right standing with God. He believed that Job's pride was his downfall.

Job 15:32 "It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green."

"It [i.e. the recompense] shall be accomplished or, paid in full before its time (i.e. before payment is due)." A vague threat, probably intended to signify that death will come upon the wicked man prematurely, before he has lived out all the days of his natural life.

"And his branch shall not be green": I.e. he shall wither and fade, like a tree not planted by the waterside (Psalm 1:3).

Eliphaz was saying that death would come to Job before his natural time, because of his sins. He would be an old man long before his time from his disease.

Job 15:33 "He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive."

Blight and untimely cold, cause the vine to drop its grapes before they are mature. So the wicked man will be deprived, one by one, of his possessions.

"And shall cast off his flower as the olive": The olive often sheds its blossoms in vast numbers.

Blight will cause a vine to do what is described here. Eliphaz was not speaking of a vine, but of Job. He was saying there was a blight in the character of Job.

Job 15:34 "For the congregation of hypocrites [shall be] desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery."

Or, shall be sterile or barren like the vine and olive of the preceding verse. The entire company of the wicked shall suffer this punishment.

"And fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery": God's lightning shall fall from heaven, and burn up the tents (i.e. the habitations), of those who take bribes to pervert justice. It is suggested that Eliphaz intends to accuse Job of the two secret sins of hypocrisy and corruption.

He believed that Job had to be a hypocrite. Job had proclaimed his great faith in God. Eliphaz said he did not really love God and want to serve him, it was just a front. He was now accusing Job of taking bribes.

Job 15:35 "They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit."

That is, such wicked persons as before described. They meditate sin in their minds, and contrive how to commit it, and form schemes within themselves to do mischief to others.

"And bring forth vanity": Or sin. For lust when it is conceived bringeth forth sin, and that is vanity, an empty thing. And neither yields profit nor pleasure in the issue, but that which is useless and unserviceable. Yea, harmful and ruinous; for sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death, even death eternal (James 1:14).

"And their belly prepareth deceit": Their inward part frames and devises that which is designed to deceive others, and in the end, proves deceitful to themselves.

Eliphaz had a very low opinion of Job. He had decided that Job's heart was evil. That all of his iniquity was conceived in his evil heart. He would have a lot of regrets when he found out the truth about Job.

Job Chapter 15 Questions

  1. Should a wise man utter vain _____________?
  2. What was Eliphaz criticizing Job for?
  3. He thought that God regarded it no more than He would the __________ of the wind.
  4. Eliphaz was saying that Job's talk was _______________.
  5. What had he forgotten, when he made his statement against Job in verse 4?
  6. Where did Eliphaz believe the evil words in Job's mouth were coming from?
  7. What did he say condemned Job?
  8. What silly question did he ask Job in verse 7?
  9. Hast thou heard the _________ of God?
  10. What was one of the most cutting things he said to Job?
  11. What was the first indication that Job was not an elderly man?
  12. How many children did Job have?
  13. Who was, probably, the oldest of Job's friends?
  14. What was the solution Job's friends had offered?
  15. Eliphaz said that Job was rebellious toward God and too ___________ to admit his sins.
  16. What, or who, are without spot or blemish?
  17. How many of the angels followed Lucifer?
  18. Which verse helps to date Job as a very early writing?
  19. Why is the sinner afraid of the dark?
  20. Verse 25 was an accusation that Job had ____________ God.
  21. What was Eliphaz referring to in verse 28?
  22. Verse 29 speaks of Job losing his ___________.
  23. Eliphaz said that Job had deceived himself, how?
  24. In verse 32, he was saying that Job will not grow ______.
  25. What did he call Job in verse 34?
  26. What would happen to Eliphaz at the end?

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Job 16

Job Chapter 16

Verses 16-1 - 17:16: Job responded with his second rebuttal.

Verses 1-22: This is Job's second response to his friends, who he decries as "miserable comforters" (13:3-4). Job calls himself "broken" (7:1), and he begins to despair as those who suffer often do: "Where ... is my hope?" (7:15).

Job 16:1 "Then Job answered and said,"

As soon as Eliphaz had finished speaking, Job stood up, and made the following reply.

Verses 2-5: "Miserable comforters are ye all": Job's friends had come to comfort him. In spite of 7 blissful days of silence at the outset, their mission had failed miserably, and their comfort had turned into more torment for Job. What started out as Eliphaz's sincere efforts to help Job understand his dilemma had turned into rancor and sarcasm. In the end, their haranguing had heightened the frustrations of all parties involved. If the matter were reversed and Job was comforter to his friends, he would never treat them as they have treated him. He would have strengthened and comforted them.

Job had been tortured and tried to the limit; his suffering was so complete that others could never say they alone experienced any particular suffering as he had.

Job 16:2 "I have heard many such things: miserable comforters [are] ye all."

The discussion degenerates into a series of insults and name-calling. Job protests his innocence, but begins to lose hope in his desperate situation.

I would have to agree with Job. They were no comfort to him at all. They were even worse than the world around him. They had known him well, and had talked of the LORD with him many times. This reminds me so much of what happens to someone in the church who is going through difficulties. The brothers and sisters in Christ should build them up and help them through the difficulty, but more often they do harm to them. Christians have a tendency to kill their wounded.

Job 16:3 "Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?"

Margin, as in Hebrew words of wind; that is, words which were devoid of thought; light, trifling. This is a retort to Eliphaz. He had charged Job (Obad. 15:2-3), with uttering only such words. Such forms of expression are common in the East. "His promise, it is only wind." "Breath, breath: all breath."

"Or what emboldeneth thee?": "What provokes or irritates thee that thou dost answer in this manner? What have I said, that has given occasion to such a speech. A speech so severe and unkind?"

Why did this friend think that he was capable of judging Job? Job did not want to hear any more words from this friend. We must be careful when we are judging this Scripture, and make sure we have not been like Job's friend. When someone is sick, it does not mean they have sinned. Jesus proved this when he healed the blind man. The apostles asked Jesus who had sinned, he or his parents, and Jesus said neither had. The blindness was so that God could be glorified in the restoration of the sight.

Job 16:4 "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."

I.e. I could multiply accusations and reproaches against you, as you do against me.

"Shake mine head at you": In way of derision, as this phrase is most commonly used (as 2 Kings 19:21; Psalm 22:7; Isa. 37:22; Matt. 27:39).

Job 16:5 "[But] I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should assuage [your grief]."

So God strengthens his people with strength in their souls, when he answers them with good and comfortable words. An angel strengthened Christ as man when in an agony, comforting him, suggesting comfortable things to him. So one saint may strengthen and comfort another when in distress, whether of soul or body (see Psalm 138:3). And thus, Job had strengthened and comforted others, with his words in former times, as Eliphaz himself owns (Job 4:3). And so he would again, were there a change in his circumstances, and objects presented.

"And the moving of my lips should assuage your grief": Words uttered by him, which are done by the moving of the lips, should be such as would have a tendency to allay grief. To stop, restrain, forbid, and lessen sorrow. At least that it might not break out in an extravagant way, and exceed bounds, and that his friends might not be swallowed up with much sorrow.

This is so true. The tongue is a weapon that can build a person up, or can cut them to pieces. His friends were not true friends. They had used their friendship to get an audience with Job, and then proceeded to tear him apart. Job could do the same thing to them, but he did not. He could have accused them of evil doing, because what they were doing to him was certainly evil.

Verses 6-17: As is often the case, a person's anger can reflect his or her love. Believers who get angry with God reveal that they care about Him even though they do not fully understand Him.

(In verses 6-14), Job considered God an "enemy" (verse 9). Job was not alone in struggling this intensely with God. Jacob fought with the Angel of the Lord all night (Gen. 32:24-30); Peter argued with God (Acts 10:9-16). Anger with God can sometimes be a catalyst for spiritual growth. It can mean a person is outgrowing a less mature understanding of God.

Verses 6-9: These poignant thoughts from Job lamented his suffering as severe judgment from God, who had worn him out, withered his strength, and chewed him up by severe scrutiny ("sharpeneth his eyes upon me").

Job 16:6 "Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged: and [though] I forbear, what am I eased?"

To God by prayer, or to you in the way of discourse,

"My grief is not assuaged": I find no relief or comfort. Job, having reproved his friends for their unkind behavior toward him, and aggravated it by contrasting therewith his resolutions to have acted in a friendlier manner toward them, had they been in his place. Now returns to his main business, namely, to describe his miseries, in order that, if possible, he might move his friends to pity and comfort him.

"Though I forbear, what am I eased?" What portion of my grief departs from me? I receive not one grain of ease or comfort. Neither speech nor silence does me any good.

The word "assuaged" means restrained. His speech did not bring him relief from his sorrow or his suffering. If he did not say anything at all, that did not help either.

Job 16:7 "But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company."

He turns again, in his passionate plaint, to God, whom he alternately speaks of in the third person and addresses in the second.

Thou; he speaks in the second person to God, as in the former clause in the third person of God. Such change of persons are very usual in Scripture, and elsewhere.

"Thou hast made desolate all my company," by destroying all his children and alienating the hearts or his friends either of complaining, or of my life.

His friends could have been company to him and helped him forget a little of the pain, instead they added to his pain.

Job 16:8 "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."

Not through old age, but through affliction, which had sunk his flesh, and made furrows in him, so that he looked older than he was, and was made old thereby before his time (see Lam. 3:4). For this is to be understood of his body, for as for his soul, that through the grace of God, and righteousness of Christ, was without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.

"Which is a witness against me": As it was improved by his friends, who represented his afflictions as proofs and testimonies of his being a bad man. Though these wrinkles were witnesses for him, as it may be as well supplied, that he really was an afflicted man.

"And my leanness rising up in me": His bones standing up, and standing out, and having scarce anything on them but skin, the flesh being gone.

"Beareth witness to my face": Openly, manifestly, to full conviction. Not that he was a sinful man, but an afflicted man. Eliphaz had no reason to talk to Job of a wicked man's being covered with fatness, and of collops of fat on his flanks (Job 15:27).

The pain was showing in his face. He was wrinkled from pain and looked even older than he was. He was losing weight and that made him look wrinkled as well.

Job 16:9 "He teareth [me] in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me."

Literally, his wrath teareth and he hateth me. God treats Job as severely as if he hated him. That he is actually hated of God Job does not believe; otherwise he would long since have ceased to call upon him, and pour out his heart before him.

He gnasheth upon me with his teeth": (Compare Psalm 35:16; Psalm 37:12).

"Mine enemy": (Or rather, adversary).

"Sharpeneth his eyes upon me": I.e. makes me a whetstone on which he sharpens his angry glances.

There is no physical hurt as bad, as when friends have turned against you. Their accusations and terrible remarks were tearing Job to pieces.

Job 16:10 "They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me."

The pack of petty foes that howl at the heels of his greater enemy. The figure of wild beasts is not strictly maintained, but passes in the second clause into the reality. The gestures described are those of contempt and destructive hatred (see Psalm 22:13, Isa. 57:4, Micah 5:1, Lam. 3:30; compare John 18:22; 19:3, Acts 23:2).

"They have gathered themselves together against me": The phrase means probably that they line up in one body against him, and combine in their attack against him.

We spoke earlier how Job was a type of Christ. They struck Jesus, as they struck Job here. Both were smitten without a cause.

Job 16:11 "God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked."

The meaning is, that God had committed him to their hands as a prisoner or captive. They had power over him to do as they pleased.

"To the ungodly": Into the hands of wicked people, meaning undoubtedly his professed friends.

"And turned me over": The word used here means to throw head long, to precipitate, to cast down. Here it means, "He has thrown me headlong into the hands of the wicked."

Again, Job was not aware that his attack was of Satan. We do know that God allowed the attack, but the actual attack was of Satan. Job was right in his estimation that God had turned him over to the wicked. It would have been much easier to endure had Job known that it would end, and that this was an attack of the devil, not God.

Verses 12-14: Job refers to God as his "adversary", who had broken, shaken, shot at, and cleaveth my reins.

Job 16:12 "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."

I lived in great peace and prosperity, which makes my present miseries more grievous to me; and therefore, my complaints are excusable, and I deserve pity rather than reproach from my friends.

"Broken me asunder": Broken my spirit with the sense of his anger, and my body with loathsome ulcers, as also by destroying my children, a part of my own flesh or body.

"Taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces": As a mighty man doth with some young stripling, when he wrestled with him.

"Set me up for his mark": That he may shoot all his arrows into me, and that with delight, which archers have in that exercise.

Job had been at ease. He had been blessed mightily of God. He felt that he was at peace with God. Suddenly from out of nowhere, he was attacked on every side. The greatest grief that Job suffered was the loss of his children. He was marked for attack. He thought God had shaken his life completely up.

Job 16:13 "His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground."

His plagues or judgments, elsewhere compared to arrows, and here to archers, surround me on all sides, and assault me from every quarter. Whoever are our enemies, we must look on them as God's archers, and see him directing the arrow.

"He cleaveth my reins asunder": He wounds me inwardly, mortally, and incurably; which is also signified by pouring out the gall; such wounds being deadly. "The metaphor," says Heath, "is here taken from huntsmen. First, they surround the beast; then he is shot dead. His entrails are next taken out; and then his body is divided limb from limb."

This description is no worse than what actually happened. This was one of the worst attacks on anyone in the Bible. Job believed he suffered a judgement of God. He had no idea why.

Job 16:14 "He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant."

He renews and repeats the attack, and thus completely overwhelms me. One blow follows another in such quick succession, that he does not give me time to recover.

"He runneth upon me like a giant": With great and irresistible force, as some strong and mighty warrior whom his adversary cannot resist.

This just means that one attack was followed by another.

Verses 15-20: He had no one to turn to in his sorrow, except God (verse 19), who was silent and had not vindicated him.

Job 16:15 "I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust."

Unaware of God's sovereignty and of Satan's devices against him, Job begins to assume that God is against him for an unexplainable reason. "Sackcloth" is a sign of mourning. The "horn" he had laid "in the dust" is a sign of strength.

The sackcloth had become Job's permanent garment, ever since the problems came to him. He had sat in a bed of ashes, magnifying his humble attitude, and increasing his mourning. The horn symbolizes power, so we might say that he had lost his power, and sat in the ashes of humbleness.

Job 16:16 "My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids [is] the shadow of death;"

He has wept so much that his face is stained with his tears.

"And on my eyelids is the shadow of death": There is an awful shadow on his eyes and eyelids, portending death.

It is not unusual for a person who is extremely sick to have great dark circles around their eyes. These circles could be called the shadow of death. His crying would cause his face to look bad. It would be swollen and red probably.

Job 16:17 "Not for [any] injustice in mine hands: also my prayer [is] pure."

Still claiming that he does not deserve his sorrows, and that these calamities had not come upon him on account of any enormous sins, as his friends believed.

"My prayer is pure": My devotion; my worship of God is not hypocritical, as my friends maintain.

Job was still contending that he had not sinned, that he was aware of. He felt that he had clean hands and a pure heart. The prayer of Job was pure, because it came from a pure heart.

Verses 18-21: Job was not crying out for a mediator but for an advocate. He wanted a lawyer who would represent him before God. Here again is the gospel in Job, Jesus is the believer's advocate at the throne of God (Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1).

Job 16:18 "O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place."

God's destructive enmity will bring Job to death, though there is no wrong in his hands and his prayer is pure (Job 16:17). This feeling makes him appeal to the earth not to cover his innocent blood. He shall die, but it is an unjust death, and his blood shall lie on the bosom of the earth open, appealing to heaven for vindication, and uttering an unceasing cry for justice.

"Let my cry have no place": That is, "Let there be no place in the wide earth where my cry shall not reach. Let it have no resting place: let it fill the whole wide earth."

We know from Genesis, that the innocent blood of Abel cried out from the ground. This was a statement from Job, that his blood was innocent of wrong doing. His cry should not hide, but be heard of the Almighty.

Job 16:19 "Also now, behold, my witness [is] in heaven, and my record [is] on high."

"My witness is in heaven" implies an advance in Job's faith over (9:33), where he pleaded for an impartial arbiter. He seems certain here that there is a heavenly witness who will testify on his behalf.

The witness of Job in heaven was God. Job felt sure that his record in heaven was clean. If no one else knew the truth, God did.

Job 16:20 "My friends scorn me: [but] mine eye poureth out [tears] unto God."

Or Ye my scorners who profess and ought to be my friends.

"Mine eye poureth out tears unto God": That He would maintain the right of man with God, and of the son of man with his neighbor. Or, "that one might plead for man with God as the son of man pleads for his neighbor". This is what he has already longed for in (Job 9:33).

Job's friends were no friends at all. Job's only true friend was God. Job had cried buckets of tears since this trial had begun.

Job 16:21 "O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man [pleadeth] for his neighbor!"

"One might plead for a man with God": The pleading would be for a verdict of innocent on behalf of a friend or neighbor in a court setting before the judge/king. God anticipated the need of an advocate, and He has provided One in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1-2).

To me this is saying that Job wanted to have as personal a relationship with God, as he had with a neighbor. His plea would be heard and understood, because God would know of his plight. Jesus took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us, that He might relate better to the problems we face in our flesh.

Job 16:22 "When a few years are come, then I shall go the way [whence] I shall not return."

Literally, a number of years, which generally means a small number.

"I shall go the way whence I shall not return": This verse would more fitly begin the following chapter, which opens in a similar strain, with an anticipation of the near approach of death.

Job was so sick that he felt death was very near.

Job Chapter 16 Questions

  1. What did Job call his friends in verse 2?
  2. What do Job's friends remind the author of?
  3. Why did this friend think he had the right to judge Job?
  4. How did Jesus prove that someone who is sick has not necessarily sinned?
  5. What could Job have done to these friends, if they had been in his place?
  6. The tongue is a _________.
  7. It can __________ up or _______ down.
  8. What does "assuaged" mean?
  9. Instead of comforting Job, his friends added to his _______.
  10. The pain was showing in his ________.
  11. What was tearing Job to pieces?
  12. In verse 10, we see Job as a type of ________.
  13. Who allowed this attack of Satan on Job?
  14. How could this have been easier for Job to endure?
  15. What was the greatest loss that Job felt?
  16. Job believed he suffered a Judgement of ________.
  17. The sackcloth had become Job's ______________ garment.
  18. The horn symbolizes ____________.
  19. Job felt that he had ________ hands and a ______ heart.
  20. Who was Job's only true friend?
  21. In verse 21, Job wanted a __________ relationship with God.

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Job 17

Job Chapter 17

Verses 1-16: As this suffering man hit bottom, he took his anguish to the Lord.

Job 17:1 "My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves [are ready] for me."

"The graves are ready" indicates that Job believed death was near.

In chapter 16, which this is actually an extension of, Job was answering his friend and lamenting his situation. He was saying in the verse above, that even the breath of life within him was ruined. He felt he was near death. He thought it was the time that God had chosen.

Job 17:2 "[Are there] not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation?"

"Mockers": The would-be counselors had become actual enemies and the provocation for Job's tears (compare 16:20).

"Provocation" in this verse, means bitterness. His friends had mocked him and spoken very hurtful things to him. The truly sad thing was that Job had done nothing to cause all of this. After this trial was over however, he would have a different attitude toward these friends.

Job 17:3 "Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who [is] he [that] will strike hands with me?"

"Surety": He called on God to promise (by a symbolic handshake), that his case would be heard in the heavenly court.

Job had discovered at this point, that the only one he could trust was God. He was wanting a handshake from God. This would be a sign that an agreement had been struck.

Job 17:4 "For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt [them]."

"Not exalt them": The blindness of Job's friends toward his innocence came from God, so Job asked that God would not let them succeed in their efforts against him.

Job was trying to say that it was God who had blinded the eyes of his friends, so they could not see his innocence. Of course, he did not want his friends exalted in the eyes of God, because of what they had done and said.

Job 17:5 "He that speaketh flattery to [his] friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail."

"Speaketh flattery": This Hebrew term came to mean "a prey" so that Job was referring to someone who delivers up a friend as prey to some enemy.

Job was accusing his friends of attacking him as they would a prey. In the past, they had flattered him when he was a wealthy man. Now they were accusing him of every type of sin, because he was down. They were fair weather friends.

Job 17:6 "He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret."

"A byword": This refers to shame, reproach, and a reputation that is extremely bad (compare Deut. 28:37; Psalm 69:11).

"Tabret": The most disdainful act a person could commit to heap scorn and shame on someone as a wicked and unworthy person. Job's friends were aiding him in getting such a reputation (verses 7-8).

Job became a byword for his generation for the terrible persecutions he endured. He is still a byword today to all who read the Bible. We are all amazed how Job stayed faithful to God through such terrible trials. All of us have a tendency to measure our trials with the trials of Job. "Tabret" in the verse here, means smiting, or contempt.

Job 17:7 "Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members [are] as a shadow."

(Compare Psalms 6:7; 31:9). Excessive weeping, such as which stains the cheeks (Job 16:16), will also in most cases dim and dull the eyesight.

"And all my members are as a shadow": Weak, that is worn out, unstable, fleeting, ready to pass away.

He had cried so much that tears were constantly in his eyes. He could see through tears only, and things looked dim to him.

Job 17:8 "Upright [men] shall be astonished at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite."

Wise and good men, when they shall see me, and consider my calamities, will not be so forward to censure and condemn me as you are. But will rather stand and wonder at the depth and mysteriousness of God's judgments, which fall so heavily upon innocent men, while the worst of men prosper. Or rather, but or yet.

"The innocent shall stir himself up against the hypocrite": Notwithstanding all these sufferings of good men, and the astonishment which they cause, he shall be so far from joining his opinions, counsels, and interest with those profane men. Who take occasion from thence to censure afflicted persons, and desert, condemn, and reproach the profession and practice of godliness. That he will the more zealously oppose those hypocrites who make these strange providences of God an objection to religion, and will prefer afflicted piety to prosperous iniquity.

This is the very effect that this book on Job has on everyone. We are astonished at the amount of suffering that Job endured without being overcome. We also cannot believe the attitude of his so-called friends. The least of the terrible things we could call them would be Hypocrites. Notice Job was speaking of this happening after his trial was over.

Job 17:9 "The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger."

"The righteous also shall hold on his way": Job, and other righteous people who find themselves in a similar situation, must remain righteous. If they do, Job knew, the suffering would produce strength (compare 2 Cor. 12:7-10).

The righteous man does not stop being righteous because problems come his way. He will hold fast to his belief in the face of all sorts of trouble. The Bible tells us that our trials come to us to make us strong. Those who patiently endure tribulation will become stronger and stronger.

Job 17:10 "But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find [one] wise [man] among you."

Job was not unteachable. He invited his friends to speak again if they had something wise to say for a change, but not to talk about his restoration because he was done (verses 11-16).

Job had listened to their accusations, and had been truly hurt by their lack of faith in him. He had risen above that and would not let their accusations bother him anymore. They were not wise, but fools.

Job 17:11 "My days are past, my purposes are broken off, [even] the thoughts of my heart."

My days are slipping away from me. Life is well-nigh over. What then, does it matter what you say?

"My purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart": Literally, the possessions of my heart all the store that it has accumulated. My desires, purposes, and wishes. I no longer care to vindicate my innocence in the sight of men, or to clear my character from aspersions.

Job was so weary and had faced so much suffering, that he felt his useful days were over. Job was even weary of trying to defend himself from the terrible accusations. His heart was broken.

Job 17:12 "They change the night into day: the light [is] short because of darkness."

My distressing thoughts, griefs, and fears, so incessantly pursue and disturb me, that I can no more sleep in the night than in the day.

"The light is short": The day light, which often gives some comfort to men in misery, seems to be gone and fled as soon as it is begun.

"Because of darkness": Because of my grievous pains and torments, which follow me by day as well as by night.

They had thoroughly convinced Job that he had no right to expect God to intervene in his behalf. He now was just waiting until the time for death. It seemed a cloudy day, when he was so controlled by the pain wracking his body. It seemed as if it was night all the time. He could not see a glimmer of hope (light).

Job 17:13 "If I wait, the grave [is] mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness."

Rather, surely I look for the grave (Sheol), as my house. I expect no return of prosperity, no renewal of life in a sumptuous mansion, no recovery of the state and dignity from which I have fallen. I look only for Sheol as my future abode and resting place in Sheol.

"I have made my bed in the darkness": Meaning I regard myself as already there, lying on my narrow bed in the darkness, at rest after my afflictions.

Job was so full of despair that he had given up hope of any miracles. He did not even expect to be restored to his old glory in this life. He was just sitting in his ashes waiting for death.

Job 17:14 "I have said to corruption, Thou [art] my father: to the worm, [Thou art] my mother, and my sister."

"To corruption": Hebrew; to the pit of corruption, the grave.

"Thou art my father": I am near akin to thee, as being taken out of thee; and thou wilt receive and embrace me, and keep me in thy house, as parents do their children.

"To the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister": Because of the same original, and the most strict and intimate union and conjunction between me and the worms.

He felt as if this disease was gradually doing away with his body. He felt the corruption of the disease all over his body. It was his constant companion. He was not complaining to God about the disease. He had accepted it as his lot. The mother and sister above, were speaking of his embracing this corruption. He had accepted it as his lot.

Job 17:15 "And where [is] now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?"

"Where is now my hope": Job's hope was in God alone.

Job was at the very height of despair. He had decided there was no hope for him anywhere.

Job 17:16 "They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when [our] rest together [is] in the dust."

"Pit": A reference to death, also used by our Lord (in Matt. 16:18).

He was convinced that his time for death was near. I believe his sadness was over not being satisfied that he had reconciled with God. Poor Job had no idea what sin he had committed to bring this terrible calamity into his life. He knew he must have done something terrible and had not gotten forgiveness for it, because he did not know what it was. He actually believed that he might wind up in hell.

Job Chapter 17 Questions

  1. What was Job saying in verse 1?
  2. What does "provocation" in verse 2 mean?
  3. Who were the mockers of verse 2?
  4. What was Job wanting from God in verse 3?
  5. What would that mean, if he got it?
  6. What did Job believe was the reasons for his friends not believing him?
  7. When had the friends flattered Job?
  8. They were _______ _________ friends.
  9. God had made Job a ________ of the people.
  10. Why is he a by-word to our generation?
  11. What does "tabret" mean?
  12. Why was Job's eye dim?
  13. What is everyone astonished of about Job?
  14. What is the least terrible thing we could call Job's friends?
  15. What will a righteous man do in the face of trouble?
  16. How had Job's attitude toward his friends changed?
  17. Job had become so weary and had faced so much suffering, that he felt he was about to ______.
  18. If I wait, the _______ is mine house.
  19. What did he call corruption in verse 14?
  20. When Job was at the height of despair, what question did he ask?

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Job 18

Job Chapter 18

Verses 1-21: In his second speech, "Bildad" decides he cannot reason with Job, so he seeks to scare him instead, reciting all the traps that are in place to ensnare the wicked. He considers Job one who will die the death of the wicked.

Bildad, like his predecessor, ruthlessly attacked Job in his second speech (compare chapter 8), by telling Job to stop complaining and to become sensible (verse 2). Next, he turned to scorn (verses 3-4). Then he turned to another long tale of the bad outcomes the wicked experience (verses 5-21).

In verses 1-4 Bildad takes offense at Job's description of him and his two friends in animal terms (12:7-12).

Job 18:1 "Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,"

"Bildad" argues that the law of retribution applies to all men, believing that Job's suffering is the result of personal sin. Thus, Bildad becomes frustrated with Job's self-defense. He believes that only the wicked suffer. He implies therefore, that all suffering is judgmental, assuming that Job is suffering because he is being judged for his sin.

Job 18:2 "How long [will it be ere] ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak."

How long shall we continue this dispute? Why do not you, my brethren, give over discoursing with Job, who is so transported by his passions, as not to be fit to be discoursed with? At least, forbear to proceed till both you and he shall better understand the subject?

"Mark, and afterward we will speak": Consider the matter better, and then we shall speak concerning it to more advantage. Or, inform us: make us to understand. Seeing you look upon us as ignorant and brutish men.

Bildad was very angry at the things that Job had said about his friends. "Mark" in the verse above, means consider. He was saying that Job talked too much. I would say again, these friends were no comfort at all to Job. They were a thorn in his already wounded side. In a sense he was saying, "Why don't you hush defending yourself"?

Job 18:3 "Wherefore are we counted as beasts, [and] reputed vile in your sight?"

"Are we counted as beasts?" Bildad is saying, "You've insulted our intelligence!"

Job had every right to speak of these so-called comforters as miserable, ungodly, and wicked. It would have been better, if they had just stayed home. Perhaps God allowed them to come and do this, so Job's fighting spirit would be stirred up.

Job 18:4 "He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?"

I.e. Job, of whom he speaks in the third person for the second (as Job 12:4; 16:7; Obad. 1:3). Or, O thou that tearest thyself! You complain of us for vexing you with our speeches, when in truth thou are your own greatest tormenter by thy own impatience and rage.

"Shall the earth be forsaken": To wit, by God? Shall God give over the government of the earth, and men, and things in it, and suffer all things to fall out by chance, and promiscuously to good and bad men, without any regard to his truth, or wisdom, or justice? Shall God forbear to rule the world righteously, as he hath hitherto done, in favoring good men, and destroying the wicked?

"For thee": I.e. for your sake; or to prevent your complaints and clamors.

"Shall the rock be removed out of his place?" shall the counsels of God, which are more firm and unmovable than rocks, and the whole course of his providence, be altered to comply with thy fancies or humors?

Bildad said some of the cruelest things that had been said up until this point. He accused Job of tearing himself as a child does when he is having a temper tantrum. He said that Job actually wanted God to change the forces of nature to suit him. He accused Job of wanting to be the center of attention.

Verses 5-21: A blistering speech on the woes of the wicked.

(In verses 5-6), light is associated with life just as darkness is associated with death. Since God is the Author of life. He alone can "light" a person's "lamp" (Prov. 13:9; Acts 17:25, 28). But Bildad's misguided point is that the Lord also snuffs out "the light of the wicked".

Job 18:5 "Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine."

"Yea": Depend upon it, the thing is true and certain, notwithstanding thy dissatisfaction and opposition to it;

"The light of the wicked shall be put out": All their glory and felicity shall perish.

"And the spark of his fire shall not shine": His light is but a spark, which shines briskly for a moment, and is soon extinguished.

Bildad began to speak of all the horrible things that await the wicked man. He thought Job was a very wicked man. Bildad was saying here, that all the splendor and blessings that had come to Job had been taken away because of his sin. He said that Job's fire and light had been put out. Job would not shine any more.

Job 18:6 "The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him."

Not the light of the eye, in the tabernacle of his body, rather the light of nature and reason in him. And when that "light that is in a man becomes darkness", as our Lord says, "how great is that darkness" (Matt. 6:23). But best of all it designs the light of prosperity in his house and family, which should be quite obscured.

"And his candle shall be put out with him": Which sometimes signifies the spirit of man, his rational soul, called "the candle of the Lord" (Prov. 20:27). Which, though it dies not when man dies, yet its light is extinct with respect to the things of this life. And all its thoughts and reasoning's are no more about civil matters, and the affairs of this world. In that sense, this light is put out, and those thoughts perish with him (Psalm 146:4). But more frequently it is used for outward prosperity, which if it continues with a man as long as he lives, as it often does, yet when he dies, it ceases and is no more. It does not descend with him into the grave, and he cannot carry it into another world, but it is put out in "obscure darkness" (see Job 21:17).

This darkening of the light of Job was extended to his family. It was saying the Light of the LORD would no longer be in any of Job's descendants.

Job 18:7 "The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down."

As a man in health can take large and strong steps, and travel in the greatness of his strength; so in prosperity he can and does take large steps in obtaining fame and reputation among men, in amassing substance to himself, and towards settling his family in the world. He is like one in a large place, and walks at liberty, goes in and out at pleasure, and none can control him. He walks in pride, and with a high and lifted up head, and with contempt of others, and his will is his law, and he does as he pleases.

"And his own counsel shall cast him down": As Ahithophel's and Haman's did, which issued in their ruin (2 Sam. 17:23). What wicked men sometimes plot and devise, with a view to their own good, and the injury of others, proves the destruction of themselves; when they have contrived to raise themselves upon the ruins of others. It has been the means of casting them down from the state and condition they were in, instead of raising to a higher, even down to desolation, and into the most miserable circumstances.

Job had great wealth and had controlled a wide area, before all of this calamity fell on him. Bildad said that Job would be in an isolated place where he could take only a few steps forward. He also said that Job would no longer have any influence on anyone.

Verses 8-10: A "net", a "trap", "and a snare" are used to catch birds and animals. According to Bildad, this is also how the wicked person rightly meets his or her demise.

Job 18:8 "For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare."

By his own choice, design, and actions.

"And he walketh upon a snare": Or, as the words may be rendered, runneth to and fro on the toils, and therefore must need to be entangled and destroyed. "The metaphor" says Heath, "is taken from a beast, which the hunters have driven into the toils. He runs hither and thither, striving to find a way out, but the net entangles him more and more, till at length it fastens upon him."

Bildad said that Job brought all of this upon himself by his sin. He was snared in the net he had set for others.

Job 18:9 "The gin shall take [him] by the heel, [and] the robber shall prevail against him."

"The gin" is a trap.

Job 18:10 "The snare [is] laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way."

Or, the noose is hidden for him in the ground. Six different kinds of traps or snares are mentioned. "The speaker heaping together every word that he can find descriptive of the art of snaring." The art had been well studied by the Egyptians long before the age of Job, and a great variety of contrivances for capturing both beasts and birds are represented on the very early monuments. We may conclude from this passage that it had also been brought to an advanced stage of excellence in Syria and Arabia.

A "gin" is a metallic sheet pounded thin, or a spring. This was speaking of a trap that was set at night to catch robbers and thieves. They would be held tight until morning when they would be apprehended. (Verse 10), is speaking of the two types. One above ground and one that was like a pit.

Job 18:11 "Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet."

Both from men, and from God, and from his own unquiet mind and guilty conscience.

"Shall drive him to his feet": Shall force him to flee here and there, and he knows not where. Being secure and safe nowhere, but pursued by terrors from place to place.

This was just saying that he had no peace of mind. Even imagined terrors made him very afraid, and caused him to run away.

Job 18:12 "His strength shall be hunger-bitten, and destruction [shall be] ready at his side."

By "strength" some understand his firstborn son (as Gen. 49:3). But it is not necessary to take it otherwise than literally.

"Destruction shall be ready at his side": Or, according to some, for his halting. Shall lie in wait for his tripping in order to overthrow him.

He would be hungry and have no food to eat. His strength had waxed away. When a person does not eat, he becomes very weak. This leads to total destruction.

Job 18:13 "It shall devour the strength of his skin: [even] the firstborn of death shall devour his strength."

"The firstborn of death": A poetical expression meaning the deadliest disease death ever produced.

This was just saying that the muscles of his body withered away. This was speaking of Job's disease, which they thought would automatically lead to Job's death.

Job 18:14 "His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors."

"The king of terrors": Death, with all its terrors to the ungodly, personified.

Bildad wished the worst for Job, because he thought he was such an evil man. The tabernacle here, could be speaking of the home of Job, which would generally have been a safe place. The king of terrors was speaking of death.

Job 18:15 "It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because [it is] none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation."

Or, "There shall dwell in his tent they that are none of his," or "which is no longer his". I.e., terrors shall dwell, or "which is none of his" may hint that it had been violently taken from someone else.

"Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation": As God rained fire and brimstone out of heaven upon the cities of the plain (Gen. 19:24), so shall brimstone be scattered upon his habitation to ruin and destroy it (compare Deut. 29:23; Psalm 11:6).

"It" would make you think this was speaking of the terrors. He was saying that Job's own house would be inhabited by terror. He was saying that God would rain down brimstone on Job's house for his sin.

Job 18:16 "His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off."

With tacit allusion to what he had said (in Job 8:12), and also to the destruction of Job's own offspring, which had already been accomplished.

"And above shall his branch be cut off": His children that sprung from him, as branches from a tree, and were his glory and beauty. These should be cut off; referring no doubt in both clauses to Job's present circumstances. Whose root in the time of his prosperity was spread out by the waters, but now dried up, and on whose branches the dew lay all night, but now cut off (Job 29:19). So the Targum, "his children shall be cut off out of the earth, and from heaven his destruction shall be decreed". Both clauses signify the utter destruction of the family of the wicked man, root and branch (see Mal. 4:1). It is a beautiful description of a tree struck with thunder and lightning, and burnt and shattered to pieces, and agrees with (Job 18:15).

It appears that Bildad was speaking of Job's ancestors being forgotten, and him not having any children to be his branches. We read of the tree which had no water at its roots drying up and dying.

Job 18:17 "His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street."

This is the doom which above all others is dreaded by the modern roamers of the desert (Compare also Jeremiah 35:19).

"And he shall have no name in the street": Much less in the house of God, still less in heaven, in the Lamb's book of life. So far from it, that he shall have none on earth, no good name among men. If ever his name is mentioned after his death, it is with some brand of infamy upon him. He is not spoken of in public, in a court of judicature, nor in any place of commerce and trade, nor in any concourse of people, or public assembly of any note. Especially with any credit or commendation; such is the difference between a good man and a wicked man (see Prov. 11:7).

Bildad was predicting that Job would not be remembered by anyone. We can tell that Bildad was speaking lies. Job was one of the best remembered people in the Bible. We can easily see from this, how false Bildad's predictions were.

Job 18:18 "He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world."

Hebrew: They shall drive him, i.e. his enemies, or those whom he hath oppressed. Or they whom God shall appoint to do it, whether angels or men. Or it is an impersonal speech, and to be rendered passively, as it is also (Job 7:3; Luke 12:20; 16:9).

"From light into darkness": From a splendid and prosperous life to disgrace and misery, and to the grave, the land of darkness and forgetfulness, as the following Scripture explains it.

Job was not dreading death as Bildad thought. Job would have welcomed death. Bildad was saying death would be forced upon Job.

Job 18:19 "He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings."

Neither son, nor son's son, or grandson. So the Targum, Jarchi, and Bar Tzemach; that is, he shall be childless, and have no heirs, successors, or survivors, to inherit his estate, or bear and perpetuate his name among the people of his country, city, or neighborhood. Bildad respects no doubt the present case of Job, who had lost all his children. But he was mistaken if he thought he should die that way, for he had after this as many children as he had before.

"Nor any remaining in his dwellings": Being all dead, or fled from them, through the terror, desolation, and destruction in them. Aben Ezra and Bar Tzemach interpret those places in which he was a sojourner or stranger. And Mr. Broughton; nor remnant in his pilgrimage.

At the moment that Bildad said this, it appeared that this part of his condemnation of Job might come true. Job's children were dead. Job had no idea that God would restore his children.

Job 18:20 "They that come after [him] shall be astonished at his day, as they that went before were affrighted."

Meaning "at the time of his visitation" (compare Psalm 37:13), "The Lord shall laugh at him, for he seeth that his day is coming;" (and Psalm 137:7), "Remember the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem," (i.e. the day of its overthrow).

"As they that went before were affrighted": His fate shall alarm equally his contemporaries and his successors, at possibly "the dwellers in the West and the dwellers in the East".

This may be the first indication of why Bildad attacked Job so harshly. He was frightened of the same fate coming to him, if he took the part of Job. Job is an astonishment to all generations.

Job 18:21 "Surely such [are] the dwellings of the wicked, and this [is] the place [of him that] knoweth not God."

Bildad's words throughout the chapter illustrate the power of words; in this case, their power to do further damage (Prov. 12:18). Job is obviously broken already, and here is Bildad, tearing him to shreds. Much of the Book of Job is a manual on how not to counsel, how not to help hurting people, why not to spend one's life criticizing.

"That knoweth not God": This describes "know" in a redemptive sense and is here applied to an unbeliever.

Bildad said the reason he said all of this was to show Job what came to those who knew not God. He believed that Job was chief among sinners. He believed that Job deserved all of this punishment and even more, because he was not of God.

Job Chapter 18 Questions

  1. What was Bildad angry about?
  2. What did "mark", in verse 2, mean?
  3. What does the author believe these friends have been to Job?
  4. What was Bildad saying to Job, in a sense?
  5. What did Job have every right to call his friends?
  6. Why do you suppose God allowed them to attack Job?
  7. What did Bildad accuse Job of doing in verse 4?
  8. The light of the wicked shall be ______ _____.
  9. Why did Bildad speak to Job of all the things that would come to a wicked man?
  10. Who was the darkness of the Light extended to in verse 6?
  11. Bildad said that Job ___________ all of this upon himself by his sin.
  12. What is the "gin" in verse 9?
  13. What was verse 9 speaking of?
  14. What are the two types of traps in verse 10?
  15. Verse 11 was saying that Job had no _________ of _______.
  16. What happens to a person when he does

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Job 19

Job Chapter 19

Verses 1-29: Job's response to Bildad's second speech was desperate. This is Job's second response to Bildad. The common charge of his friends has brought such grief to Job that he cries again for a mediator, and affirms his deep belief in the ultimate justice of Yahweh, even if His justice is revealed in the life to come. Job's words concerning His "Redeemer" and his belief in the resurrection of the body are among the most significant in the book.

(In verses 1-19), Job felt "strange" by God and abandoned by his "Close friends" and what remained of his "relatives". No one stood up to defend him. All that was once strong in Job's life, his family, his social standing, his wealth, his faith, was now broken and "removed".

In verses 1-5: Job began with the anguished cry that his friends have become defiant and relentless for mentors (verses 2-3), and they have had no effect on his dialog with the sin they imagine is present (verse 4).

Job 19:1 "Then Job answered and said,"

This chapter contains the highlight of the discussion cycles, since in it Job expresses the deepest faith possible for a believer in his day from the midst of the deepest despair.

Job 19:2 "How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?"

Job begins as Bildad himself had begun in both cases. His last speech had been so offensive and unfeeling that Job may well ask "How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?" Moreover, Bildad had infused a kind of personal malice into his charges, which Job felt most keenly, so that he is constrained to ask, "If indeed I have erred, doth not my error remain with myself? I alone suffer for it, and ye do not even sympathize or suffer with me."

We must understand that the three men that were tearing Job to pieces with their cruel accusations were supposed to be his friends. Bildad's attack of Job in the last chapter was the cruelest of all of them, up until this chapter. Cruel words spoken by people who are your friends can cut your heart out. It left Job more wounded than if they had thrust a sword through him.

Job 19:3 "These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed [that] ye make yourselves strange to me."

"Ten times" is an expression for "often" (compare 31:7).

It seemed their attack would never end. Job mentions ten times here. The sad thing was that they were not reluctantly reproving Job. They were viciously attacking his character.

Job 19:4 "And be it indeed [that] I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself."

If I have sinned, I myself suffer for my sins, and therefore deserve your pity rather than your reproaches.

He reminded them that he would pay for his own sins. They would not be held responsible for what he had done.

Verses 5-7: Job confessed that if God sent him friends like Bildad, who needs enemies? He feared there was no justice.

Job 19:5 "If indeed ye will magnify [yourselves] against me, and plead against me my reproach:"

Look and talk big, set up themselves for great folk, and resolve to run him down. Open their mouths wide against him and speak great swelling words in a blustering manner; or magnify what they called an error in him, and set it out in the worst light they could.

"And plead against me my reproach": His affliction which he was reproached with, and was pleaded against him as an argument of his being a wicked man. If therefore they were determined to go on after this manner, and insist on this kind of proof, then he would have them take what follows.

Job 19:6 "Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net."

Bildad had spoken a great deal about the wicked being snared by his own sin, and now Job, without actually quoting his words, or he uses a word for net that Bildad had not used, speaks to their substance. It is God who has taken him in His net and compassed him about therewith. This is the assertion he has made before (Job 16:7; Job 13:27).

They had shown Job no mercy at all. He reminded them that he was being punished by God for whatever it was that he had done wrong. It was not their duty to add to his pain and suffering. It appeared they thought if they could tear Job down, it would elevate their positions.

Job 19:7 "Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but [there is] no judgment."

To wit, unto God by prayer or appeal.

"Of wrong": That I am oppressed, either by my friends; or rather, by God, who deals with me according to his sovereign power and exact and rigorous justice. And not with that equity and benignity which he showed to the generality of men, and hath promised to good men, such as He knows me to be.

"There is no judgment": God will not hear my cause, nor pass sentence. Which I might reasonably expect from him; but he quite neglects me, and hath utterly forsaken me, and left me in the hands of the devil and wicked men. See the like complaints of other good men in the like case of desertion (Psalms 13:2; 22:2; 88:15; Lam. 3:8; Hab. 1:2).

Job declared that the sufferings he had endured were undeserved. He even cried to God about this, but it appeared that God had not judged this particular situation at this time.

Verses 8-10: Before his trials began, Job had been one of the most important men in the East. But this adversity had "stripped" him "of" his "glory", ruining his financial position and his standing in the community. He could no longer see what the future held ("darkness in my paths").

(In verses 8-21), Job rehearsed his suffering. God had closed him in, stripped him, broken him and turned against him (verses 8-12). His family and friends had failed him (verses 15-19), so that he was to be pitied because God had caused this to occur (verses 21-22).

Job 19:8 "He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths."

So that I can see no means or possibility of getting out of my troubles.

"He hath set darkness in my paths": So that I cannot discern what course I ought to take.

It appeared that God had blocked Job's way out of this trouble. There was no light to guide Job in his escape from this problem.

Job 19:9 "He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown [from] my head."

That is, of my estate, and children, and authority, and all my comforts.

"And taken the crown from my head": All mine ornaments.

Job had been glorified by God and man. He had prospered Job, because of Job's faithfulness. It was actually God who allowed Satan to take all of this away from Job. Job did not know about Satan, but he was staying faithful to God.

Job 19:10 "He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree."

Or, broken me down. Job compares himself to a city, the walls of which are attacked on every side and broken down. His ruin is complete and he perishes.

"And mine hope hath he removed like a tree": Rather, torn up like a tree. Job's "hope" was no doubt, to lead a tranquil and a godly life. Surrounded by his relatives and friends, in favor with God and man, till old age came and he descended like a ripe shock of corn (Job 5:26), to the grave. This hope had been "torn up by the roots" when his calamities fell upon him.

Job had been strong. He was established. Now it appears he had lost all hope.

Job 19:11 "He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as [one of] his enemies."

He hath stirred up his wrath against me of his own accord, without any provocation of mine, human infirmity excepted.

"He counteth me unto him as one of his enemies": I.e. he uses me as sharply as if I were an inveterate enemy of God and of all goodness, though he knows I am and have ever been a hearty lover and servant of him.

Job could have stood the calamities much better had he known where they had come from. His worst hurt was believing that God's wrath had been poured out upon him. He wanted to be God's friend, and he felt that God counted him as His enemy. His loss of his close relationship with God was the worst hurt he had.

Job 19:12 "His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle."

"Raise up their way against me": In the ancient world conquering armies often had their own road crews level out the rough places so that their military forces could attack.

Job felt that God had sent His troops against him. He believed they had encircled him and there was no way out.

Job 19:13 "He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me."

I looked for some support and comfort from my kindred and friends, but they were so astonished at the number and dreadfulness of my calamities that they fled from me as a man accused of God. And as for my neighbors, who formerly much courted my acquaintance: they keep aloof from me, as if they had never known me. As we must see the hand of God in all the injuries we receive from our enemies, so likewise in all the slights and unkindness we receive from our friends.

Since early on in the book of Job, we have not heard of any family of Job. Even his wife has not been heard of, since she suggested that Job curse God and die. It appears that everyone had left him that could. They possibly thought they might be punished along with Job if they stayed.

Job 19:14 "My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me."

To wit, to perform the offices of humanity and friendship which they owe to me.

"Have forgotten me": I.e. neglect and disregard me as much as if they had quite forgotten me.

Those who had come to Job's house for the great celebrations he held had left. They did not want to catch Job's illness.

Job 19:15 "They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight."

Even those of his house, male and female, his servants, guards, retainers, handmaids, and the like, looked on him and treated him as if unknown to them.

"I am an alien in their sight": Nay, not only as if unknown, but "as an alien," i.e. a foreigner.

Job 19:16 "I called my servant, and he gave [me] no answer; I entreated him with my mouth."

Astounding insolence in an Oriental servant or rather slave, who should have hurried to serve his master's words, and striven to anticipate his wishes.

"I entreated him with my mouth": Begging him probably for some service which was distasteful, and which he declined to render.

The only reason the servants and the maid had not left, was because Job was their master. It appears even they had lost respect for Job. They probably thought like Job's friends, that Job was being punished by God for his sins.

Job 19:17 "My breath is strange to my wife, though I entreated for the children's [sake] of mine own body."

I am become so loathsome that my wife will not come near me, though I have conjured her to do it, by the dear memory of our children, those common pledges of our mutual love.

"I entreated for the children of my body": Which may mean, as interpreted above, for, or by the memory of our children, namely, the children now dead. The general interpretation here supposes that Job's breath, by reason of his sores and ulcers, was so offensive that his wife could not bear to come near him.

This was saying that Job had extremely bad breath from the disease he had. He had lost the loving tenderness of his wife, because of the terrible odor accompanying the disease. Everyone avoided him, because of this terrible disease and the awful odor that accompanied it.

Job 19:18 "Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me."

Or, fools; the most contemptible persons.

"I arose": To wit, from my seat, to show my respect to them, though they were my inferiors. To show my readiness to comply with that mean and low condition, into which God had now brought me. Or, I stood up; for so this word sometimes signifies. I did not disoblige or provoke them by any uncivil and uncomely carriage towards them, but was very courteous to them.

"And they spoke against me": And yet they make it their business to rail against me, as you also do.

The children were probably saying out loud, what their parents had said against Job in private.

Job 19:19 "All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me."

That is, my intimate friends: the men of my counsel who are familiar with my secret affairs.

"Whom I loved are turned against me": Sincerely and fervently, which they so ill requite. He saith not, they who loved me; for their love, had it been true, would have continued in his affliction as well as in his prosperity.

The inward friends were probably speaking of the friends that he had as counsel. He had loved and trusted the three friends that had attacked him so brutally with their tongue.

Job 19:20 "My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth."

The "skin of my teeth" is a well-known phrase, referring to skin that is thin and fragile. The idea is that he had escaped death by a very slim margin. The loss of all his family, as well as the abuse of his friends was added to the terror of God-forsakenness which had gripped him.

He had lost so much weight that his skin seemed to be stretched over his bones.

Job 19:21 "Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me."

Job, in his limited perspective, was convinced "the hand of God ... touched" him. The opening chapters of this book show differently.

Job was appealing to his friends and family to have pity upon him. It was hard enough to endure the terrible things that had happened to him, but was even harder when he had no one in sympathy with him.

Job 19:22 "Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?"

Why are ye as hard on me as God himself? If I have offended him, what have I done to offend you?

"And are not satisfied with my flesh": That is, with the consumption and torment of my whole body. But add to it the vexation of my spirit, by grievous censures and reproaches. And are like wolves and lions, which are not contented with devouring the flesh of their prey, but also break their bones.

Job was asking his friends and family to not add to his suffering.

"In my flesh" (verse 26) speaks of a resurrected body. Though it may also be translated "apart from my flesh," as a spirit being, the emphasis of the original means "from the standpoint of my flesh," in my resurrected body. Here then is clear evidence of the Old Testament belief in the resurrection of the human body.

In verses 23-29 we see Job at his greatest despair, but his faith appeared at its highest as he confidently affirmed that God was his Redeemer. He wanted that confidence in the record for all to know (verses 23-24). Job wished that the activities of his life were put into words and "engraved in the rock," so all would know that he had not sinned to the magnitude of his suffering. God granted his prayer. God was his Redeemer (compare Exodus 6:6; Psalms 19:14; 72:14; Isa. 43:14; 47:4; 49:26; Jer. 50:34), who would vindicate him in that last day of judgment on the earth when justice was finally done (Jer. 12:1-3; John 5:25, 29; Rev. 20:11-15).

Verses 23-27: God has humiliated Job (verses 8-12), his friends and relatives have abandoned him (verses 13-20), and he has been reduced to pleading for pity (verses 21-22). But from the depths of degradation he expresses the confidence that if his case could only be recorded for posterity, future generations would judge him favorably (verses 23-24). Furthermore, he knows confidently that he has a "Redeemer" (verse 25, Hebrew goel), One who will champion his cause and vindicate him. The Redeemer is more than an arbiter (9:33) or a witness (16:19) but a Kinsman-Redeemer who will avenge him. Clearly, Job viewed God Himself as the Redeemer, and the Hebrew word is in fact used often of God (Psalm 19:14; Isa. 41:14; etc.).

Job 19:23 "Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!"

Some understand this to refer to the words he is about to utter; by others they are interpreted generally. The former view is probably owing to the Christian acceptation given to them, and the consequently great importance attaching to them. Since, however, the three verses (Job 19:25-27), are manifestly more emphatic than any he has yet spoken. Though they do not stand quite alone, there is no reason why it should not be especially these very words which he desires more than any others to have recorded. Perhaps the "now" here shows this.

"Oh that they were printed": This points us to primitive time, when writing materials and the use of writing involved more or less of engraving. For instance, in later times was the case with tablets of wax.

Job 19:24 "That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!"

A peculiar kind of rock-inscription, of which, so far as I know, no specimens remain, appears to be here alluded to. Job wished the characters of his record to be cut deep into the rock with an iron chisel, and the incision made to be then filled up with lead (compare the mediaeval "brasses").

I believe the words that Job was speaking of that he wanted written down were the ones he was about to utter. They were so important, I agree with Job, they should be engraved in stone.

Verses 25-26: Job had no hope left for this life, but was confident that "after" he was dead, his Redeemer would vindicate him in the glory of a physical ("from my flesh"), resurrection in which he would enjoy perfect fellowship with the Redeemer. That Jesus Christ is that Redeemer is the clear message of the gospel (see Luke 2:38; Rom. 3:24; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12).

We are not told how Job knew this, but in his heart, God placed this confidence, one of the Bible's most triumphant statements of faith: "I know that my redeemer liveth, and" ... He shall stand at the latter days ... I shall see God". Redeemer means "a go-between", or "one who will ransom." As hopeless as life seems, and as awful as death can be, none of it is the end for those who know the Lord. A day is coming when God Himself will vindicate all of life's suffering.

Job 19:25 "For I know [that] my redeemer liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth:"

Rather, but I know. This is now something higher to which his mind rises.

"My Redeemer liveth": "Liveth" means more than is, exists. Job uses the word in opposition to himself. He dies but his redeemer lives after him.

"And that he shall stand in the latter day": In the days of the Messiah, or of the gospel, which are often called the latter or last days, or times (as Isa. 2:2; Hosea 3:5; Joel 2:28; compared with Acts 2:17; 1 Tim. 4:1; and 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:1). Or at the day of the general resurrection and judgment, which, as those holy patriarchs well knew, and firmly believed, was to be at the end of the world. For this was the time when Job's resurrection, of which he here speaks, was to take place.

I believe Job was speaking of the Redeemer (the Lord Jesus Christ). "Liveth" is a word that means continues to live. He was speaking prophetically of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Jesus Christ), who stands in the latter days upon the earth. Notice that Job said "know". There was no doubt as far as Job was concerned. Job had fulfilled the Scripture in Romans that says:

Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

Job had professed his faith in this.

Job 19:26 "And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body], yet in my flesh shall I see God:"

Meaning not, that after his skin was wholly consumed now, which was almost gone, there being scarce any left but the skin of his teeth (Job 19:20). The worms in his ulcers would consume what was left of his body, which scarcely deserved the name of a body. And therefore, he points to it, and calls it "this", without saying what it was. But that when he should be entirely stripped of his skin in the grave, then rottenness and worms would strip him also of all the rest of his flesh and his bones. By which he expresses the utter consumption of his body by death, and after it in the grave. And nevertheless, though so it would be, he was assured of his resurrection from the dead.

"Yet in my flesh shall I see God": He believed, that though he should die and decay into dust in the grave, yet he should rise again. And that in true flesh, not in an aerial celestial body, but in a true body, consisting of flesh, blood, and bones. Which spirits have not, and in the same flesh or body he then had, his own flesh and body, and not another's. And so with his fleshly or corporeal eyes see God, even his living Redeemer, in human nature. Who, as he would stand upon the earth in that nature, in the fullness of time, and obtain redemption for him. So he would in the latter day appear again, raise him from the dead, and take him to himself, to behold his glory to all eternity. Or "out of my flesh", out of my fleshly eyes; from thence and with those shall I behold God manifest in the flesh, my incarnate God. And if Job was one of those saints that rose when Christ did, as some say, he saw him in the flesh and with his fleshly eyes.

Job was saying though this disease killed his present body and he died, he would arise in a new body to meet God.

Job 19:27 "Whom shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me."

These words might mean merely, whom I myself shall see; or, for myself may mean, favorable to me, on my side and to my joy.

And mine eyes shall behold, and not another": i.e. "not the eyes of another." I myself, retaining my personal identity, "the same true living man," shall with my own eyes look on my Redeemer.

"Though my reins be consumed within me": Which may be considered as a passionate exclamation, such as we find (Genesis 48:18 and often in the book of Psalms), arising from his confident expectation of this his unspeakable happiness, and expressing his vehement desire and longing for that blessed time and state.

Every eye shall see Him. Job was looking to that great and glorious day, when we shall all meet God. He was not speaking of a vision or of a dream. He was speaking of reality. We are all restrained at present from such an encounter. There is a day when Job and all who believe, shall behold Him.

Verses 28-29: Job warned his friends that their misjudgment of him and violence against him could bring punishment on them.

Job 19:28 "But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?"

Rather, if ye shall say "how shall we persecute him?" That is to say, "If, after what I have said, ye continue bitter against me, and take counsel together as to the best way of persecuting me, then, seeing the root of the matter (i.e. the essence of piety) "is found in me, be ye afraid," etc.

The statement that Job had just made should have stopped all of the persecutions from his friends. If it did not, it would be because of their lack of understanding, and not because of anything Job was guilty of.

Job 19:29 "Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath [bringeth] the punishments of the sword, that ye may know [there is] a judgment."

Not of the civil magistrate, nor of a foreign enemy, but of the avenging sword of divine justice. Lest God should whet the glittering sword of his justice, and his hand should take hold of judgment, in order to avenge the wrongs of the innocent. Unless the other should also be considered as his instruments.

"For wrath brings the punishments of the sword": Or "sins of the sword". The sense is, either that the wrath of men, in persecuting the people of God, puts them upon the commission of such sins as deserve to be punished with the sword, either of the civil magistrate, or of a foreign enemy, or of divine justice. Or else the wrath of God brings on more punishments for their sins by means of the sword.

"That ye may know there is a judgment": That is executed in the world by the Judge of all the earth, who will do right. And that there is a future judgment after death, unto which everything in this world will be brought to light, when God will judge the world in righteousness by Christ. Whom he has ordained to be Judge of the quick and dead; and which will be a righteous judgment, that none can escape. And when, Job suggests, the controversy between him and his friends would be determined. And it would be then seen who was in the right, and who in the wrong. And unto which time he seems willing to refer his cause, and to have no more said about it. But his friends did not choose to take his advice; for Zophar the Naamathite starts up directly and makes a reply.

Job was speaking of the sword of God which would destroy his friends, if they happened to be persecuting an innocent man. We all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. This judgement is just. There will be those who thought they were in right standing with God who will not be accepted. Job was warning his friends to be careful how they judged. They will be judged as they had judged.

Job Chapter 19 Questions

  1. Who were vexing and tearing Job to pieces with their accusations?
  2. Who had been the cruelest so far?
  3. How many times did Job say they had reproached him?
  4. They were viciously attacking Job's _____________.
  5. He reminded them that ______ would pay for his own sins.
  6. Why were they tearing Job down?
  7. Job declared that the suffering he had endured was _________________.
  8. Who had Job been glorified by?
  9. In verse 11, what hurt Job the worst?
  10. Who were estranged from Job?
  11. How had Job's servants treated him?
  12. Why had Job's wife not comforted him?
  13. What had those who Job loved done to him?
  14. What was he asking for in verse 21?
  15. What did Job desire would be done with his proclamation of belief?
  16. I know that my redeemer __________.
  17. When shall he stand upon the earth?
  18. Who was Job speaking of when he said redeemer?
  19. What does "liveth" mean?
  20. What great and glorious day was Job looking forward to?
  21. What effect should the statement Job just made have on his accusers?
  22. What sword was Job speaking of?
  23. Why should they be careful how they judged?

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Job 20

Job Chapter 20

Verses 1-19: Zophar's second speech focuses on two key ideas: the prosperity of the wicked is short, and his doom is sure.

"Zophar" describes the fate of the wicked in his second speech: they have their "short" times of "triumphing". There may be "passing pleasures of sin" (Heb. 11:25), but judgement is coming. Job's spiritual experience did not line up with Zophar's rigid expectations, so Job was branded a "wicked man".

Zophar spoiled it all again for Job with his second and last speech (compare 11:1-20), in which he admonished Job again to consider the fate of the wicked.

Job 20:1 "Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,"

Zophar retorts with yet greater vehemence than before, and assumes a more ornate and elaborate style, still reiterating the former burden of the speedy doom of the wicked man.