Chapter 25. Bildad Speaks; “Job, there is only one way to regard God and that is with the awe and reverence that his Majesty demands. As surely as man cannot equal God in any way, just as surely man cannot be righteous before him. Every man is born of a woman, how can a man be pure before the eternal God ? The stars with all their brightness are not even pure in the light of his eyes. How then can a man who by comparison must be as a maggot whose father must be as a worm?
Chapter 26-27. Job’s Final speech A lot of help you are I must say, you are useless as comforters. Certainly you have been of no use to me. You haven’t said one thing that is of any help or consolation to someone in my situation, in fact I wonder where you get some of your ideas from; you must be inspired. How you think you understand the ways of God, is a mystery to me. He is far beyond man’s comprehension. His wisdom and power are greater than ours, as the heavens are above the earth. Nothing is a mystery to him. He doesn’t have to make up ideas and draw conclusions from bits of evidence. He sees everything and knows everything. Nothing is hidden from him. Even darkness is light to Him. Death and destruction are nothing mysterious to Him, He knows exactly what they are, where they are, why they are and anything else we would want to ask about such mysteries. His wisdom is as great as his power, for the exercise of such power is done in wisdom. How does he hang the stars in space or cause the world to be suspended on nothing. To be able to do this requires wisdom as great as his power. He makes water into clouds, but how does He stop the clouds from bursting, except by wisdom as great as his power. He stops the light of the moon by using the clouds, He sets the boundaries between light and darkness. Consider His power and wisdom in destroying the monster Rahab. By power He churned up the sea, but it was by wisdom he destroyed the monster just as if he had killed it with a sword. For He simply changed the prevailing weather conditions and the gliding serpent could no longer exist. But all that is but a whisper in human ears, of what he does. Goodness knows what He would be up to if He was making a noise. If sometimes you can’t understand what a man is able to do, then there is no chance that you are going to be able to understand what God decides to do. For He has surely decided to make me taste this bitter experience through this denial of justice. What you are saying, seemingly on God’s behalf, is tantamount to wickedness for you are speaking things not true. I know that what you are saying is untrue and I will not let go of my integrity by agreeing to such things as long as I live. Nor will my conscience ever condemn me. You count me to have received the reward of the wicked. I would that you might receive your reward for your wickedness. Then see how long you would call upon God, when you found He did not answer. I continue to call, even though I get no reply. But the wicked don’t continue to pray. As for these maxims and proverbs you endlessly quote, concerning how God deals with the wicked, don’t you think I know them all as well? So why this continual stupid repetition of them. I can tell you about the power of God against the wicked just as easily as you think you can tell me. How God punishes the ruthless man and even his descendants suffer because of his wickedness, through plague or starvation.. How the wicked man “will not enjoy his riches but another will get them’’ etc. How his house will fall down over night and his wealth will disappear over night. He will be carried off to the grave as though by a sudden flood, or east wind. But when you apply all that to me you are talking nonsense, of that I am certain. I should know. You are talking foolishness, because you don’t know all the facts of the matter. (How can a man utter wisdom with limited knowledge. What is required here is wisdom. But alas where can wisdom be found?)
Chapter 28. Classic chapter on Wisdom Let me tell you about wisdom. God has invested in some men, such ingenuity, so as to have been able to discover the mineral riches that God hid in the earth when He created it. From the same ground that he produces food, he has been able to dig deeper and find all sorts of wonderful treasures in minerals. He sometimes moves far from his home and then digs a shaft into the darkness below ground and swinging on a rope, he chisels out sapphires and nuggets of gold from the earth. The birds fly over the same ground but don’t recognise the treasure, even eagles can’t see it but man is clever enough to discern the rocks and follow rivers to the place where the treasure is to be found. It is as though he can see through the rock into the darkness and bring such things to light. Jewels, gold and copper, he can find, but where can he find wisdom? Not only can he not find it buried in the earth but he can’t buy it in the market place either. Even if it was found, what could man buy it with? It couldn’t be exchanged in the market for corals or jasper or crystal, not even gold or silver would be appropriate currency of exchange for it. It is far beyond the price of rubies. Yet we know it exists, but where does it come from? Where is this great jewel called wisdom hidden. Not a living creature knows where it is hidden. The great powers of death and destruction know nothing of it. God alone knows where it is, He alone knows everything that is on the earth and in the earth. Nothing is hidden from Him. Without such sight and insight true wisdom is impossible. Furthermore, before He created this world and assessed the plans of life, He approved them in his wisdom. To us who know few of the facts it may be foolishness but to him who knows all about everything forever, and knows the end from the beginning, the plan is approved. To God it is wisdom. However, He has given man a hint about how to find wisdom. He has told us that the beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord and to shun evil is true intelligence.
Chapter 29-30. Job looks back on how things used to be; How I long for the good old days when I was in my prime and knew the blessing of God in my life, when there was no confusion and the answers to the problems of life were clear and plain as black and white. True, I had my dark days then, but God was as a light unto me. Those days when with my children all around me, I was healthy, wealthy and wise, and God was to me as an intimate friend. Then I was held in high esteem by all, and when I went to the chambers of the justice hall, young men stepped aside in respect for me, old men stood to honour me. I took place of honour among the chief men and leaders of the council of justice. The rich and the famous were eager to hear my advice. I was esteemed by all. The poor looked up to me, knowing they would receive justice and the widows counted me as their champion. Dying men blessed me and trusted me with their affairs. My robes of office could well have been called righteousness and justice. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame, in my efforts on behalf of the underprivileged. I rescued the fatherless from the power and grasp of evil creditors who wanted to destroy them. I thought then that life would continue in such pleasant vein, and I was destined to die healthy in my old age, and my memory be held in deep respect. Men gave full attention to my words, and in debate they always gave me the last word. None dared speak after me or would gainsay me. I was the staff of life to many of them and a smile from me made them feel honoured. I ordered their lives and they loved me for it. I was as a king among my subjects. But now, how different and terrible things are now. Young people mock and skit me; Children whose fathers I have known, and who I would not have let look after my dogs, for they were the dregs of society. They used to scavenge like animals, when they were banished from the town as outlaws. Even the sons of such people, compose pop songs about me, and I am the butt of their jokes. They see that my power has gone and now they are free from restraint, and even spit on me. They know that I am unable to repay them. I am as useless as a bow with a broken string. God has broken it. I am become the target for all, and as a town defenceless against the attacks of tribes who overwhelm and conquer them. My life ebbs away, I lie helpless in agony and pain. I am as a scarf taken from God’s neck and thrown in the mud. I cry out to you again O God, but you do not answer. I stand up in public and pray, so that all may witness my prayers and the honour of your name, but I still fail to get your attention. You toss me about in the wind like a leaf. You no doubt will take me down to death, as any other man. Will you do nothing to help the helpless? Did not I help the helpless, was not I a saviour to others in their distress. Yet there is no-one to help me or be my saviour. In fact the very opposite has happened; things have gone from bad to worse. I am reaping what I have not sown. For light, I get darkness, within me there is constant churning, my skin is black but not through sunbathing, it peels and burns as in a fever. The only music I can make is a funeral march of mourning and wailing.
Chapter 31-32. So this is my lot in life, in spite of the fact that I have lived a morally upright life. I have not so much as looked upon another woman, let alone be immoral in this respect. For I have always known what God expects of man. Nothing is hidden from his eyes. Is it not in man’s interests to live according to that which God has handed down to him. Would it not be ruinous to depart from the moral code? God has witnessed how I have lived. Let Him weigh my life in his scales of justice and let his judgement fall upon me; If I have gone astray in will, mind or heart, then let others eat my harvest and let my crops be uprooted. If I have been unfaithful to my wife or even played with the idea, then let another man have my wife, and let her be taken by other men. If I have been unjust to my workers or exploited them, then how will I answer to God? Have I not always counted all men equal? Have I ever refused to give to the poor? Has a widow ever asked for help from me in vain? Have not I shared my bread with the fatherless? Have not tramps been clothed with the fleece from my own flocks? Have I ever exploited my legal position, robbing those who I know would have no legal redress? If I have done such things then let God be my judge, let him cut my arm off as punishment. But I would not dare to do such things, I would fear God’s retribution too much, knowing as you do, what He does to the wicked. If I have put my trust in riches rather than in God, or if I have ever had so much as a thought to worship the sun or the moon, then such unfaithfulness to God would be deserving of judgement. If I have ever rejoiced over the misfortune of others, even my enemies, or wished evil upon then, then let me receive due punishment. Any member of my household will tell you that I have never turned anyone away from my door, the stranger has always received food and shelter. Nor have I ever done anything behind closed doors of which I would be ashamed. O that God would hear this my final plea for mercy. Here O God is my final plea, as a signed written defence statement. Send me your summons; make known your allegations against me. I would be overjoyed to receive it in the next post. I would wave that summons like a banner, I would wear it like a crown upon my head, I would approach your throne of judgement with my head lifted high, like a prince I would make my approach. If you convict me of evil then let your sentence be carried out in judgement. If my land cries out from the furrows made by the workers I have exploited. If I have not paid fair wages to my labourers or broken the spirit of my tenants with rents they could not pay, then let this reversal be and continue. Let briers come up instead of wheat. Let me reap what I have sown, for I would have sown weeds where I thought I had sown barley, so let me reap weeds, but let it be certain, that I reap exactly and only and justly that which I have sown. I rest my case.