Prologue and Introduction. Job lived in a land called Uz. He was married and had seven sons and three daughters. He was very wealthy, being a landowner, farmer, and a man of very high repute in the community. He was a judge and lawyer. He was in fact “the greatest man in the East’’. He feared God and shunned evil. His piety made him sacrifice offerings to God, not only for the sins of his family which where obvious, but for those sins they might have committed in their hearts unknowingly. The prologue to this amazing book tells us that there was a day when the “sons of God’’ [A.V.] came to present themselves before the Lord. One of them was Satan. “Where have you been ?” asked the Lord “I have been roaming up and down and around the earth” replied Satan. “Have you noticed a man called Job” said the Lord “there is no one like him on the earth. He fears God and shuns evil. He is blameless. [A.V.-’’perfect’’]’’ “Ah’’ said Satan, “does he do that for nothing? Is it not in his own interests to be like that? You have a protective hedge around him, and you bless everything he does and has. That is why he is prospering so much. But if you were to take away his material wealth, he would then curse you to your face.’’ “So you think so,’’ said the Lord. “very well, then I will give you permission to do as you wish with his possessions but do not lay a finger on Job himself.’’ So Satan set out to attack Job. Later. on one particular day, disaster struck from four different directions. A hostile tribe called the Sabeans attacked Job’s oxen, while they were ploughing and carried them off, together with the donkeys and they killed all looking after them Fire came from heaven and burned up his sheep, the shepherds, and the servants except the one who told the tale to Job. The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and took his camels and killed the servants And while his sons and daughters were having a party at the eldest brother’s house, a whirlwind struck and the house fell on them all, killing the lot.
CHAPTER TWO Prologue continued. When Satan next appeared before the Lord, he was questioned about Job again and God was not slow to point out that Job had not cursed God to the face. “Ah skin for skin” said Satan, ” a man will give all that he has for his own life. So stretch out your hand and touch his body and then he will curse you to your face’’ “Very well” said the Lord ” you can have access to his body but you cannot take away his life’’ So Satan afflicted Job with painful sores from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. He scraped them with a piece of pottery as he sat amongst the ashes. What a pitiful picture ! Like a prince on a dung-hill. Job’s wife, in good health, said to him. “Why do you hold on to your integrity, why not curse God and die.’’ Job replied, “You stupid and “sinful” woman. Shall we just thank God for the good things, and not accept trouble?’’ But Job did not sin or speak resentfully to God in all this. Now Job had three (lawyer) friends who heard of his trouble and they joined together to visit Job, but when they first saw him they didn’t recognise him. So they wept and tore their robes in sympathy and sprinkled ashes on their heads. They sat down with Job for seven days and seven nights without saying a word, for they saw how great was his suffering. Their names were Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar
Chapter 3. Job’s first speech. It would have been better if I had never been born. The day should have been scratched from the calendar, the sun should not have risen that day. Someone should have put a curse on that day. My mother should have been sterile, or I should have been still- born. If that had been the case I would not have been suffering today. I would have been in that place where both kings and slaves, rich and poor all lie down together in rest. All the kings ever lived for now lies in ruins. (Has any life a purpose?) Rich or poor, they all finish the same. It does not seem right that life should finish up like this and people have to live in misery as I am. Why should people have to suffer, why should they not be allowed to die, to end their misery? Some people think their misery in life is due to lack of riches and they long for them, I think that my misery would end with death, and I long for that. But God has me hedged in and I can’t even escape through death. Why should I have to live like this. Instead of food? I live on a diet of sighs and groans. I had always dreaded that this kind of thing might happen to me. Now it has happened, I have no peace, no rest, only trouble and turmoil.
Chapters 4-5. Eliphaz replies to Job Why are you so discouraged Job? You have often helped and given advice to others in similar distress, so why not take your own advice?, If you are as righteous as you maintain then you know that God will not cause a blameless and pious man like you to perish. But don’t blame God, you infer that He is guilty and you are innocent; I had a dream last night and this ghost-like spirit spoke to me saying “Can a mortal man be more righteous than God?” If God finds error in his angels, how much more those who live in houses of clay, who can be here one day and gone the next. If you don’t get wise, Job, you will be like that. You can call as much as you like, pray to every saint there is, but you’ll get nowhere. Such resentment that you show is that of a fool. I have seen such people before trying to maintain a settled and prosperous life, but you have to face the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect life. A man is born to trouble as sparks fly upwards. Resentfulness will eat you away if you continue like this. The best thing you can do is call upon God. He is a God of wonders and miracles. He lifts up those who are lowly and who mourn. He thwarts the crafty plans of evil men and brings disaster upon them and their plans He defends the poor against the powerful, and brings justice for the poor. What is happening to you now is a correction direct from God. Do not despise this correction from the Lord, for it is a blessing to have such discipline. For God may wound but he will bind up and heal. He may send many calamities but he will not destroy you. They are for a purpose to prove his faithfulness and protection. Then you can overcome and understand all the troubles of life. So if you respond to this discipline and call upon God , then he will change the situation and your prosperity will return and many children will be born to you, and they will stand around your death bed and grave like sheaves at harvest time. What we are telling you Job is true, so do what we tell you.
Chapter 6 - 7. Job’s second speech. If my suffering could be weighed so that you could measure it, you would see it as the sands on the seashore. You might think that I have been speaking out of turn. Is it any wonder that I feel the way I do? It is as though God has shot a poisoned arrow into me and the poison is sinking slowly into my body. He has a whole army of terrors arrayed against me. It is all pointless suffering to me. If a donkey brays, and he gets what he wants, then he stops braying. Is it too much to ask for death, then I will stop moaning. There is no quality in this kind of life. There is as much quality in a life of suffering as there is flavour in the white of an egg. If God were to slay me at least I would die happy in the knowledge that I had not denied him or his words. How long can I go on like this, am I made of stone. I don’t think I have such strength, and I have no worthwhile friends who can strengthen me either. They remind me of streams that turn off and on like a tap, but they turn off just the time you need a drink. They are like the streams in the mountains which flow with plenty in the winter when the snows melt, but in the summer which is just the time that the weary caravan traveller turns up to the mountains to find a refreshing drink, they are all dried up. Have I ever asked a penny off any of you before? Now that I need you, you’re unwilling to give. Show me where I have gone wrong. Your arguments don’t prove that I have done wrong. Can’t you accept my testimony as true? Your arguments prove nothing. You don’t even listen to me. You are a heartless lot. You might as well throw a dice to decide my fate or deserved judgement. Look me straight in the eye. Would I lie to your face. My honesty is at stake here. I haven’t much left, so don’t rob me of that please. Don’t you think that I know what it is to speak maliciously towards God? Is there any wickedness in what I am saying? You cannot deny that man has a raw deal at times from God. He is like a boss, I am but his labourer. The labourer is completely at the mercy of the boss. He needs the money so he can’t get out of whatever burden he is told to carry. But at least he knows that he will knock off at the appointed time. I am just the same, but all I am asking is that the clock would come round to the knocking off time from this burden carrying he has given to me, then I will get some rest. I’m not saying that he hasn’t the right to put it upon me, just saying that he ought to let me knock off work quickly. I lie awake at night my skin is full of festering sores and cuts. Every movement feels as though my skin is cracking from me. The short relief that daylight brings is soon gone, for daytime passes like a weavers shuttle and the long slow nights of pain come again. O God hear me, Look at me. I am but a breath from death. That breath is like a vapour, it can soon disappear never to be seen again. I could be gone from this awful scene. You wouldn’t have to look down upon it any more. I would be then be gone, out of your sight, never to return. I cannot keep silent. Life is not worth living like this. Even when I sleep I suffer, with nightmares. I’d prefer to be strangled. What do you find so fascinating about man? Why do you watch me all the time? If I have sinned, then why don’t you tell me? What have you seen in me that you disapprove of? Why are you getting at me like this? If I’m a pain in the neck to you, or you just can’t stand the sight of me, then I am sorry. Why not forgive me, then let me die and you will have done with me and then you wouldn’t see me even if you looked? Chapter 8. Bildad Speaks; How long are you going to talk like this?, you are nothing but a big windbag. Do you think God twists things around to suit his own ends. Your children died, because they sinned, and as for you, if you would swallow your pride and plead with God he would restore, if you are pure and right, your future will prove secure and the past prosperity will seem like nothing. It is obvious that you weren’t all you appeared to be. The old teachers will tell you, after all we are only young compared with them. Hypocrites are like reeds or bulrushes growing without water, they wither even as they are growing. The hypocrites life is as fragile as a spiders web, or a plant which might be blooming healthily till the day comes when it is uprooted out of the ground and another is put in its place. It appears that such things have happened to you. but if you’re not a hypocrite, then God will intervene. He will not turn his back on good people, nor will He help the wicked. If you repent and confess to God your sin then He will make you happy again and those at present mocking you will themselves be mocked.
Chapters 9 - 10. Job’s third speech. What you are saying, may well be true, but do you think that a mortal man can influence God in his favour, if the Almighty God is not inclined to be so. (It would be as a child trying to convince by argument a man of 70 yrs old.) God’s wisdom is so far above ours that in debate with him we would not answer one question in a thousand that he might put to us in cross examination.. No man would escape unscathed from such a war of words or arguments, in an attempt to convince Him of justice. His power is also far greater. (Man with God is as a mouse contending with an elephant. ) We are completely at His mercy. When I am angry I might kick over a stool, but God overturns mountains. He shakes the earth like a child shakes a rag doll. He can stop the sun and stars from shining. He stretches out the heavens like a man unrolls wallpaper. (if he was a decorator he could paper the heavens) A few steps takes him across oceans. His miracles and wonders are numberless. The great constellations in the sky are the work of his hands such as The Bear and Orion. If He passed by and snatched something, who would dare to stop him and say “Hey what are you doing?” I could not find words to question him about my loss. They would be as an insult, compared to his wisdom and power. Though innocent he could well increase my punishment if he so desired. The next storm could crush me and increase my misery further. Arguing with Him in such a way would no doubt cause me to be guilty. When I am summoned to give judgement for my people I go, but who could summon God, if he did not want to come. You say that God treats the wicked and the blameless differently, but I say you are wrong. That is not always the case, and often we have seen the innocent plundered by invading enemies, or cast into despair by sudden death, but God does not help them. He could, and he sees what is going on, but he stands by like a mocking onlooker. When wicked people take over a country, the judges of the land must be blindfolded for such a thing to happen. Who blindfolds them if it is not God. So the wicked survive and flourish under His oversight. I speak in such a way because my days are without any worth or meaning, and my life passes without any moment of joy. I know you think I should change and get out of this depression, but what if I do wash myself down and buck myself up. with a hearty “hey- ho” and a smile, will that remove my dreadful illness? And you will always count me as guilty as long as I am ill. So if I buck myself up, so to speak, you wont change your opinions of me. I could scrub myself with scouring powder, but I would never make myself pure before you, you will still find reason to say I am dirty, so long as I am ill. It is useless arguing about it anymore.. I get nowhere with you and there is no point arguing with God. It is not like arguing in court with a fellow human being, when oneargues with God. If only there was a man who could arbitrate between us, an ombudsman who could lay a hand on God and the other on me, so that we might communicate. Then perhaps he might remove his rod of affliction and I would not be so afraid to speak my case, but as it is I have no way to do that now.
Chapter 10 Job Continues. I have nothing to live for, so I will speak out and let God know how I feel. I will ask why he is oppressing me and what I have done wrong. “I know you are God and I am but a mortal man and there is no-one who would be able to rescue me from your hand. I have always been in your hand. I am the work of your hands, you moulded me like clay. But for what reason or purpose did you make me ? Was this your original intention, this suffering? Has this been hidden in your mind or heart since my birth? If I was guilty of wrong I would expect your punishment, but guilty or innocent, it makes no difference, we all have to accept affliction from your hand. I am as a lion being stalked, if I lift my head you will shoot me. I will not argue with you, but keep a low profile. Things are bad enough but now You have set my friends as your witnesses against me, for they say I am guilty. One thing after another confirms your anger against me. I would rather not to have been born than to have finished up like this in your bad books. The last thing I wanted was to displease you. Could you not grant me a few moments of peace and then let me die?
Chapter 11 . Zophar Speaks; “If no one will speak up and silence this talker, then I will. How can you dare to banter with God and tell him that you are pure in his sight. How I wish God would speak,, and tell you something about wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. He could show you the other hidden side of the coin. Perhaps he would tell you about your sins which you obviously cannot see and therefore you think don’t exist. I guarantee that there are so many that God has forgotten some. “How can you understand why God has done this, indeed how can you understand any of his mysteries. They are higher than the heavens and deeper than the seas. Whatever He does to you, you can’t say it’s wrong. If He puts you in prison you can be sure you are guilty. So stretch out your hands to Him and ask forgiveness, He will surely change your situation and all this will be water under the bridge. This is your only hope, for the wicked who don’t repent, are without hope’’.
Chapters 12 - 14. Job’s Fourth Speech. When it comes to wisdom, you chaps take the biscuit. You’ve got the lot. So you seem to think. You talk as though you are the repository of wisdom. When you die, it sounds as though wisdom will die as well, for you have it all. ! But I know all that you know. In fact everyone knows what you know. You look down on me, just as everyone looks down on me, simply because of my misfortune. That’s how life is, people always look down on the misfortunate, especially if they themselves are at ease. They laugh at me because I am the man who believes that God answers prayer, but I am the one who is suffering while the wicked are undisturbed as they go about their evil ways. Although you would think that whatthey do would provoke God into action against them. But it does not. Yet God in his wisdom and power has acted against me. You say that this is not true, but you could ask the birds or the fish, and they would tell you that everything that happens on this earth is done by the hand of God. In his hand is the life of every creature. (He’s got the tiny little baby in His hands.) If the dumb animals have such knowledge, then we who have lived so long with human intelligence surely have acquired equal wisdom, to know such things. I have seen throughout my years, how helpless man has been against the acts of God. What He tears down, non can rebuild, He causes floods and droughts. No matter what position of power a man may have, God can reverse their position just as he wishes, Counsellors, Judges, Kings, Priests, Elders, and Nobles can all be humbled and made to look foolish by the hand of God. Nations also are subject to his power. Leaders of nations can be turned into mad men, groping about like drunks in the dark. I know that God can do such things and I have seen him do such things throughout my life, and He has totally reversed my position of respect and authority. All I want to know is why he has done it to me. You reason the case for God by making false accusations against me. God knows what you are saying is false. (I am not saying that God hasn’t the right or power to do as He wishes, for He always does as He wishes, but I also believe that there must be a very good reason for Him doing such things to me and I simply desire to know why, in his infinite wisdom He has done this.) If you are trying to comfort me then you are a joke. If you were doctors you would be quacks, with quack medicines. As for wisdom, the wisest thing you could do would be to shut up. (I’ve seen more wisdom on a toothbrush.) When you speak for God, you show partiality. You know, I know and God knows that partiality is not just, and in God’s sight is wickedness. ( God does not thank you for defending Him, He does not need you to defend Him, especially with lies.) Would that the tables were turned on you and God tried you. His legal splendour alone would terrify you. He would soon see through your lies and falsehoods. The things you say in defence against my arguments would prove to be defences of clay. I am so sure of my righteousness that I would willingly take my case before Him, for I know He is a just and righteous God. I know also that He has the power to wipe me out quite arbitrarily, but even then I believe I would still have a future hope.. In fact my desire to defend my case face to face may turn out to prove my innocence because no godless or guilty person would surely think he had a chance to fool God. I maintain that God can find no-one who can charge me with having done anything wrong. If He can then I will shut up and accept my penalty. So I call upon you, O God and ask two things. Take away these terrors with which you are frightening me, and then call me to stand before you. Then show me what I have done wrong against you. Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? You blow me about like a leaf in the wind, but why would you want to be bothered with the dead and dry. like chaff. Is it that you now are making me pay for the sins of my childhood?Have you been after me since then? Have you kept tags on me by placing marks on the soles of my feet? Why do you bother, for I am just like any other man. We grow old and waste away like rotten vegetables or like an old rag eaten by moths. We live lives full of trouble and though we have our days of flowering, we soon wither away like a passing shadow. Will you bring such a useless being before you for judgement. What do you expect of man. There’s no way he can be anything approaching what would satisfy you. You have already numbered his days, so you have him well under control, so why don’t you leave me alone. Count me as a boss looks on his worker. Wait till I have finished the job and have knocked off as it were, from this life. Then you can get me out of your way. For man has no hope after death. A tree cut down may sprout new branches, but when a man dies he is like a dried up river bed, with no hope of life. If only I could hope for future life after death. If only the grave was a kind of temporary hiding place, then you could call me from the grave. Perhaps leaving me there for a set time and then remembering me. Is that possible ? Is that what you will do? Will man live again? Surely you will long to see your creatures again? ( Yes, in my spirit I believe you will.) I will wait for you to revive and renew me. You will call me to yourself. You will remember my days without recalling my sins. My sins you will cover up by sealing them in a bag. (Man without sin in your presence) If that is not to be true, then man has nothing to live for. At death you will destroy him once and for all and remove from his face this one glimmer of hope that he might hold on to. Otherwise he sees no plan or purpose in this life that you have created. It is not sufficient for Him to think that his only purpose in life is to produce more life. For what if he leaves sons after him who are honoured, he won’t know anything about that will he? All he will have known is the life of pain that he has known. ( Then that doesn’t say much for any great plan and purpose of life, does it?)
Chapter 15. Eliphaz Speaks; “How you can talk so foolishly and call it wisdom, I do not know. Where do you get these vain ideas from? Are you older than men? You are contradicting what all the learned men have said since the beginning. It is sin that makes you talk as you do as you undermine piety and devotion to God. To say that such men suffer as do the wicked is foolishness. Are you older than all men? have you more wisdom than our fathers? were you the first man ever born? Do you listen in on God’s council? I have spoken to you gently as the voice of God and you fly off the handle with me. Why do you get carried away in your speeches and why do your eyes flash. It is against God you vent your anger. How can you possibly profess to be pure. No man on earth is pure. Even angels have displeased God, how much more we mortals who drink evil like water. With my own eyes I have seen Gods punishment upon the wicked, confirming that wise men have taught us throughout the ages. We know how tormented in mind and body are the wicked who shake their fist defiantly in God’s face. It is because they know that darkness and desolation awaits them. No matter how fat and prosperous they are, they will come to an untimely end like a vine stripped of unripe grapes, so will all their riches be removed, before they have had a chance to enjoy them.
Chapters 16 -17. Job’s Fifth Speech How long will you go rabbiting on? Is there something wrong with you? May be it is you who needs the doctor. If I was in your place I could speak hard and long to you, but I wouldn’t. I would encourage you. You depress me. Some comforters you have turned out to be. How can you comfort with misery? I have heard enough words I am weary with speaking. I am as man in court. God has bound me up, and my condition seems to endorse my guilt. I look the picture of guilt. God glares at me in his anger, [like a fierce judge]. Men stare in condemnation. They join forces against me. They slap my face, they mock me. God has given me over to evil men. I was doing well till God set me up as a target to aim at. His arrows have struck my kidneys and made my gall spill onto the ground. I have dressed myself in sackcloth and wept till I have no more strength to weep. My face is red and rings circle my eyes. I have no witness to call or speak for me among men. But I call Heaven and Earth to be my witnesses. Let the Earth never forget my agony suffered unjustly.
Chapter 18 . Bildad Speaks; Job be sensible, you are treating us as though we were animals. While at the same time you are tearing yourself apart, do you think we are stupid ? You think you are right and the rest of the world wrong. You are like a man tearing himself to pieces on the rocks and mountains who expects the whole earth to be cleared and flattened and the rocks removed just to stop him suffering. You are bringing all this on yourself. Must God change every moral law in the world to justify you. Its absolutely obvious you must have done wrong, only wrong-doers suffer. They fall into their own traps, falling as they grow weaker. Every where they turn disasters and terrors await them. It is the wicked who suffer illness and lose their homes in which they foolishly felt so secure. They are like trees ravaged by drought and disease, when they die no-one remembers them. From the east to the west their fall amazes men who see it, but that is what becomes of evil men who deny the laws of God, who may in fact think they know God, but do not.
Chapter 19. Job’s Sixth Speech. How long will you go on tormenting me, with your false accusations. Anyway, even if I had gone astray, it would have nothing to do with you. ( My integrity is not because of social pressure, nor am I righteous because of what you or others might think. My righteousness and integrity is unto God and God alone,) You think you are above me, because I am sick and you are healthy. But it is not because of my sin that I am sick and all these calamities have come upon me, it is God, who has done it all. Why don’t you see that and comfort me? He has drawn his net around me. He has blocked my way so that I can make no headway. That is the reason I am getting nowhere. I pray but get no answers. He has sent darkness on me, stripped me of honour, removed my crown, uprooted my hopes, treated me like an enemy and laid siege to my tent. He has caused those once close to me to keep away. My friends, my guests, and my servants have all turned against me. My servant ignores my commands. My wife can’t stand the smell of my breath. My family can’t stand the sight of me. Children mock me and my nearest and dearest have turned against me. God has reduced me to skin and bone. I am alive- just about, as though by the skin of my teeth. If God has done all this surely you can have pity on me? Or are you hounding me because you want my flesh as well. Oh that my words could be recorded. That they were written or carved out on stone or engraved in metal; then at a future date they would be proved true, for I know that one day everything will be sorted out, and I will be vindicated.; I am certain that there is One who will redeem this situation. My heart within me yearns and tells me it is true, That my redeemer is alive and at the end of all this on the Last Day he will stand on earthly soil and vindicate me and redeem my situation. After my skin and bones have gone then I shall see God in the body. I shall see Him with my own eyes. Oh how the spirit stirs my heart to say such things. You can continue hounding me and trying to prove my guilt, but one day judgement will come. and you will be found to be the guilty ones with all your false accusations, and then you will receive your just rewards.
Chapter 20. Zophar Speaks; 2nd Speech. “You can laugh and sneer at us Job, but everything we’ve ever been taught has confirmed that the wicked may laugh for a time but their laughter soon turns to wailing. The wicked may have pride that reaches to the heavens, but they will perish in the earth like their own dung. They will disappear like a dream. The evil he has feasted on, God will cause him to vomit it up, because he has oppressed the poor and evicted them from their houses. The money he has made won’t help him when God turns his anger against him, like spears and arrows cutting him down, heaven will expose his guilt and earth will rise up and a flood will carry him away. These are the proverbs and sayings we have learnt and we know them to be true’’.
Chapter 21. Job’s Seventh Speech. Just do me one favour at least will you? Give me at least one consolation. Please just listen to me. Because so far you haven’t listened. When I have spoken then you can carry on mocking some more. You accuse me of being impatient. Don’t you think I have every cause to be. I am not dealing with man, I am dealing with God. If it was with a man I could easily find him and face him. But I can’t take such initiative with God. I shudder almost to say such things as I am going to say now, for I never thought I would say such things. What I am about to say may astonish you, but it is the truth. They may be things opposite to what we have all been taught and all have believed but I must say these things even though I am almost in dread of saying them. We have always believed in God, and that He dispenses justice to men according to their deeds. But isn’t it a fact that we see much in life that seems to indicate that this is not so. Be honest, is this not true? Do not the wicked prosper? Is it not true that their children live happily around them. Their homes are safe and no judgments from God fall on them. They and their families dance merrily through life, right on to the grave. They mock at spiritual things and say, “we don’t want God, we want money in our pockets. While we’ve got money, how do we need to serve God.? What need do we have to pray? But who gives them their prosperity if it isn’t God? I know it’s God, but they don’t. But they don’t have to spend time thinking about their beliefs and philosophising about life. As far as they see it, it doesn’t make any difference whether they believe in God or not. You have all sorts of clichés and maxims about the wicked. You say that the “lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out” and ” that God allots his anger against the wicked’’. But how often do you see that happen? If your honest, you’ll admit it is seldom. How often are they “like chaff before the wind”? How often do they see a man struck down by God. It is so seldom, that when it happens they don’t believe it is God’s doing. We argue that a man may not receive his punishment in this life but that his children will suffer. But where is the justice in that ? Why should the guilty get away with it and the innocent suffer because of the guilty? As lawyers we know that is as far from justice as the man in the moon. The father who does all the sinning doesn’t even see the end result of his sins, borne by his children.. If ever we could literally say “God knows what’s going on in this earth’’, it is now, because if we see it, God must see it also So we are not sinning against Him to say such things, even though it might seem to reflect on His justice. But it is not for us to question what the great creator chooses to do. We may not understand all that He allows and why, but it is not wrong to state facts as they exist. We don’t have to patronise God or show partiality in trying to defend Him. Nor have we to repeat maxims which are lies to pretend that everything in the garden of life is rosy and all neat, fair and square. For life is not fair and square. But we can say that it is how God determines it to be. He know best; with Him is all wisdom. All are still under His control. He judges rich and poor alike. In the end we all get the same wages whether we are rich or poor. We all die and lie in the same dust. We all get to the same place in the end. I know that when you see my home and property in ruins, that you think it is the judgement of God on me, but ask anyone who has travelled the world a bit and ask them about whether life is fair and if all get their just rewards or not. All over the world people prosper who are ungodly. In fact they are honoured by other people. No-one ever rebukes them. Their riches make them respectable and respected. They go to the grave in peace and even after death their names are honoured. So you cannot console me with your idle narrow minded talk. What you are left with in this argument are lies and untruths.
Chapter 22. Eliphaz Speaks; 3rd Speech How can you think that God is affected by your so called righteousness. He is far above men, like stars in the heavens. He gains nothing from you even if you are wise and righteous There can only be one possible reason for your sickness. Anyone could write a long list of your sins which have brought this suffering upon you. You took clothing from your fellowmen as deposits for loans. To the hungry and weary you refused food and water. Though you had all the riches and power to help them You refused to help widows and orphans from your vast riches. That is why you are suffering now. You thi k that God hasn’t seen all this. Will you live as they did before the flood. The people then were like you, wealthy, but they didn’t acknowledge that their riches came from God. Gold was their God, as it became yours. That is why you did not feed the hungry or look after the widows and the fatherless? So why don’t you acknowledge this and repent? God will restore your prosperity, and begin to hear you again instead of being silent as you say He is. In future you can help the poor and downcast, to lift them up. That is how God wants you to use your wealth in the future’’.
Job's final speech chs 26-31
Chapter 26-27 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 of what he does. Goodness knows what He could 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. Man is ingenious enough 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 from, 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. Their sons 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 in other’s 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.
Chapter 32-33 Elihu Speaks. ( Speaking, so he thinks, “on God’s behalf”.) I know I am the youngest here, and it is not with a little trepidation that I address such a learned body of men. However I must say that I have been very disappointed at the amount of real wisdom spoken by anyone of you. But having the breath of God in me I can and will express that breath and thus speak on His behalf. I will show no partiality or flatter anyone with my words None of you has answered Job’s questions, so I will not repeat what you have said, for it is obvious that you have run out of words whereas I feel that I will burst if I cannot make my thoughts known. It must be God himself bursting forth from within me. So pay full attention to what I am going to say, and Job, let me reassure you that you have no need to fear me, for I have no axe to grind, and I am but a man like yourself. You said, did you not that you were without sin yet God was against you. For a start Job that is a complete impossibility, for God to be against the righteous. Also you say that God will not answer you, but that is not true either. For God speaks to men in a thousand ways. He speaks through dreams or visions, premonitions, even through disasters at times. For by such things men change their way or direction and sometimes are saved from death. Sometimes he speaks through sickness, even as in your case , so that your flesh wastes away to your bones, and you are brought near to death. But then He might send a messenger, or a mediator, just as you were praying for to bring you a message, just as I am coming to you now. Such messages are sent to save you from death and that you might be restored to health and prosperity once more. So then you will be able to testify to the goodness of God, who has forgiven your sins and restored you because you have repented. So then God does speak, sometimes in one way, sometimes in more than one way. So listen to me carefully. If you want to speak, then speak, if not listen because there’s more. Chapter 34. Now then you wise men, give me your ears and I will fill them with wisdom, for your ears need wisdom like your tongue needs food. Job has come to you in great need , but in spite of all you have said, you have been of no help and your words have been like water on a ducks back. He has echoed the beliefs of sinners, in that he has said that it doesn’t make any difference if a man pleases God or not, when it comes to suffering on this earth. It is unthinkable that the One who governs this world should be as unjust as that. If He wished he could remove the breath from every living creature. However he does reward men for their deeds , whether they are good or evil. Man gets his just deserts. To say otherwise is just not true. He judges men without fear or favour and shows no partiality to rich or poor, kings or peasants. They all have the same end which is death. His judgments cannot be questioned by men. We may not think that what he does is fair, but He is the only one who really knows what has gone on in a person’s life. He sees through the darkness as well as he sees in the light. He knows every single thing or action a man has done. So when it seems unfair, it is just that he has seen things hidden from us. He does not need to show himself, for He knows what is going on. He hears the cry of the poor and he notes the oppressors. So man should repent and ask God what He has seen, for he has surely seen something. Why should you tell God he is wrong Job, and refuse to repent? Listen on wise men, Job deserves all that is coming to him. He scorns our advice and waffles on like a fool. There are vast and varied opinions in the world about suffering. Everyone seems to have their own philosophy.
Chapter 35-36 Job says that if he could set his case before God face to face that God would clear him of any guilt, and he also says that there is no profit in being righteous, for God does not reward the righteous. I want to answer these two statements. Listen to me carefully Job. As far as your righteousness is concerned, first of all, let me tell you that God is not affected by whether you are righteous or not. He is far too great and mighty to be affected by what you or any man would do. The only people affected by your righteousness or wickedness is your fellowmen. The rewards of righteousness or wickedness are administered by men. When the wicked are doing very nicely because they are exploiting their fellowman, they don’t call upon God or thank him for their riches and good living. But when they are on the receiving end of some other man’s exploitation and they themselves are oppressed, then they begin to call upon God for justice or to intervene, because they claim they are innocent. But God does not answer them or help them because he knows they are arrogant and he knows that they totally ignore God when they are prospering at the expense of their fellowman, but soon start crying for help and justice when things are reversed. You say that you want to face God and put your case to him, now that you are oppressed. Do you know who you are talking about? He is not likely to listen to you, if you have said such awful arrogant things against Him, accusing Him of not punishing the wicked.
Chapter 36-37 Let me tell you some more, about this great and mighty God who you think you can meet face to face and talk with. Though God is mighty and powerful He does not oppress mankind, on the contrary He is good to man. He certainly sees the righteous, and even when the wicked receive the just rewards of their sins and they are afflicted, God wants them to repent of their evil so that He might restore their prosperity. Sometimes the wicked don’t repent and they build up resentment against God, by blaming him for their affliction. Their resentment makes them continue in their wickedness, like those who are dying in homosexual ghettos. But even as they die God is speaking to them, hoping for their repentance. Don’t you become like them Job. Don’t become resentful against God, because he has taken away your prosperity. Perhaps you might be tempted to make yourself rich again by taking bribes as many in your position do. They favour the wicked exploiters when they give their court judgements, so that people are dragged from their houses in the middle of the night. Don’t you get mixed up in all that wickedness. I fear that you might land up like that as you seem to prefer evil to affliction, by continuing to maintain that you are innocent, in the face of God’s hand of punishment upon you. Consider the greatness and awesomeness of the power and wisdom of God. Just consider how he governs the weather throughout the heavens. Every man on the earth is under the control of these conditions. This is how He governs the nations of mankind. By his miraculous powers and great knowledge he sends rain which provides food for mankind. In this he shows his love. But when sending the rain we see something of his greatness. The lightening flashes and his voice sounds out like thunder. When he thunders with his voice the rain obeys, either to send a shower or a downfall. What men propose, God can easily dispose of, by sending rain. Rain stops play! He forms snow and ice and also with these controls the activities of men and animals. No man knows how God does such things, for his knowledge is far above that of man. He is like the sun, for we cannot even look at him, so how you think you can speak with him and present your case face to face, I don’t know, to me it is utter foolishness. In the light of this awesomeness and great power, He does not unjustly oppress men although it is easily in His power to do so. On the contrary, He is good to men. Especially those who fear Him. You speak of wisdom Job. God expects men to be wise enough to revere Him. That’s the wisdom you need Job.
God's reply and Job's final response
Chapter 38-39 God Speaks. God asks Job 70 questions. Here's some of them listed. 1. Who is this that speaks words without knowledge, and casts a shadow over my wisdom.? 2. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? 3. Who marked off the dimensions? 4. Who stretched out the measuring line? 5. Who laid the corner stone and what were the footings set on? 6. Who set the limits and boundaries for the sea and wrapped the clouds in darkness 7. Have you ever given order to a morning or dawn to shake the world and remove the wicked from their place 8. Have you ever travelled to where the sea has it’s source or have you plumbed it’s depth? 9. Have you seen the gates of hell? 10. Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? 11 Have you yet seen all the surface of the earth. 12. Where does light come from? 13. Where does darkness live. Surely you are old enough to remember when light and darkness were made? 14. Have you ever seen my storehouses of snow and hail (which I keep ready for times of war or trouble.) 18. Where does lightning come from? 19. Where does the east wind start? 20. Who spreads the rain through it’s channels around the earth. Making areas blossom that would otherwise be desert. 21 Does the rain have a father? 22. Does the morning dew have a father? 23. Is ice born like men 24. Who is the mother of the frost which causes lakes and seas to freeze.? 25. Are you big enough to wrap up Pleiades? 26. Can you wrap up Orion or set it free? 27. Can you move the stars around at the appointed time, the Bear and it’s cubs for example? 28. Do you know the Laws of the Heavens? 29. Can you cause them to operate on earth. 30. Could you take a shower by speaking to the clouds.? 31. Are the bolts of lightning at your beck and call? 32. Who gives wisdom and understanding to men? 33. Who waters the dry soil like with a watering can? 34. Is it your job to feed the lions? 35. Who provides for the raven which looks for food for it’s young.? 36. Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? 37. Do you ever see the doe have her fawn? 38. Do you see it through it’s pregnancy? 39. Do you know when it is due to give birth? 40. Who gave it’s freedom to the wild donkey? He is able to roam the wastelands and salt flats that I have allotted to him and he is able to laugh at commotions in the town. Such freedom.! 41. Is it dependent on you to maintain it’s freedom? 42. Could you domesticate the wild ox. Consider the ostrich. it may not seem to have many brains, for she lays eggs where people could walk on them. How does the species survive, being such a terrible parent. When she runs however, men on horseback could not catch her. 43. Do you give strength to the horse, with it’s snorting nostrils, as it goes bravely into battle fearing neither spears arrows or lances? 44. Does the hawk fly south at your command? 45. Does the eagle fly so high at your direction. That which lives in cliffs and rocks and can see it’s food from a great distance, thus feeding it’s young on carcasses
Chapter 40. Will the one who had a case to set before the Almighty now speak to put the Almighty to right,? Job answers in repentance. I have nothing to say for I am unworthy to speak. The Lord continues.; Why do you discredit my justice? Why do you justify yourself by condemning me? If you put on your legal robes would your splendour match mine? Is your arm as strong as mine? Is your voice as powerful as mine? Let’s see your might and fury to bring the proud low, crush the wicked and bring them to the dust. If you can then I will believe that you have enough power to save yourself. Have you ever taken a good look at Behomoth.? He feeds on grass. He has great strength in his loins, and great power in the muscles of his stomach. His thighs are like tree trunks, and his sinews tight; bones like brass and limbs like iron. He is the greatest of all God’s creatures, yet God can approach him. He gets his food from the hills as wild animals play nearby. He lies hidden by the stream, among the lotuses and poplars If the River Jordan floods he is not alarmed Who can capture him? Who could trap him in a net by the nose?
Chapter 41. And what about Leviathan? Could you catch him as easily as you catch a fish, as God could. He is not likely to bow to your power. If you ever tried to enslave him, would you ever get him to have to ask you for mercy, or even to settle for a draw.? Could you turn him into a pet for young girls to play with? It takes you all your time to tame puppies or catch fish. If you managed to fill him with harpoons you couldn’t catch him. If you took him on you would definitely regret it. You would have no chance of beating him. Even the sight of him is too much for you. With all your ferocity you couldn’t even get him to stir, so how do you think you might stir me.? Who would think that I owe him anything, that I should have to give account for my actions with words. Take a look at the physique of this great mammoth. Who could bridle his mouth, or even dare to open his mouth with all those giant teeth.? His back is of shields tightly sealed together. He sneezes out fire and light from his mouth and nostrils. With his breath he can set coal alight His chest is as hard as granite. The mighty are terrified by the swashing of his tail. A sword is useless against him He swallows spears and javelins with contempt. Hitting him with a club is like stroking him with a straw. When he moves he leaves a trail like a ploughed field. When he splashes into the sea , the sea looks like a boiling cauldron. He stirs the sea like you stir porridge. His wake makes the sea as though it had white hair. Nothing on earth can match his power and majesty. He looks down on all, totally unaffected by anything that man does. His sovereignty is undeniable. No matter how proud and mighty man may make himself, he still has to bow to the superiority of this great monster, of my creation.
Chapter 42. Job’s final reply; I know Lord that you are just the same. So powerful and mighty that you can do anything you wish to do. I had no right to even question your ways or expect you to regard my complaints. Truly I spoke foolishly and out of turn. You have confronted me as I asked and I have seen you as I asked, but you are so great that what I have seen has reduced me to nothing. I am sorry for the way I spoke and regret not having just kept silent, as true faith and humility would act. I am reduced to nothing and repent in dust and ashes. (Have your own way, Lord.)
Finally the Lord addressed his anger towards Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, for not speaking the truth concerning Himself as Job had done. They were told to go to Job and there offer sacrifices of seven bulls and seven rams for themselves, and that Job would pray for them. Job’s prayer was accepted by the Lord. ( a change of attitude for Job towards his friends) Later Job’s prosperity was returned to Him., twice as much as he had before. All his relatives came to eat at his house and each one gave him a sum of money and a gold ring. His later years were blessed more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep and six thousand camels, two thousand oxen and a thousand donkeys He had a further three daughters and seven sons The daughters were called Jemimah, Keziah and Keren. They were the best looking girls in the country, and though it was usual for only the sons to get an inheritance, Job granted them one as well. Scripture says that Job lived on another 140 years and saw his children through four generations, and then... surprise! surprise! . he died.