Saturday, November 9, 2013

CCIV - Finishing Job - Chapters 38-42

{If you have read the entire book of Job, you will have already found that there are three parts of the book.  The first part (chapters 1-2) tells what happened to Job; how Satan had afflicted Job to the limits God allowed.  The afflictions were tremendous.  The second part, which we have just finished was a rather lengthy series of conversations Job had with his friends, most of which were unpleasant for him.  These conversations filled chapters 3-37.  Now we get to the third and final part, which is more than just an epilogue.  God actually speaks to Job in the presence of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu.}
In review of the last post, Elihu spoke for a very long time, covering six chapters.  Although his speeches were eloquently delivered and much of what he said was correct, his tone was provocative and accusatory toward Job.  I’m certain Job would have had some words in response to Elihu, but in the very next chapter, God Himself speaks.

Chapter 38  -  God Speaks

The opening verses set the tone that will extend through God’s entire speech.  It is a reality check for Job and his friends.   Verse 2 says, “Who is this that obscures My plans with words without knowledge?”  He goes on to tell Job to brace himself, because the next few moments are going to be difficult.  God stated that Job was speaking about things he could not possibly understand.  I like verse 4:  “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”  Let’s look back to Genesis.  When God created everything on and in the earth as we know it, man came last.  When the foundation was laid, man did not exist, therefore any knowledge to have been handed down did not exist.  God comments on the creation, then in verse 7 He speaks of the celebration that took place after He completed it.  {This is not unimportant.  God’s creation which took six days was so magnificent that the entire heavenly host (angels) broke out in celebration.  This is the earliest account of the heavenly choir bursting out in song.  It must have been beautiful to hear.}  God goes on in the chapter to make Job aware of just how little he knows.  In verse 21, we detect a bit of sarcasm.  Remember, God's existence dates back into eternity past.  Job has been in existence for only about forty years, which is smaller than the blink of an eye in relationship to eternity.  God says in this verse, “You have lived so many years!”

Chapter 39

God continues His speech to Job with a series of simple questions, many asking Job to explain about how animals do the things they do, i.e. how do bears know when to wake up after hibernation; how do birds know when to go south for the winter; why do oxen submit themselves to servitude to man; why does an ostrich lay her eggs on the ground, in harm’s way; how does an eagle see a five-inch rodent from a distance of half a mile.  All of these rhetorical questions exposed Job and his friends for their lack of knowledge.

Chapter 40-41

God points to Job as His accuser.  God then demands Job to speak.  Job humbles himself, confessing total inferiority, placing his hands over his mouth, which suggests that he has nothing to say that could be worthy of hearing.  {In Job’s speeches to his friends, he was very self-confident that his wisdom went beyond theirs.  God spoke so that Job’s wisdom could be exposed as miniscule.}  But God is not finished.  Verses 7-14 are rather difficult to read.  God is asking Job how he would run the world if it was up to him.  Then God goes in to a monologue about two animals.  One being a behemoth (hippopotamus), then the leviathan.  {Most scholars have said this leviathan is a crocodile, but to me, it sure sounds like a dragon.  Check out verses 18-20.  You might be saying to yourself that dragons never existed.  Really?}

Chapter 42

Verses 1-6  -  Job’s Confession

Job had listened to God’s words.  He realized his error.  Job was a good and wise man who allowed his emotions to affect his words, and actually made him complain about God.  But now Job sees the error of his ways and humbly asks for God’s forgiveness.

Verses 7-17  -  Job Is Restored to His Former Self

In the following verses God refers to Job’s friends, speaking directly to Eliphaz.  {I think Eliphaz was the oldest of the four.  Although there are exceptions, God generally honored the oldest as being the leader.}  God told him that He was angry with all four of them because they had misrepresented God’s thoughts.  He went on to instruct them on their path to atonement for their words, and that they would be fully forgiven only after Job prays for them.  {Note the shift back to honoring Job and his past life.  God places the four friends in the hands of Job.  I always at this point remember that Job spoke out of a state of extreme pain and grief.  His friends could not make that claim.}  They obeyed God’s instructions.  Job indeed prayed for them and God accepted his prayer, thus forgiving each of them.  In verse 10 it says that God gave Job twice the fortune he had before Satan was allowed to enter his life.  All of his extended family had joined him and his wife in celebrating Job’s deliverance, with a feast and the giving of gifts.  In verses 12-14 we see that all of Job’s possessions were doubled, but he was blessed with the identical number of sons and daughters as he had before.  Before I end this study of Job, I want to draw your attention to verses 14 and 15.  Herein is a rare tribute to daughters more so than sons.  Very rare indeed.  The Scripture specifically states the names of the daughters, but the names of the sons were not given.  It also specifically states that the daughters would be given equal inheritance with the sons.  {Not to belabor the point, but Hebrew writings never did this.  This is the only such occurrence to my knowledge.  Is it significant?  EVERYTHING in the Bible is significant.  If you have thoughts on this matter, please share.}  The final two verses say that Job lived a hundred and forty more years, making his life very long; long enough to see four generations of children.  One of the greatest pleasures for a man or woman is to see their descendants.

And such is the book of Job

Next post  -  Psalms

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