Chapter 1 Chapter 6 Chapter 11 Chapter 16 Chapter 21
Chapter 2 Chapter 7 Chapter 12 Chapter 17 Chapter 22
Chapter 3 Chapter 8 Chapter 13 Chapter 18 Chapter 23
Chapter 4 Chapter 9 Chapter 14 Chapter 19 Chapter 24
Chapter 5 Chapter 10 Chapter 15 Chapter 20 Chapter 25

Whether rightly, or wrongly, we cannot say, but some, who claim some expertise in such matters, say that the book of Job is the oldest book of the Holy Bible. Whether or not that is correct, makes little difference to us, because they can produce no positive proof of their claim. And if they could, that would have no bearing on its truth. God’s word is true, whether spoken at the time of His great work of creation, or spoken today. Its text carries such a preponderance of truth that we need no outside witnesses to prove it. So we shall not waste time and space in proving the self-evident. It is the story of Satan’s effort, and failure, to turn one of God’s servants against the LORD. It completely disproves the theory of materialism that some hold, even today. That theory is, that if one will serve God faithfully, the LORD will make him prosperous in the pleasures and material things of the world. But if he sins, God will bring upon him much trouble and loss in these things. This is the very premise upon which Job’s three friends based all their arguments. And when the LORD finally spoke to them, He told them that they had not spoken the truth concerning Him, as had His servant Job. It is a book that everyone should not only read, but study. It teaches us that when troubles come upon us, we are not to ask, “Why?” If it is for chastisement, the LORD will show that to us. If it is for a trial of our faith, He will bring us through it in His own good time. And we will be stronger in faith, will understand more of His ways, and will have a closer fellowship with Him for having been given the experience.

Chapter 1

(Verses 1 through 5) There was a man in the land of Uz , whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance 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. 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. 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.


This gives us a very detailed background on Job. First of all, he was a man who “was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed [hated] evil.” Since this is true, we can, before we start, lay aside any thought that whatever troubles may come upon him are because of his disobedience. Looking ahead to verse 5, we find that he was not only careful to maintain his own uprightness in the fear of God, but also that of his sons. After their feasts, he arose early the next morning, and offered up burnt offerings for each of them, not because he knew that they had sinned, but just in case they had “sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” It is to be kept in mind that this was in the dispensation under which God required sacrifices and burnt offerings. Job had a large family according to modern standards, but not according to the customs of the day in which he lived. Without recounting all the wealth he had, we only repeat that, from that viewpoint, he was “the greatest of all the men of the east.” Thus we have a description of Job’s character, his family, and his wealth.


(Verses 6 through 12) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 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. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face. 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.


In verse six, the expression, “the sons of God,” has reference not to men, but to the angels of God, just as it does in Job 38:7. “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,” There seems to be sufficient scriptural evidence to prove that Satan was created an angel; but because of his rebellion he was cast down and reserved unto the great Day of Judgment to be punished. Jude says, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Thus it would logically follow that when the angels of God were brought up for review Satan would come up among them. When the LORD addressed Satan, His first question was “Whence comest thou?” Apparently this question embraces not only where Satan was when summoned for review, but also what he had been doing. Satan answered, “From going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.” Although Satan does not say so in so many words, his meaning must also be that he was searching for someone whom he could drag down by temptation, trials, or tribulation. For the LORD’S answer to him was, “Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” Thus the LORD sets before Satan a challenge. I will not attempt to say why He did this, other than to say that it appears that it may have been to prove the fallacy of Satan's own doctrine, as he will set it forth in his answer to God. Perhaps one of man’s greatest faults is his propensity for asking “Why?” when something he doesn’t like takes place. Since God is the Creator of all persons and things, He has a perfect right to do with one, or all, as He will. And none has the right to question Him. Satan’s answer sets forth his doctrine, even as it is still preached today. It can be summed up in one word, “materialism.” According to it, God delights in giving to his servants all the wealth of this world that they want; and by it a man’s faithfulness to God may be judged by his material success. Obviously, this is contrary to God’s word, and to His way of dealing with His servants. Witness the life of the Apostle Paul, as well as most of His servants about whom we have any record. He can, and sometimes does, give wealth to one of His servants. But He has not promised to do so. Neither is material wealth, or the hope of it, the cause of His servants’ serving Him. This, Satan could not understand. So he answered, “Doth Job fear God for nought? 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. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” This doctrine is very much in keeping with a saying that is very popular today, “There is no free lunch.” That is, among men it is considered that everything has its price. So, in keeping with that idea, Satan says that Job’s righteousness will continue only so long as the LORD makes his way prosperous; but take away his prosperity, and his righteousness will also disappear. So the LORD said unto Satan, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” With this answer the LORD dismissed Satan, who went out from His presence, with power over everything Job had, even his family, to destroy as he would. Only over Job himself he had no power. According to the account, he lost no time in getting to work.


Verses 13 through 19 have little need for explanation. They only give us the reports of Job’s only surviving servants. According to these reports, all of Job’s calamities took place on the same day. That “was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house.” This, as we see from verse 4, was not an unusual occurrence. However, wherever Job was, his servants begin to appear before him with very unpleasant news. The first declared that the Sabeans had come upon the oxen and asses, together with the servants who kept them. They had taken away all the animals, and killed all the servants who kept them, except the one who brought the message to Job. Before he finished with his story, the next messenger came, and reported that a great electrical storm (“the fire of God is fallen from heaven”) came and burned up all the sheep and all the servants except the one who made the report. Immediately another servant came with the message that the Chaldeans had come, taken all Job’s camels, and killed all the servants who kept them, leaving this messenger the only survivor of this group. Before he could finish his message, one came declaring that a great wind storm had come up from the wilderness, destroyed the house in which Job’s children were feasting, and killed all of them and all the servants present, except him who delivered this report.. Thus, in one day, all of Job’s wealth and all his children were destroyed.


(Verses 20 through 22) Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 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. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.


This needs little explanation. Surely Job was completely overwhelmed with grief because of the terrible events. But since his faith was in God, he recognized that since all these blessings were given of God in the first place, the LORD had a perfect right to take them away when, and as, He saw fit. This is a lesson, which, hard as it is, we all need to learn, and never forget. When He takes away some, or all, of the blessings He has given us, there is nothing for us to do, except declare His name blessed, and say, “Amen.” No doubt, when he said, “Naked came I out from my mother’s womb; and naked shall I return thither,” his reference is as much to the earth, which was by the ancients considered the mother of man, as to his biological mother. We are born with nothing; and we die with the same.

Chapter 2

Since verses 1 and 2 are practically a repetition of verses 6 and 7 of the preceding chapter, there seems to be no need to give further explanation of them, So we pass on.


(Verses 3 through 6) And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movest Me to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thy hand; but save his life.


Again the LORD calls Satan’s attention to Job. He reminds him that in spite of all the trouble He has allowed him to bring upon Job, it has in no wise weakened his integrity or his faith. Although Satan has been proven wrong in his earlier declaration, he says it will still work if he can only have leave to afflict Job personally. That is, if he can inflict physical pain upon him. His theory is that a man will give everything he has and still maintain his course, but when he begins to suffer personal physical pain, that will make a difference. Again the LORD gives Satan leave to afflict Job in any manner he may choose; but with one restriction. He cannot take Job’s life. This is a restriction which God still maintains on behalf of His servants. He alone has the power of life and death over them.


(Verses 7 and 8) So Satan went forth from the Presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown. And he took a potsherd to scrape himself withal and sat down among the ashes.


Thus Satan goes forth, and inflicts great suffering upon Job. Anyone who has ever experienced even a small boil, certainly knows the pain one can cause. But it is almost beyond human imagination to fathom the suffering of one covered from head to foot with such. Such was Job’s condition. He took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape away the drainage of these boils, and sat down in the ashes. Sitting in the ashes, or putting them on one’s head or face was a sign of extreme suffering or sorrow.


(Verses 9 and 10) Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.


It would be difficult, if not impossible, to say whether Job’s wife said what she did because she felt such sorrow for Job in his suffering that, for his sake she wanted him to die so his troubles would be over, or because his condition made him so repulsive to her that she wanted to be rid of him. In either case, his answer stands the same. “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” In this question the consideration of “good” and “evil” is not according to our usual usage of the words, but as “pleasant things” and  “unpleasant things,” respectively. So in this Job did not say anything that could be considered a sin. He retained his integrity.


(Verses 11 through 13) Now when Job’s three friends heard of all the 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 and mourn with Him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voices and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.


Thus we have the gathering of Job’s three friends, each from a different tribe of people, to mourn with him because of his suffering. When they first saw him they could not recognize him, because his suffering had so changed his appearance. So they tore their robes, cast dirt upon their heads, and sat down in the ashes with him to show their sorrow at his suffering. Seeing that his grief was so great, they waited for him to speak first. Thus they sat for a full week, with no one saying a word.


Chapter 3

(Verses 1 through 5) After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed his day. And Job spake, and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the night shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.


When Job finally spoke, it was not to greet his friends, but to wish a curse upon the day of his birth. As is readily seen from Job’s speech, when, in the scriptures it is said that someone cursed  something, or someone, it does not necessarily mean that he uses such language as we most often refer to as cursing, but rather that he pronounces, prays, or wishes, some evil upon that person or thing. Certainly the curse Job wishes upon the day of his birth is clearly enough stated that it needs no explanation. As we are so prone to do when suffering comes upon us, Job had forgotten God’s wonderful blessings upon him in former times, and was, at this point focusing only upon present troubles. In such a situation, he wished he had never been born.


(Verses 6 through 10) 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. Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein. Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning. 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: because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.


Job calls for almost exactly the same curse upon the night of his birth as he has upon the day thereof, because he feels that it would have been better for him never to have been born than to suffer what he is presently enduring.


(Verses 11 through 16) Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck? For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest, with kings and counselors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves; or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver: or as an untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.


Here Job asks the universal question, that is, the one that is universally asked when extremely unpleasant experiences come upon men, “Why?” As we noted earlier, his focus is only upon the present suffering. That suffering is so great he cannot look beyond it in either direction. It blocks his memory of past blessings, and cuts off all consideration of the future. He imagines all manner of people who have already been taken by death, and thinks how wonderful it would be to be already at rest with them. So he asks , “Why didn’t I die at birth, or even be stillborn?” Such is often the foolish wandering of the mind of one who is under such terrible stress of pain and grief. Although “Why” is the question most often asked about great catastrophes, it is usually very foolish, because, most often there is no answer available to man. By far our best course is to say as did Job in Chapter 1, verse 21, “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Only then can we bear the sufferings and sorrows of life.


(Verses 17 through 19) There the wicked cease from troubling; and the weary are at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and the great are there; the servant is free from his master.


Certainly there is truth in what Job says here. That is why death is often called “the great equalizer.” Death stops the wicked from causing trouble; it gives rest to those who are weary from the toil and suffering of this life; and it frees the prisoner from his warden and the slave from his master. People of all classes are held in the grip of death, small and great, rich and poor, servant and master; but in death all are equal. There is no more class system. There is now to those who believe in the Christ, a brighter hope than this. For He has arisen from the grave, and now declares, “I am He that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for ever more; Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Therefore we know that death will not hold us forever.


(Verses 20 through 24) Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; which longeth for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave? Why is light given to a man , whose way is hid, whom God hath hedged in? For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like waters.


Here we see how a man’s mind, not only Job’s, but ours as well, will wonder about the reason for things that are far above the reach of our understanding. Although this is a foolish waste of time and energy, we no doubt, would do just as did Job, if our circumstances were as were his. In fact, with much less provocation, we are likely to do as he did. We forget that our thinking is on a far lower plane that that of God. There is no doubt that everything He does, or permits to be done, is according to his purpose. And His purpose is always right. But our poor finite minds cannot comprehend it, because we see it only from our own personal perspective. We are constantly asking, “Why?” but likely we could not understand it if we were told the reason. We must consider His works only by faith. But sometimes our faith becomes weak, and we try to judge everything according to natural human reasoning, which often misses the mark. Job was in such sore straits that his sighs and groans took up all his time so that he could not even eat.

(Verses 25 and 26) For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.


Many, when things are going well for them, get caught up in the enjoyment of their pleasures, and forget that God is the One Who blesses them; and think that their good times will go on forever. This was not the case with Job. He was well aware that his situation might change at any time. He was not resting in a false sense of security in worldly things. He knew that safety is only in the hands of the LORD. In fact, he was afraid of the very thing that has come upon him. Herein is a lesson for us. We often hear people, especially preachers, when trying to get someone to join their church, say, “If you will just trust in the LORD, and come and do what He wants you to do, your way will be made easy, and all your troubles will vanish away.” They may even quote what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” This is indeed a wonderful promise, and a true one; but it is not a promise that all our troubles will be taken away. Rather, it is the promise of our Lord that in spite of all the troubles, trials, afflictions, etc., that will surely come upon us, He will help us to bear them, even as we are yoked together with Him. His strength helps us to bear our burdens, and because of it, these burdens do not weigh us down as they would without Him.


Chapter 4

(Verses 1 through 6) Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? But who can withhold himself from speaking? Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee and thou art troubled. Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?


Since it was the usual custom for the younger members of a group to wait for the oldest to begin a conversation, we may assume Eliphaz to be the oldest of Job’s three friends. He begins his speech by asking if Job will be offended if they talk to him. Then he says that regardless of whether or not he will be offended, no one can refrain from speaking out in such a situation as this. He begins by recalling that many times Job has counseled others, and that his advice has always been greatly strengthening to those whom he counseled. Then, instead of trying to comfort Job, he begins to try to bring him further down. His words remind one of the ridicule the unbelievers heaped upon Jesus while He was on the cross. (Matthew 27:42) “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the king of Israel , let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” Eliphaz says that, although Job has strengthened others, he has no strength when trouble comes upon him. He accuses Job of being unable to bear up under the same trouble as that in which he has been able to strengthen others. He has by no means considered the magnitude of Job’s condition, the loss of everything he owned, the death of all his children, and his own terrible personal affliction. Few indeed have ever endured so much. Eliphaz’s speech in verse 6 can be summed up thus: “Is this the kind of integrity you have? You can advise others in their troubles; but when it is your turn, you can only complain.”


(Verses 7 through 11) Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? Or where were the righteous cut off. Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of His nostrils they are consumed. The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion whelps are scattered abroad.


It appears that Eliphaz has either not seen everything he claims to have witnessed, or he has misunderstood it. While it is certainly true that God has promised to preserve the righteous and bring the wicked to destruction, Eliphaz, apparently does not understand that He sometimes preserves the righteous by taking him out of this world. And He often lets the wicked prosper here, but face destruction on the Day of Judgment. Nowhere has He ever promised to keep the righteous free of troubles and afflictions in this world He does sometimes send afflictions upon those who are disobedient. But He also sometimes sends such to try their faith, that others may see it and glorify Him. But Eliphaz is a materialist all the way. According to him, God wants to give His servants all the material blessings and pleasures they want. And if they will only be obedient, He will make them prosper in all they do; while, on the other hand, if one is destroyed by affliction and brought to poverty by the loss of all his possessions, it is because he has sinned. Therefore, according to him, a man’s prosperity, or lack of it, in material things and in health would be a positive indicator of whether or not he is faithful to the LORD. But this neither fits the doctrine of God, nor His dealings with men, as we see them every day.


(Verses 12 through 19) Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ears received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: 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, Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? Behold, He put no trust in His servants; and His angels He charged with folly: how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish forever without any regarding it. Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? They die even without wisdom.


Notice how dramatically Eliphaz builds up to what he intends to say. He says this message came to him secretly, by a vision in the night. Since it was given secretly, it must be something of great importance, as well as something that no one else knows. The first thing he knew about it is that it was so frightening that there came upon him such a fear and trembling that it shook all his bones. Then, when a spirit passed before his face, the hair on his body stood up, another sign of great fear. Then this spirit stood still, but he could not discern the form, or shape, of it. All he knew was that an image of indeterminate shape stood before him. This was all said, no doubt, to impress Job with the importance of the message he is about to give, or, possibly, with the importance of Eliphaz, as a prophet. The message is indeed true, and of great importance; but one that Job already knew as well as did Eliphaz, in spite of the great build-up Eliphaz had given it. Certainly, no man can be more just than God, nor can he be more pure than his Maker. Also some of the angels He created rebelled, and were cast down from their “first estate.” So far as men are concerned, they “are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish forever without any regarding it.” Whatever honors they may achieve go away, or perish, and no one remembers them. That is, they are of no importance at all. And  they die, even without wisdom.” That is, their wisdom is not sufficient to keep them alive, or even cause them to be remembered. Although what is said here is true, Eliphaz is directing it wrongly. For he is using it in an effort to convict Job of being wicked, and therefore the cause of all the afflictions that have come upon him. This we know, from Chapters 1 and 2, is false.


Chapter 5

(Verses 1 through 5) Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them. Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns. And the robber swalloweth up their substance. Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth affliction spring out of the ground; yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.


Eliphaz continues with his speech, trying to apply more force of words against Job, in an effort to convict him of having brought all this suffering upon himself because of his sins. He sarcastically tells Job to call someone for help, if he can find any that will answer him. Then he says, “To which of the saints will you turn?” This is somewhat similar to a statement used by the mockers at the crucifixion of our Lord. (Matthew 27:43) “He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Righteous men who had been long dead were sometimes referred to as “saints.” And many of the ancients also had a touch of ancestor worship in their religions. This may have accounted for Eliphaz’s reference to the saints. Although wrath and envy do sometimes kill foolish and silly people, it does not follow that every man who is suffering great calamities is wicked; and neither is it true that everyone who is enjoying great prosperity is righteous. All men must die. And the LORD, for reasons of His own, often lets the wicked prosper in this world, and die in old age. No doubt, Eliphaz had seen some foolish, or wicked men begin to prosper, and suddenly be cut down, leaving their children to the mercy of the oppressor. Yet the same thing sometimes befalls the righteous. But the latter part of that statement will not support his purpose. So he leaves it off. Just as do many preachers today. It will be found all the way through the speeches of Eliphaz and his two friends, that they, for the greater part, tell the truth. Their problem is that they do not tell all the truth. And the most dangerous lie possible is a half-truth. Eliphaz’s statements in verse 6 are designed to declare to Job that he is a sinner, and his sins have brought on all his sufferings, because afflictions do not come forth from the dust, nor do they spring up from the ground. In spite of this, he does admit that, just as sparks fly upward, man is born to trouble. Even this does not agree totally with his idea that Job has to be the cause of his own afflictions. He is, to say the least, inconsistent.


(Verses 8 through 11) I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and  unsearchable; marvelous works without number: Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth water upon the fields: to set up on high those that be low; that those that mourn may be exalted to safety.


How often we hear those who do not understand the situation, giving this advice: “I would do _ _ _.” Since Eliphaz is operating on a false basic premise, he cannot know what to do to bring about a proper conclusion of the matter. Although it is certainly true that the proper course for any one of us, when in trouble, is to take the whole matter to the LORD, Eliphaz’s manner of tying this advice on to what he has said before appears to have been only his effort to make Job confess that he had brought the whole thing on by his wickedness, and to set him forth as too rebellious to confess his sins. As we have earlier stated, much of what Eliphaz and his friends say may contain some truth; but, mostly, only half-truths. And their focus on the matter is always wrong.


(Verses 12 through 16) He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that his hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night. But He saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty. So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.


This is a classic case of what many today call,  “preaching to the choir.” That is, setting forth a declaration, which, though true, is also well known to those present, and in no way applies to them in the present case. Certainly, God does those things of which Eliphaz speaks. But He also does many more that are not here mentioned. Although He does, as He sees fit, punish the wicked, cutting them off from their projects, and does exalt the righteous, delivering the poor from the oppressor, He also sometimes permits the wicked to prosper, and the poor to be downtrodden all their days. Yet He will, at the Day of Judgment, exalt the righteous and punish the wicked. Eliphaz seems to be totally ignorant of the fact that sometimes, the Lord lets affliction overtake the righteous to prove their faith, not to Himself, but to others, and in this case, even to Satan. Eliphaz and his two friends were all materialists, just as are many today. They think that the faithfulness of one’s service to God can be measured by the material blessings he enjoys; and his lack of it, can be measured by his troubles and afflictions. However, without even going beyond Chapters 1 and 2 of this book, we find both ideas completely disproved.


(Verses 17 through 22) Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: for He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven shall no evil touch thee. In famine He shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.


It is indeed a blessing to be corrected of the LORD. But job’s affliction was not for chastisement. It was a trial of his faith, as is shown from the beginning of this account. When God does chastise, “He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole.” In short, His chastisement is only for the purpose of correction, is always effective, and when it is finished, He gives all needed comfort. In verses 19 through 22 Eliphaz continues to make the same application he has made from the beginning, and one we often hear today, “If you will just serve the LORD, and be obedient to Him, He will remove all your troubles, even famine, the scourge of the tongue, destruction, war, and death.”


While He will certainly deliver us in six troubles, and permit no evil to touch us in seven, He will not, necessarily, take them all away. He may even use death to deliver us, as He did His martyr Stephen. Eliphaz declares that the LORD will deliver us “in” six troubles, not “from” them. And that is indeed true. He uses the number six to represent all the troubles in this life; and the number seven to represent death itself. And this part of his speech is indeed true. He will deliver us in all our troubles in life. He does not take away all of them, but even in them He provides deliverance , in that He gives us the necessary strength to bear them, and thus witness to the world of His grace and power. And in death He will permit no evil to touch us, but even through death we are delivered from this troubled world into His eternal Presence. Yet this, in no wise, says that He will remove these troubles, so that we will never experience them. Rather, in spite of them, He will give us the strength necessary to endure. Indeed He will redeem us from death. He redeemed His only begotten Son from death; but only by the resurrection. He still had to pass through death. Although He will, at His pleasure, deliver us from death, war, the power of the sword, destruction, famine, and even the beasts of the fields, yet He has promised us persecution and suffering in this world, “and in the world to come, eternal life.” The comfort He has promised us in this world is that He will be with us through both the floods and the fire. The flood shall not overflow us, nor the fire destroy us. Indeed, in all these things He will deliver us.


(Verses 23 through 26) For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin. Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth. Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season.


In the land of Israel one of the great problems for the farmer was the presence of so many stones in his fields. Often it was necessary to remove them before any successful plowing could be done. According to Eliphaz, this problem would be completely taken away, if Job would only confess his sin, repent of it, and turn to God. Even the wild beasts would also be tame to him. The remainder of his life would be peaceful, and profitable. His descendants would be greatly increased and enriched. And he would have no need to fear a premature death. For his life would be long and filled with joy. This is exactly the same as the modern doctrine of materialism. According to it, God delights in giving all material blessings to His children, if they will only serve Him faithfully. It is a wonderful sounding doctrine. Its principal trouble is that it is directly contrary to the teaching of God. He has, indeed, promised glory and honor to His servants; but not now. That is in the world to come, when His kingdom comes in all its glory, and it is eternal. Until then, He has promised us suffering and afflictions, with the Holy Ghost as our comfort and strength along the way. So do not be misled by Eliphaz’s next statement.


(Verse 27) Lo, this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.


Notice what a dogmatist Eliphaz is, and how great he thinks is the ability of man, and especially of those to whom he refers as “we.” He does not say, “This is what the LORD has said.” Instead, “We have searched it, so it is.” “This is the conclusion we have by our wisdom come to. There is no way it can vary from this.” Just as man always does, when depending upon his own wisdom, he has gone in entirely the wrong direction. Yet he declares that there is no room for any other conclusion. How often we hear this idea set forth by men today! “We are right, and there is no other way, We know because we have studied it out.” The last part of Eliphaz’s statement can be slightly altered without changing its meaning. “You had better follow my advice for your own good.” Thus he signifies that if Job does not confess and repent of his sin, there are worse things in store for him.


Chapter 6

(Verses 1 through 7) But Job answered and said, Oh that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? Or loweth the ox over his fodder” Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg? The things which my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.


As Job begins his answer, he declares that his grief and suffering are so great that they are beyond weighing, or understanding. If it could be imagined that they were placed on one side of the scales, and the sand of the sea on the other, His grief and suffering would be heavier than the sand. The reason for this is that the Almighty has sent them upon him. They are His arrows. Because of this they completely sap his spirit, or his strength; and the terrors of God set themselves in array against him. He then asks a series of questions. The first two are designed to show that just as the wild ass does not bray when he has plenty of grass, and the ox does not low over his fodder, neither would he complain if things were going well with him. The next two show that his life has, by reason of his afflictions, become as distasteful to him as food that is without taste, and has no salt, or as the white of an egg. Yet that is all that is now left to him. Just as he would not have eaten such food as he has described, so he did not bring on this affliction by anything he has done. Although he does not clearly say so, he infers that he knows God can, and will, chastise His servants for disobedience, and therefore he would not do anything to bring on such an experience. Yet it has come upon him.


(Verses 8 through13) Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me; that He would loose His hand, and cut me off! 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. What is my strength, that I should hope? And what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? Is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh of brass? Is not my help in me? And is wisdom driven quite from me?


Although none of us has ever had to endure such suffering as did Job, many of us have, at one time, or another, been brought to feel as he did. We desired that God would release us to slip away in death. But there is one particularly obvious point in all of this. Even though Job desired death, not once did he even suggest taking his own life. His desire was that God, Who alone has the right, might take it away. He declares that he has not concealed, or refused to declare, the words of the Holy One. As He considers his strength, he realizes that it is not sufficient for a foundation of hope. And he sees no future purpose great enough for him to try to prolong his life. His strength and his body are not so enduring as stones or brass. They must come to an end sometime. So he thinks, “Why not now?” He feels that his life, or strength is still in him, and his wisdom, though affected by his suffering, is not completely driven away.


(Verses 14 through 21) To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty. My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: what time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot they are consumed out of their place. The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish. The troops of Teman looked, and the companies of Sheba waited for them. They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed. For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.


Verse 14 is certainly not hard to be understood. Although God has ordained that a man’s friend should show pity, or compassion, for him in his afflictions, Eliphaz has forsaken the fear, or the commandment of the Almighty, and instead of showing pity, has been, as it were, beating Job over the head with truisms, and his supposed wisdom. It seems that Job is also greatly disappointed in his own brethren. They have also dealt deceitfully with him. When all was going well with him, they were as loving, and refreshing as the brooks filled with the run-off of the melted snow and ice. But in his afflictions, they are nowhere to be found, just as are these brooks when the weather gets hot, and the dry ground and heat take up all the water. This is a sad state of affairs, but often a very real one, as we have often seen. He says that the paths of these streams are turned aside, and they perish. Even if the troops of Teman and the companies of Sheba look for them, they will only be disappointed. If they hoped for any comfort from them, they will be, for that hope, confounded. So it is with Eliphaz’s speech. It means nothing.


(Verses 22 through 25) Did I say, Bring unto me? or Give me a reward of your substance? Or Deliver me from the enemy’s hand? Or Redeem me from the hand of the Almighty? Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forcible are right words! But what doth your arguing reprove?


It appears that this series of questions, without changing their meaning, or their importance, might be prefixed with another question. “Why are you so angry at me, and so determined to prove me wicked? Did I say, _ _ _?” Since he has not asked them for any help, financial, or otherwise, why are they so bent on destroying him?  He says that if they will enlighten him on this matter, he will be quiet and listen. He wants to understand the matter. Of course, he knows they won’t do this. So he says, “How forcible are right words!” On the other hand, since their words do not even fit the situation, what can they accomplish. Even such truths as they sometimes speak, fail to apply to the present problem. Therefore “What doth your arguing reprove?”


(Verses 26 through 30) Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind. Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend. Now therefore be content, look upon me: for it is evident unto you if I lie. Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. Is there iniquity in my tongue? Cannot my taste discern perverse things?


Job asks these friends if they think it proper, or worthwhile, to reprove empty words, which are what the speech of one who is suffering as he is, amounts to. They are no more than the wind, and are only wrung from a man by the suffering he is enduring. He directs an accusation against them, which, seemingly, could be paraphrased thus: “If you would thus dig a pit (or set a trap) for your friend, you would also oppress the fatherless.” Then he tells them to be content with the damage they have already done, and leave before they extend it into more iniquity. He declares that this matter involves his righteousness, which he maintains. Then he challenges them to find iniquity in what he has said; and by his question declares that he can still discern between truth and perverseness.


Chapter 7

(Verses 1 through 6) Is there not an appointed time to man on earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling? As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work: so am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me. 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. My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.


Although Job may have believed that God has preset the length of every man’s life, and the day of his death, this does not seem to be the primary focus of his thoughts here, Rather, his thought seems to be, “Will I never get to the appointed time of death? For he compares his “days,” or his life, to the days of the hireling, who is longing for his time of service to end that he may receive the reward of his labor, and rest a while. As the servant looks for the “shadow,” the darkness of night that his work may be over for a while, and he may rest, so does Job long for the day that will end his suffering. He doesn’t like the night, because, instead of sleeping, he is constantly tossing back and forth, and finding no comfortable position in which he can rest. His flesh is covered with worms and clods of dust, from his sores and his sitting in the ashes as he has. No doubt, his boils have been draining, and, possibly, bleeding, since his skin is broken. So he has become an object of loathing, even to himself. His days seem to be passing very swiftly; probably, because he so much hates the night and his continual tossing around without sleep. His life continues on with no hope for the future. It just seems that his suffering can never end.


(Verses 7 through 10) O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good. The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not. As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.


Job calls upon these friends to remember that his life amounts to no more than the wind. It passes by, and is over. He expects never again to see any good thing. For, so far as he can see, his life will only be more suffering. And when that is finished, he will have vanished away. Just as a cloud that passes by, and fades away, so is he that goes to the grave. He will never return from the grave to his house or to his loved ones. Job is not denying the resurrection of the dead, but only declaring that they do not come back to their homes and their families. Considering the suffering he has endured, and is enduring, his mind might be so clouded by this, that he does not, at this point, even concern himself with any thought of the resurrection. That subject will come up later.


(Verses 11 through 16) 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. Am I a sea, or a whale, that Thou settest a watch over me? When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint, then Thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions; so that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. I loathe it; I would not live always: let me alone; for my days are vanity.


Since all Job is able to see as his future is death, from which he cannot return to his home in this world, he will not bother to hold back his complaint, but will speak in the anguish of his spirit and the bitterness of his soul. Then he addresses the LORD, asking, “Am I a sea, or a whale, that Thou settest a watch over me?” Possibly, he is considering these friends as the watch the LORD has set over him. Since they are doing nothing constructive, and are rendering no comfort, they are only performing a watch. He may have something else in mind, but this seems the most obvious. Then he says that, when he thinks that he will be able to lie down and rest, the LORD sends dreams, or nightmares, and visions that frighten him so that he cannot rest. This continues on so much that he would prefer death to his life as it now is. He has been made to actually hate his life. He desires that the LORD would just let him alone, that is, that He would not prolong his life, but just let him die; for his days are nothing but emptiness and worthlessness.


(Verses 17 through 21) What is man that Thou shouldest magnify him? And that Thou shouldest set Thine heart upon him? And that Thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment? How long wilt Thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle? 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? 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.


Have you ever noticed how much like Job we all are? I do not intend to compare our suffering to his. For, surely, none but our Lord Himself ever suffered so much as did he. But when we have any affliction, our minds become filled with questions, even sometimes with very foolish ones. Job’s first question here is, “What is there in man that makes him important enough for God to ‘magnify’ him, or, as it were, put him under the microscope, and examine him with such great care?” He puts man under a constant trial, and visits him every morning. This is a question which man has never been, and will never be, able to answer, other than to remember that it pleases God to do so. This is, of course, answer enough for any of God’s works, unless it also pleases Him to tell us a more detailed one. When Job asks, “How long wilt Thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?” one has to wonder if he had given any consideration to what he was saying, or if he simply spoke out of anguish without any thought except that he wanted his suffering to be over. Then he confesses his sin, and asks what he can do that will persuade God to remove his affliction. He also asks, “Why hast Thou set me as a mark (or target) against Thee, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost Thou not pardon my transgression, and take away nine iniquity?” It seemed to him that God had singled him out, and set him up as a target, at which to throw all the affliction possible. He, knowing that God is merciful, and will pardon iniquity, could not understand why He would not pardon his sin and remove his suffering. He concludes this speech with, “For now shall I sleep in the dust; and Thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.” Surely, at this moment his spirit is at such a low ebb that he cannot even consider anything beyond the grave, Later, however, his mind begins to turn in that direction, until he finally speaks forth one of the strongest declarations of the resurrection to be found in scripture.


Chapter 8

(Verses 1 through 7) Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, How long wilt thou speak these things? And how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? Doth God pervert judgment? Or doth the Almighty pervert justice? If thy children have sinned against Him, and He have cast them away for their transgression; if thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; if thou wert pure and upright; surely now He would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.


Bildad must have been the second in age among the three friends. So it becomes his turn to speak. Although in all of Job’s speeches so far, he has only declared his suffering to be so great that he would prefer death to life in his present condition, Bildad rebukes him sharply in his first two questions. In verse 20 of the preceding chapter, Job has confessed to God that he has sinned. Yet Bildad overlooks this completely as he launches his attack on Job. By his questions in verse 3 of the present chapter he brings against Job the accusation that he has charged God with perverting judgment and justice, which is totally false. For Job has made no mention of such, and neither has he implied it. Then he tells Job, “If God destroyed your children for their sins, you had better make your supplication to Him, because you are a sinner just like they were. If you were not, God would rise up for you, and return all of your prosperity.” (This is not an attempt to quote Bildad exactly, but to put his meaning in words more in keeping with our modern manner of speaking.) This is the doctrine of materialism from start to finish. And Bildad capped it off thus: “Though thy beginning was small, thy latter end should greatly increase.” Thus he, with no consideration of Job’s true situation, declares that the loss of Job’s wealth, children, and health, are all the result of Job’s wickedness: and if he will confess his sins, return to the LORD, and serve Him, all these afflictions and sorrows will vanish away, and he will be prosperous in all things. This is the same conclusion many reach by an exaggerated interpretation of Matthew 6:23. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God , and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” They fail to notice that wealth and health are not mentioned. The only things under consideration are the necessities of life; not the luxuries.


(Verses 8 through 10) For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers; (for we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?


It should be noted that Bildad does not refer to any teaching of God in this. All is based upon what man can learn from former generations. While it is true that there are lessons to be learned from history, without depending upon the LORD to guide, we will, invariably, come to the wrong conclusion. Historical facts, while in themselves true, can be interpreted to teach any lesson the teacher desires. This is why there are so many divergent views of history. Bildad’s approach in his statement, “For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing,” reminds us of many speakers we have heard. They announce that they know nothing; and then spend the remainder of the time of their speech trying to prove themselves liars. Instead, they usually prove that their first statement was true, which they certainly did not intend to do. Like them, Bildad intended to show his great wisdom; but completely failed.


(Verses 11 through 19) Can the rush grow up without mire? Can the flag grow without water? Whilst it is still in its greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb. So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish: whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spiders web. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden. His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones. If He destroy him from his place, it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee. Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.


This entire speech is directed at proving that only the righteous can prosper, and only the wicked will be cut off, or destroyed. This sounds so wonderful that it is almost universally believed. If we have in view the final destiny of men, it is indeed true. But when we try to apply it to this life, we run into difficulty. Solomon says, in Ecclesiastes 7:15, “All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness” So Bildad’s argument is found false, just like so many of the things men think they have learned from history. While it is true that God can, and sometimes does give material prosperity to some of His servants, by far the majority of them have a much more meager existence in this world. Yet He always blesses His servants in their service to Him. But the greater part of present blessings to them consists of His presence with them in all their troubles, to strengthen, comfort, and sustain them so that they will not be overwhelmed thereby. Glory and joy is reserved for them in the world to come. At the same time, He can, and sometimes does, cut down the wicked in the midst of their prosperity. Yet with them, their great punishment is reserved until the Day of Judgment. Witness what Abraham said to Lazarus in our Lord’s illustration of the rich man and Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31)


(Verses 20 through 22) Behold God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will He help the evildoers. Till He fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing. They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling places of the wicked shall come to naught.


According to the quotation we used above from Solomon, Bildad is trying to stretch his statement further than it will reach. Certainly, in the end, God will preserve the righteous, or the perfect, man, but Solomon says that in this life he has seen the righteous man perish in his righteousness. Bildad says that God will not cast away a perfect man. And his meaning is that God will make him prosperous in this life. He says , “God will not” do this, which is the same as saying that He will never do it. How then did the righteous man, whom Solomon saw, perish in his righteousness? In spite of that righteous man’s perishing in his righteousness in this life, God will yet preserve him unto His heavenly kingdom. And is it not also by the mercy of God that the wicked man is allowed to prolong his life in his wickedness? So, since Bildad’s focus is on this life only, as is that of the materialist, his doctrine is not true. He is giving Job a false promise, just as he also laid a false charge against him. In fact those who rely upon materialism are always leaning upon a very weak support. Even verses 21 and 22, if considered as concerning this present life, as Bildad was considering them, become hollow and meaningless. For God’s promise to us here, is not prosperity and pleasure; but persecution and suffering here, with glory to come later.


Chapter 9

(Verses 1 through 12) Then Job answered and said, I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? If he will contend with Him, he cannot answer Him one of a thousand. He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered? Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: Which overturneth them in His anger. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waters of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. Lo, He goeth by me, and I see Him not: He passeth on also, and I perceive Him not. Behold, He taketh away, and who can hinder Him? Who will say unto Him, What doest Thou?


Contrast this with what both Eliphaz and Bildad have said. They have tried to tell Job that God wants to make the way of His servants smooth and prosperous in this world. But, in order for Him to do so, His servants must confess, and turn away from, their sins. Thus they limit the sovereignty of God in giving material blessings to men. Although they have never mentioned any spiritual or eternal blessings, surely they would hold to the same doctrine concerning them. Now, although Job has not yet reached any discussion of eternal things, he has set the stage for all things by declaring, in no uncertain terms, that God does exactly what He pleases, when it pleases Him to do it; and none can question or hinder Him. First he acknowledges that God shall finally glorify the righteous, and bring the wicked to judgment, declaring that he knows this as well as do his three friends. Although he may have asked it for rhetorical purposes, he does pose a question which all must consider. “But how can a man be just before God?” or “How can one justify himself before God?” Every Sunday morning and night, and even at other times through the week, someone can be found trying to answer this question. One will say, “You must believe in the Lord Jesus;” another, “You must confess your sins, and pray this prayer with me;” another, “Repent of your sins, and turn to God;” and on and on they go. This is all good advice. But it is all found to fall woefully short of justifying one before God. His word declares, “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.” And these things are all deeds of the law, for they are all the works of man. Our Lord Himself gave us the true answer. (Matthew 19:26) “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” The Apostle Paul declares that it is only by Christ Jesus that we can be justified. (Acts 13:39) “And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Although he does say, “all that believe,” it is evident that the believing only identifies those that are justified by Christ Jesus, and is not the means or cause of the justification. Job says that if God would condescend to talk with a man on what we call a “one to one” basis, no man could even answer one question in a thousand that God might ask. He would therefore be at a total loss. God, not man, is wise in heart and mighty in strength. None has ever been able to harden himself against God and win. This is Job’s denial of their charge against him. Since he knows this to be true, he would never be so foolish as to try to withstand God, or defy Him by continuing on in sin against Him. He even moves, or overturns mountains, shakes the earth, commands the sun, seals the stars, spreads the heavens, and walks upon the waters of the sea. He it is, Who made the constellations, and does so many and such great things, that man cannot even discover, or find out all of them. He can, and does pass, right by us, and we still can’t see Him. He can take away our choicest treasures, and none can hinder, nor even question Him. So how would one puny man fare in a contest against Him? The answer is obvious.


(Verses 13 through 21) If God will not withdraw His anger, the proud helpers do stoop under Him. How much less shall I answer Him, and choose out my words to reason with Him? Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but would make supplication to my Judge. If I had called, and He had answered me; yet would I not believe that He had hearkened to my voice. For He breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause. He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness. If I speak of strength, lo, He is strong: and of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead? If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.


Job knows that God is so much wiser and stronger than the greatest of men, that if He does not withdraw His anger, they can only perish. Why then, he asks, would he try to set himself against God. He would know neither what to answer Him, nor how to reason with Him. Even if he were righteous, he would, as it were, throw himself on the mercy of the court, and make his supplication to his Judge. He further declares that if he had called upon the LORD, and He had answered him, he could not believe that he had influenced God to answer him. He knows he is not worthy for God to have respect to him. He then says that God has broken him with a tempest, and multiplied his wounds without cause. He is not here charging God with being unjust, but simply saying that these afflictions are not the result of something he has done. They are not chastisement for his sins. As He points out at other times, God is just in everything He does, and has a perfect right to do whatsoever He will, whether the cause for such action is in us or not. Job here sets forth a complaint that God has laid upon him such an affliction, that it will not even permit him to draw a peaceful breath, but fills him with bitterness, or great distress. Some may argue that not God, but Satan laid this terrible affliction upon him. Satan was indeed the agent who put it upon him. But the LORD gave Satan leave to do so, and was even the One, Who called Satan’s attention to him in the first place. The reason men try to say that God is not the One, Who afflicted him is that they think God must be judged by their standards. And by their standards they judge Him to be unjust if He laid such suffering upon such a man as Job. However this is not Job’s view of the matter. He has already declared that the LORD has a perfect right to do whatsoever He will with any one of, or all, the objects of His creation, without any having the right to question either Him, or His action. So, when he says that, God will not suffer him to take a breath, that is, in peace, but fills him with great bitterness, we are well advised to leave it at that. God does not need us to defend Him, especially when we try to build that defense upon a false premise. Job says that when we speak of strength, we only need to look to God. He is strong. And if we are considering entering into judgment, in court, against God, who will set us a time of that judgment. When two parties come into court, the judge is the one, who sets the time of the trial. In order to be able to do this, he must have authority over both litigants. Since none has authority over God, who will, or even can, set the time of such a trial, or serve as judge? In verses 20 and 21, he declares that any attempt at self-justification on his part, would only, by his own testimony, condemn him. And if he were to claim perfection, that testimony would of itself prove him “perverse,” or contrary to the truth. So the result of this is, “though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.” Whatever the situation regarding his innocence, he still would not be wise enough, would not know his soul well enough, to contend against God in the matter, if opportunity were afforded. Even then he would place a very low value on his life.


Now, let me give a quotation of verses 18 through 21, from THE NEW ENGLISH BIBLE; not that I would recommend it over the K. J. V., for I am not a student of the Hebrew Language, and therefore I cannot say which is nearer the true meaning of the original. But it clearly shows the direction of all modern effort of men. Every effort is being made to turn us away from what we have for the past three hundred, eighty plus years received as the word of God. It seems hardly likely that the Hebrew text has in that time become any clearer than it was. Now for T. N. E. B. translation. “He leaves me no respite to recover my breath, but fills me with bitter thoughts. If the appeal is to force, see how strong He is; if to justice, who can compel Him to give me a hearing? Though I am right, He condemns me out of my own mouth; though I am blameless, He twists my words. Blameless, I say; of myself I reck nothing, I hold my life cheap.”


(Verses 22 through 26) This is one thing, therefore I said it. He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked. If the scourge slay suddenly, He will laugh at the trial of the innocent. 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? Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, and they see no good. They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.


As Job continues, he sets forth some thoughts that some seem to think blasphemous. He declares that God destroys both the righteous and the wicked. And when a sudden calamity destroys a great number of people, He is pleased with the suffering of the righteous. This the world, and even many, who claim to be Christians, seem totally unable to accept. Yet they are comforted when they read in Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.” Someone will immediately say, “Yes, but that is a prophecy of the suffering of Jesus for the sins of His people. That is why it pleased the LORD to bruise Him.” That is certainly true. And we have the witness of both prophecy and gospel to prove it. Yet, in the case of the multitudes of His righteous servants, who have perished in this world, even many of them by great catastrophes, in the absence of any testimony pro, or con, who can say that He did not have a purpose in their suffering and death that pleased Him in the fulfilling of them? He does not, and is under no obligation to, tell us all His secret counsel. The fact that we cannot see His purpose does not prove that He does not have one. Let me give you an instance that shows the answer of faith to this. A minister to whom I often listen on T V told of his mother. She had been sick for some time, and was approaching the time of her death. About thirty minutes before she died, she said to her son, “I don’t know why the Lord has let me suffer the torment of hell as He has. But if it fulfills His purpose in anything anywhere in the world, it is worth it.” So it is with any affliction we may suffer, whether or not our faith is strong enough for us to see it as clearly as did she. Job has declared that in this world the righteous and the wicked may suffer alike. And it even appears that God is rejoicing in the trial of the innocent. Yet he never charges God with being unjust. In this life it seems, and, perhaps, is so, that, “the earth is given into the hand of the wicked: He covereth the faces of the judges thereof.” If this is so, God is still just. “He hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (Proverbs 16:4) Therefore He has a perfect right to do what He will with all. Job then asks, “If not, then where, and Who is He?” If it is not He, that permits these things to be done, two questions must be answered. We know these things take place thus. If they take place without His permission, has He gone off somewhere, and left us? Or is He so weak that He can do nothing about it? The answer is that they take place only by His permission. See Job 1:12 and Job 2:6. Not only did the LORD give Satan permission to do what he did, but, in both instances, He set restrictions beyond which Satan could not go. Job then complains that his days are swiftly passing away, and he is finding no good in them. Such would, no doubt, be our feelings also under such affliction as he suffered.


(Verses 27 through 31) If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself: I am afraid of all my sorrows. I know that Thou wilt not hold me innocent. If I be wicked, why then labor I in vain? If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt Thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.


Job continues his complaint. If he even considers laying aside his complaining, and trying to get some rest and comfort, his sorrows crowd in on him so, and are so great, that he is afraid of them. And he knows that his trying to lay them aside will not cause the LORD to judge him innocent. Then he thinks, “If I am wicked, what profit is there in putting forth so much effort to prove my innocence? Such is all in vain.” The next two verses are, surely, symbolic language. The meaning seems to be that all his efforts to justify himself, though they might make his hands appear to him to be clean, they will not so impress the LORD. Instead, He will look upon him as just as wicked as ever. And it will all be as a man, who has been wallowing in the ditch, and without taking a bath, puts on a clean suit of clothes. Since he is so filthy himself, it will be the same as being thrown back into the ditch. His clean clothes will even hate him for his filth.


(Verses 32 through 35) For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both. Let Him take His rod away from me, and let not His fear terrify me: then would I speak, and not fear Him; but it is not so with me.


Job declares that God is so much greater than man, that He and man cannot be brought into judgment on the same level. There is none with authority over both man and God, that he might require them to come together in court, and plead their cases. Now, if God would remove His rod, or threat of chastisement, and His fear from Job, he could answer God when He speaks. But it is not that way with Job. God is so great, and Job has such a great fear of God, that he is totally unable to answer any question God would ask. As he said in verse 3 of the present chapter, “If he will contend with Him, he cannot answer Him one in a thousand.” God is so great that all we can do is fear and tremble before Him.


Chapter 10

(Verse 1 through 7) My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore Thou contendest with me. 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? Hast Thou eyes of flesh? Or seest Thou as man seeth? Are Thy days as the days of a man? Are Thy years as a man’s days, that Thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin? Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of Thine hand.


Job’s suffering has been, and is, so great that he is tired of his life. He would prefer death. So he is not going to speak of his complaint, or suffering. But in the very bitterness of his soul, he will ask the LORD to not condemn him, but give him some answers, as to why He is dealing so with him. Then verses 3 through 6 are questions asked, not for information, but to show the difference between God and man. So each of them receives only a negative answer. Thus these questions can be turned into indicative statements to show the greatness of God. He is not pleased to oppress one for the sake of oppression, nor does He despise the work of His hands. Even when He created all things, He looked upon His handiwork, and pronounced it “good and very good.” He does not delight in shining upon the counsel of the wicked, but will, at the proper time, bring it into judgment. Since His ways are as much above the ways of man as the heavens are above the earth, He neither has eyes of flesh, nor sees as man sees. His days are not even to be compared to those of man . Man is of few days; He is eternal. So He does not have to inquire or search out man’s iniquity. He already knows all about it. Since God is thus, Job cannot understand why the LORD should “contend with,” or afflict, him. That is the answer he desires of God. He is convinced that God already knows his sins and iniquities, and does not have to search for them. Therefore since God knows his sins, He also knows that he is not wicked. So far, he has not denied that he is a sinner, but he has all the way maintained that he is not wicked. Some may not understand the difference. The wicked sins because he loves sin, and “there is no fear of God before his eyes.” On the other hand, the righteous also commits sin, and is therefore a sinner. But he commits sin only because of the weakness of the flesh, and in spite of the fact that he fears God and loves righteousness. So Job maintains that God knows that he is not wicked, and also knows that none can deliver out of His hand.


(Verses 8 through 13) Thine hands have made me, and fashioned me together round about; yet Thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech Thee, that Thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt Thou bring me into the dust again? Hast Thou not poured me out like milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favor, and Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. And these things Thou hast hid in Thine heart: I know that this is with Thee.


Job continues to address the LORD. He declares that God has, indeed, made him. He is the handiwork of the LORD. Yet the LORD is destroying him. So he begs God to remember that He has made him. He describes God’s process of forming him, very much as one would describe the making of cheese. First He poured him in the form as one would pour milk, and then curdled him, or solidified him in the form, as one would curdle cheese, Then He clothed that form with skin and flesh, and fenced, or stabilized it with bones and sinews. After this was done, He granted, or gave, Job life and favor. That is He favored him with those things necessary to sustain that life. In addition to this, His visitation to Job has preserved his spirit, or life. That is, it is by the power of God, not of Job, that his life has been spared. Job continues, “And these things hast Thou hid in Thine heart: I know this is with Thee.” Job is well enough acquainted with the works of God that he knows God remembers all these things


(Verses 14 through 17) If I sin, then Thou markest me, and Thou wilt not acquit me of mine iniquity. If I be righteous, yet will I not lift up My head. I am full of confusion; therefore see Thou mine affliction; for it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again Thou shewest Thyself marvelous upon me. Thou renewest Thy witness against me, and increaseth Thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.


Job continues his complaint to God. He says that if he sins, he cannot hide it from the LORD, and neither will God acquit him. The LORD sees his sin, and will exact a just penalty for it. On the other hand, if he is righteous, he still has nothing of which to boast, or lift up his head before God. Since he knows all this to be true, and is yet so greatly afflicted, he is in total confusion. He cannot understand the reason for his afflictioin. So he prays that the LORD will see, or take notice of, his affliction, for it is not only great, but continues to increase. Although he doesn’t understand why, he perceives that the LORD has sent it upon him. Although some will say that, Satan, not God, sent this upon him, a quick look back at chapters 1 and 2 will show that it was the LORD, Who called Satan’s attention to Job, and also gave him permission to afflict him. Of course, since we have the full account of the situation, we can see that in it God’s purpose was to demonstrate to Satan the impossibility of plucking one of His servants out of His hand. Thus it is a comfort to us, even today. But Job did not know about this. So he was completely confused. To him it seemed that, God had set Himself as a fierce lion , hunting Job to destroy him. The whole matter was to Job as if God were making war against him. And he, knowing the power of God, was as one without hope.


(Verses 18 through 22) 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! I should have been carried from the womb to the grave. Are not my days few? Cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.


Once more Job asks “Why?” That is, why did God even permit him to live instead of being stillborn, if after giving him life, He would put such heavy affliction upon him. He thinks it would have been much better for him, had he never lived at all. We, if overtaken by sorrow and suffering, sometimes forget the wonderful blessings of God that we have enjoyed, and begin to focus solely upon the afflictions of the moment. And that is exactly what Job had done. When we do this too long, we begin to get on “slippery ground.” This kind of thinking can lead us to believe that the past is worthless, the present is all there is, and there is no hope in the future. Such thinking is usually the cause of suicide. And that has become all too common in our modern day society. Job had not reached quite this depth of despair; and, thanks be to the LORD, he never did. But he seems to have been very close to it. Only faith in God prevented it. He considered that he had only a few more days before death and the grave would claim him. So he asked the LORD to let him alone, that is, remove his affliction, that he might rest a little before he died. For then he would be going to a place from which there is no return, a place where there is no order, that is, no succession of day and night, but even the light is as darkness. This shows us a little of the ancient belief concerning the place of the dead. He is not in this denying the resurrection from the dead, but simply looking at death from the viewpoint of this life only. We will not come back to it.


Chapter 11

(Verses 1 through 6) Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be justified? Should thy lies make men hold their peace? And when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed? For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in Thine eyes. But oh that God would speak, and open His lips against thee; and that He would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.


As I examine Job’s speech, thus far I can find no place where he has spoken a falsehood, has in any wise mocked God, said that he was clean in his own eyes, or said that his doctrine was pure. He has confessed that he is a sinner, although he is not wicked. And this, he has maintained, God knows. From the beginning he has said that he cannot see in his life a sin that would bring on such an affliction as has come upon him. He has even declared that if he should call and God answered him, he could not believe that He answered because of his, Job’s, importance. Yet Zophar, in his self-righteous indignation, finds it necessary to lay such accusations against him; and insist that, with all his suffering, he is getting by with a much lighter penalty than his sins call for. Certainly Job, and we also, are the recipients of God’s mercy, even in our suffering. For we do not receive the penalty for which our sins call. But in this instance, Job’s afflictions were neither punishment, nor even chastisement, for his sins, whether those sins may have been great or small. And such may also be the situation with one, or many, of the LORD”S servants today. It is not ours to judge. Notice that, in Zophar’s prayer there is no request that God would give him wisdom that he might know how to address Job. Instead, his prayer is that the LORD might speak to Job, “and open His lips against him.” He feels that he already knows the “secrets of wisdom,” but Job doesn’t. He already knows everything he needs to know; but Job needs to learn it. Then Job would know, as he already does, that these secrets of wisdom are “double to that which is.” Notice that Zophar is, just as have been Eliphaz and Bildad, laboring under one precept only. It is, that all our trials, afflictions, and suffering, are sent upon us as punishment for our sins. Therefore if we serve the LORD faithfully, He will give us a smooth road, and give us prosperity in all our undertakings; while, if we sin, He will take away our pleasures, and turn everything against us, until we repent. Then the whole process begins again. This is the basic tenet of materialism. It never recognizes that God’s promise to bless His servants, often has no reference to material things except the necessities of life, but is a promise to give us grace and strength to bear the afflictions that are sure to come to all His servants in this world. He has reserved glory, peace, and prosperity for them in the world to come.


(Verses 7 through12) Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. If He cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder Him? For He knoweth vain men: He seeth wickedness also; will He not then consider it? For man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.


Certainly, neither Job nor anyone else could by searching find out everything about God. Such knowledge is deeper and greater than that of all humanity. In fact, all that any man will ever know of God is that which He is pleased to reveal to him. He can, and does, do whatever pleases Him; and none can hinder or question Him. There is nothing, good or bad, about man which He does not already know. Man is always trying to set himself up as wise, although unless the LORD gives him wisdom,, he has no more than the wild beasts. He, without God’s help, is just as foolish as the wild ass’s colt. Yet, although all of this is true, none of it has any bearing upon the afflictions of Job. Zophar is insinuating that Job is ignorant of such truths as these, and that they are only known by wise men such as himself. Such can be of little comfort to Job in his distress.


(Verses 13 through 17) If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward Him; if iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away: and thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.


Zophar continues his lecture to Job, inferring that all of Job’s troubles are the direct result of his sin; and that if he will confess, and turn away from these sins, God will turn everything completely around, and bless him instead of punishing him. In short, he is preaching the same doctrine we often hear today. That is, it is all in the hands of the sinner. If he will only repent of his sins, and turn to the LORD, God will make his life easy, everything he does will prosper, and, in the end, God will give him eternal life. But if he persists in his sin, everything he attempts to do shall fail, and he will finally be brought to shame, death, and the judgment. All of this doctrine glorifies man, not God; because it declares that, ultimately, God can do nothing except what man will approve. Yet God’s word declares that He “works all things after the counsel of His own will.” He has never promised His servants a life of ease and prosperity in this world. His promise is, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee,” (Isaiah 43:2) Notice that He did not say that He would pluck us out of the water and the fire; but only that He would be with us in such experiences. When we pass through such things, He will protect us so that we shall not be utterly destroyed. When Zophar says, “And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, and thou shalt be as the morning,” he is declaring that if Job will only turn to the LORD, all the remainder of his life shall be so prosperous, peaceful, and pleasant, that he will forget that he has ever had any afflictions. And his whole life (age) will seem as clear and bright as the sun at noonday under a clear sky; and he will always feel fresh and vigorous as the early morning. What a wonderful promise! But, alas, it is Zophar’s promise, not God’s.


(Verses 18 through 20) And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee. 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.


What a wonderful picture Zophar sets forth to Job, if Job will only confess his sin, and turn from it, to the LORD. What prosperity, pleasure, and security! Job will be secure. That is, he can “dig about” him, or cultivate his fields; he can take his rest, and even lie down and sleep, in safety, without being afraid of anyone. He also will be set up as so important that many shall “make suit unto” him. That is, they will come to him that he may settle their disagreements for them. How wonderful, if only it were true. Certainly, God will preserve His righteous servants. But sometimes even that preservation is through their death. Witness His martyr, Stephen. Isaiah 57:1 says, “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.” And Psalms 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” Notice that everything Zophar promises to Job for his repentance is of a timely, or materialistic value, peace, prosperity, ease, and even worldly honor. But the wicked (and if Job continues in his wickedness, this includes him) cannot escape. Their eyes shall fail, and even their hope shall be as death, “the giving up of the ghost.” The short summation of this speech is, “If you do as I say, you will be freed from your suffering, and exalted; but if you don’t, you will be destroyed.” Is it any wonder Job answered him as he did?

Chapter 12

(Verses 1 through 6) And Job answered and said, No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall perish with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? I am as one mocked of his neighbor, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease. The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.


Job’s answer in verse 2 is total sarcasm. “No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall perish with you.” In every word they have spoken, they have been so dogmatic, that they have all the way projected the idea, “We know all about everything, and you know nothing at all. Therefore you be quiet, and let us teach you.” Yet throughout they have, when speaking the truth, either spoken only half-truths, or completely misapplied those they did speak. They have never realized that Job’s troubles could have a different cause than that he is being punished for his sin. They are so full of their own supposed importance and wisdom that they will not even listen to what he says. Thus it most often is the way with self-appointed teachers. So Job mockingly says, “No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.” That is, “You are the only ones wise enough to know these things, and when you die, that wisdom will be forever gone.” If true, what a pity that would be! “But,” he says, “I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things?” Not only does Job know such things as they have said, but so does everyone else. They are only common knowledge, not great maxims of wisdom. Because of this, he lays upon them a serious charge. They have actually mocked him in his affliction. It is as if he had called upon God, and instead of waiting for Him to answer, they have pushed in, and laughed him to scorn, in spite of his being clear of their charges. They, being at ease themselves, have treated him with scorn, and despised his affliction. He reminds them that, contrary to what they have said, the tabernacles, or dwelling places, of the robbers do prosper; and those who provoke, or defy, God are still not all destroyed. God even gives them an abundance of the blessings of this life, Witness the rich man and Lazarus, of whom our Lord told us in Luke 16:19-31. Thus he rebukes them for trying to add suffering to his already great affliction.


(Verses 7 through 11) But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee: and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these things, that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In Whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. Doth not the ear try words? And the mouth taste his meat?


Job calls upon these friends to look at nature for a better understanding of these things, which they claim to know so much about. The wild beasts, the fowls, the fishes, and even the earth itself, know that God has made all things, and that the soul of every living thing, as well as the breath of all mankind is in His hand. Thus He distributes to each of them such as He may see fit, without having to base these gifts upon the merit of the creature. “Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?” That is, are not we able to listen to a speaker, and judge whether, or not, he is telling the truth, just as by tasting with the mouth we know whether, or not, we like a certain food? Surely this is true. Just so, as we observe God’s dealings with the human family, and listen to one speaking of these things, we know whether, or not, he speaks the truth. So far, in their speeches, it appears that Job’s three friends were as many are today, afraid that if God deals with man according to His own sovereignty, without finding in man something to merit what He gives him, or does for him, He would be unjust. They think that He must “play by their rules” of justice and equity. Yet He not only does deal with man, and all other creatures, “according to the good pleasure of His will,” but many times in His written word, has fully declared that that is the way He does, and will continue to do. Since “man in his best state is altogether vanity,” even the best of men have no standing before God, except by His grace and mercy.


(Verses 12 through 21) With the Ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With Him is wisdom and strength, He hath counsel and understanding. Behold, He breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: He shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening. Behold, He withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also He sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. With Him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are His. He leadeth counselors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.


How often we have heard it said, “If God were to do this, or that, He would be unjust.” The only answer I can think of for this statement is, “By whose rules?” Have we so long been falsely taught that God is just, or unjust according as He follows, or disregards the rules of man, that we have forgotten that He is our Creator, and has every right to do as He will, whether or not it complies with our ideas of justice. Notice all the things that Job mentions here as the work of God. And not a single reference is made to the righteousness or wickedness of those to whom these works were done. In some of them, He even takes away the wisdom of the wise, and takes away the speech of the trusty, those, whose speech is worthy of being believed and followed. In all these things, He acts according to nothing except His own will. Yet He is just and righteous in every act. Surely we could go on and on in discussing His works and His will. But, for the moment, it suffices to say that Job knew something of His greatness, which had completely eluded his friends.


(Verses 22 through 25) He discovereth deep things out of the darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death. He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: He enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again. He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way. They grope in the dark without a light, and He maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.


Job continues his discussion of the greatness of God, as manifested by His wonderful works. Although what he says about the LORD is eternal truth, it is often forgotten and overlooked by men. He is the One, Who discovers, or reveals, deep things, or great secrets, from the darkness. That is, things man could never learn from the things of nature. He even brings the shadow of death out to light. He gives us faith by which we are given a glimpse of life beyond death, and are assured of the resurrection of the dead. Just in our lifetime, we have seen the rise and fall of many nations. How many more there must have been since the beginning of the world! And there may be many more before God closes the curtain on this world. Yet, regardless of the immediate cause of the rise and fall of each, God has brought about both for all. When He takes away the heart of the chief, or the leader, of the people, (and this is true of any people,) they are left to wander in the wilderness of indecision where there is no way. They do not know which way to turn, until God lets another leader arise. Till then they grope as men do in darkness when they have no light. And in darkness they have a tendency to stumble, and stagger as those that are drunken.


Chapter 13

(Verses 1 through 6) Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you. Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. O that ye would altogether hold your peace! And it should be your wisdom. Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.


Job declares that everything he has said is only that which he has seen, heard, and understood. Therefore he knows it to be true. He, being the equal of his three friends, also knows all that they know. Surely this is a rebuke to them for their erroneous efforts to teach him according to the great wisdom they thought they had. He says that he would, indeed, like to talk with God, and reason, or discuss, with Him these afflictions. In Chapter 9, verses 2 and 3, he has already said, “I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? He cannot answer Him one in a thousand.” Then in verses 34 and 35, he says, “Let Him take His rod away from me, and let not His fear terrify me: then would I speak, and not fear Him; but it is not so with me.” So, although he has a desire to discuss this matter with God, he knows that his fear of God is such that he cannot do it. Then he charges his friends with being forgers of lies, and physicians of no value. As we have tried to point out, although his friends have spoken some truths, they have woven them into a false doctrine, because they have from the beginning based it upon a false premise. So now Job tells them that the part of wisdom for them is to be quiet and listen to his discussion of the matter.


(Verses 7 through 13) Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for Him? Will ye accept His Person? Will ye contend for God? Is it good that He should search you out? Or as one man mocketh another, do ye mock Him? He will surely reprove you, if ye secretly accept persons. Shall not His excellency make you afraid? And His dread fall upon you? Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay. Hold your peace, let me speak, and let come on me what will.


This is an amazing speech, and one, which the world, as well as many, who profess to be servants of God cannot understand or accept. Notice the accusation in verses 7 and 8. “Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for Him? Will ye accept His person? Will ye contend for God?” To speak wickedly, and to talk deceitfully, for God are one and the same. These three friends, apparently, were of the same mind that many are today. They could not believe that the great God of heaven and earth could be just, if He would permit His servants to suffer, and the wicked to prosper. So they had to defend Him on those two points by telling lies for Him. They declared that He always had, and would, take away all the unpleasant things from those, who served Him; and upon all, who did not, He would bring all manner of calamities. This, of course is not true, as we have proven over and over in this discussion. He has promised to preserve the righteous, but not to give them wealth and a life of ease in this world. He also will bring the wicked to judgment, but not necessarily, before the Day of Judgment. So to apply all of this to the present life is to speak wickedly and talk deceitfully for God. When speaking of Him, we should be extra careful to tell the truth, whether men like it or not. He does not need us to defend Him. Those things He has declared that He has done, or will do, we should be ready to admit. Whatever He does is right, whether it is in agreement with our rules, or not. His ways are so far above our ways that they are not accountable to our rules. To accept one’s person is to give him preference by witnessing, what we think are good things, about him, even if we have to stretch the truth.

We never have to do that for His sake. He works all things exactly as He pleases, is accountable to none but Himself, and is in all things just, righteous, and holy. And many of His works we do not understand. He showed Nebuchadnezzar long ago that, “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” (Daniel 4:35) It is our privilege and duty to praise and glorify Him. But he does not require us to give false testimony for Him. He will forever stand on the truth. For He is truth. Job’s questions, “Is it good that He should search you out? Or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock Him?” might be paraphrased thus: “When He considers what you have done, do you think He will be pleased with your lies? Or do you think you can get away with mocking Him, as you would mock a man?” Surely if we use false contention for Him, He will reprove us. So Job asks, Shall not His excellency make you afraid? And His dread fall upon you?” That is, “Are you not afraid to tell lies in the name of God? Do you think He will be pleased with your false representation of Him?” He then reminds them of their own frailty. “Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.” There is nothing permanent about them. Even the memory of them will fade away, just as ashes will be blown away by the breeze. Then nothing will be left of them except the clay that was once their bodies. With this conclusion, he says, “Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.” Thus he tells them to be quiet and listen to him. He will take all responsibility for what he says. “Let come on me what will.”


(Verses 14 through 19) Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand? Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before Him. Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears. Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified. Who is he that will plead with me? For now, if I hold my tongue, I  shall give up the ghost.


Having demanded of his friends that they be quiet, and listen to him, Job, by his question and answer, declares that his faith in the LORD is such that even if God sees fit to take him away in death, he still will trust in God. Nevertheless He will maintain that his ways have been according to the LORD’S commandments, and are not the cause of his present affliction. He is fully confident that God will Himself be his salvation, because, although no hypocrite can stand before the LORD, he is not a hypocrite; and therefore God will uphold him. He calls upon them to hear his speech, and listen to his declaration. His declaration is: “Behold, now I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.” His faith in God is such that he is sure He will justify him as He judges his speech. He has what he wishes to say in order in his mind. He then asks, “Who is he that will plead with me?” This could be understood as either, “Who will take my side in this case?” or its direct opposite, “Who will oppose me.” In either case, it makes little difference to him, because he has reached the point at which he feels he must speak, or die.


(Verses 20 through 24) Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from Thee. Withdraw Thine hand from me: and let not Thy dread make me afraid. Then call Thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer Thou me. How many are mine iniquities and sins? Make me to know my transgression and my sin. Wherefore hidest Thou Thy face, and holdest me for Thine enemy?


Now his address is to the LORD. He asks that the LORD do two things for him. The first is that God withdraw His hand from him, that is, alleviate his suffering, that he might better consider the situation. The second is that He remove from him that great dread of God, which robbed Job of the ability to talk with God as with a man. If we had no fear, no reverence, no respect, and no awe of God, we might feel free to say anything to Him that we pleased. But it is not so with us; and neither was it with Job. Still, if He would remove this dread, Job would be ready for such a conference. Under such conditions, God could ask the questions, and Job would answer; or, conversely, Job could ask, and God could answer. However, obviously this did not take place. So, under the prevailing circumstances, Job asks the LORD to make him know his transgression and his sin. He also wants to know why the LORD hides His face from him, and counts him an enemy. We may often be faced with the same questions. Although we do not have all the answers, faith tells us that He has a reason for it, and His reason is always right. That is the only answer we really need.


(Verses 25 through 28) Wilt Thou break a leaf driven to and fro? And wilt Thou pursue the dry stubble? For Thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. 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. And he (it) as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.


Job questions God’s being so intent upon breaking him down, which he, evidently, perceives to be the purpose of his affliction. He is so unimportant, that it seems as if God were wasting time in breaking a leaf that is being blown to and fro in the wind, or as if He were pursuing the dry stubble, or chaff. It seems that the LORD is bringing upon him all the iniquities of his childhood. The LORD has put him “in the stocks,” the old public punishment for law breakers, and is searching all his paths for every sin that can possibly be charged against him. He feels that a “print,” or a slave brand has been put upon his heels, and it, as a rotten thing has consumed, or destroyed, all his freedom and joy. It makes his life like a moth eaten garment.



Chapter 14

(Verses 1 through 6) Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. And dost Thou open Thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with Thee? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with Thee, Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; turn from him that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.


Job declares that all men are of few days, and these days are full of trouble. He comes forth, or grows up, as a flower. Everything is bright and fresh. Then he is cut down, and as passes a fleeting shadow, so does he. He continues not. So Job questions, “Does the LORD find it worthwhile to look closely, (‘open His eyes’) upon such an insignificant being as this, that He should consider him important enough to bring him into judgment as He has Job.” By asking, and answering, a question, he declares that none can, from such an unclean thing as man, bring forth that which is clean. Surely this is hopeless. He is, of course considering this from only the viewpoint of man. Jesus told His disciples, “With men it is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Yet Job continues, reminding God that He has determined beforehand the days of a man, that He holds the number of his months with Himself, and has appointed bounds that man cannot pass. Therefore he asks that the LORD “turn from him,” or remove his suffering, that he might rest a little, while he finishes the time allotted to him, as a hired servant finishes out his day’s work.


(Verses 7 through 10) 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. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?


We have often seen examples of what Job says about a tree. In fact, some trees are so tenacious of life, that about the only ways to get rid of them after cutting them down are either to keep coming back and trimming off the sprouts, or to use some kind of herbicide on the stump. But it is not so with man. When he is cut down by death, he wastes away, and cannot be found. He does not return to this life


(Verses 11 through 13) As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood deecayeth and dryeth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not; till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 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 verses 11 and 12, Job is setting forth the finality of death. It appears that, up to this point all his consideration has been concerning natural life, man’s relation to the earth and the things therein. His suffering has brought him to such a low estate, that this is all he has been able to see. His experience seems to mirror that of many of us. He has reached his lowest point of faith. All he can see is death, with no hope beyond it. As long as the world shall stand, man shall never rise nor awake from the sleep of death. If he continued to dwell upon this fact, he would indeed be hopeless, and so is everyone, who has not been enabled by faith to get a little glimpse of life beyond death. Now, a thought comes to him. At first, it seems hardly more than a wish. “O that that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret till Thy wrath be passed, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!” What a wonderful thought! If he could only have assurance of this, his present suffering would not be worthy of consideration. Later, we shall see this wish blossom into full faith. But at present, it is hardly more to him than a wish, wonderful though it is.


(Verses 14 through 17) If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands. For now Thou numberest my steps: dost Thou not watch over my sin? My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and Thou sewest up mine iniquity.


As Job considers how wonderful it would be, if God would hide him in the grave until His wrath is passed, and then call him forth, he questions, “If a man die, shall he live again?” If so, he would be content to wait “all the days” of whatever length of time God appointed him, till that great change should come. In such an event, God shall call, and I will answer Him. This is, indeed, a wonderful prospect. As he further considers the matter, he becomes more convinced that it is true. Surely God will have a desire to the work of His hands. And Job knows that he is the handiwork of God. Even now God numbers his steps, watches over his sin, seals up his transgression in a bag, and sews up his iniquity. Does this not mean that He cares for him? Since He counts, “numbers” his steps, and watches over, or keeps under control, his sin, He surely has some further purpose for him. He even seals up his transgression in a bag, and sews up his iniquity, as if keeping them for some future evaluation. So it seems to Job that God is preparing for a later time to call him forth from the grave, commune with, and justify him.


(Verses 18 through 22) And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place. The waters wear the stones: Thou washest away the things that grow out of the dust of the earth; and Thou destroyest the hope of men. Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: Thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away. His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them. But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.


Job again turns back to the world and man’s relation to it. The earth is constantly in the process of decay. Even the mountains fall and the rocks are moved out of their places; but these things do not change the course of the world. The constant flow of the waters wears down even the stones, and washes away the vegetation that grows out of the earth. All these things are according to the course of nature, as God has established it. Notice that, although this course of nature was established by the Lord, the only item of it in which he mentions the hand of God, is, “Thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth.” But when he considers man, he notes God’s direct involvement in that which he experiences. “Thou destroyest the hope of man. Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth; Thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.” He says, “Thou destroyest the hope of man,” and says nothing about where man’s hope comes from in the first place. But that is taken care of in, “Thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.” Whatever change, whether sadness or joy, hope or despair, or anything else of this nature, is given of God. And while man passes away, God continues forever. Man is often taken away before his sons either come to honor or shame. But whatever his situation is in life, his flesh shall have pain, and his soul shall have sorrow. For, as Job said earlier, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”



Chapter 15

(Verses 1 through 9) Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said, Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? Should he reason with unprofitable talk? Or with speeches wherewith he can do no good? Yea, thou casteth off fear, and restrainest prayer before God. For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty. Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee. Art thou the first man that was born? Or wast thou made before the hills? Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself. What knowest thou that we know not? What understandest thou which is not in us?


Eliphaz considers it his turn to again lecture Job. Remember that in Chapter 2, verse 11, we are told, “For they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.” Yet, search as we may through all that these three friends have said, we can find not a single word of comfort for Job, nor any indication that they are mourning his affliction at all. Neither does that change as Eliphaz continues his harangue. He begins with charging Job with using “vain,” or worthless knowledge and unprofitable talk, that amounts to no more than the east wind. All these friends seem to think that Job has been declaring himself as great as God, and demanding that God meet him on equal terms to discuss the situation. This Job definitely has not done. He has wished that he might be enabled to have a discussion of his affliction with God, and that He would show him why all this trouble has come upon him. And, no doubt, in his condition, you and I would desire the same. Yet He has always maintained that God is infinitely greater than he, and that his fear of God is such that he could not answer one in a thousand of the questions God might ask. He has, indeed, asked the LORD to take away his suffering, and even to take his life that he might rest in death. Even so, He has declared, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Yet Eliphaz accuses him of casting off fear, and restraining prayer before God. As may sometimes be true of us, he considers not what Job says, but what he interprets him to mean. So he also accuses him of choosing “the tongue of the crafty.” That is, speaking one thing while meaning another. He thinks himself wise enough to know what Job means, in spite of what he says, instead of by what he says. This reminds one of some news media analysts, as they completely take apart a speech we have just heard, and fully understood; and they put it back together in another manner, changing the words to others that give the ideas of the analyst instead of the speaker. We also find this trend among preachers, who do not believe that God meant what He said, or else that He was too ignorant to know how to say it; and they have to interpret it for Him. By this means, Eliphaz finds Job to mean, not what he has said, but quite the contrary. So he declares, “Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.” Surely, a few of Job’s remarks may have seemed a little foolish, as he has also confessed. But under such affliction as he was, who would be able to set forth wisdom in each and every word? All of Eliphaz’s words in verses 7 and 8 are summed up in his questions in verse 9. “What knowest thou that we know not? What understandest thou that is not with us?” That these questions were asked rhetorically to belittle any wisdom or knowledge Job might have, and not to gain information is proved by the next verse.


(Verses 10 through 16) With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father. Are the consolations of God small with thee? Is there any secret thing with thee? Why doth thine heart carry thee away? And what do thine eyes wink at, that thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth? What is man, that he should be clean? And he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, He putteth no trust in His saints; yea the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?


According to Eliphaz, Job could not possibly have any wisdom that was not theirs also, and neither could he understand anything that they did not also understand. The reason he gives for this is, “With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.” This is a little similar to the answer given by the Pharisees to the man, who had been born blind, but was given sight by our Lord. “Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?” Such was Eliphaz’s attitude in this matter. To him, Job was a sinner, and since even Job’s father was younger than some of the men of his city, Job was a young upstart, and therefore could not know anything more, nor have any more wisdom, than he and his friends. What he apparently did not know is that, we may have men of great wisdom all around us, and still have very little, if any, wisdom ourselves. Then, in verses 11 and 12, he accuses Job of harboring some secret sin that has turned his heart away from God, and he, in an effort to “wink at it,” or cover it up, has turned his spirit away from the LORD, and spoken blasphemous words against Him. In verses 14 through 16, he speaks forth some of the things he has been taught by the wise men he has already mentioned. But his application of them to Job shows that his wisdom concerning these things is far less than that of his teachers.


(Verses 17 through 19) I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare; which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it: unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.


Since Eliphaz thinks Job, and even Job’s father too young to know anything, or to have any wisdom, he feels it his duty to teach him from that vast wisdom he thinks he has. He first says that what he will tell is that which he has seen. Then he changes it to what wise men have handed down from father to son from the time when the earth was given to them alone, and no stranger passed among them. There is one great danger in this kind of teaching. That danger is that each one who is taught may have a slightly different understanding of what he was taught than the actual wording of his teacher. As this goes on from generation to generation, with no permanent record to be used as the standard, it may finally bear no resemblance to the original teaching. Yet that same fault is among us today. Some particular scripture may be mentioned, and someone will say, That can’t mean exactly what it says, because our church has always taught such and such. That is the danger of tradition. But with this attitude and background Eliphaz sets forth to teach Job.


(Verses 20 through 25) The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor. A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him. He believeth not that he shall return out of the darkness, and he is waited for of the sword. He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? He knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand. Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him as a king ready to do battle. For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strenftheneth himself against the Almighty.


This would be wonderful, if it were only true. No doubt, if it were, it would cause, at least some, of the wicked to turn from their wicked ways. That this is a false speech is not my judgment, but rather that of God, as written by the psalmist Asaph. Compare this with Psalms 73:1-15 There the psalmist tells us what a wonderful life the wicked have in this world. In fact, it looked so good to Asaph that he says, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Then he proceeds to tell us how wonderful is the life of the wicked. In verses 13 through 16 he tells us that this all looked so good to him that he began to think that all his efforts to live righteously were not worth the trouble. Then in verses 17 and 18 he says, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places: Thou castedst them down to destruction.”  So, although God has decreed that the wicked shall be brought to destruction, that does not mean that He will not, in many instances, permit them to have a long prosperous life in this world. So, as they go about their wicked ways, there is no fear of God nor the punishment He will bring upon them before them. The scriptures tell us that so far as the wicked are concerned, “There is no fear of God before his eyes.” He is afraid of neither God nor man, but goes foolishly on in his wicked ways, until God sees fit to cut him down, whether in youth or in age. In Psalms 17:13-14, David tells us something of God’s dealing with the wicked, the “men of the world.” “Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is Thy sword: from men, which are Thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasures: They are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.” Although God will bring them to judgment, He often allows a continuity of their generations, and permits them to enjoy great prosperity in this world. Although “the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God,” He sometimes even permits the wicked to be defiant against Him in this world, and defers punishment until the Day of Judgment.


(Verses 26 through 35) He runneth upon Him, even on His neck, upon the thick bosses of His bucklers: because he covereth his face with fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks. And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps. He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth. 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. Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompense. It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green. He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive. For the congregation of hypocrites  shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.


Obviously this is only a continuation of  Eliphaz’s lecture on the precariousness of the standing of the wicked in this world. If he were speaking of eternal judgment, there would be much truth in what he says. But it is not always so in this life, as we have already pointed out from other declarations in God’s word. There is also much more proof of the prosperity of the wicked in this world to be found in the scriptures. God even blesses them with the good things of this life in spite of their wickedness. Yet there is judgment to come, and no escape for the wicked can be found. Notice Abraham’s answer to the rich man in hell. (Luke 16:25) “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.’” If what Eliphaz has said, is what his “wise men” have handed down, they were not so wise as he thought; and if what they taught was the truth, Eliphaz must have misunderstood them. For his testimony does not agree with the word of God, as we have pointed out. So let us beware of the materialistic doctrine, that suffering proves the sinfulness, and prosperity, the righteousness of the individual.


Chapter 16

(Verses 1 through 5) Then Job answered and said, I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all. Shall vain words have an end? Or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest? I 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. But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should assuage your grief.


Job’s first statement to Eliphaz is to let Eliphaz know that all the things he has said, as well as many more, are not new to him. He has heard many such. However, there is not here any acknowledgment of them as truth. They are only things he has heard. And if their situations were reversed, he, Job, could speak just as has Eliphaz. But he would not. Instead, he would speak words that would comfort and strengthen the sufferer rather than such as would condemn him. Because of their manner of speaking, he asks, “Shall vain words have an end? Or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest? Since everything Eliphaz has said is “vain,” or meaningless, words, (meaningless because they are not true, and because they are not even pertinent to the case,) he wants to know two things. First, when will such stop; and second, what made him speak at all. Since all that all three of these friends have said has been based upon the same false premise, and can be of no help, he says, “Miserable comforters are ye all.”


(Verses 6 through 8) Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased? But now He hath made me weary: Thou hast made desolate all my company. And Thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which are a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.


Job declares that it makes no difference in his suffering, whether he speaks or remains quiet. The misery is still the same. The affliction God has laid upon him has made him weary. One of the definitions of “desolate” is “alone,” or “solitary.” This seems to adequately fit Job’s use of it. “Thou hast made desolate (solitary) all my company.” That is, he has been brought so low that, even with company present, and especially such company as is present, he is as one alone. There can be no feeling of fellowship with them. Since wrinkles are usually a sign of aging, Job is as one greatly aged by his suffering. And in this his wrinkles are a witness, as is also his “leanness.” Though his suffering may have caused him to lose weight, as such often does, it seems that his greater concern is his weakness, for which leanness is substituted.


In verses 9 through 20, although Job is certainly speaking of his own suffering, it seems to also be prophetic of the suffering of our Lord Christ Jesus. In verses 9 and 10, he says, “He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me. They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.” Compare this with Psalm 22, and with Matthew 26:65-68, as well as the full accounts of all the gospel writers of His trial and crucifixion. No doubt this describes the feelings of Job, but it is also almost a literal description of what our Lord suffered from the time He was arrested through the time of His crucifixion.


In verses 11 through 14 Job says, “God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked. I was at ease, but He hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by the neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark. His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground. He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant.”


Again, surely Job was speaking of his own suffering, as he felt that God had delivered him over to his enemy, the ungodly. And surely He had. See chapter 2, verses 3 through 6. Within the restriction God placed upon him Satan was putting all affliction possible upon Job. Yet notice how closely this also describes the suffering of the Christ. The prophet, Isaiah, says, “Yet it hath pleased the LORD to bruise Him.” Then consider Jesus’ statement to those, who came to arrest Him. “When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against Me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53) And His answer to Peter in John 18:11, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup that My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?” Surely He did deliver Him to the ungodly. Then the ungodly did everything they possibly could to destroy Him, even to crucifying Him. Notice verse 13. “His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.” Certainly, there were no literal archers surrounding Him with their bows and arrows. But the wicked, as archers shooting arrows, were constantly shooting insults at Him as He hung on the cross. In John 19:34, we are told, “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”  This does not say which side of Jesus was pierced by the spear. The gall bladder is in the right side. To let one’s gall pour out on the ground his right side must be pierced. This then, could be a prophecy of that very act. In any event, he, the ungodly, did apply break upon break upon our Lord; not that he actually broke His bones, but that he brought about the dissolution of soul and body, so far as his effort was concerned. Yet Jesus did voluntarily lay down His life, just as He said He would.


In verse 15, Job says, “I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.” To dress in sackcloth was considered the sign of the deepest sorrow, or repentance. This Job has done, and, since the scriptures often use “horn” as a synonym for power or glory, he has laid his glory in the dust. He continues, “My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death; not for any injustice in my hands: also my prayer is pure.” Tears and dust together had so covered his face that it was defiled. And, as is often the case of one in great suffering and sorrow, there were great shadows around his eyes, and he appeared as one almost dead. All of this had come upon him, but he knew that he had committed no injustice to cause such. Therefore his prayer is still pure. This was Job’s condition. But does it not also adequately describe our Lord as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane ? Having declared that his prayer is pure, Job speaks forth that prayer. “O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place. Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.” Not only did he pray that his blood not be covered, or hidden away, by the earth, and thus be forgotten, but also that no hiding place be found for his cry. Let notice be taken that his witness is in heaven, and his record on high. Could not this also be said of our Lord Jesus. For the past almost two thousand years the earth has not been able to hide His blood, and neither have all the wicked of the earth been able to stifle His cry, or find a place to hide it. Although I know of no commentator, who has mentioned this as prophetic of our Lord, to me it holds a great similarity to His condition. Even verse 20, “My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God,” is very much in keeping with the same.


(Verses 21 and 22) O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor! When a few years are come, then shall I go the way from whence I shall not return.


Job, realizing that man’s years on earth are few, and feeling that he was fast approaching the time of his departure to the grave, a place from which we shall not return, is given a wonderful thought. “O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!” Although there is no provision for a court in which a man can appear before God to make such a plea, we are given a more wonderful advocate than even Job seemed to envision. I John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” And Romans 8:26-27 tells us, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” How much more wonderful this is than that which Job desired!

Chapter 17

(Verses 1 through 5) My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me. Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation. Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me? For Thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt Thou not exalt them. He that speaketh flattery to his friends; even the eyes of his children shall fail.


Job has reached such a low point that he is even tired of breathing. It seems that the very air that he breathes is corrupt, or defiled. He can see the grave, or death, just waiting for him. And still all his eye can see around him are those, who, instead of giving comfort in his time of affliction, only continue to mock him. So he turns to the LORD, asking Him to make a pact, or agreement with him to be his surety. Since, between men such an agreement is made with a handshake, he asks, “Who is he that will strike hands with me?” This question is the strongest possible way of saying that there is none that will do so. Since the LORD has hidden their heart from understanding, surely He will not exalt them, or cause them to prosper. He that speaks “flattery,” or more properly, falsehood, to his friends, is cursed, so that even the eyes of his children shall fail. To do so is a serious betrayal of friendship.


(Verses 6 through 10) He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret. Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow. Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite. The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.


By his affliction he has been brought down from being “as a tabret” to being only a byword among the people. A tabret, or tabor, is a small drum, beaten with one stick, and usually used to accompany a fife, or a flute. So now, instead of being as welcome among people as a musical instrument, Job has, because of his affliction, become of no importance to the people, and is only a byword among them. His sorrow is so great that it has dimmed his sight, and his body has so dwindled away that his members are as shadows of what they were before. This will surely astonish upright men, and cause the innocent, or gentle to rise up against the hypocrites. Verse 9 may be a little controversial. It can mean that this will not deter righteous men from the way of righteousness, and those, who have clean hands will grow stronger. However some hold that it is Job’s declaration that he is righteous, and his hands are clean; and therefore he will not turn aside from his way, come what may, but will grow stronger and stronger. There may be some truth in this latter interpretation. For when God finally addresses Job, the principal charge He lays against him is his adamant claim to self-righteousness. Be that as it may, Job says to the three friends, “But as for you all, do ye return and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.” Some think that Job is challenging them to come up with some charge they can prove against him. However, since in many ancient languages the direction of the action of verbs of action is often not in the verb itself, but in the context, this may be Job’s invitation to these friends to return (to their homes,) and to go (“come”) now. That is, leave immediately. “For I cannot find one wise man among you.”


(Verses 11 through 16) My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart. They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness. If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. And where is now my hope? As for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.


In this speech we hear a man, who seems to have given up all hope of ever seeing any better times in this world. And at this point, his entire focus seems to be on this world. His days and his purposes are now over. Even the thoughts of his heart are cut off, so that he no longer even thinks of future possibilities in life. Daylight comes to end the night before he can get any sleep. And just as quickly, night ends the day before he can accomplish anything. There is just that constant rolling of time: day into night, and night into day, with no hope of the future. All he is now waiting for is the grave. There he will rest in the darkness with corruption and the worms, with which he has already become reconciled, and which will, in the grave, destroy this body. There is left to him no hope of anything. All are soon to go down to the pit, or the grave, where all shall rest together in the dust. What a desolate outlook!  

Chapter 18

(Verses 1 through 4) Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, How long will it be ere you make an end of words? Mark, and afterwards we will speak. Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your sight? He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? And shall the rock be moved out of his place?


Now, in his order, Bildad takes it upon himself to again answer Job. He is very much upset because Job does not consider him and his friends the wise men they think themselves to be, but even of such little understanding that he cannot find one wise man among them. He accuses Job of considering them as no more than the beasts of the earth. He asks why Job thus considers them. Then he accuses Job of “tearing himself,” or destroying his own argument by his anger. He then accuses Job of wanting the whole order of the world to be changed that he might be justified, even if it takes moving the rock out of its place. This is, likely, a reference to the fact that Job has constantly denied the dogmatic assertions of Bildad and his friends that in this life the just are always rewarded, and the wicked always punished. Job has consistently maintained that God works all things after His own will, thus sometimes even bringing His servants through afflictions, and giving good things to the wicked, which is exactly what the word of God teaches throughout. But Bildad and his friends could not understand this. So he continues.


(Verses 5 through 11) Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him. The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down. For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare. The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him. The snare is laid for him in the ground, and the trap for him in the way. Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet.


There is no doubt that God will, in His Own time, bring down the wicked. And from His judgment there is no escape. But God also, for His Own purpose, may let a wicked man continue in full enjoyment of his wicked pleasures through a long life, and die peacefully in the presence of friends and loved ones. This, nevertheless, will not prevent His bringing that same wicked man to judgment. And His sentence upon him will be eternal. Bildad and his friends could not understand this. Therefore all they could do was to take the approach of materialism. The other side of this doctrine, although Bildad does not mention it at this point is that God will make the righteous to prosper in all they undertake to do, and will make their lives be filled with prosperity, peace, and joy. God is always able to, and sometimes does, bring down the wicked in this life. But the wicked are ignorant of this, and therefore not at all terrified by it. On the other hand, He is fully able to, and sometimes does, cause His servants to prosper in this world. But the greatest treasures He gives to His servants while in this life are faith in Him, fellowship with Him, and assurance that when this life is over we shall live forever with Him. He is our great reward. There is little need for explanation of Bildad’s speech, so far as individual statements are concerned. In it he simply declares that the wicked is under constant dread of the judgment of God, and for that reason never enjoys anything in this life. But in reality there is no such dread in his mind. “There is no fear of God before his eyes.” (Psalm36:1) If he but understood such things, there might be great reason to spend his life in constant terror. But since it is hidden from him, he goes merrily on his way.


The remainder of this chapter is more of the same. It is the approach of materialism to the teaching of God. Although the LORD is fully able to bring upon the wicked all these things, a dogmatic declaration that this is always His manner of action, is totally false. This is shown even in the parable of the Wheat and the Tares. (Matthew 13:29-30) “But he said, ‘Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn.”’” Although He may let the wicked continue to prosper in this world, there will be a harvest; and afterwards a judgment. Bildad’s statement in verse 21 is completely out of place, not that it is never that way, but that it is not always so. Bildad has declared that this is the way it is. Such a declaration is not true unless it can always be applied. This cannot be done, because it is not always thus. If it were, perhaps, the wicked would fear Him, even though they do not love Him. But He works all things after the counsel of His own will, and not according to rules established by man.


Chapter 19

(Verses 1 through 6) Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strong to me. And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself. If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach: know that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with His net.


Just as men often do today, these three friends had begun on the premise that Job had committed some great sin, for which he was being punished. And because this was their basic thought upon which they worked, they would listen to nothing that might overthrow it. In their eyes Job was a sinner, and would remain so in spite of everything. They had repeatedly, (Job says, ten times,) accused Job of being wicked, and declared this to be the reason for all his affliction. This he has constantly denied. He affirms that this is something the LORD has sent upon him without his doing anything to cause it. This is already witnessed by the LORD Himself, in chapters 1 and 2. Yet Job’s continued declaration of his own righteousness, and his failure to declare God’s right to deal with him according to His own will may seem to stand against him. But the arrogance and dogmatism of his three friends have brought him to the breaking point. He reminds them how they have unashamedly reproached him, and tells them that if they are going to condemn him anyway, they should know that the cause of his troubles is “that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with His net.” He has told them, in verse 4, that if it is because of an error, it is his error, and remains with himself. In other words it is none of their business, but remains between him and God.


(Verses 7 through 12) Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard. I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and He hath set darkness in my paths. He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. He hath also kindled His wrath against me, and He counteth me unto Him as one of His enemies. His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.


Not only Job’s suffering, which he considers to have been sent upon him by the LORD, but more than this, the lack of sympathy shown him by those he thought to be his friends, have so aroused him that he can no longer think rationally. His mind dwells upon these things that he feels God has unfairly done to him. We may often find ourselves in a like frame of mind. The more we think upon our troubles, the more likely we are to think that life is not fair. We lose sight of the fact that God has a perfect right to do with us as He pleases, whether it agrees with our idea of fair play, or not. We may think that He is “not playing by the rules.” But our trouble is that we forget that He is not bound by our rules. In that frame of mind, Job says, “Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.” In this condition of mind, he did, and we will, imagine all these things that we think God is doing against us. Contrast to this what the Apostle Paul said in II Corinthians 4:17-18. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” The key to this is to look, not at the things that are seen, but at those that are not seen. That is, pay as little attention as possible to the things seen by the natural eye, such as afflictions and sorrows; but keep studying those things that can only be seen by faith, such as the glory of eternal life with the Lord, after the present natural life is over. As long as we focus on the sufferings and afflictions that trouble us, they will appear to grow so great that there is no hope. But if we concentrate our attention on the wonderful promises of God, those same afflictions become much lighter. No doubt the lack of sympathy shown by these friends is the occasion of much of Job’s anger, and is responsible for much of this speech. As he continues, we can see that he has lost sight of God’s right to exercise His sovereignty, and is concentrating only upon how much he has been cut down. When we follow this example, we too are likely to come to his conclusion: “He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath He removed like a tree.” He then declares that God considered him an enemy, and has sent His whole army to besiege him.


(Verses 13 through 22) He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in my house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer, I entreated him with my mouth. My breath is strange to me wife, though I entreated for the children’s sake of mine own body. Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. My bone cleaveth to my skin and my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. Have pity upon me, O my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?


Job continues describing the low position to which his affliction has brought him. He is deserted by all his kinsfolk and friends.  Even his own wife finds his breath abominable, his slave girls consider him a stranger, and his servant will not answer him, even when he begs (“entreats,”) him to come to him. Young children were always taught to respect their elders. But now, when he rises up, they speak against him. Those who were his closest friends hate him; and those whom he loved are turned against him. What a pitiful situation! Yet we have seen almost the literal fulfillment of this. He begs these three friends to show pity for him. And he asks why do they set themselves as God, and persecute him, not being satisfied with the affliction of his flesh. That is, apparently they do not think his affliction severe enough. So they feel that they have to add to it the false accusations they have been presenting from the beginning.


(Verses 23 through 27) Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.


Since 1611 AD, English speaking Christians have been able to read this text, and rejoice in the declaration that our Redeemer will at the latter day, the Day of Judgment, stand upon the earth, and that He will cause the dead to arise and stand before Him. He will exonerate His saints, and render judgment to the wicked. No matter how much suffering and affliction His saints may have had to endure in this life, that will all be erased by the great joy of seeing Him, and living forever in His presence. All the efforts of modern religionists are directed towards overthrowing this wonderful truth that was revealed to Job, even in the long ago time in which he lived. We shall give a quotation of this passage from THE NEW ENGLISH BIBLE, only to show the contrast between what is now being brought in and that upon which we have depended so long.


T, N. E. B. (Job 19:23-27) Oh that my words might be inscribed, O that they might be engraved in an inscription, cut with an iron tool and filled with lead to be a witness in hard rock! But in my heart I know that my vindicator lives and that He will rise last to speak in court; and I shall discern my witness standing at my side and see my defending counsel, even God Himself, Whom I shall see with my own eyes, I myself and no other.”


Obviously this translation sets forth quite a different picture from that upon which we have depended for the past three hundred, eighty plus years. I certainly claim no expertise in the Hebrew Language, and can therefore make no statement about the accuracy of either translation. I can only say that in the span of time since the King James Version translation was made, many learned and godly men have been satisfied with it. And it is not likely that in the time since then the documents from which the translation was made have become any clearer. In fact age has a tendency to dim written, or even printed documents, so that they become harder to read as they grow older. So we shall confine our discussion to the KJV text.


Job was enabled to see, even if only momentarily, the great truth of the resurrection, and was by that so aroused that he exclaims, “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever!” The revelation that had come to him was so momentous that he wanted it recorded in such a manner that it could never be forgotten. Only something very important could so have moved him. So let us consider the message he wanted so inscribed. “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” As we look back upon Job’s earlier speeches, we find him at, perhaps, the lowest ebb of his faith, (Chapter 7, verses 8 through 10,) bewailing the fact that man dies, and will never return to his home and loved ones. He says, “The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: Thine eyes are upon me, and I am not. As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.” Then, in Chapter 14, verses 7 through 12, he continues in the same vein. But in verses 13 through 15, it seems that faith begins to grow, and give him some hope. “O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath is passed, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.” Thus we see the increase of faith to the level that he seems confident that there is life after death, although later he passes through times when he seems to despair of even this. Now, however, we find him at the very pinnacle of faith, declaring, “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” This will be after the worms and decay of the grave have completely destroyed Job’s body. But that does not inhibit his declaration, “yet in my flesh shall I see God.” These very eyes that we now have shall be brought forth from the grave, and though changed, will still be the same eyes we have had all the time. And in this very flesh, though long before destroyed, shall arise, and in it we shall see God. It is indeed God, and not another that we shall see , just as we, and not someone else, shall see Him. All of this is to be in spite of the decay of these bodies. God will raise them changed from corruption to incorruption. And in that glorified state we shall see God as He is.


(Verses 28 and 29) But ye should say, Why should we persecute him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me. Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.


Since these friends have concluded that the root, or cause of all Job’s troubles is in him, that is, that it is brought upon him by his sin, they ought to consider themselves more carefully, and ask themselves, “Why should we persecute him?” There are two very good reasons for this. According to their doctrine, God is punishing him; and therefore their efforts are not needed. And the wrong they do in pursuing such a course will also make them prime candidates for punishment also. If they arouse the wrath of God by their interference, they may bring upon themselves the “punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.” From this we too should take a lesson. We should remember that, even if we feel that God is punishing one for his sins, it is not our responsibility to berate him for them, as these friends had done to Job. To do so is, of itself, sin. And we, by doing such become guilty before God. Therefore we must remember that there is a judgment, and it reaches us as well as anyone else.


Chapter 20

(Verses 1 through 3) Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste. I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.


It is apparent that Zophar was very much like many today. When in a discussion another is speaking, he is so intent upon his own thoughts of what he wants to say that, although he hears the sound of what is being said, the message itself never registers on his mind. He says, “Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste.” He could not wait and absorb the message spoken, but thought he had to hurry and put in his “two cents worth.” Obviously, he felt that it was worth far more than two cents. “I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.” The spirit of one’s understanding is his wisdom. So, we might, without changing its meaning, make this change in Zophar’s statement: “I heard your rebuke to me, and my wisdom makes me answer.” This has been the attitude of all three of these friends from the beginning. They have felt that Job knows nothing at all, and because they are so wise they must instruct him. Then Zophar launches into his description of the prospects of the wicked. He begins by saying, “Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon the earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?” If we are considering both time and eternity, it is short, “but for a moment.” But Zophar, verse by verse, in this speech shows that his focus is entirely on time, only on what takes place in this life. In that consideration, every statement he makes in verses 5 through 29 becomes false; not that it never happens that way, but that it does not always do so. His foundation for the whole is that it is always that way, and has always been that way from the beginning, and thus it can be relied upon to always be so. Without quoting any more of his speech, we refer the reader to it as recorded. Let none think that we are saying, “It never is thus.” For surely it sometimes is. But ,as the Apostle Peter says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished.” (II Peter 2:9) Make no mistake; he also knows how to cut down the wicked in this life. And He often does; but not always. Whether He spares the wicked in this life, or brings him down in it, is according to His will. The same is true concerning whether, or not, He causes the righteous to prosper in this world. We are to be patient and wait upon Him. Above all, do not attempt to judge any man’s character by his prosperity, or lack thereof in material things, or pleasant times in this world.


Chapter 21

(Verses 1 through 6) But Job answered and said, Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations. Suffer me that I may speak: and after that I have spoken, mock on. As for me, is my complaint to man? And if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled? Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth. Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.


Job brings forth an answer to Zophar. First he says, “Hear diligently,” or “Listen carefully to” what I will say, and let what I say be taken seriously,and let it be a consolation to you. He continues, “Suffer me that I may speak.” That is, “Do not interrupt until I have finished.” After he finishes, they may continue their accusations, which are nothing but mockery. He has made no complaint to them, or to any man. Neither is his complaint against man. “Mark me,” or “Listen to me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth.” If they will only listen to what he is going to say they will be so astonished that they will stop their mouths with their hands, and there will be no more for them to say. He says that even the thought of the things he is going to say causes him to be afraid, and to tremble. No doubt, his fear is, at least partly, due to the fact that what he is going to say is directly opposite to that which Zophar has just said, which is also what he has, as well as they have, formerly been taught. He, just as they, had been taught that what Zophar has just said is the never varying rule of God’s dealing with the wicked. Yet, as he remembers what he has seen, he realizes that it is not always thus. In spite of his fear and trembling, he begins to tell them how it sometimes is with the wicked.


(Verses 7 through 16) Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto Him? Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.


Job’s question in verse 7 is based upon Zophar’s assumption that he has declared to be the truth; that God always brings the wicked to shame, and destruction in this life. If this is so, “Wherefore (or why) do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?” Notice that Job did not say that, all the wicked do this. But, as we all know, some of them do. This destroys Zophar’s declaration in verse 29 of the preceding chapter. If God has appointed this to “a wicked man,” (which in such usage is the same as “all wicked men,”) then why do these live to old age, and become mighty in power? Then Job tells them how it is, in reality, with these wicked of whom he speaks. Without again quoting what he said, we see that even their children are permitted to grow up and become established before them. There is no fear before them in their homes, as Zophar has said, but continued rejoicing. Even the “rod of God,” which is trouble and affliction, is not used upon them. In Job’s day, a man’s wealth was primarily counted according to the number of livestock he had, cattle, sheep, goats, etc. And his glory was known by the number of his children. The cattle of these wicked of whom Job spoke increase with no hindrance, and they have many children. “They send forth their little ones like a flock.” Not only so, but they are always happy. They dance, they take musical instruments and rejoice at their sound, and they spend their lives in wealth. Then, when they die, they “in a moment go down to the grave.” That is, they have a quick and easy death, with no long drawn out suffering. Because of all this, “they say unto God, ‘Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto Him?’” Does this not very adequately describe the apparent attitude of many in the present age? But Job says, “Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.” He understands that those who follow this way are not even working according to their own best interest. “Their good is not in their hand.” Nevertheless he has not been, and is not now, following their counsel, or advice. Again we caution that he did not say that this is the way of every one of the wicked. But it does negate the idea that God never lets them prosper in this life. And that is what Zophar and his two friends have continually declared.


(Verses 17 through 21) How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! And how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in His anger. They are as stubble before the wind, and as the chaff that the storm carrieth away. God layeth up his iniquity for his children: He rewardeth him, and he shall know it. His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty. For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?


Although, as Job has already declared, some of the wicked are permitted to prosper, grow old, and gain great power in the world, many of them are, indeed, of God brought down in this life. And all of them, in spite of their feeling of security, are before God, like the stubble before the wind, or the chaff before the storm. Many of them do have their “candle put out” in the prime of life, but not all of them. They shall all be brought to destruction; but many of them not until the Day of Judgment. No matter how long “his house,” or his family may continue after his death, he will not rejoice in it.


(Verses 22 through 26) Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing He judgeth those that are high. One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet. His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow. And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure. They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.


Since God is the Judge of even those who are high, or greatly exalted, who is able to teach Him knowledge? For one to do so, he would have to be greater than God. And that is impossible. He causes some to die in the midst of great prosperity, and in the full vigor of life, while He takes away another who is in such sorrow and affliction that he never enjoys anything, even eating, which is considered a universal pleasure. Yet in death they are made equal. Worms and decay will do for one exactly as they will for the other. As we often hear said, “Death is a great equalizer.” This may not be a pleasant thought; but it is a fact.


(Verses 27 through 30) Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me. For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? And where are the dwelling places of the wicked? Have ye not asked them that go by the way? And do ye not know their tokens, that the wicked is reserved for the day of destruction? They shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.


Job declares that he knows the wrongful thoughts and accusations they are imagining against him. They will ask, “Where is the house of the prince? And where are the dwelling places of the wicked?” In their minds, the fact that one has been elevated to the position of prince, and the “house,” or family, of one has continued prosperously on indicates that he cannot be wicked. For, according to their doctrine, had he been wicked, God would long ago have destroyed him. Job questions, “Have ye not asked them that go by the way? And do ye not know their tokens?” This seems to be an accusation that they have been so wrapped up in their own “wisdom” that they have neither listened to those around them, “them that go by the way,” nor looked at the signs, “tokens,” that are around them. If they had, they would know that “the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction. They shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.” This is a firm declaration that there shall be a resurrection of the wicked; and following that, they must face the judgment.. If not, what is the meaning of such language as, “they SHALL BE BROUGHT FORTH to the day of wrath?”


(Verses 31 through 34) Who shall declare his way to his face? And who shall repay him what he hath done? Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb. The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him. How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?


Rather than being general questions, as to who can be found that will do such, Job’s questions seem to carry the idea of, “Who among you will go to a wicked man, declare, in detail, his wickedness to him, and exact a penalty of him for his wickedness?” From the first speech of Eliphaz to the present moment, they have all been, in general terms, accusing Job of wickedness, but neither of them has ever told him just what his sin is. The obvious answer to his question is that none of them would do so. And the inference is that they would be afraid to do so. Nevertheless, in spite of their fear of him, the wicked shall “be brought to the grave.” That is, he shall die. And he shall remain in the tomb until he “shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.” While he is in the tomb, “the clods of the valley” shall be just as sweet to him as to any other. And, just as an uncounted multitude has gone before him, so must all others follow after him. That is, all must die. Since this is a fact known to all, how is it that these friends think they can comfort him with answers that contain falsehoods? One would think that his friends would have decided by this time that it was time for them to leave. But they remain, and continue their condemnation of Job.


Chapter 22

(Verses 1 through 4) Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? Is it any pleasure unto the Almighty that thou art righteous? Or is it gain to Him that thou makest thy ways perfect? Will He reprove thee for fear of thee? Will He enter with thee into judgment?


Every question in this speech, up to this point, is asked in anticipation of a negative answer, thus becoming a positive declaration that God is in no wise benefited by anything that we do. Since all things are His, we cannot be essentially profitable to Him. For since we have nothing of our own, we have nothing to give Him. Since the pleasure of God is dependent only upon Himself, if we are righteous, or even if our ways were perfect, it is no gain to Him. He is always the same. With Him is neither “variableness nor shadow of turning.” He is certainly not afraid of us. And He will not lower Himself to our level to meet us in court. This is the first speech either of these friends has started in which all he said was true. It is a classic case of the saying we have often heard: “He should have quit while he was ahead.” For his very next statement, and several following, take a quite different direction.


(Verses 5 through 11) Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing. Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden thy bread from the hungry. But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honorable man dwelt in it. Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken. Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee. Or darkness that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee.


How easy it is for one who follows materialism, while enjoying prosperity, to condemn his brother who is suffering adversity, and accuse him of being a sinner, on no grounds other than the adversity he is suffering. We know that before Job’s affliction began, God said to 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?” This He repeated after the first wave of affliction and before the second. So from God’s own testimony we know that Job had done none of these evil things mentioned by Eliphaz; and, in fact, no other wrong, for God said he was a perfect man. Yet Eliphaz says, “Is not thy wickedness great? And thine iniquities infinite?” And indeed, if he had done the things of which Eliphaz accused him, these questions would have to be answered in the affirmative. Under God’s law the poor, the stranger, the widow, and the fatherless, were to be very carefully taken care of, their necessities provided for and no abuse permitted against them. This was also the requirement of many other ancient cultures. Eliphaz accuses Job of violating all these rules, which we know to be a false accusation. But according to the materialist, that is all that will bring on such affliction as that of Job. According to Eliphaz, Job not only abused those whom God had ordered to be protected from abuse, but at the same time showed respect of persons to the rich and mighty, which is also a great sin. According to him, all these sins are the cause of Job’s troubles.


(Verses 12 through 20) Is not God in the height of heaven? And behold the height of the stars, how high they are! And thou sayest, How doth God know? Can He judge through the dark cloud? Thick clouds are a covering to Him, that He seeth not; and He walketh in the circuit of heaven. Hast thou marked the old ways which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflowed with a flood: which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them? Yet He filleth their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me. The righteous see it and are glad; and the innocent laugh them to scorn. Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.


Eliphaz asks Job, “Is not God in the height of heaven?” Surely He is, but this Job knew as well as he. Then he calls attention to how far the stars are above the earth, by this to show how much higher God is than man. Then he attempts to tell Job what he, Job, thinks; all of which is completely false. Job knows that none can hide from God, and that clouds and darkness are no hindrance to His sight. He then calls Job’s attention to the fact that when wickedness became so great in the world, God sent a flood upon the earth, and “cut them down out of time.” That is, He destroyed the wicked before they had lived the length of lives that generations ahead of them had. They had turned away from God unto wickedness. So, although He had filled their houses with good things, He turned against them and destroyed them. “But,” he says, “the counsel of the wicked is far from me.” That is, “I would never walk after their ways.” And in verse 20, “Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth,” might be better understood as, “Therefore our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.” This is the basic tenet of the materialist. “My prosperity proves that I am not following the ways of the wicked, but those who do follow them, the fire will consume.” In verse 19 he says, “The righteous see it and are glad: and the innocent shall laugh them to scorn.” When we are in prosperity, we must guard against the temptation to think our righteousness to be the cause of it. And just as importantly, we must remember that when afflictions come, our iniquities are not always the cause of our troubles. In short, our prosperity is not proof of our righteousness, and neither is our lack of prosperity proof of our wickedness. God has indeed promised to glorify the righteous and destroy the wicked. But both are often reserved to the Day of Judgment for execution.


(Verses 21 through 25) Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby shall good come unto thee. Receive, I pray thee, the law from His mouth, and lay up His words in thine heart. If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defense, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.


With no knowledge of the condition of Job’s heart and his relation to God, Eliphaz sets forth to tell Job what he must do. According to him, Job must first get acquainted with God. (As if he were not already the servant of God.) Next he must cause himself to be at peace. Presumably, this means that he must make himself be at peace with God. “Thereby good shall come unto thee.” Then he must “receive the law from His mouth, and lay up His words in thine heart.” All this sounds very familiar. It is the same instruction often given by self-righteous men today to those they deem as sinners. He says, “If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity from thy tabernacles.” Before we tell one to return to God, we should know for a certainty that he has wandered away from Him. And that cannot be judged solely upon the fact that he is suffering affliction. No doubt, we have all fallen enough short that this is good advice to us. But the LORD said that Job was a perfect man. So it hardly seems fitting to give such to him. Notice should be taken that all Eliphaz promises as the result of Job’s following his advice are material benefits, which seems to indicate that they are all he has any knowledge of. And even that knowledge is filled with flaws. Eliphaz’s next statements are further proof that his entire religion is materialism, as is so much of that we see around us today. “Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defense, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.” Although this is fundamental to materialism, it is not according to the promise of God. He has promised that to those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, he will provide the necessities of life. He has also promised that when we go through the deep waters, the rivers shall not overflow us, and in the fire we shall not be burned, that is, consumed. But He has never promised to make us rich in material things. Certainly He can, if it so pleases Him. But His promise to those who take up their cross and follow Him, is suffering and affliction now, with glory to come later. This, He will keep.


(Verses 26 through 30) For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto Him, and He shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways. When men are cast down, then shalt thou say, There is lifting up; and He shall save the humble person. He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.


It seems strange to hear one promising that if one will only follow the advice he is giving him, that one will be able to do things which the speaker has never been able to do, and knows full well that he will never be able to do. Yet that is exactly what Eliphaz has promised Job. He says that if Job will only do these things, everything will be made exactly to his, Job’s, liking. Not only will he enjoy a close relation with God, and God will hear His prayers, but he will also find that everything he shall decree shall come to pass. Then when men are cast down, all he will have to do is to say, “There is lifting up,” or “Let him be lifted up,” and it will immediately be done. So the innocent shall be delivered by the pureness of his, Job’s, hands. Has anyone other than our Lord Jesus ever been able to do so? No. And they never will.


Chapter 23

(Verses 1 through 7) Then Job answered and said, Even today is my complaint bitter: My stroke is heavier than my groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find Him! That I might come even to His seat! I would order my cause before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say unto me. Will He plead against me with His great power? No; but He would put strength in me. There the righteous might dispute with Him; so should I be delivered forever from my judge.


Some seem to think that Job is boasting of what he would do if he could find a way to meet the LORD face to face, as in court. I believe the whole context of it shows something a little different. An expression, much in use at the time of this translation, and sometimes used even now, seems to be the key to the matter. It was common to say, “I would” do this, or that, when the meaning was, “I wish I could” do it.  He complains that his suffering is greater than his “groaning.” That is, it is even too great for him to describe it. Then he exclaims, “Oh that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come before Him! That I might come even to His seat!” He wishes God would reveal Himself to him, and let him come before His throne. How often we too desire that God would give us access to literally come before His seat, or throne! Job says that if God would thus receive him, “I would order my cause before Him.” That is, he would tell God all about his troubles. When he says, “and fill my mouth with arguments,” we are not to take this as meaning that he wants to get into a word battle with God, as we usually consider an argument. But rather that he wishes that he could plead with God to lighten his affliction. He would “know and understand,” (that is, he desires to know and understand,) what God’s answer to him would be. Verse 6 shows his trust in God. “Will He plead against me with His great power? No; but He would put strength in me.” He is convinced that if God did grant him access to come before His throne, Instead of terrifying him with His great power, He would put strength in him that he might stand. “There the righteous might dispute with Him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.” Again the word used here is, in modern usage, somewhat stronger than it was considered at the time of this translation. Today we use “dispute” to mean an airing of contrary opinions, even in an unfriendly manner. But in the usage of that time, it just as often meant only an amicable discussion  He feels that in such a discussion he would be shown a righteous man, and thus freed from the evil that has come upon him.


(Verses 8 through 14) Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: on the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: but He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, His way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. But He is of one mind, and who can turn Him? And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth. For He performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such are with Him.


Job declares that all the searching he, or we either, can do can never find God, when He sees fit to hide Himself from us. We may even find where He works, and still not find Him; “on the left hand where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him.” Yet he feels confident that when God has tried him, he shall come forth as gold. Just as gold has to be refined in the fire, so God’s servants are often brought through suffering that they too may be refined and strengthened. When the refining process is finished that servant shall be as gold tried in the fire. He will be ready for whatever service it is that the Master has purposed. He declares, “My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined.” Even his suffering, though it has been great, and has made him say some things, which he probably should not have said, has not caused him to turn away from God, or to decline from His way. Rather, he considers the words of God more important than his necessary food. Nevertheless, God is not one to be influenced by man, but One, Who will do whatsoever He desires, and none can hinder Him, nor turn Him aside from His purpose. “He performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with Him.” Job did not know why God had appointed this trial and affliction for him. But he was aware that it was by the appointment of the LORD. And he knew that God would perform it exactly as appointed. Not only so, but with Him are many more such things. That is, without consulting us, He will do all His purposes, appointments, and decrees. And we cannot hinder Him.


(Verses 15 through 17) Therefore am I troubled at His Presence: when I consider, I am afraid of Him. For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me. Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath He covered the darkness from my face.


When he considers the fact that God, not only can, but will, bring to pass all His appointed things, and that we do not even know what they are, it troubles him, and makes him afraid. We often hear it said that when the scriptures speak of our having a fear of God, this only means that we should have a reverential respect for Him. While I would never deny that we should have reverential respect for Him, it is my firm belief that Job’s fear of Him was far greater than that; and that so also should ours be. Even Moses, the man of God, said, “I exceedingly fear and quake.” And our Lord Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him Which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” When Job considered the matter, he was afraid of Him. Then he tells us why. “For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath He covered the darkness from my face.” Since God had given him a soft heart, and instead of cutting him off before the darkness, has brought him into this very time of darkness, it makes him greatly afraid. He does not know what God’s next move will be. But he does know that he cannot hinder it in any wise. For, as he said before, “He performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with Him.”


Chapter 24

(Verses 1 through 6) Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know Him not see his days? Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof. They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge. They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together. Behold, as wild asses in the desert, they go forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children. They reap everyone his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.


Job’s question must be considered in the context in which it is asked. These three friends have contended all the time that those who in righteousness serve the LORD will always be made to prosper. And, conversely, those who sin will very quickly be cut down and destroyed. According to them, all this takes place in this life. Against this background, Job asks why, then, since God knows the times of all things, is it that those who do not know Him, (that is, those who will not recognize His laws,) are permitted to live long lives, “to see his days.” In the minds of the people of that time, and many of today, one who dies young does not “see his days,” while one who lives to old age does. Now Job’s question is, “With this doctrine as a background, why are those who do not know the LORD allowed to continue on in their wicked ways even into old age?” Then he begins to tell of the things they do, which prove them to be wicked, and devoid of the knowledge of the LORD. He does not mention hidden things about which men might not be aware, but gross sins, that are open and known to all. They even violently take away the landmarks, which are the marks of the boundaries between a man and his neighbor, they have no mercy on the widow, and neither do they help the needy. They so abuse the poor that “the poor hide themselves together.” They have no more respect for their neighbors than do a band of wild asses in the desert. They go about whatever work they intend to do, and between times go forth and rob someone. They live off the land. Still their grain fields and their vineyards yield sufficient crops for them to gather. Although they, undeniably, are wicked, they are permitted to prosper. Against the background of materialism preached by these three friends, how, and why, can this be?


(Verses 7 through 11) They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold. They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter. They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor. They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry; which make oil within their walls, and tread their wine presses, and suffer thirst.


These are indeed wicked men. They oppress the poor, even to taking away their clothing, and leaving them neither clothing nor shelter. Because of this these poor have to seek shelter in the rocks and caves, and are wet with the rain in the mountains. A fatherless child, though still nursing at the breast, they will snatch away and dash to pieces. Even the hungry, those who are so poor that what little oil they produce is processed “within their walls,” and they produce so little wine that even while they tread their wine presses, they are thirsty, are not exempt. From the poor they take the whole sheaf, leaving him no bread at all.


(Verses 12 through 18) Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them. They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof. The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief. The eyes of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face. In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light. For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death. He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.


Even though the evil of these is so great that it causes much groaning and crying out from the wounded in the city, God suffers them to continue on. He does not “charge them with folly.” That is, He does not bring them to judgment, as is required by the doctrine these three friends have been preaching to Job. Job continues his description of them in their wickedness. They are rebels, murderers, thieves, adulterers, and burglars. They are so evil that they shun the daylight as anyone else would the shadow of death. They are so hardened in sin that, although “their portion is cursed in the earth,” they continue on in their wickedness as swiftly as the waters flow down the stream. They don’t even consider working in a vineyard, but get whatever gain they have from deeds of wickedness.


(Verses 19 through 24) Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned. The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree. He evil entreated the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow. He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life. Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways. They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.


Just as drought and heat dry up the water of the melting snow, so will the grave take away those that have sinned. That is, these wicked ones will not be stopped from their wickedness until death overtakes them. Then they will be forgotten, even by their own mother. The worm shall consume them in peace just as it does all others. Then shall their wickedness be broken. Until then they will go on, making life miserable for the barren and the widow, and keeping even the mighty in fear of death. Although he may for a while leave the mighty in peace, he always keeps his eye upon them. These wicked ones are exalted for a while, but then they are gone. They are taken out of the way, not as by judgment executed upon them , but “as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.” This is contrary to what these three friends have been preaching to Job. They have maintained that the wicked are always cut off, as men would say, “before their time.” However, Job has called their attention to these cases wherein the wicked have been allowed to continue on in their wickedness, and die in a ripe old age, as being “cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.”


(Verse 25) And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?


Thus Job challenges all these friends to prove what he has said false and vain. This they cannot do, because they have also seen the same things Job has mentioned. Neither they nor we know why this is true, except that for some purpose of His own the LORD permits it to be. But we all know it is true.



Chapter 25

(Verses 1 through 6) Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, Dominion and fear are with Him, He maketh peace in His high places. Is there any number of His armies? And upon whom doth not His light arise? How can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not, yea, the stars are not pure in His sight. How much less is man, that is a worm? And the son of man, which is a worm?


This, without question, must have been the first time Bildad had ever considered the question asked by Job in verse 1 of the preceding chapter. He had been so filled with his own importance and his theory that righteousness and prosperity are always found together, and downfall always accompanies wickedness, that he had never noticed all the proof that is all around us that this theory is false. In verse 4 he asks the same question Job had asked in Chapter 9, verse 4. “How can a man be justified (or just) with God?” Surely none can criticize his declaration of the greatness of God. All dominion and power are His, and men should always fear and honor Him. As compared to Him, no one, or no thing is pure or holy. All of this is true. And Bildad did not in this speech even accuse Job of being the sinner , which he and his friends had been trying to make him out.


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