Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26

Job and his friends agreed that God is omnipotent, omniscient, has all the wisdom and strength, is just, and perfectly good. They could bring forwards that an omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence and has  the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. God can just say anything and it will happen.

The deceived and the deceiver are His, no matter what happens and how the mighty may think they can rule the earth, they shall find their end as anybody else. Perhaps even worse, because the world can turn against them. For he has crushed and abandoned the poor; he has seized a house that he did not build, he can have get to a point where those oppressed turn against him. Zophar argued that neither the wicked man (Job 20: 12–19) nor his offspring (Job 20: 10) will enjoy the benefits of what he has acquired, because he has gained it through the oppression of others (Job 20:19–21). Now Job is going to argue not only that the wicked prosper and their offspring flourish (Job 21: 7–8), but also that their lives often appear unhindered by any of the signs of judgment that the friends so confidently describe Job 21:9–13). Furthermore, Job points out that the evidence for what he is claiming is not even concealed by the wicked themselves, who choose to follow their pursuits with open indifference to and even proclaimed defiance against the Lord (Job 21:14–16).

When bad people at their time on earth managed to do evil things you can wonder how from those bad things could come good things. ( Job 14:4 ) “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” Job describes human life as hard and short, a theme already declared to the friends in 7:1–10, and uses this question and answer to point out that no mortal is able to work outside of the limits that God has set (see also 14:5). The light of the sinner shall be put out, and the flame of his fire shall not shine any more.  The steps of his strength shall have become short, and by his design destruction shall overtake him. The oh so mighty shall also be overcome by fears on every side, which shall go after him at every step. His strength shall be made feeble for need of food, and destruction shall be waiting for his falling footstep. Like all people he shall have to face the other side of life, being sent away from the light into the dark; forced out of the world. At his fate those of the west are shocked, and those of the east are overcome with fear. Truly, these are the houses of the sinner, and this is the place of him who has no knowledge of God. Yes we may be sure, nobody can escape death. Under the earth his roots are dry, and over it his branch is cut off. His memory is gone from the earth, and in the open country there is no knowledge of his name. (Job 18:5-21)

In Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20 we read that Eliphaz, who gives his third and last speech (Job 22:1-30), revisited the central questions of his first response (see 4:17–21): if God does not trust fully even his heavenly servants (15:15), how can Job, as a mere man (Job 15: 14), continue to protest his innocence (Job 15:16)? Though Job is a unblemished person Eliphaz portrays the wicked man to implicate Job. The evil man is in pain all his days, and the number of the years stored up for the cruel seems to be small. The wicked shall get a sound of fear in his ears; in time of peace destruction will come on him. For him there shall come a time that there shall not be any hope of coming safe out of the dark, and his fate will be the dead. Then he may be certain that the day of trouble shall be ready for him. Though many may think he is not frightened, he also shall greatly be in fear of that what shall come over him, the gloomy moments with trouble and pain.
We may be sure any adversary of God, every one who stretches his hand out against God, and lifts his heart up against the Ruler of all, shall one day have to face the consequences of it.  (Job 15:21-25)

Job Speaks with His Friends (Job 2:1-13)
Job Speaks with His Friends (Job 2:1-13) – Doré’s English Bible 1866

From the text we may see that Job his friends have failed as comforters (16:2–5), even though comfort was their original purpose for coming to him (see 2:11). Their condemnation leaves death as Job’s only hope, but to long for death is to give up on any possibility of vindication and is no hope at all (17:10–16). We, no matter what happens have received the hope of the Blessed Tidings. In case we believe in the Good Tidings and in the beautiful prospects God has promised we do not have to worry, because man can do us not as much as he thinks and cannot bring death over us. We also have to realise as Job that God alone is our hope for vindication. This was not clear to Job at first ( 16:21 distinguishes the “witness” from God but became more clear later; cf. 19:25.)

Sometimes it may look that the graveyard is ready for us. (Job 17:1) Believing that God has giving a solution and trusting in his son and that things are destined to occur (Luke 21:7), knowing that we as animals have a time for birth and a time to die or to be caught and destroyed. So let us be as the living be conscious that death will come to us, but that the dead are not conscious of anything, and they no longer have a reward, because there is no memory of them, so the evildoers shall have to face the same nothingness. Their love and their hate and their envy shall than be ended; and they have no longer a part for ever in anything which is done under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 3:19; 9:5-6; 2 Peter 2:12)

Last time Job concluded with the wish that his belief in God’s vindication of him would be inscribed in rock as a permanent witness (Job 19: 23–27) and with a warning to his friends against continuing to pursue him with such anger and certainty that they are right, lest they fall under the very sort of judgement they assume has fallen on Job (Job 19: 28–29). Job now gives his last reply to his friends (Job 27:1-31:40) with a protestation of innocence (Job 27:1-23) and a pronouncement concerning wisdom (Job 28:1-28) and a panorama of his life (Job 29:1-31:40).

Do we want to listen the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself? Do we know that our Redeemer lives?

Job had almost stumbled, how is it with us? do we not often have such bad moments that we are envious for the others  ones’, the ones who do not believe and seem to have it so much better than us? Did our steps not nearly slipped as did Jobs and King David’s? (Psalm 73:2-3). Have we not such moments that we have the same as those examples in the Old Testament, being envious of the arrogant when we see the prosperity of the wicked?

In addition to the argument that a person’s circumstances are not necessarily a transparent indicator of blessing or judgement, there is an additional warning embedded in Job’s description: many people are fooled by the external circumstances of the evil man (who is the subject of this description, see Job 31: 30-34) into following him in life and honouring him in death.

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Brenton Translation
1851 by Lancelot Brenton

Job Chapter 21

Job 21:1 But Job answered and said,
Job 21:2 Hear ye, hear ye my words, that I may not have this consolation from you.
Job 21:3 Raise me, and I will speak; then ye shall not laugh me to scorn.
Job 21:4 What! is my reproof of man? and why should I not be angry?

Job 21:5 Look upon me, and wonder, laying your hand upon your cheek.
Job 21:6 For even when I remember, I am alarmed, and pains seize my flesh.
Job 21:7 Wherefore do the ungodly live, and grow old even in wealth?
Job 21:8 Their seed is according to [their] desire, and their children are in [their] sight.
Job 21:9 Their houses are prosperous, neither [have they] any where [cause for] fear, neither is there a scourge from the Lord upon them.
Job 21:10 Their cow does not cast her calf, and their [beast] with young is safe, and does not miscarry.
Job 21:11 And they remain as an unfailing flock, and their children play before [them], taking up the psaltery and harp;
Job 21:12 and they rejoice at the voice of a song.
Job 21:13 And they spend their days in wealth, and fall asleep in the rest of the grave.
Job 21:14 Yet [such a man] says to the Lord, Depart from me; I desire not to know thy ways.

Job 21:15 What is the Mighty One, that we should serve him? and what profit is there that we should approach him?
Job 21:16 For their good things were in [their] hands, but he regards not the works of the ungodly.

Job 21:17 Nevertheless, the lamp of the ungodly also shall be put out, and destruction shall come upon them, and pangs of vengeance shall seize them.
Job 21:18 And they shall be as chaff before the wind, or as dust which the storm has taken up.

Job 21:19 Let his substance fail [to supply] his children: [God] shall recompense him, and he shall know it.
Job 21:20 Let his eyes see his own destruction, and let him not be saved by the Lord.
Job 21:21 For his desire is in his house with him, and the number of his months has been suddenly cut off.

Job 21:22 Is it not the Lord who teaches understanding and knowledge? and does not he judge murders?
Job 21:23 One shall die in his perfect strength, and wholly at ease and prosperous;
Job 21:24 and his inwards are full of fat, and his marrow is diffused [throughout him].
Job 21:25 And another dies in bitterness of soul, not eating any good thing.
Job 21:26 But they lie down in the earth together, and corruption covers them.

Job 21:27 So I know you, that ye presumptuously attack me:
Job 21:28 so that ye will say, Where is the house of the prince? and where is the covering of the tabernacles of the ungodly?
Job 21:29 Ask those that go by the way, and do not disown their tokens.
Job 21:30 For the wicked hastens to the day of destruction: they shall be led away for the day of his vengeance.
Job 21:31 Who will tell him his way to his face, whereas he has done [it]? who shall recompense him?
Job 21:32 And he has been led away to the tombs, and he has watched over the heaps.
Job 21:33 The stones of the valley have been sweet to him, and every man shall depart after him, and [there are] innumerable [ones] before him.

Job 21:34 How then do ye comfort me in vain? whereas I have no rest from your molestation.

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Job 22:1 Then Eliphaz the Thaemanite answered and said,
Job 22:2 Is it not the Lord that teaches understanding and knowledge?
Job 22:3 For what matters it to the Lord, if thou wert blameless in [thy] works? or is it profitable that thou shouldest perfect thy way?

Job 22:4 Wilt thou maintain and plead thine own cause? and will he enter into judgment with thee?
Job 22:5 Is not thy wickedness abundant, and thy sins innumerable?
Job 22:6 And thou hast taken security of thy brethren for nothing, and hast taken away the clothing of the naked.
Job 22:7 Neither hast thou given water to the thirsty to drink, but hast taken away the morsel of the hungry.
Job 22:8 And thou hast accepted the persons of some; and thou hast established those [that were already settled] on the earth.
Job 22:9 But thou hast sent widows away empty, and has afflicted orphans.
Job 22:10 Therefore snares have compassed thee, and disastrous war has troubled thee.

Job 22:11 The light has proved darkness to thee, and water has covered thee on thy lying down.
Job 22:12 Does not he that dwells in the high places observe? and has he not brought down the proud?
Job 22:13 And thou has said, What does the Mighty One know? does he judge in the dark?
Job 22:14 A cloud is his hiding-place, and he shall not be seen; and he passes through the circle of heaven.
Job 22:15 Wilt thou [not] mark the old way, which righteous men have trodden?
Job 22:16 who were seized before their time: their foundations [are as] an overflowing stream.

Job 22:17 Who say, What will the Lord do to us? or what will the Almighty bring upon us?
Job 22:18 Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel for the wicked is far from him.
Job 22:19 The righteous have seen [it], and laughed, and the blameless one has derided [them].
Job 22:20 Verily their substance has been utterly destroyed, and the fire shall devour what is left of their [property].

Job 22:21 Be firm, I pray thee, if thou canst endure; then thy fruit shall prosper.
Job 22:22 And receive a declaration from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.

Job 22:23 And if thou shalt turn and humble thyself before the Lord, thou hast [thus] removed unrighteousness far from thy habitation.
Job 22:24 Thou shalt lay up for thyself [treasure] in a heap on the rock; and Sophir [shall be] as the rock of the torrent.

Job 22:25 So the Almighty shall be thy helper from enemies, and he shall bring thee forth pure as silver that has been tried by fire.
Job 22:26 Then shalt thou have boldness before the Lord, looking up cheerfully to heaven.
Job 22:27 And he shall hear thee when thou prayest to him, and he shall grant thee [power] to pay thy vows.
Job 22:28 And he shall establish to thee again a habitation of righteousness and there shall be light upon thy paths.
Job 22:29 Because thou hast humbled thyself; and thou shalt say, [Man] has behaved proudly, but he shall save him that is of lowly eyes.
Job 22:30 He shall deliver the innocent, and do thou save thyself by thy pure hands.

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Job 23:1 Then Job answered and said,
Job 23:2 Yea, I know that pleading is out of my reach; and his hand has been made heavy upon my groaning.
Job 23:3 Who would then know that I might find him, and come to an end [of the matter]?
Job 23:4 And I would plead my own cause, and he would fill my mouth with arguments.
Job 23:5 And I would know the remedies which he would speak to me, and I would perceive what he would tell me.
Job 23:6 Though he should come on me in [his] great strength, then he would not threaten me;
Job 23:7 for truth and reproof are from him; and he would bring forth my judgment to an end.

Job 23:8 For if I shall go first, and exist no longer, still what do I know [concerning] the latter end?
Job 23:9 When he wrought on the left hand, then I observed [it] not: his right hand shall encompass me but I shall not see [it].
Job 23:10 For he knows already my way; and he has tried me as gold.

Job 23:11 And I will go forth according to his commandments, for I have kept his ways; and I shall not turn aside from his commandments,
Job 23:12 neither shall I transgress; but I have hid his words in my bosom.

Job 23:13 And if too he has thus judged, who is he that has contradicted, for he has both willed [a thing] and done it.
Job 23:14 <>
Job 23:15 (23:14) Therefore am I troubled at him; and when I was reproved, I thought of him. (23:15) Therefore let me take good heed before him: I will consider, and be afraid of him.

Job 23:16 But the Lord has softened my heart, and the Almighty has troubled me.
Job 23:17 For I knew not that darkness would come upon me, and thick darkness has covered [me] before my face.

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Job 24:1 But why have the seasons been hidden from the Lord,
Job 24:2 while the ungodly have passed over the bound, carrying off the flock with the shepherd?
Job 24:3 They have led away, the ass of the fatherless, and taken the widow’s ox for a pledge.
Job 24:4 They have turned aside the weak from the right way: and the meek of the earth have hidden themselves together.
Job 24:5 And they have departed like asses in the field, having gone forth on my account according to their own order: his bread is sweet to [his] little ones.
Job 24:6 They have reaped a field that was not their own before the time: the poor have laboured in the vineyards of the ungodly without pay and without food.
Job 24:7 They have caused many naked to sleep without clothes, and they have taken away the covering of their body.
Job 24:8 They are wet with the drops of the mountains: they have embraced the rock, because they had no shelter.
Job 24:9 They have snatched the fatherless from the breast, and have afflicted the outcast.
Job 24:10 And they have wrongfully caused [others] to sleep without clothing, and taken away the morsel of the hungry.
Job 24:11 They have unrighteously laid wait in narrow places, and have not known the righteous way.

Job 24:12 Who have cast forth [the] poor from the city and their own houses, and the soul of the children has groaned aloud.
Job 24:13 Why then has he not visited these? forasmuch as they were upon the earth, and took no notice, and they knew not the way of righteousness, neither have they walked in their [appointed] paths?
Job 24:14 But having known their works, he delivered them into darkness: and in the night one will be as a thief:
Job 24:15 and the eye of the adulterer has watched [for] the darkness, saying, Eye shall not perceive me, and he puts a covering on his face.
Job 24:16 In darkness he digs through houses: by day they conceal themselves securely: they know not the light.
Job 24:17 For the morning is to them all [as] the shadow of death, for [each] will be conscious of the terror of the shadow of death.

Job 24:18 He is swift on the face of the water: let his portion be cursed on the earth; and let their plants be laid bare.
Job 24:19 [Let them be] withered upon the earth; for they have plundered the sheaves of the fatherless.
Job 24:20 Then is his sin brought to remembrance, and he vanishes like a vapour of dew: but let what he has done be recompensed to him, and let every unrighteous one be crushed like rotten wood.
Job 24:21 For he has not treated the barren woman well, and has had no pity on a feeble woman.
Job 24:22 And in wrath he has overthrown the helpless: therefore when he has arisen, [a man] will not feel secure of his own life.

Job 24:23 When he has fallen sick, let him not hope to recover: but let him perish by disease.
Job 24:24 For his exaltation has hurt many; but he has withered as mallows in the heat, or as an ear of corn falling off of itself from the stalk.
Job 24:25 But if not, who is he that says I speak falsely, and will make my words of no account?

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Job 25:1 Then Baldad the Sauchite answered and said,
Job 25:2 What beginning or fear is his—even he that makes all things in the highest?
Job 25:3 For let none think that there is a respite for robbers: and upon whom will there not come a snare from him?
Job 25:4 For how shall a mortal be just before the Lord? or who that is born of a woman shall purify himself?
Job 25:5 If he gives an order to the moon, then it shines not; and the stars are not pure before him.
Job 25:6 But alas! man is corruption, and the son of man a worm.

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Job 26:1 But Job answered and said,
Job 26:2 To whom dost thou attach thyself, or whom art thou going to assist? is it not he that [has] much strength, and [he] who has a strong arm?
Job 26:3 To whom hast thou given counsel? is it not to him who has all wisdom? whom wilt thou follow? is it not one who has the greatest power?
Job 26:4 To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose breath is it that has come forth from thee?

Job 26:5 Shall giants be born from under the water and the inhabitants thereof?
Job 26:6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction has no covering.
Job 26:7 He stretches out the north wind upon nothing, and he upon nothing hangs the earth;
Job 26:8 binding water in his clouds, and the cloud is not rent under it.
Job 26:9 He keeps back the face of his throne, stretching out his cloud upon it.
Job 26:10 He has encompassed the face of the water by an appointed ordinance, until the end of light and darkness.
Job 26:11 The pillars of heaven are prostrate and astonished at his rebuke.
Job 26:12 He has calmed the sea with [his] might, and by [his] wisdom the whale has been overthrown.
Job 26:13 And the barriers of heaven fear him, and by a command he has slain the apostate dragon.
Job 26:14 Behold, these are parts of his way; and we will hearken to him at the least intimation of his word: but the strength of his thunder who knows, when he shall employ [it]?

 

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Continues: Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31

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On 25 February 2015

14 thoughts on “Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26

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