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

In the previous chapters the rampant evil in the world was described by Job (Job 24:2-24) and we have heard the speeches of Job’s friends who got to accuse him of gaining his now lost wealth by robbing the poor, withholding sustenance from the hungry and even abusing the weaker ones like widows and orphans. (Eliphaz, the most sympathetic and likely the oldest who appeals to experience for authority, in Job 22:6-9). Eliphaz urged Job to submit to obvious discipline from God, who would bless him if he would repent (Job 5:8-27).  For the less sensitive Bildad it was clear that Job and his children were suffering because of his sin (Job 8:1-7). As Bildad argued from tradition, the third friend, Zophar rested on orthodox dogma and argued also that there must have been something in Job’s live that had caused all those problems.

Since neither Job nor his wife knew what had transpired between God and His adversaries,  they did not know that those adversaries predicted that Job would curse God (Job 1:11; 2:5). Job at certain moments thought that there was a problem with him and God. His wife even concluded that her husband and she were suffering because God was unfair and that the presupposition that God always blesses the righteous and afflicts the wicked has proven faulty. Job called her views foolishness and did not want to curse God (Job 2:9-10) but after some time also wrongly accused God of mauling him as would a beast (Job 16:9) turning him over to wicked or perverse men, evil people  (Job 16:11) using him as would an archer for target practice (Job 16:12-13) and attacking him as would a warrior  or like a soldier gone mad with hate (Job 16:14). Job was sad he did not receive an answer from God who had seemed to have wronged him (Job 19:6) because he had kept to God’s Law (contrary to Eliphaz’s charge Job 22:22). He also complained that God did not pay attention and does not have fixed times for the punishment of evildoers, so that people could see that the Almighty Elohim punishes evildoers (Job 24:1,12). But he recognises the sovereignty of Jehovah over the various aspects of the universe. (Job 26:5-13) Gods knowledge goes beyond what we can see and hear (Job 26:14).

Many blame God, but for an other reason than Job did (Job 24:1) for the troubles on this earth, and has Job friends they do not seem to see the underlying factors of men’s free will. Also Job gets the feeling that his sufferings are in the Will of God, though the thought troubles him. (Job 23:14-16) He has also difficulties with ancient teachings or traditions, which or not our best sources of knowledge, according to Job. (Job 9:1-10:22) Those who brought us some sources to think about are just as mortal as we are and we always should remember that they grasped perhaps only a part of reality.Who can discover the depth of God? (Job 11:7) Job recognises that he is not inferior to others who have more luck, and that with the others their wisdom shall die as well. (Job 12:2-3, 12-22, 2425; 13:2,4, 8-11; 14:10; 15:9-11, 18-22,31-32)

For Job as for us it seems that at certain moments of trouble, wherever we go we do not seem to find God and therefore could not present our case before the Almighty. (Job 23:8-9) In Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20 a light is already shed on the fact that God knows the way we take. (Job 23:10) We would love to see the evil of the evil-doer come to an end, and find an end to our misery. Sometimes we may think God does not care for us and does not watches us. But God keeps an eye on the world and follows it. In the Old Testament we do find enough examples how He at certain moments came in action and reacted to situation of which He did not agree with. We can also notice how He also gave strength to the upright. At any time men’s minds and hearts are tested by the God of righteousness. Jehovah puts the upright and the sinner to the test, but He has hate in his soul for the lover of violent acts.  (Psalms 7:9; 11:5) “For you, O God, have proven us: you have tried us, as silver is tried.” (Psalms 66:10 KJBPNV) Remember: “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith Jehovah, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, Jehovah is my God.” (Zechariah 13:8-9 ASV)

Job’s innocence cries for vindication and asks God not to hide the wrongs done to him. (Job 16:18-21) Like Job we can long for a divine helper (cf 1 John 2:1-2) today we have an advocate with the Father. This comforter is Gods son given to us to help see our ways. this is a better friend than those of Job and a real upright helper. He can plead our case by his Father. In chapter 19 of the Book Job, Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20, we could notice that Job believed in a living god who would vindicate his case even after his death. In the future on the earth. The dust, sand  or earth mentioned is referring to the dust of the earth or to the dust of Job’s grave. (Job 19:25-27)
“For I know that my redeemer lives, 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 my eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27 KJBPNV) We may look forward to Jesus who shall return to the earth and shall look onto what people have done to each other and how they kept to the commandments of God. He shall judge the people before he hands over the Kingdomto his Father.

A popular image of the Tablets as rounded-off ...
The 10 commandments of God – A popular image of the Tablets as rounded-off

Though Job looks at Jehovah or Yahweh Yahweh as the redeemer (Heb “goel”) of His people, the Almighty is that one who took care that somebody could speak in the name of men. He first did that with his people in Egypt. “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments:” (Exodus 6:6 ASV)
There is much speculation as to whether Job believed in the resurrection. However we note that Jesus, quoting Job’s words (Matthew 5:8) says that the meek will see God and clearly Jesus is speaking of the blessedness of those who are to be raised from the dead. (Read also: Zechariah 14:1-4,9,16; Isaiah 9:6-7;2:2-4; Matthew 24:3,36,37,44).

Looking for a kinsman-redeemer, ransom, avenge, vindicator, a “daysman” or a mediator Job looked like so many of us a means to obtain justice. That is the theme in these verses of Job 19:25-27, not resurrection, as we gather when we first read them. True justice would demand his bodily presence. Resurrection is thus implied rather than expressed. Job felt that at the resurrection he would be justified. The word flesh Hebrew basar (1320) means flesh, body, person, body, self, etc. while Job 31:14 suggests being called to account at an implied judgement .

“Behold, a day of Jehovah cometh, when thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the mount of Olives shall be cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:1-4 ASV)
“And Jehovah shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall Jehovah be one, and his name one.” (Zechariah 14:9 ASV)
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Jehovah of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16 ASV)

“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting {1} contempt. {1) Or abhorrence}” (Daniel 12:2 ASV)
“Thy dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of {1} herbs, and the earth shall cast forth {2} the dead. {1) Or light 2) Or the shades; Heb Rephaim}” (Isaiah 26:19 ASV)
“For, behold, Jehovah cometh forth out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:21 ASV)

Job sees death as certain “worms destroy this body” (Job 16:22;17:1,14,15,16), “yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 14:13-15 – resurrection Gen 13:15) indicates flesh is regenerated; Job’s redeemer is Jehovah (Isaiah 43:14-15;49:7;54:5) Some people take it from there that Jehovah would be the same person as that redeemer Jesus, but Job spoke about the Spirit who was alive in his time. Thus Job was correct when he said his redeemer “liveth” because has always been alive and people forget that Jehovah has redeemed through his servant, the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 49:6-7; Acts 5:31; Hebrews 7:25; 2 Timothy 1:10). Unfortunately, Job does not expound upon this ‘matter of the future’, and so we are left with an incomplete understanding of what he meant. However, Job is accounted righteous, and an example to follow (Ezekiel 14:14,26; James 5:11) and from that we can imagine that he is going to be one of the persons who shall also be in the coming Kingdom of God.

The sarcastic part of Job comes forward now. In Job 27: 7-23 we get Job’s summary of the erroneous arguments of his 3 friends — who urged his guilt. Job talks here as though his three ‘friends’ are trying to persuade him to fall from grace and to fulfil their words as if they were some sort of prophecy against him. Should we not recognise that it in fact not always  the wicked ultimately prosper, though they may for a time. Whatever happens and how long it takes we can be sure that they will be condemned (Job 27:8). They shall not have to count on the help of God (Job 237:9-10).  We nor they can be assured of passing on their prosperity to their children (Job 27:14-18). Who knows, destruction can come suddenly over the evil man (Job 27:19).

Brenton Translation
1851 by Lancelot Brenton

Job Chapter 27

Job 27:1 And Job further continued and said in his parable,
Job 27:2 [As] God lives, who has thus judge me; and the Almighty, who has embittered my soul;
Job 27:3 verily, while my breath is yet in [me], and the breath of God which remains to me is in my nostrils,
Job 27:4 my lips shall not speak evil words, neither shall my soul meditate unrighteous thoughts.

Job 27:5 Far be it from me that I should justify you till I die; for I will not let go my innocence,
Job 27:6 but keeping fast to [my] righteousness I will by no means let it go: for I am not conscious to myself of having done any thing amiss.
Job 27:7 Nay rather, but let mine enemies be as the overthrow of the ungodly, and they that rise up against me, as the destruction of transgressors.

Job 27:8 For what is the hope of the ungodly, that he holds to it? will he indeed trust in the Lord [and] be saved?
Job 27:9 Will God hear his prayer? or, when distress has come upon him,
Job 27:10 has he any confidence before him? or will [God] hear him as he calls upon him?

Job 27:11 Yet now I will tell you what is in the hand of the Lord: I will not lie concerning the things which are with the Almighty.
Job 27:12 Behold, ye all know that ye are adding vanity to vanity.
Job 27:13 This is the portion of an ungodly man from the Lord, and the possession of oppressors shall come upon them from the Almighty.
Job 27:14 And if their children be many, they shall be for slaughter: and if they grow up, they shall beg.
Job 27:15 And they that survive of him shall utterly perish, and no one shall pity their widows.
Job 27:16 Even if he should gather silver as earth, and prepare gold as clay;
Job 27:17 All these things shall the righteous gain, and the truehearted shall possess his wealth.
Job 27:18 And his house is gone like moths, and like a spider’s web.
Job 27:19 The rich man shall lie down, and shall not continue: he has opened his eyes, and he is not.
Job 27:20 Pains have come upon him as water, and darkness has carried him away by night.
Job 27:21 And a burning wind shall catch him, and he shall depart, and it shall utterly drive him out of his place.
Job 27:22 And [God] shall cast [trouble] upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.
Job 27:23 He shall cause [men] to clap their hands against them, and shall hiss him out of his place.

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Job 28:1 For there is a place for the silver, whence it comes, and a place for the gold, whence it is refined.
Job 28:2 For iron comes out of the earth, and brass is hewn out like stone.
Job 28:3 He has set a bound to darkness, and he searches out every limit: a stone [is] darkness, and the shadow of death.
Job 28:4 There is a cutting off the torrent by reason of dust: so they that forget the right way are weakened; they are removed from [among] men.
Job 28:5 [As for] the earth, out of it shall come bread: under it has been turned up as it were fire.
Job 28:6 Her stones are the place of the sapphire: and [her] dust [supplies] man with gold.

Job 28:7 [There is] a path, the fowl has not known it, neither has the eye of the vulture seen it:
Job 28:8 neither have the sons of the proud trodden it, a lion has not passed upon it.

Job 28:9 He has stretched forth his hand on the sharp [rock], and turned up mountains by the roots:
Job 28:10 and he has interrupted the whirlpools of rivers, and mine eye has seen every precious thing.
Job 28:11 And he has laid bare the depths of rivers, and has brought his power to light.
Job 28:12 But whence has wisdom been discovered? and what is the place of knowledge?
Job 28:13 A mortal has not known its way, neither indeed has it been discovered among men.
Job 28:14 The depth said, It is not in me: and the sea said, It is not with me.
Job 28:15 One shall not give fine gold instead of it, neither shall silver be weighed in exchange for it.
Job 28:16 Neither shall it be compared with gold of Sophir, with the precious onyx and sapphire.
Job 28:17 Gold and crystal shall not be equalled to it, neither shall vessels of gold be its exchange.
Job 28:18 Coral and fine pearl shall not be mentioned: but do thou esteem wisdom above the most precious things.
Job 28:19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not be equalled to it; it shall not be compared with pure gold.
Job 28:20 Whence then is wisdom found? and of what kind is the place of understanding?
Job 28:21 It has escaped the notice of every man, and has been hidden from the birds of the sky.
Job 28:22 Destruction and Death said, We have heard the report of it.

Job 28:23 God has well ordered the way of it, and he knows the place of it.
Job 28:24 For he surveys the whole [earth] under heaven, knowing the things in the earth:
Job 28:25 all that he has made; the weight of the winds, the measures of the water.
Job 28:26 When he made [them], thus he saw and numbered them, and made a way for the pealing of the thunder.
Job 28:27 Then he saw it, and declared it: he prepared it [and] traced it out.
Job 28:28 And he said to man, Behold, godliness is wisdom: and to abstain from evil is understanding.

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Job 29:1 And Job continued and said in his parable,
Job 29:2 Oh that I were as in months past, wherein God preserved me!
Job 29:3 As when his lamp shone over my head; when by his light I walked through darkness.
Job 29:4 [As] when I steadfastly pursued my ways, when God took care of my house.
Job 29:5 When I was very fruitful, and my children were about me;
Job 29:6 when my ways were moistened with butter, and the mountains flowed for me with milk.
Job 29:7 When I went forth early in the city, and the seat was placed for me in the streets.
Job 29:8 The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and all the old men stood up.
Job 29:9 And the great men ceased speaking, and laid their finger on their mouth.
Job 29:10 And they that heard [me] blessed me, and their tongue clave to their throat.
Job 29:11 For the ear heard, and blessed me; and the eye saw me, and turned aside.

Job 29:12 For I saved the poor out of the hand of the oppressor, and helped the fatherless who had no helper.

Job 29:13 Let the blessing of the perishing one come upon me; yea, the mouth of the widow has blessed me.
Job 29:14 Also I put on righteousness, and clothed myself with judgment like a mantle.
Job 29:15 I was the eye of the blind, and the foot of the lame.
Job 29:16 I was the father of the helpless; and I searched out the cause which I knew not.
Job 29:17 And I broke the jaw-teeth of the unrighteous; I plucked the spoil out of the midst of their teeth.
Job 29:18 And I said, My age shall continue as the stem of a palm-tree; I shall live a long while.
Job 29:19 [My] root was spread out by the water, and the dew would lodge on my crop.
Job 29:20 My glory was fresh in me, and by bow prospered in his hand.

Job 29:21 [Men] heard me, and gave heed, and they were silent at my counsel.
Job 29:22 At my word they spoke not again, and they were very gland whenever I spoke to them.
Job 29:23 As the thirsty earth expecting the rain, so they [waited for] my speech.
Job 29:24 Were I to laugh on them, they would not believe [it]; and the light of my face has not failed.
Job 29:25 I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the midst of warriors, as one comforting mourners.

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Job 30:1 But now the youngest have laughed me to scorn, now they reprove me in [their] turn, whose fathers I set at nought; whom I did not deem worthy [to be with] my shepherd dogs.
Job 30:2 Yea, why had I the strength of their hands? for them the full term [of life] was lost.

Job 30:3 [One is] childless in want and famine, [such as] they that fled but lately the distress and misery of drought.
Job 30:4 Who compass the salt places on the sounding [shore], who had salt [herbs] for their food, and were dishonorable and of no repute, in want of every good thing; who also ate roots of trees by reason of great hunger.

Job 30:5 Thieves have risen up against me,
Job 30:6 whose houses were the caves of the rocks, who lived under the wild shrubs.
Job 30:7 They will cry out among the rustling [bushes].
Job 30:8 [They are] sons of fools and vile men, [whose] name and glory [are] quenched from off the earth.
Job 30:9 But now I am their music, and they have me for a by-word.
Job 30:10 And they stood aloof and abhorred me, and spared not to spit in my face.

Job 30:11 For he has opened his quiver and afflicted me: they also have cast off the restraint of my presence.

Job 30:12 They have risen up against [me] on the right hand of [their] offspring; they have stretched out their foot, and directed against me the ways of their destruction.
Job 30:13 My paths are ruined; for they have stripped off my raiment: he has shot at me with his weapons.

Job 30:14 And he has pleaded against me as he will: I am overwhelmed with pains.
Job 30:15 My pains return upon [me]; my hope is gone like the wind, and my safety as a cloud.
Job 30:16 Even now my life shall be poured forth upon me; and days of anguish seize me.
Job 30:17 And by night my bones are confounded; and my sinews are relaxed.
Job 30:18 With great force [my disease] has taken hold of my garment: it has compassed me as the collar of my coat.
Job 30:19 And thou hast counted me as clay; my portion in dust and ashes.
Job 30:20 And I have cried to thee, but thou hearest me not: but they stood still, and observed me.
Job 30:21 They attacked me also without mercy: thou hast scourged me with a strong hand.
Job 30:22 And thou hast put me to grief, and hast cast me away from safety.

Job 30:23 For I know that death will destroy me: for the earth is the house [appointed] for every mortal.
Job 30:24 Oh then that I might lay hands upon myself, or at least ask another, and he should do this for me.
Job 30:25 Yet I wept over every helpless man; I groaned when I saw a man in distress.
Job 30:26 But I, when I waited for good things, behold, days of evils came the more upon me.
Job 30:27 My belly boiled, and would not cease: the days of poverty prevented me.
Job 30:28 I went mourning without restraint: and I have stood and cried out in the assembly.
Job 30:29 I am become a brother of monsters, and a companion of ostriches.
Job 30:30 And my skin has been greatly blackened, and my bones are burned with heat.
Job 30:31 My harp also has been turned into mourning, and my song into my weeping.

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Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes, and I will not think upon a virgin.
Job 31:2 Now what portion has God given from above? and is there an inheritance [given] of the Mighty One from the highest?

Job 31:3 Alas! destruction to the unrighteous, and rejection to them that do iniquity.
Job 31:4 Will he not see my way, and number all my steps?
Job 31:5 But if I had gone with scorners, and if too my foot has hasted to deceit:
Job 31:6 (for I am weighed in a just balance, and the Lord knows my innocence:
Job 31:7 if my foot has turned aside out of the way, or if mine heart has followed mine eye, and if too I have touched gifts with my hands;
Job 31:8 then let me sow, and let others eat; and let me be uprooted on the earth.

Job 31:9 If my heart has gone forth after another man’s wife, and if I laid wait at her doors;
Job 31:10 then let my wife also please another, and let my children be brought low.
Job 31:11 For the rage of anger is not to be controlled, [in the case] of defiling [another] man’s wife.
Job 31:12 For it is a fire burning on every side, and whomsoever it attacks, it utterly destroys.

Job 31:13 And if too I despised the judgment of my servant or [my] handmaid, when they pleaded with me;
Job 31:14 what then shall I do if the Lord should try me? and if also he should at all visit me, can I make an answer?
Job 31:15 Were not they too formed as I also was formed in the womb? yea, we were formed in the same womb.
Job 31:16 But the helpless missed not whatever need they had, and I did not cause the eye of the widow to fail.

Job 31:17 And if too I ate my morsel alone, and did not impart [of it] to the orphan;
Job 31:18 (for I nourished [them] as a father from my youth and guided [them] from my mother’s womb.)

Job 31:19 And if too I overlooked the naked as he was perishing, and did not clothe him;
Job 31:20 and if the poor did not bless me, and their shoulders were [not] warmed with the fleece of my lambs;

Job 31:21 if I lifted my hand against an orphan, trusting that my strength was far superior [to his]:
Job 31:22 let them my shoulder start from the blade-bone, and my arm be crushed off from the elbow.
Job 31:23 For the fear of the Lord constrained me, and I cannot bear up by reason of his burden.

Job 31:24 If I made gold my treasure, and if too I trusted the precious stone;
Job 31:25 and if too I rejoiced when my wealth was abundant, and if too I laid my hand on innumerable [treasures]:
Job 31:26 (do we not see the shining sun eclipsed, and the moon waning? for they have not [power to continue]:)
Job 31:27 and if my heart was secretly deceived, and if I have laid my hand upon my mouth and kissed it:
Job 31:28 let this also then be reckoned to me as the greatest iniquity: for I [should] have lied against the Lord Most High.

Job 31:29 And if too I was glad at the fall of mine enemies, and mine heart said, Aha!
Job 31:30 let then mine ear hear my curse, and let me be a byword among my people in my affliction.

Job 31:31 And if too my handmaids have often said, Oh that we might be satisfied with his flesh; (whereas I was very kind:
Job 31:32 for the stranger did not lodge without, and my door was opened to every one that came:
Job 31:33 or if too having sinned unintentionally, I hid my sin;
Job 31:34 (for I did not stand in awe of a great multitude, so as not to declare boldly before them: ) and if too I permitted a poor man to go out of my door with an empty bosom:
Job 31:35 (Oh that I had a hearer,) and if I had not feared the hand of the Lord; and [as to] the written charge which I had against any one,
Job 31:36 I would place [it] as a chaplet on my shoulders, and read it.
Job 31:37 And if I did not read it and return it, having taken nothing from the debtor:
Job 31:38 If at any time the land groaned against me, and if its furrows mourned together;
Job 31:39 and if I ate its strength alone without price, and if I too grieved the heart of the owner of the soil, by taking [aught] from [him]:
Job 31:40 then let the nettle come up to me instead of wheat, and a bramble instead of barley. And Job ceased speaking.

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Continues: Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37

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On February 2015 related articles where added:

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