Job 39:1-15 – Is the Wild Ox Willing To Serve You?

Today’s study of the 39th chapter of the book of Job will be the first 15 verses. Whereas in the previous chapter, God put forth the questions to Job concerning His rule, supremacy, and governance over the world and creation itself, this chapter does the same with God’s care for each living creature.  And it does so in a way that seems strange at the outset. Verses 1-4 deal with His knowledge of even the smallest details of the breeding, mothering, and maturation of families of wild mountain goats.

ostrich_001In verses 5-8, the Lord focuses on the habits, freedom, and domain that He has given to the wild donkey. In verses 9-12, He turns to the wild ox, pointing out his strength, and usefulness – yet making clear his independence and power. This was so much the case that hunting this beast was the sport of royalty, much like we would years ago have considered the safaris that we saw depicted in movies and television. In verses 13-15, the Lord  has Job consider the majesty of the winged ostrich, and the careless way that she places and sometimes even scatters her eggs.

Each of these wild creatures represent scores of others that God has created, and in His wisdom understands as nobody else can. No single person can at the same time appreciate, understand, and maintain the balance in the lives of all of these creatures – and though man can put some of them to use for his purposes, he can never fully tame them (verses 9, 11, and 12).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

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Job 38:1-21 – The Lord Answers Job

A whirlwind in the ancient territory of Galatia, or modern Ankara, Turkey

A whirlwind in the ancient territory of Galatia, or modern Ankara, Turkey

Because of the length of chapter 38, we will examine it in two parts – the first of which in this blog will be verses 1-21. All throughout the book, Job has been requesting an audience with God, in order to plead his case. And God comes abruptly to him in this chapter. The first verse starts out -with Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:…” But it is the second verse that is the source of some debate.

The second verse reads “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” At first reading, it appears that in that sentence, He is referring to Job, and that seems to be the majority opinion. But some good arguments have been made that God is actually referring to the words of Elihu. As one commentator wrote, assigning these words to Job is a direct contradiction of Job 42:7-8, which clearly states that Job has spoken correctly of God. The debate goes on, and there are merits to both arguments (although some have even questioned the authenticity of the Elihu speeches, alleging that they were not part of the original text. We flatly reject that suggestion).

Arguments on both sides of this question are compelling, and although we lean toward the position that the Lord was indeed addressing Elihu, we must confess uncertainty. In the end, despite some truth, Elihu just got too much wrong (see previous posts on Chapters 35 and 37). Either way, the lessons of chapter 38 are the same, so the point is largely academic. That Elihu’s speeches add value to the book, is a concept we support for reasons listed in previous posts on those chapters.

earth003The Lord begins His dialog with Job, asking in several different ways where Job was when he gave birth to the universe, and what Job understands about the undertaking. Some take the statements about the earth’s foundation, where its “bases” were sunk, and the cornerstone being laid (verse 6) to mean that the Bible is assuming the world is flat. But like much of the “Wisdom Literature” the Book of Job is full of imagery; and like any poetry, one should consider that when studying these verses. Written long before mankind in general knew the word was round, many passages in the Bible demonstrate that God’s word was far ahead scientifically. For examples of passages about a round earth, see Job 26:10 and Isaiah 40:22.

Verse 7 speaks of the “sons of God” shouting for joy when God created the world. For this term, we can refer back to Job 1:6, which makes the same reference. See this previous post about chapter one for our comments about that. Keep in mind also that there is much we would like to know about many things not of this world, such as angels and demons, cherubim and seraphim, and urum and thummin that the Bible does not fully explain. God has His own reasons for what is included in the Scriptures and what is not. Such explanation is not necessary for salvation and instruction in same.

At first look at the remaining verse leading to verse 21, we may think that we know much more about some of those things than they did in Job’s time. But verse 17 reminds us that we know nothing about the experience of such things as death, and the state of our awareness in the immediate time afterward:

“Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.”

When we take up this chapter again, we will begin at verse 22.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 37 – By the Breath of God

waterfall_003Chapter 37 brings the conclusion of Elihu’s speech, and (thankfully, one might say) the end of the speeches of all of Job’s companions. Like in the last chapter, Elihu has much to say about God and about His power that are appropriate in their awe for God, but not so in the context of the situation.

Again, Elihu uses his knowledge of the world (so fond is he of using examples of the weather, one would think he might be some sort of teacher) to attempt to validate his assessment of Job’s guilt. Although, God will in the next chapter pick up some of Elihu’s ideas in His questioning of Job, one should not take that to signify God’s approval of Elihu’s speech. It is, however, beautiful poetry; and it provides great imagery and material for prayer, as well as praise to God, as shown in this snip from verses 10-13:

By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.

They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 36 – On God’s Behalf

rain_003While there is some truth to some of what Elihu says in this chapter, he is using it in the context of condemning Job and ascribing Job’s suffering to God’s punishment – just like the first three of Job’s friends. Presumptuously, he begins by stating that he is speaking on God’s behalf (verse 2), as if God needed someone to defend Him. But his words are meant to wound Job and disparage his integrity; and God would have no part of such. Worse still, Elihu claims to be “perfect in knowledge” (verse 4) concerning God, His will, and how he deals with the righteous and the wicked. This arrogance is certainly not unnoticed by God, as we will see.

Elihu speaks correctly about God’s might, and even shows some knowledge of the scientific processes for rain, evaporation, and storms. But Satan moves him to use this knowledge to give the false impression that his knowledge in the matter of Job’s guilt, and God’s actions toward him are equally correct – which they certainly are not. This tactic of using the truth to lay down false authority for a lie is timeless, and certainly still used by Satan today.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 35 – Words Without Knowledge

Elihu continues his diatribe, as he condemns Job further for presuming to be right before God. But Elihu is himself way off track in this chapter. Consider verses 6-8:

If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give to him?
Or what does he receive from your hand?

crucifixion01According to Elihu, man is so insignificant to God that it is of no consequence to Him either way whether we do good or evil. It is only to our own detriment if we do the latter. This goes against everything that God’s word teaches, and indeed, sin hurts God so very much that He gave His only son to save man from his own iniquity.

Elihu further shows his ignorance of the Lord in verses 12-13 by saying that God does not answer the prayers of men because of their pride, and suggests that He does not even regard the prayers of some as more than empty pleas. He forgets that sometimes “no” is an answer, as well as “I have something else planned.” James 4:3 gives one reason for not receiving the answer one wants to a prayer at times – selfish motives.

As Elihu accuses Job in verse 16, his own are the “words without knowledge.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 34:16-37 – For You Must Choose

The Wrath of Elihu, from the Butts set. Pen an...

The Wrath of Elihu, from the Butts set. Pen and black ink, gray wash, and watercolour, over traces of graphite (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When writing about this chapter, Coffman made the observation that the entire Book of Job appears to have the purpose of showing man that it is a fallacy to believe that God immediately punishes man on this earth for his sins. That does indeed ring out as a clear assessment of one of the biggest lessons we learn from the book. And Elihu does himself make a substantial contribution to that outlook, as his reasoning and his accusations are both more hurtful to Job, and greatly indicative of an outlook on God and His ways that is simply and terribly wrong.

 

But it is Elihu’s statements attacking Job’s character that are the most surprising about Elihu’s mistakes. He says in verse 35 that “‘Job speaks without knowledge; his words are without insight.’” Then, at the end of the chapter, Elihu makes what are perhaps his cruelest statements considering Job:

 

Would that Job were tried to the end,
because he answers like wicked men.
For he adds rebellion to his sin;
he claps his hands among us
and multiplies his words against God.”

 

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

 

/Bob’s boy

 

___________________

 

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

 

Job 34:1-15 – The Almighty Will Not Pervert Justice

Elihu continues his rebuke of Job, beginning with a call for the wise men to test his words with their ears. He says that Job has claimed that he is in the right, and that God has taken that away from him, so that now he is counted as a liar, even though he is right.  At this, Elihu becomes even more insulting to Job that any of the others had been in the previous chapters. Verses 7 and 8 pose the insulting statement/questions:

What man is like Job,
who drinks up scoffing like water,
who travels in company with evildoers
and walks with wicked men?

The Wrath of Elihu, from the Butts set. Pen an...

The Wrath of Elihu, from the Butts set. Pen and black ink, gray wash, and watercolour, over traces of graphite (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although Job has made the point that the wicked and the righteous suffer the same fates in life on this earth, he did not make the statement that Elihu claims he made in verse 9: “For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing that he should take delight in God.’” He uses this deception to spring into his defense of God, making observations that nobody – not even Job – has dispute with. He says that God does not do wickedly, and will not pervert justice. And it is here that he does sound like the three friends, as he says in verse 11: “For according to the work of a man he will repay him, and according to his ways he will make it befall him.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 33 – Elihu Rebukes Job

Elihu, the newest addition to the gathering around Job, finally gets into his speech in this chapter and offers up a slightly different point of view from that of Job’s three friends. He tells Job that in spite of his protests of innocence, he is indeed guilty, and that he needs to own up to it and accept God’s punishments for the corrective measures that Elihu claims them to be.

 

The Wrath of Elihu, from the Butts set. Pen an...

The Wrath of Elihu, from the Butts set. Pen and black ink, gray wash, and watercolour, over traces of graphite (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Although Job had never claimed to be completely without sin at all, Elihu makes it sound as if he had, and he rebukes Job sternly for his denial. He launches into a long and involved description of the physical punishments that God brings upon people for their sins, explaining that God is to be praised for doing so because by those actions, he is attempting to bring man “back from the pit.” Of course, Elihu gives no explanation of what the authority is by which he has come to know these things – probably because there is none?

 

All in all, Elihu says nothing in this chapter to improve the assessment that we made of him in the previous chapter. Still, he continues to make such authority claims even in the last verse: “…listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

 

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

 

/Bob’s boy

 

___________________

 

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

 

Job 32 – Elihu Rebukes Job’s Three Friends

The Wrath of Elihu, from the Butts set. Pen an...

The Wrath of Elihu, from the Butts set. Pen and black ink, gray wash, and watercolour, over traces of graphite (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Chapter 32, we are introduced to a new character – Elihu. We are not told exactly when he joined the company of job and his three friends, but he has apparently been listening for some time. So far, this one has not said anything because he is younger in age than all of the others present, including Job. So out of respect for them, and in anticipation of hearing some wisdom, he has remained silent.

Elihu does not say much in this chapter, but he has more to say in the coming chapters. Mostly, he is angry with Job for being “wise in his own eyes,” and angry at the three because they have nothing wise to say to refute him. One writer said of Elihu’s entire speeches that it was nothing but a lot of “rigamarole.” Apparently, the Lord did not have much higher of an opinion, as we shall see in later chapters that He says “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.