Job 21 Summary

Job 21 Summary

Job Speaks | Job 21

But this explanation as to why Job is suffering is not at all in line with truth. And so, Job feels the need to respond once more to these men as he struggles to understand God’s ways in his life.

Job 21 Summary of Verses 1-4

God is my audience | Job 21:1-4

First, in chapter 21, Job begs these men to actually just listen to him – even if they need to mock him after that – and to recognize that his arguments and complaints are not directed at them but at God alone.

Job is speaking out loud – and these men think that he’s speaking to them. But ultimately, they’re not his audience. God is – verses 1-4…

KJV Job 21:1 But Job answered and said,

Job 21:2 [Hear diligently/Listen carefully to] my [speech/words],
and let this be your consolations [i.e., that you offer me…].

Job 21:3 [Suffer/Bear with] me [that/and] I may speak;
and after that I have spoken, mock on.

Job 21:4 As for me, is my complaint [to/against a] man?
[and if it were so/and why/if so], why should [not my spirit/I not] be [troubled/impatient]?

Job’s complaint isn’t against a mere man – but if it were, Job would feel justified in being impatient. How much more so when Job’s complaint is against God for working in Job’s life in painful, troubling ways that make no sense to him – and concerning which God is giving Job no explanation?

Job 21 Summary of Verses 5-6

Be prepared for disturbing truth | Job 21:5-6

And Job is going to drop some truth into these men’s ears that will totally upend the way that they’re thinking about how the wicked fare in this life.

But he needs to prepare them for this disturbing truth that they’re about to hear – verses 5 and 6…

Job 21:5 [Mark/Look at] me, and be [astonished/appalled],
and [lay/put] your hand [upon/over] your mouth. {i.e., stop talking…}

Job 21:6 [Even/For] when I [remember/think about this] I am [afraid/disturbed/terrified],
and [trembling/horror/a shudder] [taketh hold on/is felt by] my [flesh/body].

Job 21 Summary of Verses 7-13

The wicked fare well | Job 21:7-13

Here’s the inconvenient truth that these men seem to want to overlook – the wicked often do very well in this life – verses 7-13…

Job 21:7 Wherefore do the wicked [live/keep living/go on living],
[become old/continue on/grow old], [yea/also/even], [are mighty/increase] in power?

Job 21:8 Their [seed/children] [is/are] [i.e., firmly…] established in their sight with them,
and their offspring before their eyes.

Job 21:9 Their houses are safe [from/and without] fear,
neither is the rod [i.e., of punishment…] of God upon them.

Job 21:10 Their bull [gendereth/mates/breeds], [and faileth not/without fail];
their cow calveth, and [casteth not her calf/does not miscarry].

Job 21:11 They send forth their little ones like a flock,
and their children dance.

Job 21:12 They take the timbrel and harp,
and rejoice at the sound of the [organ/flute].

Job 21:13 They [spend their days/live out their years] in [wealth/prosperity],
and [in a moment/suddenly/peacefully] go down to the grave.

So, this reality that Job just rehearsed completely strikes dead the belief that God always immediately punishes evil in this life. It just doesn’t happen that way – at least, not always.

Job 21 Summary of Verses 14-16

The wicked’s amazing response | Job 21:14-16

And the amazing response of wicked men to the great prosperity that God himself gives them in this life is that they turn on God and feel like they don’t need him at all in any way – verses 14-16…

Job 21:14 [Therefore/So] they say unto God,

Depart from us;
for we [desire not the knowledge of/don’t want to know] thy ways. {i.e., unlike Job…}

Job 21:15 [What/Who] is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
and what [profit should we have/would we gain], if we pray unto him?

Job 21:16 [Lo/But], their [good/prosperity] is not [in their hand/of their own doing]:

the counsel of the wicked is far from me. {i.e., that’s not how I think!…}

Job 21 Summary of Verses 17-18

How often are the wicked actually punished? | Job 21:17-18

Job goes on to question how often – really – do wicked men receive their just rewards for their evil in this life – verses 17 and 18…

Job 21:17 How oft is the [candle/lamp] of the wicked [put out!/extinguished?]
and how oft cometh their [destruction/calamity/misfortune] upon them[!/?]
[i.e., How often does…] God [distributeth/apportions] [sorrows/destruction/pain] [i.e., to them…] in his anger[./?]

Job 21:18 [They are/Are they/How often are they] [as/like] [stubble/straw] before the wind[,/?]
and [as/like] chaff that the storm carrieth away[./?]

Job 21 Summary of Verses 19-21

Punishing children of wicked | Job 21:19-21

Next, Job takes issue with the idea that God punishes the children of wicked men – and that that somehow has any impact on the dead wicked man – verses 19-21…

Job 21:19 [i.e., You may say, “…] God [layeth/stores] up his [iniquity/punishment] for his children: {… ” But Job says… “… }

[he rewardeth him/Let God repay him/Instead let him repay the man himself], [and/so that] he [shall/may] know it. {i.e., why not punish the wicked man directly and not his children?…}

Job 21:20 [His eyes shall/Let his own eyes] see his [destruction/decay],
and [he shall/let him] drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

Job 21:21 For what [pleasure hath he in/does he care for/is his interest in] his [house/household/home] after [him/his death],
when the number of his months [is cut off in the midst/is cut off/has been broken off]?

Job 21 Summary of Verses 22-26

Wicked and righteous die | Job 21:22-26

Job goes on to question whether these friends of his feel like they are in the position to teach God something.

Because to Job, it’s clear that God actually works in the following way…  whether you are wicked or righteous – notwithstanding, everyone eventually dies – verses 22-26…

Job 21:22 [Shall any/Can anyone]teach God knowledge?
[seeing/since] he judgeth those that are high. {i.e., You can’t? Well then, understand that this is how God works with the righteous and the wicked…}

Job 21:23 One [i.e., man…] dieth in his full [strength/vigor],
[being wholly/completely] [at ease/secure] and [quiet/satisfied/prosperous].

Job 21:24 His [breasts/sides/body] are [full/filled out] [of milk/with fat] [i.e., well nourished…],
and his bones are moistened with marrow. {in contrast…}

Job 21:25 [And/While] another dieth in the bitterness of his soul,
and never [eateth with pleasure/having tasted anything good].

Job 21:26 They shall lie down [alike/together] in the dust,
and the worms shall cover them.

Job 21 Summary of Verses 27-30

Ask anyone | Job 21:27-30

Job understands that these friends of his are insinuating that he’s wicked.

But he’s got news for them – if they ask anyone in this world, they’ll tell these men that the wicked are often spared from the destruction that they keep claiming immediately and without exception comes on them – verses 27-30…

Job 21:27 [Behold/Yes], I know [your thoughts/what you are thinking],
and the [devices/plans/schemes] which ye wrongfully imagine against me [i.e., by which you would wrong me…].

Job 21:28 For ye say,

Where is the house of the [prince/nobleman]?
and where are the dwelling places of the wicked? {i.e., Gone, like Job’s…}

Job 21:29 Have ye not asked [them that go by the way/wayfaring men/those who travel the roads]?
and do ye not [know/recognize] their [tokens/witness/accounts],

Job 21:30 That the wicked is [reserved to/spared from] the day of [destruction/calamity/destruction]?
they [shall be brought forth to/he is delivered from] the day of wrath.

In other words, life is fine for the wicked until the judgement. They’re reserved and brought forth to that final judgement day – oftentimes after a life of ease and pleasure.

Job 21 Summary of Verses 31-33

Wicked are blessed and at ease | Job 21:31-33

Job continues by declaring that the wicked so often aren’t given what they truly deserve in this life – and that in fact they often meet with the exact opposite – blessings and ease – verses 31-33…

Job 21:31 Who [shall declare/will confront/will denounce] {his/the wicked man’s} [way/actions/conduct] to his face?
and who shall repay him what he hath done?

Job 21:32 Yet shall he [be brought/is carried] to the grave,
and [shall remain/watch is kept] [in the/over his] tomb.

Job 21:33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him,
and [every man/all men/everybody] shall [draw/follow] after him [i.e., in procession…],
as there are [innumerable/a countless throng] before him.

The wicked so often go without rebuke in this life. And they just go on to peacefully die like all the wicked men before them did  – just like all those after them will, as well.

Job 21 Summary of Verse 34

How can this comfort me? | Job 21:34

So, Job ends this second cycle of arguments between him and these men by saying – look, in light of all of the contradictions that exist to your conception of how God works in this world, how do you expect that your false sayings are going to comfort me in my times of difficulty? – verse 34 to end this chapter…

Job 21:34 How then [comfort/console] ye me [in vain/with futile words],
seeing in your answers there [remaineth/is nothing but] falsehood?

So, Job has had enough of the false theology of his friends. Sometimes the wicked are blessed tremendously in this life.

And this makes no sense to Job. Job is completely unable to understand God’s ways in his life or in the world. But he’s not yet come to the point where he fully trusts God’s wisdom in everything.

So, we’ll have one more cycle of these debates – and then the appearance of the man named Elihu – before Job gets to hear directly from God.

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