Job 1 Summary

Job 1 Summary

It might seem easy to trust God when your life is going well. But when life is relatively easy and everything is pleasant and there are no difficulties – is there really any trust required in that kind of situation?

When you find it easy to agree with everything that God is doing in your life, I think there’s not much opportunity to really trust – because everything makes sense in your finite mind.

It’s when trouble comes and pain is present and real in your life and when it looks like you’re loosing and when it seems that God even hates you because of what he’s allowed you to suffer – it’s situations like those that call for faith and trust in the Lord who sends those hard realities into your life.

So, this morning in the book of Job we’re going to witness this man named Job go from unmitigated blessings to constant painful misery in his personal life.

Is he going to trust – even when he doesn’t understand? Would you trust even when you don’t understand? Are you doing so – right now – in whatever difficulties the Lord has brought into your life?

Let’s consider that as we examine the first three chapters in the book of Job.

We start in the beginning in chapter 1 where in verses 1-5 we’re given an introduction to Job, all of his blessings, and his godliness…

Job 1 Summary Verse 1

Job’s Location, Name, and Character

In verse 1 we see Job’s locations, identification, and a summary of his own personal character…

KJV Job 1:1 ¶ There was a man in the land of Uz [ngutz],

whose name was Job;

and that man was [perfect/blameless/pure] and upright, and one that feared God, and [eschewed/turned away from] evil.

He lives in this place called Uz. What we need to take away from that is that he’s not in Israel. Job is not a Jew. He is a Gentile.

And his character is extremely important to take note of. He’s perfect and upright. He fears God. He turns from evil. There’s no secret sin in his life that is calling for God’s punishment.

Job 1 Summary Verses 2-3

Job’s Possessions and Reputation

Verses 2 and 3 go on to relate Job’s possessions and reputation…

KJV Job 1:2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

KJV Job 1:3 His [substance/possessions] also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred [she asses/female donkeys], and a very great household;

so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Not only was Job godly – he was also blessed with many material possessions. He had extraordinary wealth and children in abundance – which, if you’re thinking biblically is a great blessing.

The end result was that Job earned quite the reputation as being the greatest in his region of the world – in “the east”.

Job 1 Summary Verse 4-5

Job’s Family Dynamics & Care

Verses 4 and 5 go on to focus-in on his ten children just mentioned. We’ll see here Job’s family dynamics and his personal care for his children…

KJV Job 1:4 [And/Now] 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.

KJV Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and [sanctified/consecrated] 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.

Job’s children got along really well. There was warmth and love and harmony between all ten of them.

And Job cared for them deeply – and not just for their physical well-being. He – as a family priest before the Mosaic Law and outside of Israel – would offer sacrifices for his children.

Job was very concerned that his children would curse God – an action that both Satan and Job’s wife will later on tempt Job to do.

So, that’s the introduction to this book.

Now, the next major section describes to us two heavenly gatherings and the impact that each will have on the godly Job from chapter 1, verse 6 to chapter 2, verse 10.

The first heavenly gathering is found in Job 1:6 to the end of the chapter.

Job 1 Summary Verse 6

Heavenly Gathering 1 & Attendees

We begin by noting the attendees of this gathering in verse 6…

KJV Job 1:6 ¶ Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

The “sons of God” is likely a reference to angelic beings. Satan himself is an angel – created as the highest angel. Also, by his own choice he’s a fallen one, as well.

Job 1 Summary Verse 7a

Heavenly Gathering 1 – God to Satan 1

Notice in verse 7 that God has the first word in his discussion with Satan (he’ll also have the last word as we’ll see later)…

KJV Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan,

Whence comest thou?

God knows the answer to this question. He knows where Satan has been and what he’s been doing. When God asks questions he’s usually trying to teach – either the person he’s talking to or that person’s audience.

Job 1 Summary Verse 7b

Heavenly Gathering 1 – Satan to God 1

Here’s Satan’s response to God’ question of what he’s been up to…

Then Satan answered the LORD, and said,

From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Satan has to answer God. He’s not given the option of remaining silent. He can’t plead the fifth. God is sovereign and Satan is still under his authority.

And God’s question has reminded Satan and everyone else that this fallen angel has been relegated mostly to earth. Heaven has not been his home since he chose to rebel against this God who is worthy of our trust.

Job 1 Summary of Verse 8

Heavenly Gathering 1 – God to Satan 2

Well, since Satan has been roaming the earth like a roaring lion – as Peter says, God asks Satan if he’s taken note of this man named Job in verse 8…

KJV Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto 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?

In contrast to the wicked rebellious Satan, Job is righteous.

Note that God brings Job to Satan’s attention. God is in control of all of this. He truly is sovereign in this world.

Job 1 Summary of Verses 9-11

Heavenly Gathering 1 – Satan to God 2

Well, Satan doesn’t believe that God is worthy to be worshipped for nothing. And so, he accuses the Lord in verses 9-11 of buying Job’s worship with all the blessings that he’s given Job…

KJV Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said,

Doth Job fear God for nought?

KJV Job 1:10 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.

KJV Job 1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Satan uses the Hebrew word BARAK twice in this passage. In verse 10 he says that God “hast BARAK-ed the work of” Job’s hands and that’s the only reason why Job worships the Lord.

But if God takes those things from Job, Satan says “he will BARAK thee to” God’s face. And of course, Satan is twisting the meaning of that word to mean the exact opposite of what that word really means – which is just like Satan to do that.

Job 1 Summary of Verse 12a

Heavenly Gathering 1 – God to Satan 3

Well, just like God had the first word with Satan, he also has the last word in verse 12…

KJV Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.

God sets the parameters. Satan can take everything Job has – except his body.

So, the stage is set. The issues at stake here involve: 1) the matter of whether God is bribing Job to worship him and 2) the question of whether God is even worthy of being worshipped apart from the blessings that he gives to those who worship him.

Job 1 Summary of Verse 12b-13

Heavenly Gathering 1 – Result – Introduction

We’re then introduced to the result of this first heavenly gathering at the end of verse 12 and into verse 13…

So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

KJV Job 1:13 ¶ And there was a day when [his/Job’s] sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

And then in verses 14-19 we see in four iterations one disaster after another in Job’s life wherein every material blessing that was delineated for us back in verses 2 and 3 of this chapter are now taken away from the righteous Job.

We’ll see that Job’s things are taken away from him in approximately reverse order as they were described back in verses 2 and 3…

Job 1 Summary of Verses 14-15

Heavenly Gathering 1 – Result 1 – Oxen & Donkeys & Servants

We start with Job’s oxen, donkeys, and some of his servants in verses 14 and 15…

KJV Job 1:14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said,

The oxen were plowing, and the [asses/donkeys] feeding beside them:

KJV Job 1:15 And the [Sabeans/residents of Sheba in Arabia] fell upon them, and took them away;

yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword;

and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Job 1 Summary of Verse 16

Heavenly Gathering 1 – Result 2 – Sheep & Servants

Next, Job’s sheep and some of his servants are taken from him in verse 16…

KJV Job 1:16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said,

The [fire of God/lightning] is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them;

and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Job 1 Summary of Verse 17

Heavenly Gathering 1 – Result 3 – Camels & Servants

Next, in verse 17, Job’s camels and some of his servants are taken from him…

KJV Job 1:17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said,

The [Chaldeans/a group near the Persian Gulf] made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away,

yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword;

and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Job 1 Summary of Verses 18-19

Heavenly Gathering 1 – Result 4 – Children

And the bitterest pill of all comes in verses 18 and 19 where Job gets word that his ten dear children have perished…

KJV Job 1:18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said,

Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

KJV Job 1:19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young [men/people], and they are dead;

and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

… All of Job’s material blessings are gone. His oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, and children have all been taken from him – in one day!

Can you identify with that depth of loss? Maybe none of us has suffered to that extent in that quick of a succession of events. But each of us does know what it is to loose something very precious to us.

How do you respond when God takes blessings from you that he previously graciously gave to you?

Job 1 Summary of Verses 20-21

Heavenly Gathering 1 – Job’s Response

Think about that – and then test your response to loss to Job’s response as recorded in verses 20 and 21…

KJV Job 1:20 ¶ Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and […] worshipped,

KJV Job 1:21 And said,

Naked came I out of my mother’s womb,
and naked shall I [return thither/return/depart]:

the LORD gave,
and the LORD hath taken away;

blessed be the name of the LORD.

… Job passed this test. He did “bless” the Lord – but not quite as Satan had predicted. Job recognized God’s right to give and to take. Job recognizes that he has nothing apart from God. He truly blesses the Lord’s name and character.

Job 1 Summary of Verse 22

Heavenly Gathering 1 – Conclusion

And the divine narrator tells us that Job did right in this – verse 22…

KJV Job 1:22 ¶ In all this Job sinned not, nor [charged God foolishly/did he blame God/did he charge God with moral impropriety].

Job is commended. He worships God even though God took all of his material blessings…

But God is going to take the test a step farther. Will Job worship God simply for being God without any incentives for doing so?

Book of Job Summary

Book of Job Summary

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, early in the morning, my friend – who is a believer and whom some of you know – was driving his young family to a wedding on a country road. He was momentarily distracted – which was enough to cause him to accidentally run a stop sign. It just so happened that at that very moment there was a van approaching that intersection at high speed. The van hit my friend’s minivan from the passenger side. And just like that, two of my friend’s dear young children – friends of my own children – were taken out of this world.

I know a godly woman whose husband – a pastor – left and then divorced her to pursue an immoral romantic relationship with his church secretary. He left to his wife the responsibility and burden of taking care of their two children for the rest of their childhood and teenage years with no support or input from a husband or father in their lives.

I remember several years ago when Brother Flegal over at Maranatha lost his wife so suddenly from a brain hemorrhage. Dr. Marriott was at the hospital with him when it all unfolded so quickly. I recall Dr. Marriott telling us faculty and staff over at Maranatha that Ben told him after losing his wife with so little warning – quote – “Now I know what Job felt like.”

Why We Turn to Job

And it’s that Old Testament book that we tend to turn to in times when we’re bewildered at our life circumstances that are so painful and so difficult to understand. And as we turn to that book I think that we expect to find comfort and explanation as to why things are happening to us and what God’s plan is in the whole scheme of things.

What We Initially Get from Job

But what do we get when we open our Bibles to the book of Job? (Why don’t you go ahead and do that, by the way.) We get a book of 42 chapters that begins and ends with a story – which is easy enough to read and understand. But after the second chapter and running through to the middle of the 42nd chapter of this book we have an extended section of poetry – of all things!

And we’re introduced to men with unusual names from places we’re not familiar with. They and Job go back and forth in spinning Hebrew poetry with one another for chapter after chapter. Then a young man steps forward and he gives us more Hebrew poetry. Then God shows up and points to all sorts of natural phenomena. Job repents. God restores his blessings to Job. And that’s how the book ends.

And you wouldn’t be blamed if you’re sitting there at the end of reading this book scratching your head. You came to this book because you were hoping to find some answers to your questions. You came to find out “why?” Why did this happen? Why am I – who am righteous by God’s grace – suffering? Why does a God who loves me put me through difficult things that involve real pain?

And the reality is that you don’t get those questions answered in this book. So, what good – then – is the book of Job? If it doesn’t help you understand what’s going on, why did God put it in the Bible in the first place?

Structure and Message of Job

So, for the rest of our time today we’re going to examine the structure of this book and dip in to some of the text in order to discover God’s overall message for you in this book. What does God have for you in this ancient book that we just naturally tend to turn to in our distresses?

Personal Righteousness

[s] Turn to Job 1:1 if you’re not already there. And there we read …

Job 1:1 AV 1873

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

This verse from the outset settles in your mind Job’s personal character and holiness. He was perfect and upright. He feared God. He eschewed or turned away from evil. That’s critical to keep in mind as we go along here. He’s a genuinely righteous man.

Material Wealth

Then verses 2-5 speak of all the material blessings with which God blessed this righteous man. Ten children – who all had good relationships with one another – and an abundance of livestock – to the point that what’s said at the end of Job 1:3 was the case for him.

Job 1:3 (AV 1873)

3 … so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

He was the greatest out of all of the men in his region. He was so incredibly blessed. He was godly. What could go wrong?

First Heavenly Gathering

Well, in Job 1:6 we have the first of two heavenly gatherings where all the angels appear before the Lord – and even Satan (who himself is an angel) shows up. God brings the righteous Job to Satan’s attention and Satan argues with God that Job would stop worshipping God if God were to take all of his material blessings away.

So, God allows Satan to take all that Job has. Starting in Job 1:13 we see everything that Job had taken from him – his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, and children are all taken from him in one day.

Job’s exemplary response in Job 1:20-21 is humble, sorrowful worship of the Lord who gave and took away – and whose name is to be blessed. Job doesn’t understand why any of this happened. But he still trusts the Lord.

Second Heavenly Meeting

Well, there’s another heavenly meeting in Job 2:1.  The Lord again brings Job to Satan’s attention and points to how Job continues to worship the Lord even though Satan moved the Lord to take all of Job’s material possessions from him.

Satan counters though that if God takes Job’s health, Job won’t worship him anymore. So, God allows Satan to touch Job’s body without taking his life.

So, in Job 2:7 we see Job miserable with boils all over his body, sitting in what would have been the area’s garbage dump, scraping his infected and itchy skin with broken pieces of pottery. His wife has even had enough in Job 2:9 and basically encourages Job to do what Satan said, he would do – to curse God and die. But Job remains steadfast in the face of all of this. He still doesn’t understand why this is happening. But he continues to trust God.

Three Friends Arrive & Sit Silent

Well, Job’s wife wasn’t so helpful to him. But just then he has three friends show up! And they’ve come with the express purpose of comforting him! Just what Job needs!

So, we see them in Job 2:13 sitting in the ash heap with Job for 7 days – none of them saying a word. And that’s the end of the prose section – or the story section – of this book.

Job Laments

Now we enter in chapter 3 into the poetry section.

And it’s not pretty. Even though Job is still a man of integrity and has not cursed God, Job is absolutely miserable.

In Job 3, this man curses the day of his birth. In fact, he makes it a point to curse both the day and the night of his first day of life (Job 3:3-9). Job then wishes he was never born (Job 3:10-12) but that instead he would have died before birth (Job 3:13-19). He laments being given life at all (Job 3:20-23) and he ends the chapter by reflecting on the fact that all of what he’s said in chapter 3 is because of his miserable circumstances (Job 3:24-26).

Eliphaz Speaks

In response to Job’s lament in chapter 3, his first friend – Eliphaz – speaks in chapters 4 and 5.

[s] And what’s important for the sake of what we’re trying to accomplish today is found in Job 4:7. Eliphaz says…

Job 4:7 (AV 1873)

7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent?

Or where were the righteous cut off?

In other words, Eliphaz reminds Job of this supposed truth that is accepted by all of Job’s friends – and even Job himself to some extent – that the righteous and the innocent never perish. They’re never cut off. That is what these men are all truly believing at this point.

[s] But in contrast, verses 8 and 9 are the case for those who are not righteous and not innocent…

Job 4:8–9 (AV 1873)

8 Even as I have seen,

they that plow iniquity,

And sow wickedness,

reap the same.

9 By the blast of God they perish,

And by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

And it’s clear through the rest of these middle chapters of this book that this is the worldview of Job’s three friends. It’s called Retribution Theology.

It’s the belief that good people are always blessed and bad people are always punished – and both of these happen pretty-much immediately in this life.

It’s kind of like the mistaken notion of karma – do good, get good. Do bad, get bad. What goes around comes around.

Another modern day equivalent of how Job and his friends think that God works in this world is what we call the Prosperity Gospel – which is, as you know, no gospel at all.

But the “problem” with trying to explain Job’s situation using the Retribution principle is that we just saw in the first two chapters of this book that Job’s situation doesn’t fit with his friends’ theology. Job actually is righteous. We know that – without a doubt. And yet, he’s suffering.

So, from outward appearance – all that the human eye can see – it looks to Job’s friends through their lens of Retribution-thinking that Job is receiving the penalty of being personally wicked.

And it’s this way of thinking about how God works in this world that drives the rest of the middle chapters of this book.

Now, Eliphaz goes on to accuse Job of secretly being wicked. What other explanation could he have for someone suffering? They’ve got to be wicked! This is how God works in the world, isn’t it??

Eliphaz’s Solution

[s] But Eliphaz has an out for Job. Here’s what he advises Job to do in Job 5:8

Job 5:8 (AV 1873)

8 I would seek unto God,

And unto God would I commit my cause:

The remedy that Job’s three friends give over and over again to Job is twofold.

First, Job needs to stop his secret sinning, which is supposedly bringing down God’s judgement on him.

And second, Job needs to pray to God – which apparently the friends think he stopped doing.

But the problem with that approach is that Job wasn’t secretly sinning and he was praying to God. And because of that, the three friends are not able to fit Job and his situation into their theology. But they’re certainly not about to change their theology in order to match the reality of how God really works in this world.

Job Responds to Eliphaz

And so the cycle of talking continues with Job’s response to Eliphaz in chapters 6 and 7.

In those chapters, Job appeals to his friends to be kind to him. He says he wants reproof – but that what Eliphaz has said is no help to him because it was merely an attack against a suffering man who admits that he’s saying things that aren’t quite right. Job appeals his own righteousness to the friends and to God. He expresses deep distress over the fact that God is seeming to punish him for no cause and won’t leave him alone in that regard.

Bildad Speaks

But if Job is looking for compassion from his friends, then he’s sorely disappointed by what his second friend Bildad has to say in chapter 8 where he begins his salvo with this “compassionate” note in Job 8:2

Job 8:2 (AV 1873)

2 How long wilt thou speak these things?

And how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?

Bildad starts by insulting Job because he thinks that Job is impugning God’s character. Bildad goes on to speculate that Job’s children sinned and that’s why God killed them. Bildad’s simplistic solution for Job to get out of the suffering he’s in includes – of course – seeking God, praying to him, and becoming pure and upright – all of which Job had been doing. Bildad guarantees that if Job does these things, that God will turn to him again and bless him. He even pulls out the wisdom of the ancients to prove his point. Then he goes on to insinuate that Job is a godless hypocrite who has forgotten God. But if Job simply follows Bildad’s fool-proof plan to get out of this suffering by confessing sins – which he hasn’t committed – and by praying – which he already does, then his end will be gloriously bright!

Job Responds to Bildad

Job then responds to Bildad in Job 9:2 by basically conceding that what Bildad says is right. Job himself bought into the idea that good is always rewarded and evil is always punished usually immediately in this life. But then Job wonders how to be back in God’s good graces.

Here’s Job’s thought process: If God punishes evil and rewards good … and yet Job is seeming to be punished … therefore Job is wicked … but he’s not wicked … therefore Job ought to be blessed … but God isn’t blessing him anymore … then why is God not holding to his end of the bargain? Is something wrong with God? Is God ignorant? Is God … unrighteous?

That’s the dangerous territory that Job starts entering in chapter 9. This leads Job to wonder how he could get a hearing before God to plead his case that he’s not wicked and should thus stop being punished by God as though he were. It’s as if in Job’s mind God needs to be more perfectly informed of Job’s situation. Job acknowledges God’s awesome power but then despairs of ever getting a hearing from this all-powerful God – who seems to have hidden himself from Job. And not only hidden himself – but God in Job’s mind has become violently oppressive toward him.

At some point, Job starts to recognize the error of Retribution Theology – or at least the part that states that God always blesses the righteous – when in Job 9:22 he says …

Job 9:22 (AV 1873)

22 This is one thing, therefore I said it,

He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.

God destroys both the perfect and the wicked. But that contradicts what his three friends and even Job himself have been believing. Job continues to muse on the fact that God seems to keep punishing him though he has done nothing to deserve the punishment. So, Job actually starts entertaining the idea of meeting God in court and settling their dispute with a mediator between them to negotiate.

In chapter 10 Job even starts demanding that God answer him and tell him why he’s punishing Job. Job goes on to suggest something that even Job knows is ridiculous – namely, that God is somehow limited in his knowledge of Job’s situation like a mere mortal would be. But then Job verbally and emotionally walks back from the brink of cursing God and he recalls how God has been good in creating him and blessing him in his earlier days. But those sweet thoughts give way once more as Job laments God’s current treatment of him. Job actually ends chapter 10 with a desperate plea for God to just leave him alone.

Zophar Speaks

And of course, these provocative statements of the suffering Job further raise the ire of his friends. And so the last of these men – Zophar – speaks in chapter 11 where he begins with this accusation in Job 11:2

Job 11:2 (AV 1873)

2 Should not the multitude of words be answered?

And should a man full of talk be justified?

So, the contradictions to Retribution Theology that Job has uncovered are just dismissed as a “multitude of words” and mere “talk.” Zophar goes on to accuse Job of engaging in lying and mocking with his words to his friends and to God. Zophar rebukes Job and says that he wishes that God would speak – just like Job was wishing – but Zophar wants God to speak and to condemn Job for his supposed secret sins that are moving God to punish him. Zophar says that God is transcendent and immense and not to be called to account by anyone. And Zophar – like the other two so-called friends – offers Job a pat remedy to his predicament. Start praying and stop sinning. Then everything will be great. But Zophar ends with a final dire reminder that if Job doesn’t get with the Retribution Theology plan then he can expect only bad things.

So, at this point at the end of chapter 11, we’ve seen Job speak and lament his being alive. Eliphaz then spoke and Job responded. Then Bildad spoke and Job responded. Finally, Zophar spoke…

Job Responds to Zophar

And Job will respond in Job 12:1-2 with this sarcastic but understandable outburst after the worthless advice of all three friends …

Job 12:1-2 (AV 1873)

1 And Job answered and said,

2 No doubt but ye are the people,

And wisdom shall die with you.

And we’re not going to review any more of the conversation with Job and his friends today except to point out that this cycle of each friend speaking and Job then responding happens another two times for a total of three of these cycles in this book. Cycle 1 we saw in chapters 4-14. Cycle 2 we’ll see in chapters 15-21. And Cycle 3 occurs in chapters 22-31.

A total of 658 verses are taken up with this round-and-round dialogue. Which is a picture of the futility and frustration that accompanies trying to figure out the deep issues of life without having a word from God on the matter – but instead just relying on your own thoughts and the wisdom of the world around you.

Elihu Speaks

Well, at the end of Job 31 and into Job 32, we read the following …

Job 31:40–32:5 (AV 1873)

40 … The words of Job are ended.

1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.

2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. 3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. 4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. 5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.

Job stops talking. The friends stop talking. Job is righteous in his own eyes. And indeed Job was righteous – even in God’s eyes. But the friends just have nothing more to say – finally!

But that’s unfortunate because the friends could have had something to say that would have encouraged Job – not to confess sin he wasn’t committing or to start praying when he already was – but to instead trust God.

Since the friends couldn’t help Job trust God, this young man Elihu is going to give it a try. Out of deference to their age he waited to speak. But now that they’re silent he can move in.

And so, Elihu speaks uninterrupted from Job 32-37.

He says that he waited for the older men to speak first but is now realizing that age isn’t the real factor in how wise a person is. Rather the spirit of God is the one who gives real wisdom. And the rest of Job 32 is Elihu basically preparing Job, his three friends, and us for what he’s about to say.

Then in Job 33, Elihu says that Job should listen to him. He then proceeds to summarize what Job has said thus far – demonstrating that unlike the friends he was actually listening to Job. Elihu correctly points out that Job has maintained his innocence but in the process has impugned God’s character by claiming that God is making up false pretenses by which he’s then punishing Job. Elihu’s answer is threefold in chapter 33. First, he rightly states that we can’t fully understand God’s ways. Second, one of God’s prerogatives is to warn people of their ways which are contrary to him. And third, God sends suffering into people’s lives in the hope that sinners will repent. Elihu finishes that chapter by challenging Job to answer or – if he can’t answer – to keep listening to him.

In Job 34, Elihu again states what he heard Job say – namely, that God has denied the righteous Job the justice due him. In response to this flawed idea, Elihu defends God’s righteousness and the rightness of his ways.

In Job 35, Elihu takes Job to task for starting to think that it doesn’t matter what kind of life a person lives since whether a person is good or bad they are subject to God sending suffering into their life. Elihu replies that God is personally unaffected by a person’s righteousness or sin. Mankind is affected by those things, but God isn’t. Therefore, Elihu implies that God’s dealing with Job is not based on Job’s own personal sin or righteousness. Further, Elihu encourages Job to wait for God and not be impatient for what appears to be a delay in God hearing and answering him. And he ends the chapter by questioning and challenging the idea that what God is doing to Job is correctly interpreted as punishment.

Elihu in chapter 36 urges Job to stop comparing what he’s receiving to what he thinks the wicked ought to receive. He strongly advises Job not to question God’s execution of justice in the world. Elihu then finishes the 36th and 37th chapters of this book leading Job and us to consider that when we’re suffering and tempted to question God’s character and wisdom – we need to consider his work. We need to think about what God does. And when we do that, we can see that his work is ultimately beyond our understanding. And what we need to learn from that is that if his work – which we can see – is beyond our understanding… then what else of what he’s doing – in your life – might be beyond your understanding?

God Finally Speaks

Then starting in Job 38, God rather seamlessly takes over from Elihu and probes Job on something like 84 areas of his creation – including an extended treatment of two creatures that God created and manages – one a rather large and care-free land creature he calls Behemoth and the other a very fierce and dangerous sea creature he calls Leviathan.

Job Responds to God

Job responds in humility and repentance, realizing he really doesn’t understand how God works in this world. Job doesn’t understand how God started this creation. He doesn’t understand how God keeps this creation going. And more directly for Job, he doesn’t understand how or why God works in certain ways in his life – especially the ways that are unpleasant.

Job Restored

At the end of this book in Job 42 God rebukes Job’s three friends and restores all the blessings that Job originally had. Actually, he gives Job double what he formerly had.

Now understand – God doesn’t bless Job here because Job confessed sins he didn’t commit or because he started praying when he had been doing so all along – as the three friends kept urging Job to do. Rather, God was able to bless Job because Job had come to the point where though he still couldn’t understand, he came to trust.

The Message of the Book of Job

And that is the message of this book for us. When you can’t understand, trust. Job couldn’t understand why he was suffering. The three friends couldn’t understand either. But all four of these folks pretended to understand – but they were all quite wrong. God didn’t want them to understand. In fact, God never explains to Job why he was suffering.

What did God want from Job and his three friends? He wanted them to trust him – that he knew what he was doing; that he was good; that he was wise and in control of everything.

Applying the Book of Job

So, what in your life can you not understand? What has God done – and God has indeed done it – that you just can’t figure out? What are you struggling with? What causes you to question God’s goodness and love and power and wisdom in your life?

You are going to encounter situations in this life where you simply will not be able to understand. You might even go to your grave not understanding whywhy did God do this to you? Why did God allow that person to do that to you? Why did God put you in that painful situation? Why? Why? Why?

You won’t understand. And that’s OK. Because God’s not calling you to understand in this life. He’s calling you to trust. Trust him. Trust his character – that he’s good and loving. Trust his wisdom – that he knows the best path for you. That he has your best and eternal interests at heart.

When you can’t understand, trust. That’s the message of this book to you that we’ll take another 11 12 lessons really exploring in as much detail as time will allow.

Job 42 Summary

Job 42 Summary: Let’s turn our attention to Job chapter 42. We’ll be studying the last chapter of the book of Job today.

We started this series October 15th, 2017. And even though that was more than 52 weeks ago, this is only the 47th lesson in this series.

And so, we’ve studied through the entire book of Job.

In the beginning we were introduced to this righteous man. And then we were made aware of this meeting in heaven in which God brings Job to Satan’s attention. Satan insinuates that Job is righteous only because of what God gives him – only because God favors him and blesses him with all sorts of good things in this life.

So then God took those things away in order to prove to Satan that Job was genuinely righteous and that God wasn’t somehow buying Job’s obedience and devotion.

And Job started well. Even when his wife encouraged him to curse God and die, Job refused – and actually gently rebuke his wife, encouraging both of them to take both good and evil from the Lord.

But by the time that Job’s three friends come and they sit with him in silence for seven days, Job related to them what a struggle he was having in his heart. He began by cursing the day of his birth and wishing for death. Life had gone from unrestrained blessing to unrelenting pain and suffering.

And what was most difficult for Job was that God seemed to be punishing him. And Job couldn’t figure out the cause of this punishment. It didn’t make sense to Job.

And Job wasn’t alone. His three friends also sensed that God was punishing Job. And so they urged him to stop sinning and start praying. And if he did, they assured him, God would stop the punishment and bring back the blessings.

There was only one problem with that arrangement in Job’s mind. Job was not sinning and he was praying. And so, he knew that this punishment – as he saw it – was undeserved. And therefore, his mind started going in the direction of placing blame as well – just like his three friends. Only, Job wasn’t going to blame himself – because he knew he was innocent and undeserving of punishment. So, Job took the step of starting to blame God.

Not that God is evil – in Job’s mind. But maybe God just is a little bit mistaken. Or maybe God is finding fault with Job in some area that Job knows nothing about – sort of unfairly punishing him for secret sins that Job himself is unaware of.

And so, Job begins to demand that God explain himself. Job orders God into court to defend his ways – his mysterious, confusing ways – in Job’s life.

And that’s when Elihu comes and is angry that the three friends have no charge against Job and yet they accuse him anyway. And he’s also angry at Job because Job was basically making God look bad in order that he might look good. And Job didn’t need to do that. God can remain perfect and his people remain righteous – even when we’re suffering. We don’t need to make God look bad when we’re suffering.

And one thing that Job really should have reckoned with is the fact that not all suffering is punishment. When God brings suffering into our lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s angry with us. It doesn’t mean that he is exacting punishment on us. And Elihu even said as much.

And then the Lord shows up. Just like Job was demanding. But, the Lord wasn’t prepared to explain himself to Job. God had no plan to lay out the whys and wherefores to Job about his suffering. God said not a word about Satan. Those things are not what Job needed to learn.

What Job needed to learn is what we need to learn. That when God’s ways don’t make sense to us, we need to trust his wisdom.

And so, the Lord started questioning Job on various aspects of nature that God perfectly controls – just like he perfectly controls the lives of his people. And God asked Job – can you do this? Do you know this? Where were you when this happened?

And the only one who could answer any of those questions was God himself. Not Job.

Job was demanding that God explain his ways to him – in particular, in the realm of Job’s circumstances. And God’s questions were intended to help Job see that Job can’t even understand what God does throughout creation. How would Job even begin to understand why and how God was working in his life the way he was?

And then God challenges Job to try out being God for a day!

And then the Lord brought to Job’s attention two wonderful beasts that each were intended to teach Job something.

Behemoth was to be imitated by Job. Behemoth lived with the strength that God gave him without worry and without fear. And Job needed to take the posture of that creature.

And then Leviathan. Job was supposed to think about God and treat God more like Job treated this dangerous powerful creature. Job was treating God so commonly – as if it’s proper to impel the Master of the Universe to a court of law so that he can explain himself and make himself accountable to a puny little creature like man is. Job wouldn’t expect Leviathan to show up for his day in court! Why should he expect God to do so?

Job 42 Summary | God Can do Any/Every Thing

And after all of that – forty-one chapters that have taken us over a year to study – Job gives his final response to the Lord in verse 1 of chapter 42.

KJV Job 42:1 Then Job [answered/replied to] the LORD, and said,

2 I know that thou canst do [every thing/all things],
and that no [thought/purpose/plan] can be [withholden/thwarted] [from thee/of yours].

So, this the first confession of a man who’s seen God and been rebuked by him. The response is “I know you can do everything.” And on the opposite side of that, “I know there’s nothing you can’t do.

If God wants to stop the suffering of one of his people, no one will stop him. If God – in his sovereign wisdom – chooses to bring suffering into the life of one of his faithful servants, suffering that servant will have to endure.

It’s all up to the Lord though. He gives and he takes. And whatever he does, he’s right. And whatever he decides to do cannot be stopped by anyone but him.

Job 42 Summary | I Spoke Ignorantly

And in light of this reality that God can do anything and won’t be stopped by anything, Job makes a second confession in verse 3.

3 [you asked…] Who is [he/this] that [hideth/darkens/obscures] [my…] counsel without knowledge?

By the way – let interject here – that’s not Job speaking to the Lord. As in that’s not Job accusing God of hiding counsel without knowledge.

Rather, this is Job repeating a question that God had asked him earlier in the previous few chapters.

Job is saying, “you asked me, ‘Who is this that hides or darkens or obscures counsel without knowledge.’” And the idea is that Job is saying – “you were right, God.” And that’s what he admits to in the rest verse 3.

[therefore/but/surely] [have I/I have] [uttered/declared/spoke of] that I understood not;
things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

So, Job’s second confession to the Lord is that he spoke ignorantly. He spoke as if he fully understood things that now he’s come to see he has no idea about. Job spoke so confidently about his own innocence – and equally confidently about the fact that he believed that God was wrong in the way he was dealing in Job’s life.

But after all these questions and all these mighty works of God paraded before him, Job realizes that he knows nothing! He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know. He couldn’t make the world work for one millisecond! He was way out of line in speaking of things that he’s so ignorant of.

And brethren, we need to be aware of this fact as well. Let me just put it rather bluntly – what areas of your life do you think that God is totally botching? Or has totally botched? Are there events in your life that you look at – and to think of them fills you with bitterness toward others and ultimately toward God himself?

Can you see things the way that God sees them and understand that you really don’t understand? Have you been humbled to the point of Job and confess that those things that you take issue with God about – really, you’re the one who’s in the wrong.

Job 42 Summary | I See You and Abhor Myself

Well, Job has one more confession to make in verses 4-6.

4 [You said…] [Hear, I beseech thee/Hear now/Pay attention/Listen now], and I will speak:
I will [demand of/ask/question] thee, and [declare thou unto/you instruct/you will answer] me.

And once more, I’ll break in and remind us that Job is not at this point demanding God to answer him. Job again is repeating to God a question that God himself asked Job in the last few chapters.

And Job wants to let the Lord know that he did indeed hear the Lord. God commanded Job to hear. And so, Job says…

5 I [have/had] heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
[but/and?] now mine eye seeth thee.

Job has heard from and seen God. He has indeed listened and paid attention to the Lord. And now he has this extra added bonus of actually seeing God.

And certainly Job is speaking of physical sight. And yet, I think Job is pointing to a reality beyond that. Job has not just seen the physical representation of the Lord. But he’s experienced God. Through Job’s suffering and the struggles that have attended that suffering, Job has literally come face-to-face with the Lord and he has experienced God. It’s not just hearing about God from his three friends or from his wife. No – now Job has heard from and experienced God directly. And that’s enough for him.

And this is Job’s response to that reality.

6 [Wherefore/Therefore] I [abhor myself/retract/despise myself],
and repent in dust and ashes.

So, Job confesses to both hearing and seeing God. And he confesses that his response is like Isaiah’s – “Woe is me! I am unclean!” Or as Job puts it, “I abhor myself and repent!

And that’s Job’s last statement.

He’s confessed that God can do anything. That Job himself spoke ignorantly. And that he has seen and experienced God and therefore abhors himself and repents.

No more arguments. No more accusations. No more demanding God to come to court and explain himself.

God has spoken. And that is enough for Job.

So, that’s how God rebukes Job and sets things right with that righteous man.

Job 42 Summary | God Rebukes the Friends

But God’s not done dealing with people. Elihu doesn’t need to be dealt with by God. He generally spoke on God’s behalf and experiencing no rebuke from the Lord.

But Job’s three friends are another matter. God rebukes them in verse 7.

7 ¶ [And it was so, that after/It came about after/After] the LORD had [spoken/said] these [words/things] unto Job,

the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite,

So, we notice that the Lord targets Eliphaz. Now, we’re going to see God speak to all three of these men. And yet, somehow Eliphaz gets the direct attention of God. This might indicate that Eliphaz was perhaps the leader of this group. Maybe that also explains why he would begin each of the three sections of dialog between Job and his friends.

But anyway, God addresses Eliphaz and says…

[My wrath is kindled against/My anger is stirred up against/I am angry with] thee, and against thy two friends:

Why? Why is God angry at these three men?…

[for/because] ye have not spoken [of/about] me [the thing that/what] is right,

as my servant Job hath.

So, even though Job was wrong in his approach to God in demanding that God explain himself to Job – God says here that what Job said about him was essentially correct.

These friends on the other hand were speaking falsehoods about God. And yet, we remember that they had the wisdom of the ancients on their side – they had the testimony of ancient wise men who had passed on before them. One of these guys kept referring to visions he had received – remember the spirit passing before one of their faces at night and causing him great fear and then giving him a revelation. All of that is nonsense when it doesn’t correspond to the word of God.

Visions and experiences and ancient wisdom is all fine and well – but these are not what we should be basing our life on. Our experience is not what we should be pulling out and relating to someone who is suffering. The person who is suffering needs God’s words delivered to him compassionately and patiently.

And so, these three friends had not spoken orthodox doctrine to Job. They had said things about God that just weren’t true. They had asserted that God always punishes evil and always rewards good in this life and pretty much immediately. And God says here, “that’s just not right!

Job 42 Summary | God Orders the Friends to Sacrifice

And so, because of the folly of these friends, God would be right to destroy them on the spot. Or even to apply to them the kind of suffering that Job had experienced.

And yet, instead, we’re going to see God be merciful to these three men and command them to sacrifice in verse 8.

8 [Therefore/Now therefore/So now] take [unto you now/for yourselves] seven [bullocks/bulls] and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering;

and my servant Job [shall/will] [pray/intercede] for you: for [him will I accept/I will accept his prayer]:

[lest I/So that I may not] deal with you after your folly,

[in that/because] ye have not spoken of me [the thing which/what] is right,

[like/as] my servant Job [has…].

So, Job had been on the short end of things for a while now. These three men have been pompously accusing him of secret sin. And Job had been pretty much defenseless against them.

But now the tables have turned. And God fully recognizes in the sight of these three accusers, that Job is his – what? It’s stated three times in this verse. Job is God’s… servant. There was some doubt about that. But not anymore. God makes it clear that Job is his true servant.

And so, these men are at Job’s mercy now. They’re sacrificing – not to Job – but to God. And yet, Job is their priest and mediator before God.

And if they don’t offer that sacrifice and if Job doesn’t pray for them, God menacingly threatens that he will deal with these men according to their foolishness. These men, who had considered themselves as wise! God says that they’re fools!

And God repeats the charge against them. They spoke of God what was not correct.

Job 42 Summary | The Friends Sacrifice and Job Prays and God Accepts

And you better believe that these three men – as foolish as they had behaved themselves – they do fear God and they’re going to make a bee-line to Job with those sacrifices in verse 9!

9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did [according/just] as the LORD [commanded/told] them:

[the LORD also/and the LORD] [accepted/had respect for/accepted the prayer of] Job.

And where Job had felt such a lack of God’s presence – such a rejection of his prayers – now the only one whose prayers are effectual before God is this one who has felt so rejected by God. Job is no longer rejected.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job in Summary

And that applies to his prayers, but we’re going to see from the rest of this chapter that everything is restored to Job. He’s going to experience acceptance by God in every way. Verse 10 summarizes this role reversal.

10 ¶ [And/So] the LORD [turned the captivity of Job/restored the fortunes of Job/restored what Job had lost/made Job prosperous again],

[when/after] he prayed for his friends:

So, God did wait until Job showed that he had truly forgiven these men. And sometimes that is what is holding back some of God’s blessings in our lives is when we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us in some pretty serious ways. And yet, God wants us to forgive everyone – just like he’s forgiven us…

[also/and] the LORD [gave Job twice as much as he had before/increased all that Job had twofold/doubled all that had belonged to Job/gave him twice as much as he had before].

So, that’s Job’s restoration in a summary fashion.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Relationships

Now, we’re going to see Job’s restoration in detail with some specifics.

Verse 11 has Job’s relationships restored.

11 Then came there unto him
all his brethren,
and all his sisters,
and all they that had [been of his acquaintance/had known him] before,
and [did eat bread/they dined/ate] with him in his house:

and they [bemoaned/consoled/comforted] him, and [comforted/consoled] him [over/for] all the [evil/adversities/trouble] that the LORD had brought upon him:

every man also gave him a piece of [money/silver], and every one [an earring of gold/a gold ring].

So, one thing to note here is that all of these people had apparently abandoned Job. What help these folks could have been to the suffering Job in his hour of need! And yet, isn’t that sometimes what God orchestrates in our lives so that we don’t trust man – so that we don’t rely on man for our happiness. Sometimes, the Lord brings us to the point where we have literally no one. And the ones we might have are no help.

And that’s OK. It’s as God intends. We don’t have recorded here that Job was bitter against these fair-weather friends and family. He has heard and seen God – experienced God. And I think that he wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. His heart is like that of Joseph’s where he could harbor no bitterness against his brothers but instead saw that where they meant evil, God meant good – and God won!

And I think we need to notice one more thing in this verse. Who brought the evil on Job?

The inspired author of this book places the blame for all the bad stuff that happened on God. This is not Eliphaz saying this. It isn’t even Elihu. It’s the divine author stating in no uncertain terms that God himself brought this evil on Job. God is not apologizing about it. He’s not seeking to shift blame to Satan. He’s not concerned that his reputation will take a hit when people realize that he himself is the one who brings evil – calamity – hardship into the life of one of his righteous people.

I started out this series over a year ago in part because I had a friend whose two young children died in a car accident. And I was talking to one of my sons recently who was a friend of the older boy and we were talking about grief. And my son asked if grief is supposed to go away. And I said that I don’t think you ever get over the death of someone who you love and care for. And he seemed relieved – because even he is still after over a year grieving the loss of his friend.

Now, I want to be clear that I think the first thing that I would say to this grieving father would not be along the lines of this truth – that the Lord made this happen. And certainly you would never relate this to a person in a cold and callous way with no emotion in your voice or face. This is not some truth to beat grieving people to death with.

But it is a truth that we all need to recognize. God is in control. He brings good and he brings bad in this life. And it doesn’t matter who you are.

Can we accept that God ultimately brought the evil into the life of this missionary family in Cameroon? Can we accept that there’s a little 6 year old boy in Minnesota who just had to have a large tumor removed from his brain and still has cancer in his spine and might be enduring harsh treatments for months – and even then he’s not fully out of the woods – can we accept that this is God’s doing?

And I can admit, I don’t want to accept it! I don’t like this. I want the Millennium – now! I want all tears wiped away from our eyes! I want the lion to lay down with the lamb – now!

But we don’t have that now. We have what God has wisely orchestrated in our lives. And as blind and shortsighted as we are – we must trust our captain. We must trust God’s wisdom.

And in fact, you talk to the wife of this murdered missionary or you talk to the believing parents of this dear young child – and you’ll hear them speak of their trusting the Lord. You’ll hear of them being confused and not being able to make sense of things – but you’ll also hear their unwavering faith. And they are an awesome example of what God is teaching us in this book.

And you know – all of these things will be made right one day when we’re with the Lord.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Fortunes

But God saw fit to restore Job in this life – even his fortunes in verse 12.

12 So the LORD blessed the [latter end/latter days/second part/latter part] of [Job/Job’s life] more than [his beginning/the first]:

for he had fourteen thousand sheep,
and six thousand camels,
and a thousand yoke of oxen,
and a thousand [she asses/female donkeys].

And I’ll just note here that all the way back in chapter 1 and verse 3 we’re told that Job had these kinds of things as well. Only there, he had half as much. God blessed him with twice as much material blessings – just like he said in verse 10. And these blessings didn’t come because Job stopped sinning and started praying. They came simply because God is gracious.

This is his posture toward his people. He wants to give us good things. And most of those good things are reserved for us in heaven. And yet even on earth he gives us so much to be thankful for.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Heirs

And the restoration continues in verse 13 where the Lord gives Job more children.

13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.

And Charlie Hatchett once told me of a really interesting encounter. I can’t remember who the two people were – I think one of them was Dr. Cedarholm who founded Maranatha Baptist University. Dr. Cedarholm paid a visit to a pastor who was struggling with how God was working in his life. And this pastor had found himself in the book of Job and got to this point. And the pastor noticed with some dismay that even though God blessed double all that Job had materially – he only gave him back the number of children that he previously had – 10, not 20. But God said in verse 10 that he gave Job double all that he had before. And so this pastor was really distraught about this seeming oversight by God.

And Dr. Cedarholm came to him and this pastor related that struggle to him. And Cedarholm reminded this pastor that God did indeed restore double to Job even in the area of his children. His previous 7 sons and 3 daughters… were with the Lord. And because of that, they’re just as alive as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are. And he would see them again. Job did indeed receive double in the area of children.

Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Names

And interestingly enough, the Lord draws great attention to Job’s daughters in the next few verses.

In verse 14 he focuses on their names.

14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima [dove…];
and the name of the second, Kezia [cassia…];
and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch [horn of eye-paint…].

By the way, as you know, women often go unnamed in the Old Testament. And so the fact that these daughters of Job are named I think is significant.

So, I feel compelled to try to tie these names to some sort of meaning. So, here’s a try.

Doves are graceful. Think of the difference between a dove and a crow. Even though doves tend to flit around whereas a crow is a bit more confident, the flight of doves is more graceful than that of a crow or other birds.

Or perhaps the reference to a dove speaks of a beautiful voice. Doves can have very pleasant songs that they sing.

Cassia smells nice. It’s the bark of a tree that is burned and gives off a really nice scent. This in the days before air fresheners and potpourri and artificial stuff like that.

And then cosmetics applied around the eyes enhances one’s beauty.

So, gracefulness or a sweet voice – pleasant scent – and physical beauty. We’re led to think that these attributes characterized Job’s second three daughters.

Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Beauty

And while what we just considered bears implicit testimony to the physical beauty and charm of these ladies, verse 15 makes this very explicit.

15 And in all the land were no women found [so fair/as beautiful] as the daughters of Job:

Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Inheritance

And what’s really unusual is the next fact we hear about them. These girls were so special that they received an inheritance just like their brothers.

and their father [gave/granted] them [an…] inheritance [among/alongside/along with] their [brethren/brothers].

So, typically in the ancient near east, the boys got the inheritance. The girls would get whatever inheritance was left to the man that they ended up marrying.

But I think the idea here is twofold. First, that God gave Job some very exceptional daughters. And second, that God gave Job so much that he had an abundance to give to even his daughters. There wasn’t any scarcity in Job’s latter life.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Allows Job to Know His Heirs

So, next we hear a summary of Job’s long life in verse 16.

16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his [sons/children], and [his sons’ sons/their children], [even four generations/to the fourth generation].

I’m guessing then based on the twofold arithmetic that we’ve experienced so far that Job lived 70 years before his trial. Because 70 x 2 = 140, which is how long Job lived after his trial of suffering.

So, he lives 140 of his 210 years on this earth after his suffering.

Job 42 Summary | Job Dies Happy

And then Job dies. And he dies a happy man.

17 [So/And/And so] Job died, being old and full of days.

And death is always sad. And yet, there are certain deaths – maybe you’ve been to certain funerals where you just feel like the deceased lived a really good and long and pleasant life. Like, yes we’re very sad that this person is no longer with us. And yet, what a life he or she lived!

And that’s how Job dies. He lived a full, blessed, happy life.

And it wasn’t just because of the stuff that God gave. It’s because Job had heard and seen the Lord. And in light of that encounter and all that led up to that moment with his sufferings and trials – Job had come to understand how to correctly value the stuff that God gave him in this life.

Did Job understand God’s ways? No! He still didn’t. But Job had come to learn to trust God’s wisdom. God saw fit to bless him in his latter years. But I think that even if Job hadn’t been materially blessed in this life, he still would have carried that lesson with him of trusting the Lord in everything.

So, may the Lord help us to trust him in good times and in bad. When we feel like everything’s going for us and when we feel like just to get through the day is an uphill battle. In everything, God is wise. And he’s trustworthy. May the Lord help us to trust him.

Job 41 Meaning

Job 41 Meaning: Let’s turn in our Bibles to Job, chapter 41. Lord-willing, we’ll be finishing this chapter today! We’ll be studying verses 22-34. If you want to study verses 12-21 read this. Verses 1-11 are here.

And we’re entering into this section of God responding to Job’s accusations throughout this book. And in this last bit of this response we’ve seen the Lord point Job’s attention to this creature called Leviathan.

And in our last lesson we saw the Lord declare that he won’t keep silent about how he created this beast – but rather that he was going to elaborate on Leviathan’s physical features. And so, that’s just what he did for most of the last part that we studied. And the Lord continues doing that in these last verses of this chapter that we’ll be studying right now.

So, the last thing we heard about was how Leviathan literally breathed fire out of his mouth!

Job 41 Meaning: Neck

And now, in verse 22, the Lord continues to speak of Leviathan’s attributes – what he’s like. And God is going to mention the strength of this creature’s neck.

22 In his neck [remaineth/lodges/resides] strength,
and [sorrow/dismay/despair] [is turned into joy/leaps/runs/goes] before him.

So, that first statement is easy enough to understand – Leviathan has a really strong neck. That’s simple.

But what about that second statement? What does it mean and how does it relate to the first statement? Does it relate to that first statement?

Well, I think that the way we would tend to read the KJV rendering of that verse might give us the wrong impression. When it says, “sorrow is turned into joy before him,” what impression does that bring to your mind?

I’ll tell you how I picture it. We’ve had God talk about how frightening and dangerous and deadly this creature is for the last 21 verses. And all of a sudden, we get to the second line of verse 22 and it’s as if the dark clouds roll away – the sun starts to shine – and all of God’s creatures scamper joyfully in front of Leviathan and lead him on a joyful happy parade!

That cannot be what God is saying! Context, context, context!

What God is saying is that it’s as if sorrow or dismay or despair leap before him or run before him. In other words, these emotions are coming for you unless you get out of his way! Leviathan is a menacing, terrifying – and as the first line of this verse says – strong beast that you need to avoid.

And just like Leviathan, God is strong. He’s all-powerful. And to stand in his way is to invite upon yourself sorrow.

He is a God to be loved and close to. But he’s also a God who is strong and to be respected and yes feared.

Job 41 Meaning: Flesh

Well, the Lord wants to move on to the next physical attribute of Leviathan that is noteworthy. And that’s his flesh in verse 23.

23 The [flakes/folds] of his flesh are joined [together/tightly]:
they are firm [in themselves/on him]; [they cannot be moved/immoveable].

So, Leviathan’s skin had folds that were apparently very tight. So tight – in fact – that they were practically unmovable.

Now, God’s human creatures these days spend a lot of money on trying to achieve what Leviathan already had. You could go to a store and be confronted with a good portion of an aisle dedicated to tightening the folds of your flesh – to use the language of this passage. Maybe someone here could capitalize on this and develop some Leviathan cream!

Anyway, Leviathan had tight skin and that’s because that’s how God made him. He did nothing to get that kind of skin.

And just like Leviathan’s skin – God can’t be moved either. And we’ve explored that consideration already so I won’t belabor it here.

But in addition to God’s inability to be moved if he doesn’t want to be move, just like the tightness of Leviathan’s skin – I think that we’ve come to appreciate – as surely Job had – the way that God manages this creation. How tightly ordered this cosmos is. What integrity the systems that God has created display. How well God knows his routine – what needs to happen when.

It’s like having a boss who knows your job better than you do. He knows what needs to happen when. And you can be assured that nothing will get dropped or be forgotten.

So, that’s what we learn of God through a consideration of Leviathan’s skin.

Job 41 Meaning: Heart

And next up, God wants to showcase Leviathan’s heart or perhaps more broadly his chest.

24 His [heart/chest] is as [firm/hard] as a [stone/rock];
[yea,/even] as hard as a [piece of the nether/lower] millstone.

So, let’s consider millstones. These are and were stones that would be used to grind grain into flour. Of course, they needed to be hard and heavy.

In the setup that God is alluding to here, you’d have one large, hard, heavy stone that served as a base on the bottom of the setup. And then there’d be another stone that was rolled on top of that lower stone. And in between the two stones would be the grain.

And so, that lower stone needed to be hard.

And that’s what God is saying the heart or chest of Leviathan is like. It’s hard and strong!

And there’s one way to think of this if God is speaking of his heart and another way to think if he’s speaking about his chest.

If God is speaking of Leviathan’s heart as being hard then we might think of this beast as cruel and callous. Nothing can move him emotionally. He’s hard like that.

If God is speaking of Leviathan’s chest as being hard then we get another picture of impenetrability. We’re reminded once more that Leviathan is practically invincible and untouchable.

And either of these situations can be applied in certain ways to God and what he’s like. God doesn’t need to be moved emotionally by anything – and yet we see him condescend to his creatures and show emotions – anger, joy, sorrow, etc. And of course, as has been mentioned many times in this chapter, God is unable to be affected by anything if he doesn’t want to be – not even attempts by his human creatures to manipulate him as Job and his three friends had done.

Job 41 Meaning: Effect on Others

Well, the hard-hearted and hard-chested Leviathan – like God – tends to be unaffected by others. And yet, this beast had quite an affect himself upon other creatures.

25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty [are afraid/fear/are terrified]:
[by reason of/because of/at its/before his] [breakings/the crashing/its thrashing] they [purify themselves/are bewildered/withdraw/retreat].

So, even the most powerful flee in terror when Leviathan raises itself up – and then crashes itself down or thrashes around or whatever it chooses to do.

And of course, if this beast that was created by the Lord has this kind of effect on even the most powerful of its fellow-creatures – then how much more should even the mightiest human fear the Lord when he raises himself up?

And God has done this to Job. He is raised up in a whirlwind. And we’ve seen and will yet again see Job’s response. It’s a proper fear and reverence of this supreme being who created this terrifying creature, Leviathan.

Job 41 Meaning: Inability to be Attacked Successfully

And part of what causes this creature Leviathan to have so terrifying of an effect on others was the difficulty that anyone would have in attacking him.

26 The sword of him that [layeth at/reaches/strikes] him [cannot hold/cannot avail/will have no effect]:
the spear, the [dart/arrow], nor the [habergeon/javelin].

So, to bring a sword against Leviathan would have no effect. Neither would the spear or arrow or javelin.

Job 41 Meaning: Ineffectiveness of Weapons Against Him

And that’s because the material that these devices are made of are nothing to Leviathan.

27 He [esteemeth/regards/treats] iron as straw,
and [brass/bronze] as rotten wood.

Straw and rotten wood of course are very flimsy. And yet to this amazing creature, they might as well be iron and bronze – or vice versa. The material doesn’t matter due to the strength and ferociousness and imperviousness to attack that Leviathan had.

And so, God turns once more from the materials of these weapons that have no effect on Leviathan to the weapons themselves.

28 The arrow [cannot/do not] make him flee:
slingstones [are turned/become like/are like] [with/to] him [into stubble/chaff].

So, he’s not afraid of arrows. And his mindset concerning stones that someone might use to throw at him – which would be very heavy and solid – well, Leviathan considers them as if they’re like stubble or chaff that are easy to just blow away. They’re light and inconsequential.

And the Lord wants to speak one more time of how ineffective weapons are when it comes to Leviathan.

29 [Darts/Clubs] are [counted/regarded] as [stubble/a piece of straw]:
he laugheth at the [shaking/rattling] of [a/the] [spear/javelin/lance].

And so that ends a section of a few verses where God wants to impress on the hearers the fact that no weapon is effective against Leviathan.

And the Lord ends that section stating Leviathan’s response to all of these weapons. He laughs.

And that reminds us of the Lord’s response to those who rage against him. Psalm 2 – the Lord laughs. Just like Leviathan does – the Lord laughs at all those who rage against him.

Job 41 Meaning: His Wake

So, the Lord has already spoken a few verses ago about Leviathan’s effect on the mighty around him. But now, he’s going to highlight the effect of Leviathan on his surrounding environment in verses 30 through 32.

30 [Sharp/Jagged] [stones/potsherds] are [under him/his underparts/his underside]:
he [spreadeth/leaves its mark like/leaves a trail like] [sharp pointed things/like a threshing sledge] [upon the mire/in the mud].

So, Leviathan’s belly had a sharp and hard covering and as he would slide on by through the mud, he would leave an unmistakable mark. You could tell that he had been there. He had a visible effect on his surroundings.

So, that’s the solid surface he was traveling on. And from there he goes down into the water and so let’s see what happens there in verse 31.

31 He maketh the deep to boil like a [pot/cauldron]:
he [maketh/stirs up] the sea like a pot of ointment.

Now, we need to consider what God means here. Is he being literal about the sea boiling? He could be. After all, Leviathan could breathe fire!

Or perhaps God is being poetic and is wanting to portray the bubbles that would be created by Leviathan’s sharp twists and turns in the water as if the water were literally boiling.

Either way, we’re told by the Lord of Leviathan’s effects on the water that surrounds him.

And I think God is envisioning the water a little bit lower down. But in the next verse – verse 32 – the Lord speaks of Leviathan’s effects on the surface of the water.

32 He [maketh/leaves] a [path/wake] [to shine/that glistens] [after/behind] him;
one would think the deep [to be hoary/to be gray-haired/has a head of white hair].

So, picture the wake created by a boat. And that’s close to what Leviathan made the surface of the water to look like as he passed by through it.

So, whether it’s the ground he’s on or the water he’s in – both down deep and on the surface – Leviathan left his mark everywhere he was.

And God is similar. Romans 1 tells us that everything that he’s created bears his marks. And so, no one is excused from worshipping him and giving him thanks.

Even in Job’s suffering, God’s marks – his handiwork – was all over it. Job clearly recognized that God was behind his suffering. It was evident that this was God’s doing. Now, Job didn’t like it – but he did recognize it. It’s unmistakable. Just like the effects that Leviathan leaves behind him in his environment. Clearly discernible.

Job 41 Meaning: Uniquely Fearless

Well, two verse left in this chapter.

And so, the next verse has God pointing to the uniqueness and fearlessness of Leviathan.

33 [Upon/On] earth there is [not his like/nothing like him/nothing his equal],
[who is made/one made/a creature] without fear.

So, God extols Leviathan as uniquely fearless. And why shouldn’t he be? He has no predators and he’s pretty much invincible. Really, the only thing that can end this creature’s life is the Lord himself, who gave him that life.

And if the Lord points to Leviathan as a one-of-a-kind creature, then how much more uniquely excellent is that one who created him?

And this lack of fear that Leviathan had corresponds to the lack of fear that Behemoth had. And we’re supposed to imitate Behemoth and think of God the way we think about Leviathan – and so this is not the time to encourage ourselves to be fearless. Rather, this is where we should marvel at the fact that God never fears. He has no fear. What would God ever be afraid of? There is no unknown to him. There are no credible threats. He can’t die. He cannot be injured or wounded.

That’s amazing!

Job 41 Meaning: Triumph Over the Proud

And so, the Lord finishes his speech about Leviathan in verse 34 with a note on how Leviathan triumphs over the proud.

34 He [beholdeth/looks on/looks down on] [all high things/everything that is high/every haughty being]:
he is a king over all [the children of pride/that are proud].

And this is the kind of work that God had ordered Job to do back in chapter 40. If Job thought that he could be God, then the Lord told him that one of the things he needs to do is to look on the proud and deal with them.

Well, Job was unable to do that – at least to the extent that God could. And yet, even Leviathan – this creature – is able to do that. Leviathan doesn’t struggle with proud people. He will kill them in an instant. If they wanted to attack him, they’d never succeed. Leviathan is better at “being God” in that sense than Job was.

And so, all of this calls for a great deal of humility from Job. God has inundated him with a barrage of questions that he can’t answer. And now the Lord has challenged him to try to be God, to imitate Behemoth, and finally here to consider God the way he would consider this dangerous creature Leviathan.

So, what we saw in verse 34 is the last statement made by God to Job which we have recorded in this book. God is going to speak to Job’s three friends in the next chapter, but this is the last thing he says to Job.

And so, next time Lord-willing we’ll wrap up this study we’ve been having over the past year in the book of Job.

Job 41 Leviathan

Job 41 Leviathan: Let’s turn to Job chapter 41. We’ll be studying verses 12-21 today. You can read our study in Job 41:1-11 here.

And of course, this is a continuation of God’s response to Job. And God’s response has included drawing Job’s attention to this creature named Leviathan.

And we’ve learned that no one can control this creature. No one can kill him. No one can make him beg for mercy or make him serve them or make him their pet.

And God then made the transition from Leviathan to himself when he declared that no one can stand before him. And finally, God declared that he owes no man anything.

So, through all of that we’ve seen that God mentions Leviathan here in order to help us think more accurately about God himself. The fear and caution that we would exercise in the presence of Leviathan informs us as to how we should behave with this God who is perfectly controlled – and yet is completely uncontrollable. Our God is kind and loving and patient. But he is not tame.

Job 41 Leviathan: Leviathan’s Physical Construction

And so, as we continue on in Job chapter 41 we witness the Lord continuing to speak of Leviathan by declaring that he is going to boast of the physical construction of this creature.

12 I will not [conceal/keep silence concerning/fail to speak of] his [parts/limbs],
[nor/or/and] his [power/mighty strength/might/strength],
[nor/or/and] [his comely proportion./his orderly frame/the grace of its arrangement/its graceful form]

So, the limbs of this beast and its strength and the orderliness of its arrangement are all points that God will not be silent about. Leviathan is God’s creation and he did an awesome job of it and so he’s going to talk about these things in regard to Leviathan in the rest of this chapter.

And once more though – if Leviathan is a thing of awesome power – something to behold with awe – then how much more worthy of such awe – how powerful the Lord – its Creator is!

Job 41 Leviathan: Q81-82: Scales

And then, God continues to extoll this magnificent creature in verse 13 by drawing attention to its scales.

13 Who can [discover/strip off/uncover] [the face of his garment/his outer armor/its outer covering/his outer coat]?
or who can [come to him with/come within/penetrate to the inside of/approach him with] his [double bridle/double mail/its armor/bridle]?

So, apparently the outer layer of this beast – his coat of scales perhaps – was impenetrable. That’s at least what that first line is saying.

For the second line about the bridle – God is saying either what’s being said in the first line – that no one can stab through his outer scales. Or God’s saying that no one can put a bridle on Leviathan to subdue him and ride him anywhere.

Either way, you get a picture of invulnerability when it comes to Leviathan. You can’t stab him. You certainly can’t ride him anywhere. He’s undomesticated and he will stay that way.

And of course, God his Creator is also invulnerable. You can’t find a chink in his armor. There are no vulnerabilities to expose in the Lord – not in him personally and not in his word.

Job 41 Leviathan: Q83-84: Teeth

So, God continues to speak of Leviathan in verse 14 and he focuses on the teeth of this creature.

14 Who [can/dares] open the doors of his [face/mouth]?
[his teeth are terrible round about./Around his teeth there is terror./Its teeth all around are fearsome./ringed about with his fearsome teeth?]

And so, if Leviathan were around today you’d be very careful not to get close to his teeth. It’s like how I treat the bottom of my lawn mower – do not touch – do not get close – not with your hands or your feet – not when it’s running at least. And Leviathan is always running. And so, it was always best to stay away from the terror-inspiring teeth of this creature.

Job 41 Leviathan: God Can Be Dangerous

Teeth can be dangerous in any animal – especially when they’re sharp. And as strange as it seems at first, God can be considered dangerous.

We’re used to – and very thankful for – a God who is love and who is mercy and peace and who has reconciled us to himself by his son.

And yet, we need to remember the means by which God reconciled us to himself – by nailing his son to a cross and punishing him for the sins of the world.

And we also need to remember the fate that awaits those who reject this gift provided in Jesus Christ. That fate is eternity burning in darkness.

In light of those facts, yes, God is dangerous. Now, he’s not capricious. He’s not a God who’s going to make a promise and then not keep it. In that sense he’s not unpredictable. But he is dangerous. As dangerous as – and even more so than – Leviathan’s sharp teeth.

Job 41 Leviathan: How Job & Co. Had Been Treating God

And Job and his friends – I think we can say that they hadn’t been dealing with God on that level.

As the three friends were trying to convince Job that if he just confessed his secret sins and resumed praying to God, then God would start blessing Job again – had these men taken into account that God isn’t some magical Pez dispenser or gumball machine that can be manipulated? Put good works in – get blessings in return! No – God is a dangerous being! Show him the respect such a being deserves!

As Job has been demanding that God answer his summons to a court of law – as he’s been explicitly accusing God of being unjust to him – as Job has been pointing to numerous situations in which he thinks that God has not been executing justice on people who deserve justice – Job has been treating God on a far-too-familiar basis.

Job 41 Leviathan: Don’t Be Too Familiar

Now, God is our Father and he’s kind and gracious. But at the same time – he’s not a teddy bear! Treat him like you would a creature who has sharp teeth. Show him some respect and fear! Don’t let your familiarity with the Almighty breed contempt of him in you.

I think we get the point. I think Job did, too.

So, now, with verse 14 that we just read, we saw the 83rd and 84th questions that God asks Job. And worthy of noting – after that verse, God asks no more questions for the rest of the book. After 84 questions – one after the other – God is satisfied to leave off any more questioning.

And yet, God’s not done speaking.

Job 41 Leviathan: Scales (15-17)

Because in verses 15 through 17 the Lord speaks of the scales of Leviathan.

15 His scales are his pride,
shut up together as with a [close/tight] seal.

NAU Job 41:15His strong scales are his pride,
NET Job 41:15 Its back has rows of shields,
NIV Job 41:15 His back has rows of shields

16 [One/Each one] is so [near/close] to [another/the next],
that no air can come between them.

17 They are joined one to another,
they [stick together/clasp each other/cling together], that they cannot be [sundered/separated/parted].

And so, Leviathan is protected from external harm. Nothing can get to him. Nothing can physically harm him.

And not only can no external force physically harm Leviathan – but no external force can physically affect Leviathan on any level. His armor is so tight that not even air can get through!

Job 41 Leviathan: God is Impervious to Outside Influences

And once more, this teaches Job and us a lesson about God. God is impervious to outside influences.

Job’s three friends have been acting as though God could be moved in some sort of automated way based on the effort of man.

Job had been acting as though he could somehow encourage God to change his behavior and dealings in Job’s life.

But ultimately, if God wants to remain unaffected by external forces he is able to do that.

Job 41 Leviathan: God Allows Himself to Be Affected

And yet, there are ways in which the Lord does allow himself to be affected by external forces. You can think of some ways.

How about prayer? As we ask God to do things that are in keeping with his will, he allows us to – as it were – move his hand to action!

Job 41 Leviathan: Jesus Was Touched

And once again, we’re reminded of God’s supreme exception to this rule of his being unaffected by external influences – when he sent his son to be our Savior. Jesus Christ was touched. He was handled. His human creatures grasped his garments to be healed. They grasped his garments to apprehend him. They nailed his hands and feet to a cross. They hit him. They spit on him. They killed God – the God who by his very nature is untouchable.

What irony and even paradox! That God who is unaffected by external forces allowed himself to not only be touched – but also abused and killed – because he loved us so much!

And this doesn’t make Jesus any less God – that he allowed himself to be affected by external forces in a way that’s contrary to his very nature. It simply shows God’s extreme love in sending us his son.

Well, so, God can’t be affected by external influences – just like Leviathan.

Job 41 Leviathan: Firemouth talk! (18-21)

And as we return to a consideration of this beast – we are alerted to an additional factor in why Leviathan is so unapproachable – so impervious to external forces. He literally breathes fire out of his mouth. That’s what we hear in verses 18-21.

Job 41 Leviathan: Sneezing and Eyes

And the explanation of that begins in verse 18 with a focus on Leviathan’s sneezing and his eyes.

18 [By his neesings/His sneezes/Its snorting] [a light doth shine/flash forth light/throws out flashes of light],
and his eyes are like the [eyelids/red glow/rays] of [the morning/dawn].

Job 41 Leviathan: Mouth

Then God focuses on Leviathan’s mouth in relation to his ability to breathe out fire.

19 Out of his mouth [go/stream forth] [burning lamps/burning torches/flames/firebrands],
and sparks of fire [leap out/leap forth/shoot forth/shoot out].

Job 41 Leviathan: Nostrils

Next, God turns to consider Leviathan’s nostrils in terms of his ability to breathe fire in verse 20.

20 Out of his nostrils [goeth/goes forth/streams/pours] smoke,
as out of a [seething/boiling] pot [or/and/over] [caldron/rushes/burning rushes/a fire of reeds].

Job 41 Leviathan: Breath

And lastly, the Lord considers Leviathan’s breath in relation to his ability to breathe out fire in verse 21.

21 His breath [kindleth/sets ablaze] coals,
and [a flame/flames] [goeth/goes forth/shoots/dart] [out of/from] his mouth.

And so, we’re faced with a creature that is presented as breathing fire out of his mouth. And that fire causes smoke, which billows out of Leviathan’s nostrils.

Job 41 Leviathan: Is this Poetic?

And we might hear this and think that God is being poetic or hyperbolic. And that certainly is a possibility in this book in which poetry is so extensively used.

But we need to remember that poetic descriptions of things that tend to use concrete images to convey some abstract idea – well, there needs to be some abstract idea.

Job 41 Leviathan: “The Lord is My Shepherd”

I’ll give you a basic example. “The Lord is my Shepherd.” That’s poetic.

The Lord is not a man whose job is to herd sheep. David was not a literal sheep.

But picturing God as a shepherd is a concrete image. You can see that. You can picture that in your mind. You know what a shepherd looks like. You know what sheep are like.

And then you can transfer all of that meaning into the realm of the abstract. Where God’s being a shepherd means in the abstract that he cares for you. He feeds you. He sees to it that all of your needs are met. He’s close to you. He knows you. He is willing to get dirty in order to help you. He will help you get out of the problems that your own – I don’t know how else to say it – your stupid decisions get you into.

Now, Psalm 23 could mention all of those abstract ideas – that God helps and heals and feeds and provides and comforts and rescues – and on and on.

But there’s a beauty to the poetic picture that David paints with simply stating “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

Job 41 Leviathan: Back to Leviathan

So, bring that into the discussion of Leviathan. If God intends to use the concrete imagery of breathing fire to teach some abstract lesson about Leviathan… then what is it? That his breath is really offensive? I don’t think so.

I can’t think of anything that God would be trying to communicate in a poetic way by relating that Leviathan breathes out fire.

Job 41 Leviathan: We Know of No Creature Who Can Do This

And so, that leads me to think that the only reason that we might want to view Leviathan’s ability to breathe fire as poetic or fictional is because we don’t know of any creature that can do this exact same thing in our day.

Now, you might be aware of a little creature known as the Bombardier Beetle. This little insect is able to shoot out a combination of chemicals and enzymes from inside its body. And what comes out of them is hotter than boiling water. These little creatures are able to make smoke and fire come out from their bodies.

Could it be that Leviathan did something like this? Maybe.

Is it entirely possible that Leviathan had some other way of making fire come out of its mouth that we have no idea about? Yes. And we have God’s word – God himself – saying that Leviathan did this.

How? We don’t know. But we do know one who cannot lie and is giving us infallible testimony that this did happen.

So, that’s all been an attempt to prove that Leviathan did literally breathe out fire.

Job 41 Leviathan: Why Does God Mention Fire?

But why does God mention that?

Remember that we’re supposed to think of God the way that we’d think about Leviathan. Leviathan breathes fire. … Does God breathe fire?

Well, not literally. God did not have a literal mouth that breathes out literal fire.

But we can think of a few times in Scripture where God sent fire from himself. Even in this book and the first few chapters we had one of Job’s servants testify that fire from God came down from heaven and consumed Job’s things. The fire came from God.

We have testimony concerning the wicked sons of Aaron – Moses’s brother. They didn’t approach God’s holy things with due reverence and God sent out fire that consumed them.

God actually calls himself in Deuteronomy 4 and several other passages “a consuming fire.” God appeared to Moses in a bush that was on fire. When God came down on Mount Sinai it was in fire. God sent fire to consume Elijah’s sacrifice on Mount Carmel. As soldiers came for Elijah later on, God sent fire to consume those soldiers. And of course, the end of every soul that rejects God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ involves eternal fire.

Job 41 Leviathan: God vs. Leviathan

And so I think that we can say that God’s use of fire far supersedes Leviathan’s. We look at Leviathan and how he’s described as breathing fire and it would strike fear into our hearts to have to confront that beast with this frightening ability to call forth fire from his mouth and burn us.

Are we not to fear the being who not only sends out fire at will – but whom to reject is to suffer fire for all eternity?

So, God is warning Job and all of us here.

Job 41 Leviathan: God vs. a Beetle!

I mean – if I was aware that there was a Bombardier Beetle living in my yard, I would alert my kids and tell them to stay far from it. I would help them learn to identify this creature and keep their distance. I myself would not play with this little bug. I wouldn’t handle it or try to step on it or get near it in any way. It might burn me and my family!

But do I – do you – show such caution when approaching God? Do we even extend the carefulness to God that we would extend to a beetle?!

Job 41 Leviathan: Acting Like a Child

How do you speak to God when you’re not happy with the way your life is going?

I imagine that we might respond the way a small child would to a parent who is intent on not reacting to the child’s impatient questioning.

The child asks for something that the parent has already said “no” to. The parent doesn’t respond. He’s already given his answer – “no.”

The child ratchets up the impatience a little and maybe asks in a louder voice. No response from the parent.

The child stomps his foot and swings his arms around. No response.

The child might get up into the face of the parent. He might try to shake the parent with all of the strength his little body can muster.

And at some point, the parent has to react. And he might react in a way that puts that child back into the place of being the child – not as an equal to the parent.

Job 41 Leviathan: God Treats Us Like Children

And I think that’s what God is doing here.

Job has been complaining to God. And like he usually does, God has not verbally responded to Job.

So, Job has started to accuse God of being unjust and unkind. And God has patiently held his tongue.

So, Job has demanded God to come to court and explain his actions – the God of the universe needs to come and explain his actions to one of his weak small human creatures! No response from God.

Job continues to make himself look good at God’s expense.

And so, finally the Lord needs to respond and say, “Don’t you remember that I’m ultimately the God who utilizes fire to deal with people both in time and in eternity? Are you really going to approach me like that?

I use fire. I am untouchable. I have teeth!

And while I am gracious and merciful and slow to anger and abounding in loyal covenant love… don’t treat me lightly.

Job 41 Leviathan: How Do You Treat God?

So, let me ask. Has God been dealing with you in this life in ways that you don’t like? Maybe you’re frustrated with what God is doing. Maybe you’re dissatisfied for one reason or another. And maybe your pleas and cries to God – your supplications – your pleas for mercy – maybe they’ve transformed into bitter insults against the Almighty! Insinuations that you are right and God is out of his mind!

No, no! God is in control. God is all wise. He knows what he’s doing. And he has the right to do anything he wishes in your life – both good and what we would consider to be not-so-good.

He can arrange things so that you can get a promotion at work. He’s equally entitled to arrange things so that you get fired or that your boss quits leaving you with no direction or allowing you to stay in a job where everyone hates you and you aren’t so fond of them either.

God can make it so that your family situation is one of bliss and comfort and joy. Or he can bring great difficulties into that situation.

He can make you rich or poor – healthy or weak – abounding or suffering need. You might be rejoicing right now. Or you might be filled with heaviness and sorrow.

Job 41 Leviathan: Trust Him

And either way, when it really comes down to it – we don’t understand God’s ways – the ways that he has not revealed in Scripture. And so, when we don’t understand his ways, we must trust his wisdom.

God knows what he’s doing – even though we don’t.

He is good. He is gracious. He is loving. But we’ve been reminded in this portion of Scripture that he has teeth. He is completely able to remain untouched by external influences. And when it comes down to it, we owe him more fear and reverence and respect than is due a fire-breathing monster like Leviathan.

So, may the Lord help us to think of him the way we would think about this awesome creature of his that we know as Leviathan.

Job 41 Commentary

Job 41 Commentary: We’ll be in the 41st chapter of the book of Job today.

I anticipate at most two more lessons after this one.

As we enter Job 41, we look back and realize that we’ve been through a lot so far.

We were introduced to a man named Job back in chapter 1 who was upright and blameless. Then a being known as Satan accused God to bribing Job to worship him. So, God allowed Satan to afflict Job in numerous ways.

Then Job’s three friends came to comfort him. But they just ended up arguing with him and accusing him of secret sin.

Finally, Elihu came and began to set these men straight. And then of course the section we’re in right now has God finishing the job that Elihu began in correcting Job.

And that correction has come in two parts.

First, God has asked Job sixty-some questions about how stuff works in this world. Or whether or not Job can do this thing or that thing that only God can do. And so, of course, Job’s first response to God was one of contrition and repentance. That was the first section of God’s confrontation of Job.

We’re now in the second part of God’s confrontation of Job. And so far we’ve seen God basically tell Job that if he thinks he can do a better job at “Godding” or being God than God is able to do – well, then go right ahead and try it.

After that, God turned Job’s attention to Behemoth. And Job and you and I are supposed to imitate Behemoth. Behemoth lived free of anxiety with the strength that God gave him. And Job and you and I are supposed to live that way, too.

And now for the final speech of God in this book to end this second section of God’s rebuke of Job. And God is going to bring to the attention of Job another creature. His name is Leviathan. He’s not a land animal like Behemoth – but is rather a sea creature. And whereas we’re supposed to imitate Behemoth, it seems that God has a different purpose for Leviathan.

With Leviathan, we’re supposed to think of God the way we think of Leviathan. We’re supposed to approach God the way that we approach a dangerous, unpredictable, uncontrollable animal like Leviathan. And I trust that we’ll see that emphasis as we start studying Leviathan today.

Job 41 Commentary: Q64-65: Control

So, the first issue that God wants to point out in regard to this creature is that it’s impossible to control him. But God phrases it in the form of a question. So, verse 1 contains the 64th and 65th questions that God has asked Job thus far if my counting it accurate.

KJV Job 41:1 Canst thou [draw out/pull in] leviathan with [an hook/a fishhook]?
or his tongue with a [cord/rope] [which thou lettest down/can you (press/tie) it down]?

So – no – Job cannot catch Leviathan with a hook or tie down his tongue with a rope. He cannot control this animal.

And Job would have known this. He would have answered these questions in the negative.

And so, what God wants Job to do then is to recognize that Job has no control over God. If Job can’t control one of God’s creature, how would he ever think that he can control God?

And yet, isn’t that what Job had been trying to do? By demanding God show up to a court room and explain his ways to Job, wasn’t Job trying to control the uncontrollable – not uncontrolled, I say but – uncontrollable God?

And where do you try to control God in your life? Do you recognize where you might be doing that? Where you’re trying to make him do your will rather than submitting to do his will?

Job 41 Commentary: Q66-67: More Control

Well, the next two questions also focus on Job’s total inability to control Leviathan.

2 Canst thou put [an hook/a rope/a cord] [into/in/through] his nose?
or [bore/pierce] his jaw [through with a thorn/with a hook]?

So, neither can Job pierce Leviathan’s nose or jaw in order to capture him.

Once more, Leviathan – and Leviathan’s Creator – are unable to be controlled by man.

Job 41 Commentary: Q68-69: Begging for Mercy

But God seems to assume for argument’s sake that Job could catch Leviathan. Because in verse 3, the Lord pictures Leviathan as pleading for mercy and he asks Job if that picture is even possible in real life.

3 Will he make [many/numerous] supplications unto thee? [i.e., will he keep begging you for mercy?]
will he speak [soft/tender/gentle] words unto thee?

And of course, the picture that God paints is ironic. A creature that’s like God describes Leviathan to be in this chapter would never be put in the position of being captured by Job – let alone be found pleading for mercy from this imaginary captor.

And God is implying here that he also will not be at the mercy of any man. And that sounds like a superfluous statement to make – like why does God need to bring that point up? It’s a given, right?

Well, it is. And yet in times of trial and suffering and uncertainty, we – like Job– can get to the point where we start talking and thinking as though we could get God into some strangle hold where he has to plead with us for mercy.

But not even the patriarch Jacob who wrestled with God got this kind of response from the Lord. The Lord merely told him to let him go. There was no pleas for mercy. No cajoling. It was a straightforward statement. And when it comes down to it, all God had to do to make Jacob let him go was to touch his thigh. That worked pretty well.

So, God is not at the mercy of any.

Job 41 Commentary: Q70-71: Serving

And yet, once again, God is going to go along with his farcical pretend scenario of the helpless Leviathan pleading for mercy from Job in verse 4. And now, God pictures Leviathan as promising to serve Job forever as a servant.

4 Will he make [a covenant/a pact/an agreement] with thee?
[wilt thou/so that you/for you to] take him [for a servant/as your slave] for [ever/life]?

And once more, the answer to God’s questions is “no.” Creatures like Leviathan don’t enter into covenants and they don’t make an intentional agreement to serve humans.

And God himself is not required to serve any. Now, amazingly he does serve his creatures – and he did so preeminently in the person of Jesus Christ who took on him the form of a servant – who came not to be served but rather to be the servant.

And yet, God is under no compulsion whatsoever to serve anyone. He’s not anyone’s slave. No one has any claim over his person to make him do anything.

And I’m afraid that Job and his friends basically got to the point where they conceived of God as being someone who was obliged to serve them and do their will. If they do good, then in their minds God was obliged to serve them good things.

But that’s not why God gives good things – not because somehow he’s our servant. But rather he gives us good things because he is merciful. And slaves aren’t merciful – they’re just doing what they must do. And that’s not how God operates. Not for Job and his friends – and not for us.

The moment we get this formula mixed up is the moment we depart from reality. We are God’s servants. We are his slaves. Not the other way around.

Job 41 Commentary: Q72-73: Leviathan a Domesticated Pet?

And yet, God continues the ridiculous scenario between Job and Leviathan in verse 5. And this time, God speculates that perhaps Leviathan would be willing to become Job’s pet!

5 Wilt thou [play with/make a pet of] him as with a bird?
or wilt thou [bind him/tie it on a leash] for thy [maidens/girls]?

Now, my family has no pets. We almost got one when a kitten crawled into our engine compartment the other night after prayer meeting – but we were resolved not to take that cat home!

Anyway, you might have a pet. They apparently had pets in Job’s time – at least some people did.

And most people who have pets in this country might have a dog or a cat. Maybe you might have a bird – like God mentions here.

But I guarantee you that no one has ever had a pet Leviathan. And even though we don’t exactly know what this creature was – my best guess from the text is that he’s something like a giant crocodile that breathes fire!

And even though I’ve never seen that kind of beast in real life, I would venture to say that that kind of animal doesn’t make a very good pet – a fire-breathing super-sized crocodile!

And do you know what would make an even more bizarre unlikely pet? God. You and I cannot put God on a leash. He won’t fetch for us like a dog. You would be insane to think that you can make him beg. You certainly won’t teach him how to play dead.

And you’re not going to be able to impress anyone with the control you have over God like you would a tamed animal on a leash. The realty is – you have no control over God. He does according to his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can stay his hand or say unto him “what doest thou?”

Job 41 Commentary: Q74-75: Roast Leviathan???

Well, back to Leviathan. And, you know, in our culture we typically don’t eat animals that would otherwise be pets – right? The typical American diet does not consist of cat and dog and gerbil and guinea pig.

And so, if Leviathan can’t be Job’s pet – maybe he can be Job’s dinner. Verse 6.

6 [Shall/Will] [the companions/partners/traders] [make a banquet of/bargain for] him?
[shall/will] they [part/divide up] him among the merchants?

Now, that second line pictures Job’s companions – who would apparently be traders or merchants – divvying-up Leviathan amongst themselves – either for food or as a rare commodity – like “Look, I have a piece of Leviathan!

And yet, God – as he suggests this – is doing so in a way that we could characterize as absurd. Like – this would never ever happen.

And God is going to get to his main point eventually in this chapter. But for now, we need to keep taking in the absurdity of God’s questions. And they’re intentionally absurd. And we’ll see the reason for it in a few verses.

But just like Leviathan, no one is able to divvy-up God. No one is able to devour and consume him. No one can trade him or bargain for him. He’s not for sale.

Job 41 Commentary: Q76-77: Kill Leviathan?

Alright, so if you can’t catch or enslave or domesticate or eat or trade Leviathan – maybe you can just kill him. God asks whether that’s possible in verse 7 – with the implied idea that this indeed would not be possible.

7 Canst thou fill his [skin/hide] with [barbed irons/harpoons]?
or his head with [fish/fishing] spears?

And these two rhetorical questions imply the slaying of this animal. Filling his skin with harpoons and spears would mean death for Leviathan. And yet, God implies that this cannot happen.

And though the phrase “God is dead” was coined around the end of the 1800s and is an idea that some assert, God cannot die. He never will die.

And yet, he allowed himself to be killed in the person of Jesus Christ. But even then, God cannot remain dead. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and lives to his day and is coming back any time now.

So, no one can kill Leviathan. No one can kill God.

Job 41 Commentary: Fighting Leviathan

And now – after so many of these questions that expect a negative answer – God is going to cut to the chase and he tells Job what would happen if anyone were to try to do any of these things to Leviathan.

8 [If you…] Lay thine hand [upon/on] him,
[you will…] remember the [battle/fight/struggle],
[do no more./you will not do it again!/and you will never do it again!/and never do it again!]

So, if anyone were to try to lay hands on this creature, they would certainly remember that battle and they’d never do it again.

And now, as Job is listening to God’s rebuke, I wonder if Job feels the same way. He wrestled with God. He questioned God’s goodness and justice. And he’s now experiencing a little bit of wrestling back from the Lord. And we’ll see at the end of this book – he’ll never do that again!

Job 41 Commentary: Q78: No Hope

Ad even though Job is resigned to never approach God like this, some really tough guy might think that he could in fact subdue this beast. And God says in response, “That’s a vain hope!

9 Behold, [the hope of him/your expectation/his expectation/any hope of subduing him] is [in vain/false/wrong]:
shall not one be [cast down/laid low/overpowered] even at the sight of him?

So, just looking at this creature is enough to lay a person low. You dare not even look at Leviathan!

And this is where God begins to reveal the purpose behind mentioning Leviathan at this point in his response to Job.

Job 41 Commentary: Q79: God vs. Leviathan

And the purpose is in the next verse – verse 10. God is going to point to the unparalleled fierceness of this creature in the first line. And then…God speaks of himself in relation to this creature.

10 None is so fierce [that dare stir him up/when it is awakened/to rouse him]:
who then is able to stand before […”him?” … Leviathan? No! God says…] me?

Ah hah! So, there it is. This is where God begins to meld together our conception of Leviathan and himself. I’ve been assuming this for the whole chapter because I knew this was coming. But up to this point God has not made it very clear why he’s mentioning Leviathan. But he just connected the dots here in verse 10.

So, we’re to think of this awesome, mighty, fierce creature. And we can’t catch him. We can’t enslave him. We can’t have him as a pet. We can’t eat him. We can’t kill him.

And we’re supposed to compare this creature and how we think of him to how we think of the awesome Creator of this awesome creature.

And recall, we studied Behemoth last time. And the point of Behemoth was that we were supposed to imitate him. He lived fearlessly with the strength that God gave him. And that’s what Job and we are supposed to do with that beast.

But Leviathan is different. With Leviathan we’re not to imitate him. We can’t! Just look at how he’s described – can the same things be said of you? No – instead, we’re supposed to think of God like we would think of this creature. We are like Behemoth – or should be. God is like Leviathan – only even bigger and better and stronger and more dangerous and more uncontrollable!

We fear Leviathan – or we would if it existed today. But, do we grant God that same healthy fear?

We’re aware that man can in no way manipulate Leviathan for his own purposes. But, are we aware that no man may manipulate God for his own selfish purposes?

Job and his friends had been acting as if God can be manipulated. You want good from God? Well then, just do good. It’ll work like clockwork! Like sliding your credit card into the gas pump and getting a full tank of gas in return.

Now, Job didn’t approach God that way in reality. He really did serve God for nothing – contrary to what Satan accused him of. But the way that Job was thinking of how God ought to treat him bordered on that way of thinking. God was giving him bad even though Job was still being good. And that bothered Job immensely. And so, Job needs to be warned here to stop treating God like that.

Job 41 Commentary: Q80: God Owes No Man

Because to think that if I give God something, he owes me in return is just foolish. To think that if I do good then God will give good in turn is not the way this world works and it’s not how God works – and that’s what he says in verse 11.

11 Who [hath prevented/had given to/has confronted/has a claim against] me, that I [should/must] repay him?
[whatsoever is/whatever is/everything] under [the whole heaven/heaven] [is mine/belongs to me].

So, to whom does God owe anything? Is God obliged to treat Job or us in a certain way beyond what he has actually stated in his word? Is God obliged to give you health and wealth and ease? Have you given him enough to the point where he would be constrained to repay you?

No, no one is in that kind of position with God. And that’s amazing when you think about it. Because most of us are in a position of some sort of obligation to someone. You need to pay your school bill or your property taxes or your rent. You and I are obliged to someone. We owe someone something.

But not God. God owes no man anything.

And that’s because God owns everything. There is nothing that is not his.

And that includes Job’s life and your life and mine. If we were somehow able to give our life to God – literally, not in a metaphorical sense – if we gave our life to God, we’re only giving back to him what’s rightfully his. He made us. He gave us breath. He owns us!

And so, this is the message of Leviathan. Let’s treat God with respect and dignity. Let’s not act like we can somehow manipulate the Almighty for our own purposes. Let’s give him the fear and reverence that is due even one of his creatures. How much more worthy of such respect is the Creator than the creature?

May the Lord help us to interact with him more on this level than we’ve known to this point in our lives.

Job 40 Behemoth

Job 40 Behemoth: There is in the heart of every person who tries to communicate God’s word a desire to make God’s word relevant to those to whom they’re ministering. And that’s a right and good desire. We want people to see that God’s word applies to their lives where they are. It’s not just theory and hypothetical.

And yet, as we’ve been studying the book of Job for these past months I am struck every so often at how unconcerned God seems to be to make this book “relevant.”

There is something that strikes our flesh as totally irrelevant about 30-some chapters of back-and-forth arguing between four grown men.

And as we’ve recently seen the Lord appear to Job and speak to him – he never once answers any of Job’s accusations. God doesn’t provide explanations. And I speak as a fool when I say this – but it seems like God really just keeps missing opportunity after opportunity to make this book “relevant” as we could consider it.

And yet, at the same time, I think that we’ve seen over and over again that the message that God is communicating through this book is utterly relevant to our lives. To trust God’s wisdom when we don’t understand his ways is a theme that we can’t review too much. It’s one that I know that I and my wife have been blessed with being reminded of over and over.

But we’re going to be in Job chapter 40 today – so you can turn there if you haven’t already. And in this chapter, we’re once again challenged with the seeming irrelevance of what God says here.

Because today in Job 40, verses 15-24, in response to all of Job’s deep questions – in response to Job’s tragic loss of children – in response to Job’s struggle to interpret life as it’s been going for him… God has Job think about an animal. And that animal’s name is Behemoth. That’s just a word that means “cattle” – though we’re going to see that Behemoth is not a bovine.

Now, God asks no questions about Behemoth. He just wants Job to look at and consider this amazing animal. And as strange as it might sound, God wants Job and us to imitate this creature.

If that sounds far-fetched, stay with me. Hopefully you’ll see it too by the end.

Job 40 Behemoth | Creation & Diet

Now, God begins by directing Job to consider Behemoth – and he points to both its creation and its diet.

15 [Behold now/Look now at/Look at the] behemoth,
which I made [with/as well as/as I made/along with] thee;
he eateth grass as an ox.

Job 40 Behemoth | “Behold”

So, Job is told by God to look at this creature. This creature then is one that Job would have apparently had some access to and knowledge of – otherwise, this whole section would have all just flown right over Job’s head. And that’s not what God was aiming for. Job would have been familiar with this beast referred to by God as Behemoth.

Job 40 Behemoth | “which I made with thee”

And then God wants Job to consider the creation of Behemoth. God says that this creature was “made with Job.” What does that mean?

Well, it could mean that God created this animal on the sixth day just like he created mankind. That would be true. All land animals were created on the same day during Creation Week as was man.

But this could also be the Lord stating more broadly that he created both Behemoth and Job. Even though we’ll see that this animal is amazing in numerous ways, it’s the same God who created both it and Job. God has the right to make both weak and vulnerable Job as well as to create this monstrous beast that he’ll be describing for the rest of this chapter. But it’s God who sovereignly does whatever he wishes.

Job 40 Behemoth | “he eateth grass as an ox”

And finally, God relates to Job the diet of Behemoth. Because even though this animal is so amazing and powerful – the creature apparently was an herbivore. He ate grass like an ox.

By the way, that tells us that Behemoth is not an ox. He eats grass like an ox. So, it and the ox are separate creatures.

Anyway, Behemoth – for all its size and strength eats grass and plants and herbs.

So, God wanted Job to consider Behemoth’s creation and diet.

Job 40 Behemoth | Locus of Strength

But next in verse 16 the Lord wants Job to consider the locus of Behemoth’s strength.

16 [Lo now, his/Behold now, his/Look at its/What X he has] strength is in his loins,
and his [force/power] is in the [navel/muscles] of his belly.

Job 40 Behemoth | “his strength is in his loins”

So, God wants Job to consider the location of the power of Behemoth. The central hub of its strength is not in its neck or its back or its shoulders. Its strength is not centered in its head or in its feet. Its strength is focused in what we could call its “core.” Its strength is concentrated in and emanates from its abdominal.

Job 40 Behemoth | What is Behemoth?

Now, this is where we can start consider what this creature really is and compare it to how God describes it. I’m fairly convinced that we don’t have this creature with us today for reasons that I think will become clear as we study this text.

And that’s OK – because identifying what this creature is, is not the main concern of the Lord. We can get a good idea of what this beast is like even without being able to identify it because of how thorough the Lord is in describing it. But he’s making a point by mentioning this creature beyond mere identification.

Nevertheless, we do like to try to figure out what Behemoth is. So, we already know that it eats grass. And now, we hear that its abdomen is very strong – and that that’s where its strength is centered. I think that doesn’t really give us enough to get a very complete picture of this creature just yet, so we’ll move on for now without further comment.

So, the Lord has pointed Job to the creation of Behemoth – it’s diet and the locus of its strength.

Job 40 Behemoth | Tail & Thighs

And next in verse 17, the Lord describes the tail and thighs of this beast.

17 He [moveth/bends/makes/sways] his tail [stiff…/sways…] like a cedar:
the sinews of his [stones/thighs] [ßhapax legomena…] are [wrapped together/knit together/tightly wound/close-knit].

Job 40 Behemoth | “his tail”

So, God draws attention to this tail of Behemoth. He says that this animal moves its tail as if the tail were a cedar tree. You get the picture of a massive swaying tail attached to this creature.

Now, I think that description alone disqualifies a number of candidates for identifying Behemoth. Some of those would include the elephant and the hippopotamus – the tails of which could hardly be compared to cedar trees.

Job 40 Behemoth | “the sinews of his thighs”

Well, God also wants Job to consider the sinews of Behemoth’s thighs. They’re strong – knit together.

Now, another word for sinew is “tendon.” Tendons and sinews typically connect muscle to bone. And the Lord in this verse has been speaking to Job about the muscles of this beast and how strong they are.

Job 40 Behemoth | Bones

And so, now God is going to focus on the bones of Behemoth.

18 His bones are [as strong pieces/tubes] of [brass/bronze];
his [bones/limbs] are like [bars/rods] of iron.

Job 40 Behemoth | “his bones are as strong as” “bronze” and “like bars of iron”

So, God wants Job to consider the strength of the bones and limbs of Behemoth. And the Lord compares these things to the two strongest metals of that time – bronze and iron. This creature is turning out to be a picture of strength in every way.

I would say that if we’re trying to identify Behemoth – the crocodile is at this point ruled-out. Some have said that Behemoth may have been a crocodile – but when I think of the bones and limbs of crocodiles, a description like the Lord gives here doesn’t really fit the bill. Plus, crocodiles don’t eat grass like Behemoth is said to do.

But whatever Behemoth is and was – he’s strong. From its muscles to its bones – its thighs and tail. And all that strength from an animal that eats only grass and plants!

Job 40 Behemoth | Preeminence & Danger/Inferiority to God

I’d say that the animal that’s being described is really quite amazing! And God is going to agree with that assessment in verse 19 – but he’s also going to point to the fact that the one who made this beast is even more powerful.

19 He [is the chief of/is the first of/ranks first among] the [ways/works] of God:
[he that made him/let his maker/the One who made it/yet his Maker] [can make his sword to approach unto him/bring near his sword/has furnished it with a sword/can approach him with his sword].

Job 40 Behemoth | “the chief of the ways of God”

So, God wants Job to consider that Behemoth is one of the crowning achievements of God’s creation. Since this creature was a land animal, it would have been created on Day 6 of creation week as we’ve mentioned. And so, this was one of God’s crowning achievements – one of his last creative works. And even though mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation – yet, in terms of size and strength, mankind doesn’t hold a candle to Behemoth.

Job 40 Behemoth | “he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him”

And yet, God then also wants Job to know that either a) God can destroy Behemoth or that b) God has given this creature dangerous weapons on himself. It depends on how you translate that last part of verse 19.

Either God is saying that the one who made him – the Lord himself – is able to draw near to this creature with a sword – which apparently a man like Job would have been unable to do.

Or the other way to translate this is that God is saying that when he created Behemoth, he furnished him with a sword. Perhaps this creature had something on his body that was sharp and dangerous and which he would use in battling other creatures.

I prefer to read this as God saying that even though this beast is one of the highlights of God’s creation – yet, God can slay it. And apparently, mankind could not say that regarding Behemoth. They would have been fairly powerless to capture and kill this creature.

Well, God has had Job consider both the preeminence of this animal as well as God’s ability to slay it.

Job 40 Behemoth | Eating Situation

And next in verse 20, the Lord speaks of Behemoth’s eating situation.

20 [Surely/For] the [mountains/hills] bring him forth [food/their produce],
[where/there/nearby] all the [beasts of the field/wild animals] play.

So, the Lord wants Job to consider Behemoth’s eating situation.

Job 40 Behemoth | “the mountains bring him forth food”

First, Job should take note that it’s as if the mountains or hills bring forth their produce just for Behemoth. It doesn’t need to make its own food. It doesn’t need to hunt its food. It’s just there for Behemoth.

Job 40 Behemoth | “where all the beasts of the field play”

Second, Behemoth’s fellow-beasts don’t seem all that frightened by this creature. This is a very peaceful scene that the Lord is painting. You do get the sense that though Behemoth is strong, it’s not a violent or aggressive creature. Other animals play near where it eats.

Job 40 Behemoth | At Rest

And when Behemoth is done eating, it takes a nap – verse 21.

21 He [lieth/lies down] under the [shady/lotus] [trees/plants],
[in the covert of/in the secrecy of/hidden among] the [reed/reeds], [and fens/and the marsh/in the marsh].

So, God wants Job to consider where Behemoth rests.

Job 40 Behemoth | “under the shady trees”

It does so under shady trees. We’re not sure if those trees were large or small.

Job 40 Behemoth | “the reed and fens”

And another place that Behemoth would rest is in the marshes – the swampy land filled with reeds.

So, Behemoth rests in these places.

Job 40 Behemoth | At Rest, Cont’d.

And then the Lord restates where Behemoth rests in verse 22 – with a little bit of a progression away from swampy areas and into the setting of a brook or stream with flowing water.

22 The [shady trees/lotus plants/lotus trees/lotuses] [cover/conceal] him with their [shadow/shade];
the [willows/poplars] [of/by] the [brook/stream] [compass him about/surround him/conceal it].

And perhaps this is God simply restating in a different way where Behemoth rests.

Job 40 Behemoth | “cover him” and “compass him about”

But there’s also an element of hiding and concealment. In verse 21 God spoke of Behemoth lying down under the shady trees. In verse 22 here God speaks of those shady trees once more – but he asserts that Behemoth is covered or concealed by the shadow of those trees.

Either way, there are elements of hiding and secrecy and also of rest in both verse 21 and 22. So, God wants Job to consider how Behemoth rests and hides himself.

Job 40 Behemoth | “the willows of the brook”

And whereas verse 21 spoke of Behemoth taking cover in what would likely have been a stagnant swamp – now in this verse God moves our thoughts of Behemoth in a stream of water that’s not stagnant but is rather flowing and fresh. The creature is surrounded by willows or poplars that surround this kind of stream.

Job 40 Behemoth | No Fear of Water

And then the Lord moves us along in this progression from swamp to stream – to now in verse 23 – a river.

23 [Behold, he drinketh up a river/If a river rages/When the river rages], [and hasteth not/he is not alarmed/it is not disturbed]:
[he trusteth/he is confident/it is secure] [that/though] [he can draw up/X rushes/X should surge] Jordan [into/to/up to/against] his mouth.

Job 40 Behemoth | “he drinketh up a river and hasteth not”

So, the Lord wants Job to consider that Behemoth is not afraid of the water in which it resides. The KJV says that Behemoth drinks up the river and doesn’t make haste about it. Another way to take that is that the river might rage against Behemoth but it is in no hurry to escape. This creature is not at all disturbed by a raging river.

Job 40 Behemoth | “he can draw up Jordan into his mouth”

And the second line according to the KJV makes it sound like Behemoth could take the entire Jordan River into his mouth! Which is surely hyperbolic. Other translations say that Behemoth is not afraid even if the Jordan River rages up to its mouth.

Whatever way it’s translated, it’s clear that even in the midst of a great deal of water, Behemoth is calm and not at all alarmed.

Job 40 Behemoth | No Fear of Man

And not only does Behemoth have no fear of water and the possibility of drowning in raging rapids – this creature also had no fear of man.

24 [He taketh/Can anyone capture] it [with his eyes/when he is on watch/by its eyes]:
[his/can anyone?] nose pierceth [through snares/with barbs/with a snare].

Job 40 Behemoth | “he taketh it with his eyes”

So finally, here the Lord wants to draw attention to the fact that no one is able to capture Behemoth.

Job 40 Behemoth | “his nose pierceth through snares”

And for that reason, this creature had no fear of man. No one apparently was able to pierce this beast’s nose with snares to catch it.

And that’s Gods message for Job. Job – the man full of questions and doubts and struggles – this is the answer that he gets from God – “think about this animal, Job.”

But why? Why does God answer Job in this seemingly-eccentric way?

And to try to answer that, let’s finish our consideration of Behemoth by attempting to answer two final questions.

  1. What was Behemoth?
  2. And why does God mention this creature at this point?

Job 40 Behemoth | What was Behemoth?

So, let’s just recap briefly what we’ve been told by God about this creature.

  • It was created with man, so it’s a land animal.
  • It eats grass.
  • It has really strong abdominal muscles.
  • It has a large strong tree-like tail and massive strong thighs.
  • It’s bones and limbs are thick and solid and strong.
  • It’s one of God’s most fascinating creations and yet God has mastery over it – to the point where God can kill it when he wants.
  • It eats where other animals play, so it probably posed little danger to its fellow creatures.
  • It rests under trees and in marshes and in streams.
  • Sometimes it found itself in rivers – even ones with raging currents.
  • But it wasn’t afraid of those rivers.
  • And it wasn’t afraid of humans, either.

Now, crocodiles don’t eat grass, so it wouldn’t be that. Elephants and Hippopotamuses have small tails, so it can’t be them. What else could it be?

Some have suggested that this is a mythological beast or a “chaos creature.” I don’t want to go there. I think there might be an easier way to think of this beast.

I think that the creature described here is not with us anymore today. Job would have known this creature well, but we don’t have it dwelling among us anymore. I think it’s likely that this creature was some sort of what we would refer to as a dinosaur. Maybe something like a brontosaurus but a bit smaller – so that he can actually fit into marshes and under trees and such. Otherwise, the grass-eating, and the limbs and tail and everything else would seem to match what we know of those larger herbivorous dinosaurs.

So, that’s what I think Behemoth was – a dinosaur of some form.

Job 40 Behemoth | Why Does God Mention Behemoth?

But why does God take the time to mention a dinosaur at this point in his monologue to Job?

I think the fact that God starts this discussion by saying that Behemoth was created alongside mankind indicates that Job is supposed to learn something from this beast. It shares the timing of its origin with mankind – what else might it share with Job?

Well, I think that there are comparisons to be made as well as contrasts.

The strength of this creature far surpasses the physical strength of Job or any man.

But something that both Job and Behemoth share is a natural inferiority to their Creator. God can bring a sword against Behemoth as it were and slay him – even though he’s such a marvelous creature. And when it comes down to it, God has the right to take the life of his human creatures – or simply to do in that life whatever he wishes.

In Job’s life, God wished to prove Satan wrong and allow this righteous man to suffer as though he were wicked. And that’s God’s right. He can do that if he wants.

And Behemoth is OK with all of that. It’s at rest. It fears nothing – not water, not other animals, not man. It’s not even presented as being anxious in the presence of its Creator that bears the sword that will slay it. Behemoth is just living the life that God has given it – no fear. Entirely at rest.

And I think we also learn something about God himself from this passage about Behemoth.

Now, Behemoth is not necessarily presented as dangerous. It eats grass. It dwells among other animals. It’s fairly docile.

But it is incredibly strong. And yet it can be undone by God. And that tells you that God is all-powerful. He has power over this most-powerful creature.

So, with Behemoth we have a powerful God and the reaction of one of his most preeminent creatures is to not fear. To live with the strength that God gives and to be at rest.

God’s power allows you and me to fearlessly live with whatever strength that he’s given us.

Behemoth didn’t care at all about God’s ways. It was completely oblivious to them! It implicitly trusted God’s wisdom – wisdom in terms of how God created it. Behemoth lived his life with no fear.

And Job and you and I need to be that way. We are aware of God’s ways. And sometimes those ways don’t make sense to us. But when that’s the case, let’s take a cue from Behemoth. Be steadfast and immovable. Be anxious for nothing.

When God’s ways don’t make sense, trust his wisdom. Live fearlessly with the strength that he gives you. And may God help us do just that.

Job 40 Commentary: Verses 1-14

Job 40 Commentary: Let’s turn our attention to Job 40.

So, the Lord has asked Job about 59 questions so far that are all intended to show Job that God knows what he’s doing – both in all Creation and in Job’s specific circumstances.

Job 40 Commentary: God to Job | 1-2

And so now, God is going to take a little break in the questioning of Job about particular phenomena in creation. And the questions that God wants to ask Job now have to do with whether or not Job has seen how foolish he’s been to question God’s goodness and justice.

KJV Job 40:1 [Moreover the/Then the/The] LORD [answered Job, and said/said to Job/answered Job],

2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty [instruct/correct] him?
he that [reproveth/accuses] God, let him [answer it/give him an answer].

And we need to remind ourselves of how foolish it is to do what Job has done and what God is reprimanding him for now. To contend with the All-Mighty! To reprove or accuse God!

Whenever we might find ourselves contending with God and accusing him – we are so wrong.

Do we really feel as though we’re in the position to instruct the all-knowing Instructor?

Here’s one way that we’d know that we’re qualified to instruct God. We would be able to answer all of the questions that God has posed so far – all 59 or so! Can you do that?

Well, since none of us can answer the questions that God has asked Job, that means that none of us is in any position to contend with or accuse God.

Job 40 Commentary: Job to the Lord | 3-5

And that’s exactly what Job realizes as he finally responds to God’s questions in verses 3-5.

3 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

4 [Behold/Indeed], I am [vile/insignificant/completely unworthy]; [what/how] [shall/can] I [answer/reply to] thee?
I will [lay/put] mine hand [upon/over] my mouth [to silence myself…].

5 Once have I spoken; but I [will not/cannot/have no] answer:
[yea, twice/even twice/twice]; but I will [proceed no further/add nothing more/say no more].

So, how is that for a response? I’d say it’s just about the only one that’s worthy in this situation.

Job recognizes how insignificant he is. He’s unable to answer any of God’s questions. And so – instead of responding to God’s questions and instead of continuing to question God’s goodness and justice – Job has determined that he would remain silent.

And this certainly isn’t a seething bitter silence. Job is not going to be stewing in anger while he’s biting his tongue. This is a humble and submissive silence that is called-for in the presence of God.

The author of Ecclesiastes tells us that God is in heaven and we are on earth – reminding us of the great chasm that separates us from him – and so Ecclesiastes urges us to let our words be few when it comes to addressing God. And probably the sense behind that admonition is to be careful about what you say – don’t just say any old thing that comes to your mind.

And that’s the course that Job is taking now. He spoke once and twice – and really, we know he spoke much more than that! – and he accused God of wrongdoing.

But now he’s not interested in saying those kinds of things anymore. He will remain silent.

Job 40 Commentary: God to Job | 6-24

And so, that’s the end, right? God made his point. Job yielded. All is well?

That’s what we might think.

And yet, that is not at all what God thinks. God is not done yet with Job. He has more to say to this hushed and quieted man.

6 Then [answered/spoke] the LORD unto Job out of the [whirlwind/storm], and said,

7 [Gird up thy loins now/Get ready for a difficult task/Brace yourself] like a man:

I will [demand of/ask/question] thee,
and [declare thou unto/you instruct/you will inform/you shall answer] me.

So, this is a repetition of what God has said earlier to Job. So, God is not done questioning Job. He’s actually got another section of questions ready for Job. Only in this section, God focuses on a smaller number of topics – with the majority of the material focused on two creatures – Behemoth and Leviathan.

Job 40 Commentary: Q60-61: God Bad, Job Good? | 8

But before the Lord gets to those two creatures, he has some questions for Job concerning the way that Job was thinking about and portraying him both in his own heart and as he spoke with his three friends.

8 [Wilt/Will/Would] thou [also/really/indeed] [disannul/annul/discredit] my [judgment/justice]?
wilt thou [condemn me/declare me guilty], [so…] that thou mayest be [righteous/justified/right/justified]?

And this is exactly what we heard from Elihu earlier – that the effect of Job’s justifying himself was the condemnation of God.

And let’s just remind ourselves of how that worked. Job was suffering. His three friends assumed that he must have sinned to earn such punishment – because of course sinners receive punishment from God.

And in his own defense, Job maintained that he was innocent. But he then expressed great confusion with this scenario because of course innocent people receive blessings from God. At least, that was the conventional wisdom that Job and his friends were working with.

But God wasn’t holding to his end of the bargain. Instead of blessing, he was punishing Job. God seemed to be doing wrong – to Job at least.

And so, in all of his self-justifying, Job was portraying God as if he was mistaken – as if he was being unjust – or ignorant of Job’s true condition, at best.

Job had demanded a day in court with God. And Job expressed that he knew that if he had his day in court, he’d be able to set God straight.

And God’s response that we just saw is something like, “Really?!” “Are you really going to try to discredit my justice in this world?” “Are you really going to try to make me look bad so that you can look good?

Job 40 Commentary: Q62-63: Being God | 9-14

And then the Lord brings Job through a ridiculous scenario that he’s already hinted at for the last few chapters. God wants to challenge Job to just try to be … God.

9 Hast thou an arm [like/as powerful as that of] God?
or canst thou thunder with a voice like [him/his]?

So, is Job as powerful as God physically? Well, if he isn’t as physically powerful as God – how does his voice compare to the Almighty?

And of course, in both of those questions there is a great deal of sarcasm. God and Job and everyone knows that Job does not compare to God in terms of strength – physically and vocally.

Well, it’s as if God – for the sake of argument – assumes an affirmative answer from Job – yes, he is as powerful as God. Because now the Lord is going to command Job to do things that only God himself can do.

10 [Deck/Adorn] thyself [now/then] with [majesty/eminence/glory] and [excellency/dignity/splendor];
and [array/clothe] thyself with [glory/honor] and [beauty/majesty/honor].

So, Job is commanded by God to assume the physical appearance of deity. How easy and realistic is that?!

But God continues and orders Job to deal with the wicked like God really does ultimately deal with them.

11 [Cast abroad/Pour out/Scatter abroad/Unleash] the [rage/overflowings/abundance/fury] of thy [wrath/anger]:
and [behold/look at] every [one that is proud/proud man], and [abase him/make him low/bring him low].

So, Job has been questioning God’s dealings with the wicked. Job has maintained that God is incorrectly treating him as if he were wicked. And at the same time, Job maintains that there are times when God ignores the wicked and their evil – and he just kind of turns a blind eye to them.

In short, Job is not all that satisfied with how God deals with wicked people.

But God – as it were – hands Job the keys to the car and in effect says, “Alright, then you try it.

And really, God defends how he deals with the wicked even as he instructs Job on how to deal with the wicked. God asserts that he pours out wrath on them. And he admits that he does indeed humble those who are proud.

So, far from ignoring the wicked – God affirms that his anger and humbling effects do catch up with them.

And the Lord continues his command to Job to deal with the wicked the way that only God can and does.

12 Look [on/at] every [one that is proud/proud man], and [bring him low/humble him/abase him];
[and tread down/crush] the wicked [in their place/were they stand/on the spot].

So, once more, God admits to humbling the proud and crushing the wicked on the spot.

And as he commands Job to do this, of course, the irony is thick. There’s no way that Job could ever do this.

And so certainly Job wouldn’t be able to execute the death sentence against these people, either.

13 [Hide/Bury] them [all…] in the dust together;
[and bind their faces/bind them/imprison them/shroud their faces] in [secret/the hidden place/the grave].

And this is yet again another way in which Job would have no idea how to do what God does. Job wouldn’t know the first thing about bringing wicked people to the grave.

So, God has brought out several ways in which Job is unable to be God. But if Job somehow were able to do these things, then the following would be the case…

14 Then will I [also/myself] [confess/acknowledge/admit] unto thee
that thine own right hand can save thee.

And this is a way for God to speak of Job as if he were self-sufficient – that his right could save him. Several times in the Psalms, the author speaks of God saving him with his right hand. This is something that God alone can do.

And so then of course, it’s also something that Job cannot do.

And this kind of reminds me of something that happened this weekend. Watertown, where we live, has a nice Park and Recreation league for youth soccer. It’s actually very large in my estimation and gets many many young people involved from 4 year olds to 8th grade.

The problem is that that many kids requires a number of coaches. Volunteer coaches. But most parents start out like me – they think they wouldn’t be able to do it.

But for me, it only took one year of seeing my son being coached by a high school girl who never played soccer to realize that I can do at least what she was doing! So, I’ve been coaching our oldest son for two years and now I’m coaching our youngest son this season.

And at the level I’m coaching, the coaches are the referees as well. We ref and coach, which maybe explains why I’m so tired these days!

Anyway, the other team we were playing this weekend had no coach for a while into the season. None of the parents were willing to step forward. They all want their son in soccer – but none of them were willing to make that possible by being the coach.

Well, finally someone did step up and took that responsibility. But I don’t know who that is because for whatever reason yesterday he scheduled an oil change during the game. So it was just me – coaching and ref’ing two teams of around seven 1st graders each with numerous family members of these kids sitting and watching the proceedings.

And all of that was fine. But the most frustrating part of the whole ordeal was that a sizeable section of the fans was actually rather critical of me. They were challenging my calls. They were calling out penalties that they thought I should have called, but didn’t.

And of course I am liable to make bad calls and to miss good calls. But I was struck with the combination of two realities at work with these “fans.” The first, is that they have no desire – or perhaps even ability – to put themselves in my position as a referee. And second, despite their total lack of interest in being a creative part of a solution, they feel like somehow they have the ability to make all the right calls at the right time.

Isn’t it amazing how that works? Sometimes, the things that we are least able or even inclined to do, sometimes we get the idea that we are fully capable of doing. That we could do better than what’s currently being done – even though we have no interest whatsoever in doing anything!

And that’s just where Job finds himself. He has been making some very strong statements. He has been calling God to court to explain himself. He has been insinuating that God has been unjust to him.

And God is now coming to him and is in effect saying what I would like to have said to those couch potato fans at that game yesterday – “You want to give this a try? Be my guest!

Only, the difference between God and myself in that illustration is that God is fully capable of filling his position whereas I’m just an amateur who’s willing to be a fool for the sake of my kids.

And God is willing to be a little “foolish” for the sake of his child Job. If Job thinks that he can do a better job than the Almighty Lord of Heaven and Earth – well, then, God says, “Go for it!

And when faced with that offer from God – of course, Job is going to have to decline. God is God. And Job is a limited man – limited in terms of power and of knowledge. Job is Job – and not God.

And therefore, Job and we ourselves do well to allow God to be God in our lives. We don’t need to go through the same thing that we see in Job’s life. You don’t need God to throw you the keys to the universe and say, “Good luck!

What we need is what Job needed. We need to trust God’s wisdom. Not only when things make sense – that’s when it’s easy to trust God wisdom. But we need to trust him even when things are hard – when God’s ways don’t make sense to us. That’s especially when we need to trust his wisdom.

So, may the Lord help us to do just that this week.

Job 39 Summary: Verses 13-30

Job 39 Summary: Let’s turn our attention to Job 39.

We’re in the section in this book where God appears to Job and speaks to him. And instead of answering any questions that Job may have had – God has been asking question after question to Job.

If my count is correct, then God has so far asked Job 52 questions. These questions have dealt with the earth, the clouds, the heavens, the sea, snow, hail, rain, light, darkness, animals, wisdom, and even death.

And we’ve noted that these questions are all intended to help Job understand that Job ultimately doesn’t know much about anything. On the other hand – God understands all of these things perfectly. And not only does he understand all of these things – he alone is mighty and powerful enough to make them happen.

Now, the last several questions that God asked have dealt with animals. God most recently asked Job about…

Q38-39: Feeding Lions

Q40: Feeding Ravens

Q41-44: Birth of Goats and Deer

Q45-46: Wild Donkeys

Q47-52: Powerful Wild Oxen

And for the rest of chapter 39, God is going to keep talking to Job about animals – about their peculiarities – about their strengths – about their uniquely-excellent qualities.

Job 39 Summary: Q53-54?: Birds

And God begins by talking to Job about birds.

And he focuses first on their wings.

KJV Job 39:13 [Gavest thou the goodly/The ostriches’] wings [unto the peacocks/flap joyfully]?
[or/with the/but are they the/but they cannot compare with the] [wings/pinions] and [feathers/plumage/feathers] [unto the ostrich/of love/of a stork]?

“Gavest thou the goodly wings”

And we need to stop here and figure out what’s being said here.

First of all we have the phrase in the KJV, “Gavest thou the goodly…” And you can see that the phrase “Gavest thou” is in italics – which means that those words were supplied by the translators.

But what we also need to note is that the word translated as “goodly” by the KJV occurs only one time in the Old Testament. And you can guess where that is! Right here, of course.

So, when a word appears only once, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what it means. Context is the most helpful clue for us. And the KJV decided that the context indicates that the word means “goodly” or something that is beautiful or helpful or commendable.

But most other translations translate that Hebrew word that appears only here as “ostrich” as in “The ostrich’s wings…” So, God is speaking of an ostrich and her wings.

“unto the peacocks”

And we also need to note that there’s another translational issue right after the first one we just discussed. And that is the phrase in the KJV, “unto the peacocks.”

The word underlying that phrase is found three times in the Old Testament. Once it’s rendered the way it is here – as “peacock.” Another time it’s translated in the KJV as “solace” – the idea of comfort or consolation. And the third time it’s translated in the KJV as “rejoice.”

So, think with me here. There was a song on a TV program when I was a kid that went:

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn’t belong
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song? (Sesame Street)

But at any rate – when you think of these three words: “solace,” “rejoice,” and “peacock” – which doesn’t belong? Which is the odd man out?

“Solace” and “rejoice” both have to do with your emotional state. They’re furthermore to be viewed as positive realities.

And then we have “peacock.” And yes, that’s the thing that doesn’t belong in this group. And ultimately, I think we are justified to seek another way to translate that word here in Job 39 rather than as “peacock.”

So – putting this all together – God is telling Job that the ostrich has wings that rejoice! They – according to one translation – flap joyfully!

That’s good. We finally understand what that first line means!

But wait – there’s more! This verse is pretty difficult to interpret. But we’ll get there, with God’s help.

There are a few more translational difficulties that we need to hammer out.

“or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?”

The word “wings” is fine. No issue there.

But that next word “feathers” occurs six times in the Old Testament. Five times the KJV translates it as “stork.” And once it’s translated as it is here – as “feathers.” So, hold that thought for just a moment.

And let’s consider one last word in this verse. It’s the word “ostrich.” That word appears four times in the Old Testament. And three times it’s translated by the KJV as “feathers.” And I’m sorry for sounding like a broken record, but only one time this word is translated as we have it here – “ostrich.”

If you’ll allow me to take a little liberty in using the words as the KJV uses them in the majority of the verses in which they appear, then the end of verse 13 says something like, “wings of a stork and feathers.”

So, putting the whole verse together, we have God saying, “An ostrich flaps her wings joyfully” and then he compares those wings to that of a stork.

Why would God talk about a stork here? From this verse through to verse 18, God talks about the ostrich – not storks. So, why mention a stork here?

Well, from what I could find out, it seems that storks are known for the longevity of their nests. They continue to use the same nest year after year. They’re faithful to lay their eggs and hatch them – in the same spot – year after year.

And that’s an important distinction – because as God tells us for the next several verses – ostriches are really not very faithful when it comes to nesting and caring for their young.

14 [Which/For she/She] [leaveth/abandons/lays] her eggs [in/to/on] the [earth/ground],
and [warmeth them/lets them be warmed] [in/on the] [dust/soil/sand],

15 [And forgetteth/Unmindful] that [the/a] foot [may/might] crush them,
or that [the/a/some] wild [beast/animal] [may/might] [break/trample] them.

So, ostriches do make their nest in the sand on the ground. And when you think about it, this is rather unusual for a bird. When you think of bird nests and bird eggs you typically think of nests being up in a tree or in some other high and hard-to-reach area.

But the ostrich just lays her eggs on the ground – where any old animal can come by and smash her eggs or some human can come along and take them.

Now, I understand that a male ostriches will mate with several female ostriches and they will usually all lay eggs – sometimes up to 70 eggs between all of the females in the group. The problem is that only about 20 eggs can be incubated at once – by the way, the sitting on the eggs that these ostriches do is to actually cool the eggs rather than to warm them – the hot African sun does that pretty well without any help!

Anyway, there’s a dominant female that incubates the eggs during the day and the male does so at night. That process takes about 40 days. If there are more than 20 eggs in the sand nest – the dominant female will push the excess eggs out of the nest to be stepped on or stolen or to rot or whatever else. And of course, it seems that most of the time, the discarded eggs are not hers – but rather those of the minor ostrich hens in the group. (http://www.tektonics.org/lp/ostrich.php)

And it’s that kind of behavior that God is referencing when he utters the following of these ostriches:

16 She is [hardened against/harsh with/treats cruelly] her young ones,
as [though/if] they were not hers:
her labour is [in vain/useless] [without fear/she is unconcerned/she cares not];

So, God could be speaking of any of several realities here when he says that the ostrich is hardened against her young ones.

He could be referring to the fact that the dominant female pushes some of the eggs out of the nest – the ones that she’s been charged with caring for. Or he could be speaking of the minor hens that don’t seem to care that their eggs have been pushed out of the nest. Or it could be speaking of the fact that once the eggs hatch, the hen is not the one to take care of the young – but instead the male does that.

At any rate, from laying the egg to incubating to what happens after the egg hatches – it can be said that in certain ways it seems that the female ostrich is not all that concerned about these lives that she is bringing into the world.

She has labor – hard work – both to produce the eggs and then to hatch them. And yet, she turns around and treats her eggs the way she does without any fear or concern or care.

And that’s just odd! What is wrong with this bird?! Why does she act this way??

17 Because God [hath deprived her of/has made her forget/did not endow her with] wisdom,
neither hath he [imparted/given a share] to her [understanding/of good sense].

It’s not wise to treat your young poorly – whether you’re a bird or a human or anything else. It shows a lack of understanding when this is how a creature acts.

And this is how God says Job has acted – without understanding. Remember how God started out this barrage of questions to Job? “Who is this that darkens counsel without – what? – understanding?

And just as silly and foolish as the ostrich seems for being so callous and careless regarding her young – so too Job is operating carelessly. Job has been questioning God’s justice and his goodness. Job has been demanding that God give an account to him for his actions in Job’s life. And so, God is responding to Job like – “You’re lacking wisdom and understanding. How could you possibly question the justice and goodness of the one who alone is able to both define and embody those very concepts?

And so, Job is receiving a healthy dose of reality from God here. And we’re going to see him later respond right with wisdom and understanding to God’s rebuke. That’s how wise people respond to God’s chastening.

But as for our old friend the ostrich – she is totally incapable of such a response. She’s free and that’s all she cares about!

18 [What time/When/But as soon as/Yet when] she [lifteth up herself on high/springs up/spreads her feathers to run],
she [scorneth/laughs at] the horse and his rider.

She laughs – as it were – at the horse who has a rider. Because she’s free! She has no wisdom, but she doesn’t care. So what if she has no wisdom? She’s free to do as she pleases.

No human rules over her. But God does. God is in charge of ostriches. He’s the one who decided to withhold wisdom from them so that they do these foolish things that we’ve discussed.

And without God’s wisdom we are all just as foolish and care-free as the ostrich.

Job 39 Summary: Q55-57: Horses

Well, as long as God brought up horses in relation to ostriches, he decides to ask Job a question about that animal next.

19 [Hast thou given/Do you give] the horse [strength/his might]?
hast thou clothed his neck with [thunder/a mane(1x in OT)]?

Has Job given the physical traits of strength and dignity to the horse? Of course not – only God has done that.

20 Canst thou make him [afraid/leap] [as/like] a [grasshopper/locust]?
[the glory of his nostrils/his majestic snorting/Its proud neighing/his proud snorting] [is terrible/is terrifying/strikes terror].

And so, rather than being able to scare a horse, Job is more likely to be afraid of this creature than the horse is afraid of man.

Because God’s not talking about some micro-horse or pony or something like that. God is talking about the kind of horse that’s not afraid to charge into battle!

21 He paweth [the ground…] [fiercely…] in the valley, [and rejoiceth in his strength/exulting mightily]:
he goeth on to meet the [armed men/weapons] [as it charges into the fray…].

And whereas the ostrich laughs at this horse – this horse has something else that he laughs at.

22 He [mocketh/laughs] at fear, and is not [affrighted/dismayed/afraid] [of anything…];
neither [turneth he back/does he shy away] from the sword.

No fear! Despite this kind of scene all around him…

23 The quiver rattleth [against him/on him/against his side],
the [glittering/flashing] [spear/lance] and [the shield/javelin/lance].

And rather than deter him, the presence of this kind of danger only seems to invigorate him.

24 He [swalloweth/races over/consumes/eats up] the ground with [fierceness/shaking/excitement] and [rage/impatience/frenzy]:
neither [believeth he that it is/does he stand still at] the sound of the trumpet.

25 He [saith/snorts] [among/at the sound of] the trumpets, [Ha, ha/Aha!];
and he [smelleth the/catches the scent of] battle [afar off/from a distance],
the [thunder/thunderous shouting] of the [captains/commanders], and the [shouting/war cry/battle cries].

And so, God has made this amazing creature what it is. God made the horse to be like this. He made the ostrich to be very different.

And God made Job – and he made you and me – to trust him even when we don’t understand his ways in our life.

Job 39 Summary: Q58: Hawks

Now, God returns to asking Job a question. And this time, he’s going to ask about hawks.

26 Doth the hawk [fly/soar/take flight] by thy [wisdom/understanding],
and [stretch/spread] her wings toward the south?

So, does Job lend wisdom to hawks to help them to soar? So, of course not.

Job 39 Summary: Q59: Eagle

And neither can Job command the eagle to fly and build her nest.

27 Doth the eagle [mount up/soar] at thy command,
and [make/build] her nest on high?

28 She [dwelleth/lives] and [abideth/lodges/spends the night there] on the [rock/cliff],
upon [the crag of the rock/a rocky crag], [and the strong place/an inaccessible place/a fortress/his stronghold].

29 From [thence/there] she [seeketh/spies out/spots/weeks out] [the prey/food],
and her eyes [behold/see it/gaze intently/detect it] [afar off/from a distance].

30 Her young ones also [suck up/devour/feast on] [the…] blood:
and where the [slain/dead carcasses] are, there is she.

So, these animals are amazing. Some are just plain foolish – but even their foolishness is amazing testimony to God’s influence and control over them. Some are strong, powerful, and fearless. Others soar and nest at great heights. Heights beyond the reach of humans.

And God is using all of this to remind Job that it’s not only the heights of birds’ nests that are beyond humans. God’s ways are by-and-large beyond us. We can’t understand them totally.

And that’s OK – because we have a God who knows what he’s doing and how to do it. And so, whenever we find ourselves feeling like God’s ways are beyond us – remember the eagle’s nest. It’s beyond your reach – it’s beyond your ability to access. And yet, it’s all in God’s capable hands. We can trust him.

Job 39 Commentary: Verses 1-12

Job 39 Commentary | Q41-44: Birth of Goats and Deer

Now, as we head into chapter 29, the Lord asks Job if he knows anything about the birth of goats and deer in verses 1-4.

KJV Job 39:1 [Knowest thou/Do you know/Are you acquainted with] [the time when/the way/when] the [wild goats of the rock/the mountain goats] [bring forth/give birth]?
[or canst thou/Do you] [mark/observe/watch] [when the hinds do calve/the calving of the deer/as the wild deer give birth to their young/when the doe bears her fawn]?

2 [Canst/Can/Do] [thou number/you count] the months [that they fulfil/they must fulfill/till they bear]?
[or knowest thou/Or do you know/and do you know/Do you know] the time [when they bring forth/they give birth]?

3 They [bow themselves/kneel down/crouch/crouch down], [they bring forth/they bear/and bring forth] their [young ones/young],
they [cast out/get rid of/bring forth/end] their [sorrows/labor pains/offspring they have carried].

4 Their [young ones/offspring/young] [are in good liking/become strong/grow strong/thrive and grow strong], they grow up [with corn/in the open fields/in the open/in the wilds];
they [go forth/leave/go off], and [return not unto/do not return to] them.

Now, I am guessing from the questions that God just asked that Job would not have known the time or way in which mountain goats bear their offspring. He apparently would not have been able to observe when deer bear their fawns. I assume that Job would not have been able to count the months that gestation would take in these creatures or even the timing of their birth process.

And I would be in the same boat as Job in this arena and most of us would be as well. Who has the time to study this kind of thing? And honestly, if we didn’t have the luxury of teams of scientists and professional film crews going around and documenting this phenomenon and then broadcasting this to kind of event to us, we’d all be in the dark about this process.

And so, I suppose a contemporary unbeliever might view these four questions that God asked that all relate to the timing of the birth of these animals and say, “Well, yeah, I know how that works!” And such a person might feel a big of smug superiority to the Lord.

But here’s the underlying reality that’s implicit in God’s questions regarding the birth of animals. Job and most normal people without researching it would not know anything about how this all works. At best, we can research and discover how this process works. We can even see some video of it nowadays.

But on the other hand – God doesn’t just know about it. He makes it happen.

And without doing any research, he speaks in an impromptu manner about how it works. As if this is just something in the back of his mind that he can access at any time – the facts of how it all works. That information is accessible to God. That information is something that God knows because it’s a process that God oversees from beginning to end.

And don’t you suppose that – if God sees through the fairly obscure process of the birth of animals – that he’s mindful of the process of our sufferings? That he’s perhaps – as in Job’s life – the one who has caused it to happen for his own divine – and oftentimes secret – purposes?

We can trust him even in our suffering. He knows what he’s doing – even if we don’t.

Job 39 Commentary | Q45-46: Wild Donkeys

Next, the Lord asks Job about wild donkeys in verses 5-8.

5 Who [hath sent out/sent out/let X go] the wild [ass/donkey] free?
[or who/and who/who] [hath loosed/loosed/released/untied] the [bands/bonds/ropes] of the [wild ass/swift donkey/donkey]?

6 [Whose house I have made/To whom I gave X for a home/to whom I appointed X for its home/I gave him X as his home] the [wilderness/steppe/wasteland],
[and the/the] [barren land/salt land/wastes/sand flats] [his/for his/as its/as his] [dwellings/dwelling place/habitat] [./?]

7 [He/It] [scorneth/laughs at] the [multitude/tumult/commotion] [of/in] the [city/town],
[neither regardeth he/he does not hear/it does not hear] the [crying/shoutings/shouts/shout] of the driver.

8 [The range of/He explores/It ranges/He ranges] the [mountains/hills] [is his/for his/as its] pasture,
and [he searcheth/searches] [after every/for any] green [thing/plant].

So, God asks Job about wild donkeys – and in particular he asks him who made them to be wild. Why aren’t they domesticated?

Well, that’s where God takes ownership of that decision – to leave these animals wild. God made their house the wilderness. God made them to dwell in the barren land.

And because God has made them that way, they – as it were – just laugh at the idea of being domesticated. They’re free – and God pictures them as kind of loving it! They don’t have any human masters – they can wander wherever they want and eat anything they please.

And so, these beasts are out of the control of mankind. And we’re going to see this theme more – I believe – with the discussion later on of Behemoth and Leviathan – but God is starting to point out that he has created certain animals to be out of the control of God’s human creatures.

And what Job and his friends and we are all supposed to take from that is this – we don’t have everything under control. And if we can’t even control animals – donkeys and whatever else – well then, how can we presume to control our circumstances? And ultimately, how can we presume to control God?

And isn’t that what we want to do? We’d like to control God and make him do our bidding. And that’s the problem with Job and his friends. They all thought that God – in whatever way – could be controlled. You want good from God? You can control that outcome by doing good. And when God didn’t deliver on this assumed promise – then Job was expressing a desire to control God by bringing him to court and making God answer his charges – or at least that God would reveal what he was charging and punishing Job for.

But God doesn’t work that way. He is beyond our control. If his animals – like the wild donkey and others – are outside of our control – then how much more is he beyond our ability to control?

Job 39 Commentary | Q47-52: Powerful Wild Oxen

Well, the Lord asks Job about another beast that is ultimately beyond Job’s ability to control. And that is the powerful wild oxen in verses 9-12.

9 Will the [unicorn/wild ox] [be willing/consent] to [serve thee/be your servant],
[or abide/Will it spend the night] [by thy crib/at your manger/at your feeding trough]?

10 Canst thou [bind/hold] the [unicorn/wild ox] with [his band/ropes/a harness] [in the/to a] furrow?
or will he [harrow/till] the valleys [following…] [after/behind] thee?

11 Wilt thou [trust/rely on] him, because his strength is great?
or wilt thou [leave/commit] thy [labour/heavy work] to him?

12 [Wilt thou believe/Can you count on/Can you trust] him, that he will [bring home/return/bring in] thy seed,
and gather it into thy [barn/threshing floor]?

And so, moving from wild donkeys to wild oxen, God asks Job if he’s able to control these creatures either. Will they serve him? Will they do his work? Can he trust them to do what he wants them to do?

The answer of course is that Job would not be able to harness wild oxen. Just like the wild donkeys, these beasts are outside of Job’s control.

And that last verse has God asking Job whether he can believe or count on or trust the wild ox. And once more, the answer to that is “No.” But whom can Job trust? Whom must Job trust? God.

And we can and must as well. We must trust God – and in particular his wisdom in our lives and even our suffering. Even when we don’t understand his ways.