Job acknowledges God’s greatness and abandons his argument. The three friends then repent for misrepresenting God, and God restores Job’s life beyond its former glory.
Job humbles himself as he capitulates to God: “Therefore, I recant and relent, Being but dust and ashes.” (v. 6)
III. Important Verses
vv. 5-6: [Job said to God:] I had heard You with my ears, But now I see You with my eyes; Therefore, I recant and relent, Being but dust and ashes.
vv. 7-8: After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am incensed at you and your two friends, for you have not spoken the truth about Me as did My servant Job. Now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. And let Job, My servant, pray for you; for to him I will show favor and not treat you vilely, since you have not spoken the truth about Me as did My servant Job.”
v. 10: The LORD restored Job’s fortunes when he prayed on behalf of his friends, and the LORD gave Job twice what he had before.
vv. 16-17: Afterward, Job lived one hundred and forty years to see four generations of sons and grandsons. So Job died old and contented.
1-6. Job’s submission to God
7-9. God’s Judgement of the friends
10-16. God restores Job
Chapter 42 is the final chapter in the book of Job. It contains three sections: Job’s submission to God (vv. 1-6), God’s judgment of the friends (vv. 7-9), and Job’s restoration (vv. 10-16). It is a relatively short prosaic ending to a rather long poetic book.
In the chapter’s first section Job unequivocally capitulates: “I had heard You with my ears, But now I see You with my eyes; Therefore, I recant and relent, Being but dust and ashes” (vv. 5-6). One might ask, “Why does Job abandon his position so suddenly?” Murphy writes (p. 44): “The intention of the [God] speeches is to convey the impact of a direct confrontation with the Lord, for which Job had yearned. The series of questions, ironic and unanswerable, is shaped to lead Job to his final submission. Yet these speeches, while they illustrate God’s love for his varied creation, do not add anything significantly new to what had been expressed in earlier hymns (e.g. 5:10-16; 9:4-10; 26:5-14; etc.). No ‘answer’ is given to Job; in fact, his problem is ignored. But the speeches are designed to give flesh to Job’s experience (42:5, ‘Now my eye has seen you’) of his encounter with God. Job’s submission is not just an admission of defeat in an argument (42:2-3); it is an at of submission to the Lord, whom the vanquished has truly seen (v. 5); the vision of God is the reason for his disowning his own side in the debate (v. 6).” Thus, it seems that Job is “convinced” by his senses, not by God’s logic. Indeed, God tells the friends that Job’s argument was correct: “you have not spoken the truth about Me as did My servant Job” (v. 8c).
Job’s life is restored beyond its former glory: “Thus the LORD blessed the latter years of Job’s life more than the former. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand she-asses. He also had seven sons and three daughters” (vv. 12-13). Although we do not know the names of Job’s seven sons, his daughters are named yemima “Jemimah,” qetzi‘a “Keziah,” and qeren happukh “Keren-happuch.” All three names seem to refer to their beauty or charm, well in line with v. 15: “Nowhere in the land were women as beautiful as Job’s daughters to be found. Their father gave them estates together with their brothers.” The name Jemimah, if it is related to the arabic word yama’mon, may mean “turtledove.” The name Keziah means “cassia plant,” an aromatic plant mentioned in Ps. 45:9: “All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from ivoried palaces lutes entertain you.” The name Keren-happuch literally means “horn of antimony,” i.e. a container of black cosmetics. For the occurrence of qeren meaning “container,” see 1 Sam. 16:1 and 1 Kings 1:39, and for the word pukh meaning kohl see 2 Kings 4:30 and Jer. 4:30. In regards to the daughters’ inheritance, John C. Holbert writes (“Jemimah” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, V. III, pp. 676): “According to Num 21:1–8, a daughter would only inherit her father’s property if there was no male heir. By including his daughters in the inheritance, Job illustrates a practice of justice that far outstripped the norm in the ancient world.”
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Murphy, Wisdom Literature (Forms of Old Testament Literature)
Holbert, “Jemimah,” “Keziah,” and “Keren-happuch” (Anchor Bible Dictionary)
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