Job 42 – “Job’s Submission; Epilogue”

flyashHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
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.

II. Photo
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.

IV. Outline

1-6. Job’s submission to God
7-9. God’s Judgement of the friends
10-16. God restores Job

V. Comment

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)
Photo taken from  http://www.rmajko.com/flyash.jpg

Job 41 – “God’s Final Speech – Part II”

whalemouthHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God continues to describe the Leviathan with mythological detail. He argues that if no person can stand up to the mighty Leviathan, then surely no person can stand up to Himself.

II. Photo
God describes the Leviathan in v. 6: “Who can pry open the doors of his face? His bared teeth strike terror!”

III. Important Verses
vv. 2-3: There is no one so fierce as to rouse [the Leviathan]; Who then can stand up to Me? Whoever confronts Me I will requite, For everything under the heavens is Mine.
vv. 10-13: [The Leviathan’s] sneezings flash lightning, And his eyes are like the glimmerings of dawn. Firebrands stream from his mouth; Fiery sparks escape. Out of his nostrils comes smoke As from a steaming, boiling cauldron. His breath ignites coals; Flames blaze from his mouth.
v. 25: There is no one on land who can dominate him, Made as he is without fear.
v. 26: He sees all that is haughty; He is king over all proud beasts.

IV. Outline
1-3. God aggrandizes himself
4-26. The Leviathan is described

V. Comment
In this chapter God finishes his description of the Leviathan. One major question is, “Why is God telling Job so much about the Leviathan?” Clines gives a compelling explanation (Job 1-20, p. xlvi): “The point must be that hippopotamus [behemot “Behemoth”] and crocodile [liwyatan “Leviathan”], however alarming, are part of God’s creation. God expects Job to realize, and Job is not slow at grasping the point, that the natural order—the principles on which the world was created—is analogous to the moral order—the principles according to which it is governed. In both these orders, there is much that is incomprehensible to humans, even threatening their existence, but all of it is the work of a wise God who has made the world the way it is for his own inscrutable purposes. Innocent suffering is a hippopotamus. The only sense it makes, it makes to God, for it is not amenable to human rationality.”

He continues, “Job has no right to an explanation for his suffering, any more than he has a right to have the purpose of crocodiles explained to him. He is not even entitled to be told whether he is being punished for some fault he has committed, or whether he is indeed the innocent sufferer he believes himself to be. The order of creation sets the standard for the moral order of the universe; and that is, that God must be allowed to know what he is doing, and lies under no obligation to give any account of himself.” In other words, while we know that Job is innocent (cf. 1:1, 1:8, 2:3), God never explains why he punishes innocent people.
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Clines, Job 1-20 (Word Biblical Commentary)
Hakham, Sefer Iyov (Daat Mikra [Hebrew])
Photo taken from  http://www.angelfire.com/ca/antiquescrimshaw/whalemouth.jpg

Job 40 – “God’s Final Speech – Part I”

whale4Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God asks Job to respond, and Job says he will remain silent. God then describes two giant creatures which Job has no control over.

II. Photo
God scoffs at Job: “Can you draw out Leviathan by a fishhook? Can you press down his tongue by a rope? Can you put a ring through his nose, Or pierce his jaw with a barb?” (vv. 25-26)

III. Important Verses
vv. 3-5: Job said in reply to the LORD: See, I am of small worth; what can I answer You? I clap my hand to my mouth. I have spoken once, and will not reply; Twice, and will do so no more.
vv. 15-19: Take now behemoth, whom I made as I did you… His bones are like tubes of bronze, His limbs like iron rods. He is the first of God’s works; Only his Maker can draw the sword against him.
vv. 25, 32: Can you draw out Leviathan by a fishhook? Can you press down his tongue by a rope? … Lay a hand on him, And you will never think of battle again.

IV. Outline

1-2. God confronts Job
3-5. Job retracts his claims
6-32. God’s speech
    6. Introduction
    7-14. Confrontation
    15-24. Job cannot handle the Behemoth (hippopotamus?)
    25-32. Job cannot handle the Leviathan (crocodile? whale?)

V. Comment
Chapter 40 begins with a brief dialogue between God and Job, and ends with the first part of God’s final speech. The speech contains a harsh introduction (vv. 7-14), and the description of two mighty creatures, the behemot “Behemoth” and the liwyatan “Leviathan.” God describes these animals in order to discredit Job: since Job cannot control these animals, he surely cannot understand the rules of the universe. Let us now explore the nature of these two creatures.

Hakham writes regarding the Behemoth (p. 214 fn. 17, translation my own): “[The behemoth] refers to the hippopotamus amphibius, the largest dry land creature in the region…” Indeed, many statements in our chapter indicate that the Behemoth is a large hippopotamus-like animal. For example, v. 15 says “He eats grass, like the cattle,” and v. 21 says, “He lies down beneath the lotuses, In the cover of the swamp reeds.” In regards to the Leviathan Hakham writes (p. 217 fn. 36, translation my own): “It seems that the liwyatan mentioned here is the crocodile, the largest reptile of our day… It also logical that it also refers to the largest of the mammals, what we today called the whale.”

Unlike Hakham, a large number of scholars view the creatures to be mythical in nature. There are two main reasons for this belief: (1) many verses in Tanakh indicate that these are mythical creatures, and (2) there seems to have been a popular Canaanite myth which speaks about God’s battle with the great primordial sea creatures. John Day writes (“Leviathan,” in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. IV pp. 295-296): “In Job 40:25–41, 26 [—Eng 41:1–34] part of the second divine speech is a detailed description of Leviathan. Many commentators have believed, following the view of S. Bochart expressed in 1663, that Leviathan is here the crocodile, and similarly that Behemoth in Job 40:15–24 is the hippopotamus. However, good reasons can be put forward against Leviathan’s equation here with the crocodile, or for that matter with any other actually existing beast. For example, Leviathan is said to breathe out fire and smoke (Job 41:11–13—Eng 19–21), which is suggestive of a mythological creature, and it is implicit in God’s argument that no human is able to capture him. We probably have here the same mythological Leviathan who is attested elsewhere in the OT, and whom God overcame at the creation (though it is arguable that he now has only one head rather than seven). The point of God’s argument seems to be that since Job cannot overcome Leviathan, how much less can he hope to overcome in argument the God who defeated him.”

Indeed, God appears to be at odds with sea creatures in other places of Tanakh. Ps. 74:13-14 says, “it was You who drove back the sea with Your might, who smashed the heads of the monsters in the waters; it was You who crushed the heads of Leviathan, who left him as food for the denizens of the desert,” and Ps. 89:10-11 says, “You rule the swelling of the sea; when its waves surge, You still them. You crushed Rahab; he was like a corpse; with Your powerful arm You scattered Your enemies.” Yet, it is still possible that the word liwyatan has two meanings, one mythical and one tangible. One place where the word might mean a whale is Ps. 104:26: “There go the ships, and Leviathan that You formed to sport with.” Needless to say, more research into this topic is required.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Hakham, Sefer Iyov (Daat Mikra [Hebrew])
Day, “Leviathan” (Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. IV pp. 295-296)
Photo taken from  http://www.neiu.edu/~dcgreer/whale4.jpg

Job 39 – “God’s First Speech – Part II”

eagle3bHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God continues to belittle Job by pointing out that he doesn’t control any of the wild animals.

II. Photo
God asks Job if he controls the eagle: “Does the eagle soar at your command, Building his nest high, Dwelling in the rock, Lodging upon the fastness of a jutting rock?” (vv. 27-28)

III. Important Verses

vv. 19-23: Do you give the horse his strength? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? … He paws with force, he runs with vigor, Charging into battle. He scoffs at fear; he cannot be frightened; He does not recoil from the sword. A quiverful of arrows whizzes by him, And the flashing spear and the javelin.
vv. 27-28: Does the eagle soar at your command, Building his nest high, Dwelling in the rock, Lodging upon the fastness of a jutting rock?

IV. Outline

1-30. Job neither understands nor controls the...
    1-4. Mountain goat
    5-8. Wild donkey
    9-12. Wild ox
    13-18. Ostrich
    19-25. Horse
    26-30. Eagle

V. Comment
No comment today. I hope to revisit this chapter after finishing the cycle.

VI. Works Used
Photo taken from  http://northislandexplorer.com/birds/eagle3b.jpg

Job 38 – “God’s First Speech – Part I”

pleiades_gendlerHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God belittles Job by asking if he took part in creation or if he understands the world’s secrets.

II. Photo
God asks Job if he controls the stars: “Can you tie cords to Pleiades Or undo the reins of Orion? Can you lead out Mazzaroth in its season, Conduct the Bear with her sons?” (vv. 31-32)

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-3: Then the LORD replied to Job out of the tempest and said: Who is this who darkens counsel, Speaking without knowledge? Gird your loins like a man; I will ask and you will inform Me.
vv. 4-5: Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Speak if you have understanding. Do you know who fixed its dimensions Or who measured it with a line?
v. 16: Have you penetrated to the sources of the sea, Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
v. 17: Have the gates of death been disclosed to you? Have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
vv. 31-32: Can you tie cords to Pleiades Or undo the reins of Orion? Can you lead out Mazzaroth in its season, Conduct the Bear with her sons?

IV. Outline

1. Introduction
2-3. Confrontation
4-18. Job does not know about...
    4-7. Earth’s creation
    8-11. The sea
    12-15. Daybreak
    16. The sea
    17. The gates of death
    18. The inside of the earth
19-21. Belittling Job
22-41. Job does not know about...
    22-30. The weather
    31-33. The heavens
    34-38. The weather
    39-40. Job is unable to provide for the lion
    41. Job is unable to provide for the raven

V. Comment
No comment today. I hope to revisit this chapter after I finish the cycle.

VI. Works Used
Photo taken from  http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0601/pleiades_gendler.jpg

Job 37 – “Elihu’s Final Speech – Part II”

SnowfallHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Elihu continues his hymn from the previous chapter. He praises God’s control of nature, and tells Job that God is too great to be understood.

II. Photo
Elihu praises God’s control of nature in v. 6: “He commands the snow, ‘Fall to the ground!’”

III. Important Verses
v. 5: God thunders marvelously with His voice; He works wonders that we cannot understand.
v. 14: Give ear to this, Job; Stop to consider the marvels of God.
vv. 23-24: Shaddai — we cannot attain to Him; He is great in power and justice And abundant in righteousness; He does not torment. Therefore, men are in awe of Him Whom none of the wise can perceive.

IV. Outline
1-13. Hymn (continued from previous chapter)
14-24. Lesson: Job does not understand

V. Comment
Today’s comment will be brief. I hope to revisit this chapter after completing the cycle.

Hakham gives an excellent summary of Elihu’s speeches. He writes (pp. 287-288, translation my own): “What did Elihu come to teach us? Did he add anything that the friends did not say? Is there a good answer in his words to Job’s questions? The commentators to the book of Job deal with these questions, and their opinions are split from one extreme to the other… In this commentary we said that Elihu takes a balanced approach between the two opposite positions of Job and the friends. He disagrees with both Job and the friends, and he also partially agrees to both. Unlike the friends, Elihu doesn’t think that Job’s suffering is an indication of sin… But, he disagrees with Job about the claim that God treated Job immorally. Elihu claims that even if Job isn’t wicked, it isn’t immoral for God to punish him.”

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Clines, Job 21-37 (Word Biblical Commentary)
Hakham, Sefer Iyov (Daat Mikra [Hebrew])

Job 36 – “Elihu’s Final Speech – Part I”

shacklesHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Elihu defends God’s righteousness. He also begins a hymn in praise of God’s control of the rain.

II. Photo
Elihu tells Job that God punishes the wicked kings: “If they are bound in shackles And caught in trammels of affliction, He declares to them what they have done, And that their transgressions are excessive…” (vv. 7-8)

III. Important Verses
vv. 5-6: See, God is mighty; He is not contemptuous; He is mighty in strength and mind. He does not let the wicked live; He grants justice to the lowly.
v. 17: You are obsessed with the case of the wicked man, But the justice of the case will be upheld.
v. 23: Who ever reproached [God] for His conduct? Who ever said, “You have done wrong”?
v. 26: See, God is greater than we can know; The number of His years cannot be counted.

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2-4. Opening remarks
5-15. God punishes the wicked and helps the righteous
16-21. Admonition to Job
22-25. Introduction to the hymn
26-33. Hymn: God controls the rain

V. Comment

Today’s comment will be brief today. I hope to revisit this chapter after finishing the cycle.
Elihu’s final speech consists of two main sections, a defense of God’s righteousness (vv. 2-21), and a hymn in praise of God’s control of the rain (36:22-37:24). The major question is, “Why is Elihu singing a hymn to God at this point in time?” Clines writes (p. 853-854): “How these two parts fit together, if at all, is a difficult question. They are ‘so distinct in tone and content as to give the impression that they are independent compositions and could have been separate speeches’ (Andersen). It is unlikely, however, that the theme of Part 2 is simply the power of God, for that is a subject deeply irrelevant to God’s justice, which has been the overriding theme of all Elihu’s interposition. There are enough hints that the power of God in creation and nature is for Elihu not a subject of praise in its own right, but somehow connected with the matter of God’s justice. God’s creatorial energies and world governance are not displays of power, they are the vehicle of his righteous judgments. The sending of clouds and rain, for example, is for Elihu not some evidence of supreme power but an exhibition of divine justice (37:13; cf. 36:31; 37:23).”
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Clines, Job 21-37 (Word Biblical Commentary)
Hakham, Sefer Iyov (Daat Mikra [Hebrew])