14th February 2018

Job: Week 15 (Wednesday, February 14 2018)


Chapters 38, 39, 40, 41 & 42


Chapter 38

God begins his speech

Chapter 38

About God’s speech

In Job’s speeches, Job said that he wanted to meet God. Job wanted God to act as a judge. Then, Job was sure that God would help him. God would declare that Job was innocent. So Job would feel like a prince when he met God (Job 31:37).

However, Job thought that God caused Job’s troubles. Job even spoke as if God was a cruel enemy (Job 16:9-14). So Job argued that he himself was right. And he argued that God was unfair (Job 32:2).

In God’s speech, God did not explain Job’s troubles. Instead, God taught Job. God gave a list of many things that Job could not explain. These things are the work of God. Nobody else could do such things.

Job had spoken as if he himself was very great. He even spoke as if he should be advising God (Job 23:13-17; Job 24:1). But when Job heard God’s speech, Job realised his error (Job 42:1-6). Job was not a proud man. His words might sometimes seem proud. But really, Job was speaking about things that he did not know.

God’s speech is rather like Jesus’ reply in Luke 12:13-15. A man asked Jesus to act as a judge. The man wanted his fair share of his family’s wealth. But Jesus refused to be the judge. Instead, he taught the man that money cannot provide real security. So, we should trust God.

God discussed many subjects in his speech. He spoke about the world, the sea and the sky. He described the behaviour of birds and animals. And he explained why no man should ever accuse God.

God himself answers Job

v1 Then God himself answered Job. The storm hid God. God said:

v2 Do not doubt the wisdom of my plans! Job, you have spoken about things that you do not know. v3 Prepare yourself as a man! I have a test for you. And you must answer me.

Verse 1

Job had spoken about the clouds in front of God’s throne (royal seat) (Job 26:9). God spoke during the storm.

Verse 2

Elihu had already explained this to Job (Job 34:35).

Verse 3

In the original language of the Book of Job, God’s speech is a long list of questions. These questions were a test for Job. But Job did not know the answers. Or, the answers reminded Job that God was much more powerful than Job.

In Easy English, we prefer to use statements rather than questions. So our translation gives a list of the things that God does. Or, our translation explains the things that Job could not do. This is just the style of our translation. The meaning is the same.

God created the world

v4 The world is like a building that I built. But you did not see this. v5 You did not see when I decided the size of the world. v6 You did not see how I prepared its base. You did not watch when I fitted its rocks. v7 But the angels (servants of God) saw this. And the stars were there. And everyone sang for joy.

Verses 4-7

God created the world. This was a wonderful event (Proverbs 8:22-31). This event showed God’s wisdom and God’s skill. God’s servants in heaven were so happy to see God’s work. Job did not even see this great event. But Job had spoken as if he was wiser than God (Job 23:13-17).

God created the sea

v8 The sea is like a child whom I created. You did not see when I made the sea. But this event was like the birth of a child. v9 I decided that clouds would cover the sea, like clothing. I decided that darkness would hide (the deepest parts of the sea). v10 And I caused it to have boundaries. I ruled about its limits. v11 I said, ‘The sea is like a proud child. So, I will decide where the sea may go. It can go here. But it must not go further.’

Verses 8-11

God controls the sea. Job and his friends realised that the sea was a dangerous place. Strange animals lived in the water (chapter 41). The men spoke about terrible floods (Job 22:11). But a great animal, called the hippo, was not afraid of the water (Job 40:23).

God described the sea as if it were a child. People cannot control the sea.

But God decides its boundaries. And God will not allow the sea to flood the whole world (Genesis 9:11).

God creates the dawn

v12 You did not decide when the morning would appear. v13 But the sun rises on the horizon. Morning comes so that darkness will not always last. And morning comes so that the activities of evil men will end. v14 The light slowly increases. And the world slowly appears. This event is like a pattern that you slowly sew into clothing. Or, like a design that you press into wet clay. (You use clay to make pots.) v15 And, as the light appears, evil men cannot see anything. They die, and their cruel power ends.

Verses 12-15

The men were afraid of the night. During the night, evil people seemed to be more powerful (Job 24:13-17). And the darkness reminded the men about death (Job 10:21-22).

God explained that he causes the morning to begin. The dawn reminds us that evil people cannot always continue their evil behaviour. Their activities by night must end when the day begins. And so the day will come when their lives will end. They will die and then God will be their judge.

God knows every place

v16 You did not visit the deepest part of the sea. v17 You have not seen hell. You do not know where dead men belong. v18 You do not even know the measurements of the earth. The earth is vast. Tell me, if you know these things!

v19 You do not know where the light belongs. And you do not know where the darkness hides. v20 You cannot take me to those places. You cannot even tell me the route. v21 But you ought to know this! You think that you are so wise! But you are not old enough to know such things.

Verses 16-18

Job did not know where people go after their deaths. He thought that they remained in their graves (Job 3:16-19). Later, he thought about hell (Job 26:5-6). Job’s words seemed to confident. But Job did not really know about such places. He did not even know the size of the earth, where he was actually living. So he could not know about places that he had never visited.

Verses 19-20

Job did not know where the sun went after nightfall. Today we know that the sun is lighting the opposite side of the world. And Job did not know what happens to the darkness during the day.

Verse 21

God was using humour in this verse. The men thought that older people would be wiser (Job 12:12). Job spoke as if he was a very wise man. God joked that Job could not be old enough to be that wise!

God controls the weather

v22 You have not seen where I store the snow. You have not seen where I store the hail. (Hail is ice, which falls like rain.) v23 But the snow and the hail are ready for the days when there is great trouble. I will use snow and hail when there are battles. And I will use snow and hail when there are wars.

v24 Show me the place where I prepare the lightning. Or, show me the place where the east winds begin.

v25 You do not decide the places where the waters flood. And you do not decide the place where the storm goes. v26 But I send it to places where nobody lives. v27 I send it to dry places, so that grass will grow there.

v28 Rain is not like a child that has a father. v29 And ice has no mother. v30 I cause the water to freeze. When the water becomes ice, as hard as rock, this is my work.

Verses 22-23

God begins to discuss a new subject in these verses. That subject is war.

Job was not sure that God would ever act as judge (Job 24:1). But later, Job remembered that every evil person will die (Job 24:18-24). An evil person cannot continue to cause trouble after his death. So his death is like God’s judgement. And the evil man’s death has two effects. That evil man suffers the punishment that he deserves. And God makes life better for people who were suffering because of that man.

In the Bible, God also used wars. In these wars, God did not belong to one side or the other (Joshua 5:13-14). Instead, God was carrying out his own plans. He was punishing evil people. And he was rescuing good people who trusted him.

God did many wonderful things to win these battles. In Joshua 10:13-14, God delayed the end of the day. In the same battle, God caused large hailstones (ice) to fall from the sky (Joshua 10:11). These things happened to show that God’s people did not win the battle by their own strength. God won the battle. God was punishing evil people. And God was helping his own people.

The Bible describes a future day when God will punish evil nations (Joel 3:2). On that day, there will be a terrible battle. God will use the sky as he fights to save his people (Joel 2:30-32; Joel 3:16). Afterwards, God’s people will not suffer again (Joel 3:17-21). Today, God’s people suffer like Job in this evil world (James 5:10-11). But we should be patient, like Job, because God’s day will come (James 5:7-9). Many people doubt this (2 Peter 3:3-4). But such people forget that God has already punished the world by a flood (Genesis 6:5-8). The Bible says that God will punish the world again by fire (2 Peter 3:5-7). Then he will create a new world, where we shall not suffer (2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 21:1-4).

God continued to discuss war in chapter 39.

Verses 24-30

God controls the weather. And he uses the weather for his own purposes. He even waters the grass where nobody lives (verse 27). A man would not choose to water that grass. But God controls the whole world. He looks after all the plants and animals.

God controls the stars

v31 But the stars are also my work. You cannot move the stars from their positions in the sky. v32 I cause the various stars to appear in the correct seasons. I arrange their patterns in the sky. v33 But you do not know my rules about the sky. You do not even know the principles that control the earth.

Verses 31-33

Ancient people used to watch the stars for important reasons. The stars are like a calendar, because different stars appear in each season. And the stars also helped travellers to work out the correct direction for their journeys.

So Job knew the patterns of stars. But he could not explain how God arranged these patterns.

Today we know much more about the stars. Each star is powerful, like the sun. And there are millions of stars that we cannot even see. The distances between the stars are immense. The Bible teaches us that God created the stars. People study science. And they discover many things. They might think that they are very intelligent. But they are merely discovering things that God has already done. They are merely describing his work.

God controls the sky

v34 You do not direct the clouds. You do not control the rain. v35 And you do not order lightning. Lightning is not responsible to you. v36 But I gave wisdom and intelligence to your mind. v37 I know the number of clouds. And I pour water from the sky v38 when the dry ground becomes lumps of mud.

Verses 34-38

Job and his friends had just watched a storm. And the storm impressed them. The lightning was very powerful. The rain changed the solid ground into mud. Job had said that God’s power was like the power of a storm (Job 26:14). But really, God is much more powerful than a storm. In fact, God directs the storm.

God provides food for every animal

v39 You do not send food for the lion to hunt. v40 The lion waits in a bush, or in its home. But I provide its food.

v41 And I provide food for the raven (bird) when the young birds are hungry. But the raven wanders when it has no food. And its young birds cry to God.

Verses 39-41

There is a difference between the behaviour of lions and ravens. Ravens are large birds.

Lions are strong animals. But most of the time, they rest. They might wait under a bush. It is as if they are waiting for God to provide their food.

Ravens are noisy birds. They do not wait for their food to come to them.

So they are like poor people who wander to search for food. And their noises sound like people who call to God for help (Job 24:10-12). But God said that he provides for ravens as well as lions.

We may be rich or poor. But we all depend on God to supply our food.



Chapter 39

God speaks about birds and animals

Wild animals

v1 You do not know when the mountain goats are born. You do not watch the birth of the young goats. v2 You have not counted the months that the female goats are pregnant. (That is, when a female waits to give birth.) v3 The female goats bend their legs and the young goats are born. And then, their pains end. v4 The young goats grow. They become strong. They leave their mothers. And the young goats will not return.

v5 Someone has freed the wild donkey! (The donkey is like a small horse.) Nobody owns the donkey now! v6 The donkey lives in wild places. And it wanders on the salt plains. v7 When the people argue in the town, the wild donkey laughs. Nobody can order the wild donkey to work. v8 So, the donkey wanders on the hills. And it looks for any green plant.

v9 The wild ox will not agree to serve you. (An ox is like a cow.) And the wild ox will not stay at the place where you feed it. v10 It will not pull your plough through your fields. v11 It is strong. But it will not work for you. v12 It refuses to collect your grain. You cannot control a wild ox.

Chapter 39

In chapter 39, God taught a lesson about the animals. Job supposed that God did not really know Job’s situation. And that this was why God did not rescue Job. But Job’s idea was wrong.

God created all the birds. And God created all the animals. Each bird or animal has its own character. In other words, the behaviour of each bird and each animal is different. This was God’s plan. And this fact shows God’s great intelligence.

Jesus taught that God even knows about the death of a little bird. But a person is more important to God than a bird. And God knows everything about us – Matthew 10:29-31.

Verses 1-12

The animals in these verses are called goats, donkeys and oxen. (Oxen is the plural of ox.) These animals are common animals on the farms in many countries. On the farm, these are tame animals. But God was not speaking about the animals on a farm.

There are also wild goats, donkeys and oxen. These wild animals behave as God intended them to behave. And they will not obey a man’s instructions.

Verses 1-4

Wild goats are shy animals. They live in the mountains. They stay far away from people. The young goats are not loyal to their mothers. When the young goats are old enough, they leave their mothers. And they do not return.

Verses 5-8

A tame donkey is a loyal animal. It is a small horse that can carry heavy loads. But the wild donkey does not obey any man’s orders. It is not like the army horse, which fights men’s battles (verses 19-25). Instead, the wild donkey does not care about people’s arguments. It is not a responsible animal.

But freedom is not always a benefit. Unlike the tame donkey, the wild donkey must find its own food. The wild donkey searches for any green plant to eat. Sometimes the donkey will be hungry.

Verses 9-12

An ox is a strong animal. The ox was very useful on the farm. Job used to own 1000 oxen (plural of ox) – Job 1:3.

But a wild ox would not help the farmer. It might wander into the fields. But it would not obey the farmer. Instead, it would spoil the crops. The farmer could never trust a wild ox. The ox would be happy to take the crops. But it would eat the crops itself! It would not take the crops to the farm house, like a tame ox.


v13 An ostrich is a bird that cannot fly. The ostrich is very happy when it waves its wings. But a stork is a bird that uses its wings to fly. And the stork flies with grace and beauty.

v14 The ostrich lays its eggs on the ground. The eggs become warm in the sand. v15 But the ostrich does not think carefully. Someone might step on the eggs. Or, a wild animal might break the eggs.

v16 The mother ostrich is cruel to her own young ostriches. The mother ostrich acts as if she is not the mother. She does not care if she wastes her energy. v17 God did not teach the ostrich to be wise. So, the ostrich is not sensible.

v18 But when an ostrich runs, it runs faster than a horse with a rider.

Verses 13-16

God has made some very strange birds and animals. The ostrich is a bird with wings. But it cannot fly. Some birds are very careful about their eggs. But the ostrich leaves its eggs on the ground. And it does not even seem to look after its own young birds.

Verses 17-18

God did not teach the ostrich to be wise. But God did teach the ostrich to run. And the ostrich can even run faster than the horses in the battle. God taught the ostrich to run so that it could escape from danger.

Army horses

v19 You did not make the horse strong. And you did not dress the horse for the battle. v20 The horse jumps as easily as an insect. But the horse makes a sound that frightens people.

v21 When the horse runs, it runs with strength and power. It charges forward in the battle. v22 It laughs at people who are afraid. Nothing frightens a horse. It is not even afraid of swords.

v23 The horse’s rider carries a bow. His sword flashes in the sunlight. v24 But the horse runs forward. It is angry.

The whistles sound to tell the men to fight. And the horse cannot stand still. v25 When the horse hears the whistles, the horse is excited.

The horse wants to fight even before it arrives at the battle. Perhaps the horse can smell the battle. Or perhaps the horse hears the shouts of the soldiers.

Verses 19-25

The army horse is like a loyal soldier. In fact, it is better than a soldier. It is brave. And it is strong. Nothing frightens it.

Ostriches are like cowards! They run away from the battle. But army horses do the opposite. They race into the battle. They are not even afraid of death.

Birds that come after a battle

v26 Hawks are birds that fly south each year. But your wisdom did not teach them to do this.

v27 The vulture is a bird that nests in high places. You did not order it to fly, high in the sky. v28 It waits on the cliff by night. There, the vulture is safe. v29 It stares for its food. And then, it sees the food. v30 So, the young vultures will eat the blood of dead bodies. After the battle, you will see the vulture.

Verse 26

This hawk is a bird that migrates. In other words, it flies to a different country for the winter. Some birds fly thousands of miles each year. But they do not simply go anywhere. They fly to a particular place. And even the young birds manage to find the right place.

Hawks and vultures (verse 27) are both birds that eat meat.

Verses 27-30

In verses 19-26, God described a terrible battle. After the battle, the vultures come. Vultures are birds that eat dead bodies. They do not hunt for anything that is alive. Perhaps they are eating the dead horses. Or perhaps they are eating the bodies of soldiers.

See Revelation 19:17-21. Before Jesus returns, there will be a terrible battle. God will use this battle to punish the evil nations of the world. But God will save the people who trust him.



Chapter 40

God continues his speech

God speaks to Job

v1 Then God said to Job, v2 ‘Are you arguing with me? Then, show me that I am wrong. If you accuse God, then you must answer God.’

v3 Job answered God, v4 ‘I am not important. I cannot answer you. Now, I will say nothing. v5 I did accuse you. But I cannot answer you. I spoke, but now I will be silent.’

Chapter 40

Verses 1-5

Job spoke to his friends as if he knew everything. He had thought carefully about his troubles. So he was confident that his speeches were right. And he was sure that he was wise.

But then God spoke. And Job’s ideas did not seem important. God’s words were wonderful. And God’s deeds were much greater than anything that a man could do.

We think that Job did not really want to accuse God. Job was a servant of God. And Job greatly respected God. Job spoke some foolish words, because of his pain. Job complained when he should have praised God. But Job did not continue to complain when God pointed out Job’s error. And Job did not continue to accuse God when God spoke.

A man must not accuse God

v6 Then God spoke to Job. The storm hid God. God said:

v7 Prepare yourself as a man! I have a test for you. And you must answer me.

v8 Do not claim that I am unfair! Do not accuse me to argue that you are innocent.

v9 You are not as strong as I am. And your voice is not as powerful as mine. v10 If you were like me:

·     You would deserve to be great, like a king.

·     You would deserve honour.

·     You would be really important.

·     v11 You would be angry with evil men.

·     v12 You would punish proud people. And you would make them humble.

·     You would kill wicked men.

·     All these evil people would die together. v13 And you would bury them.

v14 If you were so great, then I, God, would give you honour. And you, Job, would be able to save yourself.

Verses 6-7

In his speeches, Job spoke as if he were wiser than God. Job even made a list of things that God should do. Job could not explain why God was not doing such things. So Job would complain about God’s behaviour.

But a man should not complain about God. God is always fair. And we should always trust him.

So God tested Job. God’s test would prove whether Job was as great as God. Of course, Job would fail the test! The test is in verses 9-14.

Verse 8

God pointed out Job’s main error. Job imagined that God was unfair. Job said that he himself was right, rather than God.

So Elihu’s opinion about Job was correct (Job 32:2).

Verses 9-14

These verses describe Job’s test (verse 7). The purpose of the test was to prove that God was greater than Job. And the purpose was to prove that God was wiser than Job.

Firstly, God reminded Job about God’s great power. Job was not as powerful as God (verse 9).

Then God reminded Job about God’s importance (verse 10).

Then God gave a list of how Job would like God to act (verses 11-13). God can do such things. But Job could not do these things. So Job should not be telling God to do these things. And Job should not complain if God decides not to do these things.

Job clearly failed his test. Nobody is as great as God. So God uses humour in verse 14. If Job could carry out his great ideas, then even God would respect Job! But Job could not do these things. So instead, Job should trust God. God alone could save Job from his troubles.

A great animal

v15 The hippo is a great animal. I created the hippo. And I created you. The hippo eats grass like other animals. v16 But its body is so strong. Its muscles are so powerful. v17 Its tail is like a tree. Its legs have firm muscles. v18 Its bones seem as strong as metal. Its legs seem as strong as iron.

v19 The hippo is the greatest of my works. But I, God, made the hippo. And I can kill it.

v20 There is food for the hippo in the hills. And the other wild animals play there. v21 But the hippo lies down under the bushes. The hippo hides between the reeds, in the mud. (Reeds are plants that grow in mud.) v22 The hippo hides in the shade of the bushes. And it rests between the trees that grow near the river.

v23 The hippo is not afraid when the river floods. Even if the river Jordan rises as high as its mouth, the hippo is safe. v24 You cannot catch a hippo. Your traps will fail. You cannot put a ring on a hippo’s nose.

Verses 15-24

In fact, Bible students are not sure about the animal in this passage. In the original language (called Hebrew), the animal’s name simply means ‘a great animal’. But the hippo behaves as God describes. It is a large animal that lives near the river. It is strong (verse 16). It eats plants (verse 15). It is not cruel to other animals (verse 20). And the hippo can swim (verse 23).

The hippo shows us that some strong animals have a calm and confident character. Such animals do not normally fight. They enjoy the food that God provides. They like to rest and to watch the other animals.

Perhaps people can learn from the hippo’s character. If we have troubles, we do not need to argue with God. God will always win, anyway (verse 19). But instead, we can trust God when we have troubles. Even a flood does not upset a hippo. And our troubles do not need to upset us.



Chapter 41

God finishes his speech

A dangerous animal called the crocodile

v1 A crocodile is an animal that lives in the river. But you cannot fish for a crocodile. You cannot tie its mouth with rope (thick string). (The crocodile is too strong for you.) v2 You cannot drag the crocodile by its nose or mouth.

Chapter 41

Verses 1-2

At the end of God’s speech, God described another strong animal. We think that God was describing a dangerous animal called the crocodile. The crocodile lives in rivers. But it can also walk on the land. Some crocodiles are very large. And they are very fierce.

Job imagined that God was responsible for Job’s troubles. But chapters 1 and 2 explain that, in fact, the accuser called Satan was responsible. Another name for Satan is the devil. Satan attacked Job because Satan wanted to accuse God. Job was God’s servant. But Satan thought that he could make Job insult God. And, that Job would not trust God if Job was suffering.

The devil behaves like a crocodile:

·     Nobody can control the devil, except God. And no person can control a crocodile.

·     The devil is a fierce enemy. And a crocodile is fierce. It never tries to escape from trouble. Its reaction is always to attack.

·     A person cannot defeat the devil by his own skills or intelligence. We need God’s help. And even a strong man cannot fight a crocodile. Even today, the most skilled experts in a zoo must be very careful if they need to catch a crocodile. The crocodile wants to kill them.

·     The devil is very proud. And the crocodile behaves as if it is the proudest animal. (See also my notes on Job 26:12-13.)

The crocodile will never become tame

v3 Do not imagine that a crocodile would ever be gentle. It will fight for its freedom. It is fierce. v4 It will never become tame. It will never obey you. v5 You cannot make it into a pet, like a bird. And you cannot lead it on a string to amuse your servant girls.

Verses 3-5

People keep many animals as pets. But nobody can train a crocodile to be a tame animal. It is out of control.

Men cannot hunt for a crocodile

v6 Merchants will not bargain for the meat of the crocodile. Shopkeepers cannot cut up the meat in order to sell it.

v7 You cannot hunt a crocodile with spears and harpoons, like a large fish. (Spears and harpoons are long knives, like swords.)

v8 If you touch a crocodile, you will have a terrible struggle. And you will never touch a crocodile again.

v9 Do not even imagine that you could control a crocodile. You could never win a fight against a crocodile. When you see the crocodile, you will know this. v10 Nobody dares to upset a crocodile. (But I, God, made the crocodile.) So, be sure that nobody could oppose me. v11 I owe nothing to anyone. Everything belongs to me.

Verses 6-7

You can kill other river animals for their meat. But it is very difficult to kill a crocodile. The crocodile is too fierce. And its skin is too hard to cut with a sword or another long knife.

Verse 8

The crocodile would probably kill the person who touched it. But if that person escaped, he would not dare to touch another crocodile.

Verses 9-11

God created all the animals. So God is more powerful than any animal. And God is also more powerful than the devil. So people who trust God do not need to be afraid of the devil. Instead, they should trust God to help them.

God describes the crocodile

v12 I shall tell you about the crocodile. I shall speak about:

·     its legs;

·     its strength;

·     and its graceful shape.

v13 The crocodile’s hard skin protects the animal from attack. Nobody would try to control a crocodile.

v14 And nobody would try to open its mouth. Its teeth are terrible.

v15 The crocodile’s back seems to be a row of shields. (The word ‘shields’ means the metal plates that a soldier uses to protect his body.) The rows of shields are neat. v16 Each shield touches the next shield. Even air cannot pass between the shields. v17 And the shields join each other. They do not separate.

Verse 12

We would not normally describe a crocodile as graceful. But perhaps God meant the skin of the crocodile. Today, crocodile skin makes an attractive leather.

Verses 13-17

This description explains why a man cannot attack a crocodile. The crocodile would try to bite the man. And no part of the crocodile’s body seems soft enough to cut, even with a sword.

An adventure with a crocodile

The crocodile rises from the river

v18 (The crocodile rises from the river.) First, you hear when it sneezes. (A sneeze is the sound when the crocodile clears water from its nose.) When the crocodile sneezes, lights flash. (Actually, you see the sunlight, which reflects in the water from the crocodile’s nose. Then, you see the crocodile’s eyes.) The crocodile’s eyes are red, like the light at dawn.

v19 Fire seems to come from the crocodile’s mouth. v20 Smoke seems to come from the crocodile’s nose. You might think that the plants near the river are burning. And you might think that a pot boils above the fire. v21 (But then, you realise that the crocodile is there.) (You might think that) the crocodile’s breath lit the coals. (That is, the coals where you think that the pot boils.) (You might think that) the flames come from the crocodile’s mouth.

Verses 18-21

These verses are difficult to understand. In the EasyEnglish translation, we have put some words in brackets (…). These words are not in the original Book of Job. We have included these words to help you to understand one possible meaning.

Some people think that fire actually came from the animal’s mouth. But no real animals can do this. And the other animals in God’s speech all seem to be real animals. So we do not agree with such people. Instead, God was describing what seems to happen. In other words, if a crocodile approached a man, this would be his experience:

·     First, the man would hear the crocodile. The sudden noise would surprise the man.

·     The man would look to see what animal made the noise. But he would not see the animal immediately. He would see the water that reflects the light. Then he would see the crocodile’s eyes.

·     There would be water, like steam, in the air round the crocodile. This water would look like smoke. And the water would reflect the sunlight. So the man might think that a pot was boiling. And the light might look like a fire.

·     Then the man would realise what he was watching. And the crocodile would start to leave the water.

·     The man may be curious to see the crocodile. But he would also be very afraid.

The adventure continues: You see the whole crocodile

v22 The crocodile’s neck is so strong. And everyone is afraid. v23 Even the fat parts of the crocodile’s body are thick and firm. v24 The upper parts of the crocodile’s body are strong, like rock. Or, like stone.

v25 Even strong men are afraid when they see a crocodile. When it moves, they run!

Verses 22-25

If the man was curious, he might see the crocodile. But if the man was sensible, he would run away.

The adventure continues: People try to frighten the crocodile

v26 A sword does not hurt a crocodile. Dangerous knives have no effect. v27 The crocodile will bend a metal knife. Or, the crocodile will break the knife.

v28 If you shoot an arrow, the crocodile will not leave. If you throw a stone, your stone seems like dust to the crocodile.

v29 The crocodile thinks that your heaviest stick is like straw. And the crocodile laughs if you try to fight it.

Verses 26-29

Many towns are near rivers. So a crocodile could enter a town. The inhabitants would want to frighten it. Perhaps it will return to the river. But the people cannot attack it. The crocodile is not afraid of a sword or a knife. And the crocodile would hurt anyone who tried to fight. So the people must stand at a distance. They might throw stones. But the crocodile is not afraid of stones.

The adventure ends: The crocodile decides to return to the river

v30 The lower parts of the crocodile’s body are like sharp pieces of pot. Behind it, the crocodile leaves a track in the mud. This track is like a vehicle’s track.

v31 The crocodile stirs the water like a boiling pot. And the crocodile mixes the water, like a pot of medicine.

v32 The crocodile leaves a path behind it, in the water. This looks as if the river has white hair.

Verses 30-32

The crocodile leaves when it chooses to leave. Its legs are short, so its body leaves a track in the mud.

It stirs the water as it returns to the river. And the crocodile also leaves a track of bubbles (called foam) on the surface of the water.

Everybody will be glad when the crocodile leaves.

The king of proud animals

v33 The crocodile fears nobody. And no animal is as great as a crocodile. v34 The crocodile insults the proudest animals. The crocodile is like a king for everyone who is proud.

Verses 33-34

Some animals seem proud. And some people are very proud. But nobody can continue to be proud when they see a crocodile. Their proud words cannot protect them from such a dangerous animal.

The devil is also very proud. The devil is not afraid of any person. The devil is so bold that he even accuses God. But God is much more powerful than the devil. So we need to trust God. God will help us when the devil opposes us (1 Peter 5:8-9). We should learn how to be strong Christians (Ephesians 6:10-18). And we should use the Bible against the devil as Jesus did (Matthew 4:1-10).

Psalm 104

Psalm 104 is similar to Job chapters 38-41. Psalm 104 also describes many animals that God created. It is a song to praise God for his wonderful deeds. Similar passages include:

·     Psalm 104:11 and Job 39:5-8. These passages are both about the wild donkey (a small horse).

·     Psalm 104:18 and Job 39:1-4. These passages are both about the wild goat.

·     Psalm 104:26 and Job chapter 41. These passages are both about the animal called the crocodile.

·     Psalm 104:7-9 and Job 38:8-11. These passages both describe how God made a boundary for the sea.

·     Psalm 104:21-22 and Job 38:39-40. These passages both describe how God provides food for lions.

There are also other similar passages.

In Job chapters 38-41, God was testing Job (Job 38:3; Job 40:7). God wanted Job to realise that God had done many wonderful things. And that no man could do such things.

Psalm 104 is like an answer to Job’s test. The Psalm praises God, who did all these things by his wisdom (Psalm 104:24). So we should give honour to God. We should always trust him. He will save his people. But he will punish wicked people (Psalm 104:33-35).



Chapter 42

The end of Job’s troubles

Job is humble

v1 Then Job answered God. Job said, v2 ‘I know that you can do anything. Your plans always succeed. v3 You said, “Job, you have spoken about things that you do not know.” I confess that I did not understand these things. These things are wonderful, and I did not know them.’

v4 Job continued, ‘You said to me, “Listen, and I will speak. I have a test for you. And you must answer me.” v5 (But I cannot answer you.) I heard what people said about you. But now, I myself see you. v6 So, I must be humble. I am sorry. And I place dust and ashes on my head. These are a sign to show you that I am sorry.’

Chapter 42

Verses 1-3

Job had heard God’s speech. So Job realised his error. He was not an evil man. But he had spoken unwise words about God. Sometimes Job complained about God’s behaviour. And sometimes Job accused God.

Job was humble. He asked God to forgive him.

Verses 4-6

Job was a servant of God, even before Job began to suffer. Then, Job trusted God because other people had told him about God.

When God spoke, Job had a new experience. Job learned many things from God’s speech. And now Job trusted God even more. Job had become an even better servant of God.

We know that God forgave Job because of verses 7-9. In those verses, God emphasised that Job was a servant of God. If we sincerely confess our errors to God, then God will always forgive us. God is not cruel. He wants to forgive us (1 John 1:9).

God speaks to Eliphaz

v7 After God said these words to Job, God spoke to Eliphaz. Eliphaz belonged to the people called Temanites. God said, ‘I am angry with you. And I am also angry with Bildad and Zophar. Job, who is my servant, said the right things about me. But you did not. v8 So take 7 bulls (male cows) and 7 rams (male sheep). Take them to Job, because Job is my servant. Then, kill the animals and burn them as a gift to me. Then Job, who is my servant, will pray for you. I shall answer his prayer. Then I shall not punish you for your foolish words. Job, who is my servant, said the right things about me. But you did not.’

Verses 7-8

These verses may seem strange to some people. Such people do not know why God was angry with Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. Job’s friends were sometimes wrong, but sometimes Job was wrong too. So, you might think that they all deserved the same punishment.

The explanation is that Job was a servant of God. In other words, Job had a special task to do. A servant carries out his master’s work. And Job had decided to do God’s work on earth (Job 29:14). So Job was acting on behalf of God.

Job was already God’s servant when his troubles began (Job 1:8). And Job was still God’s servant during his troubles (Job 2:3). In verses 7-8, God emphasised 4 times that Job was God’s servant.

At the time of the Bible, there was a special relationship between a servant and his master. Someone who insulted a servant was also insulting the servant’s master. See Mark 12:1-9. A master would try to punish the person who insulted his servant. The master would feel that the person was insulting the master’s own honour.

In 2 Kings 2:23-24, some youths insulted a servant of God called Elisha. This was a terrible thing to do. It was as if they were insulting God himself. Animals called bears came from the wood and attacked those youths. If those youths had insulted an ordinary man, such a terrible thing would not have happened. But Elisha was acting on behalf of God.

Eliphaz said that Job was very evil (Job 22:5). This would be a stupid thing to say about any innocent man. But Job was not merely an ordinary man. He was a servant of God. So Eliphaz’s stupid words were insulting God. In other words, Eliphaz insulted God’s servant. So Eliphaz was also insulting God. And the three friends were responsible for another wrong thing also.

A servant must be loyal to his master. And Job tried hard always to be loyal to God. Job was even loyal to God when he heard his wife’s foolish advice (Job 2:9-10). Job did not blame God in chapter 3. But then Job’s friends accused Job. And Job felt that, in order to defend himself, he had to accuse God. Job only blamed God because of the friends’ arguments. So they were partly responsible for Job’s errors. They had caused Job not to be totally loyal to God.

So God was angry with Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. The Bible often tells us that God is angry because of our evil deeds (Romans 1:18). But God is not cruel. He is kind. And he wants to forgive us (1 John 1:9).

God could have punished Job’s friends. But instead, God wanted to forgive them. So God told them to kill some animals. Then, they should burn the animals as gift to God. In other words, the animals would suffer the punishment that the friends deserved. And God would forgive the friends. God often wanted such gifts before Jesus came. When Jesus died, he suffered our punishment. So, he suffered instead of us. And God forgives us, because of what Jesus did (Hebrews 10:1-10). We must confess our evil deeds to God. And we must invite Jesus into our lives.

Job prayed for the friends because he was God’s servant. So Job had a special relationship with God. Job was even able to pray on behalf of his friends. We all can have that special relationship with God. First, we must invite Jesus into our lives. And then we can allow God’s Holy Spirit to pray through us (Romans 8:26-27; 1 Corinthians 14:15; John 7:37-39).

Job prays for his friends

v9 The names of Job’s three friends were:

·     Eliphaz, who belonged to the people called Temanites;

·     Bildad, who belonged to the people called Shuhites;

·     Zophar, who belonged to the people called Naamathites.

They obeyed God. And God answered Job’s prayer.

Verse 9

Job’s friends obeyed God. And God forgave them.

Note that God was not angry with Elihu. Elihu said the right things about God.

God makes Job successful again

v10 After Job prayed for his friends, God made Job successful again. God gave Job double what Job had before his troubles.

v11 And many people visited Job. These people included Job’s brothers and sisters. All his former friends came too. They ate with Job, in Job’s house. They sympathised with Job. And they comforted him about his troubles, which God brought about. Each person gave Job some money and a gold ring.

v12 God was kind to Job for the rest of his life. Job was even more successful than before. Job had:

·     14 000 sheep;

·     6000 camels;

·     1000 pairs of oxen (large farm animals);

·     1000 donkeys (small horses).

v13 Job also had 7 sons and 3 daughters. Job named his daughters: v14 Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-Happuch. v15 Job’s daughters were the most beautiful women in the entire country. And Job ordered that his sons should share the family’s wealth with his daughters.

Verse 10

Originally, Job thought that he would be wealthy for his whole life (Job 29:18-20).

Then Job thought that he would die because of his illness (Job 7:21).

In the end, Job was wealthy again.

Our lives often change like this. We should learn to be content whatever happens (Philippians 4:11-12). Whether we are rich or poor, we should always trust God (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

Verse 11

These people avoided Job when he was suffering (Job 19:13-19). But, at the end of Job’s troubles, God allowed these people to help Job. They comforted him. And they sympathised with him. It seems that they did not know the reason for Job’s troubles. They still thought that God caused Job’s troubles. But chapters 1 and 2 explain that Satan (the devil) really caused these troubles. God permitted Job to suffer. But God did not attack Job.

Verse 12

Job had twice the number of animals that he had in Job 1:2.

Verses 13-14

And Job had a new family.

Verse 15

Job looked after his daughters carefully. At the time of Job, usually only the sons would share the family’s wealth. Job’s gift to his daughters also shows that he was very wealthy. He had enough money to provide for his daughters as well as his sons.

Job’s long life

v16 Job lived 140 years after these events. He lived so long that he saw the children of his own grandchildren. v17 Job’s life was long and successful. Job was very old when he died.

Verse 16

Job’s life was much longer than people live today. The people in the Book of Genesis also had very long lives (Genesis chapter 5).

After the flood, God said that men would not continue to live for more than 120 years (Genesis 6:3). And Psalm 90:10 says that a normal life is 70 or 80 years.

Because of verse 16, some people think that Job lived in very ancient times. If so, the Book of Job may be the oldest book that still exists.

Verse 17

Job was a great man. He was wealthy. He had a large family. And he lived a long life. He achieved many things in his life. All these things seemed important to Job before his troubles began.

But Job learned something new when he suffered his great troubles. He learned that it is more important to be a servant of God than anything else.

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