29th November 2017

Job: Week 7 (Wednesday, November 29 2017(

 

Chapters 15, 16 and 17

 

Chapter 15

Eliphaz’s second speech

Eliphaz says that Job is wrong

v1 Eliphaz, who belonged to the people called Temanites, answered. He said:

v2 A wise man should not speak foolish words. He should not make sounds that mean nothing, like the wind. v3 He should check that his words are helpful. His speeches should always be good.

v4 But, Job, your speeches do not respect God. You suggest that prayer has no value. v5 You have spoken evil words. Your words are clever (but they are not right). v6 I do not accuse you. But your own words prove that you are wrong.

Chapter 15

Verses 1-3

Job said that he was as wise as his friends (Job 12:3). He even said that they could learn from his words (Job 13:5-6). But Eliphaz thought that there was a terrible error in Job’s beliefs.

Verses 4-6

Job said that good men often have awful lives. And he said that evil men have good lives (Job 12:6). Eliphaz could not agree. He believed that God rewards a good man. Eliphaz also believed that God punishes an evil man. So Job’s words seemed not to respect God.

But Eliphaz was not right. Job did respect God. Job continued to praise God even when terrible things happened (Job 1:20-21).

Job has no special knowledge

v7 You were not born before everyone else. You are not older than everyone else. v8 You do not hear God’s words in heaven. You are not the only wise man. v9 You know nothing that we do not know. You have no special knowledge that is unknown to us. v10 The old wise men agree with us. They are older than both you and your father.

v11 But God comforts you. You should be glad to hear such gentle words. v12 But instead, you allow your emotions to control your behaviour. v13 You are angry with God. And you speak such terrible words.

Verses 7-10

Job’s friends believed that an older man was wiser (Job 32:7). Eliphaz said that many old people believed the same ideas as Eliphaz himself. And many people who lived long ago had the same ideas. They thought that an ill person must be an evil person. Even Jesus’ disciples (special students) had such an idea (John 9:2). But Jesus did not agree (John 9:3).

Verses 11-13

Job said that he wanted to meet God. And Job wanted to reason with God. Job was sincere when he said this. He could not explain why God had not rescued him from his troubles. But Job still trusted God.

Eliphaz thought that Job was angry with God. So Eliphaz did not realise that Job’s words were sincere. Eliphaz wanted Job to be calm. Then Job could listen to sensible advice.

Nobody is innocent

v14 Nobody is innocent. Nobody is good. v15 God does not even trust his holy servants. God even sees that heaven is not perfect. v16 So, a man cannot be innocent. Man is evil. A man even prefers to do evil things than to drink water.

Verses 14-15

Eliphaz repeated the same lesson as in Job 4:17. He said that nobody is perfect. So he thought that Job must be evil too.

Eliphaz was right to say that nobody is perfect. We must all confess our evil deeds so that God will forgive us. But Job was a sincere man. He often prayed that God would forgive people (Job 1:5).

And Eliphaz was wrong to say that God does not trust his servants in heaven. God even trusted his servant Job (Job 1:8; Job 2:3).

Verse 16

In fact, many people do not prefer to do evil things. Job always tried to do the right things (Job 1:1).

An ancient lesson

v17 Listen! I will teach you. I will explain the things that I have seen. v18 Wise men taught this lesson. And their fathers taught this lesson to them. v19 God gave them this country when no foreigners lived here.

v20 A wicked man always suffers pain. Such a man is cruel, so he suffers for his whole life. v21 He hears sounds that cause fear. If he is successful, a terrible enemy will attack him. v22 The wicked man does not think that he will ever escape. His enemy waits with a sword. v23 So the wicked man wanders to look for food. And the birds wait for his death, so that they can eat his body.

That wicked man knows that he will soon die. v24 He suffers terrible fears. And his troubles seem to him like a powerful king who is ready to attack.

v25 Such men suffer because they oppose God. They dare to fight against God. v26 They even attack God, like an enemy.

Verses 17-24

Eliphaz repeated the friends’ main idea. Wicked men always suffer a terrible fate. They will have an awful life and a terrible death.

Verses 25-26

Eliphaz warned Job here. Job should not accuse God. Nobody can oppose God. So Job should not argue. Job should agree that he is guilty, like everybody else.

A wicked man cannot avoid God’s punishment

v27 A wicked man might be successful. He might be greedy and fat. v28 But the inhabitants of his town will leave. His house will fall down. But he will live there, although his house is only a pile of stones. v29 That man was rich. But he will lose his wealth. He had great possessions. But he will lose his possessions.

v30 That man cannot avoid God’s punishment. He will die, like a tree that burns. A word from God will order that the man must die. v31 That man should realise that he cannot trust his foolish ideas. The only reward that such things give is foolish. v32 The man will die while he is still young.

v33 And that man will have no children. He will be like a tree without any flowers or fruit. v34 Wicked men will have no children. Even the home of a man who loves bribes (secret gifts) will burn.

v35 Wicked men will not have children. Instead, they will have trouble. And they will create foolish things. And they will make up lies, too.

Verses 27-35

Job thought that many evil people are successful (Job 12:6). Eliphaz argued that their success was temporary. Their wealth would not last. Soon, they would lose everything (verse 29).

Job had spoken about a tree that someone had cut down (Job 14:7-9). This idea gave hope to Job. Perhaps God would allow Job to live, even after death. Eliphaz thought that this was a foolish idea. If someone burns a tree, that tree will not live again (verse 30).

Eliphaz seemed to think that a person’s spirit dies with that person. He thought that the only new life after death was in our children. In other words, our children live after we are dead. They are our only hope for the future. And a wicked man would have no children (verse 33). A tree without fruit has no future after that tree dies. As Job’s children were dead, Job’s own death would be his end.

Many people believe such ideas. But the Bible does not teach this. The Bible says that heaven and hell are real places. Unfair things often happen in this world. But, in the future, God will be the judge of everybody (Philippians 2:9-11). If we trust God, we should not be afraid of death. God has prepared a wonderful home for us in heaven (Philippians 1:23).

 

 

Chapter 16

Job replies to Eliphaz’s second speech

v1 Job answered. He said:

v2 I have heard many such things. You are all hopeless comforters. v3 Stop your long speeches! You have no reason to go on. v4 If you suffered like me, I could speak like you. I could oppose you with many words. And I could insult you. v5 (But I would not behave like you.) Instead, I would encourage you. And I would comfort you with my words.

v6 But now, when I speak, I have no comfort for my pain. Or, if I am silent, I still suffer.

Chapter 16

Verses 1-6

Job’s friends wanted to help him. They tried to teach him about God. They tried to show Job his errors. And they wanted to encourage him.

But their words did not help Job. They never understood the real reasons for Job’s problems. And the friends did not believe that Job was a good man. So they blamed Job, although Job was innocent.

People who advise must be careful. They should make sure that they know the true facts. They should sympathise with someone who suffers. And they should pray carefully before they advise.

Job’s enemy

v7 I am weak, because of my enemy. He has ruined my family. v8 My troubles are like a witness who accuses me. My thin body seems to be evidence against me.

v9 My enemy hates me. He is like a wild animal that attacks me. He causes injuries. He stares at me. v10 But men insult me. They hit my cheek. They laugh at me. Together, they oppose me. v11 God handed me over to wicked men. v12 I was well, until he attacked me. He is like an enemy, who grasps my neck. v13 Or, he is like an army that shoots arrows at me. Or, he is like a soldier who cuts my body with a sword. I feel as if a knife is in my body. And the inside parts of my body spill out. v14 My enemy attacks me again and again. He is like a bold soldier.

v15 So, I wear poor clothes to show that I am sad. And I put ashes on my face. v16 But my face is red, because I cry. And dark marks surround my eyes. v17 But I am innocent. I do not suffer because of any evil deed. And so, I pray.

v18 Everybody should know that I am innocent. Even after I die, people should still know this. Nobody should forget this!

Verses 7-14

In these verses, Job described his troubles. He blamed his enemy for these troubles.

Job thought that God caused these troubles. Job did not know that the devil was responsible. But Job was very careful about his words. He knew that he should always respect God. So Job did not want to accuse God unfairly. And Job did not want to blame God. So Job only mentioned God once, in verse 11.

Job said that his enemy attacked him like a wild animal. Animals like dogs and lions are fierce. They do not just kill when they attack. They also cause terrible injuries and great pain.

And Job said that his enemy was like a bold soldier. Soldiers did not have guns at the time of the Bible. Instead, soldiers used swords to kill their enemies. If the sword was not sharp, it might be difficult to kill someone. The soldier might need to use the sword many times before the enemy died.

Job thought that God was attacking him. But Job also realised that wicked people caused his troubles (Job 1:15; Job 1:17). So, in verse 11, Job said that God allowed these wicked people to attack Job.

Verses 15-18

Job’s troubles seemed to prove that Job was guilty (verse 8). Job’s friends believed this (Job 22:4-11). But the Bible does not teach this idea (John 9:1-3). Job was sure that he was innocent. And God agreed (Job 1:8).

Job’s friend

v19 Listen!

Now, I have a witness in heaven. I have a lawyer in heaven. v20 He is my friend. He speaks to God on my behalf. And I cry to God. v21 Even now, my lawyer speaks to God. And my lawyer is my true friend.

v22 But I shall soon die. Only a few years of my life remain.

Verses 19-22

Job’s words in verses 7–18 seemed hopeless. But then Job spoke about his ‘friend’. Job did not say who this friend was. But Job did not mean Eliphaz, Bildad or Zophar. This friend was in heaven. He was like a lawyer, because he spoke to God on Job’s behalf.

Job lived centuries before Jesus was born. But we think that these words describe Jesus. Jesus sympathises with our troubles (Hebrews 4:15). He prays for us (Hebrews 7:25). He is our priest (Hebrews 7:24). Because of Jesus, we can be friends of God. Job did not know anything about Jesus. But Job thought that God was his friend. God would hear Job’s prayer. God would help Job. And God would prove that Job was innocent.

So Job thought that God was not merely Job’s enemy, but also his friend. This thought confused Job (Job 10:8-9). Job knew that God does many good things. So Job thought that God might also do some bad things (Job 2:10). God had given many good things to Job. So God could take these things away (Job 1:21). But Job believed that God would still deserve honour. And Job would continue to praise God, whatever happened. Job had this attitude because he was a genuine servant of God (Job 2:3).

But Job’s ideas were not all correct. God is our father in heaven. He looks after us (Matthew 6:9-13). Ordinary fathers look after their children. But God is much better than a human father (Matthew 7:9-11). God is kind and generous (Matthew 6:25-30). God does not do evil things. God loves us (John 3:16).

Chapter 17

Job continues his reply to Eliphaz

v1 My spirit suffers. My life is short. Soon, I must die. v2 Everybody insults me. And I watch their cruel actions.

 

 

Chapter 17

Verses 1-2

Job thought that he was dying. His friends were with him. But they did not speak kind words to him. Instead, they accused him of many evil deeds.

Job prays

v3 God, promise to be fair to me! Nobody else will protect me. v4 You have caused the people not to know the truth. So, you will not allow them to succeed. v5 Nobody should oppose his friends for a reward. Even the children of such a person deserve to suffer.

Verse 3

Job’s friends could not help Job. And Job thought that God was attacking him (Job 16:9-14). But Job still respected God. And Job still trusted God. So Job asked God for help (Job 16:19-21).

In fact, God did not cause Job’s problems. The devil was responsible for Job’s troubles.

Verse 4

Job’s friends did not know that Job was innocent. And Job thought that God had caused this situation. So Job prayed that God would declare him innocent.

Verse 5

Job was right to say that such a person is very evil. But we do not believe that the person’s children should suffer. Each person is responsible for his own evil deeds. (See Ezekiel chapter 18.) So each person must confess his own evil deeds to God. And each person must invite Jesus into his life (John 1:12; John 3:18).

Job suffers

v6 When people curse, they use my name. They spit at me. (That is, they splash me with water from their mouths.) v7 My eyes are weak because of my tears. My whole body seems as weak as a shadow.

Verses 6-7

Job was innocent, but he suffered greatly. Jesus was also innocent, and he too suffered greatly. Sometimes Job’s words remind us about Jesus’ death. See also Psalm 22 and Isaiah chapter 53. The authors of these books wrote these passages before Jesus was born. But these chapters describe well the troubles that Jesus suffered for us. Jesus died so that God would forgive our evil deeds (1 Peter 2:24).

The effects of Job’s troubles

v8 Good people are surprised to see this. But my troubles cause innocent people to act against evil people. v9 Good men continue their good behaviour. And innocent people become stronger and stronger.

Verses 8-9

Job’s situation impressed other people powerfully. Good people admired Job’s attitudes. Job’s troubles did not frighten them. Instead, their determination to do the right things increased.

Paul had a similar experience when he was in prison. See Philippians 1:12-14.

Job says that his friends are not wise

v10 But speak again! Try to prove that I am guilty! And I will prove that you are not wise.

v11 My life is short. My plans have failed. And I have no hope.

v12 These men (Job’s friends) pretend that the night is the day. It is so dark. But they say, ‘The light will come soon.’

v13 But my grave will become the home for my body. I will be like someone who sleeps in the darkness. v14 My family will not surround my body. Instead, the tiny animals that destroy dead bodies will surround me. v15 I have no hopes for the future. You can see that my situation is hopeless. v16 There is no hope for a dead man. So, my body will lie, without hope, in my grave.

Verse 10

As Job spoke about other good people, he himself felt more confident. He was not afraid of his friends’ speeches. He knew that they supposed him to be an evil man. So he told them to speak their opinions clearly. He felt ready to reply.

Verses 11-12

Job accused his friends. They said that his life would get better (Job 11:15-19). But Job’s troubles were real troubles.

Verse 13

Job expected to die soon. He did not realise that his spirit would then go to heaven. Later, he would start to understand this (Job 19:26-27).

Verses 14-16

Job knew what happens to dead bodies. And he thought that he was almost dead. He had no hope for the future. He did not know that God would rescue him (Job 42:10-17). Job simply wanted to prove that he was innocent. He wanted to show that he did not deserve these troubles.


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