6th December 2017

Job: Week 8 (Wednesday, December 6 2017)


Chapters 18 and 19


Chapter 18

Bildad’s second speech

Bildad warns Job not to be angry

v1 Then Bildad, who belonged to the people called Shuhites, replied:

v2 Eliphaz and Zophar, you should answer Job!

Job, be sensible! Then, we will speak. v3 You insult us as if we were stupid animals. But you should not think that we are evil. v4 You might hurt yourself when you are angry. But the world will not change because of your troubles. The rocks will not move because of you.

Chapter 18

Verses 1-3

It seems that Job did not speak quietly. He felt strong emotions. Bildad thought that Job was angry. But Bildad thought that his own opinion was important. He did not want Job to interrupt. So Bildad told Job to be calm.

Verse 4

In other words, Job could not change the world. Bildad thought that Job needed to learn about reality.

A wicked man will suffer a terrible death

v5 A wicked man will die. He is like a lamp that is off. Or, he is like a fire that does not burn. v6 His tent will be dark. A candle will not burn there.

v7 If a wicked man is strong, he will become weak. His own schemes will cause his troubles. v8 He is like a man who walks into a net. v9 Or, like a man who steps on a hunter’s trap. v10 Or, like a man who falls into a well.

v11 There is danger in every direction for that wicked man. v12 His trouble is like a wild animal. That animal chases him! That animal is hungry! That animal waits for someone to fall! That animal will attack! v13 That animal will eat a man’s skin. And that animal will kill the man.

v14 In his tent, the wicked man was safe. But his death will be terrible. v15 His tent will burn. His possessions will become ashes.

v16 That wicked man will be like a dead tree. He will be like a tree with dry roots and dead branches. v17 Nobody will remember that wicked man. Nobody will record his name. v18 He must leave this bright world. He belongs in the darkness of his grave. v19 He will have no son. He will have no grandson. Nobody will live in the place where that wicked man lived.

v20 The wicked man’s terrible death will upset everyone. v21 But a wicked man deserves a terrible death. These things ought to happen to a man who does not know God.

Verses 5-21

Bildad’s only idea in this chapter was that a wicked man is never successful. Bildad did not actually say that Job was wicked. But Bildad clearly had this opinion.

Verses 5-6

Bildad was sure that the wicked man could not continue to live. A candle can only burn for a few hours. Then, there is darkness. Bildad thought that a wicked man would only live for a short time. Job expected to die soon (Job 16:22). So Job seemed to be like this wicked man.

Verses 7-10

The wicked man tries to make trouble for other people. But he himself suffers from his own evil schemes. He is like a stupid hunter who walks into his own trap.

Job said that God caused his troubles. Perhaps Bildad thought that Job caused his own troubles.

Verses 11-13

Bildad described something terrible that chases the wicked man. Bildad did not actually say that he was thinking about a wild animal.

So the wild animal is just a description of the wicked man’s troubles. His troubles seem to be everywhere. And the troubles become worse and worse. In the end, the man dies because of his troubles. And his death is a terrible death.

Job had terrible skin troubles (Job 2:7). His troubles seemed impossible to escape from (Job 16:9-12). And these troubles were getting worse and worse (Job 16:13-14). So Bildad thought that Job must be a wicked man.

Verses 14-15

When Bildad talked about the man’s tent, he did not simply mean a home. He also meant the man’s life. A tent may seem to be a good home. But a tent is temporary. So a wicked man’s life is like a tent. His life cannot last for long. He will soon die.

Verse 16

The thought about a tree gave comfort to Job (Job 14:7-9). A tree that seems dead can live again. But Bildad thought that Job’s idea was not reality. He reminded Job that a tree can really die.

Verses 17-19

Bildad thought that Job was wicked. So Bildad warned Job. Nobody would remember Job after his death. Job had no children alive (Job 1:18-19). Job trusted God to prove that Job was innocent (Job 16:18-21). But Bildad thought that Job’s situation was hopeless.

Verses 20-21

Job thought that his troubles had some good effects (Job 17:8-9). Bildad did not believe this. A wicked man’s death may upset everyone. But a wicked man’s death would not help anybody.

Bildad said these things because he wanted to help Job. Bildad wanted Job to confess his evil deeds to God. If Job did this, then God would forgive Job (Job 8:5-6). But Bildad never really understood that Job was a good man (Job 2:3).



Chapter 19

Job replies to Bildad’s second speech

Job thinks that God caused Job’s troubles

v1 Job replied. He said:

v2 You continue to upset me. Your words make me sad. v3 You have insulted me many times. You accuse me unfairly, but you are not ashamed. v4 I alone am responsible if I have done evil things. v5 You think that you are great. You accuse me because I suffer. v6 So, know this fact! God has caused my troubles. This is why I cannot escape from my problems.

v7 I shout, ‘Help!’ But nobody hears me. I call aloud. But nobody is fair to me. v8 My life is like a dark path. My troubles are like a fence across this path. v9 God removes my honour. Nobody respects me still. v10 God attacks me. He destroys me, like a tree without roots. v11 He is angry with me. He considers me to be an enemy. v12 God has sent his army to oppose me. God’s army surrounds me. And the army is ready to attack.

Chapter 19

Verses 1-3

The friends upset Job because their speeches were not correct. The friends suggested that Job was a wicked man. But Job was a good, honest man (Job 1:1).

Verse 4

Job knew his own conscience. The friends did not need to accuse him. And they did not need to speak so many times. They were trying to force Job to agree with them. But Job was suffering. They ought to have shown more sympathy.

Verse 5

The friends accused Job so often because they were proud. They wanted to prove that they were right. But Job’s troubles did not prove that they were right.

Verse 6

In fact, the devil caused Job’s troubles. But Job did not realise this fact.

Verse 7

Job felt as if a robber was attacking him. But when Job called for help, nobody came to assist.

Verse 8

If a path is dark, the traveller cannot see the way ahead. If there is a fence, the traveller must stop. Job felt like that traveller. The traveller could not continue his journey. And it seemed that Job’s life could not continue.

Verse 9

Before his troubles, Job was a great man (Job 29:7-9). But nobody respected him now.

Verse 10

Job continues Bildad’s story about a tree (Job 18:16). If Job was like a tree with dry roots, God caused this situation. Job was not responsible, because Job was innocent.

Verses 11-12

Job was sure that God was attacking him. But we know from Job 2:3 that God was not angry with Job. God was proud of Job. God considered Job to be a loyal servant.

Nobody cares about Job

v13 My brothers leave me. My friends leave me. v14 My family leave me. My close friends forget me. v15 My guests think that I am a stranger. Even my maids think this. They consider me to be a foreigner. v16 If I call my servant, he does not answer me. He refuses to help me. v17 My wife hates the smell of my breath. My brothers hate me. v18 Even the little children insult me. They laugh at me. v19 My friends, whom I love, hate me. v20 I am very thin. My body is just skin and bones. I am hardly alive.

v21 Comfort me, my friends! Comfort me! God has attacked me. v22 But you are not God. So you do not need to attack me. You do not need to make me suffer.

Verses 13-18

Other people are often not loyal when someone suffers. Job’s family left him alone. Job’s servant did not answer Job. Even Job’s wife advised Job to insult God. She thought that it would be better for Job to be dead (Job 2:9).

Verses 19-22

Job loved his three friends. They came a long way to comfort him (Job 2:11). And they sat with him silently for a long time (Job 2:13). But their speeches did not help him. The friends accused Job. And they warned Job. Perhaps Job thought that it was God’s duty to punish him. But Job’s friends did not need to punish him. And Job really wanted them to comfort him.

Job knows that he will see God

v23 Record my words! Write my words in a book! v24 Or use an iron tool to record my words on rock.

v25 There is somebody who will rescue me. I know that he is alive. In the end, he will stand on the earth. v26 My body will disappear in my grave. But, in my body, I shall see God. v27 I, myself, will see him. Yes, my own eyes will see God. I desire that day with my whole heart.

v28 Do not say, ‘We will oppose Job. He caused his own troubles.’ v29 If you think this, then you ought to be afraid yourselves. God will be angry with you. He will punish you severely. Then, you will know that God is a judge.

Verses 23-24

Bildad said that everyone would forget the wicked man (Job 18:17-19). But Job did not want anyone to forget that he was innocent (Job 16:18). So Job wanted someone to write his words in a book. Then people would remember them always. And, of course, we still have the Book of Job today. It may be the most ancient book that still exists. Job wanted a permanent record of the things that he and his friends discovered about God.

Verses 25-27

These verses may be the most important verses in the Book of Job. Elsewhere Job explained his troubles, fears and doubts. But in these verses, Job explained the reasons why he still had hope.

Elsewhere Job had been doubtful whether he could ever prove himself innocent. He prayed. But he was not sure that God would ever help him. But in these verses, Job felt confident again.

Elsewhere, Job argued that death would be the end of everything. He did not think that a dead person could ever live again. But in these verses, Job was sure that God could make a dead person live again. And Job believed that he himself would meet God.

These are very important verses. But they are not easy verses to translate. Bible students are unsure about the exact meaning of many phrases.

But we understand enough to be confident about Job’s main ideas here:

·     Firstly, Job was developing his thoughts in Job 16:19-21. There, Job said that somebody in heaven was helping him. He described that person as a lawyer or a friend. Job probably meant God himself. With our knowledge of the whole Bible, we can add that these passages describe Jesus well.

·     In Job 14:7-9, Job remembered about trees. A tree that seems dead can often live again. And in Job 14:13-17, Job prayed that this would happen to Job himself. Here in chapter 19, Job seems confident that God will answer that prayer.

·     Job used a special word in verse 25. In the original language of the book (called Hebrew) this word is GOEL. A GOEL frees someone by either of two particular methods. Either the GOEL may pay a debt for that person. Or the GOEL may fight to free the person. The English word for GOEL is a redeemer. So:

(1) In the Book of Ruth, Boaz freed Ruth. He loved her. So he paid her debts and he married her. He was her redeemer or GOEL.

(2) God is often called a GOEL or redeemer. For example, Psalm 19:14 and Isaiah 63:16.

(3) The Bible teaches that Jesus is our redeemer (1 Peter 1:18-19). When he died for us, he freed us from the devil’s power. The price for our freedom was Jesus’ death.

(4) In Job 19:25, Job uses this special word to describe God. At last, Job trusts God completely. God will rescue Job, even if God has to take Job from the grave to save him. God will rescue Job, even if God must pay to rescue him. And God will rescue Job even if God must fight for Job.

·     Job realised that his body would die. But Job now knew that death would not be the end. In verse 26, the words ‘in my body’ might mean ‘without my body’. The translation is difficult but the meaning of Job’s words seems clear. After Job’s death, Job would see God. And Job desired that day, like Paul in Philippians 1:21-23.

Verses 28-29

Bildad argued this in Job 18:7-10. Job warned the friends not to be unfair. God would punish them if their words were evil.

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