Job 14-16 If a man dies, shall he live again?

From Job 14-16

18 Job three friends

In his misery and ‘comfort’ Job looks forward to and anticipates the resurrection from the dead. Today’s passage combines an Old Testament prophecy of resurrection with forgiveness of sins. If you were to die, what would happen to you? Do you looks forward to a time when you will be called by God, will you answer and be raised to new life?

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

18 Job 14-16

We pick up from yesterdays post with Job continuing to speak.

14 “Man who is born of a woman

is few of days and full of trouble.

2 He comes out like a flower and withers;

he flees like a shadow and continues not.

3 And do you open your eyes on such a one

and bring me into judgment with you?

4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?

There is not one.

5 Since his days are determined,

and the number of his months is with you,

and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

6 look away from him and leave him alone,

that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day. (Job 14.1-6)

When men are born they are like a flower, but then they wither. All people die.

Job says, ‘who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean’ (Job 14.4). He is referring to childbirth (Job 14.1). With respect to being clean, women under the covenant law were generally viewed as less clean than men. Especially during childbirth. The law of Moses states giving birth is an unclean act that requires the woman to be purified afterward (Lev 12.1-8).

This raises the implication, since childbirth is an unclean act, no one is born clean.

Job recognises God numbers the days of man. When they are up he will die. Because of his suffering he thinks if God looked at man he will make his life miserable. He requests that ‘God look away from him and leave him alone’. This is not a good indicator for how he is feeling about God at the moment. He asks God may do this so people may enjoy their life and work. As if God is some sort of kill joy.

7 “For there is hope for a tree,

if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,

and that its shoots will not cease.

8 Though its root grow old in the earth,

and its stump die in the soil,

9 yet at the scent of water it will bud

and put out branches like a young plant.

10 But a man dies and is laid low;

man breathes his last, and where is he?

11 As waters fail from a lake

and a river wastes away and dries up,

12 so a man lies down and rises not again;

till the heavens are no more he will not awake

or be roused out of his sleep. (Job 14.7-12)

Unlike the trees which die and sprout again. Job recognises that when man dies he will not rise again or be roused from his sleep until the heavens are no more. ‘Man lies down and rises not again’, ‘he will not awake’ or ‘be roused out of his sleep’. The concept we should be thinking about here is resurrection.

Will there be a resurrection from the dead?

13 Oh that you would hide me in Sheol,

that you would conceal me until your wrath be past,

that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!

14 If a man dies, shall he live again?

All the days of my service I would wait,

till my renewal should come.

15 You would call, and I would answer you;

you would long for the work of your hands.

16 For then you would number my steps;

you would not keep watch over my sin;

17 my transgression would be sealed up in a bag,

and you would cover over my iniquity. (Job 14.13-17)

Job hopes for death so God’s wrath would pass. But afterward he hopes to be raised from the dead. The ‘set time’ when God would ‘remember’ him. He will ‘live again’ and be ‘renewed’.

Job imagines the LORD calling him while in death. Job would answer the call and be raised to new life. In this new state he believes the LORD will ‘number his steps’, that is care for him. The LORD would ‘not keep watch over his sin’, that is continually remember his sin and hold him to account.

Job is referring to sin as a load to be borne, something which covers someone and clings to them. After the LORD has called him and he answers, Job believes the LORD will deal with his sin. Seal it in a bag and cover it up so no one can see it.

The accumulation of imagery pulls together resurrection, covenant and forgiveness. The LORD will raise him to new life and enter into covenant with him.

The steadfast love (covenant love) of the LORD regularly involves the ongoing forgiveness of sins for its members (Ps 32,51).

Eliphaz will chime in again criticising Job for not fearing God. Like Job, he will question how man born of a woman could be righteous. He will then compare God to his holy ones in heaven and not even they are pure in his sight. Much less are those who are corrupt. He then launches into a depiction of the wicked and their end (Job 15).

Job will call them all ‘miserable comforters’. They have come here to ease his suffering and because of their assumptions they end up criticising and judging him. Job retaliates rebuking them. He calls attention again to his suffering and says God has given him up to the ungodly and punished him. Again he laments his life (Job 16).

Story of Jesus

In the gospel the resurrection of Jesus and forgiveness are tied together.Jesus has died on the cross and it is the third day. The Peter, John and Mary have just discovered his tomb is empty, but have not grasped the implication. The disciples leave for their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,

“Peace be with you.”

20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again,

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (Jn 20.11-23)

Job spoke of the ‘set time’ when God would ‘remember’ him. He will ‘live again’ and be ‘renewed’. This time has been inaugurated in Jesus. Job also looked forward to the time where the LORD would ‘not keep watch over his sin’, that is continually remember his sin and hold him to account.

He is speaking about forgiveness of sins.

Jesus resurrection begins a new age of peace and forgiveness. Peace and forgiveness you can know for yourself, or if you already do share with others. Believe he is the Christ, trust in him and let others know of the good news.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.