From Job 17-20
At the start of todays reading Job again calls attention to his suffering and his friends lack of support. He believes the upright and the innocent will take notice of this injustice. None the less Job believes the righteous will grow stronger and stronger. He laments their support and looks forward for his own and their death (Job 17). Bildad will respond to Job’s criticism of them and affirm the wicked are punished. This is what Job has been denying (Job 18).
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
19 Then Job answered and said:
2 “How long will you torment me
and break me in pieces with words?
3 These ten times you have cast reproach upon me;
are you not ashamed to wrong me?
4 And even if it be true that I have erred,
my error remains with myself.
5 If indeed you magnify yourselves against me
and make my disgrace an argument against me, (Job 19.1-5)
Job continues to question their motivations and their friendship. They persist in trying to blame him for things he has not done. They are sure in their own minds and by their own theology Job is a sinner. Job takes offense at this. He can’t acknowledge sin he doesn’t know of. Even if he had sinned, how would they know of it anyhow?
6 know then that God has put me in the wrong
and closed his net about me.
7 Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered;
I call for help, but there is no justice.
8 He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass,
and he has set darkness upon my paths.
9 He has stripped from me my glory
and taken the crown from my head.
10 He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone,
and my hope has he pulled up like a tree.
11 He has kindled his wrath against me
and counts me as his adversary.
12 His troops come on together;
they have cast up their siege ramp against me
and encamp around my tent. (Job 19.6-12)
Job says ‘Job has put me in the wrong’. He then makes a series of statements listing what God has done. ‘He has walled’, ‘he has set’, ‘he has stripped’, he breaks me down’, ‘he has kindled his wrath’ and ‘his troops come on’ against me. There is no doubt Job attributes his suffering to the sovereign God.
13 “He has put my brothers far from me,
and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me.
14 My relatives have failed me,
my close friends have forgotten me.
15 The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger;
I have become a foreigner in their eyes.
16 I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer;
I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy.
17 My breath is strange to my wife,
and I am a stench to the children of my own mother.
18 Even young children despise me;
when I rise they talk against me.
19 All my intimate friends abhor me,
and those whom I loved have turned against me.
20 My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh,
and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
21 Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends,
for the hand of God has touched me!
22 Why do you, like God, pursue me?
Why are you not satisfied with my flesh? (Job 19.13-22)
Job continues describing what has happened to him. Notably he pleads with his friends, ‘Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends’. Was he crying when he said this? Were they moved? Or have they become hardened against his suffering? Job changes his perspective.
23 “Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!
28 If you say, ‘How we will pursue him!’
and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him,’
29 be afraid of the sword,
for wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
that you may know there is a judgment.” (Job 19.23-29)
Job has a redeemer. To redeem something means to buy it back. It means the liberation of any possession, object or person usually by payment of a ransom. In the spiritual context the term redemption indicates a freeing from the slavery of sin and death. Job sets an awesome example for anyone who is suffering. Even when all had either been taken away from him and his friends had turned against him he entrusted himself to God. Tellingly, Job warns his friends of the coming judgment.
Zophar still opposes Job. He says the exulting of the wicked is short (Job 20.5). He is insinuating that Job is wicked and has been punished for that reason. His speech is a long tirade against the wicked. He describes their iniquity and their final destiny (Job 20.29).
Story of Jesus
Like Job, Jesus felt abandoned By God on the cross (Mk 15.32). But he knew that his death would not be the end.
31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mk 8:31)
He believed God would be faithful to him and raise him from the death. At least one of the prophecies in David’s Psalms suggests this. David is speaking of the future Christ.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption. (Ps 16:9–10; cf. Acts 2.25-28; 13.35)
Jesus is our redeemer (Acts 7.35; Rev 14.3-4). He has redeemed those under the law. He means the Jews.
4 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Gal 4:1–7)
Jesus has also redeemed Gentiles (non-Jews) who believe in Him (Rom 6.7-8,22; Tit 2.14).
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