Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter Job speaks in the bitterness of his soul (verse 1). He says to God: “Do not consider me wicked, let me know upon what Your case is against me. I am the work of Your hands. Why am I rejected?” (verse 3). In the investigative judgment, do You use eyes of flesh and only see as men see, searching for evil in each other? (verse 4).
Job knows that he has a relationship with God and he rests securely in the hand of God. “It is resting upon Your knowledge of me that I will not be accounted evil” (verse 7). Job is secure in the hand of God because God is his Creator: “You made me from clay (see Genesis 2:7). ‘Then the Lord God formed man of dust of the ground’) and will You return me to dust again?” (verse 9). God gave Job a skeleton and clothed it with skin. He gave him life, personality, kindness, and spirit—the capacity to have a spiritual relationship (verse 12). Job is hidden in the heart of God (verse 13).
Since Job is in God’s heart, it is unthinkable that the Eliphaz and Bildad’s conclusion that if you are bad, bad things happen to you. If you are good, then good things happen to you (verses 14-15). They conclude because Job is in God’s hand, it is good for him to suffer because God is cleansing him and making him better (verses 16).
The word “anger” or “indignation” (verse 17) gives a wrong impression. To understand this word in Job, one has to use a language from the time of Moses which means to “bind.” It is one of the rare words in Job and does not fit the word “anger” which is in our translations. Since Job is wrapped up with God, received benefits in abundance, he wishes to place his sufferings on the other side of the scale to weigh them against the blessings and to ask why all the bad is now happening to him? (verse 18). He wonders whether it would not have been better if he was not born or rather died than suffer (verses 18-19).
In verse 20 Job asks for a weekend-break in his life. His days may be few so if suffering is lifted for a short while he can have a little time of comfort before he dies. When he dies, he will go to the land of darkness and shadows (verses 21, 22).
We also rest in Your heart and mind and hand. Christ is our Advocate in the judgment. Lord, give us the spirit of Job for even our suffering is in Your hand and heart. Amen
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea