Reading through the Bible together
In chapter 14, Job focuses on what it means to be human. A definition of a man is that he/she is “born of a woman”, “short of days” and “full of trouble” (v. 1). It is just the opposite of the Garden of Eden where humans were created and formed by God to live eternally and walk in peace with their Creator. But like roses that blossom and are cut off, and as shadows move and go, so are humans (v. 2).
“Lord,” Job says, “in addition to the degeneration which I’ve inherited as outlined in Genesis, Your eyes are on me, and now You investigate me and bring me to judgment” (v. 3). With the seed of death in our bodies as a result of the sins of Adam and Eve, “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one” (v. 4). If a man’s days are limited and the number of his months is “with You, his bounds are set and he cannot cross” (v. 5). “Turn away from him, Lord, so he may rest from pain and finish his days (v. 6).
Job then compares the hope of a new life of a tree to that of a human: when a tree is cut, it looks like it died but when watered it starts growing again (vv. 7-9). In comparison, a strong man is weakened and dies, and perishes, where is he? (v. 10). Then Job outlines the condition of people after death: humans lie down and do not stand up until the heavens are no more, only then are they aroused from their sleep. Job does not believe in the immortality of the soul or that one part of a human (his soul) continues to exist after death. During the Middle Age the rabbis were quiet on this verse but gave long elaborations on verse 22 to support afterlife of the soul. Except Mezudath David (17th century) who interpreted it similar to Adventist conclusions in modern times.
Job says, “Oh, that You would hide me in the grave until Your wrath is past and give me a set time and remember me when the time comes” [at the resurrection]” (v. 13). The hope of a future resurrection with Job could not be clearer. “If a strong man dies, will he live? All the days of my life, I will hope [the resurrection hope] until the coming of my passing” (v. 14). Job knows God, and if God calls him from the grave, he will answer Him, for God loves the humans He made (v. 15). For now the Lord is watching Job’s steps, but he knows that with God there is forgiveness and He will not hold his sins against him for they are all sealed up in a bag (v. 16).
Also Job knows that God can overpower a human so that his face is changed and he goes away (v. 20). His sons prosper and are honored but he does not know it; they become poor and he has no knowledge of it (v. 21). If a man could know all this he would be in pain and continuously mourn” (v. 22).
The words and beauty of Job touch also our fabric. Remember us when You come with Your Kingdom of Glory. Amen
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea