Reading through the Bible together
Job is asking whether there are not constellations during which people are born? Moses probably studied astronomy (study of the stars) in Hatshepsut’s court in Egypt under the famous Egyptian astronomer Senenmut. Moses, writing the book of Job under inspiration, gives us a very advanced view of astronomy. Job says that as a servant works in the sun and longs for shade so the death of sleep is preceded by months and years of work and nights of weariness (verse 3).
It seems there is no hope for recovery for Job (verse 6). With death near, his life is only a breath away from being gone, his eyes may never see good again (verse 7). The one who dies does not come up to take up his life (verse 8). There is no more home-coming to such a person (verses 9,10). He refuses to keep quiet, to “cut off” his mouth, and will continue to speak in anguish (verse 11). God placed guards over Job like guarding people from monsters in the sea and from snakes threatening humans on land (verse 12). Pain in his bones and dreams in the night scare him (verses 13-16). He does not want to live, not even in eternity (verse 16). He hates it for his days are vanity.
But, Job knows that God places His heart upon him (verse 17). When God places His heart upon Job, He magnifies, when Satan places his heart upon Job (see 1:8) he suffers. God visits people the whole night. The idea that God “visits man’s deeds every morning” is not in the text. Instead of testing man every moment of life, Moses is saying that God does not leave man alone and Job wishes to know why he is suffering. God stands close to Job despite him having to face Satan (verse 19).
God is the watcher of men and Job is wondering whether the continuation of his suffering means he is sinning against his Watcher although he is not aware of any sin (verse 20). Job realizes that God has marked him out and wishes God would give him insight why he suffers in a near death situation and pardon him for any transgressions. He thinks that if he died and was buried that God and no one could find him since his soul stops existing (verse 21). As will become clearer throughout the book, Job realizes that God knows everyone’s makeup and can recreate what is non-existent.
Dear God, we know that whatever we suffer is through the workings of Satan and standing embraced by You there is a higher purpose for our suffering. There is no joy of watching pain even by the unfallen worlds, but they are able to watch the unfolding evil of Satan in all its variety. Whatever happens, do stay near us we pray. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea