JOB STUDIES 7

We now consider the heated exchanges between the four men in Chapters 15 to 21--the second cycle of speeches. As the second round begins, it is “no more Mr. Nice Guy”! The friends seem to think they have gone too easy on Job before. Now, his refusal to admit that he has committed some sin is taken as further evidence of just how wicked he is. Their angry sarcasm grows and grows, hurting Job further. May God preserve us from a theology that has an answer for everything but is no help in anything!

1) Of what does Eliphaz accuse Job in 15:2-3?

INSIGHT: Vs. 4 means: “You are tossing aside reverence for God and withholding the devotion due to Him.”

2) What further accusation does Eliphaz make about the speeches of Job (15:5-6)?

3) According to Eliphaz, what has Job rejected (15:7-11)?

4) How is Job supposed to view the harsh condemnation of his friends (15:11, 13)?

5) What is Eliphaz’s opinion of man, in general (15:16)?

INSIGHT: Eliphaz seems to ignore the grace of God, and the forgiveness found through faith in the shed blood of the Old Testament sacrifices. It seems this is a blessing Job has repeatedly availed himself of, so God is able to call him “blameless” (1:8; 2:3).

6) In 15:20-26, Eliphaz describes the terrible suffering of a wicked person--one who is also “defiant” and “stubborn” (vs. 25, 26). What is he implying?

7) Eliphaz’s theology seems to leave no room for the present comfort and prosperity of what kind of people?

8) In response, Job criticizes his friends. How (16:2)?

9) If he were in their place, what would Job offer instead? And how? (16:5)?

INSIGHT: In 16:9-14 the Amplified Bible makes some bold changes that are not supported by the text. Job is said to understand that it is the devil who is causing all his misery. For example, vs. 9 says, “[My adversary Satan] has torn [me] in his wrath, and hated and persecuted me...” etc. Such additions to Scripture are uncalled for and seriously wrong.

This is the only place the Amplified makes such a change. In many other passages they seem content to keep Job’s focus on God, where it belongs. There is absolutely no evidence Job ever knew Satan was behind his trials. The most agonizing part of his suffering lies in coming to terms with his belief that God has done all this–that after all his years of faithful service to God, the Lord is treating him like an enemy (7:20; 9:13, 17; 13:24; 19:11).

INSIGHT: We hear Job’s wrenching anguish in vs. 18, “O earth, do not cover my blood, and let my cry have no resting place!” He may have been thinking of the slaying of Abel, an event that was likely familiar. After Cain killed Abel, the Lord said to him, “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground” (Gen. 4:10). Here, Job is saying, “If I die from all of this [which seemed a real possibility, given his illness] may God continue to regard my death and bring justice afterward.” And Job is confident that He will. “Surely even now my witness is in heaven, and my evidence is on high” (vs. 19). With limited information, under great stress, and facing unrelenting condemnation, Job continues to trust.

10) The emotional turmoil of Job can be seen in his rapid shift from hope to hopelessness.

¤ What is his hope (17:9)?

¤ What doubts does he express (17:11)?

INSIGHT: Bildad’s attack follows, with more scathing sarcasm (18:1-4).

11) In 18:5-21, Bildad gives a clear but heartless description of some of Job’s suffering. What are some conditions he faces?

¤ Vs. 11

¤ Vs. 12

¤ Vs. 13

¤ Vs. 14

¤ Vs. 17, 19

12) Bildad says such things are experienced by whom (18:5, 21)?

13) In 19:3 Job maintains that Bildad has “wronged” him. How (18:21)?

INSIGHT: In 19:6, “God hath overthrown me” (KJV) is translated “wronged me” in the NKJV. A form of the Hebrew word is found in Ecc. 12:3, (“the strong men bow down”), where it is a poetic reference to the legs of the elderly becoming shaky and unreliable. In the context here (cf. vs. 7) Job is saying that God is depriving him of the justice he deserves. But in a moment (19:25-27) he finds an amazing answer to this, by faith.

14) What is one of the painful burdens Job has to bear (19:13-19)?

INSIGHT: “I have escaped by the skin of my teeth” (19:20). This is another expression still used in our day. To Job it meant something appalling--that he was barely alive with only the skin of his teeth (his gums) remaining. In other words, because of his advancing disease, his teeth have begun to fall out.

15) In 19:23 Job expresses another desire (one that God obviously agreed with!). What is it?

16) What two things does Job know with the certainty of faith (19:25)?

INSIGHT: The word Job uses actually means “Kinsman-redeemer” (Goel, in Hebrew), one of his own kin who will meet his need. Whether he fully understands it or not, Job speaks with the voice of a prophet about One who would share his humanity, and come to earth to redeem him. What profound insight he has!

17) What is one more thing that Job “knows” with certainty (19:26-27)?

“In my flesh”: The Hebrew word min can mean “in,” or it can mean “apart from.” That is how it is translated here in some versions. If that is what Job means, he is saying, “Even though my body is destroyed, my conscious existence will continue, and I will one day be in the presence of my Redeemer without this ruined body.”

However, when the Hebrew word min is used with the verb to see, as it is here, it often has the meaning of “from the vantage point of” or “in.” The traditional rendering is therefore likely correct. And if so, Job is saying, “Even though this present body is destroyed, I am going to take part in the resurrection, and in a new body I shall see my Redeemer.” Job’s grasp of truth is astonishing.

INSIGHT: Zophar’s final words (he does not speak a 3rd time) are full of sarcastic venom (20:4-8). He paints such an ugly picture of the results of wickedness (20:14-16) that it seems he is trying to frighten poor Job into a confession!

18) Of what does Zophar accuse Job (20:19)?

INSIGHT: Job’s own testimony (29:12), as well as God’s statements about him, refute this. Zophar cannot find anything to accuse Job of, so now he is making things up. The Lord Jesus had a similar experience at His trial (Matt. 26:59).

19) Job confronts Zophar and the others with the issue they have seemingly been avoiding. What is it (21:7, 14-15)?

20) Unlike Job’s case, there are many evil men who are in what circumstances?

¤ Vs. 8, 11

¤ Vs. 9

¤ Vs. 10

¤ Vs. 12

¤ Vs. 13

21) And why does God allow such things?

22) If being poor and lacking material prosperity shows you are wicked, then what would this say about whom (Lk. 9:58)?