A Chronological Daily Bible Study of the Old Testament
7-Day Sections with a Summary-Commentary, Discussion Questions, and a Practical Daily Application
V. The Speeches of Elihu (32:1-37:24)
32:1 So these three men refused to answer Job further, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 32:2 Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry. He was angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. 32:3 With Job’s three friends he was also angry, because they could not find an answer, and so declared Job guilty. 32:4 Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job, because the others were older than he was. 32:5 But when Elihu saw that the three men had no further reply, he became very angry.
Elihu Claims Wisdom
32:6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite spoke up: “I am young, but you are elderly; that is why I was fearful, and afraid to explain to you what I know.
32:7 I said to myself, ‘Age should speak, and length of years should make wisdom known.’
32:8 But it is a spirit in people, the breath of the Almighty, that makes them understand.
32:9 It is not the aged who are wise, nor old men who understand what is right.
32:10 Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me. I, even I, will explain what I know.’
32:11 Look, I waited for you to speak; I listened closely to your wise thoughts, while you were searching for words.
32:12 Now I was paying you close attention, yet there was no one proving Job wrong, not one of you was answering his statements!
32:13 So do not say, ‘We have found wisdom!
God will refute him, not man!’
32:14 Job has not directed his words to me, and so I will not reply to him with your arguments.
Job’s Friends Failed to Answer
32:15 “They are dismayed and cannot answer any more; they have nothing left to say.
32:16 And I have waited. But because they do not speak, because they stand there and answer no more,
32:17 I too will answer my part, I too will explain what I know.
32:18 For I am full of words, and the spirit within me constrains me.
32:19 Inside I am like wine which has no outlet, like new wineskins ready to burst!
32:20 I will speak, so that I may find relief; I will open my lips, so that I may answer.
32:21 I will not show partiality to anyone, nor will I confer a title on any man.
32:22 for I do not know how to give honorary titles, if I did, my Creator would quickly do away with me.
Elihu Invites Job’s Attention
33:1 “But now, O Job, listen to my words, and hear everything I have to say!
33:2 See now, I have opened my mouth; my tongue in my mouth has spoken.
33:3 My words come from the uprightness of my heart, and my lips will utter knowledge sincerely.
33:4 The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
33:5 Reply to me, if you can; set your arguments in order before me and take your stand!
33:6 Look, I am just like you in relation to God; I too have been molded from clay.
33:7 Therefore no fear of me should terrify you, nor should my pressure be heavy on you.
Elihu Rejects Job’s Plea of Innocence
33:8 “Indeed, you have said in my hearing (I heard the sound of the words!):
33:9 ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am clean and have no iniquity.
33:10 Yet God finds occasions with me; he regards me as his enemy!
33:11 He puts my feet in shackles; he watches closely all my paths.’
33:12 Now in this, you are not right – I answer you, for God is greater than a human being.
33:13 Why do you contend against him, that he does not answer all a person’s words?
Elihu Disagrees With Job’s View of God
33:14 “For God speaks, the first time in one way, the second time in another, though a person does not perceive it.
33:15 In a dream, a night vision, when deep sleep falls on people as they sleep in their beds.
33:16 Then he gives a revelation to people, and terrifies them with warnings,
33:17 to turn a person from his sin, and to cover a person’s pride.
33:18 He spares a person’s life from corruption, his very life from crossing over the river.
33:19 Or a person is chastened by pain on his bed, and with the continual strife of his bones,
33:20 so that his life loathes food, and his soul rejects appetizing fare.
33:21 His flesh wastes away from sight, and his bones, which were not seen, are easily visible.
33:22 He draws near to the place of corruption, and his life to the messengers of death.
33:23 If there is an angel beside him, one mediator out of a thousand, to tell a person what constitutes his uprightness;
33:24 and if God is gracious to him and says, ‘Spare him from going down to the place of corruption, I have found a ransom for him,’
33:25 then his flesh is restored like a youth’s; he returns to the days of his youthful vigor.
33:26 He entreats God, and God delights in him, he sees God’s face with rejoicing, and God restores to him his righteousness.
33:27 That person sings to others, saying: ‘I have sinned and falsified what is right, but I was not punished according to what I deserved.
33:28 He redeemed my life from going down to the place of corruption, and my life sees the light!’
Elihu’s Appeal to Job
33:29 “Indeed, God does all these things, twice, three times, in his dealings with a person,
33:30 to turn back his life from the place of corruption, that he may be enlightened with the light of life.
33:31 Pay attention, Job – listen to me; be silent, and I will speak.
33:32 If you have any words, reply to me; speak, for I want to justify you.
33:33 If not, you listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”
Elihu’s Second Speech
34:1 Elihu answered:
34:2 “Listen to my words, you wise men; hear me, you learned men.
34:3 For the ear assesses words as the mouth tastes food.
34:4 Let us evaluate for ourselves what is right; let us come to know among ourselves what is good.
34:5 For Job says, ‘I am innocent, but God turns away my right.
34:6 Concerning my right, should I lie?
My wound is incurable, although I am without transgression.’
34:7 What man is like Job, who drinks derision like water!
34:8 He goes about in company with evildoers, he goes along with wicked men.
34:9 For he says, ‘It does not profit a man when he makes his delight with God.’
God is Not Unjust
34:10 “Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do wickedness, from the Almighty to do evil.
34:11 For he repays a person for his work, and according to the conduct of a person, he causes the consequences to find him.
34:12 Indeed, in truth, God does not act wickedly, and the Almighty does not pervert justice.
34:13 Who entrusted to him the earth?
And who put him over the whole world?
34:14 If God were to set his heart on it, and gather in his spirit and his breath,
34:15 all flesh would perish together and human beings would return to dust.
God Is Impartial and Omniscient
34:16 “If you have understanding, listen to this, hear what I have to say.
34:17 Do you really think that one who hates justice can govern?
And will you declare guilty the supremely righteous One,
34:18 who says to a king, ‘Worthless man’ and to nobles, ‘Wicked men,’
34:19 who shows no partiality to princes, and does not take note of the rich more than the poor, because all of them are the work of his hands?
34:20 In a moment they die, in the middle of the night, people are shaken and they pass away.
The mighty are removed effortlessly.
34:21 For his eyes are on the ways of an individual, he observes all a person’s steps.
34:22 There is no darkness, and no deep darkness, where evildoers can hide themselves.
34:23 For he does not still consider a person, that he should come before God in judgment.
34:24 He shatters the great without inquiry, and sets up others in their place.
34:25 Therefore, he knows their deeds, he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.
34:26 He strikes them for their wickedness, in a place where people can see,
34:27 because they have turned away from following him, and have not understood any of his ways,
34:28 so that they caused the cry of the poor to come before him, so that he hears the cry of the needy.
34:29 But if God is quiet, who can condemn him?
If he hides his face, then who can see him?
Yet he is over the individual and the nation alike,
34:30 so that the godless man should not rule, and not lay snares for the people.
Lord, it is often true that we see most of Who You are, yet we make you over into our image of Who we want You to be to serve our preferences. May I learn from the stories of others You have provided in Your Word and strive to trust and obey when my comprehension falls short of knowing You perfectly.
As is apparent from the text, and affirmed by the NET translator’s notes, Elihu is not corrected by anyone, The Lord God does not ask Job to pray for him, and many of the things he says also appear in the Lord’s words to Job.
Elihu, younger than the others, spoke up when he saw that the three older men had ceased from contesting with Job.
Elihu reminded them that despite the age difference they were all created by God from the same clay and all stood equally before the Lord God. (Later, in the New Testament, the apostle Paul encourages Timothy to be unafraid to speak truth – even to those older than he – and to not allow them to intimidate him to silence.)
Elihu challenged Job’s insistence that he was innocent before the Lord God – noting that only God could claim perfection.
Elihu challenged Job’s derisive attitude toward the Lord God when he declare the Lord to have been absent from a fair hearing and unjust toward him.
The younger man jumped in with perspective and wisdom that he may have learned from the others and which he could now see that they had missed in their speeches.
Might the three older men have ceased from speaking because they realized that they were in error, or had they simply had exhausted themselves accusing Job of lying?
Elihu may have been mentored in awe of the Lord God by these men, and may have looked-up to Job as a model of righteousness, so to hear him raise doubts about the integrity of God would have been highly offensive.
When have you observed a student challenging a teacher, or a mentee challenging their mentor, using the very principles and words they had been taught?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone whom you have trusted as a teacher but who had mixed some incorrect things in with the correct, perhaps in the past, or perhaps more recently.
Today I will acknowledge the truth of what the Holy Spirit has revealed and will accept His clarification as a good Berean – one who seeks after truth. As is possible I will respectfully share what I have learned with the one whom I believe has been incorrect and pray that they will be teachable and will refrain from the wrong teaching in the future.
Be Specific ________________________________________________
Job Is Foolish to Rebel
34:31 “Has anyone said to God, ‘I have endured chastisement, but I will not act wrongly any more.
34:32 Teach me what I cannot see. If I have done evil, I will do so no more.’
34:33 Is it your opinion that God should recompense it, because you reject this?
But you must choose, and not I, so tell us what you know.
34:34 Men of understanding say to me – any wise man listening to me says –
34:35 that Job speaks without knowledge and his words are without understanding.
34:36 But Job will be tested to the end, because his answers are like those of wicked men.
34:37 For he adds transgression to his sin; in our midst he claps his hands, and multiplies his words against God.”
Elihu’s Third Speech
35:1 Then Elihu answered:
35:2 “Do you think this to be just: when you say, ‘My right before God.’
35:3 But you say, ‘What will it profit you,’ and, ‘What do I gain by not sinning?’
35:4 I will reply to you, and to your friends with you.
35:5 Gaze at the heavens and see; consider the clouds, which are higher than you!
35:6 If you sin, how does it affect God?
If your transgressions are many, what does it do to him?
35:7 If you are righteous, what do you give to God, or what does he receive from your hand?
35:8 Your wickedness affects only a person like yourself, and your righteousness only other people.
35:9 “People cry out because of the excess of oppression; they cry out for help because of the power of the mighty.
35:10 But no one says, ‘Where is God, my Creator, who gives songs in the night,
35:11 who teaches us more than the wild animals of the earth, and makes us wiser than the birds of the sky?’
35:12 Then they cry out – but he does not answer – because of the arrogance of the wicked.
35:13 Surely it is an empty cry – God does not hear it; the Almighty does not take notice of it.
35:14 How much less, then, when you say that you do not perceive him, that the case is before him and you are waiting for him!
35:15 And further, when you say that his anger does not punish, and that he does not know transgression!
35:16 So Job opens his mouth to no purpose; without knowledge he multiplies words.”
Elihu’s Fourth Speech
36:1 Elihu said further:
36:2 “Be patient with me a little longer and I will instruct you, for I still have words to speak on God’s behalf.
36:3 With my knowledge I will speak comprehensively, and to my Creator I will ascribe righteousness.
36:4 For in truth, my words are not false; it is one complete in knowledge who is with you.
36:5 Indeed, God is mighty; and he does not despise people, he is mighty, and firm in his intent.
36:6 He does not allow the wicked to live, but he gives justice to the poor.
36:7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous; but with kings on the throne he seats the righteous and exalts them forever.
36:8 But if they are bound in chains, and held captive by the cords of affliction,
36:9 then he reveals to them what they have done, and their transgressions, that they were behaving proudly.
36:10 And he reveals this for correction, and says that they must turn from evil.
36:11 If they obey and serve him, they live out their days in prosperity and their years in pleasantness.
36:12 But if they refuse to listen, they pass over the river of death, and expire without knowledge.
36:13 The godless at heart nourish anger, they do not cry out even when he binds them.
36:14 They die in their youth, and their life ends among the male cultic prostitutes.
36:15 He delivers the afflicted by their afflictions, he reveals himself to them by their suffering.
36:16 And surely, he drew you from the mouth of distress, to a wide place, unrestricted, and to the comfort of your table filled with rich food.
36:17 But now you are preoccupied with the judgment due the wicked, judgment and justice take hold of you.
36:18 Be careful that no one entices you with riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside.
36:19 Would your wealth sustain you, so that you would not be in distress, even all your mighty efforts?
36:20 Do not long for the cover of night to drag people away from their homes.
36:21 Take heed, do not turn to evil, for because of this you have been tested by affliction.
36:22 Indeed, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him?
36:23 Who has prescribed his ways for him?
Or said to him, ‘You have done what is wicked’?
36:24 Remember to extol his work, which people have praised in song.
36:25 All humanity has seen it; people gaze on it from afar.
The Work and Wisdom of God
36:26 “Yes, God is great – beyond our knowledge!
The number of his years is unsearchable.
36:27 He draws up drops of water; they distill the rain into its mist,
36:28 which the clouds pour down and shower on humankind abundantly.
36:29 Who can understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion?
36:30 See how he scattered his lightning about him; he has covered the depths of the sea.
36:31 It is by these that he judges the nations and supplies food in abundance.
36:32 With his hands he covers the lightning, and directs it against its target.
36:33 His thunder announces the coming storm, the cattle also, concerning the storm’s approach.
37:1 At this also my heart pounds and leaps from its place.
37:2 Listen carefully to the thunder of his voice, to the rumbling that proceeds from his mouth.
37:3 Under the whole heaven he lets it go, even his lightning to the far corners of the earth.
37:4 After that a voice roars; he thunders with an exalted voice, and he does not hold back his lightning bolts when his voice is heard.
37:5 God thunders with his voice in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.
37:6 For to the snow he says, ‘Fall to earth,’ and to the torrential rains, ‘Pour down.’
37:7 He causes everyone to stop working, so that all people may know his work.
37:8 The wild animals go to their lairs, and in their dens they remain.
37:9 A tempest blows out from its chamber, icy cold from the driving winds.
37:10 The breath of God produces ice, and the breadth of the waters freeze solid.
37:11 He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through the clouds.
37:12 The clouds go round in circles, wheeling about according to his plans, to carry out all that he commands them over the face of the whole inhabited world.
37:13 Whether it is for punishment for his land, or whether it is for mercy, he causes it to find its mark.
37:14 “Pay attention to this, Job!
Stand still and consider the wonders God works.
37:15 Do you know how God commands them, how he makes lightning flash in his storm cloud?
37:16 Do you know about the balancing of the clouds, that wondrous activity of him who is perfect in knowledge?
37:17 You, whose garments are hot when the earth is still because of the south wind,
37:18 will you, with him, spread out the clouds, solid as a mirror of molten metal?
37:19 Tell us what we should say to him. We cannot prepare a case because of the darkness.
37:20 Should he be informed that I want to speak?
If a man speaks, surely he would be swallowed up!
37:21 But now, the sun cannot be looked at – it is bright in the skies – after a wind passed and swept the clouds away.
37:22 From the north he comes in golden splendor; around God is awesome majesty.
37:23 As for the Almighty, we cannot attain to him!
He is great in power, but justice and abundant righteousness he does not oppress.
37:24 Therefore people fear him, for he does not regard all the wise in heart.”
Lord, You instruct us to cry-out to You with the groanings of our hearts, but You do not give us permission to instruct You as to when and how You must respond to us. May I always be humble, respectful, and trusting - You are my Lord.
Elihu rightly observed that Job had gone beyond bringing his grief to the Lord and had challenged Him as unfair and unavailable.
Elihu then launched into one of the most-profound declarations of praise of the Lord God in all of the Bible.
Elihu’s words were spoken in very ancient times and the sophistication of his understanding testifies to an advanced intellectual culture.
How would you compare Elihu’s testimony of the Lord to those of others in the Bible?
It is notable that the three older men are not reported as raising objection to Elihu’s words, nor does Job appear to contest them.
When have you sat under the teaching of deacons or elders or others and discovered that they were blind to one or more important teachings of the Bible? Did you have an opportunity to share your observation? What was the response?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you either an error or a gap in the Biblical teaching of others, or in your own teaching.
Today I will respectfully share my perspective of an error or a gap in teaching and/or I will confess and repent of my own, request and receive the forgiveness of the Lord, and act to correct the error/gap – including informing those I have previously taught.
Be Specific _____________________________________________
VI. The Divine Speeches (38:1-42:6)
The Lord’s First Speech
38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
38:2 “Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge?
38:3 Get ready for a difficult task like a man; I will question you and you will inform me!
God’s questions to Job
38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you possess understanding!
38:5 Who set its measurements – if you know – or who stretched a measuring line across it?
38:6 On what were its bases set, or who laid its cornerstone –
38:7 when the morning stars sang in chorus, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
38:8 “Who shut up the sea with doors when it burst forth, coming out of the womb,
38:9 when I made the storm clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band,
38:10 when I prescribed its limits, and set in place its bolts and doors,
38:11 when I said, ‘To here you may come and no farther, here your proud waves will be confined’?
38:12 Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, or made the dawn know its place,
38:13 that it might seize the corners of the earth, and shake the wicked out of it?
38:14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features are dyed like a garment.
38:15 Then from the wicked the light is withheld, and the arm raised in violence is broken.
38:16 Have you gone to the springs that fill the sea, or walked about in the recesses of the deep?
38:17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
Have you seen the gates of deepest darkness?
38:18 Have you considered the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know it all!
38:19 “In what direction does light reside, and darkness, where is its place,
38:20 that you may take them to their borders and perceive the pathways to their homes?
38:21 You know, for you were born before them; and the number of your days is great!
38:22 Have you entered the storehouse of the snow, or seen the armory of the hail,
38:23 which I reserve for the time of trouble, for the day of war and battle?
38:24 In what direction is lightning dispersed, or the east winds scattered over the earth?
38:25 Who carves out a channel for the heavy rains, and a path for the rumble of thunder,
38:26 to cause it to rain on an uninhabited land, a desert where there are no human beings,
38:27 to satisfy a devastated and desolate land, and to cause it to sprout with vegetation?
38:28 Does the rain have a father, or who has fathered the drops of the dew?
38:29 From whose womb does the ice emerge, and the frost from the sky, who gives birth to it,
38:30 when the waters become hard like stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen solid?
38:31 Can you tie the bands of the Pleiades, or release the cords of Orion?
38:32 Can you lead out the constellations in their seasons, or guide the Bear with its cubs?
38:33 Do you know the laws of the heavens, or can you set up their rule over the earth?
38:34 Can you raise your voice to the clouds so that a flood of water covers you?
38:35 Can you send out lightning bolts, and they go?
Will they say to you, ‘Here we are’?
38:36 Who has put wisdom in the heart, or has imparted understanding to the mind?
38:37 Who by wisdom can count the clouds, and who can tip over the water jars of heaven,
38:38 when the dust hardens into a mass, and the clumps of earth stick together?
38:39 “Do you hunt prey for the lioness, and satisfy the appetite of the lions,
38:40 when they crouch in their dens, when they wait in ambush in the thicket?
38:41 Who prepares prey for the raven, when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?
39:1 “Are you acquainted with the way the mountain goats give birth?
Do you watch as the wild deer give birth to their young?
39:2 Do you count the months they must fulfill, and do you know the time they give birth?
39:3 They crouch, they bear their young, they bring forth the offspring they have carried.
39:4 Their young grow strong, and grow up in the open; they go off, and do not return to them.
39:5 Who let the wild donkey go free?
Who released the bonds of the donkey,
39:6 to whom I appointed the steppe for its home, the salt wastes as its dwelling place?
39:7 It scorns the tumult in the town; it does not hear the shouts of a driver.
39:8 It ranges the hills as its pasture, and searches after every green plant.
39:9 Is the wild ox willing to be your servant?
Will it spend the night at your feeding trough?
39:10 Can you bind the wild ox to a furrow with its rope, will it till the valleys, following after you?
39:11 Will you rely on it because its strength is great?
Will you commit your labor to it?
39:12 Can you count on it to bring in your grain, and gather the grain to your threshing floor?
39:13 “The wings of the ostrich flap with joy, but are they the pinions and plumage of a stork?
39:14 For she leaves her eggs on the ground, and lets them be warmed on the soil.
39:15 She forgets that a foot might crush them, or that a wild animal might trample them.
39:16 She is harsh with her young, as if they were not hers; she is unconcerned about the uselessness of her labor.
39:17 For God deprived her of wisdom, and did not impart understanding to her.
39:18 But as soon as she springs up, she laughs at the horse and its rider.
39:19 “Do you give the horse its strength?
Do you clothe its neck with a mane?
39:20 Do you make it leap like a locust?
Its proud neighing is terrifying!
39:21 It paws the ground in the valley, exulting mightily, it goes out to meet the weapons.
39:22 It laughs at fear and is not dismayed; it does not shy away from the sword.
39:23 On it the quiver rattles; the lance and javelin flash.
39:24 In excitement and impatience it consumes the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet is blown.
39:25 At the sound of the trumpet, it says, ‘Aha!’ And from a distance it catches the scent of battle, the thunderous shouting of commanders, and the battle cries.
39:26 “Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars, and spreads its wings toward the south?
39:27 Is it at your command that the eagle soars, and builds its nest on high?
39:28 It lives on a rock and spends the night there, on a rocky crag and a fortress.
39:29 From there it spots its prey, its eyes gaze intently from a distance.
39:30 And its young ones devour the blood, and where the dead carcasses are, there it is.”
Lord, we never have standing to question You, though You are not troubled when we cry out to You and do so imperfectly. May I learn from Job’s experience the difference between crying-out in anguished uncertainty and doubting the integrity or knowledge of the Lord God.
The Lord God had allowed Job and his associates/friends sufficient time to dialogue and then brought a devastating challenge to Job “Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge?”
The Lord declared that Job, who had demanded a judicial audience so that he could justify himself to God (Whom he had accused of doing him an injustice), now must stand and himself be questioned – then required to respond to His questions.
The Lord God directed Job’s attention “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”, then He continued to quiz him about many details of creation, even mocking him about the source and destination of light “You know, for you were born before them; and the number of your days is great!”
The Lord God then continued across the planet, listing detailed specifics about many varieties of living things and asking Job to inform Him about his (Job’s) knowledge of them, mocking him again “Is it at your command that the eagle soars, and builds its nest on high?”
Job had doubted the Lord God’s justice to-date, indeed His understanding of his (Job’s) righteousness, and he had made the determination as to what were the rules-of-engagement must be between the Lord and man – then he declared that the Lord God had fallen short.
How do you imagine Job felt just half way through the audience he had demanded before the Lord God?
The Lord God began with context and perspective – Job needed to understand the fullness of the distance between himself and God.
When have you experienced or observed someone who “... darken[ed] counsel with words without knowledge?”
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a new-found awe of the Lord God.
Today I will make a list of things that the Lord God has done, and of some of the things of which He is intimately-aware, drawn from these verses of Job. I will read and reflect upon the list I have made. I will also keep the list handy for the next time I, or someone I know, express any doubt that the Lord God is aware and cares.
Be Specific _________________________________________________
Job’s Reply to God’s Challenge
40:1 Then the Lord answered Job:
40:2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let the person who accuses God give him an answer!”
40:3 Then Job answered the Lord:
40:4 “Indeed, I am completely unworthy – how could I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth to silence myself.
40:5 I have spoken once, but I cannot answer; twice, but I will say no more.”
The Lord’s Second Speech
40:6 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
40:7 “Get ready for a difficult task like a man. I will question you and you will inform me!
40:8 Would you indeed annul my justice?
Would you declare me guilty so that you might be right?
40:9 Do you have an arm as powerful as God’s, and can you thunder with a voice like his?
40:10 Adorn yourself, then, with majesty and excellency, and clothe yourself with glory and honor!
40:11 Scatter abroad the abundance of your anger. Look at every proud man and bring him low;
40:12 Look at every proud man and abase him; crush the wicked on the spot!
40:13 Hide them in the dust together, imprison them in the grave.
40:14 Then I myself will acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you.
The Description of Behemoth
40:15 “Look now at Behemoth, which I made as I made you; it eats grass like the ox.
40:16 Look at its strength in its loins, and its power in the muscles of its belly.
40:17 It makes its tail stiff like a cedar, the sinews of its thighs are tightly wound.
40:18 Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like bars of iron.
40:19 It ranks first among the works of God, the One who made it has furnished it with a sword.
40:20 For the hills bring it food, where all the wild animals play.
40:21 Under the lotus trees it lies, in the secrecy of the reeds and the marsh.
40:22 The lotus trees conceal it in their shadow; the poplars by the stream conceal it.
40:23 If the river rages, it is not disturbed, it is secure, though the Jordan should surge up to its mouth.
40:24 Can anyone catch it by its eyes, or pierce its nose with a snare?
Lord, there is none like You, and none to legitimately challenge You – only that old fraud, the devil, and those whom He deceives. May I rest in the humble assurance that You are perfect, that all imperfection flows from the sin of Satan and humankind, and that when I seek answers they will always begin with trusting You.
Job replied “Indeed, I am completely unworthy – how could I reply to you?” acknowledging that he had spoken twice but had not given answers, but merely spoken, and now he would remain silent.
The Lord God again challenged Job to prepare to answer His questions, beginning “Would you indeed annul my justice? Would you declare me guilty so that you might be right?”
The Lord then reviewed several of His unique attributes – demonstrating to Job that he was in no position to be questioning God.
The NET translator’s notes include some valuable discussion of several phrases used in this text. One is Behemoth, perhaps a predecessor of a modern animal (suggestions have included an ancient cow as “cattle” are specifically mentioned in Gen. 1:24-26), but it is difficult to infer based on modern geographical distributions of animals as the dispersal of humans following the Tower of Babel incident would have resulted in animals traveling outward as well.
Job had already figured out that he needed to stop talking.
Which of the challenges that the Lord God raised against Job may fairly brought against people today?
Only a tiny recitation of the great deeds of the Lord God are enough to humble any honest-thinking being.
When have you been called before an authority and challenged to justify something you are accused of saying that undermined their authority?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a moment in your recent past, or perhaps present, where you have had doubts about the Lord God’s ‘fairness’ in your life, or that of someone (or some circumstance).
Today I will humbly and prayerfully review the Lord God’s speech to Job and consider how it caused Job to be humbled to silence. I will confess and repent of my doubts, past or present, request and accept His forgiveness, then mark the day on my calendar when I decided to revisit this text whenever I am tempted to doubt the Lord.
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The Description of Leviathan
41:1 “Can you pull in Leviathan with a hook, and tie down its tongue with a rope?
41:2 Can you put a cord through its nose, or pierce its jaw with a hook?
41:3 Will it make numerous supplications to you, will it speak to you with tender words?
41:4 Will it make a pact with you, so you could take it as your slave for life?
41:5 Can you play with it, like a bird, or tie it on a leash for your girls?
41:6 Will partners bargain for it?
Will they divide it up among the merchants?
41:7 Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears?
41:8 If you lay your hand on it, you will remember the fight, and you will never do it again!
41:9 See, his expectation is wrong, he is laid low even at the sight of it.
41:10 Is it not fierce when it is awakened?
Who is he, then, who can stand before it?
41:11 (Who has confronted me that I should repay?
Everything under heaven belongs to me!)
41:12 I will not keep silent about its limbs, and the extent of its might, and the grace of its arrangement.
41:13 Who can uncover its outer covering?
Who can penetrate to the inside of its armor?
41:14 Who can open the doors of its mouth?
Its teeth all around are fearsome.
41:15 Its back has rows of shields, shut up closely together as with a seal;
41:16 each one is so close to the next that no air can come between them.
41:17 They lock tightly together, one to the next; they cling together and cannot be separated.
41:18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light; its eyes are like the red glow of dawn.
41:19 Out of its mouth go flames, sparks of fire shoot forth!
41:20 Smoke streams from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning rushes.
41:21 Its breath sets coals ablaze and a flame shoots from its mouth.
41:22 Strength lodges in its neck, and despair runs before it.
41:23 The folds of its flesh are tightly joined; they are firm on it, immovable.
41:24 Its heart is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone.
41:25 When it rises up, the mighty are terrified, at its thrashing about they withdraw.
41:26 Whoever strikes it with a sword will have no effect, nor with the spear, arrow, or dart.
41:27 It regards iron as straw and bronze as rotten wood.
41:28 Arrows do not make it flee; slingstones become like chaff to it.
41:29 A club is counted as a piece of straw; it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
41:30 Its underparts are the sharp points of potsherds, it leaves its mark in the mud like a threshing sledge.
41:31 It makes the deep boil like a cauldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment,
41:32 It leaves a glistening wake behind it; one would think the deep had a head of white hair.
41:33 The likes of it is not on earth, a creature without fear.
41:34 It looks on every haughty being; it is king over all that are proud.”
Lord, You are beyond any human estimate in power or size, as well as beyond our imagination in perfection and wisdom. May I be humbled and surrendered to You so that I may never drift into doubt or misunderstanding.
The NET Greek/Hebrew reference defines Leviathan as possibly a “sea monster, dragon 1a) large aquatic animal 1b) perhaps the extinct dinosaur, plesiosaurus, exact meaning unknown”.
The concept of Leviathan is three-pronged in nature, on one hand the use of an exceptionally-large creature to illustrate a point about power, on another perhaps a rhetorical image to describe any unusually-difficult life challenge, and the third to illustrate Job’s standing before the Lord God (a Behemoth or Leviathan by comparison).
The Lord asks Job what mere human (Job or any other) can handle “Behemoth” or “Leviathan” at all, let alone with a mere word, a look, or a casual action.
As has always been true, explanations with examples are a powerful means of teaching.
What modern examples would you use to help a student to comprehend the magnitude of difference between a human and the Lord God?
Are we appropriately humbled when we contemplate our expectations of the Lord God?
When have you found yourself trying to ‘stuff the Lord God into a man-sized box’ only to realize that not only will He never fit, but that doing so created confusion and doubt?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a circumstance where a clear sense of the perfection, power, and wisdom of the Lord God was precisely what you needed in order to stand in faith.
Today I will share the story of my awareness of a right-sized Lord God and how that was the assurance I needed to trust Him when everything else was uncertain.
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42:1 Then Job answered the Lord:
42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted;
42:3 you asked,
‘Who is this who darkens counsel without knowledge?’
But I have declared without understanding things too wonderful for me to know.
42:4 You said, ‘Pay attention, and I will speak; I will question you, and you will answer me.’
42:5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen you.
42:6 Therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes!
Lord, absolute humility before You is the beginning of wisdom. May I be humble and teachable so that You may find me useful in Your great plan.
Job was attacked by his three friends and he reacted by defending himself and diminishing the Lord God.
Elihu described the foolishness of any effort to diminish the Lord and challenged Job to repent.
The Lord God demanded that Job be accountable for his thought and words.
Job discovered absolute humility, just as David in the desert would later proclaim that if he faded into the dust of the desert – were that the Lord’s will – he would still praise Him.
Job moved from humility before the Lord God to doubting Him when tested by his friends by their attacks – he allowed the test to become a temptation and then overt sin – when he doubted the Lord.
How would your past week or month stand before the Lord challenging you about moments where you doubted or ignored Him?
The Lord God loved Job but could not allow the seed of doubt to remain buried deep in his heart – it had to be drawn out.
When have you heard someone doubt the Lord God? Were they teachable and did they respond to Biblical redirection, or were they unteachable?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place in your walk where sometimes doubt, or ignore, the Lord God.
Today I will confess and repent, accept and receive His forgiveness, then prayerfully-commit to remember the lesson of Job and to remember the perfection of the Lord God in all things at all times.
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VII. The Epilogue (42:7-17)
42:7 After the Lord had spoken these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My anger is stirred up against you and your two friends, because you have not spoken about me what is right, as my servant Job has. 42:8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job will intercede for you, and I will respect him, so that I do not deal with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken about me what is right, as my servant Job has.”
42:9 So they went, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, and did just as the Lord had told them; and the Lord had respect for Job.
42:10 So the Lord restored what Job had lost after he prayed for his friends, and the Lord doubled all that had belonged to Job. 42:11 So they came to him, all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they dined with him in his house. They comforted him and consoled him for all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
42:12 So the Lord blessed the second part of Job’s life more than the first. He had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 42:13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 42:14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-Happuch. 42:15 Nowhere in all the land could women be found who were as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance alongside their brothers.
42:16 After this Job lived 140 years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 42:17 And so Job died, old and full of days.
Lord, You tolerate wrong teaching about You for only so long, then there are consequences. May I be a good Berean and check everything with Your Word – whether I am the student or the teacher.
The Lord God declared that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar has spoken wrongly about the Lord’s treatment of Job (assigning a proportional sin-guilt to Job) and that they needed to make offerings.
He further instructed that Job would function as their high priest and pray to Him on their behalf and that then He would forgive them.
The Lord then blessed Job with children and animals and great health and wealth.
Job gave inheritances to both his sons and his daughters, a practice not later continued.
The Lord God never explained to Job why He had done what He had done, nor did He give to Job (or anyone else) the authority/right to question His motivations.
Job was chastised by the Lord God and he repented directly to Him and was forgiven, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were chastised by the Lord God and they offered a sacrificial ram of their repentance and were forgiven, but why was Elihu not chastised? Did the Lord ignore him because he was not an elder and not held to the same standard? Or had Elihu spoken the truth?
The difference between what Job said that was incorrect, and what Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar said that was incorrect, was that they presumed to know that he had sinned – and deserved punishment for that – when they had no such knowledge. They were guilty of “bearing false witness” and then they tried to make the Lord God complicit in their misrepresentation of truth.
When have you experienced or observed the Lord God being blamed for something bad?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone who has misrepresented the Lord God, for whom you may pray so that they recognize their error, will repent, and that the Lord God will have mercy upon them.
Today I will pray in-earnest for the one whom the Holy Spirit has led me to pray. It may be a local teacher or preacher, a radio or television teacher or preacher, the author of a book or other teaching material, or a celebrity who claims to speak for the Lord God – but who does so in error.
Be Specific _________________________________________________
All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org
Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.
Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.
Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study. Prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in August of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.