Job 30.1-31 begins by telling us that Job believes he has lost all of the respect he had just talked about in Chapter 29, and he also discusses his overall unhappy situation that he finds himself in.
He says these people were young and lazy and they are gaunt from not working. He didn’t even want to put their fathers to work with the dogs to watch his flock because they weren’t even at the level of the dogs! They were like locusts that live off the land and took whatever they wanted. They were useless and driven from the community because they were no good, and went to live in caves and rocks. They gathered together for protection and hid themselves wherever they felt safe. They were fools without a good name (v 1-8).
Now these people who Job would not have let run with his dogs taunt him and stay away from him like they were too good for him. He sits as a defenseless man (“loosed his bowstring”) and Job thinks God is doing it to him, but we know he wasn’t. They had no bridle to restrain them and they hindered Job. They have stolen from him and nobody has stopped them. Job sees himself as a city (believers were seen that way-Jer 1.18; Ecc 9.14) with a huge breach and the enemy has plundered him (v 9-15).
Job has physical and spiritual pain and he is exhausted. The “days of affliction” have taken its toll and pain penetrates him at night and he thinks God is distorting his garments meaning God is grabbing him with a disease and binds him about the collar (it surrounds him) and throwing him down. He cries out to God but gets no answer. That was hard for Job to take and he felt that God wanted to bring him to his death, to the “house of meeting for all the living” (his body to the grave and his soul to be with God-2 Cor 5.1). He knows that God is merciful so why is he afflicting “a heap of ruins” (v 16-24).
Job has wept for others in need so why doesn’t Yehovah treat him the same way? He is “seething within” (a fever) and he can’t rest. He didn’t expect the “days of affliction” to come so soon. He is like the jackels who cry and howl and nobody cares. His “harp” and “flute” once used in joy are now used in mourning (v 25-31).
In Job 31.1-40 Job continues to maintain his innocence and this will be some of his last words, and he refutes the words of his three friends. He maintains that he is a righteous man man and he feels he has been mistreated due to his suffering and afflictions. He did not look on young women in lustful ways, so that isn’t the cause of his problems. he made a covenant with his eyes no to do this. This type of thing was not from God (Lev 18.1-18) and it leads to destruction. He knows that Yehovah sees him all the time (v 1-4) and then Job says he is not guilty of falsehood or has done anything to create a fraud to others. He wants the Lord to “weigh me with accurate scales” or to judge him. He says if all of this is untrue, “let me sow and another eat, and let my crops be uprooted” (v 5-8).
He also says he is not an adulterer nor has his heart been enticed by a woman. He says if he has been unfaithful to his wife, let her be taken and given to another. The effects of adultery destroys everything and this includes having to “uproot all my increase” or finances (v 9-12). He also maintains that he has not treated his servants unfairly. He knew he would have to answer to God if he did (Eph 6.9). He was a human being and so were his servants and were equal to him in God’s eyes (v 13-15).
Job did not keep the poor from their desire to be treated with kindness, nor has he caused the “eyes of the widow to fail” waiting for help. He shares his meals with orphans. If he saw an orphan or a widow in need he did something. He knew that chastisement and the correction of Yehovah would have fallen on him if he did nothing (v 16-23). He also says he was not greedy for gold or looked at the sun and moon as objects of worship. This was a sin and it called for judgment if he did any of these things, so he didn’t (v 24-28).
Job claims that he did not rejoice at the destruction of his enemies. This is also evidence of a man who is after God’s own heart (Ezek 33.11). No person had to sleep in the street because Job was hospitable. He has not “covered my transgression like Adam” contrary to what his friends have been saying about him. Adam blamed Chava and tried to cover up his sin. He also did not cover up his sin because he was afraid of the multitude. So, God is not holding him guilty of hiding any sin.
Job then makes a final plea to the Lord to hear his case. Then he says something very interesting. In Job 31.35 he says, “Here is my signature (or mark). In Hebrew it is “tavi” meaning “my mark.” In Hebrew, the last letter in the alphabet was “tav” and in ancient Hebrew it was shaped like an “X” with crossed sticks. The letter carried the meaning of “covenant, cross, seal, sign and finished.” In a way he is saying, “This is my cross.” When Yeshua said, “It is finished” he is alluding to the meaning of the letter tav while he was on the “cross” (the tav) and sealing the New “Covenant” of Jer 31 with his own blood. Job is ending his speech here and he wants an answer for what God had done to him. He will later repent of this sin of accusing God in Job 42.5-6.
He feels that God was his “adversary” or “prosecutor” and wants his indictments written out by God so he can challenge them in defense. He was confident in what he has been saying so he could approach God “like a prince” (v 28-37).
Job calls one last witness, his land and property. These were not obtained by fraud, covetousness or deceit, or has he eaten its fruits without paying the laborer. If he has, let the curses that came upon Adam (Gen 3.17) and Cain (Gen 4.11) come upon his land (v 38-40). Then the chapter ends with “the words of Job are ended.” This does not mean Job does not say anything else in later chapters, but he is done arguing his case.
Job 32.1-22 tells us that Job’s three friends had nothing more to say. They thought Job was beyond help because “he was righteous in his own eyes’ (v 1). Now another character enters into the discussion by the name of Elihu (my God is he) the son of Barachel (blessing of God) the Buzite (Buz is the son of Nahor and a brother of Uz-Gen 22.21; Job 4.1) of the family of Ram (or Aram, the son of Kemuel and a brother of Buz-Gen 22.21). He has been a bystander and had been listening to the previous discussions. So we see by these names that Job and these people lived after the time of Abraham. Like we said before, we believe Job was a grandson of Jacob, the son of Issachar (Gen 46.13).
He was not only angry with Job, but also his three friends because they were not very convincing and condemned Job anyway. Elihu was younger so he waited out of respect to the others before he spoke. He thought that “age” (experience) should speak because there was no wisdom. But there is a wisdom that does not come from age, but it is a gift from God. So he is presenting himself as a man with spiritual discernment like a “sage” (v 1-10).
He listened to everyone and he heard none of them refute Job. He said whatever happens to Job it is God who is bringing it. He tells the three others that it doesn’t matter what they have said, he says don’t let your past arguments with Job come upon him and he will not use their arguments with Job because he has some new thoughts about it all, so don’t think I am taking sides against you (v 11.14).
The three others were amazed and dismayed, and they didn’t say a word. Elihu paused, then decided to share his opinion. He said he is just a simple man without titles and rank but he is fermenting “like wine inside of him and he must speak.” He will “stick to the facts” with a simple presentation (v 15-22). What Elihu doesn’t know is a lot, and he will claim to speak for God and also makes the mistake that he thinks God is causing Job’s afflictions.
Job 33.1-33 begins with Elihu challenging Job’s case. But we see right away that Elihu talks too much. The first seven verses are long-winded. He wants to show Job and his three friends that he is just as spiritual as they are. He demonstrates a pride and a wordiness and has taken over a chapter to just introduce himself (Chapter 32 and v 1-7).
He begins to say that he has listened to Job’s words and that Job claims to be innocent of any transgressions or sins, which is true, but also not true. Job never claimed to be without sin, but God had mercy on him and he has been forgiven. So we know that Elihu talks too much and he doesn’t listen very well. So he is going to tell Job he is “not right in this.” He is correct in saying God did not owe Job an explanation for his actions. God speaks in many ways and maybe Job has not perceived it. So, let’s look at Job 33.14-17 to look at how God speaks for our own knowledge and information.
Elihu says God speaks once, or twice, yet no one notices, so Job may have missed it. He speaks in a dream or a vision of the night, when men sleep. He opens up the ears of men and “seals their instruction.” We can see ins Scripture how God speaks in dreams, often several times to confirm a matter (Gen 41.32; Job 33.29). God does speak in dreams, visions, a trance, mind flashes and directly (Bat Kol). He can also speak through circumstances, dark speech, parables, puns, a still, small voice, prophecy, the Scriptures and messengers. Elihu is saying that God is speaking to Job through the circumstances and his afflictions to save his soul (v 13-18).
He says, “Man (Job) is also chastened on his bed, and with increasing complaint in his bones.” He then goes on to describe what is happening with Job (v 19-22). God did send “an angel as mediator” but he is not listening. Perhaps Elihu had himself in mind here (v 23) and as his messenger, Job needs to receive his words and take action. Job needs to turn to God, and then he will be in his favor.
Then in Job 33.29 he says, “Behold, God does all these (admonishments) often times with men (when one admonishment doesn’t work, he sends another). Literally, “often times” means “two times, or with three.” This can also apply to dreams or any other mode of communication that the Lord would choose to speak with us. Why does God do it? To turn back “his soul from the pit.”
But Elihu’s argument is basically the same thing that Job’s three friends have been saying. He is rehashing what they already said, which was, “Job, you are a sinner and you are blaming God. If you repent and turn from your sin, things will go better for you.” In his pride, Elihu thought he could say all this better than the others, but there is nothing new here (v 24-30).
Maybe Job wanted to speak, but Elihu told him, “Listen to me, keep silent and let me speak.” He said if Job did this, then Elihu “will teach you wisdom.” Evidently, he didn’t think Job was wise enough to judge for himself as to whether what Elihu said was wise (v 31-33).
We will pick up in Job 34.1-37 in Part 9.