Job 24.1-25 tells us that Job continues his answer to Eliphaz. He points out that the wicked prosper and judgment does not seem to come upon them. Job is going to give examples of evil that seem to go unpunished, rejecting what Eliphaz has said. Some move landmarks that distinguished one property from another, and they steal flocks by force. They drive away the donkeys of those who are in need. He goes on to describe the actions of the wicked (v 1-8).
Some oppress the weak, the orphans and the helpless and leave them with no shelter or clothing (v 9-11). It seems that those who are guilty go unpunished (v 12). He then goes on to describe the deeds of the wicked that are done in darkness (stealing, murder, adultery). They “shut themselves up by the day” meaning they do not appear during the day. The morning is like “the shadows of death” to them (v 13-17).
The sinner is “insignificant” and they swiftly pass away. Job wasn’t against the wicked being punished in the afterlife, he just didn’t think that punishment should begin there. He thought that they should be punished in some way in this life, too (v 18-21). To Job, it seems that the wicked get ahead and the rich gain more and more. It also seems to Job that Yehovah is letting the wicked off easy, and die in exalted positions (Job 21.13) and not in a painful and lingering death as we might expect.
In Job 25.1-6 Bildad speaks for the last time and sums up what he has to say to Job about his afflictions. Job’s friends have accused him of being a thief, a robber, and everything else in between, except for being a murderer. They said he oppressed widows, orphans, the poor and helpless, and said God was punishing Job for all of this. They never considered the fact that it might be Satan afflicting a righteous man. Job blamed Yehovah, too, and he didn’t understand why all of this was happening.
Bildad is frustrated with Job and can only repeat what has already been agreed upon by everyone, that God is great and to oppose him was futile (no purpose to it), and God has a great army (“stars/angels/earthly armies”) at his disposal. Bildad is stating the obvious here. Man is nothing but a sinner compared to the Lord, so Job needs to repent. Man cannot be compared to Yehovah. Bildad is presenting the total depravity of man and he ends his speech with a hopeless view of man as a “maggot” and a “worm” (“tola”). Man is also weak and despised. But if man was a “maggot” and a “worm” who were they to pass judgment on Job? This truth did not stop Job’s friends from judging him, however.
This will be the last statement from Job’s three friends, but another individual named Elihu (my God is he) the son of Barachel (God has blessed) the Buzite (contempt) will speak up starting in Job 32, so we will touch on him later.
Job 26.1-14 tells us that Job rebukes Bildad and says he has been no help to him at all. But, he is also talking to the other two as well. Job could find no help in what they have told him and wondered if they ever helped anyone. Job knew the Lord better than they did (v 1-3). He then begins to describe the power of God and says his knowledge of God is not inferior to theirs, and he shows this be describing the greatness of God in Sheol, the earth, sky, sea and the universe (v 4).
Then Job describes the same imagery he gave in Job 10.21-22. There is not a place that is hidden from Yehovah. He uses a name for Satan in v 6 that we will see in Rev 9.11. Abaddon means “destruction” and is a term for Satan, but it also alludes to the place of destruction because all the wicked are sent there. Then Job says in v 7, “He stretches out the north (“tziphon”) over an empty space, and hangs the earth on nothing.” He is talking about the atmosphere (Psa 33.6-9). This is a unique statement from over 3500 years ago, and unique in all the ancient civilizations. Only Job makes this statement about the suspension of the earth on “nothing.” There is a picture of the earth sent by Apollo 17 on December 7, 1972 with the earth hanging on nothing in outer space. There is another photo of our solar system taken by Voyager 1 from 4 billion miles away which shows the earth as a “Pale Blue Dot” as it was called. Job knew that 3500 years ago.
In our galaxy (where the earth is located), in order to travel north you would travel out of our solar system. If you could look down on our solar system, the earth is on the north. To travel south, it would send you into the equatorial axis of the galaxy. To go east or west, it would send us along the plane of the galaxy where 100 billion stars are located that make up our galactic system. There are few stars north of us, but beyond Polaris and a few others, there are literally billions of light years of empty space (no planets, stars and galaxies).
He says God “obscures the face of the full moon” but it can mean “hidden or concealed moon” and also a “throne covered by a canopy” there (“kiseh”-Psa 81.3). This alludes to Rosh Ha Shanah, but it can also refer to God’s throne being hidden by the clouds. Job goes on to describe the horizon as being a “circle” on the surface of the waters (Psa 104.9). Even the “pillars of heaven” (mountains) tremble and are amazed at his rebuke (v 8-11).
Then in Job 26.12-13 we have a prophetic statement concerning the False Messiah. He says, “He quieted the sea with his power.” The sea was seen as unconverted humanity (Isa 57.20) and the domain of Satan. Yeshua did this in Matt 8.26; Mark 4.35-39 and Luke 8.22-25 showing he has dominion over the domain of Satan. The sea was also seen as the abode of Leviathan, a seven-headed sea creature that is used as a picture of the False Messiah (Rev 13.1). This creature is well developed within Jewish eschatology. Yeshua quieted the sea and is taking dominion over the domain of Satan and the False Messiah (Gen 1.1-2; Exo 14.1-25; Isa 57.20). The verse continues by saying, “and by his understanding he shattered Rahab.” Rahab has a meaning in Scripture as a prostitute/harlot, a broad wall, pride and Egypt (Psa 51.9; Job 9.13; Psa 89.10; Psa 74.13; Psa 87.4; Job 41.33; Isa 30.6-7).
In Job 26.13 it says, “By his breath the heavens are cleared; his hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.” The serpent is Satan here and it also alludes to Pharaoh, who had a serpent on his crown. Pharaoh is also a picture of the False Messiah and he ruled Egypt (Rahab). Egypt is a picture of Europe in prophecy where the False Messiah will come from (Dan 9.26). Leviathan is a fleeing serpent in Isa 27.1 and another name for the False Messiah. You can see where all these terms “overlap” in the study of biblical eschatology, and yet Job knew Jewish eschatology even then.
Job knows that his description of God and his power are only the “fringes of his ways” and only touched the surface. Job says that very little is spoken (a faint word or whisper) about the Lord in his day, however, and that applies today (v 14). There are few who understand the power of God (1 Cor 2.9). So little is heard about God that we only know “in part.” But there is such an abundance of his power that it remains incomprehensible and never to be thoroughly understood until he chooses to exercise that power (v 14).
In Job 27.1-23 Job pauses while he waits for Zophar to take his turn and respond, but he doesn’t say anything, so Job continues. As in an oath, Job says the Lord has taken away his wealth and prosperity, and has dealt with him harshly. But as long as he has life, he will not speak unjustly (Gen 2.7; Acts 17.25). He will not say that his three friends are right concerning him, either. He was not going to let anyone take his integrity. He will hold fast to his cause because his heart does not condemn him. His enemy is anyone who opposes his cause and it is they who would be found in error of God and him. Because of their false accusations, Job thinks his friends deserve the punishment they think he is getting (v 1-7).
They think he is a hypocrite. He says that the Lord does not hear their cries. Job is not a hypocrite and now he is going to teach them a few things. He knows they do not understand many things and are fools (v 8-12). Job says that the wicked will be judged and in the end he will not be blessed. In doing this he actually describes some of the things that are happening to him. But even though it looks like judgment of God, it really isn’t (v 13-23).
Job 28.1-28 continues with Job’s instruction and he describes man’s search for money in the form of gold and silver. The earth brings forth food (wheat, barley, vegetables) and coal (“fire”). Man is willing to work very hard for what is hidden in the earth, which is seen as a treasure house (v 1-11). Man knows where to find these things but where can the wisdom of God and his dealings with man be found? Where can man find his plans and government?
Man has no concept of the value of God’s wisdom. The depths of the earth say wisdom is not there, and the sea says “it is not in me.” You can’t buy the wisdom of God with gold and silver and it is worth more than any valuable stone (onyx, sapphire, glass, coral, crystal, topaz, etc). Job asks, “Where then does wisdom come?” It is hidden from all men and concealed from the birds of the sky. In other words, no matter how close to heaven they fly or how good they can see on the ground (like an eagle), they cannot find it. Even Abaddon (Satan) and death (the land of the dead) have heard about it, but cannot find it (v 12-22).
Job 28.23-28 says only God understands its way and knows its place because he is wisdom. He is the source and the sum total of all wisdom. He sees everything and he is in control of the natural world. He controls unstable things like the wind and the rain. He regulates the times for it and measures out the amount, even the direction of the lightning. And to man he says, “Behold, in the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Our wisdom is in fearing the Lord and keeping the commandments (Ecc 12.11-14).
In Job 29.1-25 Job longs for the days before he suffered the loss of his children, health and possessions and when God “watched over me” to keep him from calamity. His favor and light (“lamp”) shone over him and he had a zeal for life. He had the friendship, or counsel, of God (friendship is “sowd” in Hebrew meaning a deeper level-Ezek 13.9 says “council or assembly” and it is the word “sowd”) and the hidden things of God did not escape him.
At this time, Job thinks he is out of the presence of God. He was wealthy and prosperous and “the rock poured out for me streams of oil” (olives in the rocks on the mountains, like the Mount of Olives). He had influence in the “gate of the city” where business was done. The young men stepped back in respect when they saw him, and the old men arose and stood (an oriental custom). Even the princes and the nobles listened to him (v 1-10).
They not only did they give their ears to hear him, they liked him (“blessed” meaning empowered to succeed-v 11). They felt this way because he delivered the poor and the orphan. He gave good counsel to the unlearned (“eyes to the blind”) and feet to the lame (helped them walk in the ways of the Lord, and helped get their claims heard by his friendship). He fought oppressors (“broke their jaws”) and broke their power (“snatched the prey from his teeth”). He thought that he would “die in my nest” (at home with his family) and live a long life. His “root” spread out to the waters (he was “planted by a stream of waters”-Psa 1.3) and he was well-watered by the teachings of God. He could protect himself from those who might harm him (v 11-20).
People would listen and wait for his counsel, and agreed with what he said. His words “dropped on them” (like the dew in Deut 32.2) and they entered them (soaked into them). They waited (longed for) his words like rain. They opened their mouth as for the spring rain to take in his counsel. They did not provoke him or disturb his peace. He advised them on what steps to take and “dwelt as a king (had authority) among the troops, and comforted those who were discouraged (v 21-25).
We will pick up in Job 30.1-21 in Part 8.