Job (05) - We’ve Read the Back of Book
In our study last week, we saw that the three “friends” are little Satans that seek to destroy Job’s life further, tearing him down with accusations. The responses of Job make clear that he is in a “trial” (court) context; they are “coming after him.” We considered the first round; just before the court was adjourned for the day. Today we consider the second round of speeches/accusations. Next week we will conclude this simple survey of the themes of Job. This passage is set up as a marker for Resurrection. The last reply of Job to Zophar (if you recall), despairingly compares man to a tree. If tree is cut down, it may yet sprout out it’s hands to heaven again; is that also true with man (14:7-9). This a resurrection image which frames the coming dialogue.
Eliphaz’s Second Speech - Eliphaz claims the wisdom of old age (15:9-10). Eliphaz repeats what the spirit asked in 4:18 (15:15). He says that everyone who tries to defy God will be consumed (15:20-35). Fire will consume them (15:34, cf. 1:16). Job’s Responds - Wind-words blow against him (16:3). God has attacked him (16:9) through those who surround him (16:10-11). Like Abel his blood will cry out for justice (16:18). Job wants a hearing before God (16:20-21). His friends are not loyal and he is mistreated (17:3ff). Will hope join him in a coffin? (17:14-16).
Bildad’s Second Speech - What’s all this about? Why the mess? Will the earth even remember Job (18:4)? This assumes Job is really evil. According to Bildad, the wicked die and their memory perishes with them (18:5, 17ff). Job Responds - They’ve attacked him (ten times, like 10 plagues, like 10 rebellions in the wilderness 19:3; Num. 14:22). Job’s hope has been uprooted (19:10). Despite all of this (19:21-22), Job knows that his Redeemer (Nearest Kinsmen) lives and he will stand (19:25). This passage explicitly speaks of resurrection: “after his skin is destroyed” (which was in a rather poor state at that time), he will see the Covenant Lord in his flesh (19:26-27). Job’s hope is placed in the fact that there is a judgment (19:29).
Zophar’s Second Speech - Much more about the windy words (20:2-3). Since the beginning, the wicked have been destroyed. They get what they deserve. Job Responds - Zophar is just wrong. Actually many wicked have great and long lives (21:7-16). All alike die (21:22-26). Parallels to Ecclesiastes abound (e.g. Eccl. 2:15-16, 7:15, 8:14). Job knows their scheme (21:27); he must be a great sinner (21:28-31).
“Job’s argument and insistence is based ultimately upon his faith in the resurrection. He wants a judgment, a day in court with God, and knows that ultimately this will occur at the resurrection” (Toby Sumpter, Job). Now we know that Job’s anticipation of Resurrection, which could only have a longing for him, is in fact, The Fact of History. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more