Understanding The Bible
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
ADDENDA TO JOB*
Material from p. 14 through top of p. 19 has been taken from:
The Book of Life. Vol. V: Bible Poetry. Arranged and edited by Newton M. Hall and Irving F. Wood. 27th ed. Chicago: J. Rudin, 1962
1. JOB 3-42 by Paragraphs
(The Great debate, 3-31, Elihu, 32-37; 38-42)
|CHAPTER||KEY VS.||SPEAKER||KEY THOUGHT and/or PARAGRAPH HEADINGS|
|"WHY???" Job's lament|
|3:1 "Would I had never been born!"|
|3:11 "Would I had died at birth"|
|3:20 "Would I might die now!"|
|FIRST ROUND OF SPEECHES 4-14|
|4:1 "Are you so easily discouraged?"|
|4:7 "Remember, the righteous never perish"|
|4:12 "I heard a voice saying that no man was wholly sinless, so all suffer"|
|5:1 "But only the wicked perish"|
|5:8 "If I were you, I would seek God"|
|5:17 "You should rejoice that God corrects you?|
|5:23 "If you submit, God will yet
(The death of his children is proof of Job's sinfulness, 4, 18)
|("My extremity of suffering caused me--in chapter 3--to be rash with my mouth (6:3), but have you no pity (14)? All I want is to die (6:8-9.) Daytime is far too swift (7:6). My nights are endlessly wearisome (7:3). Instead of comforting me, you try to scare me with visions (7:14) Let me alone! (7:16) He appeals to God, 7:17-21, esp. 20.)|
|6:1 "Surely, I have reason for complaint"|
|6:14 "You have not shown the sympathy I rightly hoped for"|
|6:24 (To Go) "Have I sinned to deserve this suffering?"|
|7:1 "All my life is suffering"|
|7:11 "Why does God torment me?"|
|7:20 "If I have sinned, why does God not forgive?"|
|("If Thou wert pure...")|
|8:1 "Do you charge God with injustice?!"|
|8:8 "Have not the fathers taught that suffering grows out of sin?|
|8:20 "Turn to God; He will yet restore" (He suggest Job's children have sinned, 8:4)|
|("Much you say is true, Bildad, but how can a mere man be just before a great and holy God?")|
|9:1 "How can a man prove his righteousness? God is great and does as He will"|
|9:22 "He destroys the good and the evil alike" (Job's rebuttal to the central theme")|
|9:25 "Swiftly speeds my life and God will not answer my cry" (Job longs for an arbitrator-mediator, 9:33; 13:22; 16:21; 33:6)|
|10:1 "Why does God treat me so?"|
|10:4 "Hast thou eyes of flesh?"|
|10:18 "Why did God ever call me into life?"|
|10:20 "Let him give me a little respite from suffering; then, welcome death!"|
|11:1 "Do you dare claim innocence?"|
|11:7 "Do you dare question God's Justice?"|
|11:13 "Yet humble yourself and God will yet restore you"|
|(His rebuttal to idea that wicked are punished immediately)|
|12:1 "How wide you are! I know some things too!"|
|12:7 "The very beasts know what YOU call wisdom!"|
|12:12 "I can parrot the ancient wisdom as well as you!"|
|13:1 "See! I know as much of wisdom as you!"|
|13:4 "You tell lies to defend God!"|
|13:23 "If I have sinned, what have I done?" (This is addressed to God.) Cp. v. 22 with 9:32-33; 16:21|
|14:1 "Mine is the common lot"|
|14:7 "A tree cut down will sprout again" (but man has no hope of returning to this life once he leaves)|
|4:13 "The grave will hide me from God, but bring no justice"|
|SECOND ROUND OF SPEECHES 15-21|
|15||6 OR 34||ELIPHAX|
|15:1 "Empty words from a godless heart!"|
|15:7 "Do you think to understand God and throw away His comfort?"|
|15:17 He rebuts Job in 12:6--"The wicked never prosper!"|
|15:21 "Your bad conscience makes you afraid"|
|15:25 "look--he strengtheneth himself against the Almighty!"|
|15:29 "Disaster marks the wicked man's end" (What happened to your family and wealth, Job?)|
|16||21 OR 19||JOB|
|16:1 "I have heard enough from you. If we could change places, I would speak comfort, not condemnation"|
|16:6 "God Himself is my enemy (but you applaud, "v. 10)|
|16:15 "I have not sinned to merit this suffering. I appeal to God" (16:21; cp. 9:32-33; 13:22; 33:6-7)|
|17:3 "Hear me, O God, I have no other hope?|
|17:10 "You, my friends, have no wisdom. Only death awaits me"|
|18:1 "Do you think the moral order of the world will be turned upside down for you!!"|
|18:5 "Nature itself works against the wicked" (central theme)|
|18:17 "And his very memory shall rot!"|
|19:1 "How long must I endure you?"|
|19:5 "God Himself is my enemy"|
|19:13 "It is He who arrays my friends against me"|
|19:21 "Pity me, pity me, O my friends!"|
|19:23 "O that my claims of innocence were made to endure! I know that God will yet declare my innocence"|
|19:28 "Then beware His vengeance on my behalf"|
|20:1 "I am driven to answer"|
|20:4 "Do you not know that wicked always suffer?"|
|20:12 "According to his sin will be his retribution"|
|20:27 "Heaven and earth conspire against him"|
|("Your answers...only falsehood!")|
|21:1 "Listen to me!"|
|21:6 "It is not true that the wicked suffer. They prosper, live to old age, and die honored"|
|21:27 "I know your condemnation of me. But it is true that the wicked suffer no more than the righteous. When you deny that, you lie!"|
|THIRD ROUND OF SPEECHES 22-31|
|22||23 OR 21||ELIPHAZ|
|22:1 "You must have been really wicked!"|
|22:6 "You must have oppressed the poor and flattered the rich"|
|22:12 "Doubtless you thought God did not see"|
|23:1 "Would that I could find God!"|
|23:10 "He knows that I am innocent, yet it pleases Him to put me in the crucible"|
|24:1 "See how the wicked flourish and God gives no heed"|
|25:1 "No man can be pure before such a holy God!"|
|26:1 "Little have you helped me"|
|26:5 "I also can speak of the power of God"|
|26:14 "But there are mysteries beyond my ken"|
|(JOB WAITS FOR ZOPHAR...but no answer...so he continues)|
|27:1 "I am guiltless of the sins you charge"|
|27:7 "Far be it from me to be like the wicked"|
|28||12 & 28||JOB|
|(Description of mining)|
|28:1 "Where can wisdom be found? Men mine priceless metals and buy jewels in the bazaar"|
|28:20 "But only GOD has the priceless treasure of wisdom"|
|28:28 "Man's wisdom is to fear God"|
|(JOB WAITS AGAIN FOR ZOPHAR...who does not speak...so Job continues on)|
|(THE FINAL DEFENSE OF JOB)|
|29:1 "I recall the days of my past prosperity"|
|29:11 "My honor was founded on my charity"|
|30:1 "But now--how different. I am abandoned by God and man"|
|31:1 "You charge me with specific sins. I swear before God, I did not commit them"|
|ELIHU'S AND JEHOVAH'S SPEECHES 32-41 (ELIHU, 32-37; JEHOVAH, 38-41)|
|ELIHU SPEAKS 32:1 "I apologize for speaking; yet I have wisdom to offer"|
|33:1 "Listen Job! I wish to help you!"|
|33:8 "You claim to be utterly innocent. That cannot be"|
|33:14 "You wish God would speak! He has spoken"|
|33:29 "Your suffering was intended to bring you close to God"|
|(He waits fro Job to respond...then proceeds)|
|34:1 "Listen, friends of Job, you should have said: 'God always does right!'"|
|(He again waits...)|
|35:1 "Listen again, Job, God never hears an arrogant prayer"|
|(He waits a third time...)|
|36 36:1 "God always does right. He afflicts to keep man from future sin"|
|36:32 (A storm begins to arise) "See God in the storm. Hear His voice in the thunder"|
|37:14 "Can you understand the God of the storm?"|
|JEHOVAH SPEAKS (Jehovah speaking from the storm)|
|38:1 "Dost thou know the secrets of nature?"|
|38:39 "Canst thou understand the instincts of animals?"|
|JOB||40 JOB RESPONDS|
|40:1 "I hold my peace"|
|JEHOVAH||JEHOVAH SPEAKS AGAIN|
|40:6 "Again the voice of Jehovah speaks from the storm: 'Canst thou sit on the throne of God and rule the universe?'"|
|40:15 "Canst thou understand one of God's great beasts, the hippopotamus?"|
|41:1 "Canst thou control the crocodile?"|
|42:1 "I have spoken foolishly. I see God now as never before!"|
2. NOTES ON THE GREAT DEBATE 4-31
End of first round (1-14) of speeches, which were about GOD.
"The first round of speeches is closed. The debate has been about God. The friends have maintained that He is always just: if Job suffers, he must have sinned. Job sees no justice, only power in God's action. At last he accuses them of lying about God in order to defend Him.
"That side of the argument is closed. But, now, the friends wish to show Job his error. If they can compel him to see the peril in which the wicked man stands, they may move him to penitence. So, in the second round of speeches, they hold up a mirror, in which they expect Job to see himself" = MAN (wicked!)
End of 2nd round (15-21) of speeches, which were about MAN.
"Thus ends the second round of speeches. Eliphaz has said that the wicked suffer from conscience; Bildad, that they suffer from the very order of nature; and Zophar, that any prosperity of the wicked is short. Each has drawn a picture of the wicked man in which he expects Job to recognize himself. They now begin the third round (22-31.)
"Job continues his complains without regard to their arguments till Zophar's harshness draws the fire of his answer. He denies that the wicked suffer any more than the righteous, and ends with 'you lie.'"
"The first round of speeches is about God; God is just, and so the wicked suffer. Job denied it. The second, about man; the wicked always suffer. Job denied it. There is nothing more to be said on general principles. Perhaps if they charge Job with specific sins, they nay move him."
End of third round of speeches (22-31)
"Thus the third round of speeches ends. Eliphaz has charged Job with greed and apprehension. Jog calls down the curse of God if that is true; on the contrary, he argues justice and generosity have guided his life.
But we have so solution to the problem of suffering, only the denial that the solution of the friends is correct. The debate has silenced the friends, but brought us to no positive conclusion.
Then a new character, Elihu, is introduced, 32:1" The Book of Life
3. ELIHU'S STATUS -- IS HE DO'S SPOKESMAN? 32-37
For Dr. Scofield's position that Elihu--despite his clearer conception of God--is, after all, simply a self-assertive young man, speaking as man to man limited by the facts of his personal experience (or lack of experience); see not 2, pages 589-590, old Scofield
However, many well-recognized Bible teachers do not agree with him in this conclusion. Among these, Dr. H. A. Ironside states the opposite concerning Elihu this (in substance): "Elihu is not a self-assertive young man, but a spokesman for God who prepares the way for God's message to Job in 38-41."
We hold this position because:
Elihu distinctly claims inspiration, 32:8, 18-22.
He honors God, 34-9-12; 32:2-3. He points out that Job is wrong in justifying himself. And his friends are wrong in that they persisted in condemning Job, although they found no answer to give him.
Job's confession proves Elihu right; cp. 34:35 and 35:16 with 42:3 and 38:1.
He prepares Job for God's message by calling attention to the approaching cloud out of which God speaks, 35:5; 36:28-29, 32; 37:3-5; 15-16, 21:38:1.
He offers the same basic solution as God's speech results in, as shown by Job's reaction it: i.e., that there is a distance difference between corrective discipline (chastisement) and punishment. He justifies God's wisdom and right to purge a man and draw him closer to Himself by the pathway of suffering.
Job does not, and cannot, answer him, though opportunities were given (after chapters 33, 34, and 35.)
God does not require Elihu to bring a sacrifice, although he requires it of the three friends, 42:7-8.
4. DID JEHOVAH SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING? NO AND YES! 38-41
Strictly speaking, NO!
The essence of God's speech ignores the immediate question in Job's mind ("Why should I, a righteous man, suffer?") and deals with the basic facts of the sovereignty of God in His physical universe, which is indicative of His sovereignty in moral and spiritual affairs.
Job must not demand of God a solution! To do so is to exalt himself against God. He must bow to the mystery of God's wise providence, remembering:
God is SOVEREIGN.
We have no right to demand of Him the reason for His ways. We have NO EXCUSE FOR COMPLAINT. (God practically says: "If you can tell me how or why I run the universe this way, then you will demonstrate you are an apt pupil to understand spiritual mysteries. How could you understand spiritual mysteries even if I told you?" Cp. Jn. 3:12)
God is ALL-POWERFUL.
He can control the uncontrollable. Hence, we have NO EXCUSE FOR FEAR.
God is MERCIFUL (Jas. 5:11.)
Hence, we have NO EXCUSE FOR DOUBT.
Practically speaking, YES!
In the sense that faith is a solution to all problems, since it settles the mind and makes real to the believing one the facts of God's omniscience, omnipotence, etc.
God simply calls upon Job to believe that He has an intelligent and comprehensive program for all His universe, including Job; and that He has the power to accomplish this program. Man's business is to submit to it, without inquiring the "why." If God showed the "why," there would be no more place for faith, for we would then be walking by sight.
Faith, then, is the God-intended method by which problems should be met, and the spirit and will of man disciplined and caused to grow.
THE END OF THE BOOK
A final quotation: "What is the solution to the problem of suffering?
There is no solution. God speaking in the storm does not tell Job why he has suffered; but He says, 'Look about you in nature. See the wisdom and goodness of God. Can you not trust God with your problem?'
This is a confidence in God which demands no solution of problems; which is willing to trust God's wisdom where it cannot see. That confidence the book of Job offers in place of the solution to the problem of suffering."
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