Bible Study: The Book of Job

I believe the best debate in the world is the Book of Job. Therefore, those who dislike debates in general, are ignorant fools. They think they are the peacemaker, they are worse than the post-modernists.

I already have an entry devoted to John Calvin's commentary on this. So this entry shall be my own OT study, my own notes on the book of Job.

Quoting Tim Keller in one of his FB posts:

Never describe the view of an opponent in a way he or she will not own. Rather describe their view so they say, "I couldn't have put it better myself." Only then should you proceed to refute the view. If instead, you caricature your opponent-- you persuade no one.

This shows very clearly in Job, who retains all words of his friends.

I believe to study this comprehensively, I must master God's answer (if not also Elihu's), starting from chapter 38 first, then only, look back from the beginning of Job to understand their reasoning and folly, human wisdom vs. God's wisdom.

A good place to read quick summary: https://www.litcharts.com/lit/book-of-job/summary

General Outline:
Chapter 1: The fear of God in Job and his indirect victory against Satan's first test.
Chapter 2: Satan disregarded his defeat and forced God to change the rule of their game.
Chapter 3: Job cursed his birth
Chapter 4-5: First friend's response. Eliphaz the Temanite
Chapter 6-7: Job challenges his friend on judging Job for lack of righteousness

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13 Responses to Bible Study: The Book of Job

  1. timlyg says:

    Chapter 1
    v.13 - 19
    Though all happened at once without much delaying interval, here the order of the calamities during the oldest son's (perhaps the first born) house/day/birthday:
    1. news of oxen & donkeys stolen by the Sabeans who killed the servants.
    2. news of (natural disaster) asteroids? volcanic activity? of "God" killed the sheep and servants.
    3. news of camels stolen by the Chaldeans (in groups of 3) who killed the servants.
    4. news of (natural disaster) storm/hurricane collapsed the house which killed all Job's children.

    Satan's chief goal is to find fault in God in the spiritual world, which may not work like ours, which is bonded by time, emotion, etc. Therefore, Satan does not and will not concern himself with humanity. Because such is the force and power of the principality against us, our only deliverer is God. Job is well aware, but this is about how he struggles in his faith of His Deliverer.

  2. timlyg says:

    Chapter 2
    God owned Satan by even changing the rule for him, allow him to "stretch out his hand against" Job (Job 1:12), as Satan nagged. It would be the last note of Satan's active presence in this game, which he would lose, but the direction will not focus on that, but focus on a bigger game that even Satan was not qualified to be mentioned. A game between man and God. This is the beginning of where Satan superior might over men diminished, and God's grace upon man gradually reveals the value God bestows upon man, upon Job, but not yet in these early chapters.

    Despite the sin of his friends, at least they were kind enough to visit him and took caution to not speak before his suffering until he speaks. They were friends who truly cared for him (v. 11-13) despite their faults that was enough to angered God.

  3. timlyg says:

    Chapter 3:
    This cursing of his birthdate, Job used a lot of "why". Which reminds me of Skeeter Davis' The End of the World.

    There's much similarities, theologically speaking. Of course, Skeeter was singing to her lost "lover"; Job was lamenting INDIRECTLY towards God.
    Davis' world ends, her life has no meaning, when her lover said goodbye; Job was overwhelmed by what he perceived as God's love, but he did not admit it directly. He recognized the wicked presence of evil even slavery at his time, he had always feared God for taking away the undeserving blessing that's bestowed upon him. He may not have recognized the love of God the way David did. The ultimate love of God has yet to be revealed to him. Deliverance was what he hoped for, yet he did not dare to ask, but convinced himself that he was not loved by God in the form of cursing his life, rather than God.

  4. timlyg says:

    Chapter 4:
    It would be in great error to presume Eliphaz was speaking out of mere jealousy or despise (v.5). Jealousy because of how great he perceived Job was v. 3-4. For in chapter 2, we know Eliphaz has wept for Job and did not satisfy himself in Job's sorrow. Today, many counsellors maybe good actors, but weeping for those whom they meant to comfort, they couldn't do it naturally. The point Eliphaz was trying to make was "to be patient"! v.2,5. He believed that Job lacks the virtue of patience.

    v.7 Many commentators incorrectly blamed Eliphaz for trying to insinuate Job was being punished by God because of his sin. This is yet again a disregard of Eliphaz full character since Chapter 2. His focus was on the virtue of Patience.

    v. 17-21
    Eliphaz used a divine revelation he had, one that teaches the qualitative differences between a mortal man and God, and also that of the spiritual creatures of God. Such was the source of Eliphaz's fear of God. He believed that he's comforting Job by helping him realize what Job lacks...patience, or else, he insinuates that Job is blurring the line between man and God.

  5. timlyg says:

    Chapter 5:
    Eliphaz continues now in the form of comfort. That Job's enemies will get what they deserve from God. He even confirmed his stand on this by testifying he was so righteous that those he cursed who were true sinners met their end justly.
    He encourages Job in the lesson of patience by reminding Job to keep seeking after God. That the wicked will always be condemned while those God reproves are actually whom God loves. Suffering is a must. Although Eliphaz did not quite explain why there is suffering, it was as if it's as natural as it's mysterious v. 7.

    v. 7, such spark reminds me of the Buddhist's teaching of nirvana, the state of ultimate peace that is so distinguished from this suffering world that its presence is as the vanishing of a spark. Hence this is the difference between Buddhism and Christianity, Buddhists reasoned their solution to suffering by accepting and reinterpreting it in the opposite direction, while Eliphaz admits the truth of the suffering - It's unavoidable, there is no way to control it without divine dependence.

  6. timlyg says:

    Chapter 6:

  7. timlyg says:

    Chapter 7:

    v17-21: This aligns with David's Psalm 8. I had read a few times before and only now do I make this connection. David succeeded here in this passage where Job fail, though being a righteous man that he was. Job complained about his existence, though recognizing his sinful state in a righteous manner, yet he did not comprehend his original sin where mankind has failed to rule the Earth over the beasts and land. Job believed he had done enough, "if there is more...tell me and I shall do" was the limit of Job's righteousness. David, penetrated through into Christology, that the ultimate man, having both image and likeness of God, is given such dominion over Earth and should not fail, which only the Son of God Himself has achieved. Or rather, the Redeemer Job was talking about, yet did not see it as clearly as David did. Job only saw the otherness of this redeemer at the time, not the man that was made a little lower than the angels yet crowned with glory and honor. We have failed, Christ came to lead us as one of us, God in flesh.

    v21: Matches up also with David's Psalm 6, when David was in sorrow. But still different. Job's sorrow was that it is sad that he will be lost though he would strive to attain righteousness (v20), he wanted to look at this positively. However, David looked further, that man was created to praise God - In death, there is no remembrance of thee; In the grave, who shall give thee thanks?

    Of course one can argue that David did not suffer as Job did. But note this, David was active in praising God, while Job was focus on Holiness of God. And the lesson should be that one is not enough, we must apply both praising God and be holy before God in our lives, at all times, in darkness and in light.

  8. timlyg says:

    Chapter 8:

    Bildad the Shuhite basically like Eliphaz, told Job that if you did right, you should not complain. If you did wrong, then confess, or else you would suffer, which is not so, if you have done right. Look at nature: papyrus, reeds, etc. The hope of the godless shall perish.

  9. timlyg says:

    Chapter 9:
    Here Job rightly placed God beyond reason, logic. Not equal. However, he was wrong to think of himself blameless.

    v.2: It's not likely that Job was aware of the effect of original sin (Job 9:15). But he rightly considered that no matter how right we make ourselves, there is no way to challenge God as to who has the better judgment. It is absurd.

    v.10: A good reference for: God is the creator of logic. Although, some may interpret the last part as "beyond number = countless" rather than "without" number. I favor the latter translation: אין Ayin simply means without.

    v.13: Rahab = pride. Or the name of Ancient Egypt, which is not much different than pride.

    v.21: The highest good of a sinner, when there's no personal relationship with God. (Job 42:5)

    v.34-35: Job knows the fear of God, but he really struggled to see God in his prayer, and God answered in the end.

  10. timlyg says:

    Chapter 10
    Here is Job's true complaint. Why do you condemn me oh God (v.2)

    v.15. "...If I am in the right, I cannot lift up my head..." Job hasn't quite worked out his original sin yet. He was aware of his condition, and even the fact that he needed a savior Job 19:25, but he was perplexed what he should be doing in the meantime under this curse. He was lost.

    v.18. This easily dealt with the movie "Butterfly Effect" where the solution in the end was for the time traveling guy to end himself from the womb for everyone else's happiness. It is not wrong to seek out righteousness, however, Job failed at 1. The Creator should not be tempted to be viewed as the pantheistic switch god (Though it was clear that Job was only doing rhetorical questioning v.4-5), 2. the only way to do science correctly is to return to God, the I-Thou relationship, through the only way which is the true Righteous One, who is David's seed, Job could not get this far unless His encounter with God in the end, an opportunity unique given only to Job. The moment God spoke, Job understood the Christocentric salvation ALL men needs. God would soon pull Job out of the pantheistic switch of the Creator.

  11. timlyg says:

    Chapter 11

    v.5-6 Zophar desired that God will show up to shame Job's complaints. We all know, that God is the ultimate answer. Yet, I think when God was angry with Zophar in the end, it does not preclude this desire here. As much as Zophar was a believer, he couldn't invoke God properly. Though God did open his lips against Job, and merciful (exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth), Zophar failed to note how innocent the sinner Job was. Zophar, as well as Job, failed to see that the sin which God will later speak of, comes from their original sin (v.15-19) and not from any cause of Job's misfortune.

    v.7-10 Zophar's view of God is very limited to the natural cosmos. As if heading for the pantheistic switch. Job has to upgrade this view in the next chapter to beyond cosmic power, but also the smartest, wisest being.

    v. 14: Zophar's resolution to sin is that of religion of the world, the Jews, the Muslims, etc. Nothing wrong with doing good, doing right. It's a good thing. But simply putting your sins away is not the end solution with God. Job knew better when he proclaimed: I know that my Redeemer liveth.

    It's as if Zophar's approach to God is simply putting away iniquity (v.14) and that is it. There's no sense of repentance nor salvation (Job 13:16). This is also common today.

  12. timlyg says:

    Chapter 12

    It would see that Job has here began to grasp the idea that God decrees both what is good and what is evil (the fall), while his friends may reject the idea that God, who is good, decreed evil (v.14-25). However, Job may not have found the fine line between creator and creation in such a way that he as a creaturely person, needs relationship with his creator, who would eventually remind him of his original sin.

    v.18: ...girdeth their loins with a girdle. It means to turn your sarung into diapers so your legs can be more active.

  13. timlyg says:

    Chapter 13

    v. 2-3 Job further compared himself with Zophar's prior comment. Basically, that Zophar was not smart enough and Job wanted divine response.

    v. 4-5 Job rebuking Zophar.

    v. 8 Job seemingly accused Zophar of blind loyalty to and flattering God. A good example of this is the debate on the length of Creation day which I recently gave an analogy of it:
    I would say this is most likely due to the fear that if they open the possibility to a "longer" period time in Genesis 1 creation, they are allowing the theory of evolution (which is not even science but pseudoscience at best) to be true.

    Their reasoning here, if this is their concern, is already by itself a fallacy logically:
    Premise #1: Evolution requires a long long time.
    Premise #2: It is possible for one day to be a long long time.
    Conclusion: Therefore Evolution is true.
    Very very bad bad logic.

    Also, by following this line of logic in order to refute (by attacking premise #2 which the Bible is silent on) the evolutionist's conclusion, they have also unwittingly bought the evolutionists' pseudo-fact: that evolution requires a long long time (Premise #1 which is by itself questionable in both definition for "evolution" and length & understanding of time), and thereby unwittingly restricted, as believers in their fallible hermeneutics, the power of the Almighty God, who doesn't need a long long time to get anything (i.e. the pseudo idea of evolution) done. And thus, the flawed logic above is moot twice over (like showing a piece of fake evidence to prove the crime of a criminal who's already convicted and imprisoned for that crime), in trying to proof evolutionists wrong with a 24 hour/day short short time creation.

    So you don't argue against the theory of evolution using how the length of creation time in the Bible, where the Bible itself is silent on, should be, you argue against evolution from other passages of the Bible (i.e. "after its kind") and especially from Science which is upon another revelation of God (general revelation) apart from Scripture (Special revelation) which does not concern itself much with Science. And if you call out their evidence to be invalid, they would in their hubris accuse you falsely that you are trying to acquit the criminal.

    v. 11 Job further expand Zophar's lower view of God from merely revering cosmic superpower to the need to fear God.

    v. 12 This may not be an issue of infinitute, not about the understanding of infinity. But of a qualitative difference i.e. however you think you are clean, it is still possible that you are ash and garbage if you think your difference with God is mere quantitative and not qualitative.

    v. 15-16 Job is perplexed because he knew God has every right to slay him without his understanding. But he would still seek for such understanding as if he deserves it. He is willing to fully rely on God regardless for the hope of salvation of some sort: That there is a right and wrong discerned by God.

    v.23 Job here desires to seek out what else he had not done, what he had done wrong, he wish still to do the right thing before God. He sought understanding without the sense of original sin, without the condition that he was born sinner, but just that he was born imperfect. This, without God's direct contact, a man could only head for the Pharisaic/legalistic route. However, Job added the fear of the Lord, which is important.

    v.24 Parallels Psalm 13. Also, "wherefore holdest thou me for thine enemy?" reminiscent Romans 5:10: Job's beginning to sense the diagnosis our original sinful nature.

    v.26 God is the author. He is the writer. He writes. He decrees.

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