Class 7, Chapters 24-27
Chapter 24 Job
24:1—When does God EVER judge the wicked? Why do the righteous never seem to see this happen?
The plight of the poor and weak
24:2-4—The wicked take what isn’t theirs. They lie, cheat and steal. They extort people who don’t have any help. They are cowards for preying on the weak.
24:5—The poor’s mission each day is simply to find food
24:6—They have to settle for food in the field and leftovers from the vineyards of the wicked
24:7-8—they lack the basic necessities; no decent clothes or shelter
24:9—some wicked are so bad they take the child of a widow as a pledge.
24:10-11—they labor in areas in which they ironically go unsatisfied despite their labors
24:12—the people suffer and what does God do about it? Nothing.
The ways of the evil
24:13—some of the wicked rebel against something they don’t know or understand. It’s not what they believe so they rebel and want nothing to do with it. They are rebellious at heart.
24:14—the evil know what they do is wrong. They have to conduct their activities in secret and in darkness. They don’t want to be exposed.
24:15—the adulterer uses darkness as well as covering his face. What he does is wrong, shameful and he is arrogant thinking nobody will ever catch him or uncover his deeds.
24:16-17—these evil people have nothing to do with the light. They live in a manner opposite to the righteous poor they pursue. These people are the reason people need to lock their doors at night.
24:18-21—you guys seem to think the wicked live short lives of misery before they die sooner than they should. They are the ones doing the killing!!
24:22—God allows the mighty to grow in strength and also to be deceived. Not one of them is promised life.
24:23—He provides security for them even though he sees everything they do
24:24—They reach a peak in their efforts but are suddenly done away with
***One major thing Job is failing to see with the way God acts is that God is merciful. That the wicked continue to live and even seem to thrive is a reason to Job to believe God approves the wicked in what they do. Since all Job’s troubles have come upon him even though he is upright, he believes that since the wicked don’t seem to suffer as he does is proof that God gives approval to their ways. Job is trying to understand how a just God could destroy a blameless man while allowing the wicked to continue living as they do. He doesn’t know the whole story so his view of God will only be shaped by what he thinks he knows and sees.***
Commentary on the Translation of Job 24
"In Job 24, we run into all kinds of problems. First, there are textual difficulties that render many lines almost unintelligible. The translators have patched them up to their satisfaction; but there is no unanimous agreement in the many solutions offered. A number of verses are rejected and removed by different scholars; but there's no agreement on any of this. The speech as a whole is incoherent; some of it seems at variance with what Job has maintained all along. Some scholars, such as Pope in the Anchor Bible have shuffled the verses around into a different order."
This problem is related by some to the brevity of the speech by Bildad in this third cycle, some supposing that what is here accredited to Job may, in fact, have been spoken by Bildad. These problems and uncertainties which continue to appear throughout the last half of the text of Job are utterly beyond the scope of any ability of this writer to solve them.
Job's argument throughout these verses is simply that the wicked are not judged and punished for such evil immediately, but that they get away with it, at least in many instances.
Driver and others have complained that much of the text here is obscure, damaged, uncertain, corrupt, etc. In spite of such objections, it is clear enough what Job was telling us in this review of what the wealthy wicked were doing to the poor.
This, of course, is that part of Job's speech which is thought by some to be part of Bildad's speech, which follows at once, and seems to be unusually short; but, as the text stands, there is very little of it that is inappropriate upon the lips of Job.
"Swiftly they pass away" (Job 24:18), for example, maybe only a reference to the brevity of life for all men.
"He shall be no more remembered" (Job 24:20), does not seem to fit all that Job has said earlier.
"Unrighteousness shall be broken as a tree" (Job 24:20) is in the same category as the first clause.
The best understanding of this perplexing paragraph among the writers we have consulted is that of Dr. Dale Hesser:
"The big thing that Job objected to was Eliphaz' theory that the wicked are punished at once. Job admits that if one looks at the whole picture, he will see that wickedness leads to suffering and that righteousness leads to rewards; but what puzzles Job is the exceptions which are obviously quite numerous. Job is pointing out that in the course of things crime brings misery to the criminal, but that God has not ordered that each crime shall bring immediate retribution."
We are not to suppose that Job here has changed his basic thesis. Both Job and his friends believed that God punishes the wicked, but Job vehemently rejected the notion (1) either that God always punished the wicked immediately upon their commission of wicked deeds, or (2) that sufferings and calamities coming upon any person were to be considered as proofs of his wickedness.
Chapter 25, Bildad
God is powerful and does what he pleases. He affects every person on earth with what he has made and does. So how is it that a human being who was born from another human being could rightly stand before God? If the finest points of his creation which people marvel at are not pure to God, how can people possibly be pure? Disgusting people who resemble undesirable creatures in their ways cannot be pure before God.
***Maybe Bildad has taken Eliphaz’s dream in chapter 4 to heart, convinced it has spoken words in truth. Even though the phrase spoken by the spirit would apply to all people, Job would be especially suspect since Job’s friends believe that bad things happen to bad people. There is no other evidence needed to declare Job guilty, although the exact sin has not been named.***
Chapter 26, Job
26:2-3—Job has some sarcastic comments for his friends. He is highlighting his friends’ failure to help him since he is the one with no power or strength. He knows they think he doesn’t know anything and considers their advice worthless.
26:4—where did you get this deep knowledge?? Who spoke through you to deliver it??
***Job might be referring to the words of the spirit Eliphaz described in chapter 4 as well as what his friends have said in general up to this point. Bildad just summed up his last short speech with the idea from Eliphaz’s spirit that visited him in the night.***
26:5—Even the dead on the bottom of the oceans, rivers or lakes know there is no way to hide from God. The living can’t see the bottom of a deep body of water. Underneath it is still no covering that God cannot see through.
26:6—the grave and destruction are plainly exposed to God. Realms humans cannot see are not hidden from God.
26:7—he stretches out the sky and nothing holds it up, yet it stays. The earth hangs on nothing.
Point to Consider
Think of some of the theories and ideas that have developed since Job was written about the earth being flat. These ideas should show us that time alone does not give us knowledge and age alone doesn’t give us wisdom. Job knew about the earth but thousands of years later people in some societies thought it was flat. With God is knowledge and wisdom. Elihu mentions this in 32:8
26:9—Moon cycles and clouds
26:11—the pillars that support heaven, something in the spiritual realm that we can’t even see tremble and are amazed at God’s rebuke. Remember they are inanimate objects.
26:12—Rahab: an Egyptian name meaning arrogance or blusterer. Also a mythical sea monster or a storm.
26:13—could be referring to the punishments and restrictions God placed on the serpent in the garden.
26:14—all this stuff is just scratching the surface. Who can actually understand God’s power?
Chapter 27, Job
27:1—maybe some time passed between chapter 26 and 27
27:2-4—surely God lives and as long as he does I will not speak lies. As long as I have breath in me I will speak the truth.
27:5—since I previously mentioned I would speak the truth, there’s no way I can say you guys are in the right in what you say about me.
27:6—I will continue to live righteously and know I am doing so.
27:7—let those who are against me have the problems of the wicked
27:8—the godless have no hope after this life
27:9-10—God won’t listen to the evil nor will the evil care about God
27:11—see chapter 15:18. Perhaps Eliphaz was saying Job had been concealing knowledge. Job says he will explain God to them and not hide anything.
27:12—You all know this stuff already. Come on, you’ve seen it with your own eyes. Why have you forgotten and become useless?
27:13—this is what God has laid up in store for the wicked and oppressors…
27:14—….his children increase so they can be struck down.
27:15—if any survive, the pestilence wastes them away and kills them. None of his widows care. (Maybe Job saw having more than one wife unholy. It was a practice of man, not God, to have multiple wives at once).
27:16—he can generate large amounts of wealth of various types, but he won’t keep it. The righteous will divide it up.
27:18—the wicked’s house is fragile, like a watchman’s hut. It is temporary.
27:19—almost overnight his wealth is gone.
27:20-21—disaster strikes and forces him to run
27:22-23—he runs to escape and it pursues him relentlessly