Job 22 Commentary

Job 22 Commentary

Let’s take a look at Job 22 for this Job 22 commentary. The 22nd chapter of the Old Testament book of Job.

Last time, we saw Job give a speech to his friends. He told them something that would have shocked them.

The friends have been telling Job that he’s being punished by God because he’s committing secret sin. And in their minds – this is the only viable explanation. If a person is suffering, it’s because God is punishing them. And if God is punishing a person, it’s because that person is sinning.

But we saw last time that Job denied their assertions. But then he pointed to all the cases in which wicked men don’t get punished. He pointed to situations in which wicked men actually prosper!

And so, at this point Job is hoping that these friends would actually pay attention to what he’s saying and stop accusing him of being secretly wicked – and to instead rather comfort him.

But the sad reality is that Job is not going to get what he wants.

Because in Job 22 today we’re going to witness Eliphaz’s last speech. And in this last speech, Eliphaz is going to once more accuse Job of being wicked. He apparently didn’t understand Job’s message from the previous chapter. Or – more likely – he understands – but doesn’t agree.

So, let’s witness this chapter that basically boils down to an extended false accusation against Job on the part of Eliphaz.

Job 22 Commentary: Man is worthless to God

And so, we begin with verses 1-3 where Eliphaz claims that man is worthless to God.

KJV Job 22:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite [answered and said/responded/answered],

2 Can a [man/vigorous man/strong man] be [profitable/of use/of benefit] unto God,
[as/or] he that is wise may be [profitable/useful] unto [himself/him]?

3 Is it any [pleasure/special benefit] to the Almighty, that thou art righteous?
or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways [perfect/blameless]?

So, Eliphaz is telling Job that it’s really no big deal if he’s righteous. The fact that Job is a good man doesn’t really make a difference to God.

God’s not in need of strong men. He’s not in need of righteous men even.

In other words, if no one in this world was physically strong or morally good – God would still be God.

On the other hand, if a person is strong or righteous – it’s not like God is impressed and owes the guy something.

That’s Eliphaz’s point.

And so, as he’s hearing Job declare his own moral integrity, Eliphaz says basically, “Who cares? No big deal, Job! That doesn’t impress God.

Job 22 Commentary: When it comes down to it, God is punishing you for sin

But when it comes down to it – even though Eliphaz appears to give Job the benefit of the doubt and assumes for the benefit of the doubt that he’s righteous – just for a little while, at least – the reality is that Eliphaz does not at all for a second really believe that Job is being honest.

How could Job be suffering so horrendously if he’s truly as righteous as he claims!? That’s the incredulity that Eliphaz expresses in verse 4.

4 [Will/Does] he [reprove/rebuke] thee for [fear of thee/your reverence/your piety]?
[i.e., and…] [will he enter/enters] with thee into judgment?

So, Eliphaz is asking Job if it really makes any sense that God is judging him for his fear of God. You can imagine Eliphaz cocking his head to one side and looking out the corner of his eye at Job as he asks this question.

So, despite what Eliphaz said in verses 2 and 3 – what Eliphaz really thinks of Job comes out in verse 4 in the form of a question – Job is it really because of your righteousness that God is punishing you – as if you were a wicked person???

Because Eliphaz assumes that righteousness doesn’t meet with punishment – but rather with reward. So, when he sees a man like Job seeming to be receiving punishment – well, the implication is clear. Job must be wicked.

Job 22 Commentary: Cut to the chase!

And so, Eliphaz stated his suspicion in verse 4 in the form of a kind of sarcastic question.

But now in verse 5 he comes right out and asks a rhetorical question that demands the answer of “yes” that demonstrates without a doubt that Eliphaz thinks that Job is unrighteous!

5 Is not thy wickedness great?
and thine iniquities [infinite/without end]?

The answer that Eliphaz expects? YES! Yes, Job’s wickedness is great. Yes, his iniquities are infinite! Despite what Job maintains – Eliphaz wants Job to stop the nonsense and admit that he’s a sinner and that that’s why God is punishing him.

Job 22 Commentary: How Job is secretly wicked

And so, to help his accusation to have some weight to it, Eliphaz now in verses 6-9 is going to level several indictments against Job – just kind of guessing – in a very confident manner – what Job might have done to deserve the treatment he’s receiving from God.

Who knows – maybe Eliphaz is thinking – maybe one of these accusations will stick!

6 For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother [for nought/without cause/for no reason],
and stripped the naked of their clothing.

7 Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink,
and thou hast withholden [bread/food] from the hungry.

8 [But as for/Although you were] the mighty man, [he/and] [had/owned] [the earth/land];
and [i.e., you were…] the honourable man [i.e., who…] dwelt in it.

9 Thou hast sent widows away empty[-handed],
and the [arms/strength] of the [fatherless/orphans] have been [broken/crushed] [by you…].

So, the gist of Eliphaz’s accusations is that Job has mistreated people who are disadvantaged – people who are lower in social standing than him – the poorly clothed, the weary, the hungry, widows, and orphans.

By the way – isn’t Eliphaz guilty of the very thing that he’s accusing Job of? Here Job is – in great need in every way. And what is Eliphaz doing to help him? Nothing! He’s accusing him and heaping more misery on his already-miserable condition.

So, according to Eliphaz, Job was secretly unrightous to those who are most needy in society.

Job 22 Commentary: The result of Job’s secret sin

And so – even though Job’s wickedness was in secret – Eliphaz asserts in verses 10 and 11 that God’s punishment for these secret sins is now being played out very publicly.

10 [Therefore/That is why] snares [are round about/surround] thee,
and [why…] sudden [fear/dread] [troubleth/terrifies] thee;

11 Or [why…] darkness [surrounds you…], [that/so that] thou canst not see;
and [abundance/why a flood] of waters cover thee.

And verses 10 and 11 are definitely happening to Job. There’s no denying that.

But the problem with Eliphaz’s thinking is that he sees the results. And he can accurately identify the results in Job’s life. But he’s getting the cause wrong. Eliphaz assumes the cause by seeing the effects. You can’t do that!

When a person falls upon hard times – with sickness or financial struggles or relationship issues – we can’t assume that it’s a result of some direct punishment from God for specific sin in that man’s life. Now – at the same time – those things could be direct punishment from God for sin in this man’s life – couldn’t it? But we don’t know. And we shouldn’t assume.

Job 22 Commentary: God is aware of your secret sin

But Eliphaz does assume.

And so, based on what he sees happening in Job’s life, he’s now going to declare to Job in verses 12-14 that God is well aware of Job’s secret sin.

12 Is not God in the height of heaven?
and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!

13 [And/But] thou sayest,

[How/What] doth God know?
can he judge through [the dark cloud/such deep darkness]?

14 Thick clouds are a [covering to/veil for] him, that he seeth not [us…];
and he [walketh/goes back and forth] in the [circuit/vault] of heaven.

In other words, Eliphaz says that Job’s attitude toward God is that God can’t see his wickedness because God is so far removed from proximity of the evil that he’s supposedly committing on this earth.

This is a huge and incorrect – and plainly slanderous – assertion from Eliphaz. How can he possibly presume to know Job’s uncommunicated thoughts about God?

But what we’ve seen from these friends throughout this book is that assumptions prevail with them. They love to assume the worst of others. And that kind of behavior is going to get them a stern reprimand from the God who – in the New Testament – commands his people to bear, believe, hope, and endure all things from others.

Job 22 Commentary: Job is following the sin of men before him

But Eliphaz isn’t about ready to believe the best about Job.

And so, in verses 15-18, Eliphaz is going to accuse Job of following the sin of men who had gone before him.

15 [Hast/Will] thou [marked/keep to] the [old/ancient] [way/path]
which wicked men have trodden?

And here’s what happened to those wicked men of old…

16 Which were [cut down/snatched away/carried off] [out of/before their] time,
whose foundation was overflown with [a/the] flood:

And why did this happen to them?…

17 Which said unto God,

[Depart/Turn away] from us:
and what can the Almighty do for [them/us]?

And they spoke this way of God even though he was good to them…

18 Yet he filled their houses with good things:
but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

So, let’s try to follow what Eliphaz is saying. Job is following the sin of wicked men from ancient times. That’s not reality – but it’s Eliphaz’s perception of things. And – as they say – perception is reality.

And Eliphaz is arguing against what Job said in the last chapter where he identified places where the wicked are actually blessed rather than punished.

And it’s like Eliphaz just wants to totally ignore and forget about that. Because it doesn’t mesh with his theology.

No – instead Eliphaz wants to remember the places in history where his man-made theology proved itself right. And so, he seems to harken back to Noah’s flood.

Noah’s flood is a place where Retribution Theology works for the most part. The people of the earth were wicked. And as a result, God destroyed them. That’s Retribution Theology. You do bad. You get bad.

And so Eliphaz wants to ignore the other areas where his theology doesn’t work – and instead focus on this instance where it does work.

And Eliphaz also appears to be interacting – somewhat indirectly – with Job’s message from last time when he speaks the words of verse 18.

Verse 18 sounds very similar to what Job said in chapter 21. And I think what’s going on is that Eliphaz is saying – “Yes, Job – sometimes God does give good things to wicked and ungrateful men. But you need to understand that in the end – in this life, God always punishes these wicked men. You need an example, Job? Look no farther than what happened to the wicked men during the flood.

Job 22 Commentary: The righteous rejoice when the wicked are surely punished

And it seems that Job’s assertion that wicked men sometimes are blessed in this life – that thought is particularly troubling to Eliphaz. And so, Eliphaz wants to emphasize with Job in verses 19 and 20 that when the wicked are punished – and they are surely punished!!! – well, when that happens, the righteous rejoice.

19 The righteous see [it/their destruction], and [are glad/rejoice]:
and the innocent [laugh/mock] them [to scorn/scornfully] [saying…].

20 [Whereas/Truly/Surely] our [substance/adversaries/enemies] [is not cut down/are cut off/are destroyed],
but [the remnant of them/their abundance/their wealth] the fire consumeth.

So, the righteous see that they’re doing fine – but that the wicked and his stuff are consumed with fire – and he rejoices.

By the way, I wonder what Job was thinking as Eliphaz says this. We remember that some of Job’s stuff was indeed consumed by “the fire of God.” If Eliphaz is saying that Job is wicked, and Eliphaz is maintaining that he himself is righteous – is Eliphaz saying that he’s rejoicing in the fact that Job is suffering?


Job 22 Commentary: A plea to repent

Or maybe not – because what we’re going to see next is uncharacteristic of a man who is rejoicing in the suffering of his friend – even if the friend is secretly wicked.

Yes, what Eliphaz is going to do in verses 21 and 22 would be the loving thing to do under different circumstances. Because he’s going to plead with Job to repent.

21 [Acquaint now/Yield now/Reconcile] thyself with [him/God], and be at peace:
thereby good shall come unto thee.

22 [Receive/Accept], I pray thee, [the law/instruction] from his mouth,
and [lay up/establish/store up] his words in thine heart.

So, Eliphaz urges Job to be reconciled to and at peace with God. This will be for Job’s good – Eliphaz admonishes.

Of course, Eliphaz has no idea that God is fine with Job. No need for reconciliation.

But the really interesting statement came in verse 22 that we just read. Eliphaz advises Job to receive God’s law – his instruction – his torah in Hebrew.

And then Eliphaz follows that up with an admonition to lay up God’s words.

And I point this out to say that this is uncharacteristic of Eliphaz or any of these three friends – to direct Job to God’s word.

In fact, this is the only place in the book of Job where that Hebrew word torah is used.

I unfortunately can’t explain why Eliphaz just now starts directing Job to God’s instruction and his words. I don’t know why he never mentions them again.

Because this really is where a godly counselor begins – with God’s words.

So much of what these men have given Job is tradition from ancient wisdom men – or their own personal experience. And this has not helped him at all.

But now – finally someone is pointing Job to God’s words.

The problem is that this advice has come too late. And it won’t be repeated again. And Eliphaz does nothing to direct Job to specific statements that God has made that would help Job in his life situation.

In fact, given how Eliphaz has handled himself thus far, I wouldn’t be surprised if Eliphaz is simply asserting to Job that whatever Eliphaz is saying to Job is indeed the very word of God – his law – his torah!

And if that’s the case, then this is yet another instance in which one of these three friends reaches closer and closer to the height of arrogance. But they’re not getting any closer to helping Job.

Job 22 Commentary: Promise of blessings for repentance

And yet, that’s not what Eliphaz thinks. Eliphaz feels that what he’s sharing with Job is going to revolutionize his life. In fact, Eliphaz is going to take the rest of his speech to highlight to Job the abundant blessings that Job will meet with if and when he does repent of his sin and start hearing Eliphaz’s wise counsel – which is pretty much the “words of God!”

And what could be more helpful to Job than to get all of his stuff back – all of his blessings from the Lord back?!

Job 22 Commentary: Forsake wicked riches, get good riches from God

So, Eliphaz starts with a conditional sentence in verses 23-25 that amount to Eliphaz promising true riches to Job when he forsakes his wicked riches and returns to God.

23 If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be [built up/restored],
[thou shalt/if you] [put away/remove] [iniquity/unrighteousness/wicked behavior] far from thy tabernacles.

24 [Then shalt thou lay up/and place your/and throw your] gold [as/in the] dust,
and the gold of Ophir [as/among] the stones of the brooks.

25 [Yea/Then], the Almighty shall be thy [defence/gold],
and thou shalt have [him as…] [plenty of/choice] silver.

And so, Eliphaz is urging Job to depart from the sin that he accused him of back in the beginning of this chapter – that of making money off of the losses of others – by exploiting them and mistreating them – swindling them.

Eliphaz says that if Job throws away the gold made in that kind of a transaction and if he abandons the kind of practices that resulted in him getting that kind of – as the KJV would say – “filthy lucre,” then God will basically replace Job’s gold with gold that’s lawfully gained.

Job 22 Commentary: God will answer your prayers

Furthermore, if Job forsakes the secret sin that Eliphaz assumes that he’s involved in – Job will start having God answer his prayers once more, according to verses 26-30.

26 For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty,
and shalt lift up thy face unto God.

27 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him,
and he shall hear thee,
and thou shalt [pay/fulfill to him] thy vows.

28 [Whatever…] Thou shalt also [decree/decide on] a [thing/matter], and it shall be established [unto/for] thee:
and the light shall shine upon thy ways.

29 When men are [cast down/brought low], then thou shalt say, [There is lifting up/Lift them up!];
and he shall save the [humble/downcast] person.

30 He shall deliver the [island of the/one who is not/someone who is not] innocent:
and [it is/he will be] delivered [by/through] the [pureness/cleanness] of thine hands.

So, Job isn’t having his prayers answered anymore. Well, Eliphaz has the solution. Just repent of being corrupt and wicked and God will starts answering your prayers once more!

Well, it’s no wonder that with advice like this – that’s so one-dimensional and false and unhelpful – it’s no wonder that Job doesn’t even immediately respond to Eliphaz in the next chapter. Instead, he yearningly laments that he can’t seem to find God anywhere. And these friends aren’t helping Job find him either. We’ll see that next time.

How Many Children Did Hannah Have?

How Many Children Did Hannah Have?

So, you’re asking yourself “How many children did Hannah have?” Yes – the Hannah from the Bible. How many children did she bear in her life time?

How Many Children Did Hannah Have? It’s complicated…

The answer is a little complicated.

Are you asking how many children Hannah had when she was first married (0)?

Or how many children she had when her first son was born (1, of course!)?

Or do you want to know how many children she finally had with her husband at the end of her life (6 total)?

So, I think when most people ask “How Many Children did Hannah have?” they’re really looking for that final number. Hannah had six (6) children by the end of her life.

But if you’re curious as to the details, let’s explore those now!

Where Hannah’s Mentioned in the Bible

References to this woman – Hannah – are found in the Old Testament only.

And within the Old Testament, she appears only in the first and second chapters of the book of 1 Samuel.

Hannah Was One of Two Wives of One Man

According to 1 Samuel 1:1-2 she was one of two wives of a man named Elkanah. He lived in a city called Ramathaim Zophim (or – for short – Ramah). That was in the hill country of the Israelite tribe Ephraim.

In case you’re curious, Hannah’s “co-wife” (weird, I know, but not unheard of in the ancient Near East!) was named Peninah. And she wasn’t very nice to Hannah.

Hannah Had No Children At First

Anyway, since we’re trying to figure out how many children Hannah had – we need to start off by saying that she had none.

Peninah had some (we don’t know how many – but according to 1 Samuel 1:4 she had “sons and daughters”).

But Hannah? She was barren. That’s what 1 Samuel 1:2 tells us.

Hannah Was More Loved

And even though Hannah may have been thought of as “less productive” in her agrarian society – Elkanah loved her very much according to 1 Samuel 1:5 – probably more so than he loved the “fertile” – but rather unkind – Peninah.

Hannah Was Hated by Peninah

And this wicked Peninah would make life miserable for Hannah by mocking her for not being able to have children (1 Samuel 1:7).

Elkanah Tried in Vain to Comfort Hannah

Elkanah would try in vain to comfort Hannah – who had no children at this point (1 Samuel 1:8).

Hannah Seeks Comfort from the Lord

So, Hannah prayed in the Tabernacle in Shiloh (before it was in Jerusalem!) one day for a son (1 Samuel 1:9). She prayed so desperately and fervently that Eli – the priest – thought she was drunk! When he discovered that she was just praying with great vigor, he blessed her.

Hannah Had One Son – Samuel!

She went back home to Ramah with Elkanah. They had marital relations. And the Lord gave her a son named Samuel.

So far then Hannah has one child – a son.

Hannah Gives Up Samuel

Then Hannah and Elkanah brought Samuel back to Shiloh eventually to have him serve the Lord in the Tabernacle there.

It’s there that Hannah breaks into poetic verse and denounces the wicked Peninah indirectly. After that, we interestingly never hear about Peninah again.

Did Hannah Have Seven Children?

Hannah also declared in 1 Samuel 2:5 that the barren woman bears seven children. That’s not to say that she herself actually had seven children – it seems that she’s just using a number to indicate completeness and wholeness – entirety – satisfaction, etc.

Eli Prays that Hannah Would Have More Children

But later on in 1 Samuel 2 we’re told that Hannah and Elkanah would come up to Shiloh to worship the Lord every year. On one such occasion, Eli the priest blesses them and prays that the Lord would give them more children. And that’s just what the Lord did! He caused Hannah to bear three sons and two daughters!

Hannah Ends Up with Six Children Total

So, that’s six children that Hannah ended up bearing, counting Samuel. That’s one less than the seven that she mentioned in her poem. And yet – it’s six more than she had in the beginning. All through God’s gracious actions on her behalf!

And Most Importantly…

One of Hannah’s six children – Samuel – would be used – as she says in 1 Samuel 2:10 – to strengthen the Lord’s king and exalt the power of the Lord’s Anointed.

That is – David – the coming King of Israel in Hannah’s day. And the future ancestor of God’s ultimate Anointed – Jesus Christ.

Job 21 Commentary

Job 21 Commentary

Let’s look together at Job, chapter 21 for this Job 21 commentary.

Last time in chapter 20 we had a strange speech from Zophar. He seemed to be preoccupied with food as he described what he believed happens to all wicked men.

And what Zophar described matches the system of theology that he and his two buddies – and even Job up to this point – have believed. And that is the idea that wicked men are punished right away in this life. In contrast, righteous men are rewarded right away in this life.

This is what we’ve labeled “Retribution Theology.”

Everyone believes it in the book of Job. That is, up to this point.

But something really interesting happens in this chapter – chapter 21.

Job starts articulating the ways in which this theology is wrong. We haven’t seen him do this yet. Job has mostly defended himself to his friends by pleading his innocence – by expressing bewilderment as to why he’s suffering – and by sometimes flatly accusing God of not doing things right. There have also been times where Job’s faith shines through the darkness of his own spiritual turmoil.

But never before have we seen Job make an attack directed squarely at the faulty assumptions of Retribution Theology.

That is, until now.

So, as we enter into this last cycle of speeches between Job and his friends – we’ll see Job developing in his understanding of reality. We’ll see him questioning his man-made theology.

Job 21 Commentary: Please listen to me

And so, Job has something substantial to say to these three friends of his right now. And so, he starts this chapter in verses 1-4 by demanding that these men listen to him.

KJV Job 21:1 But Job answered and said,

2 [Hear diligently/Listen carefully to] my [speech/words],
and let this be your consolations [i.e., that you offer me…].

So, he says “You want to console me? That’s why you came here? Well, then do just this one thing for me – listen to me!!!

3 [Suffer/Bear with] me [that/and] I may speak;
and after that I have spoken, mock on.

So, you can sense the sarcasm. He’s telling them that they can wait just a little while so that he can speak. And then after he speaks, he gives them permission to continue to mock him.

Obviously, Job doesn’t want them continuing to mock him. And so a command like this is to be taken as sarcasm. And that’s partly because these friends certainly wouldn’t think that what they were doing could be considered mocking. After all, they came to console. Not to mock.

And yet, their consolations to Job have been so pathetic that he declares that what they’re doing is nothing more than mocking.

Job 21 Commentary: I am complaining to God

And one thing that Job wants to remind these men of is that his complaint is not against them. It’s against God.

4 As for me, is my complaint [to/again a] man?
[and if it were so/and why/if so], why should [not my spirit/I not] be [troubled/impatient]?

And I don’t know about you, but when someone under my authority complains about something – really, anything – a strange thing can happen. I can assume that that person is complaining about me.

She could be complaining about anything – even something that has nothing to do with me. And yet, when there’s a complaint, I can easily think that the complaint is directed against me.

And I wonder if that’s what Job is getting at here. He’s wanting to assure his friends that his complaint is not at all against them – or, at least it wasn’t originally. The friends aren’t Job’s real problem. Job’s problem is with God himself.

So, Job is trying to assure the friends that this is nothing personal against them. He’s having problems figuring out why God is seeming to punish him even though he’s righteous.

So, in other words, he’s telling the friends to back off. Job’s complaint and impatience is directed against the Lord.

Job 21 Commentary: An astonishing reality

And so, now Job is going to lay out that complaint against the Lord.

Job – all his life, apparently – has believed the Retribution principle of how God works in this world. Wicked men are punished in this life. Righteous men are rewarded in this life. That’s just how God works – at least, from what we can see in this world

But through his suffering, Job has been brought to a place where he now understands that God doesn’t do this.

Sometimes God punishes the righteous. I mean, after all, Job knows himself to be righteous. And yet – to Job – it’s like God has gone haywire and is now actually punishing him rather than rewarding him.

And so, now Job looks at what the friends have been telling him over and over again about how the wicked man is punished in this life and how his life is so hard and how God gets him right away… And Job is looking at that and he’s now going to say, “That’s just not the way God works.

Job 21 Commentary: Preparing for that reality

But this kind of startling revelation takes some preparation to receive. And so, Job starts this section that spans from verse 5 to the very end of this chapter by warning his friends to prepare themselves for what he’s about to say in verses 5 and 6.

5 [Mark/Look at] me, and be [astonished/appalled],
and [lay/put] your hand [upon/over] your mouth.

6 [Even/For] when I [remember/think about this] I am [afraid/disturbed/terrified],
and [trembling/horror/a shudder] [taketh hold on/is felt by] my [flesh/body].

And Job will now get in to what makes him afraid and causes trembling to take hold on this flesh.

Job 21 Commentary: The wicked do well

But first, I want to say that in this chapter we’re going to see Job doing a little too much idealizing of the life of the wicked. We know that the life of the wicked is not as great as Job is going to say here.

But I think that Job is looking at a composite picture of the typical wicked man’s life. He’s looking “from the other side of the fence” where he notices that it seems like “the grass is greener on the other side.”

And Job is especially looking at the lives of wicked men and comparing their lives to his – and then he’s also comparing what he sees in the lives of wicked men to what these three friends of his are asserting. And it’s just not lining up.

And so, Job is reacting to two things as he gives this idealized portrait of the wicked man’s life – to his own calamitous existence and to the gross overstatements of his misguided friends.

Job 21 Commentary: Longevity and quality of life

OK, so Job begins to reveal this shocking reality – that the wicked actually do well in this life – by noticing the longevity and quality of their lives in verse 7. And he states this in the form of a question.

7 Wherefore do the wicked [live/keep living/go on living],
[become old/continue on/grow old], [yea/also/even], [are mighty/increase] in power?

So, the wicked live. No – they don’t just live. They continue or grow old. Wait a second – they don’t just grow old, they actually increase in their might and power.

So, not only do wicked men sometimes not just die as a punishment from God. Sometimes they do very well in this life and live for a long time!

Job 21 Commentary: Longevity and safety of progeny

And not only do wicked people live a long time. So do their offspring. And so, Job turns to the matter of the longevity and safety of the children of wicked men in verse 8.

8 Their [seed/children] [is/are] [i.e., firmly…] established in their sight with them,
and their offspring before their eyes.

So, unlike Job’s kids, the kids of wicked people often live a safe and long life. That in contrast to a few things we’ve heard from these friends – and even from Job himself – to the effect that the children of wicked men always meet with calamity. That simply is not the case – at least it doesn’t always happen.

Job 21 Commentary: No reason to fear God

And so, because of these realities – long life and safety and prosperity for both them and their children – the wicked have absolutely no reason to fear God according to verse 9.

9 Their houses are safe [from/and without] fear,
neither is the rod [i.e., of punishment…] of God upon them.

So, there’s not just “no fear of God” – but really, no reason to fear God. His chastening rod is not after them. They’re safe with nothing to disturb them.

This is in contrast to the picture that these men have constantly been painting – that the wicked are harried at every turn by God. That their houses are destroyed and cast into darkness, etc.

It just doesn’t happen like that, Job is now recognizing.

Job 21 Commentary: Unimaginable agricultural success

In fact, it’s not just that the wicked fear nothing negative happening to them. The converse is true – according to verse 10, they so often meet with unimaginable agricultural success.

10 Their bull [gendereth/mates/breeds], [and faileth not/without fail];
their cow calveth, and [casteth not her calf/does not miscarry].

So, bovines provided men with food and with power to plow their fields and do other manual work. In some ways they could even assist with some form of transportation.

To have these creatures mate successfully was key to the success of a farmer.

And I’m not a farmer and most of you aren’t either. So, let me try to bring this into our world.

Bulls mating and cows having calves would be like you making a box of noodles – and suddenly another box magically takes its place! Or when your car finally bites the dust, you’re not bothered because actually you have a few more cars in fine shape just parked in your back yard.

So, bulls and cows reproducing is so key to the success of a farmer. And Job is now recognizing that this happens to the wicked. According to his former theology – wicked men’s cows should always be barren or birthing stillborn calves. But they don’t.

And Job is now going so far as to say that sometimes their bovines are 100% successful in mating.

Job 21 Commentary: Fruitful and joyful domestic life

And, in addition – not only are the agricultural pursuits of the wicked fruitful and joyful. So is the domestic life of these wicked men, according to verse 11.

11 They send forth their little ones like a flock,
and their children dance.

The friends make it sound like the families of wicked men are full of misery.

Not so – Job says. They have abundant children – like flocks. And these little ones are happy and dancing, often.

Job 21 Commentary: Joyful existence all-around

And it’s not just the children of the wicked who are joyful – these wicked men themselves can oftentimes have an all-around joyful existence, according to verse 12!

12 They take the timbrel and harp,
and rejoice at the sound of the [organ/flute].

And no wonder they are so filled with joy. Just look at how their lives are characterized by Job!

Job 21 Commentary: Perfect life and death

And yet, death will come – even to these wicked men whose lives are so seemingly perfect. And yet, Job is going to assert in verse 13 that both the life and even the death of these men is just perfectly pleasant.

13 They [spend their days/live out their years] in [wealth/prosperity],
and [in a moment/suddenly/peacefully] go down to the grave.

So, in life, the wicked man is wealthy and prosperous. And he deserves a really horrible and prolonged death. But that’s not what he gets. His death is sudden and peaceful.

Job 21 Commentary: Defiance to God’s face

And because of all of this, the wicked man defies God to his face, according to verses 14 and 15.

14 [Therefore/So] they say unto God,

Depart from us;
for we [desire not the knowledge of/don’t want to know] thy ways.

15 [What/Who] is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
and what [profit should we have/would we gain], if we pray unto him?

And they have a point. What’s the use of praying to God when a person has everything he wants? That’s the way the natural mind thinks.

And yet, here we have Job. A man who will serve God “for nothing” – as we heard in the first two chapters of this book.

But he’s a rare case. Most people – as Satan noted in those first two chapters – serve God for the stuff he gives. As long as he gives the stuff, we follow. The moment he stops giving the stuff, we forsake him.

But not so with Job. And that shouldn’t be the case for us either.

Brethren – are you prepared to follow God even if he makes your life miserable? Are you prepared to Trust God’s Wisdom, even if you can’t Understand His Ways?

When we’re gathered together to Jesus Christ, I guarantee that you and I and our brother Job will find it completely worth-it that we followed the Lord – even if and when he took all of our stuff away. So, let’s live like that’s the case right now.

Job 21 Commentary: This, despite God’s blessings

Well, Job had just declared that the wicked don’t serve or pray to God because they have everything they want already.

And yet, the ironic part of the whole matter is that it’s God himself that has actually given the wicked everything that they have – according to verse 16.

16 [Lo/But], their [good/prosperity] is not [in their hand/of their own doing]:

the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

So, Job reviews these things and declares that – contrary to what his friends say – Job is not wicked. And further, he has absolutely no desire to share the activities, heart attitudes, or words of these men. Their counsel and advice is far from Job, he says.

Job 21 Commentary: Questioning the wicked man’s demise

Well, next, Job asks five questions in verses 17 and 18 – all of which are intended to cast doubt on the assumptions of his friends regarding what the life of the wicked man is really like.

17 How oft is the [candle/lamp] of the wicked [put out!/extinguished?]
and how oft cometh their [destruction/calamity/misfortune] upon them[!/?]
[i.e., How often does…] God [distributeth/apportions] [sorrows/destruction/pain] [i.e., to them…] in his anger[./?]

18 [They are/Are they/How often are they] [as/like] [stubble/straw] before the wind[,/?]
and [as/like] chaff that the storm carrieth away[./?]

So, Job is saying – does what you guys are saying really happen?

And Job has come to the conclusion that – no – the lamp of the wicked is not put out and their destruction often does not come and God doesn’t give them sorrow and they’re not like stubble or chaff.

Their lives are far from being short and sad. This is in direct contradiction to their Retribution Theology-understanding of the way that God works in this world.

Job 21 Commentary: Questioning God’s delayed justice

Ah – but Job’s friends might reply something like this to what Job just said… “Yes, Job, perhaps sometimes God doesn’t punish the wicked man directly. But at least God will be sure to punish his children!

And Job takes issue with that in verses 19 through 21.

19 [i.e., You may say, “…] God [layeth/stores] up his [iniquity/punishment] for his children:

So, yeah, that’s how this could work. God could possibly be saving his wrath for the children of the wicked man. But Job doesn’t like that arrangement at all…

[he rewardeth him/Let God repay him/Instead let him repay the man himself], [and/so that] he [shall/may] know it.

20 [His eyes shall/Let his own eyes] see his [destruction/decay],
and [he shall/let him] drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

So, why would God wait to punish the wicked man’s kids? What good does that do? How does that hurt the wicked man at all? That’s what Job asks in verse 21.

21 For what [pleasure hath he in/does he care for/is his interest in] his [house/household/home] after [him/his death],
when the number of his months [is cut off in the midst/is cut off/has been broken off]?

Job 21 Commentary: But I shouldn’t be questioning God

And I think we need to catch what we just witnessed in those last few verses. Job is confronting – not just his friends and their faulty assumptions – but he’s really questioning why God is doing things the way he does them – or at least, the way that these men are thinking God works.

And that realization – that Job is directly questioning the way God runs this world – causes Job to step back a bit and acknowledge that he’s on shaky ground. Because – as he says in verse 22…

22 [Shall any/Can anyone] teach God knowledge?
[seeing/since] he judgeth those that are high.

Job 21 Commentary: The seeming randomness of death

And yet, Job isn’t going to stop questioning the way that God works in this world any time soon.

And so, Job continues into verses 23-26 by declaring the seeming randomness of death.

23 One [i.e., man…] dieth in his full [strength/vigor],
[being wholly/completely] [at ease/secure] and [quiet/satisfied/prosperous].

24 His [breasts/sides/body] are [full/filled out] [of milk/with fat] [i.e., well nourished…],
and his bones are moistened with marrow.

So, that’s the fortunate guy – the one whose death is sudden and whose life has been just great.

Then there’s the other kind of guy – the one that Job more closely resembles these days…

25 [And/While] another dieth in the bitterness of his soul,
and never [eateth with pleasure/having tasted anything good].

And they both share the same fate…

26 They shall lie down [alike/together] in the dust,
and the worms shall cover them.

And that’s not right! That’s not the way that God should work – according to Retribution Theology. The first guy – whose life and death are pleasant – should always be the righteous guy. And the one who dies in bitterness after a bitter life should always be the wicked guy. But that’s just not how God works in this world.

By the way, this sounds a lot like a few arguments made in the book of Ecclesiastes – don’t you think?

Job 21 Commentary: Job’s friends are thinking wrong

And with this mention of death – which Job very well might consider to be imminent for himself – Job seems to recoil at the thought that his friends probably think that if he dies in the state that he’s currently in – that that proves that he’s wicked.

27 [Behold/Yes], I know [your thoughts/what you are thinking],
and the [devices/plans/schemes] which ye wrongfully imagine against me [i.e., by which you would wrong me…].

Job 21 Commentary: Questioning the friends’ assumptions

And while Job is attacking his friends for assuming that his death would prove their point, he now is going to attack their assumptions about the fate of the wicked elite of society starting in verse 28.

28 For ye say,

Where is the house of the [prince/nobleman]?
and where are the dwelling places of the wicked?

So, Job is saying that these friends of his are assuming the quick demise of wicked men – especially wicked men in power – princes or noblemen.

Job 21 Commentary: They’re obviously wrong

But Job wants to state that these friends are obviously wrong in their assuming that the powerful wicked of the world meet their demise quickly in this life. And everyone knows it – verse 29.

29 Have ye not asked [them that go by the way/wayfaring men/those who travel the roads]?
and do ye not [know/recognize] their [tokens/witness/accounts],

And Job’s intention is that if these friends had asked anyone that sees what’s happening in the world, they would know that what they’re thinking regarding the wicked is totally absurd and indefensible.

Job 21 Commentary: The wicked avoids punishment in this life

And what these travelers who know what’s happening in this world would tell these friends is that the wicked avoids punishment in this life – according to verses 30 and 31.

30 That the wicked is [reserved to/spared from] the day of [destruction/calamity/destruction]?
they [shall be brought forth to/he is delivered from] the day of wrath.

31 Who [shall declare/will confront/will denounce] his [way/actions/conduct] to his face?
and who shall repay him what he hath done?

And the answer to he questions in verse 31 in Job’s mind is “Nobody!” No one is going to denounce the wicked in this life. No one will repay him for what he’s done in this life.

And I think that at this point, Job is getting so exasperated with his suffering and his friends’ wrong answers – that Job might even be starting to question whether the wicked ever gets what’s coming to him – even after this life!

Of course, we know from the Scripture that there is a punishment for the wicked – at the very least, after this life. And so, if Job is questioning that, he’s wrong.

Job 21 Commentary: The death of the wicked is sweet

And yet, what Job asserts next is right – at least some of the times. And that is, that the death of the wicked is sweet – according to verses 32 and 33.

32 Yet shall he [be brought/is carried] to the grave,
and [shall remain/watch is kept] [in the/over his] tomb.

33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him,
and [every man/all men/everybody] shall [draw/follow] after him [i.e., in procession…],
as there are [innumerable/a countless throng] before him.

So, the wicked is oftentimes honored in his death. He’s not vilified as he ought to be. No – he’s honored.

Job 21 Commentary: The friends’ counsel from wrong assumptions can’t help Job

And so, what these friends are telling Job just can’t be trusted. They’re speaking falsehood and lies to him. And so, Job ends his speech to them in verse 34 by asserting that their counsel which is based on wrong assumptions cannot help him at all.

34 How then [comfort/console] ye me [in vain/with futile words],
seeing in your answers there [remaineth/is nothing but] falsehood?

And yet – despite this warning from Job – the sad reality is that next time in chapter 22 – Eliphaz is going to once again accuse Job of being wicked. We’ll see that next time.

Psalm 47 Commentary

Psalm 47 Commentary

Let’s look at Psalm 47 together for this Psalm 47 Commentary.

In Psalm 47, we are confronted with the following theme: Universal Rejoicing for God’s Universal Reign.

Psalm 47 Commentary: Superscription

So, when we get to this psalm, like many other psalms, we first of all run across a superscription. So, let’s briefly look at that.

<[To/For] the [chief Musician/choir director/music director],
A Psalm
[for/of/by] the [sons of Korah/Korahites].>

So, Psalm 47 is one of 55 psalms that is addressed to the “chief Musician.”

It’s also one of 57 psalms labeled “a psalm” or in Hebrew mizmor.

And lastly, Psalm 47 is one of 11 psalms that’s attributed to the “sons of Korah.” In fact, the last three psalms we’ve studied – Psalms 44, 45, and 46 have also been attributed to these “sons of Korah.”

Psalm 47 Commentary: Rejoice Ye People!

And so, this psalm that’s intended for use by the chief Musician which was written by the sons of Korah starts by immediately commanding a certain group to commence a certain action in verse 1. Everyone is supposed to rejoice!

KJV Psalm 47:1 O clap your hands, all [ye people/peoples/you nations];
shout [unto/to/out to] God [with the voice of triumph/with the voice of joy/in celebration].

So, this group translated here as “ye people” is found four times in this psalm of 9 verses.

Here in this verse, this group is told to clap their hands in victory and to shout triumphantly.

Now, to whom and regarding whom are they rejoicing? To God!

And God is a central figure in this psalm as he is in the Scripture as a whole. The Hebrew word translated as “God” like we see in this verse appears 8 times in this short psalm. And God’s covenant name YAHWEH is found twice. In the King James Version, the pronoun “he” is used to refer to God five times. God is referred to as “king” or one who reigns 4 times in Psalm 47.

The point is that God the LORD and king is a central figure in this psalm. And he’s a king – not just over Israel. He’s king over all the people of the earth.

However… reality as we know it now doesn’t seem to agree with this declaration – that God rules the whole world. If you were to be bold enough to go out and ask anyone in your neighborhood, “Hey – who’s your king?” they would think you were crazy.

We have no king in this nation in which we live. And even if we did have a king in the USA, he certainly wouldn’t be the king of anyone in another country.

And yet, this psalm declares that God the Lord is king over absolutely everyone…

But again, I return us to our present reality and remind us that God really isn’t even king over his own chosen people – the nation of Israel. They – by-and-large – reject him to this day.

What – then – is this psalm talking about?

There are two possibilities that I think are legitimate.

First, this psalm could be saying that God is king even if his subjects – both Israel and the nations – don’t accept his ruling over them. And I think that’s true. But I do wonder if there’s something more to this psalm than just that.

I wonder about a second possibility…

Do you remember Psalm 46? Nature and the nations being disturbed – but then God comes and finally brings peace to all of them when he sends his Son Jesus Christ to rule the world. The river that makes glad the city of God in the Millennium, etc. And as we studied that psalm, we discovered that Psalm 46 will likely be sung by those who survive the Great Tribulation and enter into the Millennium.

Well, I think this psalm in front of us now – Psalm 47 – is a follow-up to that psalm.

The people enter the Millennial kingdom ruled by Jesus Christ and they look back on what he has brought them through. That’s Psalm 46.

And now, Psalm 47 is a psalm that will be sung by Israel as they realize that God literally rules both them and everyone on earth!

And Israel is rejoicing. And the nations that are subdued under Jesus Christ are rejoicing. And that’s what this psalm is all about. It’s the second Millennial psalm that we’ve come across in the last two psalms we’ve studied!

So, we see that the people – which is likely a reference to the Gentiles who will enter the Millennium from the Great Tribulation – are called on in verse 1 of this psalm to clap and shout with great joy and triumph.

Psalm 47 Commentary: God Rules Everyone

Why? Verse 2. God is ruling them now in the person of Jesus Christ their king!

2 For the [LORD most high/sovereign LORD] is [terrible/to be feared/awe-inspiring];
he is [a/the] great King [over all the/who rules the whole] earth.

And in the Millennium, Jesus Christ will literally and bodily rule from his throne in Jerusalem. We know that from New Testament teaching.

But in this verse here, who does it say will rule the whole earth in the Millennium?

It’s the LORD. Yahweh. Jehovah.

Now, you’re aware of a group that calls itself Jehovah’s Witnesses. And one of their chief purposes for existing is to deny that Jesus Christ is God come in flesh.

But have they not read Psalm 47, verse 2? Because this verse clearly states that the one who will rule over the entire earth is none other than YAHWEH – Jehovah. And we know from the rest of Scripture that it’s Jesus Christ who will rule over the entire earth in the Millennium.

And therefore… Jesus Christ is YAHWEH – Jehovah!

And a group like the JWs or the Mormons or Muslims or liberal Protestants will seek to deny that this is the case. And yet, we have God’s word declaring to us and to them that someday these groups and everyone else will be ruled by God the Son – Jesus Christ – God incarnate. And they will discover what verse 2 tells us – that he is to be feared – he’s terrible in that sense.

Psalm 47 Commentary: How God Will Be King

But again, we must ask ourselves how this is going to happen. Because, once more, we look around and we see God ruling apparently no one.

I mean, he has no throne. Humanity is currently allowed to just do as we please, more-or-less.

So, how is it going to come to pass that Yahweh God is going to be king over not just his people – but over the entire earth?

That’s what verse 3 explains.

3 He [shall subdue/subdues/subdued] [the people/peoples/nations] [under/beneath] us,
and [the nations/nations/countries] under our feet.

And I think what is so interesting is that those very people that we heard about in verse 1 – the ones who are called on to rejoice in God’s ruling over them – they’re going to need to be brought to a place where they are ready and willing to rejoice in that kind of arrangement – of God ruling over them and of them submitting to that rule.

Because it’s not natural for sinful men to joyfully submit to God. And so, God is going to need to do something to make this happen. And that something is the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

And when Christ returns and defeats the enemies of his people – something very interesting will happen. He will subdue those enemies under the feet of his people.

And we need to consider what is usually the reaction of a vanquished enemy? How do defeated opponents usually respond to their triumphing foe? Maybe sorrow, misery, bitterness, vengefulness…

But that’s not how the “people” entering the Millennium will feel. They will do what we’ve already seen them commanded to do. That is, they will rejoice!

They will rejoice to be subdued. Even to be subdued under the power of God’s covenant people will be a joy to them. That’s the way it is when we get rightly related to the God of the universe. There is a joy in submission – a joy in him conquering us, as it were.

Psalm 47 Commentary: Israel Inherits the Land

And in the Millennium, not only will Israel’s enemies be no more a threat to them – indeed, they’ll be worshippers alongside of God’s people! – but also, Israel will be finally given their land that God promised so long ago to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We read about that in verse 4.

4 He [shall choose/chooses/picked out] [our inheritance/a special land] for us,
[the excellency of/the glory of/to be a source of pride for] Jacob whom he [loved/loves].


And that land has never been fully inherited by Israel up to this day. But it will be – when Jesus Christ comes to be a king over all the earth.

And to the original Hebrew audience of this psalm – and to the future Jewish recipients of this treasured land – this is such joyful news that the author of this psalm was inspired to add a “selah” – which if that means something like a high point or crescendo – is very fitting for how they’ll feel about finally getting their land in-full after literally thousands of years of collective waiting.

Psalm 47 Commentary: Jesus Ascends the Throne

Well, then verse 5 brings us to the scene of Jesus Christ ascending the throne when he comes to rule the earth.

5 God [is gone up/has ascended (his throne)] [with a shout/amid loud shouts],
the LORD [i.e., has ascended his throne…] [with the sound of a trumpet (shofar)/amid the blaring of ram’s horns].

And so, just picture this glorious scene. Jesus Christ has returned and saved Israel. He has come back with resurrected saints – with you and me, I trust. And here we all are – after millennia of everyone else being on the throne and ruling and doing whatever they think is best and messing everything up and stealing glory from the true sovereign – after all of the sin and death this world has suffered through – ah, now the rightful owner of this place takes his seat for a thousand years.

And he’s going to make everything right. No more injustice. Perfect peace and love and joy. Everyone and everything in total harmony under the loving and kind and powerful rule of our Savior – the Lord Jesus Christ!

Psalm 47 Commentary: Response of Joy

So, how are you going to react when you see this? And I phrase it that way on purpose. You will see this! Do you believe that?

How are you going to react when you see Jesus Christ ascend the throne in Jerusalem?

Well, you and I actually already know how we’re going to respond. Because we’re told in verse 6. This is how you and I will respond when we see Jesus Christ mount his throne in Jerusalem.

6 Sing praises to God, sing praises:
sing praises [unto/to] our King, sing praises.

So, do you suppose that when we see Jesus Christ mounting the throne in Jerusalem that we might possibly … “sing praises?” Yes! We’re going to sing praises!

Four times here in this verse alone we’re commanded to do this. We should do this to God in this life – and we will certainly do it when we’re resurrected and witnessing Jesus Christ finally taking what’s rightfully his – the throne from which he will rule over the entire world.

Psalm 47 Commentary: God is the Universal King

And that’s the joyful reality that we’re reminded of in verse 7 – that God the Son will be the universal king.

7 For God is the King of [all the/the whole] earth:
sing ye praises with [understanding/a skillful psalm/a well-written song].

Now, that word translated in the KJV as “understanding” is the Hebrew word maskil. It has to do with skill or wisdom or prudence.

So, the response of the people over which Jesus will rule is and will be to sing skillful praises to him. Praises that take some thought and creativity and contemplation.

We’ll do it in the Millennium when we see his coronation. We should do it now as he rules in our hearts.

Psalm 47 Commentary: God’s Holy Rule

And perhaps an Old Testament Hebrew might think that ruling over the Gentiles – the goyim – and God’s holiness would be mutually exclusive realities. After all, the Gentiles were ceremonially unclean – and unclean in so many other ways in the Old Testament economy.

And yet, God makes it clear in verse 8 that Jesus Christ’s future reign over the entire earth – including Gentiles – will in no way detract from his holiness.

8 God [reigneth/reigns] over the [heathen/nations]:
God [sitteth/sits] [upon/on] [the throne of his holiness/his holy throne].

Christ’s throne will be holy. It will be completely unique. Unlike any other monarch in the history of the world.

Christ will be a just ruler. He has never sinned, he will never sin. He cannot be bribed. He is omniscient. Nothing will escape his notice. He will not persecute good. He will be a terror to evil in the purest way.

His throne and his rule will be completely different – it will be holy.

Psalm 47 Commentary: Jew and Gentile

And in that bright future day when Jesus Christ rules on earth – the reality that we know of in the Church – of Jew and Gentile together in one body – will be fully realized on an international scale according to verse 9.

9 The [princes/nobles] of the [people/nations] [are gathered together/have assembled themselves/assemble],
[even/as/along with] the people of the God of Abraham:

for the [shields/rulers/ones who shield their people] of the earth [belong unto/are under the authority of] God:
he is [greatly/highly] exalted.

So, the psalmist is prophesying that the princes of the people – and I take that as a reference to the rulers of the Gentiles or the non-Jews – well, they gather together with the Jews – the people of the God of Abraham.

Or that could be translated to say that the rulers of the people will gather together as the people of the God of Abraham.

In other words – whereas currently a person is either a Jew or not – in the Millennium there will be the closest of connections between Jew and Gentile. The Gentile people will be either with the people who have worshipped Yahweh for millennia – or the Gentile people will be considered as if they actually were the people who have worshipped Yahweh for millennia.

And that’s because the shields – and those who wield those weapons of war – will belong to God at that point in earth’s history.

And for this reason, God will be highly exalted. And as we wait for these promised realities to materialize, we ought to highly exalt this God – who is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ – and who will one day cause us and the entire universe to rejoice in his universal reign.

So, as we go to prayer tonight, lets obey Jesus’ admonition to pray that God’s kingdom would come – and that there would soon be Universal Rejoicing for God’s Universal Reign.

Job 20 Commentary

Job 20 Commentary

And so here we find ourselves in Job chapter 20 for this Job 20 commentary.

Job 20 Commentary: Zophar is Influenced to Respond 

Where in verses 1-3, Zophar is influenced to respond to Job. 

KJV Job 20:1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, 

2 [Therefore do/This is why] my [thoughts/troubled thoughts/disquieting thoughts] cause me to [answer/respond],
[and for this/even because of ] [I make haste/my inward agitation/my feelings within me]. 

3 I have heard the [check/reproof] [of my reproach/that insults me/that dishonors me],
and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer. 

So, Zophar is saying that he’s responding to Job because Job rebuked him and that insulted Zophar. 

Not the best reason to open your mouth. He’s not responding out of patient love. He’s responding out of a hurt ego and personal pride. 

Job 20 Commentary: You Ought to Know 

But personal pride and ego are all we get from these three friends. 

And so it makes sense that starting in verse 4 Zophar brings to Job’s attention a few things that Job should have known all along.  

Zophar proudly asserts a few things about the way the wicked man is dealt with in this life that Zophar himself  – the very wise and learned and understanding man that he is – has learned in his lifetime. 

4 Knowest thou not this of old,
since man was placed upon earth, 

Job 20 Commentary: Brief Duration of the Wicked Man’s Joy and Existence 

And the first thing that Zophar wants Job to know in verses 5-9 is that the wicked man might exist for a while in this life – hey, he might even have some joy – but these will be brief in duration for him. 

5 That the [triumphing/elation] of the wicked is [short/brief],
and the joy of the [hypocrite/godless] but for a moment? 

6 Though his [excellency/loftiness/stature] [mount up/reaches] to the heavens,
and his head [reach unto/touches] the clouds; 

7 Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung:
they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? 

8 He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found:
yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. 

9 The eye also which saw him shall see him no more;
neither shall his place any more behold him. 

So, that’s pleasant. Job pleaded with these men for mercy in chapter 19 and what does he get from Zophar? Well, whatever it is, it isn’t mercy. 

Zophar is telling Job that the wicked man is not long for this life. And by extension, he’s warning and threatening Job that if he doesn’t turn from his sin that Zophar supposes that Job is engaged in – well, Job is a goner. 

Job 20 Commentary: The Poor 

And so, then, Zophar moves on to accuse Job of something specific. What is Job’s sin? Well, he’s been spending a good bit of time denying his friend’s accusations. And so, Zophar now feels the need to get specific with Job. 

In particular, Zophar wants to remind Job that wicked men oppress the poor. That’s not an accusation that any of the friends have made yet against Job. But Zophar is now starting to suspect that Job was being unjust to the poor. And so, Zophar declares that his children will need to make matters right with the poor people that Job has oppressed. 

10 His children [shall seek to please/must recompense] the poor,
and his hands shall [restore/give back] [their goods/his wealth]. 

And I find this statement to be bizarre. Job has no children any more. And so – if Zophar is trying to make a point and accuse Job of something – why bring up what the wicked man’s children are going to have to do – seeing that Job has none? 

Job 20 Commentary: Only the Wicked Die Young 

Then, Zophar continues and declares to Job that the wicked man typically dies in the prime of his life with strength and vitality. 

11 His bones are full [of the sin of his youth/of his youthful vigor],
which [i.e., vigor…] shall lie down with him in the dust. 

Job 20 Commentary: Wicked Man’s Consumption 

And then Zophar goes on to speak of the wicked man – and he seems to be preoccupied with the metaphor of eating and consumption in verses 12-16. 

12 Though [wickedness/evil] be sweet in his mouth,
though he hide it under his tongue; 

13 Though he [spare/desires/retains for himself] it, and [forsake it not/won’t let it go];
but keep it still within his mouth: 

14 Yet his [meat/food] in his [bowels/stomach] is turned [i.e., sour…],
it is the [gall/venom] of [asps/cobras/serpents] within him. 

So, the wicked loves wickedness so much it’s as if he devours it. And it turns out to give him heartburn, as it were. Even worse – poison! 

But not only does the wicked eat wickedness – he also eats riches in verses 15. 

15 He hath swallowed down riches,
and he shall vomit them up again:
God shall cast them out of his belly. 

And so, the wicked man tries to devour riches – but God won’t let him have them. 

And so, the wicked man is consigned to eating poison in verse 16. 

16 He shall suck the poison of [asps/cobras/serpents]:
the viper’s [tongue/fangs] shall slay him. 

And this approach that Zophar is taking is really crude – if you haven’t noticed. He’s spoken of dung or human refuse – of swallowing and vomiting – of sucking poison. It’s almost like Zophar wants to shock Job into buying his evidence that he thinks will convince Job to fess-up and admit that he’s hiding secret sin that God is punishing him for. 

Job 20 Commentary: More of the Eating Metaphor 

Well, more about food – verse 17. 

17 He shall not [see/look at (or on)] the [rivers/streams],
the [floods/rivers], [the brooks of/flowing with/which are torrents of] honey and butter. 

And more of the eating metaphor in verse 18. 

18 That which he [labored for/attained] shall he [restore/give back],
and shall not [swallow it down/assimilate it]:  

according to his substance shall the restitution be,
and he shall not rejoice therein. 

So, the wicked man – according to verses 18 and 19 which we just read will have a bunch of things. But in the end he just needs to give all of it back. 

And I imagine that Zophar is seeing this happening in Job’s life. God took all of his stuff – see – he must be wicked – because this only happen to wicked people! 

Job 20 Commentary: Poor Again 

And once more, Zophar narrows-in on the kind of sin he believes that Job has committed – he’s oppressed the poor – verse 19. 

19 Because he hath oppressed and hath [forsaken/abandoned] the poor;
because he hath [violently taken away/seized] an house which he builded not; 

And so, this is why God is punishing Job in Zophar’s mind – he’s been evil to poor needy helpless individuals. 

And what’s so interesting with Zophar grasping on to this particular sin that he thins that Job is committing is that he has done nothing to inquire of the validity of these accusations. He’s not asking Job any questions. He – as far as we know – hasn’t conducted any research. He’s just guessing! 

And that’s what all these friends are doing. They see Job’s suffering and they immediately assume that he’s done something wrong. And so, they pull out of their hat whatever sin they think he’s committed – and without a shred of integrity they hurl that accusation at their friend and see if it will stick. 

This is not the way to deal with people – even when you think they’ve sinned. Don’t assume. Do the research. 

 Job 20 Commentary: More Digestion

And yet, Zophar isn’t going to do anything of the sort. And so, he continues in verses 20-23 to use the digestive metaphor to assert that wicked men will ultimately have nothing in this life because God will give it to the needy. 

20 Surely he shall not feel [quietness/satisfaction] in his [belly/appetite],
he shall not [save/retain anything] of that which he desired. 

21 There shall [none of his meat/nothing for him to devour] be left;
therefore shall [no man look for/it not last (or endure)] his [goods/prosperity]. 

22 In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be [in straits/cramped/distressed]:
[every hand of the wicked/the hand of everyone who suffers/the full force of misery] shall come [upon/against] him. 

23 When he is about to fill his belly,
God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him,
and shall rain it upon him while he is eating. 

So, I hope we’re catching on to the fact that Zophar is continuing in various ways to speak of eating and digestion. 

And I hope no one accuses me of being light with God’s word when I suggest that perhaps at this point in the debate, Zophar in particular is getting really hungry. 

I don’t know what else might explain how much this man talks about eating in this chapter. In fact, maybe that’s why he doesn’t come back for a third lecture at Job. This is Zophar’s second and last denunciation of Job. The other two friends end up getting a third shot at him. And some wonder why Zophar doesn’t speak a third time. I am starting to wonder if the guy was so hungry that he spent much of his second lecture speaking of food – and then by the time his turn rolls around next he’s gone finding food somewhere. 

Maybe that’s not the real story. But it’s an intriguing possibility – if not a bit of comic relief in the midst of a message explaining a passage of Scripture that isn’t very happy and is portraying accurately a man who is not speaking truth. Or at least, he’s not applying truth accurately. 

Well, let’s move on. 

Job 20 Commentary: Weapons Attack the Wicked 

Zophar finally removes food from his mind for a few moments – long enough in order to speak of the fact that wicked men are inevitably attacked with weapons. 

24 He [shall/may] flee from the iron weapon,
and the bow of [steel/bronze] shall [strike/pierce] him through. 

25 It is drawn, and cometh out of [the body/his back];
yea, the glittering [sword/point] cometh out of his [gall/liver]:
terrors [are/come] upon him. 

And once more here we see Zophar’s total lack of decorum and appropriateness. It’s as if he glories in the gory. He pictures the process of an arrow piercing into a man’s liver and the glittering bile that he envisions dripping from the tip of the arrow. 

And, to any normal person, this level of detail and the enthusiasm with which Zophar gives it would be just uncomfortable. And so, if I’m still wondering why this is Zophar’s last speech in this book, I start to wonder if maybe even his two friends – when his turn comes around next time – if they’re just like “Hey, Zophar, don’t worry about it. We got this. No more need to hear about glittering bile and vomit and dung. Just maybe go get yourself some food or something. 

Again, a little humor – but maybe not too far off from the explanation as to why this is Zophar’s last speech. 

Job 20 Commentary: Total Destruction 

And last, Zophar in verses 26-28 speaks of the total destruction of the wicked man. 

26 [All/Complete/Total] darkness [shall be hid/is held in reserve/waits to receive] [in his secret places/for his treasures]:
a fire [not blown/unfanned/that hasn’t been kindled] shall consume him;
it shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle. 

So, his stuff, himself, and his dependents will all be swallowed into total darkness.  

27 The heaven shall reveal his iniquity;
and the earth shall rise up against him. 

So, from the highest to the lowest, the wicked man’s sin will not be hidden. 

28 The increase of his house shall depart,
and his goods shall flow away in the day of [his/God’s] wrath. 

And that’s the key – God’s wrath. God is angry at Job. That’s why bad things are happening to Job. What else could cause this?! 

And with that, Zophar speaks his last sentence and bows out of the scene. 

29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God,
and the heritage [appointed/decreed] unto him by God. 

So, God is punishing Job for his sin – in particular the supposed fact that Job has oppressed the poor. Case closed. Zophar will say no more. 

And yet, Job will say more. And in particular, next time in chapter 21 he is going to speak very plainly to these men that oftentimes wicked men do not meet with the fate that these three friends keep saying they meet with. Oftentimes, wicked men prosper. That’s what we’ll study next time, Lord-willing.