|<< Job 28|
Job 29-31 Listen
Job: Back then I was somebody! (Job 29)
1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,
2 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;
3 When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;
4 As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;
5 When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me;
6 When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil;
7 When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!
8 The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.
9 The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.
10 The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:
12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.
13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.
16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.
17 And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.
18 Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.
19 My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch.
20 My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.
21 Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel.
22 After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them.
23 And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.
24 If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.
25 I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners.
Job began this monologue back in Job 26 (see notes); in these verses, he longs for those days when he was somebody - verse 8, "The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up." When he talked, the influential leaders just shut their mouths out of respect. He was responsible for helping many folks with their problems, and whatever he said about anything settled the issue - verse 22, "After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them." He comments that everyone back then wanted to be in his presence. And finally - verse 25, "I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners." Now, Job does seem quite proud of his previous community standing; he was THE MAN! Well, he is certainly humbled now!
I'm compelled to make an observation here: while Job was righteous acting and looking in all the correct ways, I think this chapter gives us an insight into some of Job's motivations. He was obviously a very proud man! I don't think you can read this chapter and dispute that. When this ordeal is over, we'll see in Job 42 (see notes) that Job is no longer a proud man. Trial does that! It matures our thinking as Believers to make us more usable as humble vessels of God. Trial helps us adjust our expectations and tempers our self sufficiency.
Job: But now I can't get any respect! (Job 30)
1 But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.
2 Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished?
3 For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.
4 Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat.
5 They were driven forth from among men, (they cried after them as after a thief;)
6 To dwell in the clifts of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks.
7 Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together.
8 They were children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth.
9 And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword.
10 They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face.
11 Because he hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me.
12 Upon my right hand rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction.
13 They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they have no helper.
14 They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters: in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me.
15 Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue my soul as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud.
16 And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me.
17 My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest.
18 By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat.
19 He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes.
20 I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me: I stand up, and thou regardest me not.
21 Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.
22 Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance.
23 For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.
24 Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.
25 Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor?
26 When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.
27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.
28 I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation.
29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
30 My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.
31 My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.
Job continues (from chapter 29) to say that even the young men have no respect for him now - men whose fathers were not even close to being his equals (verse 1), which, I might add, he states in a very disparaging way. But now, they treat him with great reproach (verse 10). They openly criticize and publicly humiliate him in his condition. His honor and prosperity are gone (verse 15). Then he comments on his dire physical condition: His bones and joints ache (verses 17, 30), his clothing is yucky from his disease (verse 18), got some internal stuff happening (verse 27), his skin has turned black (verse 30). Whoa! This must be one hideous-looking man! No one respects him now - at least not that he can see! Who is responsible for all of this? Job is rather pointed in verse 19, "He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes." Job thinks God has done this to him. However, let's do keep a distinction in mind regarding trial: While God permits trial, Satan is the one who brings it on...then and now. Job's trial was a character-building ordeal. It's the same process by which Believers are made strong and capable today. Read these two articles to grasp this concept:
1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
2 For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?
3 Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?
4 Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?
5 If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit;
6 Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.
7 If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;
8 Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.
9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door;
10 Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.
11 For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.
12 For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.
13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me;
14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?
15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
16 If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;
17 Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof;
18 (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother’s womb;)
19 If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering;
20 If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
21 If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate:
22 Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.
23 For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.
24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;
25 If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;
26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness;
27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:
28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.
29 If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him:
30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.
31 If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.
32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.
33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:
34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?
35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.
36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.
37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.
38 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;
39 If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:
40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.
We're still reading the speech that Job began back in Job 26 (see notes). Just when you think Job has expressed his innocence in every conceivable way, he thinks of another way. This time he thinks of all the ways one might be guilty before God that would merit the kind of punishment he's receiving, and then he proclaims that he is guilty of none of these acts. Verses 21-22 are amusing here. He invites chastisement if he is guilty of abusing orphans and proclaims that if he's guilty of such, may his arm fall off. That's about the only physical ailment that hasn't happened to him so far. Personally, I'd be afraid to give Satan any ideas.
NOTE: Trial builds character. While Job is not being chastised by God for wrongdoing, this monologue shows us that Job may very well have been a little...you know...snooty. I mean...you certainly can't maintain from this monologue that humility was one of Job's strengths. You'll see; when this ordeal is over, in Job 42 (see notes), Job is a humble man before God. As I said: trial builds character.
Incidentally, Job's wife gets one of her three mentions in this chapter (2:9, 19:17, 31:10). While it was common for the wealthy Old Testament men to maintain a household with multiple wives, it appears that Job had just one. She was an interesting gal - told her husband to "curse God and die" in Job 2:9 (see notes), exactly what Satan was trying to get Job to do (Job 1:11, see notes). In Job 19:17 (see notes) we see that she was something less than pleased with Job's very presence. She seemed to have no tolerance for a man who had festering sores over his body (7:5), nightmares (7:14), scabs that peeled and turned black (30:28, 30), disfigurement (2:12), bad breath (19:17), excessive weight loss (17:7, 19:20), a fever (30:30) and continual pain (30:17). As Job is listing sins he has not committed, he offers his wife here in verse 10 if he is guilty of any kind of sexual compromise. I'd like to have seen the look on her face if she heard him say that. However, my guess is...she didn't bother to stick around for these meetings.