Job replies to Bildads second speech
Job thinks that God caused Job’s troubles
Bildads: v1 Job replied. He said: v2 You continue to upset me. Your words make me sad. v3 You have insulted me many times. You accuse me unfairly, but you are not ashamed. v4 I alone am responsible if I have done evil things. v5 You think that you are great. You accuse me because I suffer. v6 So, know this fact! God has caused my troubles. This is why I cannot escape from my problems.
v7 I shout, ‘Help!’ But nobody hears me. I call aloud. But nobody is fair to me. v8 My life is like a dark path. My troubles are like a fence across this path. v9 God removes my honour. Nobody respects me still. v10 God attacks me. He destroys me, like a tree without roots. v11 He is angry with me. He considers me to be an enemy. v12 God has sent his army to oppose me. God’s army surrounds me. And the army is ready to attack.
The friends upset Job because their speeches were not correct. The friends suggested that Job was a wicked man. But Job was a good, honest man (Job 1:1).
Job knew his own conscience. The friends did not need to accuse him. And they did not need to speak so many times. They were trying to force Job to agree with them. But Job was suffering. They ought to have shown more sympathy.
The friends accused Job so often because they were proud. They wanted to prove that they were right. But Job’s troubles did not prove that they were right.
In fact, the devil caused Job’s troubles. But Job did not realise this fact.
Job felt as if a robber was attacking him. But when Job called for help, nobody came to assist.
If a path is dark, the traveller cannot see the way ahead. If there is a fence, the traveller must stop. Job felt like that traveller. The traveller could not continue his journey. And it seemed that Job’s life could not continue.
Before his troubles, Job was a great man (Job 29:7-9). But nobody respected him now.
Job continues Bildad’s story about a tree (Job 18:16). If Job was like a tree with dry roots, God caused this situation. Job was not responsible, because Job was innocent.
Job was sure that God was attacking him. But we know from Job 2:3 that God was not angry with Job. God was proud of Job. God considered Job to be a loyal servant.
Nobody cares about Job
v13 My brothers leave me. My friends leave me. v14 My family leave me. My close friends forget me. v15 My guests think that I am a stranger. Even my maids think this. They consider me to be a foreigner.v16 If I call my servant, he does not answer me. He refuses to help me. v17 My wife hates the smell of my breath. My brothers hate me. v18 Even the little children insult me. They laugh at me. v19 My friends, whom I love, hate me. v20 I am very thin. My body is just skin and bones. I am hardly alive.
v21 Comfort me, my friends! Comfort me! God has attacked me. v22 But you are not God. So you do not need to attack me. You do not need to make me suffer.
Other people are often not loyal when someone suffers. Job’s family left him alone. Job’s servant did not answer Job. Even Job’s wife advised Job to insult God. She thought that it would be better for Job to be dead (Job 2:9).
Job loved his three friends. They came a long way to comfort him (Job 2:11). And they sat with him silently for a long time (Job 2:13). But their speeches did not help him. The friends accused Job. And they warned Job. Perhaps Job thought that it was God’s duty to punish him. But Job’s friends did not need to punish him. And Job really wanted them to comfort him.
Job knows that he will see God
v23 Record my words! Write my words in a book! v24 Or use an iron tool to record my words on rock.
v25 There is somebody who will rescue me. I know that he is alive. In the end, he will stand on the earth. v26 My body will disappear in my grave. But, in my body, I shall see God. v27 I, myself, will see him. Yes, my own eyes will see God. I desire that day with my whole heart.
v28 Do not say, ‘We will oppose Job. He caused his own troubles.’ v29 If you think this, then you ought to be afraid yourselves. God will be angry with you. He will punish you severely. Then, you will know that God is a judge.
Bildad said that everyone would forget the wicked man (Job 18:17-19). But Job did not want anyone to forget that he was innocent (Job 16:18). So Job wanted someone to write his words in a book. Then people would remember them always. And, of course, we still have the Book of Job today. It may be the most ancient book that still exists. Job wanted a permanent record of the things that he and his friends discovered about God.
These verses may be the most important verses in the Book of Job. Elsewhere Job explained his troubles, fears and doubts. But in these verses, Job explained the reasons why he still had hope.
Elsewhere Job had been doubtful whether he could ever prove himself innocent. He prayed. But he was not sure that God would ever help him. But in these verses, Job felt confident again.
Elsewhere, Job argued that death would be the end of everything. He did not think that a dead person could ever live again. But in these verses, Job was sure that God could make a dead person live again. And Job believed that he himself would meet God.
These are very important verses. But they are not easy verses to translate. Bible students are unsure about the exact meaning of many phrases.
But we understand enough to be confident about Job’s main ideas here:
· Firstly, Job was developing his thoughts in Job 16:19-21. There, Job said that somebody in heaven was helping him. He described that person as a lawyer or a friend. Job probably meant God himself. With our knowledge of the whole Bible, we can add that these passages describe Jesus well.
· In Job 14:7-9, Job remembered about trees. A tree that seems dead can often live again. And in Job 14:13-17, Job prayed that this would happen to Job himself. Here in chapter 19, Job seems confident that God will answer that prayer.
· Job used a special word in verse 25. In the original language of the book (called Hebrew) this word is GOEL. A GOEL frees someone by either of two particular methods. Either the GOEL may pay a debt for that person. Or the GOEL may fight to free the person. The English word for GOEL is a redeemer. So:
(1) In the Book of Ruth, Boaz freed Ruth. He loved her. So he paid her debts and he married her. He was her redeemer or GOEL.
(2) God is often called a GOEL or redeemer. For example, Psalm 19:14 and Isaiah 63:16.
(3) The Bible teaches that Jesus is our redeemer (1 Peter 1:18-19). When he died for us, he freed us from the devil’s power. The price for our freedom was Jesus’ death.
(4) In Job 19:25, Job uses this special word to describe God. At last, Job trusts God completely. God will rescue Job, even if God has to take Job from the grave to save him. God will rescue Job, even if God must pay to rescue him. And God will rescue Job even if God must fight for Job.
· Job realised that his body would die. But Job now knew that death would not be the end. In verse 26, the words ‘in my body’ might mean ‘without my body’. The translation is difficult but the meaning of Job’s words seems clear. After Job’s death, Job would see God. And Job desired that day, like Paul in Philippians 1:21-23.
Bildad argued this in Job 18:7-10. Job warned the friends not to be unfair. God would punish them if their words were evil.