Job 18-21

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

June 18, 2003


God had been bragging about Job, how Job was a mature man who always followed God. When Satan challenged God and suggested that Job only followed God because God was so good to him, God allowed Satan to touch Job. And so Job lost just about everything. He lost all of his wealth. He lost all of his children. He’s lost his health.

His friends showed up and for seven days they sat in silence with Job. When Job finally spoke up, he began by wishing he had never been born. He poured out his complaint, that he didn’t know why he was having such troubles. And this seems to have bothered Job’s friends because they had apparently already figured out why Job was having trouble. It was obvious to them that Job must have sinned and brought all this trouble on himself.

There will be three rounds of debates. A friend will speak and Job will answer. We’ve been through the first round with each friend addressing Job and then Job responding. We’re now in the middle of the second round.

Job 18

:1-4 Bildad: Be quiet

:1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,

Bildad is friend number two.

:2 How long will it be ere ye make an end of words?

Will you please shut up?

:4 He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee?

Job, you are very angry and are tearing your hair out, but that isn’t going to change your circumstances.

:5-10 The wicked will be caught

:5 Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.

Bildad now will launch into a lesson of what kinds of things are awaiting the wicked. The wicked will be snuffed out.

Hebrew Poetry

Hebrew poetry is not like English poetry. In English, our poetry seems to put a lot of attention on the rhyming of sounds. In Hebrew, the idea is a rhyming of ideas. In each line you will see either two parallel ideas that say the same thing, or you will see two contrasting things that are opposite of each other. You can learn more about each idea as you compare and contrast the ideas that are paired together.

:7 The steps of his strength shall be straitened

straitenedyatsar – to bind, be distressed, be in distress, be cramped, be narrow

:9 The gin shall take him by the heel

ginpach – bird trap, trap, snare

:10 The snare is laid for him in the ground

Bildad’s point is that a wicked person is going to get caught. There is some truth to this. This is sometimes exactly what happens:


A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that measured his speed using radar and photographed his car. He later received in the mail a ticket for $40 and a photo of his car. Instead of payment, he sent the police department a photograph of $40. Several days later, he received a letter from the police that contained another picture... of handcuffs. The motorist promptly sent the money for the fine.
or …
Drug Possession Defendant Christopher Jansen, on trial in March in Pontiac, Michigan, said he had been searched without a warrant. The prosecutor said the officer didn’t need a warrant because a “bulge” in Christopher’s jacket could have been a gun. Nonsense, said Christopher, who happened to be wearing the same jacket that day in court. He handed it over so the judge could see it. The judge discovered a packet of cocaine in the pocket and laughed so hard he required a five minute recess to compose himself.

:11-21 Terror for the wicked

:11 Terrors shall make him afraid on every side

Terrorsballahah – terror, destruction, calamity, dreadful event

There is nothing but horrible things ahead in the life of the wicked person.

:13 even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength.

(Job 18:13 NLT) {13} Disease eats their skin; death devours their limbs.

:15 brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

(Job 18:15 NLT) {15} The home of the wicked will disappear beneath a fiery barrage of burning sulfur.

Keep in mind that part of the destruction that Job has endured included fire from heaven:

(Job 1:16 KJV) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

:19 He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people

Job has lost all of his children at this point. He had seven sons and three daughters, now all dead.

:21 this is the place of him that knoweth not God.

Do you think Bildad has anybody in particular in mind when he’s describing all the calamities that await for a wicked person? He’s talking about Job.


Tell me to my face

Bildad is talking about the things that will happen to “the wicked”.
But his implication is that he’s talking about Job.
Some folks like to talk to you about things, but do it in a way where they don’t just come out and say that you’re bad, but you still get the message.
It’s all about good communication.
A farmer walked into an attorney’s office wanting to file for a divorce. The attorney asked, “May I help you?” The farmer said, “Yea, I want to get one of those dayvorces.” The attorney said, “Well, do you have any grounds?” The farmer said, “Yea, I got about 140 acres.” The attorney said, “No, you don’t understand, do you have a case?” The farmer said, “No, I don’t have a Case, but I have a John Deere.” The attorney said, “No, you don’t understand. I mean do you have a grudge?” The farmer said, “Yea, I got a grudge. That’s where I park my John Deere.” The attorney said, “No sir, I mean do you have a suit?” The farmer said, “Yes sir, I got a suit. I wear it to church on Sundays.” The exasperated attorney said, “Well, sir, does your wife beat you up or anything?” The farmer said, “No sir, we both get up about 4:30.” Finally, the attorney says, “Okay, let me put it this way. WHY DO YOU WANT A DIVORCE?” And the farmer says, “Well, I can never have a meaningful conversation with her.”
I think that one of the things necessary for “meaningful conversation” is to get to the point. Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

Job 19

:1-7 Job: I’ve been wronged

:4 And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.

(Job 19:4 NASB95) {4} “Even if I have truly erred, My error lodges with me.

:6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.

Job is wrong in this.

God is not the one who has attacked Job, Satan has attacked Job.

:8-22 Everyone is against me

:9 He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.

crown‘atarah – crown, wreath

If Job is speaking literally here, this might be additional proof that Job is the man spoken of in Genesis, listed as a king of Edom

(Gen 36:31-34 KJV) And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. {32} And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah. {33} And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead. {34} And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead.

:17 My breath is strange to my wife


Put A Sock In It

A young couple decided to wed. As the big day approached, they grew apprehensive. Each had a problem they had never before shared with anyone, not even each other. The Groom-to-be, overcoming his fear, decided to ask his father for advice. “Father,” he said, “I am deeply concerned about the success of my marriage.” His father replied, “Don’t you love this girl?” “Oh yes, very much,” he said,” but you see, I have very smelly feet, and I’m afraid that my fiancé will be put off by them.” “No problem,” said dad, “all you have to do is wash your feet as often as possible, and always wear socks, even to bed.” Well, to him this seemed a workable solution. The bride-to-be, overcoming her fear, decided to take her problem up with her mom.” Mom,” she said, “When I wake up in the morning my breath is truly awful.” “Honey,” her mother consoled, “everyone has bad breath in the morning.” “No, you don’t understand,. My morning breath is so bad, I’m afraid that my fiancé will not want to sleep in the same room with me.” Her mother said simply, “Try this. In the morning, get straight out of bed, and head for the kitchen and make breakfast. While the family is busy eating, move on to the bathroom and brush your teeth. The key is, not to say a word until you’ve brushed your teeth.” “I shouldn’t say good morning or anything?” the daughter asked. “Not a word,” her mother affirmed. “Well, it’s certainly worth a try,” she thought. The loving couple was finally married. Not forgetting the advice each had received, he with his perpetual socks and she with her morning silence, they managed quite well. That is, until about six months later. Shortly before dawn one morning, the husband wakes with a start to find that one of his socks had come off. Fearful of the consequences, he frantically searches the bed. This, of course, wakes his bride and without thinking, she asks, “What on earth are you doing?” “Good grief,” he replies, “you’ve swallowed my sock!”

(Job 19:17 The Message) {17} My wife can’t stand to be around me anymore. I’m repulsive to my family.

:20 I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.

Here’s the origin of the phrase, “skin of my teeth”.

:23-29 Job’s hope

:23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!

Job is going to get his wish.  His words are going to be recorded in the world’s best selling book.

:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

redeemerga’al – to redeem, act as kinsman-redeemer, avenge, revenge, ransom, do the part of a kinsman

livethchay – living, alive

from chayah – to live, have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live for ever, be quickened, be alive, be restored to life or health

God’s nameYhwh – “the existing One”

fromhayah – to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out

It’s interesting to look at the usage of God’s name in the book of Job.  The first two chapters are filled with God’s name (Yahweh).  The end of the book, starting in chapter 38, when God finally speaks, again God’s name starts to be used again.  But in the middle section when Job argues with his friends, God’s name is only found TWO times, and both times it is Job that uses God’s name.  Job’s friends never call God by name.

latter day‘acharown – behind, following, subsequent, western; behind, hindermost, western (of location); later, subsequent, latter, last (of time)

(Job 19:25 NASB95) {25} “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.

(Job 19:25 NLT) {25} “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last.

(Job 19:25 The Message) {25} Still, I know that God lives—the One who gives me back my life— and eventually he’ll take his stand on earth.

(Job 19:25 ICB)  I know that my Defender lives. And in the end he will come to show that I am right.


Job’s redeemer

Job has a concept that someone, somewhere must be on his side.  This person will be around on the last days of earth and will stand up for him.
Jesus is our redeemer.

:26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

destroynaqaph – (Piel) to strike off skin; to go around, compass, round

Job states the essence of the doctrine of the resurrection.

He’s saying that his flesh will be destroyed, but he will one day see God in his flesh.

He’s expecting that God will one day raise him from the dead.

It’s an interesting contrast with some of the other things he’s said when he’s expressed hopelessness.

(Job 16:22 KJV)  When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.


Job’s hope

Keep your eyes on the end of the race.
We can keep going if we keep our eyes on the end.  Keep remembering what it’s all for.
We look forward to the day when Jesus says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.

:29 Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

(Job 19:28-29 The Message) {28} “If you’re thinking, ‘How can we get through to him, get him to see that his trouble is all his own fault?’ {29} Forget it. Start worrying about yourselves. Worry about your own sins and God’s coming judgment, for judgment is most certainly on the way.”


Mercy and Grace

When we find ourselves forming judgmental or critical attitudes towards other people, we need to be careful to look in the mirror and examine ourselves first.
The ways that we treat other people are going to come back and haunt us.
(Luke 6:30-42 KJV)  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. {31} And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. {32} For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. {33} And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. {34} And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. {35} But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
We need to be kind to people, even if they’re not kind to us.  This is a part of treating other people in a way that we want to be treated.
{36} Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. {37} Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: {38} Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
We’ve all probably heard some of those sermons about giving that might quote this verse.  Perhaps we’ve thought that this is all about giving money to the church and then getting rich off of it.
The lesson is all about giving mercy and grace to people who don’t deserve mercy and grace.  And when we give lots of grace, we will find lots of grace coming back to us.
{39} And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? {40} The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. {41} And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? {42} Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
It’s not that we don’t ever attempt to take a splinter out of another person’s eye.  There is a place for helping others grow in their deficiencies.  But before we do, we ought to be careful to examine ourselves first.
Perhaps the only reason we see the splinter is because we’re good spotting wood, after all, we may have lots of wood in our own eye.
Dale Carnegie, in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, writes,
Mark Twain lost his temper occasionally and wrote letters that turned the paper brown. For example, he once wrote to a man who had aroused his ire: “The thing for you is a burial permit. You have only to speak and I will see that you get it.” On another occasion he wrote to an editor about a proofreader’s attempts to “improve my spelling and punctuation.” He ordered: “Set the matter according to my copy hereafter and see that the proofreader retains his suggestions in the mush of his decayed brain.”
The writing of these stinging letters made Mark Twain feel better. They allowed him to blow off steam, and the letters didn’t do any real harm, because Mark’s wife secretly lifted them out of the mail. They were never sent.
Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favor of it. But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others-yes, and a lot less dangerous. “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof,” said Confucius; “when your own doorstep is unclean.”

Job 20

:1-9 Zophar:  The wicked will perish

:1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,

The third friend speaks for his second time.

:3 I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.

I understand that you have answered my criticisms, and I must reply as well.

the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer

(Job 20:3 NLT) {3} I have had to endure your insults, but now my spirit prompts me to reply.


But I feel like …

Sometimes we say to ourselves, “But I feel like I just have to do this …”  And sometimes we are telling ourselves this as a reason to do something impulsive.
You really don’t have to do anything.
Sometimes we get spiritual and excuse our impulsive behavior by blaming it on the “Spirit”
Yet the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.

(1 Cor 14:32 KJV)  And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t take away your control.  I do not believe a person is forced to roll on the floor and bark like a dog by the Holy Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit includes “self-control”.
(Gal 5:22-23 NKJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
When the Spirit is really working, He gives us the ability to bridle our “have to’s”.
self-controlegkrateia (“in” + “strength”) – self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites)

:10-22 The end of the wicked

:11 His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.

(Job 20:11 NLT) {11} He was just a young man, but his bones will lie in the dust.

Wicked people are not the only ones that die young.

Jesus died at the age of 33.

David Brainerd was a missionary to the Indians in the early 1700’s.  He died at the age of 29.

Henry Martyn was a missionary to India around 1800.  He died at the age of 31.

Jim Elliot, a missionary to the Auca Indians in South America in the 1950’s died at the age of 24.

Keith Green was a Christian musician that impacted the lives of many in our generation, he died at the age of 28.

:12 Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue;

Like hiding candy under your tongue.

:17 He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.

He will not see good times any more.

:19 Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor

Zophar feels like he has stumbled upon the real reason for Job’s problems.

Job must have cheated the poor people.  That’s why he was so wealthy, because he took advantage of the poor.

These are just baseless accusations.

:23-29 More terrors for the wicked

:29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.

Again, just like Bildad, Zophar is accusing Job of being a wicked man who needs to repent, yet he’s doing it without directly accusing Job.  He just talks vaguely about “the wicked”.

Job 21

:1-6 Please Listen

:2 Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.

(Job 21:3 NLT) {3} Bear with me, and let me speak. After I have spoken, you may mock me.


Comfort by listening

Sometimes people need our ears more than they need our words.
During the darkest hours of the Civil War, Lincoln wrote to an old friend in Springfield, Illinois, asking him to come to Washington. Lincoln said he had some problems he wanted to discuss with him. The old neighbor called at the White House, and Lincoln talked to him for hours about the advisability of issuing a proclamation freeing the slaves. Lincoln went over all the arguments for and against such a move, and then read letters and newspaper articles, some de­nouncing him for not freeing the slaves and others de­nouncing him for fear he was going to free them. After talking for hours, Lincoln shook hands with his old neighbor, said good night, and sent him back to Illinois without even asking for his opinion. Lincoln had done all the talking himself. That seemed to clarify his mind. “He seemed to feel easier after that talk,” the old friend said. Lincoln hadn’t wanted advice. He had wanted merely a friendly, sympathetic listener to whom he could unburden himself.
That’s what we all want when we are in trouble.

- Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

(James 1:19 KJV)  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

:3 Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on.

Job expects that as he finishes his reply, they will just continue to accuse him.  They will.

:4 As for me, is my complaint to man?

(Job 21:4 NLT) {4} “My complaint is with God, not with people. No wonder I’m so impatient.

:7-16  The Prosperity of the Wicked

:7 Wherefore do the wicked live, become old

Wicked people don’t always die young.  Sometimes they live to be quite old.

:10 Their bull gendereth, and faileth not

Their livestock flourishes.

:12 rejoice at the sound of the organ.

organ ‘uwgab – a musical instrument; perhaps a flute, reed-pipe, or panpipes

:15 what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?


Kindness and repentance

Some wicked people feel that they don’t need to repent because life is so good for them.
Yet the truth is that God is being kind and patient with them in order to give them a chance to repent.
(Rom 2:4 KJV)  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
(2 Pet 3:9 KJV)  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

:17-26 God isn’t fair to wicked people

:17 How oft is the candle of the wicked put out!

(Job 21:17 NLT) {17} “Yet the wicked get away with it time and time again. They rarely have trouble, and God skips them when he distributes sorrows in his anger.

Though the wicked often “get away” with things, Job is wrong because God doesn’t “skip” them.  He is patient, but there will be a day of reckoning.  Job is speaking out of his own frustration, everything seems better for the wicked than it does for him.

:18 They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.

Apparently this and the previous verse are meant to be rhetorical questions, expecting a “no” for an answer.

:19 God layeth up his iniquity for his children

For the children of the wicked.

:21 For what pleasure hath he in his house after him …

Job doesn’t see what good it would be if God punishes the children of the wicked.  After all, after a wicked person is dead, what would they care about what happens to their family?

:22 Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.

No one can tell God what to do.  Why try?

:26 They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.

Both the poor and the rich will one day die.  Again, Job is sinking in his despair, thinking of the hopelessness of death.

:27-34 False comfort

:28 For ye say, Where is the house of the prince?

Job is accusing his friends of only picking out certain stories, stories of wicked people who had tough times.

:29 Have ye not asked them that go by the way?

Ask people who have been around a long time.

:30-33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him

Job wonders who will confront the wicked.  If death is the time when they will pay their debts, all Job can see is that the wicked man will have a nice death.  It doesn’t seem fair.

Yet we need to keep in mind that when a wicked person dies, we don’t see what happens after death.

:34 How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?


Correct Truth comforts

Job’s friends have been speaking truth to Job, but only partial truths.  They have gone through life with these ideas about wickedness and suffering and have never been challenged to think of the truth of their statements.