Job Chapter 18
Although Job and his three friends all seemed to have good knowledge and understanding (knowledge comes from study; understanding comes from the Holy Spirit e.g see When Their Eyes Were Opened) of The Lord's salvation, Timeless principles of truth, their responses to Job were at times almost mocking in tone, as was Job's himself. Their conversation had descended into a contest of pride (see the Fact Finder question below).
"Then Bildad the Shuhite answered: "How long will you hunt for words? Consider, and then we will speak. Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight? You who tear yourself in your anger, shall the earth be forsaken for you, or the rock be removed out of its place?
Yea, the light of the wicked is put out, and the flame of his fire does not shine [see also Awaken To The Light]. The light is dark in his tent, and his lamp above him is put out. His strong steps are shortened and his own schemes throw him down. For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walks on a pitfall. A trap seizes him by the heel, a snare lays hold of him. A rope is hid for him in the ground, a trap for him in the path. Terrors frighten him on every side, and chase him at his heels. His strength is hunger-bitten, and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
By disease his skin is consumed, the first-born of death consumes his limbs. He is torn from the tent in which he trusted, and is brought to the king of terrors. In his tent dwells that which is none of his; brimstone [see also Fire and Brimstone] is scattered upon his habitation. His roots dry up beneath, and his branches wither above. His memory perishes from the earth, and he has no name in the street. He is thrust from light into Darkness, and driven out of the world. He has no offspring or descendant among his people, and no survivor where he used to live. They of the west are appalled at his day, and horror seizes them of the East. Surely such are the dwellings of the ungodly, such is the place of him who knows not God." (Job 18:1-21 RSV)
Job Chapter 19
Job, at least, had some excuse for his bitter attitude. He had lost everything, from his health to his property. He thought that it was all over, for this life. His friends however were Out Of Line. Job's famous and still used by religious and non-religious people alike "I have escaped by the skin of my teeth" is also found in this chapter.
"Then Job answered: "How long will you torment me, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have cast reproach upon me; are you not ashamed to wrong me?
And even if it be true that I have erred, my error remains with myself [see When Will You Be Judged?]. If indeed you magnify yourselves against me, and make my humiliation an argument against me, know then that God has put me in the wrong, and closed His net about me.
Behold, I cry out, 'Violence!' but I am not answered; I call aloud, but there is no justice. He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass, and he has set darkness upon my paths. He has stripped from me my glory, and taken the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and my hope has He pulled up like a tree. He has kindled His wrath against me, and counts me as His adversary. His troops come on together; they have cast up siegeworks against me, and encamp round about my tent. "He has put my brethren far from me, and my acquaintances are wholly estranged from me. My kinsfolk and my close friends have failed me; the guests in my house have forgotten me; my maidservants count me as a stranger; I have become an alien in their eyes.
I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer; I must beseech him with my mouth. I am repulsive to my wife, loathsome to the sons of my own mother. Even young children despise me; when I rise they talk against me. All my intimate friends abhor me, and those whom I loved have turned against me. My bones cleave to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! Why do you, like God, pursue me? Why are you not satisfied with my flesh? "Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were graven in the rock for ever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last He will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God [see Born Again, How and When?], whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! If you say, 'How we will pursue him!' and, 'The root of the matter is found in him'; be afraid of the sword, for wrath brings the punishment of the sword, that you may know there is a judgment." (Job 19:1-29 RSV)
Job Chapter 20
Zophar's reply to Job continued the contest, "I hear censure which insults me."
"Then Zophar the Naamathite answered: "Therefore my thoughts answer me, because of my haste within me. I hear censure which insults me, and out of my understanding a spirit answers me.
Do you not know this from of old, since man was placed upon earth [see How Old Is God?], that the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment? Though his height mount up to the heavens [see Heavens Below, Heavens Above], and his head reach to the clouds, he will perish for ever like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?' He will fly away like a dream, and not be found; he will be chased away like a vision of the night. The eye which saw him will see him no more, nor will his place any more behold him. His children will seek the favor of the poor, and his hands will give back his wealth. His bones are full of youthful vigor, but it will lie down with him in the dust.
Though wickedness is sweet in his mouth, though he hides it under his tongue, though he is loath to let it go, and holds it in his mouth, yet his food is turned in his stomach; it is the gall of asps within him. He swallows down riches and vomits them up again; God casts them out of his belly. He will suck the poison of asps; the tongue of a viper will kill him. He will not look upon the rivers, the streams flowing with honey and curds. He will give back the fruit of his toil, and will not swallow it down; from the profit of his trading he will get no enjoyment. For he has crushed and abandoned the poor, he has seized a house which he did not build.
Because his greed knew no rest, he will not save anything in which he delights. There was nothing left after he had eaten; therefore his prosperity will not endure. In the fulness of his sufficiency he will be in straits; all the force of misery will come upon him. To fill his belly to the full God will send his fierce anger into him, and rain it upon him as his food. He will flee from an iron weapon; a bronze arrow will strike him through. It is drawn forth and comes out of his body, the glittering point comes out of his gall; terrors come upon him. Utter darkness is laid up for his treasures; a fire not blown upon will devour him; what is left in his tent will be consumed. The heavens will reveal his iniquity, and the earth will rise up against him. The possessions of his house will be carried away, dragged off in the day of God's wrath. This is the wicked man's portion from God, the heritage decreed for him by God." (Job 20:1-29 RSV)
Fact Finder: When is pride good? When is pride evil?
See The Two Kinds Of Pride