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Job 36-40

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Job Chapter 36

Elihu continued his moralistic rebuke to Job and his three friends. Although Elihu was accurate in what he said about God, he seemed to be glorifying himself in the process e.g. "For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you." Elihu may have been losing his balance of perspective.

Earth

"And Elihu continued, and said: "Bear with me a little, and I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God's behalf. I will fetch my knowledge from afar [see God's Wisdom], and ascribe righteousness to my Maker. For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.

Behold, God is mighty [see Might Makes Right], and does not despise any; He is mighty in strength of understanding. He does not keep the wicked alive, but gives the afflicted their right. He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous, but with kings upon the throne He sets them for ever, and they are exalted. And if they are bound in Fetters and caught in the cords of affliction, then He declares to them their work and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly. He opens their ears to instruction [see Ears To Hear], and commands that they return from iniquity. If they hearken and serve Him, they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness. But if they do not hearken, they perish by the sword, and die without knowledge.

The godless in heart cherish anger; they do not cry for help when he binds them. They die in youth, and their life ends in shame. He delivers the afflicted by their affliction, and opens their ear by adversity.

He also allured you out of distress into a broad place where there was no cramping, and what was set on your table was full of fatness. But you are full of the judgment on the wicked; judgment and justice seize you. Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing; and let not the greatness of the Ransom turn you aside. Will your cry avail to keep you from distress, or all the force of your strength? Do not long for the night, when peoples are cut off in their place. Take heed, do not turn to iniquity, for this you have chosen rather than affliction.

Behold, God is exalted in His power; who is a teacher like Him? Who has prescribed for Him His way, or who can say, 'Thou hast done wrong'? Remember to extol His work, of which men have sung. All men have looked on it; man beholds it from afar. Behold, God is great, and we know Him not; the number of His years is unsearchable [see How Old Is God?].

For He draws up the drops of water [see Hydrogen], He distils his mist in rain which the skies [see Heavens Below, Heavens Above] pour down, and drop upon man abundantly. Can any one understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of His pavilion? [see Pavilions] Behold, He scatters His lightning about Him [see also Lightening, Not Lightning], and covers the roots of the sea. For by these He judges peoples; He gives food in abundance. He covers His hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark. Its crashing declares concerning Him, Who is jealous [see Why Is The Lord Jealous?] with anger against iniquity." (Job 36:1-33 RSV)

Job Chapter 37

The Lord (see the Fact Finder question below) often used "natural" wonders to announce His presence - just as He will before His return (see Prophecy).

Lightning

"At this also my heart trembles, and leaps out of its place. Hearken to the Thunder of His voice and the rumbling that comes from His mouth. Under the whole heaven He lets it go, and His lightning to the corners of the earth. After it His voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice and He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard. God thunders wondrously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For to the Snow He says, 'Fall on the earth'; and to the shower and the rain, 'Be strong.' He seals up the hand of every man, that all men may know His work. Then the beasts go into their lairs, and remain in their dens. From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God [see The Spirit Of God] ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter His lightning. They turn round and round by His guidance, to accomplish all that He commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction, or for His land, or for love, He causes it to happen.

Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. Do you know how God lays His command upon them, and causes the lightning of His cloud to shine? [see also The Clouds of Heaven] Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge, you whose garments are hot when the earth is still because of the south wind? Can you, like him, spread out the skies, hard as a molten mirror?

Teach us what we shall say to Him; we cannot draw up our case because of darkness. Shall it be told Him that I would speak? Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up? And now men cannot look on the light when it is bright in the skies, when the wind has passed and cleared them. Out of the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed with terrible majesty. The Almighty - we cannot find Him; He is great in power and justice, and abundant righteousness He will not violate [see What Almighty God Can't Do]. Therefore men fear Him; He does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit." (Job 37:1-24 RSV)

Job Chapter 38

The time for Job and his friends to make their speeches was now over. The Lord then "answered Job out of the whirlwind." The photograph shows the actual Pleiades star cluster spoken of here by The Lord, "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades."

The Pleiades

"Then The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to Me.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements - surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? [see The Lord's Plumb Line] On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone [note: perhaps not at all coincidentally, Jesus Christ was a "carpenter," a builder - see Christ The Creator], when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Or who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth from the womb; when I made clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed'?

Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? It is changed like Clay under the seal, and it is dyed like a garment. From the wicked their light is withheld, and their uplifted arm is broken.

Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death [see Through The Gates Of Hell] been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this.

Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness [see Dividing Light From Darkness], that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!

Have you entered the storehouses of the Snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? [see also Christ the Conqueror For Peace] What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind [see also Why Did They Face East?] is scattered upon the earth? Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man; to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass? Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? [see Dew Of Heaven] From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven? The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? [see Your Very Own Time Machine] Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?

Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, 'Here we are'? Who has put wisdom in the clouds, or given understanding to the mists? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? [see The First Scientist] Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cleave fast together?

Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? Who provides for the raven [see Ravens] its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?" (Job 38:1-41 RSV)

Job Chapter 39

Amazingly, animals are in some ways more aware of God than humans are (see They Aren't Just "Dumb Animals"; also Do Animals Have A Soul?). Even plants can "know" God better than humans i.e. "But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of The Lord has done this?" (Job 12:7-9 RSV).

Sheep

"Do you know when the mountain goats bring forth? Do you observe the calving of the hinds? Can you number the months that they fulfil, and do you know the time when they bring forth, when they crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young? Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open; they go forth, and do not return to them. Who has let the wild ass go free? Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass, to whom I have given the steppe for his home, and the salt land for his dwelling place? He scorns the tumult of the city; he hears not the shouts of the driver. He ranges the mountains as his pasture, and he searches after every green thing.

Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will he spend the night at your crib? Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes, or will he harrow the valleys after you? Will you depend on him because his strength is great, and will you leave to him your labor? Do you have faith in him that he will return, and bring your grain to your threshing floor?

The wings of the ostrich wave proudly; but are they the pinions and plumage of love? For she leaves her eggs to the earth, and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them, and that the wild beast may trample them. She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear; because God has made her forget wisdom, and given her no share in understanding. When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider.

Do you give the horse [see Horses] his might? Do you clothe his neck with strength? Do you make him leap like the locust? [see Locusts] His majestic snorting is terrible. He paws in the valley, and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. He laughs at fear, and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword. Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear and the javelin. With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground; he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet. When the trumpet sounds, he says 'Aha!' He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home in the fastness of the rocky crag. Thence he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it afar off. His young ones suck up blood; and where the slain are, there is he." (Job 39:1-30 RSV)

Job Chapter 40

During his ordeal, Job had faulted The Lord for bringing punishment upon an innocent man, when in fact The Lord was blessing Job by making him stronger by means of an Adversary (see also No Pain, No Gain).

River

"And The Lord said to Job: "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it."

Then Job answered The Lord: "Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer Thee? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further."

Then The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you declare to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like His? Deck yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. Pour forth the overflowings of your anger, and look on every one that is proud [see The Two Kinds Of Pride], and abase him. Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. Then will I also acknowledge to you, that your own right hand can give you victory.

Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox. Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly. He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron. He is the first of the works of God; let him who made him bring near his sword! For the mountains yield food for him where all the wild beasts play. Under the lotus plants he lies, in the covert of the reeds and in the marsh. For his shade the lotus trees cover him; the willows of the brook surround him. Behold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightened; he is confident though Jordan rushes against his mouth. Can one take him with hooks, or pierce his nose with a snare?" (Job 40:1-24 RSV)

Fact Finder: Who was "The Lord God" Who spoke to Job?
See The God Of The Old Testament


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