Job 20 and 21
- Place Zophar’s views of the state of the wicked in this world alongside Job’s. Cf. 20:6-28 with 21:6-26. At what points do they: (a) agree, and (b) disagree?
- In this second cycle, Job’s friends, gaining no victory, utter threats. Is defeated conservatism bound to take refuge in acid predictions of gloom? Had Job something to teach them if only they were willing to learn?
- 20:5. Cf Pss. 37 and 73 on the sudden end of bad men.
- 20:7. Dead men are dead.’ Job’s hopes about another life receive short measure from Zophar.
- 20:17. ‘The rivers’: i.e., of paradise.
- 21:34. Job means that they have not troubled to check their thesis against life ‘itself. So they are dealing in lies.
Concluding note to the section chapters 15-21. Job’s friends have nothing new to say: but Job has. He is stumbling towards the truth that death itself will provide a way out of his impasse, when a shadowy but friendly Redeemer will acquit him.
THE THIRD CYCLE OF SPEECHES (22-31)
Only Eliphaz speaks at length to Job in this cycle. Zophar says nothing (see, however, the Note on 27:7-22). The friends’ case against Job is already leaking badly. Eliphaz sinks it by shouting false charges at job, which Job later (31) refutes. Job ends by repeating his innocence, and his perplexity.
Job 22 and 24
1.Chapter 22. Of what does Eliphaz accuse Job (verse 6-9)? List God’s blessings on the humble (verses 21-30). Why does Eliphaz’ list of blessings (verse 3) make so little impression on Job?
- Chapter 23. Job earnestly desires to find God (verse 3). How is he now thinking to God? See verses 5, 6, 10, 13, 16. Is it as a friend or a foe?
- Chapter 24. What anomalies does job see in society around him? Compare what ‘you’ say (verse 18-20) with what Job says. Does this chapter teach us anything about how to make observations on life?
Notes. 22:2-4. Eliphaz’ argument is that God’s treatment of man is not with a view to any gain or advantage to himself but for man’s sake. Since we cannot suppose that he punishes them for their piety (verse 4), it must be because of their sin.