Job 20 and 21

  1. 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?
  2. 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?

Notes.

  1. 20:5. Cf Pss. 37 and 73 on the sudden end of bad men.
  2. 20:7. Dead men are dead.’ Job’s hopes about another life receive short measure from Zophar.
  3. 20:17. ‘The rivers’: i.e., of paradise.
  4. 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.

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