Job
Introduction 1-6 Job Feels Accused by His Friends 7-13 Job Refers to Witnesses 14-25 Job Describes the Power of God
Introduction

All three friends have spoken. They all gave their views from different angles. Job sees a pattern in this. The three friends all agree that Job’s suffering is the result of sins committed by him. They are also determined to convince him of his sins, despite the fact that they have no other proof than what they see as proof: his suffering. Job is very indignant about this.

Earlier, Job reacted especially to the way the friends approached him, to their lack of understanding and empathy (Job 6:14-2714“For the despairing man [there should be] kindness from his friend;
So that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty.
15“My brothers have acted deceitfully like a wadi,
Like the torrents of wadis which vanish,
16Which are turbid because of ice
[And] into which the snow melts.
17“When they become waterless, they are silent,
When it is hot, they vanish from their place.
18“The paths of their course wind along,
They go up into nothing and perish.
19“The caravans of Tema looked,
The travelers of Sheba hoped for them.
20“They were disappointed for they had trusted,
They came there and were confounded.
21“Indeed, you have now become such,
You see a terror and are afraid.
22“Have I said, ‘Give me [something],’
Or, ‘Offer a bribe for me from your wealth,’
23Or, ‘Deliver me from the hand of the adversary,’
Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the tyrants’?24“Teach me, and I will be silent;
And show me how I have erred.
25“How painful are honest words!
But what does your argument prove?
26“Do you intend to reprove [my] words,
When the words of one in despair belong to the wind?
27“You would even cast [lots] for the orphans
And barter over your friend.
). But his words did not come across. Zophar has just added a bit more, and spoken to Job in an even louder and more insensitive way. In his reaction to this, Job does not so much deal with his style, but rather with the content. He refutes his so-called wisdom.

Job’s answer to Zophar in Job 12-14 can be divided into two parts:
1. His answer to his friends (Job 12:1-251Then Job responded,
2“Truly then you are the people,
And with you wisdom will die!
3“But I have intelligence as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
And who does not know such things as these?
4“I am a joke to my friends,
The one who called on God and He answered him;
The just [and] blameless [man] is a joke.
5“He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt,
As prepared for those whose feet slip.
6“The tents of the destroyers prosper,
And those who provoke God are secure,
Whom God brings into their power.7“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
8“Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
9“Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
10In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
11“Does not the ear test words,
As the palate tastes its food?
12“Wisdom is with aged men,
[With] long life is understanding.
13“With Him are wisdom and might;
To Him belong counsel and understanding.14“Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt;
He imprisons a man, and there can be no release.
15“Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up;
And He sends them out, and they inundate the earth.
16“With Him are strength and sound wisdom,
The misled and the misleader belong to Him.
17“He makes counselors walk barefoot
And makes fools of judges.
18“He loosens the bond of kings
And binds their loins with a girdle.
19“He makes priests walk barefoot
And overthrows the secure ones.
20“He deprives the trusted ones of speech
And takes away the discernment of the elders.
21“He pours contempt on nobles
And loosens the belt of the strong.
22“He reveals mysteries from the darkness
And brings the deep darkness into light.
23“He makes the nations great, then destroys them;
He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.
24“He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
25“They grope in darkness with no light,
And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.
; 13:1-191“Behold, my eye has seen all [this],
My ear has heard and understood it.
2“What you know I also know;
I am not inferior to you.
3“But I would speak to the Almighty,
And I desire to argue with God.
4“But you smear with lies;
You are all worthless physicians.
5“O that you would be completely silent,
And that it would become your wisdom!6“Please hear my argument
And listen to the contentions of my lips.
7“Will you speak what is unjust for God,
And speak what is deceitful for Him?
8“Will you show partiality for Him?
Will you contend for God?
9“Will it be well when He examines you?
Or will you deceive Him as one deceives a man?
10“He will surely reprove you
If you secretly show partiality.
11“Will not His majesty terrify you,
And the dread of Him fall on you?
12“Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes,
Your defenses are defenses of clay.13“Be silent before me so that I may speak;
Then let come on me what may.
14“Why should I take my flesh in my teeth
And put my life in my hands?
15“Though He slay me,
I will hope in Him.
Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.
16“This also will be my salvation,
For a godless man may not come before His presence.
17“Listen carefully to my speech,
And let my declaration [fill] your ears.
18“Behold now, I have prepared my case;
I know that I will be vindicated.
19“Who will contend with me?
For then I would be silent and die.
).
2. His questions to God (Job 13:20-2820“Only two things do not do to me,
Then I will not hide from Your face:
21Remove Your hand from me,
And let not the dread of You terrify me.
22“Then call, and I will answer;
Or let me speak, then reply to me.
23“How many are my iniquities and sins?
Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.24“Why do You hide Your face
And consider me Your enemy?
25“Will You cause a driven leaf to tremble?
Or will You pursue the dry chaff?
26“For You write bitter things against me
And make me to inherit the iniquities of my youth.
27“You put my feet in the stocks
And watch all my paths;
You set a limit for the soles of my feet,
28While I am decaying like a rotten thing,
Like a garment that is moth-eaten.
; 14:1-221“Man, who is born of woman,
Is short-lived and full of turmoil.
2“Like a flower he comes forth and withers.
He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.3“You also open Your eyes on him
And bring him into judgment with Yourself.
4“Who can make the clean out of the unclean?
No one!
5“Since his days are determined,
The number of his months is with You;
And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.
6“Turn Your gaze from him that he may rest,
Until he fulfills his day like a hired man.7“For there is hope for a tree,
When it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And its shoots will not fail.
8“Though its roots grow old in the ground
And its stump dies in the dry soil,
9At the scent of water it will flourish
And put forth sprigs like a plant.
10“But man dies and lies prostrate.
Man expires, and where is he?
11“[As] water evaporates from the sea,
And a river becomes parched and dried up,
12So man lies down and does not rise.
Until the heavens are no longer,
He will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.13“Oh that You would hide me in Sheol,
That You would conceal me until Your wrath returns [to You],
That You would set a limit for me and remember me!
14“If a man dies, will he live [again]?
All the days of my struggle I will wait
Until my change comes.
15“You will call, and I will answer You;
You will long for the work of Your hands.
16“For now You number my steps,
You do not observe my sin.
17“My transgression is sealed up in a bag,
And You wrap up my iniquity.18“But the falling mountain crumbles away,
And the rock moves from its place;
19Water wears away stones,
Its torrents wash away the dust of the earth;
So You destroy man’s hope.
20“You forever overpower him and he departs;
[You] change his appearance and send him away.
21“His sons achieve honor, but he does not know [it];
Or they become insignificant, but he does not perceive it.
22“But his body pains him,
And he mourns only for himself.”
).


Job Feels Accused by His Friends

1Then Job responded,
2“Truly then you are the people,
And with you wisdom will die!
3“But I have intelligence as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
And who does not know such things as these?
4“I am a joke to my friends,
The one who called on God and He answered him;
The just [and] blameless [man] is a joke.
5“He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt,
As prepared for those whose feet slip.
6“The tents of the destroyers prosper,
And those who provoke God are secure,
Whom God brings into their power.

When Zophar is finished, Job responds (verse 11Then Job responded,
). His answer is not an agreement with what Zophar has said, but a refutation of it. His response is addressed not only to Zophar, but to “you”, that is, to the other two friends as well (verse 22“Truly then you are the people,
And with you wisdom will die!
). This is also the case in Job 6, where Job makes it clear that he is very disappointed in his three friends. Sarcastically he says to them: ‘What wisdom have you expressed, unbelievable. Really, you are grossing up in wise words. If you die, that’s the end of wisdom.

‘But’, Job goes on to say, ‘in no way I am inferior in wisdom to you’ (verse 33“But I have intelligence as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
And who does not know such things as these?
). He points out that like them, he also has a heart. By this he means that he also has intellect and thinks about things and has feelings. He is “not inferior” to them. They tell him nothing new. What they use as arguments against him in order to convince him of their correct ‘vision of God’, are the arguments known to everyone. He doesn’t feel that he is taken seriously by them. As if he lacked knowledge about God. Job was known for his wisdom and assisted many (Job 4:3-43“Behold you have admonished many,
And you have strengthened weak hands.
4“Your words have helped the tottering to stand,
And you have strengthened feeble knees.
). He does know how people talk about God and His actions by people who think they know Him. With what they tell him about God, they don’t get him down.

He accuses them of joking with him (verse 44“I am a joke to my friends,
The one who called on God and He answered him;
The just [and] blameless [man] is a joke.
; Job 17:22“Surely mockers are with me,
And my eye gazes on their provocation.
; 21:33“Bear with me that I may speak;
Then after I have spoken, you may mock.
; 30:11“But now those younger than I mock me,
Whose fathers I disdained to put with the dogs of my flock.
). In doing so, they act very differently from God, to Whom Job resorts. God does listen to him, he is convinced of that, even though he does not understand why God acts with him in this way. To God, Job states, he is a just and blameless man. That is why it is so unjust that his friends ridicule him and treat him so disrespectfully. They talk easily. They can ridicule him because they do not know the distress he is in. They prosper and grow and they put God at their will. More than anyone else, Christ has experienced this mockery.

Job compares them to someone “who is at ease”, the man without worries, who has no problems (verse 55“He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt,
As prepared for those whose feet slip.
). The man without worries looks at an oppressed man and despises him in his thoughts. He believes that he who is oppressed is to blame. What happens to him, he deserves, he has brought it upon himself through his behavior. You can see he’s on the verge of slipping. That’s because he’s not standing right before God.

That’s how Job feels judged by his friends. It’s like he’s being kicked while he is down, instead of a comforting pity. People who don’t have problems often have a quick judgement about those who do. Parents whose children are doing well are in danger of making quick judgments about parents whose children are not doing well. In doing so, they sometimes also moderate themselves to know the causes. In general, public opinion is mercilessly cruel to those who are already having such a hard time.

In verse 66“The tents of the destroyers prosper,
And those who provoke God are secure,
Whom God brings into their power.
Job points out the injustice he observes on earth. This is also what Asaph observes (Psa 73:2-32But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
3For I was envious of the arrogant
[As] I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
). Jeremiah also struggled with this (Jer 12:1-21Righteous are You, O LORD, that I would plead [my] case with You;
Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You:
Why has the way of the wicked prospered?
[Why] are all those who deal in treachery at ease?
2You have planted them, they have also taken root;
They grow, they have even produced fruit.
You are near to their lips
But far from their mind.
). With this, Job contradicts the vision of his friends that God always rewards good and punishes evil. Zophar has accused Job of wickedness in his tent (Job 11:1414If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,
And do not let wickedness dwell in your tents;
) and thus, according to him, has demonstrated the cause of Job’s misery. Job now replies that the tents of the destroyers have rest and that those who provoke God are perfectly secure. God’s hand protects them from evil and He is good to them. This is how God often treats people in goodness while they defy Him. This means that God does not always immediately punish evil and reward good. That Job is suffering so much misery is not proof that he has sinned.


Job Refers to Witnesses

7“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
8“Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
9“Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
10In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
11“Does not the ear test words,
As the palate tastes its food?
12“Wisdom is with aged men,
[With] long life is understanding.
13“With Him are wisdom and might;
To Him belong counsel and understanding.

After an interlude (verses 4-64“I am a joke to my friends,
The one who called on God and He answered him;
The just [and] blameless [man] is a joke.
5“He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt,
As prepared for those whose feet slip.
6“The tents of the destroyers prosper,
And those who provoke God are secure,
Whom God brings into their power.
) Job returns to his main argument (verses 2-32“Truly then you are the people,
And with you wisdom will die!
3“But I have intelligence as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
And who does not know such things as these?
), calling heaven and earth to witness that God is everywhere and does everything (verses 7-137“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
8“Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
9“Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
10In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
11“Does not the ear test words,
As the palate tastes its food?
12“Wisdom is with aged men,
[With] long life is understanding.
13“With Him are wisdom and might;
To Him belong counsel and understanding.
). He points out to His friends the lower creation, that of animals and birds (verse 77“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
). They should be taught by those animals. Then they will be taught about God’s actions. Their ignorance will then disappear, for it will be revealed to them how God acts. If they go to the earth and the fish of the sea, they will receive the same teaching, for they will tell the same (verse 88“Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
). They will discover that everywhere in nature there is the same injustice that he also experiences. Nature makes it clear that the strong wins it from the weak and that those who are cruel prevail.

God does the same everywhere. What they see in nature confirms what is happening in the human world. There, too, it is the brutal and cruel who are bulldozing the meek. Isn’t it something everyone observes (verse 99“Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
)? Is there anyone who doesn’t see it? He is either very short-sighted or completely blind. Behind this is “the hand of the LORD”. This is the only time the name “LORD” appears in the conversations with the friends.

Because of what Job says, someone might think that God would be the causer of evil. But we must remember that what Job describes is the consequence of the sin that has come into the world. God is not the causer of evil, but He has attached consequences to the evil that is there. One of those consequences is that evil rules over good, which can make it seem as if He is rewarding the doing of evil.

God holds all that lives in His mighty hand (verse 1010In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
; cf. Mt 10:2929Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And [yet] not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.). With this, Job emphasizes God’s sovereignty. Everything is under His control. This concerns the life of every living thing – men and animals – and above that also the breath or spirit that He has given of all living things only to all mankind (Ecc 3:2121Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?; Gen 2:77Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.; Dan 5:2323but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified.). He gives man life, health and happiness without being obliged to do so (Acts 14:1717and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”), and has the right to take all that away without giving any account. With the expression “all mankind” Job indicates that man is subject to the same laws as the rest of creation.

When words are spoken – here alternating by the friends and Job – the listener – here alternating the friends and Job – judges their content (verse 1111“Does not the ear test words,
As the palate tastes its food?
). The question is whether they are true or false, right or wrong, whether they should be accepted or rejected, whether they are words of God, or words of men. Judging words is like tasting food through the palate. The friends have tasted the words of Job, but rejected them as distasteful. Conversely, Job has tasted their words and spits them out. He rejects them, for they are untrue, wrong words. They are not words of God, but words of men.

After his reference to animals and the earth, Job points to the aged men (verse 1212“Wisdom is with aged men,
[With] long life is understanding.
). They have gained wisdom and insight in their long lives. Their perceptions and experiences have shaped them. Job does not doubt that they will agree with him. Let them examine his case, and see what is true of the accusations of his friends.

Finally, Job points out to his friends a wisdom that far surpasses the wisdom of the aged men, and that is the complete wisdom that he knows to be present with God (verse 1313“With Him are wisdom and might;
To Him belong counsel and understanding.
). God has not only wisdom, but also might. In His wisdom He designed the world and by His might He created the world. “To Him belong counsel and understanding”, which means that He knows exactly what to do with what He has designed and created. That’s where the understanding of mankind stops. It is therefore not a testimony to the wisdom of friends when they think they are able to explain why God acts as He did with Job. Rather, it is a posturing, an interference in things that God has reserved for Himself.


Job Describes the Power of God

14“Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt;
He imprisons a man, and there can be no release.
15“Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up;
And He sends them out, and they inundate the earth.
16“With Him are strength and sound wisdom,
The misled and the misleader belong to Him.
17“He makes counselors walk barefoot
And makes fools of judges.
18“He loosens the bond of kings
And binds their loins with a girdle.
19“He makes priests walk barefoot
And overthrows the secure ones.
20“He deprives the trusted ones of speech
And takes away the discernment of the elders.
21“He pours contempt on nobles
And loosens the belt of the strong.
22“He reveals mysteries from the darkness
And brings the deep darkness into light.
23“He makes the nations great, then destroys them;
He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.
24“He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
25“They grope in darkness with no light,
And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.

Job’s a remark about God’s wisdom and might in verse 1313“With Him are wisdom and might;
To Him belong counsel and understanding.
is reason to give examples of how God uses His wisdom and omnipotence in practice. Job does this to show his friends that he knows Who God is. They don’t have to tell him that. In his misery Job sheds a one-sided light on God’s omnipotence and wisdom. He presents it in such a way that God overthrows everything on which man should be able to rely when it comes to justice, protection and consolation.

There may also be an undertone of an accusation against God. It has been said that in these verses he accuses God, as it were, of ‘mismanagement’, of abuse of His might. Remarkable in this respect is that Job mainly describes the might of God to exterminate. This fits in with everything we have heard about God from Job’s mouth so far. He does not understand God. How can God act like this with someone like him, who has served Him so faithfully? God has broken off his life and there is no prospect of rebuilding it (verse 1414“Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt;
He imprisons a man, and there can be no release.
). He feels locked up, imprisoned in his misery, without an opening to escape it.

What he experiences of God, he sees all around him. God acts as He wills, without anyone being able to stop Him in it, and without giving an account of His deeds. That behind all God’s deeds there is a wise intention, Job is still blind to. He measures God’s actions by the circumstances in which he finds himself. He cannot rise above his own judgment of them. He is not yet ready for that. The struggles in his thoughts about God are still too intense for that.

What God can do with a man like Job, he can also do with the waters (verse 1515“Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up;
And He sends them out, and they inundate the earth.
). He can stop them and He can let them go. If He stops them, drought is the result. If He lets them go, floods will come and turn the earth upside down. Job only describes here the negative effect of what God does. He does not have an eye for the blessings that God also has in mind. For God speaks to men through natural disasters so that they may repent to Him.

God is for Job now Someone with whom strength takes precedence over wisdom (verse 1616“With Him are strength and sound wisdom,
The misled and the misleader belong to Him.
; cf. verse 1313“With Him are wisdom and might;
To Him belong counsel and understanding.
). He is first and foremost concerned with God’s strength, which he experiences, but in its devastating form. Surely he knows that God also possesses wisdom. Only it is a mystery to him from which that wisdom is evident, for he does not understand why God treats him so. He who is misled and misleader are both in the power of God. That is how powerful He is. But why He allows them both to coexist, Job does not understand.

Then Job speaks of counsellors who are carried away destitute by God (verse 1717“He makes counselors walk barefoot
And makes fools of judges.
). With all their wise counsel – see for example Ahithophel (2Sam 16:20-2320Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your advice. What shall we do?”21Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.”22So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.23The advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, [was] as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithophel [regarded] by both David and Absalom.; 17:1-5,141Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David tonight.2I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone,3and I will bring back all the people to you. The return of everyone depends on the man you seek; [then] all the people will be at peace.”4So the plan pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.5Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.”14Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring calamity on Absalom.) – these people have not been able to prevent God from giving them into the hands of enemies who have made them walk barefoot (cf. Isa 20:44so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, young and old, naked and barefoot with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.). The judges who are supposed to have insight into the right and to judge in disputes are made fools by God, deprived of their understanding. God is sovereign and also controls the minds of the wisest people on earth.

Kings are also subject to His dominion (verse 1818“He loosens the bond of kings
And binds their loins with a girdle.
). They may say something and decide, but God undoes it in His omnipotence. He even “binds their loins with a girdle” which means that He takes their royal girdle (dignity) away from them, binds an ordinary girdle around them, and takes them away as captives. What applies to the kings as political leaders also applies to the priests, the religious leaders (verse 1919“He makes priests walk barefoot
And overthrows the secure ones.
). He can also make them walk barefoot. The secure ones are also under His authority. They may think that they can exercise their power undisturbed, but He is throwing them into ruin. How He deals with them makes it clear that He has the circumstances of life in His hand and can change them as He sees fit.

He has the last word, not they. Counselors, judges, kings, priests, all of them are under His authority and He acts with them as He wills. Job is right in this if they deserve it, but he leaves that side aside. He only sees how God acts with him. He is one of the “trusted ones” (verse 2020“He deprives the trusted ones of speech
And takes away the discernment of the elders.
). He knows this of himself. But God seems to think otherwise, for He gags him. All discernment of old people fails to explain this.

“Nobles” do not count with Him (verse 2121“He pours contempt on nobles
And loosens the belt of the strong.
). He pours “contempt” on them. The principle is general (Psa 107:4040He pours contempt upon princes
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
), but here too Job may mean himself. “Loosen the belt of the strong” means that God makes their walking impossible or severely restricts their freedom of movement. The belt serves to keep the clothing up so that it does not bother someone when he is walking. Job experiences that God makes it impossible for him to walk.

God is so omniscient that He reveals what is most hidden from man (verse 2222“He reveals mysteries from the darkness
And brings the deep darkness into light.
; cf. 1Cor 4:5a5Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, [but wait] until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of [men’s] hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.). What is “deep darkness” for man, what is completely hidden from his perception and what he also shudders from, is not hidden from God either. “All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb 4:1313And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.). God has control over the most hidden things.

What applies to persons also applies to nations (verses 23-2523“He makes the nations great, then destroys them;
He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.
24“He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
25“They grope in darkness with no light,
And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.
). He also has total control over the nations (verse 2323“He makes the nations great, then destroys them;
He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.
). All the sources from which they draw and through which they grow great come from Him. He can also take away those sources, making them disappear from the earthly stage. Their habitat over which they are scattered is determined by Him. The nations do not determine their own course, He does.

This seems to contradict what Paul says: “In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways” (Acts 14:1616In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways;). But that contradiction is only appearance. Both statements are true. The nations are responsible for their own choice. They have chosen to go their way apart from God. God has allowed them to do so. But that does not mean that God has given up control. If the nations go their own way, God directs them in such a way that they will suffer the consequences of their choice.

Here we see what we find again and again in Scripture, on the one hand the responsibility of man and on the other hand God’s plan. God fulfills His intentions and in so doing includes man’s actions without reducing man’s responsibility. We cannot bring these two sides together, but God can. That is what He is God for.

In order to achieve His purpose with the nations, He causes disorientation among the leaders of the nations (verse 2424“He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
). They wander around the world “in a pathless waste”. They do not see any passable way. All their planning is futile. They grope around “in darkness with no light” (verse 2525“They grope in darkness with no light,
And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.
). If a man goes his way without God, it means that he is in darkness, where there is no light. Such a man staggers like a drunkard. He looks for something to hold on to, but does not find it.

In summary, Job has explained to the three friends the power and wisdom of God. Between the lines we feel his struggle with the goodness and righteousness of God. This struggle is further explained in Job 13.


Read more