Daily Bible Study Tips: Job

Comments on Job 1 to 3
Comments on Job 4 to 11
Comments on Job 12 to 18

Job 19:1-12, 23-29, Job answers.
Job 20:1-10, Zophar speaks again.
Job 21:1-13, Job answers.

Comments on Job 22 to 27
Comments on Job 31 to 38:21
Comments on Job 38:22 to 40
Comments on Job 42

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Job 19:1-12, 23-29 (10/11/10)

Job answers.    Job 19:25-26 are the best-known verses in the book, because Handel used them as part of the text in The Messiah:  "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."  I've given you below three translations of these verses from Job.  We've been doing this email study for three and a half years now, so we are not surprised to learn that there are differences of opinion about the best translation of some words and sentences in the Bible.  (I assure you again that I've never seen an ambiguity that was important to salvation.)  

Good News says "someone in heaven who will come at last to my defense," where the KJV and JPS translate literally that "my Redeemer" lives and will stand or be witness at the end of the earth.  Your "redeemer" was your closest male relative (see Ruth), who was responsible for, say, buying you out of slavery, avenging your death, purchasing back your property, or raising up an heir for you.  Scholars are divided about whether Job is making a statement of faith, which is what it looks like and I think how most of us ordinary people take it.  Some scholars don't see how a such a tremendous statement of faith could be reconciled with vss. 5-12 and all the other complaining Job has done about God.  Job has never said that he doesn't believe in God, however, only that he thinks God owes him an explanation.  

Good News and KJV say "in my flesh I will see God," but JPS says "without my flesh I will see God."  The Hebrew could be either "in my flesh" or "without my flesh," depending on a number of technicalities; as near as I can tell, the Jewish and Christian scholarly consensus seems to favor "in," especially since Job emphasizes in the next verse that he'll see God with his very own eyes.  I certainly saw "in" and "from" in a lot of rabbinical discussions of these verses, and "without" only a couple times.  Both Jews who accept resurrection and Christians commonly use this verse as a proof-text for resurrection.   

Finally, what on earth does "My reins are consumed within me" mean?  Reins are kidneys - as in "renal failure."  (We sure learn interesting things in this study, don't we?)  Lots of cultures associate emotions with specific organs.  In English, for example, we love with our hearts and get angry with our spleens.  Job is in the grip of some powerful emotion.  KJV and JPS don't specify the emotion; Good News says his courage is failing.  

Job 20:1-10 (8/12/10)

Zophar speaks again.  Zophar says, "Bad things happen to bad people.  It's always been like that. Q.E.D."  

Job 21:1-13 (8/13/10)

Job answers.  Job says, "Zophar, Bildad!  Look around!  Look at me - a good person - suffering!  Look at Frank Costello - that crime boss - who died in his sleep at the age of 82!  It just isn't true that good things only happen to good people, and bad things only happen to bad people.  What I want to know is, why?"

Copyright 2010 by Regina L. Hunter.  All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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