EVEN JOB’S DRAMATIC OATH OF INNOCENCE CANNOT FORCE GOD TO BREAK HIS SILENCE AND ADDRESS HIS UNJUST SUFFERING
John Hartley: After having reminisced about the glory of his former days and having lamented his present disgrace, Job swears an oath of innocence in a final move to prove that he is not guilty of any wrongdoing. The oath requires God either to activate the curses of the oath or to clear the swearer. Should God remain silent, Job would be declared innocent by not being cursed. A common formula for an oath of innocence is, “May God do such to me, if I do (or do not do) so and so.” The swearer usually suppresses the actual curse either with evasive language or abbreviated formulas, no doubt fearful of the very verbalizing of a specific curse. But Job is so bold that four times he specifies the curse that should befall him if he be guilty (vv. 8, 10, 22, 40). His reckless bravery reflects his unwavering confidence in his own innocence. . .
It is clear that Job knows that one is accountable not only for overt acts of sin but also for contemplating immoral behavior and cherishing cruel, vengeful thoughts against others. His moral insight is highly refined, pointing toward the Sermon on the Mount.
Elmer Smick: Under oath the subject lists the evil things he has not done with the hope he will be vindicated and pass through the portals unscathed. Although the form is negative, Job’s oration has a positive purpose as an attestation of loyalty to God as his sovereign Lord. To make this effective he calls down curses on his own head if his words are proved false.
Francis Andersen: Job 31 lists specific crimes, denying them all. The form Job uses is, ‘If I have done X, then let Y happen to me!’ X is the crime; Y is the penalty. Since Job is handing everything over to God, not to a human court, there is no call for man’s testimony, since God sees everything (28:24). And the sentence is not a statutory penalty, such as a commensurate fine or reparation. It is some act of God. Its character as punishment for a particular sin takes the form of poetic justice. God arranges for someone else to do the same thing to the culprit by way of retaliation. Job fully endorses the lex talionis and affirms the doctrine that you reap what you sow. Thus he expects that the price he would pay for committing adultery with his neighbour’s wife would be that Job’s neighbour would commit adultery with Job’s wife (31:9, 10).
The list of crimes in Job’s negative confession is neither systematic nor complete. It was not drawn up by an articled clerk. It is a poem, recited by a miserable outcast on the city rubbish dump, not by a prisoner in the dock. It is Job’s last passionate outburst, and the author has given it an earnestness and a torrential quality by composing it with a measure of incoherence. This effectively conveys Job’s persistent indignation. This effect is lost when the loose ends are tidied up and the speech is made like a page from a barrister’s brief. . .
While all but one of the failures he disowns are crimes against his fellow men (the exception is idolatry in verses 26f.), such acts are odious because they are offensive to God (23), not just injurious to society. An act of injustice against the meanest slave would be heinous in God’s sight because each and every human being is precious to him (15) and under his immediate protection.
David Clines: As Job’s final speech now moves into its third movement, the tone changes dramatically. In the first movement (chap. 29) he had been nostalgic, in the second (chap. 30) bitter, but now in the third he rises again to the challenge his treatment by God has set him. Here the tone is from the beginning a more confident, more aggressive one. Now he will take matters into his own hand with an oath of exculpation, which will testify that there is no reason in himself for God’s attack on him, and that, by implication, God has acted arbitrarily or even unjustly toward him. He may have been robbed by God of all he owned, but he is still a prince, and it is “like a prince” that he will approach him (v 37)—with dignity and self-assurance.
The Pulpit Commentary: The conclusion of Job’s long speech (ch. 26-31) is now reached. He winds it up by a solemn vindication of himself from all the charges of wicked conduct which have been alleged or insinuated against him. Perhaps it may be said that he goes further, maintaining generally his moral rectitude in respect of all the principal duties which a man owes either to God (vers. 4-6, 24-28, 35-37) or to his fellows (vers. 1-3, 7-23, 29-34, 38-40).
Thomas Constable: Having ended his final summation in defense of his innocence, Job rested his case and waited for God’s verdict. This is another climax in the book. Job had claimed innocence in his personal life (vv. 1-12), toward his neighbor (vv. 13-20), and toward God (vv. 24-34; cf. 1:11). Job’s friends believed that God always punishes sin. Therefore, Job was a sinner. Job believed that God was punishing him when he was innocent. Therefore, God was unfair.
I. (:1-34) TOP TEN LIST OF AVOIDED SINS
1. (:1-4) Lust
David Clines: In this preface to his oaths against himself, Job sets out the principles by which he has lived. He works entirely with the expectation of just retribution: calamity befalls the unrighteous (v 3). He does not mean, presumably, that he has done what is right only to avoid punishment; he must mean that he is not such a fool as to lay himself open to divine wrath for misconduct. If God sees everything—indeed, if he “counts” Job’s steps—Job cannot afford to have anything in his life that needs to be hidden. Job is not complaining that he has no privacy from the divine gaze; he has no quarrel with the principle of accountability, only with God’s failure to implement what has been given out as his own policy.
David Thompson: Job had been a very wealthy, powerful and successful man. He had a wife and he had children. There is no question that wealthy, powerful and successful men tend to draw unmarried, beautiful women toward them. Every now and then you will see some old geeky-looking Hollywood film director who seems to have some young pretty woman at his side. That is the way the world works. Job did not think or act like that.
a. (:1) Covenant with the Eyes
“I Have made a covenant with my eyes;
How then could I gaze at a virgin.”
Elmer Smick: Job’s making a covenant with his eyes is not merely a promise not to lust after a girl. The sin he has in mind is more fundamental, or it would not command this position in the poem. Job is emphatically denying an especially insidious and widespread form of idolatry: devotion to the betûlâ (“the girl [maiden]”), the goddess of fertility. As the Venus of the Semitic world, she was variously known as the Maiden Anat in Ugaritic (ANET, 132–33), Ashtoreth in preexilic Israel (Jdg 2:13; 10:6; 1Sa 7:3–4; 1Ki 11:5, 33), and Ishtar in Babylonian sources, wherein she is described as “laden with vitality, charm, and voluptuousness” (ANET, 383). She is probably the Queen of Heaven mentioned in Jeremiah 7:18 and 44:16–19. . .
Not all accept the text here as a reference to the goddess. Driver and Gray understand vv.1–4 as a general claim to a virtuous life, giving God’s judgment on evil as the grounds that have led to a choice virtue. Such an understanding of v.1 is rather narrow to express such a general claim, but on this point Andersen, 240–41, agrees with Driver and Gray.
Tremper Longman: The OT does condemn lust through the tenth commandment (Exod. 20:17; Deut. 5:21), which includes the provision not to covet a neighbor’s wife. However, the OT does not specifically say that a man, even a married man, cannot desire an unmarried woman. After all, he could marry her. This observation leads some to suggest that Job is not disavowing leering at a human virgin, but at the divine virgin, Asherah. I find this view unlikely, however. Idolatry is not seen as an issue in Job. He is never accused of idolatry. Besides, if we are right that Job is an Edomite (and not a Canaanite or Israelite), then Asherah, a Canaanite goddess, would not be a temptation. The best explanation is that Job is being extremely careful in his morality.
John Hartley: In the OT the eyes were considered the gateway to the heart, for their gaze may arouse the deepest desires and so spur their owner to transgress God’s laws (e.g., Gen. 3:6; 2 Sam. 11:2; cf. Sir. 9:8; Matt. 5:28). The people were, therefore, enjoined to remember God’s commandments and not prostitute themselves by following the lusts of their hearts and eyes (Num. 15:39).
b. (:2-3) Calamity of Judgment = Consequences of Sin
“And what is the portion of God from above
Or the heritage of the Almighty from on high?
3 Is it not calamity to the unjust,
And disaster to those who work iniquity?”
David Guzik: In the context of Job’s self-control when it came to lust, he considered what the allotment of God from above was. He understood that the young woman he would be enticed to look upon was not the allotment of God for him; she and her nakedness did not belong to Job in any sense.
i. Leviticus 18:1-18 reinforces this Biblical principle. It relates how the nakedness of an individual “belongs” to that individual and to their spouse, and it does not “belong” to anyone else. Therefore, when a man looks upon the nakedness of a woman who is not his wife, he takes something that does not belong to him.
ii. There certainly existed some type of pornography in Job’s day; some of the earliest artistic images are of women and men in highly sexualized motifs. Nevertheless, Job certainly did not have to contend with the sophisticated, gigantic, and far-reaching modern pornography industry. The availability of modern pornography has made it a significantly greater challenge for men to confine their visual arousal to the allotment of God from above for them.
iii. In this context, it is helpful for a man to ask himself: “Whose nakedness belongs to me, and whose does not?” Only a proud and depraved man would think that every woman’s nakedness belongs to him. A moment of thought reinforces the clear principle: only the nakedness of his own wife is the allotment of God from above for a man; only his own wife is the inheritance of the Almighty from on high for his visual arousal.
John Hartley: Job ponders the consequences of pursuing iniquity. The portion that God assigns the unrighteous, i.e., the workers of iniquity, is disaster (‘ed) or ruin (neker; cf. 18:12; 21:17, 30). God breaks the prosperity of the wicked by causing a disaster to wipe out everything he has (cf. Prov. 6:15). A disaster fills a person with panic (cf. Prov. 1:26-27). Wishing to avoid such a frightening situation, Job has snuffed out every longing to sin.
c. (:4) Accountability before God Who Sees All
“Does He not see my ways,
And number all my steps?”
David Clines: The idea of the steps or way of humans being open to the sight of God is common especially in the wisdom literature; cf. Pss 33:13; 69:5 (6); 94:11; 119:168; 139:1–4; Prov 5:21; Jer 23:24.
2. (:5-6) Falsehood
“If I have walked with falsehood,
And my foot has hastened after deceit,
6 Let Him weigh me with accurate scales,
And let God know my integrity.”
Francis Andersen: vv. 5-8 – Dishonesty: Job denies falsehood and deceit. That he thought of integrity as inward is shown by his marvellous definition of covetousness as the heart following the eyes (7). The self-curse of crop failure (8) suggests that verse 5 refers to shady business practices. While falsehood and deceit are abstractions which might be personified as Job’s companions, it is possible that the nouns are used as collectives for the concrete ‘false’ and ‘deceitful’ associates.
3. (:7-8) Covetousness
“If my step has turned from the way,
Or my heart followed my eyes,
Or if any spot has stuck to my hands,
8 Let me sow and another eat,
And let my crops be uprooted.”
4. (:9-12) Adultery
“If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
Or I have lurked at my neighbor’s doorway,
10 May my wife grind for another,
And let others kneel down over her.
11 For that would be a lustful crime;
Moreover, it would be an iniquity punishable by judges.
12 For it would be fire that consumes to Abaddon,
And would uproot all my increase.”
Elmer Smick: From here to v.23 Job clears himself of social sins. The sin of adultery heads the list (v.9). In the biblical world adultery was heinous, because it struck at the roots of the family and clan. It meant, as is clear here, relations with another man’s wife. In Hammurabi’s Code it did not have to be a capital offense, but in the Mosaic Law it was (Lev 20:10). Here Job’s hypothetical sin calls for “eye-for-eye” justice—the same would happen to his wife. In the versions and the Talmud, v.10a is also thought to have sexual connotations since the parallel in v.10b is explicit (Pope, 231; Gordis, Job, 346).
John Hartley: These words picture Job’s observing a neighbor’s house stealthily, watching for an opportune moment when, undetected, he could make intimate contact with the lady of the house, door may have a double meaning: access to his neighbor’s house and access to his neighbor’s wife’s womb.
David Clines: Some have seen in the term “grind” a sexual connotation, but this is unlikely without an emendation of the text. The fact that a woman slave would very likely also be used as a concubine of her master (so, e.g., Davidson) does not mean that such is the connotation of the term. . . The second half of the verse envisages a savage fate for his wife: it is not that she is to become the wife or even the concubine (secondary wife) of another, but that she is to be a prostitute, with other men, in the plural, bending over her (the term is as explicit and coarse in Hebrew as it in English). Commentators are united in shutting their eyes to this inescapable meaning of the plural verb (Job is assuredly not contemplating a string of serial marriages for her).
5. (:13-15) Oppression — Mistreatment of Servants
“If I have despised the claim of my male or female slaves
When they filed a complaint against me,
14 What then could I do when God arises,
And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?
15 Did not He who made me in the womb make him,
And the same one fashion us in the womb?”
Francis Andersen: Oppression — This section embodies a humane ethic unmatched in the ancient world. Job lived in a society of slaves and owners (1:3), as everywhere in the ancient East. But in his valuation a slave is not a chattel, but a human person with rights at law, rights guaranteed by God himself, their specially active Defender. Verse 13 shows that Job believed that a slave had the right to initiate a suit against his master.
Tremper Longman: Job now declares his innocence in his dealings with his slaves and maidservants. The tremendous disparity in power between a master and a slave or servant is such that it is easy for masters to abuse those working for them. Job states that he was just in his dealings with his slaves and took seriously any charges that they made against him. He sees here an analogy with his relationship with God. God is like the master, and Job is like the slave. If he was not good to his slaves, what grounds would he have against God? Indeed, Job finds himself in such a position. He believes that God is unjustly abusing him. But his argument still stands. If he had not been fair, then he would have no ground for his present course, which is to bring his accusations against God. Job knows that God is a special protector of the socially vulnerable, so if Job were unfair, then God would call Job to account. Job, like the sages in Proverbs, knew that though there was a social hierarchy between masters and slaves, before God they were equal, since God made them both (Prov. 22:2 NLT: “The rich and poor have this in common: The Lord made them both”; see also 14:31; 17:5; 29:13).
John Hartley: Besides having to give an account of his actions to God, Job bases his compassionate concern for each of his servants as a person in his conviction that God has made both himself and his servant in the same way. Both were made (‘asa) or fashioned (konen), each in his mother’s womb, by the same God. The word fashion suggests the arrangement of the parts of the body into an intricate structure. Earlier Job had marveled at the conception and birth of a child (10:10-11). The wondrous origin of a human life is true for both slave and free, although their earthly status differs markedly. From God’s perspective the slave possesses value as well as the nobleman. Therefore what God has made with such careful skill must be treated with respect.
David Clines: Job must be claiming that he goes far beyond his obligations in admitting that slaves have rights at all, in allowing them to question the justice of how they are treated, in regarding male and female slaves as equally entitled to pursuing a grievance against their master, in believing that God might take him to task for not giving them rights, and in founding his conception of their rights upon his common humanity with them. Job’s attitude certainly outstrips the norms of his day (Peake: “a most remarkable advance on the ethics of antiquity”), and contains at least the seeds of a very revolutionary social order.
6. (:16-23) Neglect for the Needy
Francis Andersen: The care of widows, orphans and other destitute, defenseless people was one of the most sacred obligations in Israel, near God’s heart. Here Job had been most assiduous, generous with alms of food (17) and clothing (19, 20), kept alert by his wholesome fear of God (23).
a. (:16-18) General Summary Regarding the Poor, Widows and Orphans
“If I have kept the poor from their desire,
Or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
17 Or have eaten my morsel alone,
And the orphan has not shared it
18 (But from my youth he grew up with me as with a father,
And from infancy I guided her),”
Cf. James 1: 27
b. (:19-20) Failure to Clothe the Poor
“If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
Or that the needy had no covering,
20 If his loins have not thanked me,
And if he has not been warmed with the fleece of my sheep,”
c. (:21-23) Abuse of Orphans
“If I have lifted up my hand against the orphan,
Because I saw I had support in the gate,
22 Let my shoulder fall from the socket,
And my arm be broken off at the elbow.
23 For calamity from God is a terror to me,
And because of His majesty I can do nothing.”
Tremper Longman: Job guarantees his helpful treatment of the weak with a self-malediction. If he is lying and did not care for them, then he asks that his shoulder blade break off his body (v. 22). The motivation for his behavior was fear of punishment from God (v. 23).
John Hartley: A profound awareness of God’s majestic holiness guides a person to pursue righteousness and to shun evil. A person who believes this acts in all matters as though he is directly accountable to God. If he had denied helping the unfortunate, Job knows that he could not endure God’s majesty. In God’s presence he would be condemned.
7. (:24-28) Idolatry
a. (:24-25) Greed – Trust in Wealth
“If I have put my confidence in gold,
And called fine gold my trust,
25 If I have gloated because my wealth was great,
And because my hand had secured so much;”
Elmer Smick: vv. 24-28 — Job begins again with another firm denial of idolatry. But here the temptations are different. Instead of the appeal of the ever-popular sex goddess, it is the appeal of gold (vv.24–25) and the apparent luster of two of the most commonly worshiped astral deities, the sun and moon (v.26). Job denies even secret homage to them (v.27; see also 2Ki 23:5, 11 and Eze 8:16 for a criticism of solar and lunar worship).
Tremper Longman: I have not made gold my god. Job also put God first. He did not defraud God by trusting in wealth (vv. 24–25) or in the heavens (vv. 26–27). Job had considerable wealth at the beginning of the story (1:3), but he did not depend on his wealth, and he remained steadfast in his commitment to Yahweh. He also rejected any temptation to worship the sun or the moon, the two major astral deities of the ancient Near East.
b. (:26-28) Worship of Heavenly Bodies
“If I have looked at the sun when it shone,
Or the moon going in splendor,
27 And my heart became secretly enticed,
And my hand threw a kiss from my mouth,
28 That too would have been an iniquity calling for judgment,
For I would have denied God above.”
8. (:29-30) Vindictiveness — Satisfaction at the Misfortune of an Enemy
“Have I rejoiced at the extinction of my enemy,
Or exulted when evil befell him?
30 No, I have not allowed my mouth to sin
By asking for his life in a curse.”
Francis Andersen: Job is amazingly confident. It is impossible for even the most spiritual to avoid a momentary surge of pleasure at the ruin of an enemy, sanctified by gratitude to God for his justice. Though at once suppressed, its poison is always there. A person who attains the standards of Jesus (Matt. 5:43–48) has to be as perfect as God. Not even in his heart did Job wish the most wicked men harm. To claim this is a most daring invitation for God to search him to the depths for wicked ways (Ps.139:23f.). Here then is either a very clean conscience or a very calloused one.
9. (:31-32) Withholding Hospitality
“Have the men of my tent not said,
‘Who can find one who has not been satisfied with his meat ‘?
32 The alien has not lodged outside,
For I have opened my doors to the traveler.”
10. (:33-34) Hypocrisy — Concealment of Sin
“Have I covered my transgressions like Adam,
By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
34 Because I feared the great multitude,
And the contempt of families terrified me,
And kept silent and did not go out of doors?”
John Hartley: If Job had concealed his iniquity, he would have been acting out of fear of public opinion. Even more terrifying was the contempt that his own clan would express to him. If had had done wrong, the clan might have ostracized him, forcing him to live like a vagabond. No wonder a person in those days kept silent about his transgressions. But because he never transgressed God’s law, Job had no need of concealing any deed. He never worried about the shame of exposure. It is this high commitment to personal integrity that motivates Job to swear this oath of innocence in order hopefully to win a public vindication from God.
II. (:35-37) CONFIDENCE IN INNOCENCE DEMANDS A DIVINE HEARING AND RESPONSE
Francis Andersen: The placement of the central idea away from the end (verses 35–37) so that the last lines (38–40) are not the climax, but an echo of a point made earlier in the poem, is a common device.
Elmer Smick: Even though this is a poetic statement and should not be interpreted as though it were a legal brief, Job adds his signature as a gesture to show his intentions to make it an official disclaimer of any indictment brought against him (v.35). . .
Job strategically brings his oration to its climax with a sudden change in tone. In 13:14–16 he was not so certain about his innocence and thought he might even put his life in jeopardy by calling for a hearing. But even then he affirmed that “no godless man would dare come before him [God]!” Now he is sure of his innocence, so confident of the truthfulness of these oaths that he affixes his signature and presents them as his defense with a challenge to God for a corresponding written indictment.
How does this brash attitude (vv.36–37) toward his “accuser” fit the statements accompanying the oaths about Job’s fear of God’s terror? This strange paradox in Job’s mind that God, to whom he appeals for support, is also his adversary is the main point of the chapter. Fearing the terror of God (v.23) is meant for those who break covenant with him. Job knows he has not done this. But he cannot deny the existential reality that he stands outside the sphere of covenantal blessing. Something is wrong.
There is only one way Job knows to make this absurd situation intelligible. That is to appeal to his just and sovereign Lord as a vassal prince who has been falsely accused. Even though he has repeated it often, he obstinately refuses to accept as final that God is his enemy.
There is always a place in the lament rhetoric of the OT for the sufferer to remind God of his justice and covenantal love. But Job is not just reminding God. He wants God to reply to his defense with a list of the charges against him so whatever doubts are left might be publicly answered.
A. (:35a) Demanding a Response from God
1. Calling for a Hearing
“Oh that I had one to hear me!”
Tremper Longman: At this point (v. 35), Job interrupts his protest of innocence in order to proclaim his desire to meet with Shaddai. It is appropriate that this interruption comes at this moment, since he is denying that he is a secret sinner. His denial before a human audience reminds him that he needs to issue a denial in an audience with God. Up to this point, Job has been conflicted in his desire to meet with God. Previously, he has stated the wish to see God and set him straight, but often he has been skeptical whether he would receive a proper hearing. At times, he also has expressed the wish that he had an intermediary to help him in his relationship with God (9:32–35; 16:19–22). But now, near the very end of his words, he imagines himself confidently walking into the presence of God and successfully making his case before him. As Johnson puts it, “This new Job is no longer a defeated man longing for the grave, he is a man who has parried the friends, been emboldened by a revelation of cosmic wisdom and is now ready to speak directly with God.” Job will get his wish of an audience with God, but it will not go quite the way he anticipates here (see 38:1).
2. Confirming His Testimony
“Behold, here is my signature;”
David Guzik: The finality of his words are demonstrated by the phrase, “Here is my mark.” “Job’s statement means literally, ‘Here is my taw.’ Some versions translate this, ‘Here is my signature,’ since taw, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, could be used like our letter ‘X’ to denote a person’s ‘mark’ or ‘signature.’ Yet even more interesting is the fact that in the ancient Hebrew script used by the author of Job, this letter taw was a cross-shaped mark. In a sense, therefore, what Job was saying is, ‘Here is my cross.’” (Mason)
3. Calling for a Response
“Let the Almighty answer me!”
B. (:35b-36a) Transparency and Boldness before the Community
“And the indictment which my adversary has written,
36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
I would bind it to myself like a crown.”
C. (:37) Transparency and Boldness in Approaching God
“I would declare to Him the number of my steps;
Like a prince I would approach Him.”
III. (:38-40a) POSTSCRIPT – FINAL SIN OF ABUSE OF THE LAND
“If my land cries out against me,
And its furrows weep together;
39 If I have eaten its fruit without money,
Or have caused its owners to lose their lives,
40 Let briars grow instead of wheat,
And stinkweed instead of barley.”
David Clines: The final sphere in which Job asserts his innocence is that of the land. It is not entirely clear what the crimes he might have committed could be. They might be crimes against former owners of the land, or against those who work on it now, or they could be crimes against the land itself.
Tremper Longman: Job then returns to his protest of innocence, his long conditional sentence that has not yet reached the apodosis. He has denied taking pleasure in the demise of his personal enemies. He has never denied hospitality even to a stranger. He has never concealed a sin from the public. Finally, he denies that he has sinned against the land by eating its produce without paying. Job then says that if he has done any of these things, then instead of edible and productive foods like wheat and barley, may his land produce bramble and stinkweed.
Francis Andersen: The concluding paragraph deals with the responsible use of land. . . The land is personified as the chief witness of the crimes committed on it, such as eating the produce without payment (more likely to be the wages of reapers, or the share of tenants, than purchase from owners), or illegal seizure (1 Kgs 21). Job is prepared to accept the primeval curses on Adam (Gen. 3:17) and Cain (Gen. 4:11). As in verse 8, poetic justice would then be done, and seen.
Derek Kidner: One final denial comes from Job: he has not been guilty of any abuse of his land. The law made specific demands on landowners: the land was not be sown with two kinds of seed (Leviticus 19:19), it was to receive a rest every seventh year (Exodus 23:10-11; Leviticus 25:2-7; 26:34-35), and in particular, no blood was to be shed on it, for if it was, the land would cry out for vengeance – as the death of Abel highlighted (Genesis 4:10-12; cf. Numbers 35:33-34). Job has not been guilty of abusing these laws: he has not eaten its produce without paying fair wages to those hired to perform the labour involved (31:39). As a businessman, Job pleads his innocence. At work, as well as at home, Job has demonstrated the faith which he professes. If he has not, he is prepared for the curse pronounced in Eden to fall upon his land (31:40; cf. Genesis 3:17-18).
(:40b) EPILOGUE – CASE CLOSED
“The words of Job are ended.”
John Hartley: At the conclusion of this speech is a note that Job’s words are ended. He rests his case. He will not even lament any more. He will wait for god to answer his oath, hopeful of being declared innocent. The next chapter will open a new section. This line is probably an editorial comment like that found in Jer. 51:64 and Ps. 72:20.
Bullinger: This is not a mere epigraph of a writer, or editor. They are the concluding words which Job uttered: by which he informed his friends that he did not intend to carry the controversy any further; but that he had now said all he meant to say. So far as he was concerned, the controversy was ended.
Warren Wiersbe: When the words of Job were ended, everybody sat in silence, wondering what would happen next. Would God send immediate judgment and prove Job guilty? Or would He accept Job’s challenge, appear to him, and give Job opportunity to defend himself? Perhaps God would speak from heaven and answer Job’s questions.
Job had challenged God because he was sure God would vindicate him. Job’s three friends were sure that God would condemn him.
What will God do? The answer may surprise you!
Roy Zuck: With this oath of innocence, in which Job denied almost a dozen sins of action or attitude, he rested his case. Ending his arguments against the belligerent team of tyrants, he hoped to force God to move. He apparently felt that such an ultimatum would make God break His silence. If Job were innocent, then God would be required, according to legal practice, to speak up and affirm it. If Job were guilty, then God would be expected to bring down the imprecations on him. But, as Job round out, God still remained silent. The sovereign God cannot be pushed into a corner, or pressured into action by anyone’s demand.