THE END OF THE STORY SEES JOB VINDICATED AND RESTORED
Francis Andersen: The gifts at the end are gestures of grace, not rewards for virtue. It is an artistic, indeed a theological fitness, if not necessity, that Job’s vindication be not just a personal and hidden reconciliation with God in the secret of his soul, but also visible, material, historical, in terms of his life as a man. It was already a kind of resurrection in flesh, as much as the Old Testament could know.
Elmer Smick: Job has learned that humans by themselves cannot deduce the reason why anyone suffers. Still unknown to Job is the fact that his suffering has been used by God to vindicate God’s trust in him over against the accusations of the Accuser. So without anger toward him, God has allowed Job to suffer in order to humiliate the Accuser and to provide support to countless sufferers who would follow in Job’s footsteps. Once the purpose of the book has been fulfilled, Job’s suffering cannot continue without God’s being capricious. We see here the heart of the difference between the suffering of the wicked as punishment and of the righteous to accomplish God’s higher purpose.
Job’s lavish restoration (double all he had) is not based on Job’s righteousness but on God’s love for him as one who has suffered the loss of all things for God’s sake and for no other reason. Here Job joins the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, who, “after the suffering of his soul,” sees “the light of life” and is given “a portion among the great” and “will divide the spoils with the strong” (Isa 53:11–12).
Tremper Longman: Declaring Job right, God expresses his displeasure with the three friends. He allows them a way out by having Job himself intercede for them and offer sacrifices on their behalf (likely implying a repentant heart on their part). The three friends do as God instructs them, and Job prays for them.
Interestingly, Job’s restoration is tied to his intercession on behalf of his friends. When he prayed for them, then God restored him to his previous prosperity and happiness. Indeed, his new condition surpassed his earlier situation. He died an old and happy man, leaving behind a large, prosperous family.
Charles Swindoll: There is something deeply satisfying about justice. We love it when right is rewarded and wrong is punished. The old axiom, “Justice is truth in action” explains our love for it; what is fair finally occurs.
On one is better at justice than the Living God, who is not only all-knowing. He is completely fair and absolutely righteous. When His justice finally arrives, it was worth the wait. That wait can seem interminably long. But never doubt it: Regardless of how long or short the wait – the Lord is just. Even though all God’s accounts are not settled at the end of each month, they will be settled. Justice is an essential ingredient of His character; He not only will not ignore it . . . He cannot.
Justice is worth waiting for. God is a God of justice. He will faithfully bring it to pass – if not now, later. If not later, in eternity. God will make it right. His fairness is part of His veracity. God, who patiently allowed this most unusual experiment with Job to run its course, has now brought it to completion. His servant has been rewarded. These friends have been brought to their knees. Best of all, Satan has been silenced and proved wrong (again!). And the Lord is still enthroned, in charge, and fully glorified.
“And it came about after the LORD had spoken these words to Job,
that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite,”
Cyril Barber: Elihu was not included with Job’s three friends, perhaps because his speeches to Job were nearer the truth.
I. (:7b-9) JOB VINDICATED – YAHWEH’S VERDICT
Francis Andersen: Their roles are reversed! In the course of their speeches, not one of them even hinted that they, not Job, might be the object of God’s wrath (7) and in need of his grace. Now they discover (it is a delightful irony) that unless they can secure the patronage of Job (the very one they had treated as in such need of their spiritual resources), they might not escape the divine displeasure. The effective prayer of a righteous man to turn away God’s anger from the wicked (cf. Gen. 18) adds another meaning to Job’s suffering that no one had thought of.
A. (:7b) God Rebukes Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar
“My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends,
because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has.”
Elmer Smick: “what is right” — The counselors certainly lacked the right information about why Job was suffering. Job spoke without understanding (v.3) and was often fiery and emotional in his remarks (15:12–13; 18:4). His opinions and feelings were often wrong, but his facts were right. He was not being punished for sins he had committed. But the friends were claiming to know for certain things they did not know and so were falsely accusing Job while mouthing beautiful words about God. Job rightly accused them of lying about him and trying to flatter God (13:4, 7–11).
Tremper Longman: In the final analysis, it appears that God is including Job’s repentance in his declaration that Job did what was right. He repented, and now the three friends need to repent.
David Atkinson: “my servant” – The sacrifice was made and the prayer offered by the one who was called “my servant.” This recalls unmistakably the theme we have noticed before from the prophet Isaiah in his Servant Songs and elsewhere. The servant stands in place of the people before God, bringing a sacrifice of atonement, consecration and offering, and praying for God’s mercy and grace. Once again, the book of Job is pointing beyond itself to the Mediator between God and human beings, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as an offering for sins, and now ever lives to make intercession for us.
Many times the book of Job has illustrated themes which come to clearer focus and richer colour in the life and suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
David Clines: Yahweh now says that Job has spoken of him “what is right” (vv 7, 8). Now, in the divine speeches, Yahweh had castigated Job for obscuring the divine plan (38:2) in not recognizing that retribution is not built into the world order as designed by its creator. But now he allows that Job has been right in asserting that the principle of retribution does not operate. Job had though it should, though it did not; Yahweh had intended that it should not, and of course it did not. So in one respect Yahweh and Job are at loggerheads, and in another they are in harmony. That is the simple resolution of the crucial issue that has so bedeviled the relations between Yahweh and Job. And it has crept up on the readers in this form of a subordinate clause in Yahweh’s closing address to the friends.
B. (:8) Intercession of Job
1. Burnt Offering Commanded
“Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams,
and go to My servant Job,
and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves,”
David Clines: The number of seven bulls and seven rams in atonement for the wrongdoing of the three friends is an astonishingly high one. We might compare the seven bulls and seven rams offered for the whole people of Israel on each of the seven days of Passover, according to Ezekiel’s cultic calendar (Ezek 45:23). We find a sacrifice of seven bulls and seven rams in three other places in the Hebrew Bible:
– In the narrative of Balaam and Balak (Num 23:1, 29),
– At the installation of the ark of the covenant in David’s time (1 Chr 15:26)
– And at the cleansing of the temple in Hezekiah’s time (2 Chr 29:21).
On all these occasions the stakes are much higher than they are in the case of Job’s friends.
John MacArthur: Since this was the number of sacrifices specified in Numbers 23:1 by Balaam the prophet, it was perhaps a traditional kind of burnt offering for sin.
Elmer Smick: Since God had a high purpose for Job’s suffering, the counselors made themselves enemies of God by accusing Job. The large sacrifice (v.8) shows how grave the Lord considered their sin. Grave as it was, he accepts Job’s intercession (lit., “lifted up Job’s face”). Job, who might have held a grudge, does not fail to love those who spitefully abused him when he was most helpless. This lofty and practical truth is a fitting theological finale to a book that calls forth a rigorous exercise of both soul and mind.
2. Intercessory Prayer Offered
“and My servant Job will pray for you.”
Tremper Longman: That no priest is mentioned is a further indication that we are dealing with an early (pre-Mosaic) setting to the action of the book. These patriarchs could offer their own sacrifices, but they need a mediator, according to God, none other than Job himself. We might remember here that Job served as a priest-like mediator for his children early in the book as well (1:5). Job will stand in the breach for them as Moses did for the Israelites after their sin with the golden calf (Exod. 32:11–14). By making the three friends go and seek Job’s prayers, God makes clear to them and to the reader that their retribution theology is wrongheaded. They must seek Job’s forgiveness as well as God’s.
3. Divine Acceptance Promised
“For I will accept him
so that I may not do with you according to your folly,
because you have not spoken of Me what is right,
as My servant Job has.”
C. (:9) Obedience and Divine Acceptance
1. Obedience Fulfilled
“So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD told them;”
Charles Swindoll: What a grand scene! You know what is happening? Sins are being forgiven. Guilt is being removed. Harsh feelings are being forgotten. Grudges are being erased. That’s what happens when justice and mercy are blended.
How beautifully this portrays what happened at the Cross. That’s why the death of Christ is called efficacious. It is effective, because God’s justice against sin was once and for all satisfied in the death of the Lamb. And as a result, God’s mercy is released in the forgiveness of those who trust in the Lamb. And we are then set free. Free at last.
2. Divine Acceptance Extended
“and the LORD accepted Job.”
II. (:10-17) JOB RESTORED – GOD RESTORES JOB’S FORTUNE, FAMILY AND FULLNESS OF LIFE
A. (:10-12) Restoration of Job’s Fortune
1. (:10) Gracious Doubling of Prosperity
“And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job
when he prayed for his friends,
and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.”
Tremper Longman: He is never told why he suffers, but he has now learned to submit himself to God’s sovereign power and wisdom. He does so with no promise from God that he will be restored, thus also demonstrating that Job does indeed fear God “for no good reason,” contrary to what the accuser had charged (1:9). But now God in his wisdom and sovereignty chooses to restore Job to his previous good life and even more. Such a restoration is a narrative way of showing that Job has done the right thing. It would be wrong, however, to suggest that this is the way God will act with everyone. If we were to take this as a pattern by which God behaves, we would be as guilty of putting God in a box as the human characters of this book were throughout.
David Clines: Job’s restoration does not come about overnight. Ten children have yet to be born to him over the course of a decade or more, and the vast herds of livestock will not miraculously appear on his grazing lands; they must accumulate according to the natural order of things.
2. (:11) Family Encouragement and Enrichment
“Then all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all who had known him before, came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought on him. And each one gave him one piece of money, and each a ring of gold.”
Cyril Barber: 42:11 adds a very human touch. None of these friends and/or relatives had come to visit Job during his protracted illness.
Elmer Smick: Job’s relatives, who kept their distance from the spectacle of suffering (19:13–15), here prove themselves to be fair-weather friends. Their comforting and consoling come a little late, but their presents are expensive (v.11): a “ring of gold” (for the nose [Ge 24:47; Isa 3:21] or the ears [Ge 35:4; Ex 32:2]) and a “piece of silver” (qeśîṭâ). The latter is not money in the sense of coinage but an early designation of weight, like the shekel.
Izak Cornelius: “Piece of silver” is qeśîṭâ; these are not coins but pieces of silver used in business transactions. Gold is depicted as rings in Egyptian art and worn as jewelry. Achan’s loot included a wedge of gold (Jos. 7:20–21).
3. (:12) Extensive Possessions – Doubling Up in Each Category
“And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning, and he had 14,000 sheep,
and 6,000 camels,
and 1,000 yoke of oxen,
and 1,000 female donkeys.”
B. (:13-15) Restoration of Job’s Family
1. (:13) Quiver Restocked
“And he had seven sons and three daughters.”
Cyril Barber: Only the number of children remains the same as before (cf. 1:19), for Job fully expected to be reunited with those whom he had lost in the resurrection (cf. 19:26).
2. (:14) Pleasant Names
“And he named the first Jemimah,
and the second Keziah,
and the third Keren-happuch.”
Elmer Smick: Their names are indicative of their beauty:
– Jemimah means “turtledove”;
– Keziah is probably an aromatic plant as in the name cinnamon (“cassia” in Ps 45:8); and
– Keren-Happuch means “a jar [horn] of eye paint.”
3. (:15) Privileged Daughters
a. In Terms of Beauty
“And in all the land no women were found so fair
as Job’s daughters;”
b. In Terms of Inheritance
“and their father gave them inheritance
among their brothers.”
Tremper Longman: With these names, we are not surprised to hear that “there could not be found in the land women more beautiful than the daughters of Job” (42:15). They were not only beautiful but rich since Job gave them an inheritance, not typical in an ancient Near Eastern society. Job would have no problem finding husbands for these exceptional daughters.
C. (:16-17) Restoration of Job’s Fullness of life
1. (:16a) Long Life
“And after this Job lived 140 years,”
Francis Andersen: Analogy has suggested from his additional hundred and forty years (16) that Job was seventy when the story began, but this is a speculation.
2. (:16b) Extensive Progeny
“and saw his sons, and his grandsons, four generations.”
Izak Cornelius: Joseph (Gen. 50:23) saw his grandchildren to the third generation, Job to the fourth! The phrase “and so he died, old and full of years” (Job 42:17) is also used for Abraham, Isaac, and David (Gen. 25:8; 35:29; 1 Chr. 29:8).
3. (:17) Fulfilled Life
“And Job died, an old man and full of days.”
Elmer Smick: the patriarchal formula “old and full of years” expresses a completely fulfilled life (cf. Ge 25:8; 35:29).