Job 29-31

Good morning! Today in Job 29-31, we have no challengers speaking, only Job. He finishes his first defense against the criticisms of his companions with nostalgia for the good times of old, lament at the grievances he currently faces, and a long list of the sins he would have had to commit to deserve such suffering. He does not spend much time criticizing God’s harsh judgment (there’s been enough of that already), but instead simply lays out his case and concludes in silence.

Chapters 29 and 30 are an exercise in contrasts between what was and what is. Job starts out with longing for the time at the beginning of the book in chapter 1, when everything seemed to be going just right. He describes how good it was for him then, how everyone thought well of him, when his words were counted as wisdom and God’s blessings were sure. Job did well by people, showed mercy and acted with righteousness. Contrast that with now, when even the youth of those he despises jeer at him. They have nothing at all in this world, and yet they still lord it over him. God has “loosed [his] bowstring”, assuring that nothing will work as intended any more. The entire natural order of things has been undone. Nobody responds to Job’s cries of confusion and sorrow, least of all God.

In Job 31, our protagonist defends his righteousness by defining the opposite thereof. He creates a long list of hypotheticals, where any of these bad behaviors would justify the treatment he has received from God. If he had lusted after another woman, mistreated a neighbor, denied the poor, abused his slaves, or committed any number of other sins, God would naturally have turned against him. But as it is, Job denies that these things have ever been part of his character. Nevertheless, God does not hear him, and Job has no record of the indictment against him, no recourse by which to reconsider his actions and find a hidden fault. He cannot fathom what could cause God to punish him so. His silence at the end of the passage speaks for itself—he has not sinned in any of these ways, and there is no more to say. Until tomorrow…. Happy reading!

Read Job 29-31.

Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Job 32-34. Thanks for reading!

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