Read It in ’08

What do you think of a Read It in 2008 format?  Well, that is the plan as of today.  We will post a plan for a guilt free (not little boxes to check off) non-bog-down (i.e. lets not flounder in Leviticus & Numbers) plan for reading, blogging and chatting through the Bible in 2008.  It amounts to about 3 chapters per day.

More to come!

God Speaks – Job 38-39

The Almighty took Job on a rhetorical tour of the created order (38:4-15), the forces of creation (38:16-38) and a menagerie of animals (38:39-39:30).  He arrived in a whirlwind, and spoke in front of all the speakers, but to Job.

Some are disturbed that the philosophical questions are not answered:  What is the answer to the problem of evil?  Is Job a saint or a sinner?  Are Job’s friends right or wrong? 

But if the anguish of Job was that God had abandoned him, is the consolation of Job that God gives him an answer?.  The time where God stood at a distance is over.

The answer is not to the What? When? Where? and Why? questions, but to the Who? question.

What is with Elihu? Job 32-37

Here are some ways the commentators read Elihu:

  • Gassy windbag who says nothing new
  • the only friend with insight, leads us into the “God Speeches”
  • Does not fit Job outline, must have been added by a pious editor
  • Gives us dramatic pause with long speeches, causing a restless anticipation for what will follow.
  • Summarizes what has been said to this point.
  • Offers the “human estimate” of Job – to be followed by “God’s estimate”.
  • Sort of like John the Baptist, in 37:22 and 33:23, points us to Christ.
  • Adds the idea of the benefit of suffering for the believer (33:12-22)

Fresh Read is still reading the Elihu speeches afresh. However, we find this verse interesting – does he not indict himself with his criticism of Job?

 Job 32:17-20 ESV
    I also will answer with my share;
        I also will declare my opinion.
    [18] For I am full of words;
        the spirit within me constrains me.
    [19] Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent;
        like new wineskins ready to burst.
    [20] I must speak, that I may find relief;
        I must open my lips and answer.




Job’s Check List – Job 31

In Job’s defense against his 3 friends, he give this last statement of self-defense.  This is in the form of an oath against himself if he is guilty of any of the grievances he mentions.  Many take the form of “if I ever X then may Y happen to me”.  In v. 35 he “signs off”, figuratively, on this self-defense.

The list of sins or grievances in perhaps not what we might expect.  Here they are by one method of listing – one could list more if some of the sins were subdivided.

  • Lust (v. 1-3)
  • Dishonesty (v. 5-7)
  • Adultery (v. 8-12)
  • Oppression (v. 13-15)
  • Lack of Compassion (v. 16-23)
  • Greed (v. 24-25)
  • Idolatry (v. 26-28)
  • Vindictiveness (v. 29-30)
  • Stinginess (v. 31-32)
  • Hypocrisy (v. 32-34)
  • Exploitation (v. 38-40)

 Is there anything surprising on this list? 

Compassion and justice is a strong theme in wisdom literature – even in Proverbs, where sometimes poverty is blamed on foolish choices, it is also blamed on oppression, and justice and compassion for the poor is commended.

How bold is Job to “sign off” on this list.   Would you be so bold?


Job 28 and “the fear of the Lord”

The expression “the fear of the Lord” and related statements are very common in the OT, well over 400 uses by one resource.  The Hebrew word ranges from “terror” to “respect” to “reverence.”  It seems as if the “fear of the Lord” is a catch phrase that means something like “reverence”.  Though that single translation does not exhaust the word. 

the poem on Wisdom in Job 28 ends with this statement

 And he said to man,

The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,

and to shun evil is understanding.’


Wisdom is not a category of information – such that I can learn wisdom sayings as I might find them in Biblical or Extra-biblical wisdom literature.  Wisdom is defined here as “the fear of the Lord” which is almost the same as saying that wisdom is faith itself.

Wisdom is knowing who has the answers, and paying careful and respectful heed to the Lord.  One can neither learn the asnwers without knowing the source of the answers, nor can one know the source and ignore the answers.