Sometimes when we read the Old Testament we forget that the people living then did not have the New Testament with the full revelation of God that we have in Jesus. Still less did Job and his contemporaries, who did not even live in Israel and were probably not Jewish. There is no evidence that they had access to any of the Old Testament. So how did they know about God?Read More
Job’s response to Bildad is pure scorn. 26:1-4 are to be read as sarcasm: “You have really been helpful to someone weak and weary” (CEV). Bildad is silenced and we don’t hear from him or his friends again.
It is tempting to read the verses that follow through 21st century Western eyes, especially 26:7, which seems to indicate that Job understood the earth, as we do, as suspended in space.Read More honesty, Ancient Near East, reason
When I was in Scotland, working on this chapter, I saw a BBC program on the tomb of Kha and Meryt in Egypt. In it was found a papyrus which listed 42 sins, which the dead person would swear that he had not committed. There is a picture of his heart being weighed in scales. I was amazed, because the idea of a checklist of sins, which the “accused” either confessed or denied, is so similar to Job’s protestations in this chapter.Read More sin, Ancient Near East, self-examination
In the culture of the Ancient Near East at the time of Jacob, children—especially sons—brought status. Leah, “unloved” because she did not have Rachel’s beauty, was blessed by the Lord and she blessed Jacob with their first four sons. All their names speak of God recognizing her need and providing these children (29:31-35). The Lord shows how he watches over those who face partiality and rejection, just as he had done for Hagar (ch 16).Read More Ancient Near East, family conflict, underdogs