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JOB 25

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Bildad Says Man Is Inferior Bildad: How Can Man Be Righteous Third Discourse of Bildad Bildad A Hymn to God's Omnipotence
(25:1-6; 26:5-14)
25:1-6
(1-6)
25:1 25:1-6
(1-6)
25:1-6
(1-6)
25:1-6
(2-6)
  25:2-6
(2-6)
     
        (NJB moves part of 26)
        26:5-14
(5-14)

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. This third cycle of speeches is incomplete and truncated. There have been many suggestions on textual rearrangement and the assigning of certain passages to the comforter whose section is short (Bildad) or missing (Zophar). Also notice the unusually long length of Job's response (i.e., Job 26-31).

 

B. The theme of the evil of mankind has been addressed several times.

1. Eliphaz – Job 4:17-21; 15:14-16

2. Zophar – Job 11:5-12

3. Job – Job 9:2-12; 14:4

 

C. In context this brief chapter is another attempt by the three comforters to address Job's claim of innocence.

 

D. It is possible that UBS Handbook (p. 464), TEV, and NJB are correct in seeing

1. Bildad's speech going from Job 25:1-6 and continuing at 26:5-14

2. this would make Job 26:1-4 a brief response from Job (or as the Jewish Study Bible says, a part of Bildad's speech)

3. my problem with all of the textual division and rearrangement is

a. there is not agreement among scholars

b. the cosmological passage of Job 26:5-14 is artistic and powerful poetry, which does not fit the other speeches of Bildad

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 25:1-6
 1Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,
 2"Dominion and awe belong to Him
 Who establishes peace in His heights.
 3Is there any number to His troops?
 And upon whom does His light not rise?
 4How then can a man be just with God?
 Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?
 5If even the moon has no brightness
 And the stars are not pure in His sight,
 6How much less man, that maggot,
 And the son of man, that worm!"

25:2-3 This is a series of descriptive phrases of who God is (i.e., His attributes).

1. dominion (BDB 605, KB 647, Hiphil infinitive absolute. This is a royal affirmation (cf. Ps. 8:6). God is king. The rabbis address Deity as "the King of the Universe."

2. awe (BDB 808 I), which denotes an appropriate respect for Deity (cf. Job 13:11; 23:15; Ps. 14:5; 36:1; 119:120). It is often translated "fear" or "dread."

3. establishes peace (between angels, cf. Isa. 24:21) in His heights (BDB 928), which refers to God's dwelling place in the heights (cf. Job 31:2). This could refer to

a. a high mountain (i.e., Mt. Seir, Mt. Sinai, mountain in the far north; cf. Ezek. 20:40)

b. in highest heaven (cf. Isa. 57:15, see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HEAVENS AND THE THIRD HEAVEN and the Third Heaven)

c.  highest rank

4. captain of the innumerable armies (angels) of God (i.e., God as Lord Saboath, Lord of Hosts, cf. Jos. 5:13-15)a

5. God of creation (i.e., light) or revelation (i.e., light). The NJB sees this as reference to "lightning" as a metaphorical weapon of God

Light (BDB 21) has several connotations in the OT.

1. special provision by God during the exodus and wilderness wandering period to express His presence, care, protection, and guidance (cf. Exod. 10:23; 13:21-22; 14:20; Ps. 78:14)

2. metaphor of revealing truth (cf. Ezra 9:8; Ps. 112:4; Job 28:11; expressed negatively in Job 12:25; also note Job 5:14)

3. special revelation of His will (cf. Job 29:3; Ps. 43:3; 119:105; Pro. 6:23; Isa. 42:6; 49:6; 51:4)

4. imagery for God Himself (cf. Job 22:28; 24:13; 33:28; Ps. 27:1; 90:8; Isa. 10:17; 60:1-2,19-20)

There is an obvious semantic overlap in these verses.

25:3a There are several places in the Bible that speak about a large number of angels (cf. Deut. 33:2; 2 Kgs. 6:17; Ps. 68:17; Dan. 7:10; Matt. 26:53; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11).

25:4 This is a crucial theological question in Job (cf. Job 4:17; 15:14). It addresses the condition of fallen humanity (see litany of OT texts in Rom. 3:10-18; and summary in 3:23 and Gal. 3:22). How can Job claim to be innocent? Eliphaz also asserts the sinfulness of all humans in Job 4:17-19. However, Job claims that his youthful sins were not so great as to deserve the awful judgments of Job 1-2. His three comforters' commitment to "the two ways" demands Job's sinfulness in order to maintain their theological worldview.

25:5 Both Eliphaz (Job 4:18; 15:15) and Bildad assert that the fall of mankind (i.e., Genesis 3) has affected the heavens (i.e., even angels are not completely pure). I am assuming the creation imagery of Job 25:5 refers to angels. In the ANE, particularly Babylon, the lights of the day and night sky were viewed as spiritual beings (cf. Isa. 40:26).

25:6 "maggot. . .worm" These are in a synonymous parallel relationship (as are "man" and "son of man"). Both of these are hyperboles for

1. frailty (disease) of mankind, cf. Job 7:5; Isa. 41:14

2. death of mankind, cf. Job 17:14; 21:26; 24:20; Isa. 14:11

3. rottenness of mankind (KB 1241, #1), cf. Exod. 16:24; in this context this connotation fits best

4. insignificance of a worm in Ps. 22:6

In one sense Bildad is correct about the corruption of humanity, but this is only the result of the rebellion of Genesis 3. Originally mankind was

1. personally created by God (Gen. 2:7)

2. created in the image and likeness of God Himself (Gen. 1:26-27)

3. created for fellowship with God (Gen. 3:8) in a special place created for them (i.e., the Garden of Eden)

4. God plans for the restoration of fellowship damaged in Gen. 3:1-7. This is clearly seen in Gen. 3:15 (see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan).

 

▣ "the son of man" This is simply a Hebrew idiom for humanity (cf. Job 7:17; Ps. 8:4; see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE SON OF MAN).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Why is Bildad's speech so short? Along the same lines, why is there no speech of Zophar recorded?

2. Does Job 25:2b refer to conflict in heaven among angels?

3. What does "His light" refer to?

4. Why is Job 25:4 such an important verse? Is Bildad referring directly to Job's claim of innocence?

5. Does Job 25:5 refer to impurity or rebellion among the angels?

6. Explain Job 25:6 in your own words.

 

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