Book of Job Ch. 22-27



Gordis, Robert.  The Book of God and Man: A Study of Job.  (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1965).

——————-    The Book of Job: Commentary, New Translation, and Special Studies.  (Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, 1978).

Janzen, J. Gerald.  Job.  Part of the Interpretation bible commentary series edited by James L. Mays.  (John Knox Press, Atlanta, 1985).

Wilson, Gerald H.   Job.  Part of the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series, General Editors W. Ward Gasque, Robert Hubbard Jr., and Robert Johnston.   (Baker Books, Grand Rapids MI, 2007).



Notes for Chapter 22 Eliphaz’s third speech

Gordon p. 238 notes that up to this point in the Book of Job we have had verses and problems with the text but by and large –  resolvable.  In the next chapters there are serious textual issues including whole chapters ascribed to the “wrong” person and insertions (chapter 28).

Eliphaz pulls some arbitrary sins from the tradition and suggests that Job has committed them or similar ones and is being punished.  The wicked think God will not punish them, the good delight in the punishment of the wicked.  Look Job – just admit your sins, repent, and God will restore you!

Janzen p. 162: “At this point Eliphaz does what no friend earlier has done: He no longer engages in third-person indictments of the wicked in general, nor does he venture a brief second-person accusation; rather , he launches a brutally specific and extended direct attack on job’s character.”

Gordon translates verse 2 this way:

“Is it God whom man benefits

When he wisely puts himself in harmony with Him?’


Verse 22:4 is ironic – it IS because of Job’s piety that he is being punished!!!!!


Gordon p. 246: “Eliphaz argues that Job has not hesitated to oppress the poor and the weak, because he believed, to cite Napoleon’s epigram, that “God is on the side of the heaviest battalions.”



Notes for Chapters 23 and 24: Job’s reply to Eliphaz


Job: I seek judgment, not hiding from it!  It would give me a chance to make my case!  A chance to hear directly from Him what the problem has been!  But wherever I turn, God is NOT there for me.  (ch. 24)  The wicked do bad things without punishment and when they die (like everyone else) they are laid to rest.


Janzen p. 165: “By a strange paradox, the only loyal act under the circumstances is rebellion.”


Gordon p. 261 points out verse 23:9 as a striking example of poetic technique:

Where the north enfolds (covers) him, I behold him not;

By the south he is veiled (covered), and I see him not.


Gordis p. 531: on chapter 24 “This chapter is undoubtedly one of the most difficult in the book, with regard to its form, its content, and its relevance to the context.  As a result, many scholars have deleted the entire chapter with the exception of the last verse.  Others adopt a slightly less radical procedure, deleting large sections like vv. 9-24.”  This chapter has many tri-stichs, most of Job does not have so many.  Most likely it was an independent composition that has been integrated into the whole.


24:3 –  taking the garments / cloak of the poor often condemned in the OT and by Jesus in the Gospels


24:10 –  “famished are they who carry the sheaves” –  i.e. can’t eat what they are harvesting.  Brings to mind the description of the young brother in the Prodigal Son story who can’t eat the fodder for the pigs.  Later rabbinic teaching interprets biblical law as specifically permitting a field worker to eat from the produce of the fields they work in.


Janzen p. 169: “One standard characterization of the Book of Job is that it offers a critique of the reward-and-punishment theology of the Book of Deuteronomy.  A more radical form of this characterization would have it that the Book of Job calls into question not only the Deuteronomic theology but the covenantal relation itself as inaugurated at Sinai.  After Job, who any longer can believe in the covenant of Sinai?”  (God’s saving acts in Exodus …)  Jesus and the Pharisees stand against the Temple cult as pretty much a “dead end”.



Notes for Chapter 25 and 26: 5-14 – Bildad’s third speech


Even with arranging (re-arranging) as above – Bildad’s speech is shorter than expected and remains fragmented.  Janzen p. 172ff –  It is possible to read these chapters without the cutting up and re-arranging as Gordis proposes (and which I followed).  In this scenario Job is sarcastically quoting back the words of his friends.  Maybe.


Contrast the Psalms (psalm 8)  – “who is man that you are mindful of him, mere mortals that you care for them?’  with Bildad’s statement v. 25:6  “How much less man, who is but a maggot, the son of man, who is only a worm.”


God’s power and might are awesome to contemplate – and that is not even a portion of the reality.  God rules the heavens, the seas beneath the earth, our natural world, and His power is known to us because He is the creator


Gordon p. 280 notes that the end of chapter 26 harkens back to the creation myths, which where related to the Babylonians and other ancient cultures.  Rahab – sea monster (Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish)


Notes for Chapter 26:1-4, Chapter 27 1:-12  Job’s Reply to Bildad

Job’s opening reply is dripping with irony and sarcasm


This speech is also fragmented and incomplete.


Gordon p. 283: “Knowing that he has never blasphemed, he restates the faith in God’s justice that actuated him during the earlier and happier period of his life when he had no reason to doubt the triumph of the right.  The extant portion of his speech ends with a call to the Friends to desist from their empty talk.”


The unity of these portions is partially demonstrated by the use of “breath” in verse 26:4 “whose is the breath that comes forth from you?”   and verse 27:3 “So long as I still have life in me and the breath of God is in my nostrils, …”








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