Bible Book List
Asbury Bible Commentary – 4. Job (9:1–10:22)
4. Job (9:1–10:22)
4. Job (9:1-10:22)

Job directs his comments to a statement Eliphaz made that one cannot be righteous in God's eyes (4:17) and to the claim of Bildad that God is always just. In a legal dispute with God, humans must lose since God determines all the rules and is the final arbiter. In his profound wisdom, God would pose unanswerable questions (9:3).

But not only is it a matter of God's wisdom; it is also a matter of his power (9:4). A hymn of God's power is presented in vv. 5-10. Here Job parallels the comforters' remarks about God's infinite power. God's actions are numberless. Earthquakes (vv. 5-6), eclipses (v. 7), and the constellations (vv. 8-9) are all the work of God. God is neither visible (v. 11) nor restrainable (vv. 12-13). Any solution to Job's sufferings must reckon with God's vast power though theodicies that argue for a limited God have been advanced.

Job sees the futility of any judicial proceedings. As a defendant he could not establish his innocence and would be forced to plead for mercy (9:15). As a plaintiff he could not force God into court or once there could not force him to testify.

Job now advances his explanation for sufferings. There is a kind of randomness both in nature (9:23) and in human events (v. 24). His claim that natural disasters strike bad and good indiscriminately reminds us of Jesus who noted that God sends the sun and rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous (Mt 5:45).

Job has already employed the imagery of a weaver's shuttle to depict the brevity of life. Now he uses three more figures: the runner (9:25), the speedy papyrus boats of Egypt (v. 26), and the swift eagle (v. 26).

Since God is not human, Job needs someone to represent him in court, to arbitrate, to effect reconciliation (9:32-33). More important to Job than receiving answers that explain his suffering is the restoration of his previous relationship with God.

Ch. 10 is addressed directly to God and is cast in the form of a prayer. As the psalmist frequently does, Job here resorts to frank speech. He calls for acquittal (v. 2), charging God with showing favoritism to the wicked (v. 3). He questions whether God is able to understand and sympathize with the human condition (vv. 4-5)

Job uses three handicrafts to depict humankind's creation: the potter and clay (10:8-9); the conception and prenatal development of a human metaphorically presented as the curdling of cheese (v. 10); and pleating cloth to show the development of the prenatal body (v. 11). Job reminds God of his providential care in earlier days.

Job seems convinced that his present sufferings were planned by God during his prosperous days but were concealed from him (10:13). God had indeed watched over him (v. 12) but now with hostile intent (v. 14). In his planning, God was indifferent to Job's moral condition (v. 15). Now he suffers from shame and loss of self-respect (vv. 15-16) and does not know what to expect next (v. 17).

He renews his desire to die, returning to his soliloquy of ch. 3. Sheol is depicted as a gloomy place. Four synonyms for darkness are used to demonstrate this (10:21-22).