Book of Job
Book of Job Man's Status Before God Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter:Verse)
'Those at ease have contempt for misfortune,
but it is ready for those whose feet are unstable.
The tents of robbers are at peace,
and those who provoke God are secure,
who bring their god in their hands.
But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being.
Does not the ear test words
as the palate tastes food?
Is wisdom with the aged,
and understanding in length of days?' (NRSV 12:5-15)
He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.
The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.
But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.
With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.
Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. (KJV 12:5-15)
The writer wants us to understand God's justice isn't just for humans—it's for all other living things, too. Job can only ask human questions, because, well…he's human.
Why do you think the writer put these words in Job's mouth?
'Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power;
they rise up when they despair of life.
He gives them security, and they are supported;
his eyes are upon their ways.
They are exalted a little while, and then are gone;
they wither and fade like the mallow;
they are cut off like the heads of grain.' (NRSV 24:22-24)
He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.
Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways.
They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. (KJV 24:22-24)
More complaining for Job. We're used to it. But notice how niftily the text switches between "God will give you stuff for serving him" and "Everyone dies, so get used to it." You have to think about both of these ideas to understand God in the Book of Job. How does Job react to this formula?
'But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Mortals do not know the way to it,
and it is not found in the land of the living.' (NRSV 28:12-13)
But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. (KJV 28:12-13)
If mortals can't find wisdom, why do we have the ability to search for it? This is one of the crucial but unspoken questions of Job—and the whole Bible, actually. Man can think about his state in the world, but he can't escape it. Tough luck.