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Job 38:1-3

Context

VI. The Divine Speeches (38:1-42:6)

The Lord’s First Speech 1 

38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2 

38:2 “Who is this 3  who darkens counsel 4 

with words without knowledge?

38:3 Get ready for a difficult task 5  like a man;

I will question you

and you will inform me!

1 sn This is the culmination of it all, the revelation of the Lord to Job. Most interpreters see here the style and content of the author of the book, a return to the beginning of the book. Here the Lord speaks to Job and displays his sovereign power and glory. Job has lived through the suffering – without cursing God. He has held to his integrity, and nowhere regretted it. But he was unaware of the real reason for the suffering, and will remain unaware throughout these speeches. God intervenes to resolve the spiritual issues that surfaced. Job was not punished for sin. And Job’s suffering had not cut him off from God. In the end the point is that Job cannot have the knowledge to make the assessments he made. It is wiser to bow in submission and adoration of God than to try to judge him. The first speech of God has these sections: the challenge (38:1-3), the surpassing mysteries of earth and sky beyond Job’s understanding (4-38), and the mysteries of animal and bird life that surpassed his understanding (38:3939:30).

2 sn This is not the storm described by Elihu – in fact, the Lord ignores Elihu. The storm is a common accompaniment for a theophany (see Ezek 1:4; Nah 1:3; Zech 9:14).

3 tn The demonstrative pronoun is used here to emphasize the interrogative pronoun (see GKC 442 §136.c).

4 sn The referent of “counsel” here is not the debate between Job and the friends, but the purposes of God (see Ps 33:10; Prov 19:21; Isa 19:17). Dhorme translates it “Providence.”

5 tn Heb “Gird up your loins.” This idiom basically describes taking the hem of the long garment or robe and pulling it up between the legs and tucking it into the front of the belt, allowing easier and freer movement of the legs. “Girding the loins” meant the preparation for some difficult task (Jer 1:17), or for battle (Isa 5:27), or for running (1 Kgs 18:46). C. Gordon suggests that it includes belt-wrestling, a form of hand-to-hand mortal combat (“Belt-wrestling in the Bible World,” HUCA 23 [1950/51]: 136).



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