In Chapter 42, Job’s repentance and sacrifice present to us the forgiveness of sins available to all of us by faith in Jesus Christ.
Job presents a sacrifice on behalf of his friends, here in William Blake’s representation making the sign of the cross. In this chapter, we see how Job is a type of Christ.
Chapter 42 (For Previous Chapter Click Here)
Now, Job’s repentance is complete. He not only understands his insignificance, but also God’s role for evil and His power over it.
I know that You can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2).
Here, Job acknowledges that he understands God has a purpose for suffering. It is interesting to note that God does not divulge exactly what this purpose is. He simply refers to having a purpose in mind in Job 38:2 and Job 41:11. After going into some detail about His role in making the demons and His sovereignty over them, Job was content in accepting that God is aware of suffering and has a purpose behind it.
Further, the choice of wording adds another element: “no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” It is an admission of God’s complete sovereignty. Therefore, Job has totally resigned his “right” and now acknowledges God’s.
Nebuchadnezzar, when God rescinded his reason and turned him into a beast, once his reason returned summed it up like so:
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done’ (Dan 4:35)?
Indeed God’s purposes cannot be thwarted and His hand cannot be warded off. He glorifies His own name and works out righteousness in His way, which is superior to ours, because He is the greatest of all possible beings and has devised righteousness. For this reason we cannot say, “What have You done in allowing me to suffer?”
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:3).
By quoting God in Job 38:2, Job acknowledges now he understands what He is getting at. He follows this up with a further acknowledgement of God’s hidden counsel being superior to his. It is too wonderful to understand and not something man is privy to.
‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me’ (Job 42:4).
Again, Job by quoting Job 38:3 and Job 40:7 acknowledges that he understands that in God there is wisdom. Wisdom cannot be found in man. He now knows to lean upon God’s wisdom, which is His revelation. We can do the same today by reading the Scripture and accepting God’s pronouncements about His own nature. This prevents our own deception by the hands of Satan who uses suffering to encourage us to doubt the righteousness of God.
I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I retract and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).
Job’s point is pretty simple. He heard of God and was faithful to Him, but never actually heard from God, let alone see Him. Theophanies are not common, so we may not enjoy, as Job did, such a personal encounter with God in this world. However, in some ways, we have a much greater opportunity to hear Him today.
First, we have the same speech God gave Job. So, in that we are equally blessed. Second, in addition to this, we have the whole counsel of God. We can hear Him speak by reading His revelation in the Scripture.
God’s revelation speaks authoritatively on matters we can only guess and dialectically speculate about. When we find ourselves believing contrary to what we know to be the true in the Scripture, then we must recant like Job in dust and ashes. For we must remind ourselves that we are finite, made from the dust, and destined to burn out leaving ashes as remains.
According to James L. Crenshaw, “Some scholars see irony in Job’s response, a concealing of his continued defiance in the face of divine cruelty” (Harper Collins Study Bible, 1993, p. 795). However, nothing could be farther from the truth.
What comes with Job’s repentance is ultimately a concession of finitude. It leaves to God the right to determine what one ought to believe concerning the existence of evil, which we have access to in His revelation, the Scripture. In the words of Gregory the Great:
All human wisdom, however powerful in acuteness, is foolishness, when compared with Divine wisdom. For all human deeds which are just and beautiful are, when compared with the justice and beauty of God, neither just nor beautiful, nor have any existence at all (The Book of Morals, Book XXXV, Chapter 3).
For this reason, God’s first move is to punish Job’s friends for speaking from their false, man-made philosophies and traditions. God speaks to Eliphaz directly, likely because he was the wisest of Job’s friends, and scolds him for not speaking what was right (Job 42:7). Job knew that Eliphaz was doing this all along when he said, “Will you speak what is unjust for God and speak what is deceitful for Him?” (Job 13:7)
God also mentions that Job spoke rightly. Obviously, this does not refer to when Job was accusing God of being unjust. It refers to his repentance at the beginning of the chapter.
Some liberal interpreters take issue with this exegesis, but they do so on bad grounds. For one, Elihu points out several things that Job said wrongly and being that he is not scolded with Eliphaz and his “two friends,” this shows that he spoke rightly. Second, God Himself corrected Job specifically. Third, Job himself quotes God, acknowledging that he spoke wrongly on the points God addressed to him. It is not a tenable position without positing that Elihu was a later redactor, that God’s speeches were his invention, and other fantasies not based upon any evidence whatsoever from the existing manuscripts.
How can Eliphaz be made right with God? It is not enough for him to merely repent like Job. Job knew God before this whole episode. His sins have already been paid for by Christ on the cross.
For this reason God points Eliphaz to Job as his priest. Job, like Christ, has suffered on behalf of those he intercedes for. Further, Job is like Christ in that which by faith he is in union with Him. So, Job is a type of Christ in our interpretation.
Eliphaz brings seven bulls and seven rams (Job 42:8). The numbers suggest that this was a complete sacrifice, which points us to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross which was truly complete. For “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10).
Job’s friends offer the sacrifice and interestingly, only once Job completed the sacrifices were not only they, but Job himself accepted by God (Job 42:9-10). This may be because Job had to faithfully do as God requested, so that his faith may not be void. However, it is more likely that this chronology of the events reflects that none of us are accepted apart from the sacrifice on the cross being finished. As Christ had said before He died, “It is finished” (John 19:30). So, God waited to accept Job’s repentance until after he completed sacrificing of his friends in order to offer to his friends and to us an accurate picture of how our sins are forgiven on the cross.
Coinciding with Job’s acceptance by God is a restoring of his fortunes (Job 42:10-17). As we have touched on before in chapter 27, fortunes in the Scripture are always pictures of a spiritual reality. So, God indeed literally restored Job’s fortunes, but it is meant to point us to the spiritual wealth accessible to us by faith. For the things of this world are not real wealth at all, it is the wealth in heaven that we store that has eternal value.
And so, the wealth Job receives reflects heavenly realities. His relationship is restored with his brothers, sisters, and wife (Job 42:11). We can infer that his wife is included, because Job has several more children with her. He has the same amount of children that he had before (Job 42:13-14, Job 1:2). Further, Job’s livestock are greater in number (Job 42:12) then they were initially (Job 1:3). Obviously this points to what Christ said about those giving up families and property for His sake receiving “a hundred times as much” in heaven (Mark 10:30).
This is why there is such a strong emphasis on the beauty of Job’s daughters in which “no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters” (Job 42:15). Their names also connote beauty (Job 42:14). Indeed, what God gives us in heaven is far greater than what we give up for the Gospel’s sake on Earth. Heavenly riches are without equal in value and beauty.
As a side note, Job’s family brings him a gold ring and a “piece of money”/qestiah (קְשִׂיטָה). Again, this points to heavenly wealth as well. While money itself in the Scripture is described as both a blessing and a source of anxiety, jewelry in all of its positive mentions refers to the adorning of a bride (Gen 24:30, Est 2:12, Song 1:10-11, Is 48:18, Is 61:10, and Ezek 16:8-14). Obviously, this points to the Church being “adorned as a bride for her husband” (Rev 21:2), that is for Christ. So, Job is being adorned in preparation for his eternity with Christ.
The term “qestiah” is an old, Hebrew term for money. It is used once in Genesis and once in Joshua, and by the time the prophets were writing books it would have been archaic like the term “shilling” is today.
From this we may make an observation about literary criticism. According to tradition and Jesus Christ Himself, the authorship of Genesis is ascribed to Moses. The authorship of Joshua, though ancient, was at least edited in points after his passing. Nonetheless, being that the term is not found in any other book of the Bible points to an ancient date of authorship for the Book of Job. It is either that or its author was very accurately peering into the past.
Lastly, Job lives to a ripe old age, which from this we may infer satisfaction with his life and its length (Job 42:16-17). He died in peace, but not believing that he would be in Sheol and have eternal sleep. Instead, he died with the confidence he would see God again in his flesh. This is true of all Christians, who through suffering and experience bouts with evil, persevere. For “the one who endures to the end, he will be saved” (Matt 24:13).
So, many a Christian may question God in times of suffering. He may forget that God is righteous and even what man meant for evil, He means for good. The fact that He works all things for good may escape the sufferer’s notice. That God is righteous and kind in all His ways may not seem like the truth, but that is only when one measures God by His own standards found in the Scripture instead of measuring God’s by his own sense of justice.
Indeed, the enemy will devise many crafty lies, all the while distracting us from the fact that it is he and the evils of our own hearts that cause our suffering. God has merely permitted it, to fulfill His righteous purpose and glorify His name.
Epicurus may argue that the mere existence of evil makes the Deity evil. Many who fall prey to this rationalization, like Job’s friends, will instead argue that every affliction that befalls us is the just desert of sin. However, the Scripture does not allow for this line of reasoning: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Ps 34:19).
Expect affliction, pray for deliverance from the evil one, implore God to incline your heart to Him, and have confidence that the Lord will sustain and save you. These are the promises of God and “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.” Indeed, if He promises such things, “will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good” (Num 23:19)? May honor, praise, and glory be ascribed to Him forever. Amen.