Job 17-20

I know we just started the read-through, PLEASE do not get discouraged.  This is a HARD book.  I often read a whole chapter and say “Ummm,  I didn’t get that”.  But then I go back and I read it slower and I can put some of the verses together.  Even if just ONE verse makes sense sometimes, hone in on that.

The first verse says so much: My spirit is broken,

Job is mentally and physically deteriorating.  At the same time, the “friends’ words get more aggressive.  Job begins to spiral down. As his friend’s words get harsher, we see the affliction also comes from his community:

“God has made me a byword to everyone,
    a man in whose face people spit.

The community he once was known for having integrity, riches and wisdom now talks about him and spits on him (in ancient days it was the highest form of disrespect).


18 Bildad

I had to read this several times and I was struggling to make sense of it.  So I grabbed my pen and began circling all the horrible words he was saying to Job. Example: anger, abandon, snuffed-out, dark, weakened, wander….) Bildad is not preaching a message of repentance, he has moved to conviction.  He thinks he is an “expert” on God.  (I know a few of these people if you don’t just look on Facebook 😂)

THEN I got to verse 16-21 and I became angry.  Verse 16 is the rebuttal to Job’s response in chapter 14 (I think).  I flipped back to find when Job spoke about having Hope because even a tree lives again:

14:7 “At least there is hope for a tree:
    If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
    and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
    and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
    and put forth shoots like a plant.

Bildad hearing this in Job’s rebuttal now says: (was this supposed to encourage him)??

16 His roots dry up below
    and his branches wither above.
17 The memory of him perishes from the earth;
    he has no name in the land.
18 He is driven from light into the realm of darkness
    and is banished from the world.
19 He has no offspring or descendants among his people,
    no survivor where once he lived.
20 People of the west are appalled at his fate;
    those of the east are seized with horror.
21 Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;
    such is the place of one who does not know God.”

Upon hearing that Job digs his heels in, and at his lowest,  he proclaims the most beautiful scriptures in the Bible.

First, he summarizes the state of his life: (chapter 19)

  • no one answers my call for help
  • I can only see darkness
  • stripped of his honor
  • he feels surrounded by his enemies, like in a time of war
  • friends and family have deserted him
  • people I welcomed into my home refuse me
  • my wife won’t even come near me
  • children mock me
  • closest friends have turned against me
  • my health is so bad, I am holding on by the skin of my teeth

He begs for pity from his friends words.  They are relentless.  THEN

23 “Oh, that my words were recorded, (They were!  We are reading them!)
    that they were written on a scroll, (In my Bible!)
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
    or engraved in rock forever!  (Yes!!)

25 I know that my redeemer lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
    with my own eyes—I, and not another.
    How my heart yearns within me!

The word redeem, redeemer, or redemption is used 149 times in the Old Testament.  I know we use these “Christianese” words all the time but let’s look at it for a minute:

  • brings back something that was lost or taken away
  • restored to original state
  • one charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs.
  • someone who redeems or buys back
  •  to compensate for or cancel out the faults of
  • bought back

Let’s take a step back for a minute before we start humming the Hillsong version of “My Redeemer Lives”.  These are ancient times.  Job does not have the scriptures, a pastor, a church, podcast, internet to learn about redemption.  The Hebrew word Job is using for redeemer is gaal-a near relative whose role is to assist a family in dire straights like lost property, murder, or lack of a kinsman.  This “family advocate” or “righter of wrongs” is what Job was referring to. Job is confident that the gaal is alive and ready to take up his case for him, BUT Job will, with his own eyes, see God face to face.  (Because we do not live in ancient times, we know who the real Gaal is!!!!)


Chapter 20.  After reading chapter 19, Zophar’s words fell on deaf ears for me:

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

“My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer
    because I am greatly disturbed.
I hear a rebuke that dishonors me,
    and my understanding inspires me to reply.

(I read his reply and then I went back and reread 19 ❤️)


Click here if you would like to end with a song in worship

And another 😁  Click here

Posted in Job

8 thoughts on “Job 17-20

  1. After a tough read that was a lovely note to end on. I LOVE that song but 😭🥰It gives me Alllll the emotions! It was the last song my baby sister ever sang at church & the one we played at her funeral💗 It’s a special one but I can’t even hear that first verse without becoming a blubbering mess. So thankful my Redeemer lives🙌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The heart of Job is hurting so deeply, and he asks in 17:15 “Where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me? I don’t know how he kept his cool and didn’t throat punch Bildad next. 18:18-21 is an awfully brutal reminder of just how accused Job stood. 19:21 “have pity on me, my friends, have pity for the hand of God has struck me.” Not only is Job having to fight the destruction of his life, he’s lost all support from his friends. But he KNOWS another friend who will not leave him. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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