Updated: Feb 5, 2021
Job answered the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived for one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.
This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 25. If chosen, it will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday October 28, 2018. It is important because Job responds to God, clarifying that he knew he had been given the power of God’s Holy Spirit so he could resist all temptations to surrender his faith.
In verse two Job speaks “יָדַעְתִּי) ידעת)”, which says, “yadata (yadati)”. The Hebrew word “yada” means “to know.” As such, Job said “I know” and then whispered as a correction (in the parentheses), “(I knew).” The whispered ‘aside’ is not translated into the reading; but the whisper is important to realize.
Verse two goes on to state that what was known by Job was relative to the power of God, such that God “can do everything” (from “ḵōl tū·ḵāl”). While it is easy to believe in the omnipotence of God, it is another to state (twice), “I know you can do anything.” This was Job stating a personal experience of God within his being; that was so overwhelmingly presently felt (and felt previously) that this knowledge could not be held back (or “thwarted” – from “batsar”). To know God was the purpose of God’s presence, so no pain could unseat that power or cause impatience to overcome that knowledge.
That importance then further stands out when one realizes that this reading seemingly has Job quoting God’s question, which was asked in Job 38:2. While the translation read aloud here (from the New International Version) is almost the same, it is not identical. By believing that Job has made a direct quote here, one can imagine how Job was telling God he heard the question and will now answer it. However, Job did not restate what God asked.
The Hebrew of Job 38 states: “mî zeh maḥ·šîḵ ‘ê·ṣāh , ḇə·mil·lîn bə·lî- ḏā·‘aṯ.?”. The Hebrew of Job 42 states: “mî zeh ma‘·lîm ‘ê·ṣāh , [- – – – – ] bə·lî ḏā·‘aṯ ?”. The question God asked in Job 38 was: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” Now, Job is restating the question as: “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?” There is no mention of “by words” in Job 42. This difference is significant.
In the interpretation I presented for the optional Job reading for the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, I explained that the root word for “maḥ·šîḵ” is “chashak,” which does mean “darken,” but has an acceptable translation as “hide and conceal,” with a figurative translation as “obscure and confuse.” The word now used by Job, “ma‘·lîm,” is rooted in the word “alam,” meaning “to conceal.” Thus, the intent that I explained as possible is now confirmed by Job.
I also offered the opinion that the intent of “by words” was alluding to the previous three chapters (Job 35-37), where the surprise character Elihu spoke to the three friends of Job, who all counseled Job to seek another god in whom to believe. The words spoken by Elihu (I suggested) came from Job’s mouth, but were not his. Instead, it was a Holy Spirit presence within him, which identified as Elihu [meaning “He Is My Lord” or “God The Lord”], in the same way that Christians are expected to be in the name of Jesus Christ.
Elihu was a presence that was concealed within the body that was Job; so Elihu spoke “by words” that countered the “counsel” of Job’s three friends, which had “darkened” the presence of God that was within Job. Elihu spoke to those “without knowledge,” while Job was not the source of the knowledge Elihu spoke through Job’s lips. Therefore, God did not speak to Job as a question of Job’s complaining, but He was asking Job, “Can you feel my power within you, even though you know nothing?”
This is now why Job answered God without quoting “by words.” Job spoke the Word of God because of God’s presence, as Elihu. Job had countered the arguments of his three friends with the convicting words of God, but they were known to not be identifiable as Job speaking them. Credit was given to a Holy Spirit within Job, named Elihu.
Job knew he was speaking; but Job also knew he was not the author of those words. That revelation (through automatic speaking) is how Job also knew he was totally “without knowledge” [lacking the Big Brain] that could generate the power of those words. Thus, Job knew Elihu was God within Him (then) and now answered God in this reading from the perspective of knowing that God is hidden within him, making the knowledge of Job [the man who thought God had been lost from him, due to a horrible skin condition] be useless.
Job told God that he realized his words of complaint were based on his brain keeping him from understanding the presence of God within him. It was Job’s thinking that he knew what God wanted him to do, so he could be a righteous and upstanding priest for the One God of all the gods, giving his brain more credit than it deserved. The success that Job had was then realized as “things too wonderful for me,” things impossible to have been brought about simply by thinking and solving problems alone. Job was then telling God that he knew all of his righteousness was based on Elihu’s presence, having been sent by God to lead Job, silently, unknown to Job’s Big Brain.
Job then said God had spoken to him before, saying, “Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.”
This had been Job’s prior knowledge of God, which was through prayers and supplications and the signs God sent to Job, in answer to his prayers. Job, in turn, would thank God for those answers. That was then explained by Job, to God, as “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear.”
The use of the Hebrew word “ozen” (meaning “an ear”) does not mean that God physically spoke to Job and the sound vibrations registered in the small bones inside an ear, which sent electrical impulses to the brain for interpretation of sound waves. Instead, it is symbolic of “revelation” sent by God to the mind’s ear. Therefore, Job “listened” for insights from God, which would always make Job understand where the path of a righteous man would be.
Job then further revealed that his new understanding had come from seeing God. He wrote, “Now my eye sees you.” The power of this statement has to be grasped.
The power of that statement comes from remembering what God told Moses. God said, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
The same Hebrew root is found in those words by God to Moses and the word Job spoke to God. Both spoke of “seeing” (from “raah”), which implies the physical sense of sight, registered through the eyes. However, that statement of truth does more than imply that the only way one can “see” the full glory of God is as a soul released from a human body of flesh, when the limits of physical “eyes” are lost.
Moses would wear the face of God after “seeing” God in the tent of meeting. Moses, obviously, did not physically physically die; he died of self-ego. Instead of wearing the face of Moses, he wore the face of God, because God had become one with Moses. This was the intent of Job’s statement.
Because Job had had the epiphany that Elihu was God within him, he then ceased trying to think what was right to do. When the singular number of “my eye” is stated (from “‘ê·nî”), this is then the ‘mind’s eye’ that has seen God. This is the equivalent of the Mind of Christ. It is one’s ability to wear the face of God and have sight based on the knowledge of God. While one can still listen for the voice of God to speak instructions of insight, the ability to “see God” comes from the complete surrender of self-ego and setting the Big Brain free to roam the wilderness like a “scapegoat.”
All the sins of the children of God ride on the back of stubborn intelligence. That has to be released, so God can come into the hearts of the faithful and let them see the light of truth.
The sacrifice of the Big Brain is then stated by Job as, “I despise myself.”
The Hebrew written is: “’em·’as,” where the root word is “ma’ac,” meaning “to reject.” This says that Job had“cast off, rejected, and refused” to be “himself.” Job realized it was his own big, fat brain that kept him from “seeing” his righteousness was solely because God had been with him, leading him – in spite of his self-ego.
When this is seen, then one can understand that Job is not repenting from being a “darkness that counseled without knowledge,” but from keeping the light that was concealed within him from shining brightly. God spoke to Job after Elihu had been freed to openly express God’s perspective to the three friends of Job. Elihu spoke “by words” sent from God [“Verily I say to you … I speak for the Father who is within me.”], which was above and beyond the knowledge of Job the man. Therefore, Job repented for having tried to be important … as Job, a priest of God, known as a righteous man … until Satan had all hell fall upon Job unjustly.
Job had been incomplete because righteousness had kept him from repentance. Elihu spoke “by words” saying that God can punish the righteous as a way of preventing future sins. Job needed to understand that. Therefore, Job repented by letting his self-ego become the concealed identity within him and letting God’s face be upon him forevermore.
The symbolism of “dust and ashes” goes beyond Job having sat down with a shard of pottery, which he used to scrape off his sores that were on him. He burned the wounds with fire and clay, as an act of purification. The image we have of Job sitting in the dust of the ground and the ashes of a fire before him become inconsequential.
The “dust and the ashes” are the funeral service words, formed from the banishment of Adam from Eden: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19, KJV) The use of ashes, dust, and death is written in Job 17, where he began with, “My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me” and ended by stating, “He has cast me into the mire, And I have become like dust and ashes.”
This means Job had repented through death. The death was not physical, but spiritual. Job meant the end of his soul being tied to earthly things had occurred, because it had been transformed through Spiritual rebirth.
The ending of Job’s story then reads as do all happy endings in fairy tales. Many will find comfort in being given “twice as much as before.” It is always a motivation when great rewards are promised. Such delight comes from minds that have not yet been sacrificed to God. That which is lost in the translation is the Hebrew that actually states, “kāl– ’ă·šer lə·’î·yō·wḇ lə·miš·neh,” which literally says, “all who were of Job’s lineage doubled.”
Bible Hub’s Interlinear translates those words literally as, “all in the face of Job twice as much as before.” When seen in this way, the friends of Job, for whom he prayed to Yahweh, were then also given double identities. That says that all also became servants to the One God, as had been Job. This is then a statement of what an Apostle or Saint does, by passing on the Holy Spirit, so lots of Jesus Christs and Elihus are reborn in others. Job touched his friends in that manner.
The specific numbers of livestock then stated as profit Job reaped are then representative of gains far greater than double what Job had before. By the story saying that Job then had ten children that acts as a statement that Job was still young when stricken by Satan’s ills. If so, then Job gave back to the Lord by not only through passing on the Holy Spirit to his friends, but by also touching his wife and the children they had in the same way. The specific naming of Job’s three daughters [Dove, Cinnamon, and Splendor of Color] and then saying they were given the inheritance of Job, this means that the servants devoted to Yahweh were both males and females, brothers and sisters. Well before Jesus became known as the Son of God, so all born in the name of Jesus Christ were called brothers, this says those filled with God’s Holy Spirit has always included humans of both genders.
As an optional Old Testament reading for the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one should have come to know the Christ Spirit has been within one’s being, so the self-ego has been killed so Jesus Christ can be known – the message here is to realize the inability of human eyes to see beyond the present. One can only imagine a future that is based on the personal experiences of the past; but one is blind to all possibilities of injustice [persecution] being heaped upon one’s being, as a test of faith and as a lesson of how to prevent future mistakes from being hurtful.
So many people these day put their faith in external beings and organizations. The doubts about the future are based on the personal failures in the past, where one missed this or ignored that and was totally misled to believe this was going to be … and none of it came as promised. The result of personal failures means one hesitates making important life decisions about the future matters – such as education, career, healthcare, savings, and retirement planning. It then seems easier to let others make the important decisions for us and just go with the flow. That works, until some unforeseen problem arises and all future plans have suddenly been jettisoned and one’s safety is threatened.
The story of Job is one man’s fight to alleviate the fears that come knocking, like all those “I told you so” friends that everyone knows. When one can no longer pay for external wisdom, to have another see the future for one, then one sits miserably with only free advice that can only point to past errors as the cause. Nothing said then can change the present circumstances and make a brighter future be assured. The saying is “misery loves company,” so the majority of Job reads like one big pity party.
The element that gets overlooked in the association of Job’s story to patience (there are 40 chapters to read before one reaches the happy ending) is Job was filled with the Holy Spirit of God from the very beginning. When one reads that Job was a righteous man, he began this story of withstanding punishment that many would call a curse of God from a point of belief that God would never punish the faithful without reason. That means Job was a man of deep faith, before Satan began to test that faith.
God had faith in Job, not only because Job had faith in God, but because God had sent His Son Elihu to be with Job. Not only did Job not know the Holy Spirit was within him, neither did Satan. God knew Job would not break because Job was God incarnate on earth … just to busy thinking to realize that asset.
Few people today – in this “I can’t take a step in any direction without my cell phone firmly in hand” society – can begin a test of Satan from a Job-like position of true faith. While there are many who say they believe in God [the one the Israelites identify as Yahweh], belief is dropped like a hot rock when the going gets tough. People routinely sell their souls for credit today, with no care for what the future might bring. Therefore, patience is not a virtue known today, in a world that demands immediate self-service.
This reading fits perfectly with the Epistle reading from Hebrew 7, where Paul detailed Jesus Christ as the high priest of God. Paul was not telling people to believe that Jesus held that title but to know that, by being one with the Christ Spirit, reproducing Jesus of Nazareth on earth. Job 42 has Job confessing to that presence within him, as the high priest of God [Elihu] was then known to Job. Paul wrote to the Hebrew-speaking Jews of Rome, who understood Paul’s meaning because they too had been prayed for and given double presence – they had souls cleansed by the Holy Spirit – reminding them they were expected to be high priests. They all had despised themselves and repented to be reborn as Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel reading that accompanies this reading of Job 42, Jesus heard the cry of the Holy Spirit that came from a blind beggar on the side of the Jericho Road. That blind beggar had once been able to see, sometime before; but he had lost that ability. Bartimaeus is then a reflection of Job, who sat in misery, having once been known as a righteous man; but with the sores of sin all over his body, that view of Job was no longer visible. Bartimaeus had been named Son of Honor, but had been changed into Son of Uncleanness. In both their cases, God heard their cries and laments, which said all they wanted was to be able to serve the Lord. They confessed a willingness to sacrifice their self-egos to be whole again. Both were allowed to wear the face of God, as those who see the truth and know the future is blessed.
If one is looking for God to bring one “fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys,” as charges for services rendered unto God, one is praying up the wrong deity tree.
Dr. Faust and Satan’s field agent Mephistopheles.
Satan is the one who buys souls, with payment assured beforehand. One can have everything he or she desires by praying to evil spirits. The last laugh is always held by Satan, because things are nothing more than illusions created in the material realm. Things are like dreams – here today, gone tomorrow, having never really existed. The only true existence is in the spiritual realm, which is eternal, never ending. Satan loves selling pipe dreams to impatient souls.
The statement made here in Job 42 says, “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.” Job was not without blessing before, as he had plenty that were the rewards of a faithful priest – more than he needed. However, Job became most blessed when he realized all he had to do to find the greatest reward ever was sacrifice his ego and experience the presence of God. No number of things could ever match that.
Job amassed things as a servant of the Lord. Others were supported by the things Job amassed, so they could also serve the Lord. Therefore, all the livestock stated was not so Job could be materially rich, but so a church of faith could keep many from feeling the need to sell their souls to Satan. When one goes all in for God, God will make sure all the needs of one are met, knowing one multiplies into many with needs, all who serve God will not need to worry about earthly needs.
The blessings later in life are ones friends and family that have come together in their sacrifice of self-ego and service to God. Patience is required to reach that happy ending but the first step in that thousand miles is faith. Faith comes from a personal relationship with God.