11 "When the ear heard, it commended me, and when the eye saw, it approved; 12 because I delivered the poor who cried, and the orphan who had no helper. 13 The blessing of the wretched came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. 14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. 15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. 16 I was a father to the needy, and I championed the cause of the stranger. 17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made them drop their prey from their teeth."
A. What is the purpose of Job's recounting his judicial acts towards the poor, the orphan and the widow?
B. Job is known as the "greatest man in the East" (1:3). The primary referent in that passage was to Job's wealth. Yet, when Job recounts his past here, he focuses on his work as judge in the city gate. Why?
C. Nearly each verse in this passage begins with an "I". Is this story more of an expression of Job's arrogance and self-centeredness than of his disinterested and humble service?
D. What were the principles that seemed to guide Job's judicial philosophy?
E. Any particular turns of phrase or verses speak to you?
F. If you were to tell your life's story to defend yourself, as Job is doing here, what kind of things would you relate?
18 Then I thought, 'I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix; 19 my roots spread out to the waters, with the dew all night on my branches; 20 my glory was fresh with me, and my bow ever new in my hand.'
A. The verses are reminiscent of other biblical passages where the speaker pauses and thinks of himself thinking. For example, the prodigal son in a far-off country thinks to himself that even his father's hogs eat better than he does (Lk.15:17) or the rich man ruminates about how to augment his wealth by building bigger barns (Lk.12:17). How does this literary device affect the reader?
B. What were Job's expectations for life? What do you suppose fueled and gave shape to those expectations? What expectations do you have now? Which ones have been disappointed?
C. The image in 29:14 is reminiscent to me of 14:9, yet it is used in a completely different way. In what two ways does Job use the picture of roots and branches? Does the versatility of the image for Job give you any insight into the workings of his mind?
D. When Job says "my bow ever new in my hand," he is using a picture of strength. Yet earlier in the book the first picture he uses about God's relationship to him is as an archer firing poisonous arrows into him (6:4). Bows and arrows also seemingly are mass produced in Job's image factory. What does this one suggest?
21 "They listened to me, and waited, and kept silence for my counsel. 22 After I spoke they did not speak again, and my word dropped upon them like dew. 23 They waited for me as for the rain; they opened their mouths as for the spring rain. 24 I smiled on them when they had no confidence; and the light of my countenance they did not extinguish. 25 I chose their way, and sat as chief, and I lived like a king among his troops, like one who comforts mourners.
A. Although this passage also talks about Job's past honor (along with 29:7-10), there may be a different class of people envisioned here. Who are they?
B. Earlier I asked about Job's judicial philosophy. What does this passage tell us about Job's judicial psychology?
C. When Job first accuses his friends of treachery (6:14ff.) he uses the picture of a land dessicated. What picture of rendering justice does he employ here?
D. What kind of person is Job saying he was in the past?
E. In v.25 he says he "lived like a king among his troops." In a few passages (19:12 or 16:13-14, for example) Job stresses that God's attack on him was like God letting loose his troops on Job. Whose troops are stronger?