"11 Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 12 Am I the Sea, or the Dragon, that you set a guard over me? 13 When I say, 'My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint,' 14 then you scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, 15 so that I would choose strangling and death rather than this body. 16 I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, for my days are a breath.
17 What are human beings, that you make so much of them, that you set your mind on them, 18 visit them every morning, test them every moment? 19 Will you not look away from me for a while, let me alone until I swallow my spittle? 20 If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of humanity? Why have you made me your target? Why have I become a burden to you? 21 Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be."
A. "Therefore" (v.11) is a word that builds on a previous argument. How does 7:11 "follow" from 7:1-10 or, especially from 7:9-10?
B. If 7:7 (previous lesson) is spoken "in the direction of God," as some scholars would contend, 7:12 is addressed directly to God. What are the mental steps one has to go through in going from generic expressions of pain (ch. 3) to speaking of God in the third person (ch. 6) to speaking in the "direction" of God (7:7) to direct address to God? In other words, why did it take Job so long to address God directly?
C. A terrifying picture is created in vv. 13-14. What is is?
D. What is the "tone" of Job's voice in 7:12--"Am I the Sea, or the Dragon, that you set a guard over me?" You might want to glance at Job 40:15-41:34 for two such creatures which God has "tamed."
E. What emotions are driving Job's speech here? How are they similar to or different from the emotions we discussed previously?
F. Read Ps. 8:3-9 and then Job 7:17-18. I reproduce a portion of the former here for your convenience. "Ps. 8:3, When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established, 4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?" How has Job "used" the Psalm or the ideas behind the Psalm?
G. The passage closes with a series of five questions that Job asks God. What is the "real question" behind these five questions?
H. Does Job say 7:21 with an air of triumph? deep sadness? What would he be meaning in each case?
Finally, some of my questions on this section focus on Job's view of God's closeness to him. But for Job this closeness of God is now an oppressive presence. God will not even allow him to swallow his spittle (7:19). What are the dangers and the advantages of having a theology of God's closeness to the individual beleiver? Do the benefits of this theology outweigh its disadvantages? Are you bothered by the way I phrased the previous two questions?