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FRAMEWORKS: Job 21: Job (7): Theory of the wicked demolished


[The outpourings about the judgments on the wicked (perhaps to be seen as that which has happened to Job) that have come from both Bildad [chapter 18] and Zophar [chapter 20] seemed to have stirred up Job because we now have the most coherent argument we've heard so far that refutes all they have just said. Basically he points out that the wicked are frequently affluent and at ease in life and often die in peace, which undermines all they have been saying. Good points Job!]



v.1 Job asks them listen again for a moment


v.1 Then Job replied

v.2  “Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me. 

v.3 Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on. 


v.4-6 It's God he's complaining to and that is scary


v.4 “Is my complaint directed to a human being? Why should I not be impatient? 

v.5 Look at me and be appalled; clap your hand over your mouth. 

v.6 When I think about this, I am terrified; trembling seizes my body. 


v.7-13 The wicked are frequently affluent and die in peace


v.7 Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? 

v.8 They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. 

v.9 Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not on them. 

v.10 Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. 

v.11 They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about. 

v.12  They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre; they make merry to the sound of the pipe. 

v.13 They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. 


v.14-18 They maintain their atheism but continue to live


v.14 Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. 

v.15  Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?' 

v.16 But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. 

v.17 “Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does calamity come upon them, the fate God allots in his anger? 

v.18 How often are they like straw before the wind, like chaff swept away by a gale? 


v.19-21 Despite what you say, they don't care


v.19 It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.' Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it! 

v.20  Let their own eyes see their destruction; let them drink the cup of the wrath of the Almighty. 

v.21 For what do they care about the families they leave behind when their allotted months come to an end? 


v.22-25 People are different, some die well, others not so much


v.22 “Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest? 

v.23  One person dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, 

v.24 well nourished in body, bones rich with marrow. 

v.25  Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. 


v.26-28 The truth is the same, they all end up dying


v.26 Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both. 

v.27  “I know full well what you are thinking, the schemes by which you would wrong me. 

v.28 You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great, the tents where the wicked lived?' 


v.29-34 Worldwide it's the same, the wicked often prosper – so there!!


v.29 Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts— 

v.30 that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity, that they are delivered from the day of wrath? 

v.31 Who denounces their conduct to their face? Who repays them for what they have done? 

v.32 They are carried to the grave, and watch is kept over their tombs. 

v.33 The soil in the valley is sweet to them; everyone follows after them, and a countless throng goes before them. 

v.34  “So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”



[Concluding Comments: As often occurs in such arguments this is only part of the picture. Yes, often the wicked do seem to ‘get away with it' in this life, but what needs to be added is that after death we all have to face God and are held accountable for the way we have lived our lives, and it is there that the wicked will get their just rewards! [Heb 9:27]. It is also worth noting that Scripture indicates that often the Lord does give the wicked their just desserts while still on this planet – just not always.

Perhaps a supplementary lesson that comes from this is that there are many sides to arguments and if we are to be effective in such discussions we need to give much thought to all aspects of such arguments.]

So, to sum up, what has Job been saying in this chapter? He

•  asks them to listen once more [v.1-3],

•  for he realises he is complaining to God, and that is scary [v.4-6],

•  declares the truth is that the wicked rich often die in peace [v.7-13],

•  they express their rebellion against God but still live [v.14-18],

•  not caring what happens afterwards [v.19-21],

•  different people [good or bad] die at different times [v.22-25],

•  but we ALL end up dying sometime [v.26-28].

•  says, face it, the wicked DO seem to get away with it on the earth [v.29-34].

Job's last words sum up the rantings of the last two friends – nonsense! A good rebuttal of the untruths of chapters 18 & 20.]



Continue to Chapter 22