Chapter 31 concludes Job’s defense, and records his final words given by his own initiative; he is recorded speaking again but only in response to God’s questioning of him.
Before beginning with the next major section of the Book of Job that contains Elihu’s extensive comments, it is useful for us to review Job’s defense, and connect it to other key ideas in Scripture. Here we will weave together the ideas “wisdom and understanding,” with “fear of the Lord” and “turn away from evil,” with “humility.” All the verses cited below are from the ESV translation.
Job’s Climatic Discernment
First, let us consider, Job’s climatic discernment, contained in Job 28:28, and the leadup to it contained in all of Chapter 28. Shown in bold font below are references to “wisdom” or “understanding” which, based on the verses preceding Job 28:23, includes the pronoun “it.”
Job 28:23 “God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man, ‘Behold,
the fear of the Lord,
that is wisdom, and
to turn away from evil
The phrases “Fear of the Lord” and “Turn from Evil” occur many times in the Bible, highlighting their importance. They are essential to understanding the Book of Proverbs and to a lesser extent the Psalms. The verses that occur Proverbs or Psalms containing either of these two phrases are given here.
re. “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil:”
Gen. 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying,
“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,
17 but of The Tree of the knowledge of good and evil
you shall not eat,
for in the day that
you eat of it [The Tree]
you shall surely die.”
Gen. 3:1 …“Did God actually say…? 4…You will not surely die.
5 For God knows that when you eat of it [The Tree]
- your eyes will be opened, and
- you will be like God,
- knowing good and evil.”
6 So when the woman saw that
- The Tree was good for food, and that
- It [The Tree] was a delight to the eyes, and that
- The Tree was to be desired to make one wise…”
In order to grasp fully the origin and importance of the purple text of 28:28, let us look at the careful argument marshaled by Job in Chapter 28 ahead of the above concluding paragraph.
Man’s Inability to “Mind” for Knowledge of God
To make clear the extensive reference to “Wisdom and Understanding” in the passage below I have inserted such phrase after all the relevant references by way of the pronoun “it.”
Job 28:1 “Surely there is a mine for silver,
and a place for gold that they refine.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from the ore.
3 Man puts an end to darkness
and searches out to the farthest limit
the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
4 He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
they are forgotten by travelers;
they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
5 As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
6 Its stones are the place of sapphires,
and it has dust of gold.
7 “That path no bird of prey knows,
and the falcon’s eye has not seen it.
8 The proud beasts have not trodden it;
the lion has not passed over it.
9 “Man puts his hand to the flinty rock
and overturns mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks,
and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,
and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.
12 “But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know itsWisdom & Understanding worth,
and itW&U is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It [Wisdom & Understanding] is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It [Wisdom & Understanding] is not with me.’
15 It [Wisdom & Understanding] cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its [Wisdom & Understanding] price.
16 It [Wisdom & Understanding] cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it [Wisdom & Understanding],
nor can it [Wisdom & Understanding] be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it [Wisdom],
nor can it [Wisdom] be valued in pure gold.
20 “From where, then, does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
21 It [Wisdom & Understanding] is hidden from the eyes of all living
and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Abaddon [Hell? Satan himself?] and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it [Wisdom & Understanding] with our ears.’
The Great, Single-Sentence Proclamation of
The Trinitarian Gospel of Sovereign Grace
(which could never have been realized by any power of human conception or perception)
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4 even as he chose us
in him before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and blameless before him.
In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons
through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
6 to the praise of his glorious grace,
with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us,
in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us
the mystery of his will, according to his purpose,
which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance,
having been predestined according to the purpose of him
who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ
might be to the praise of his glory.
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance
until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “If Romans is the purest expression of the gospel (as Luther said), then
Ephesians is the most sublime and majestic expression of the gospel.”
Beatitudes #1-4: Expressing the Path of Humility to Grace
Matt. 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.