This post is another follow on to Folly … In The Bible?

As was explained in Audio Drama, in the book of Job we have a similar contrast. Job’s speeches, from chapter 3 through 31, God calls “words without knowledge” and God rebukes Job in chapter 40 verse 8 with the words, “Wilt thou also disannul my judgement? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?” Then God also condemns the words of Job’s three friends as “folly” to be repented of with sacrifices.

God could have just told us what was wrong about what they said, but He included the speeches as context to God’s rebuke and Elihu’s admonition. As such, they are valuable as a historical record.

History does not conclusively tell us who wrote the book of Job. This we do know: He was a prophet inspired of God. Here are the boundaries that God led His prophet to put in His Word, for the book of Job, so that we can clearly see what God is calling “words without knowledge.”

After Job responds to his calamities the Bible says, in Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Again, after Job responds to his wife regarding his trial of faith, the Bible says, in Job 2:10 … In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

After that, the narration continues, by the inspired prophet, through the end of chapter 2. So, we know from these God-inspired narrative statements that chapters 1 and 2 of Job are excluded from the “words without knowledge.” There is no further commendation of Job’s words until after he repents, in the final chapter, of speaking foolishly.

We also have these two verses that act as a boundary, or container: The first verse of chapter three and the last verse of chapter 31.

Job 3:1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.

Which is a fitting introduction to “words without knowledge.” Here, Job does not lament the sins of society, nor his own sinfulness. Rather, he is lamenting that God allowed his adversity.

Then we have Job 31:40 … The words of Job are ended.

What does it mean when it says, “the words of Job are ended,” here in chapter 31? He speaks again after this in chapters 40 and 42. It is clear that chapter 31 precedes the other chronologically. So it must be Job’s “words without knowledge” that are ended. He is done complaining and arguing with his friends. In chapters 40 and 42, when he speaks again, in repentance of speaking foolishly, it is no longer “words without knowledge” but what God calls, “the thing which is right.”

Job 32
4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they [were] elder than he.
5 When Elihu saw that [there was] no answer in the mouth of [these] three men, then his wrath was kindled.

Before Elihu begins speaking, it mentions that Job and his three friends were done arguing before Elihu started.

God says that Job and his three friends did not know what they were talking about. First, the inspired narration specifies that God was rebuking Job.

Job 38
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
2 Who [is] this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

In the end, Job confesses and admits that he did not know what he was talking about.

Job 42
1 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
3 … therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
4 …
5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
6 Wherefore I abhor [myself,] and repent in dust and ashes.

Shortly after this, God expected Job’s three friends to have repented already. It doesn’t seem, from the inspired narration, nor from God’s rebuke of Job, that God had previously said anything directly aimed at the three. Did God expect them to repent at the admonition of Elihu? Did God expect them to deduce the same as Job, that they did not know what they were talking about, so they should have kept their mouths shut?

7 And it was [so,] that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me [the thing that is] right, as my servant Job [hath.]
8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you [after your] folly, in that ye have not spoken of me [the thing which is] right, like my servant Job.

What did Job say that was right? He repented of his words without knowledge. In summary, after Job responded to his calamities, we are told that he did not sin with his lips; after his complaints and arguments with his miserable comforters, God rebukes it all as “words without knowledge;” after Job repents, then God commends this repentance as speaking of Him “[the thing which is] right.”

Some claim that, in 1 Corinthians 3:19 “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness,” Paul quotes Eliphaz in Job 5:13. In this other post we explain why we disagree with this conclusion.

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