Scripture Focus: Job 11.16-19
16 You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
17 Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.
18 You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favor.
Reflection: Echoing Voice of Hope
By John Tillman
Job’s counselors, although they are insensitive, state many beautiful and biblical truths found in similar forms elsewhere in the Bible. There are repeated echoes of God’s promises of hope and peace.
In this short section (Job 11.16-19), Zophar is echoed or referenced in Leviticus, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Kings, and probably more. (Leviticus 26.6; Psalms 3.5; 4.8; 37.6; Proverbs 3.24; Isaiah 32.18; 58.8; 65.16; Zechariah 3.10; Micah 4.4; 1 Kings 4.25)
Is Zophar echoing the other writers, or is it the other way around?
The date of the writing of Job is uncertain, but probably the other writers were inspired by the writing in Job. It is difficult to be sure.
The Hebrew of Job is different enough from the rest of the Bible that many scholars believe it was written before the other Hebrew writings. (There are other opinions but this is the majority view. See links below for more info.) Job’s story may be the earliest surviving writing in the Bible.
Regardless of when the story was written down, the events seem to happen during the pre-tabernacle period. Job offers his own sacrifices as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did, and no references are made to the Tabernacle or Temple. Job’s lifespan is similar to long-lived ancient patriarchs, so he may have lived between Noah and Abraham, or between Seth and Noah.
The Bible is literature that is connected and unified across ages—we should read it that way. Marvel films didn’t invent interconnected literature—the Bible’s been this way for millennia. Marvel film buffs scour every frame of each film, looking for “Easter eggs” that are references to past films or hints at stories to come. The Bible has similar treasures for us that recall the past and hint at the future. These echoes make sense in the larger story. This is why it is so important for us to engage with the Bible on both a large and a small scale. We can miss the larger story of the Bible if we zoom in too close on a single frame.
In this passage from Job, we hear the often repeated, echoing message that God cares for us. Our trouble and pain are known to God. He will end them and bring us comfort. He will plant us in a good place and we will be safe, “under our own vine and fig tree.” (Micah 4.4)
The echoes of hope we hear are not of Zophar’s voice. The echoing voice of hope in scripture is God’s. We can be secure in him.
Links for further study: Summary of Job from Bible Study Tools and Authorship of Job from Bible Odyssey. (Thanks to Erin Newton for recommending these links.)
Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory. — Psalm 50.2
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Job 11 (Listen – 2:01)
Psalm 18 (Listen – 5:47)
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Read more about Hope on a Limb
Jesus is, for some, the unwanted king of the parable. His Advent will frustrate those who wait for earthly adulation and success…He endlessly supplies those whose hopes rise higher.