Job 27–28: Foolishness & Wisdom

Read the Bible in 2011–2021* ◊ Week 14: Thursday

“But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?”
Job 28:12

Job opened his last speech to his friends in Job 26 with a heavily sarcastic comment on their treatment of him. Before you begin reading the next two chapters, remember to ask God to give you understanding as you read His Word, and through His Word, by His Spirit, to bring your thoughts and life.

In Thursday’s Bible reading of Job 27–28 Job continues to speak on the themes of wisdom and understanding he began in chapter 26. Francis Anderson writes:

“Job’s closing remarks are worth looking at as the debate draws to a close or, rather, falls to pieces.”1

Is that ever true! His friends have gone round and round with their condemning rebukes of Job, and Job has continued to refute their arguments. As chapter 27 opens Job underscores his integrity by saying he’s not going to become deceitful now by declaring his three false comforters are right in the accusations they have made: that his sorrows are a consequence of his sin.

Then Job continued his discourse and said,
“As God lives, who has taken away my right,
And the Almighty, who has embittered my soul,
For as long as life is in me,
And the breath of God is in my nostrils,
My lips certainly will not speak unjustly,
Nor will my tongue mutter deceit.
Far be it from me that I should declare you right;
Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go.
My heart does not reproach any of my days.”
Job 27:1–6

Job knows the godless have no hope when they die, and that God will not hear their cry. He tell his friends,

“I will instruct you in the power of God;
What is with the Almighty I will not conceal.
Behold, all of you have seen it;
Why then do you act foolishly?”
Job 27:12

Job goes on to describe God’s judgment on the wicked and his household. Andersen makes this very important point:

“[Job’s] prediction of judgment on the godless in not a belated conversion to his friends’ point of view; nor is it a slice of orthodoxy put into the text long after it was finished…Since Job nowhere denies the justice of God, it is not inconsistent for his to affirm it here. The disagreement between Job and his friends is not over whether God is just or not; it is over how the justice of God is seen to work out in particular events, and specifically in Job’s experiences. The friends think they know the answer, and they have offered it to Job. Job knows they are wrong, not in affirming the justice of God, but in applying it to himself. But since he does not know how the justice of God is being fulfilled in his case, he is neither able to refute the friends not able to satisfy his own mind.”2

The next chapter, Job 28, is a beautiful poem on wisdom. Job says man digs and mines, bringing out useful and costly treasures, then asks:

“But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?”
Job 28:12

Job declares wisdom is far more precious than all the metals and jewels man has found, and their priceless value does not even equal the value of wisdom, but though man has riches from the ends of the earth, yet wherever he may search, he cannot find wisdom. Man cannot find wisdom, in and of himself; he must look to God.

“God understands its way,
And He knows its place.”
Job 28:23

God has established wisdom. He tells man where to find. Job 28 concludes in words that are repeated in Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes:

“And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.’”
Job 28:28

The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. Consider what God has said and your own life; ask God to enable you to leave foolishness behind and find wisdom.


Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
Job and his friends: Ilya Yefimovich Repin. Public Domain.
1,2Francis Andersen, Job (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1976) 236.

*In 2011 I started a year-long series of posts, “Read the Bible in 2011.” You can find the other posts in the navigation menu in the header. If a day doesn’t have a link to a post, the post was simply a brief reminder about the reading. I’m filling in some of those gaps with new posts with “Read the Bible in 2011 Redux” as a category.

Copyright ©2021 Iwana Carpenter

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