New European Version: Old Testament

Deeper commentary on this chapter

Audio talks on this chapter:


Video presentations on this chapter:


Other material relevant to this chapter:


Hear this chapter read:



About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

CHAPTER 26 Dec. 20 
Job’s Response to Bildad
Then Job answered, 2How have you helped him who is without power! How have you saved the arm that has no strength! 3How have you counselled him who has no wisdom, and plentifully declared sound knowledge! 4To whom have you uttered words? Whose spirit came forth from you? 5Those who are deceased tremble, those beneath the waters and all that live in them. 6Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering. 7He stretches out the north over empty space, and hangs the earth upon nothing. 8He binds up the waters in His thick clouds, and the cloud is not burst under them. 9He encloses the face of His throne, and spreads His cloud upon it. 10He has defined a boundary on the surface of the waters, and to the confines of light and darkness. 11The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at His rebuke. 12He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He strikes through Rahab. 13By His Spirit the heavens are garnished. His hand has pierced the swift serpent. 14Behold, these are but the outskirts of His ways. How small a whisper do we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand? 


26:6 Job is alluding to the myths about the supposed ‘satan’ figure Mot having the underworld open before him and pushing into it whoever he wishes. When he speaks of how "Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering" he is saying that God and not Mot has this power; and in that context speaks as if God is the real attacker, not, therefore, Mot or any other such being. Num. 16:31-35 likewise describes God as swallowing up Korah, Dathan and Abiram into death in the earth- as if to deconstruct the idea that Mot did things like this.
26:10 Job understands that it is God who sends the good and evil, the light and the darkness, into his life (30:26). Significantly, he states his faith that God even marks out the boundary between light and darkness- a similar idea in essence to the reassurance of Is. 45:5 that God creates both light and darkness. The 'darkness', however we experience and understand it, is framed and limited by God; it is not a power or being with independent existence outside the realm of God's power. God confirms Job's understanding later, when He says that it is He who can swaddle the sea [another figure for uncontrollable evil in pagan thought] in bands of darkness (38:9)- as if to say that it is God who gives things like darkness and the sea their sinister appearance and perception by men; but He is in control of them, using them in His hand. Job's idea that God fixes limits for the darkness is repeated by God saying that He sets limits for the raging sea (38:10). God controls evil, or human perception of it (e.g. of the sea as being evil), and He sets limits for it- which was exactly what He did to the power of 'Satan' in the prologue to Job. All these statements by God about His use of and power over things like darkness and sea, which were perceived as being independent forces of evil, are quite different to Canaanite and Babylonian worldviews. In them, gods like Baal had to fight Yam, the evil sea god, with clubs provided by other deities; in the Babylonian version, Marduk has to arm himself with various weapons in order to try to get supremacy over Tiamat. But Yahweh as revealed in the book of Job has utter and absolute power over the sea [monster] and the [supposed god of] darkness- for He created the sea and the darkness and uses them creatively for His purpose. That's the whole purpose of the many 'nature passages' in the book of Job.
26:11-14 Job understood God to be in control in Heaven; he rejects the idea of a cosmic conflict going on ‘up there’ which the friends seem to allude to. More specifically, Job speaks here of how God’s hand forms and can pierce the “crooked serpent” and smite any monster. It’s as if Job is mocking the idea that God has let him go into the hands of the cosmic monsters which the friends believed in. For Job so often stresses that it is the "hand of God" which has brought His affliction (19:21; 23:2). That Divine hand was far greater than any mythical 'Satan' figure. The theme of his speech in Job 28 is that Yahweh alone is to be feared throughout the entire cosmos. Nobody else- such as the ‘Satan’ figures alluded to by the friends- needed to be feared.
26:13 His Spirit... His hand- The Spirit of God isn’t a person nor any part of a supposed ‘Trinity’- a word which never occurs in the Bible. It refers as here to His ‘hand’, His power in practical operation. 
26:14 How small a whisper do we hear of Him!- We must ever bear this in mind when speaking of ‘the truth’ and the need for correct Biblical interpretation. When in difference with other believers about Biblical interpretation, we must remember that we ourselves only know a fraction of God’s truth. We mustn’t assume that because we know the Gospel and have responded to it, therefore we know all the truth there is to know. We know just a whisper about the final fullness of God.