Questions that God asked Job

HomeChristianity and the BibleQuestions that God asked Job

The Bible tells of a man named Job, who suffered the loss of his family, his possessions, and his health. When he questioned God about why this had happened, God responded…but, in His response, God did not answer Job’s question. Instead, God asked Job a series of questions. Essentially, God’s response was, “Who are you to question me?”. The idea is that we know very little about how God operates, and why He does what He does.

I find that reading this part of the book of Job to be an awe-inspiring and humbling experience. We too wonder why we suffer. For those who know little of God, the question is troubling. Those who know how God has revealed Himself to humanity over time can cite His character, and His track record of faithfulness, as evidence that He can be trusted even though we may suffer. Christians read in the New Testament that suffering produces character, which leads, in the end, to hope (Romans 5). It seems strange that suffering would lead to hope but, in my experience, suffering makes us ask important questions…questions that should, eventually, lead us to the same conclusion that Job himself came to: that God knows what He’s doing, and that we can trust Him.

Recently, someone asked me if I knew how many questions God asked Job. I wasn’t sure, and couldn’t find a definitive answer…so I did a little homework. We find the questions that God asked Job in the book of Job, chapters 38 through 42. I counted 66 question marks, so there are at least 66 questions. Some questions, however, have more than one question in them. For example, in verse 24 we find these two questions:

Here are the questions that God asked Job, taken from Job chapters 38-42. I do not offer them to you to answer the question, “How many?”, but as food for thought. As you read, consider the implications of who God is, and how vast is the difference between the Creator and mankind, His greatest creation.

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,

Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it?

On what were its bases sunk?

Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Or who enclosed the sea with doors
When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
When I made a cloud its garment
And thick darkness its swaddling band,
And I placed boundaries on it
And set a bolt and doors,
And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther;
And here shall your proud waves stop’?

Have you ever in your life commanded the morning,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
And the wicked be shaken out of it?

Have you entered into the springs of the sea
Or walked in the recesses of the deep?

Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?

Have you understood the expanse of the earth?

Tell Me, if you know all this.
Where is the way to the dwelling of light?

And darkness, where is its place,
That you may take it to its territory
And that you may discern the paths to its home?

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
Which I have reserved for the time of distress,
For the day of war and battle?

Where is the way that the light is divided,
Or the east wind scattered on the earth?

Who has cleft a channel for the flood,
Or a way for the thunderbolt,
To bring rain on a land without people,
On a desert without a man in it,
To satisfy the waste and desolate land
And to make the seeds of grass to sprout?

Has the rain a father?

Or who has begotten the drops of dew?

From whose womb has come the ice?

And the frost of heaven, who has given it birth?

Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
Or loose the cords of Orion?

Can you lead forth a constellation in its season,
And guide the Bear with her satellites?

Do you know the ordinances of the heavens,
Or fix their rule over the earth?

Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
So that an abundance of water will cover you?

Can you send forth lightnings that they may go
And say to you, ‘Here we are’?

Who has put wisdom in the innermost being
Or given understanding to the mind?

Who can count the clouds by wisdom,
Or tip the water jars of the heavens,
When the dust hardens into a mass
And the clods stick together?

Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
When they crouch in their dens
And lie in wait in their lair?

Who prepares for the raven its nourishment
When its young cry to God
And wander about without food?

Do you know the time the mountain goats give birth?

Do you observe the calving of the deer?

Can you count the months they fulfill,
Or do you know the time they give birth?

Who sent out the wild donkey free?

And who loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
To whom I gave the wilderness for a home
And the salt land for his dwelling place?

Will the wild ox consent to serve you,
Or will he spend the night at your manger?

Can you bind the wild ox in a furrow with ropes,
Or will he harrow the valleys after you?

Will you trust him because his strength is great
And leave your labor to him?

Will you have faith in him that he will return your grain
And gather it from your threshing floor?

Do you give the horse his might?

Do you clothe his neck with a mane?

Do you make him leap like the locust?

Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars,
Stretching his wings toward the south?

Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
And makes his nest on high?

Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
Let him who reproves God answer it.”

Now gird up your loins like a man;
I will ask you, and you instruct Me.
Will you really annul My judgment?

Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?

Or do you have an arm like God,
And can you thunder with a voice like His?

The following questions are related to “behemoth.” The identity of behemoth is unknown, but the text clearly suggests a large beast. Some commentators suggest that this is an elephant, a hippopotamus, or possibly a dinosaur.

Behold now, Behemoth, which I made as well as you…
Can anyone capture him when he is on watch,
With barbs can anyone pierce his nose?

The following questions are related to “leviathan.” The identity of leviathan is unknown. Some commentators suggest that this may be a crocodile, a whale, a shark, a dragon, or a dinosaur.

Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook?

Or press down his tongue with a cord?

Can you put a rope in his nose
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?

Will he make many supplications to you,
Or will he speak to you soft words?

Will he make a covenant with you?

Will you take him for a servant forever?

Will you play with him as with a bird,
Or will you bind him for your maidens?

Will the traders bargain over him?

Will they divide him among the merchants?

Can you fill his skin with harpoons,
Or his head with fishing spears?

Behold, your expectation is false;
Will you be laid low even at the sight of him?

No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him;
Who then is he that can stand before Me?

Who has given to Me that I should repay him?

I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
Or his mighty strength, or his orderly frame.
Who can strip off his outer armor?

Who can come within his double mail?

Who can open the doors of his face?


Join the Conversation

15 responses to “Questions that God asked Job”

  1. Jeff Rogers says:

    Rob-
    I love this book of the Bible. It reflects the fact that, if you think you have troubles, look at this man of God! But, I really have focused on the words when God asks Satan ” where have you been?” And Satan answers ” To and fro an IN Earth”. Brings the question to mind ” is Hell inside of Earth?

    Jeff Rogers

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Jeff:

      I see three errors in your question. They’re pretty simple to unravel. One is based in language, the other two in simple ignorance about what Scripture says. I mean no disrespect, of course…I’m only describing what’s happened, not judging you for it.

      1. It’s a mistake to read the Bible in modern English and suppose that we can understand it without digging further. Most scholars believe that Job may have been written first…that is, that it is the oldest book in the Bible. When you and I say “in earth” we may mean something different than what the writer of Job meant. The Hebrew word that’s translated ‘in the earth’ is ERETS. A brief glance at the usage of ERETS shows that it has a wide range of meaning. It can mean the whole world, a country, tribal territory, dirt (as in “the ground we walk on”), the inhabitants of the earth, and so on. When Satan said that he had been wandering to and fro ERETS, he could have meant that he was roaming the planet, or just lollygagging around the countryside, or pacing back and forth in the neighborhood. It’s as if he was saying, “I’ve been around…here and there.”
      2. Nobody is in Hell at this time. Why? Because nobody has been judged yet. When we read about judgment in places like Matthew 25 and Revelation 15, we see that it is not happening all the time, when each individual person dies. Instead, it will happen all at once for all people, at the end of time.
      3. Satan is not in charge of Hell. It’s not someplace he would just visit. In fact, Matthew 25:41 tells us that Hell was created specifically to be the final destination – as punishment – for the devil and his angels. Those who reject God will share his fate.

      So…no. Satan wasn’t inside of the earth, hanging out in Hell.

      • Isis Goodson says:

        TONY, how long have you been studying scriptures ? Where did you start or begin?

        • Tony says:

          Hello, Isis! I’ve been a Christian since 1973, and started learning then. I continued learning as a teenager, and studied religion and philosophy (and broadcasting) in college. I spent many years listening to radio programs and reading books to learn how others study, how they use (or misuse) Scripture, and – of course – learned the basic principles of hermeneutics in college.

          How long have you been studying scriptures?

    • Carolyn Harris says:

      WOW! It is something to think about.

  2. Jeff Rogers says:

    okay, I can accept that. But you are wrong when you say all will be judged at the same time. Does not Revelations say there is two(2) resurrections? The first is the resurrection of the righteous, and the second, the resurrection of the just and unjust?

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Jeff:

      I have an idea: why don’t you look up the two resurrections, and see what the Bible says, and then compare that with what we know about judgment day, and let me know what you think? That way, you’ll be sure about what those verses say…and others who read your comment will benefit from your research. =)

      I would make sure to read Matthew 25 first, though…Jesus spoke specifically about this subject, and it makes sense to start there.

      • Billy says:

        The rich man lift up his eyes in the torments of hell and saw Lazarus comforted in Abraham’s bosom. His prayer was that his brothers would not come to this awful place of torment.

        • Darryl says:

          The Rich Man was in Sheol or the grave as distinct from the Lake of Fire for the unredeemed after the Great White Throne of Judgment. All those who reject salvation go to that place of torment, generally regarded as in the centre of the earth where it is very hot. Although when we die, we appear to have some sort of spiritual body (‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’), as Tony said, nobody is in hell yet. The first two to go there will be the Beast and False Prophet in Rev 19.

  3. Kathryn Briley says:

    Jeff, Are you s Seventh Day Adventist?

  4. henry kenyan says:

    the book of job tells us more beyond what we think .in it its greater than reveration and all other books .it explains God creation in detailed mannar first it tells us the foudation of the the earth how its set , other planet and end with human discoveris and even explain that man has aboudaries in our discovories example… And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no
    farther;….all what sientist are bussy tying to bring to book is here.The exoplanet NASA explains is eaready explained here what is in entire galaxy is explained here and part one ends with geographical creation

    part 2

    the question explan the nature in this consept
    the rain and is source, the wind and its source the ice,lightening and many others it tells us all what happens get order from God… example Do you know the ordinances of the heavens,
    Or fix their rule over the earth………

    part 3
    the qustions further explains about animals of the wild how God take care of the example.. .. …… .. Do you observe the calving of the deer?
    Can you count the months they fulfill,
    Or do you know the time they give birth?
    Who sent out the wild donkey free?
    And who loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
    To whom I gave the wilderness for a home
    And the salt land for his dwelling place?
    Will the wild ox consent to serve you,
    Or will he spend the night at your manger?
    Can you bind the wild ox in a furrow with ropes,
    Or will he harrow the valleys after you?
    Will you trust him because his strength is great
    And leave your labor to him?……….

    part four
    it explains about animals of the sea that we know and those in extinct that no man kows

    In entire consept God greatnest and might us evidence if you read the etire book you will see its divided three major phases
    1-the eviroment on his creation
    2-the life and what happens in it
    3-if God says yes it shake even the nature and his cimmand has power over all
    4-the end of the world

  5. Marlon Austin says:

    When we die, our soul stands in judgment immediately. We will have to account for our lives, for the good that we have done and for the sins we have committed. We call this the particular judgment because it is particular to each person. If we are free of all sin and the hurt caused by sin, we immediately will be welcomed into Heaven, where we will enjoy the beatific vision, seeing God face to face. If we have died with venial sins or the hurt caused by sin, our Lord in His love and mercy will first purge and heal the soul in the place called Purgatory; after this purgation and healing, our soul will then be welcomed into Heaven. However, if we have died rejecting God, with mortal sins and with no remorse for those mortal sins, then we will have damned ourselves to Hell; the firm rejection of God that we made in this life, will continue on in the next. This teaching is substantiated by our Lord’s declaration to the repentant thief, St. Dismas: “This day you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

    • Tony says:

      Marlon:

      Thanks for writing, my friend. I really appreciate it.

      The things you describe are commonly-held beliefs among Catholics (and some others), but they don’t appear to match what we see in Scripture. They come from extra-biblical tradition, and not from the Bible. I say this with respect, not condemnation.

      Starting at the beginning, it’s clear that what you’ve written contradicts Scripture. If you go to Matthew 25 and read about the judgment, you’ll see that it will happen when the Son of Man comes in His glory. All of the angels will be with Him. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. You see, we’re not judged right after we die. We’ll all be judged together, at the same time. It’s important to make sure that what we believe matches what God has said in His Word…right?

      Another item that’s very troubling is the idea of purgatory. Why is it troubling? Because it directly contradicts the Word of God. We read in a number of places that Jesus died for the sins of the world. John the Baptist said it. Paul explained to the Corinthians. It’s the basis for our salvation: we have all sinned, and the penalty is death…but Jesus paid the penalty for us. He died in our place. Purgatory contradicts Scripture because, in Purgatory, people atone for their own sin. Jesus’ death, according to Catholic doctrine, only covers sins confessed to a priest. That’s why you believe that someone could die and have the stain of sin on their soul. If that were how it worked, Jesus only died for mortal sins. Fortunately, there is no debt left to pay, and no sin left uncovered. Nobody will atone for their own sin and then go to Heaven, Marlon. Jesus died for all sins, for all people, for all time.

      Hell is real. Sin is bad. We should all accept God’s gracious offer of salvation…but that salvation isn’t something we can accomplish on our own. We cannot atone for our own sin. God didn’t set it up that way. Hebrews 2:9 tells us that Jesus tasted death for everyone. Nobody has been left out. 2 Peter 2:1 talks of false teachers who deny the Master who bought them…so Jesus’ death covers even unbelievers.

      It’s important to make sure our beliefs match God’s Word. If you are (or were) Catholic, chances are pretty good that you haven’t spent a lot of time reading the Scriptures for yourself. I would recommend that you take the time to look up what God has said, and to change your perspective to match His. If you have questions, or would like to chat some more, please feel free to respond or to email me directly. I wish you well.

  6. L Hardy says:

    So when we are in pain we just have to have faith that it will eventually give us hope? I would not, as a loving parent, do that to my child. I love God, but I have no loving answer for that which is consuming me now.

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