“Three things are stately in their stride.
Four are stately in their gait.
The lion is the mightiest among wild animals.
It does not turn back before any.
The others are
The strutting rooster,
Finally the king
Who strides before his people.”
Finally, we have the last 4 and 3 numerical proverb. There are 4 stately striders: 1) the lion, 2) the rooster, 3) the male goat, and 4) the king. Interesting enough the bull and the deer are missing from this stately list. The lion is the mightiest among all the animals that never turn back. The strutting rooster and the male goat once again emphasis the strutting male. The king, however, also strides before all his people.
“Then he led out his people like sheep.
He guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them to safety.
They were not afraid.
However the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
He brought them to his holy hill.
He brought them to the mountain
That his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them.
He apportioned them for a possession.
He settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.”
God led his people like sheep. Thus the image of the good shepherd goes back to the Exodus itself. He guided his flock of sheep through the wilderness as he led them to safety. Thus they were not afraid. After all he had led them through the waters that never touched them. He brought them to his holy hill or mountain, Mount Sinai. He drove out nations before them as they entered the holy land. The apportionment of this holy land among the Israelite tribes can be found in Joshua, chapters 14-19.
Forgave their iniquity.
He did not destroy them.
Often he restrained his anger.
He did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh.
They were a wind that passes
And does not come again.
How often they rebelled against him
In the wilderness.
They grieved him in the desert!
They tested God again and again.
They provoked the Holy One of Israel.”
Instead of destroying them all, the compassionate God forgave them. He restrained his anger as he remembered that they were only human. They were like the wind that passes away never to return. They continued to rebel in the wilderness as they grieved him in the desert. Thus the wilderness time lasted longer than they had expected. They continually tested and provoked the God of Israel.
“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you observe the calving of the deer?
Can you number the months that they fulfill?
Do you know the time when they give birth?
Do you know when they crouch to give birth to their offspring?
When are they delivered of their young?
Their young ones become strong.
They grow up in the open.
They go forth.
They do not return to them.”
The gestation period of mountain goats was not clear so that Yahweh asked Job if he knew about it. Did he know how many months it took before birth? Yahweh supplied some information about the crouching child birth. He also noted that the young ones are born in the open. Once they are strong enough, they leave their mothers and never return. Obviously, this biblical author shows that God was concerned about this.
“If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me,
If I have exulted when evil overtook them,
I have not let my mouth sin.
I have not asked for their lives with a curse.
If those of my tent ever not said
‘O that we might be sated his flesh!’
The stranger has not lodged in the street.
I have opened my doors to the traveler.
If I have concealed my transgressions as others do
By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
Because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
If the contempt of families terrified me,
That I kept silence,
I did not go out of doors.”
Job never rejoiced in the ruin of others, even if they were his enemies. He had never cursed anyone or wished them death. He had always passed the food in his tent so that no one went hungry, that is known as passing the flesh. He never let strangers sleep in the street as he opened his doors to travelers. He never hid any of his transgressions in his bosom. He kept silent about those that terrified him.
“Why did you bring me forth from the womb?
Would that I had died before any eye had seen me,
It would be as though I had not been.
You could have carried me from the womb to the grave.
Are not the days of my life few?
Let me alone!
May I find a little comfort!
Before I go,
Never to return,
To the land of gloom and deep darkness,
To the land of gloom and chaos,
Where light is like darkness.”
This is pretty much what he said back in chapter 3. He wished that he had never been born. He wished that he had gone directly from the womb to the tomb. As the days of his life are few, why cannot he be alone? Can he find some comfort? He knew that he was going where he would never return, the land of gloom, darkness, and chaos, Sheol. There light was like darkness.
“Remember that my life is a breath.
My eye will never again see good.
The eye that beholds me will see me no more.
While your eyes are upon me,
I shall be gone.
As the cloud fades and vanishes,
So those who go down to Sheol
Do not come up.
They return no more to their houses.
Their places do not know them anymore.”
Job turned to God directly. Job was resigned to die. His life was short like a simple breath. His eyes would never see any good things. Those that saw him would not see him anymore. He would be gone like a cloud that fades and vanishes. He was going down to Sheol and never returning. Those who go there never return as their own home does not know them. He obviously did not believe in eternal life, just death, plain and simple, in Sheol, this eternal dark underworld place of the dead. In Greek translations it is referred to as Hades. In English we usually refer to it as hell.