Job was kind to the needy (Job 31:16-31:23)

“If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,

If I have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,

If I have eaten my morsel alone,

If I have not let the orphan eat from it,

From my youth,

I have reared the orphan like a father.

From my mother’s womb I have guided the widow.

If I have seen any one perish for lack of clothing,

If there was a poor man without covering,

If his loins have not blessed me,

If he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,

If I have raised my hand against the orphan,

Because I saw I had supporters at the gate.

Then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder!

Let my arm be broken from its socket!

I was in terror of calamity from God.

I could not have faced his majesty.”

Job maintained that that he had always helped the poor, the widows, and orphans. He shared his food. He treated the orphans as if they were like his children. From his childhood he had always been kind to widows. He gave away his clothing, sometimes direct from the sheep. He had helped the orphans in all that they did. If he had not done these things, then his shoulder blades should fall off and the socket of his arm should be broken. He had always feared God and his majesty.

Eliphaz claims that Job had much and did not share it (Job 22:8-22:11)

“The powerful possess the land.

The favored people live in it.

You have sent widows away empty.

You have crushed the arms of the orphans.

Therefore snares are around you.

Sudden terror overwhelms you.

Your light is darkened.

Thus you cannot see.

A flood of water covers you.”

Eliphaz claimed that Job had land, yet he sent widows and orphans away empty handed. Thus the snares and terrors are all around him because he was not kind to others. He was now in a situation where it was dark. He could not see because a flood of water had covered him. He was in a state or personal distress.

Job wants them to explain themselves (Job 6:24-6:27)

“Teach me!

I will be silent.

Make me understand how I have gone wrong.

How forceful are honest words!

But you criticize.

What does it do to blame?

Do you think that you can use accusing words?

Is the speech of the desperate like a wind?

You would even cast lots over the orphan.

You would even bargain over your friend.”

Job dared them to tell him where he made a mistake. Where had he gone wrong? He was being criticized and reprimanded without anything specific. Where they critical of his words? Did they blame him? Their speech was like the wind, as it easily moved on. They were the kind of people who would gamble over orphans and bargain over friends. Who needs friends like this?

Heliodorus comes to Jerusalem (2 Macc 3:9-3:12)

“When Heliodorus arrived at Jerusalem, he had been kindly welcomed by the high priest of the city. He told about the disclosure that had been made. He stated why he had come. He inquired whether this really was the situation. The high priest explained that there were some deposits belonging to widows and orphans. However, there also was some money of Hyrcanus son of Tobias, a man of with a very prominent position. This money totaled in all to four hundred talents of silver and two hundred talents of gold. To such an extent the impious Simon had misrepresented the facts. He said that it was utterly impossible that wrong should be done to those people who had trusted in the holiness of the place and in the sanctity and inviolability of the temple, which is honored throughout the whole world.”

When King Seleucus IV’s envoy, Heliodorus, arrived in Jerusalem, the high priest Onias III welcomed him. Heliodorus then got to the point of why he was there. He had come to look at the situation about the misuse of money in the Jerusalem Temple. The high priest assured him that the money there was for the widows and orphans. However, he did disclose that one man Hyrcanus had a huge sum of money there also, 400 talents of silver and 200 talents of gold, worth more than $133 million US dollars. No wonder they were concerned about this. The high priest Onias III said that Simon had misrepresented the facts because this was an honorable Temple known throughout the world. Who was this Hyrcanus? He actually was the half brother of Simon, so that Simon knew what was going on. Hyrcanus was pro-Egyptian and this was his way of avoiding the Syrian taxes.

Justice (Deut 24:17-24:22)

“You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice. You shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and Yahweh your God redeemed you from there. Therefore I command you to do this. When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. Thus Yahweh your God may bless you in all your undertakings. When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what it left. It shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean what is left. It shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore I command you to do this.”

You must be mindful of the foreigners, orphans, and widows when you gather your crop. This is reminiscent of Exodus, chapter 22, and Leviticus, chapter 19. You leave some of the harvest of the field, some of the olives, and some of your grapes on the ground for the aliens, the orphans, and widows. These three groups of people were considered the poor, the marginalized in society. They were not male Israelites.