The living spirit and the dry bones (Ezek 37:5-37:6)

“Thus says Yahweh God

To these bones.

‘I will cause the spirit

To enter you.

You shall live.

I will lay sinews

On you.

I will cause flesh

To come

Upon you.

I will cover you

With skin.

I will put the spirit

In you.

You shall live.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.’”

The oracle of Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was directly to these bones. Yahweh was going to put the spirit or ruah in them. The three ideas of spirit, breath, or wind were encapsulated in this Hebrew word ruah. This ruah was going to enter these dry bones, so that they would live. Yahweh was also going to put muscles, sinews, flesh, and skin on these dry bones. However, it was the ruah, the Spirit of Yahweh, the breath of Yahweh, or the wind of Yahweh that gave them life. Then, of course, they would know that Yahweh was their God.

The bad living conditions

“We get our bread

At the peril

Of our lives,

Because of the sword

In the wilderness.

Our skin is black

As an oven

From the scorching heat

Of famine.”

Once again in the first person plural, they complain about their living conditions. They have trouble getting bread. They are afraid of the wilderness, because they could die there. Their skin is turning black from the sun with famine all around them. Black skin was considered bad.

Mt terrible life (Ps 102:3-102:11)

“My days pass away like smoke.

My bones burn like a furnace.

My heart is stricken.

My heart is withered like grass.

I am too wasted to eat my bread.

Because of my loud groaning

My bones cling to my flesh.

I am like an owl of the wilderness.

I am like a little owl of the waste places.

I lie awake.

I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.

All day long my enemies taunt me.

Those who deride me

Use my name for a curse.

I eat ashes like bread.

I mingle tears with my drink.

Because of your indignation and anger,

You have lifted me up,

You have thrown me aside.

My days are like an evening shadow.

I wither away like grass.”

This psalmist is in a terrible situation. His days are passing away like smoke. His bones are burning. His heart is broken and withering like grass. He cannot even eat. His bones are clinging to his skin since he is all skin and bones. He is like an owl or a lonely bird since he cannot sleep. His enemies taunt him every day as they use his name as a curse word. He eats ashes instead of bread. He drinks his own tears. Yahweh seems to be angry and indignant as he has been thrown aside. His days are like evening shadows and withering grass. He is in over all bad shape.

A description of Leviathan (Job 41:12-41:24)

“I will not keep silence concerning its limbs.

I will not keep silence concerning its mighty strength.

I will not keep silence concerning its splendid frame.

Who can strip off its outer garment?

Who can penetrate its double coat of mail?

Who can open the doors of its face?

There is terror all around its teeth.

Its back is made of shields of rows.

Its back is shut up closely as with a seal.

One is so near to another.

No air can come between them.

They are joined one to another.

They clasp each other.

They cannot be separated.

Its sneezes flash forth light.

Its eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.

From its mouth go flaming torches.

Sparks of fire leap out from its mouth.

Out of its nostrils comes smoke,

It is like from a boiling pot and burning rushes.

Its breath kindles coals.

A flame comes out of its mouth.

In its neck abides strength.

Terror dances before it.

The folds of its flesh cling together.

It is firmly cast and immovable.

Its heart is as hard as stone.

It is as hard as the lower millstone.”

Yahweh then presented a graphic description of Leviathan. Leviathan has a mighty frame so that you cannot take off its skin with its double coat of protective armor. It has ferocious teeth. Its back has rows of shields sealed closely together so that no air comes between them. When it sneezes light comes out. Flames come out its mouth that can light fires. Smoke comes out its nostrils. It has folds of flesh around its neck. Its heart was as hard as stone. This is one mean looking terrifying dude.

God is greater than any mortal man (Job 33:12-33:22)

“But in this you are not right.

I will answer you.

God is greater than any mortal man.

Why do you contend against him?

You say.

‘He will answer none of my words.’

God speaks in one way.

God speaks in two ways,

Although people do not perceive it.

In a dream,

In a vision of the night,

When deep sleep falls on mortals,

While they slumber on their beds,

Then he opens the ears of men.

He terrifies them with warnings.

So that he may turn man aside from their deeds.

He tries to keep them from pride.

He wants to spare their souls from the pit.

He wants to spare their lives from traversing the river.

They are also chastened with pain upon their beds.

They have continual strife in their bones.

Their lives loathe bread.

Their appetites loathe dainty food.

Their flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen.

Their bones, once invisible, now stick out.

Their souls draw near the pit.

Their lives draw near to those who bring death.”

Elihu felt that Job was wrong. He cannot contend against God, since God is greater than any mortal. Job was complaining that God was not listening and communicating with him. Elihu explained that God communicated in 1 or 2 ways but people do not understand it. Sometimes, he communicates via a dream when people are asleep with terrifying results. Other times, God strikes mortals with painful illness while they are in their beds also. This painful experience may be a learning experience. They get so sick that they do not want to eat anything. They waste away so that all that you see are their bones sticking out through their skin as they get close to death. So God does communicate but we mortals do not hear or understand dreams and illness. The pit may mean a burial place or Sheol, but probably just a burial place.

Job’s lament (Job 30:24-30:31)

“Surely one does not turn against the needy.

When in disaster they cry for help.

Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?

Was not my soul grieved for the poor?

But when I looked for good,

Evil came.

When I waited for light,

Darkness came.

My inward parts are in turmoil.

They are never still.

Days of affliction come to meet me.

I go about in sunless gloom.

I stand up in the assembly.

I cry for help.

I am a brother of jackals.

I am a companion of ostriches.

My skin turns black.

My skin falls from me.

My bones burn with heat.

My lyre is turned to mourning.

My pipe is turned to the voice of those who weep.”

This is Job’s final summary lament. The so-called patient Job was upset about his situation. Job had tried to help the needy and the poor when they needed help. However, no one heard his cry for help. He was looking for good things, but all he got was evil things. He wanted light and all he got was darkness. His stomach was upset with various afflictions that had come to him. Every day was a cloudy day. He was like a brother to wild dogs and ostriches. His skin was turning black and falling off. His whole body felt like it was burning up. His musical instruments only played mourning and weeping songs. This was the Job who did not like his situation. This was the distressed impatient Job pleading with God.

The ostracism of Job (Job 19:13-19:22)

“He has put my family far from me.

My acquaintances are wholly estranged from me.

My relatives and my close friends have failed me.

The guests in my house have forgotten me.

My servant girls count me as a stranger.

I have become an alien in their eyes.

I call to my servant,

But he gives me no answer.

I must myself plead with him.

My breath is repulsive to my wife.

I am loathsome to my own family.

Even young children despise me.

When I rise,

They talk against me.

All my intimate friends abhor me.

Those whom I loved have turned against me.

My bones cling to my skin and to my flesh.

I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

Have pity on me!

Have pity on me!

O you my friends,

The hand of God has touched me!

Why do you,

Like God,

Pursue me?

Why are you never satisfied with my flesh?”

Job was an outcast from his family and friends. Everyone had failed him. His own house guests have forgotten him. As if to impress us with his wealth, his servant girls now treat him like a stranger. His servants do not answer him so that now he has to actually plead with them to do things. His wife did not like his breath. Even little kids ran away from him and talked behind his back. His bones clung to his skin since he seemed to lose weight. His teeth were in bad shape. He wanted God to have pity on him. He wanted to know why God was pursuing him. Why was everybody after him?