Job’s Eighth Answer, Part 1 of 5 & Ezion Geber

I guess Job does know You, or at least he understands that You don’t have a time limit, that there is no time with You. 

Ancient Edomites
Edom: (red) the name Edom was given to Esau, the first-born son of Isaac and twin brother of Jacob, when he sold his birthright to the latter for a meal of lentil pottage.

The country which the Lord subsequently gave to Esau was hence called the country of Edom and his descendants were called Edomites.

Edom was called Mount Seir and Idumea also.

Edom was wholly a mountainous country.

It embraced the narrow mountainous tract (about 100 miles long by 20 broad) extending along the eastern side of the Wadi Arabah from the northern end of the Gulf of Elath to near the southern end of the Dead Sea.

The ancient capital of Edom was Bozrah.

Petra appears to have been the principal stronghold in the days of Amaziah (B.C. 838).

Elath and Ezion Geber were the seaports.

“Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,

Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places.

Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise?

How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.

How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?” (Job 25:1-6)

Bildad adds nothing new here, and Zophar, who has already admitted how emotionally disturbed he was (see 20:2), doesn’t even comment.

“But Job answered and said,

How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength?

How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?

To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?” (Job 26:1-4)

“With biting sarcasm, Job responds to Bildad alone, indicating that Eliphaz and Zophar have already been silenced.

Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof” (Job 26:5).

Dead things – The Hebrew for this expression is translated the dead or dead in Prov 2:18; Is 14:9 and 26:14.  The term is used figuratively of the deceased who inhabit the netherworld (see 3:13-15, 17-19).

are formed – Lit. tremble. They are in anguish.

waters – Part of the world inhabited by living beings, and therefore above the netherworld.

“Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering” (Job 26:6).

Hell – or Sheol, the grave, personified elsewhere as the king of terrors (see 18:14).

destruction – Hebrew Abaddon.  See 28:22, 31:12; Prov 15:11.  In Rev 9:11, Abaddon is the name of the angel of the bottomless pit.

Solomon’s Seaport at Ezion-geber
The cedar from Lebanon was brought by sea to Joppa for the building of Solomon’s temple (2 Chr 2:16).

But that port was not adequate to meet Israel’s needs.

Scripture informs us that Solomon built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, which is near Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom.

And Hiram sent with the fleet his servants, seamen who were familiar with the sea, together with the servants of Solomon.

And they went to Ophir and brought from there gold, 420 talents, and they brought it to King Solomon (1Kgs 9:26-28 ESV).

Then Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Eloth on the shore of the sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent to him by the hand of his servants ships and servants familiar with the sea, and they went to Ophir together with the servants of Solomon and brought from there 450 talents of gold and brought it to King Solomon (2 Chr 8:17-18 ESV).

Nelson Glueck thought he had located Ezion-geber at Tell el-Kheleifeh and that it was the same as Eloth.

In 1962 Beno Rothenberg demonstrated that the installation at Tell el-Kheleifeh could not have been for copper smelting.

In 1965 Glueck wrote an article in which he agreed with Rothenberg.

This means that Tell el-Kheleifeh may not be Ezion-geber.

Hath no covering – exposed before God, meaning that God sees everything, nothing can ever be hidden from Him.

“He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.

He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.

He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.

The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.

He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud.

By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.

Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?” (Job 26:7-14).

These are parts of his ways – Lit these are the edges of his ways.  What God has revealed of His dominion over natural and supernatural forces amount to no more than a whisper.

The Gold of Ophir Inscription
This fragment of an ancient pottery jar was discovered at Tel Qasile near Jaffa in Israel.

It contains an inscription which mentions “Ophir gold” and the temple of Horon, a Canaanite deity.

The Gold of Ophir Inscription is important in the study of Biblical archaeology.

It corresponds with what the Bible says about the gold at Solomon’s Temple.

“Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal” (1I Chr 29:3-4).

The gold of Ophir was mentioned in the Bible in connection to Solomon’s Temple.

Ophir was a region probably located on the southwestern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

It is quite possible that Ophir was on the opposite of the Red Sea, on the eastern coast of Africa.

According to the Bible it could be reached by ship from Ezion-geber (I Kgs 9:28).

King Solomon joined with the Phoenician king Hiram and uniting a fleet of ships to bring out the gold of Ophir.

Ophir was a port or region mentioned in the Bible, famous for its wealth.

King Solomon is supposed to have received a cargo of gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks from Ophir, every three years.

Job is impressed with the severely limited character of human understanding.  Zophar had chided Job about his inability to fathom the mysteries of God (11:7-9), but the knowledgment possessed by Job’s friends was not superior to that of Job himself (see 12:3; 13:2).

thunder of this power – If it’s difficult for us to comprehend the little that we know about God, how much more impossible it would be to understand the full extent of His might!

The dialogue-dispute section of the Book of Job begins with Job’s opening lament (ch 3), continues with the three cycles of speeches (chs 4-14; 15-21; 22-26) and concluded with Job’s closing discourse (ch 27), in which he reasserts his own innocence (vv 2-6) and eloquently describes the ultimate fate of the wicked (vv 13-23).

“Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,

As God liveth, who hath taken away my Judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul” (Job 27:1-2).

As God liveth – The most solemn of oath (see Gen 42:15) Job’s faith in God continued despite his perception of denied justice.

“All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;

My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.

God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.

My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live” (Job 27:3-6).

My righteousness hold fast – God had spoken similarly of Job (2:3).

“Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous” (Job 27:7).

Let mine enemy be as the wicked – Job calls for his friends, who had falsely accused him of being wicked, to be treated as though they themselves were wicked men (cf Ps 109:6-15; 137:8-9).

“For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?

Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?

Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?

I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal(Job 27:7-11).

Job is about to remind his counselors about an issue on which they all agree: that the truly wicked deserve God’s wrath (vv 13-23). 

The three friends had falsely put Job in that category.  God is very clear about not making false accusations, it is one of the ten commandments – Ex 20:16. 

God loved Moses, remember what happened to Mariam when her and Aaron had spoken against Moses for marrying the Ethiopian? (Num 12)  

God had 1spoke highly of Job when he talked to Satan – …Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth…? – so you have to wonder what might happen to Job’s friends that accused him of doing something he did not do or what might happen to anyone that walks with God and is mistreated by others?

 “Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain?

This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.

If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.

Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.

The Lost Mine of Ophir and King Solomon’s Gold
Having ruled on or around 970BCE, the legendary King Solomon is arguably one of the most recognizable characters within the pages of the Old Testament. The third King of Israel, Solomon was a renowned ruler that oversaw a growth from a single state into a venerable superpower of the Middle East in biblical times.

By today’s standards, Solomon was reputed to have a personal fortune in excess of $60 trillion. Much of this came in the form of pure gold. By the end of his sovereignty, estimations indicated that he owned 500 tons of gold. Modern gold usually comes in the form of bullion. But King Solomon used a portion of his gold to fashion items such as shields, cups and plates.

King Solomon’s temple, built in the mid 10th century BCE, was bedecked in gold. At his palace, builders constructed his throne from a combination of gold and another precious material, ivory. A gold footstool rested at its base. Leading up to his golden throne, a dozen life size replicas of lions formed a guard of honor on six steps.

Unfortunately for historians, the Bible never went into much detail about King Solomon’s mine of Ophir. There was never a specific record of its location. Scholars believe that Solomon worked with another regent, Phoenician King called Hiram, to acquire vast quantities of gold. Hiram ruled a region known at the time as Tyre, which is believed to be located within modern day Lebanon.

The Phoenicians were renowned sailors and established several outposts throughout the Mediterranean sea. Some also say that part of this commerce extended into the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, perhaps even as far south as Africa. Because the Phoenicians traveled extensively, it is open to interpretation about the exact location of this fabled source of gold.

There are several theories on the location of King Solomon’s mines, some more credible than others. Archaeologists have found copper mines in Isreal and Jordan. They have claimed that those were really King Solomon’s mines and the source of his wealth. However, the search still continues for lack of conclusive evidence

Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay;

He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.

He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.

The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not.

Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.

The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.

For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.

 

Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place” (Job 27:12-23:).

1But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet 3:8).

2 “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Ezion-Geber was a city of Idumea, a biblical seaport on the northern extremity of the Gulf of Aqaba, in the area of modern Aqaba and Eilat.

Biblical References
Ezion-Geber is mentioned six times in the Tanakh.
Ruins at Tell el-Kheleifeh were identified with Ezion-Geber by the German explorer F. Frank and later excavated by Nelson Glueck who thought he had confirmed the identification, but a later re-evaluation dates them to a period between the 8th and 6th centuries B.C. with occupation continuing possibly into the 4th century B.C.

According to the Book of Numbers Ezion-Geber was one of the first places where the Israelites camped after the Exodus from Egypt.

The ships of Solomon and Hiram started from this port on their voyage to Ophir.

It was the main port for Israel’s commerce with the countries bordering on the Red Sea and Indian Ocean.

According to Book of 2 Chronicles, Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, joined with Ahaziah, the King of Israel, to make ships in Ezion-geber; but God disapproved the alliance, and the ships were broken in the port.

In the Book of 1 Kings it says:

“And King Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.”

And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.

And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon (1 Kgs 9:26-28).

According to Targum Jonathan, the name means city of the rooster.

 

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Jos 1:5 & 8).

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deut 31:6).

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb 13:5).

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:13).

Ezion Geber

Biblical mention of Ezion Geber is limited to Israel’s wilderness wanderings (Num 33:35-36; Deut 2:8), the Solomonic era (1 Kgs 9:26-28; 2 Chr 8:17-18) and the time of King Jehoshaphat of Judah (1 Kgs 22:47-49; 2 Chr 20:35-37).

Ezion Geber was located near Elath on Red Sea (i.e., the Gulf of Aqaba) in the land of Edom.  Solomon, in collaboration with King Hiram of Tyre, developed it as a major seaport where he maintained a fleet and imported luxury commodities from Africa and India.

Later, Jehoshaphat un­successfully attempted to duplicate Solo­mon’s venture. Tell el-Kheleifeh, on the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, was once widely identi­fied with Ezion Geber on the grounds that archaeological remains suggested it had been a seaport and a site for smelting min­erals.

These conclusions have been chal­lenged, and this connection is now regarded as unlikely.

If Tell el-Kheleifeh is not Ezion Geber, the only other adequate anchorage in the north­ern gulf is located on an island called Jezirat Faraun (“Pharaoh’s Island”; also called Coral Island), approximately 7.5 miles (12 km) south of modern Eilat.

A natural harbor was improved in antiquity by the addition of a breakwater, mooring piers and defensive towers. The structure of the port is typical of Phoenician improved harbors, and Iron Age I pottery found there confirms habita­tion of the site during the Solomonic period.