Job Answers & Taanach

It would be tough to go through what Job went going through, especially when his best friends were even condemning him. 

Job obviously knows You because he clearly worships You, unlike his wife who told him to curse you (Job 2:9).  He’s just waiting on You 1 like You tell us to do.  Maybe that’s where the saying, “Patience is a virtue” came from?

Ancient Village or Settlement
An elaborate terra-cotta cult stand from ancient Taanach in northern Israel may have been used in the worship of Astarte.

Just over twenty-one inches in height, it dates to the 10th century B.C., during the period when the Israelites were establishing themselves in the land. In the center of the bottom level, as if underpinning everything, stands a naked goddess controlling two flanking lions.

The second register contains an empty, door-like space flanked by winged sphinxes wearing goddess locks.

On the next level, two ibexes nibble at a sacred tree, a scene which is flanked by lions.

The top register is occupied by a quadruped, either a bull calf or a young horse, which strides between two door posts. Above it is a rayed or winged sun disc.

Explanations of the stand vary from understanding it as totally Canaanite to its being an Israelite cult object dedicated to the Israelite deity and a consort .

There is, however, general agreement that the piece models a temple to the deities or deity depicted on the facade, with the tiers displaying temple scenes .

“Then Job answered and said,

I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.

Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?

I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.

But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.

Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?

But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.

And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.

He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.

They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.

God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.

I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.

His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.

He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant” (Job 16:1-14).

Job snaps out at his friends and tells them that their words are vain and carry no meaning.  He sees himself as being God’s target and views his situation as the reverse of Eliphaz’s desertion (Job 15:25-26).

“I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.

Asherah
Two scenes on the Taanach cult stand may depict the goddess known as Asherah, Yahweh’s consort:

the nude woman on tier 4 (above) and the tree of life flanked by two ibex on tier 2 (below).

A sacred tree remarkably similar to that on tier 2 also appears on Pithos A from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud.

On both tier 2 and the pithos, the standing, horned animals rest their front hooves on the trees’ branches and nibble the blossoms.

The two trees, symbolizing growth and revival, share many characteristics despite the 150-year discrepancy in their dates.

My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death;

Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.

O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.

Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.

My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.

O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!

When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return” (Job 16:15-22).

Job’s pain and anguish is so great he doesn’t think he will live much longer, not long enough to be vindicated before his friends.  His only hope is that in heaven he has a witness who will plead with God on his behalf.

“We have that witness right now, and the devil hates it, our witness and mediator is Jesus Christ.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim 2:5-6).

“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgression that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Heb 9:15).

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor 5:20-21).

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

Great Temple of Karnak
In Thutmose III’s city lists, hundreds of princes are depicted with hands tied behind their backs and their cartouches on their shields.

This is a depiction of the rulers of the cities of Canaan that Thutmose III captured when Megiddo fell.

All the rulers, except the king of Kadesh, were trapped in Megiddo, and so by the capture of Megiddo, Thutmose could say that it was as the capture of a thousand cities.

At Thutmose’s death the Egyptian empire stretched from the Euphrates to the Fourth Cataract, the greatest extent of Egypt’s territory ever.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:1-2).

“My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.

Shishak’s City List
Pharaoh Shishak (945-924 B.C.) invaded Israel and Judah in 925 B.C. and carried off the treasures of Jerusalem’s temple.

The Bible records the attack from Judah’s perspective (2 Chr 12), but Shishak’s list gives much greater detail including the names of 150 cities, most of which cannot be located today.

Scholars debate how to read this inscription, but most agree that the following cities are mentioned: Taanach, Beth-Shean, Rehob, Mahanaim, Gibeon, Beth-Horon, Megiddo, and Arad.

Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation?

Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?

For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.

He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.

He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret.

Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow.

Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.

The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger” (Job 17:1-9). 

Job asks God for a guarantee that he’s right, that he’s not guilty of sins that deserve punishment, as his counselors have said.  But the guarantee Job asked for isn’t provided, so he feels that God is responsible for making him an object of scorn.

 

“But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.

My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.

They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.

If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.

I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.

And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?

Ramses’ Treaty
Ramses II’s treaty with the Hittites is one of the most important treaties in history.

Originally written on silver tablets in Heliopolis and Hattusus, a copy was found here on this wall in the Karnak Temple.

After years of inconclusive battles between the Hittites and the Egyptians, Ramses II and the Hittite ruler concluded an agreement by which Syria and Canaan would be divided between them.

On either side of this text are depictions of Merneptah’s battles in Canaan, including those against Ashkelon and Israel.

They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust” (Job 17:10-16).

Zophar had promised that Job’s repentance would turn his darkness into light and Job makes a parody on such advice.  His only hope is the grave, which won’t be as his home had been.

1 The most important things to God is that you trust Jesus Christ and to prove your trust in Him you have to wait; you have to wait as long as it takes, never give up for He will never give up on you.

“Wait on the LORD: Be of good courage, And he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the LORD” (Ps 27:14).

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; And they shall walk, and not faint” (Is 40:31).

Taanach
A royal city of the Canaanites. It was within the boundaries of the portion of Issachar and assigned to the Kohathite Levites.

The Canaanites were not driven out; only at a later time they were set to task work.

Here the great battle was fought when the defeat of Sisera broke the power of the oppressor Jabin.

It was in the administrative district of Baana ben Ahilud.

The name appears in the list of Thothmes III at Karnak; and Shishak records his plundering of Taanach when he invaded Palestine under Jeroboam I.

Eusebius says in Onomasticon that it is a very large village, 3 miles from Legio.

It is represented by the modern Ta`annek, which stands on a hill at the southwestern edge of the plain of Esdraelon.

Megiddo (Tell el-Mutesellim) lies 5 miles to the Northwest.

These two places are almost invariably named together.

The great highway for traffic, commercial and military, from Babylon and Egypt, ran between them.

They were therefore of high strategic importance.

Excavations were recently conducted on the site by Professor Sellin, and a series of valuable and deeply interesting discoveries were made, shedding light upon the social and religious life and practices of the inhabitants down to the 1st century B.C., through a period of nearly 2,000 years.

The Canaanites were the earliest occupants. In accordance with Biblical history, “there is no evidence of a break or abrupt change in the civilization between the Canaanite and the Israelite occupation of Taanach.

The excavations show rather gradual development.

The Canaanites will have gradually assimilated the Israelites drawn to them from the villages in the plain.

“Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, To the soul that seeketh him” (Lam 3:25).

“Therefore turn thou to thy God: Keep mercy and Judgment, And wait on thy God continually” (Hos 12:6).

“Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: My God will hear me” (Mic 7:7).

“Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, Until the day that I rise up to the prey: For my determination is to gather the nations, That I may assemble the kingdoms, To pour upon them  mine indignation, Even all my fierce anger: For all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy” (Zeph 3:8).

“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thes 1:10).

Sacred Lake
Every Egyptian temple had a sacred lake, and the one at Karnak Temple was the largest. Used daily by the priests for purification, the sacred lake was also used in festivals during which images of the gods would travel across the lake in boats.

The lake measures 130 x 77 meters and was surrounded by storerooms and homes of the priests.

Taanach

The city of Taanach is located about 5 miles (8 km) southeast of Megiddo the foothills above the Valley of Jezreel.  It guarded one of the major passes inland from the coastal trade route known as the Via Maris.

The king of Taanach was one of the many Canaanites whom Joshua defeated during the conquest (Josh 12:21). The city was assigned to the tribe of Manasseh, although its members found themselves unable to dislodge the Canaanite in habitants.

First Chronicles 6:61 tells us that the Levites were given ten cities; Joshua 21:25 identifies one of them as Taanach from the territory of Manasseh. Deborah and Barak led the Israelites against Sisera “at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo” (Jdg 5:19).

That the city lay in a swampy area of the valley assisted in the Israelite defeat of Sisera’s army, since his chariots could not have trav­eled efficiently in the swamp. Taanach is again mentioned in Solomon’s delegation of administrative centers (1 Kgs 4:12).

This city also appears in extra-biblical texts. The Egyptian Thutmose III cited Taanach in his description of the battle against Megiddo and the surrounding area in the mid-15th century B.C.

It is listed on a temple at Karnak with the names of other nearby towns that Pharaoh Shishak con­quered in the 10th century B.C., during the reign of Rehoboam.

The church historian Eusebius recorded a large population there in the 4th century A.D., but by the 14th century Taanach had been reduced in size to a small village.

Archaeological investigations have re­vealed occupation layers at Taanach dating back to the Early Bronze Age. At that time (mid-third millennium B.C.) the city already had a protective wall and glacis.

Later the wall was widened and larger stones incor­porated into it. Because there is evidence of metal-working, as well as of the presence of scribes, scholars have suggested that Taanach served as a production center during the Iron Age.

Others have posited that it may have been a chariot garrison. Several dwellings and a tower (all dating from the 12th to 9th centuries B.C.) have yielded loomweights, tools, pottery and an earlier Akkadian archive, as well as two cult stands.

After this period the site seems to have been inhabited only intermittently until the 3rd century B.C., when it once again became a thriving city.