Dragon slayer

The Saga of Job’s Wisdom Quest
Foretelling of the Christ

A conference with Pastor David Inks
Covenant United Reformed Church of Fresno, CA.
November 6, 2021

Dragon Slayer – Part 1

Dragon Slayer – Part 2



  • The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol. 4, Job, Elmer Smick
  • The Book of Job, Norman Habel
  • Job, Gerald Wilson

Special Studies

  • The Literary Structure of the Old Testament, David Dorsey
  • The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer, Andrew Naselli
  • Piercing Leviathan, Eric Ortlund
  • Now My Eyes have Seen You, Robert Fyall
  • Trial by Ordeal, Meredith G. Kline (essay in Through Christ’s Word: A Festschrift for Dr. Philip E. Hughes)
  • Conflict and Triumph: The Argument of the Book of Job Unfolded, William Henry Green


From The Literary Structure of the Old Testament, David Dorsey
A prologue: Job’s Suffering (1:1-2:13) Job’s righteousness declared by God Job has 7 sons and 3 daughters-all are killed Job’s flocks lost are 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke oxen, 500 donkeys Job’s family members hold parties 3 friends come to help Job
B Job’s introductory speech: he wishes his birth had never happened (3:1-26) Topics: birth, womb, offspring, counting months, day, night, light darkness, dawn, Leviathan, clouds, freedom, captivity, life, death, awaking, etc. -there are many tragic “mistakes” in Job’s life and world that should not have happened
C cycle of speeches by Job and his 3 older friends (4:1-27:23) Job’s speeches focus on his terrible suffering and innocence friends’ speeches argues that Job suffers because he has sinned
D CENTER: poem about wisdom (28)
C cycle of speeches by Job and his younger friend (29:1-37:24)Job’s speeches focus on his terrible suffering and innocence friend’s speech offers correction, various reasons for suffering, God’s sovereign mystery
B God’s speech: birth and all of life is under God’s sovereign control (38:1-42:6) Topics: birth, womb, offspring, counting months, day, night, light, darkness, dawn, Leviathan, clouds, freedom, captivity, life death, awaking, etc. there are no “mistakes” in the world run by a sovereign God
A epilogue: Job’s Glory (42:7-17) Job’s righteousness affirmed by God Job has 7 more sons and 3 more daughters-his new daughters surpassing his first in beauty Job’s flocks are doubly restored: 14,000 sheep, 6000 camels, 1000 yoke of oxen, 1000 donkeys Job’s family members hold a party 3 friends must come to Job for help

The Core Conflict of the Debate

  1. God controls creation’s events: good & evil
  2. He blesses the righteous/curses the wicked Job agrees
  3. He is cursing Job
  4. Therefore, being born of a woman, (4:17-19; 15:14-16; 26:4-5) you have sinned; so confess and turn to God for mercy. “God cannot curse the righteous” Job disagrees
    “I have not sinned, I am righteous”
    Therefore “I seek God for justice/vindication.”
    (42:7) “God can/does curse the righteous”
    27:1-6 I hold fast my righteousness. Wicked judged.
    28 Where is wisdom to explain?
    29 then – song
    30 now- weep
    31 Job swears 14 covenant oaths as a solemn affidavit to his righteousness

The Great Debate Job 4-31

Eliphaz 4 & 5 (the water never rises any higher than this opening statement)

Job’s Answer 6:4, 6:24, 29-30; 7:11

Bildad weighs in 8:1-10, 20

Job Responds 10:1-7 “I am righteous!”

Zophar pipes up 11:13-20 “repent and the sun will shine” but then again 20

Job answers 12:1-3 again! “I know, I agree!” 13:1-3, 18

Eliphaz 15:14-16 “Job, you can’t avoid OS and TD”

Job 19:6-11 “God unresponsive to wronging me with wrath”

Eliphaz 22:21-30 “Agree with God…be at peace…He will then deliver”

Bildad 25:1-6 final brief sputtering as they run out of gas and takes his last repeated swipe “come on, it’s easy…confess”

Job 26:1-4 speaks with disdain and sarcasm Why? 1-not a moron 2-not amoral but a righteous man of integrity 27:1-6 “I’ll never lie for you or budge an inch regarding my righteousness!”

Authorial Pause 28 (the wisdom quest) 28:12, 20

29 Life before mirth

30 Life now mourning

31 Job’s tour de force (a covenant document-14 oaths of self-malediction to his righteousness)

Job the Head Crusher?

  • Gen.3:15 and the two Adam Poles
  • Job 40:6-41:34 Shake hands with the Dragon
    • Do you have the wisdom to run creation? 38:1-40:5
    • Can you arise in majesty (justice & power) to crush evil? 40:8-14
    • Shake hands with terror (evil’s embodiment). Ps.74:12-14; Is.27:1; Rev.12:7-9
  • Job is not the big caliper gun (not God) but he is the weak trigger champion.
  • Job anticipates Christ
    Man cannot become God to extract evil out of creation for its just demise. But God becoming man can! Such a righteous one born of a woman, born under the law, redeems those under the curse of the law, thru His righteousness and willingness to bear indictments not His own. Gal.4:4-5; 3:13. Job is not the head crusher but points to Him who though righteous, bears indictments (without cause) to mediate at the altar, defeat Satan, and secure glory!
  • The Cross as fires of final judgment Luke 12:49-50
    • Removes condemnation and secures vindication for those under law
    • Confines Satan and his hosts to judgment Gen.3:15, Jn.19:17; Col.2:15
    • Christ’s cursing on the cross is equally Satan’s crushing. Satan cannot hold man captive to darkness, death and damnation nor prevent the image of God’s consummation in glory. The cross means we are set free from captivity and justified by faith. Rom.3:26; II Tim.2:24-26
    • Faith in Christ is the shield against the fiery darts of Satanic accusation of guilt/shame and hope of glory. Eph.6:16; Rev.12:10-11; Heb.11:1; Rm.16:20

The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer Andrew Naselli pp.58-65

God is Sovereign over Leviathan

The book of Job refers several times to a monster sea serpent called Leviathan or Rahab: “Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.” 3:8

God is sovereign over this serpent.

“God will not turn back his anger, beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab” 9:13

“By his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab.

By his wind the heavens were made fair; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, And how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?” 26:12-14

When God interrogates and rebukes Job, he describes Leviathan in detail to emphasize that he is supremely sovereign over the mighty creature. Job 41 is the longest passage in the Bible about a monstrous serpent. Cf. Job 41 and now read.

The literary context of Job 41 is significant. Before God interrogates Job in chapters 40-41, Job steadfastly maintains that he is innocent in his suffering-and rightly so. But Job is wrong in at least two ways:

  1. 1. Job concludes that God is unjust for allowing his innocent suffering (27:2-6).
  2. Job presumes that God owes him an explanation. He repeatedly wishes to appeal to God and get a hearing with him (13:13-23; 23:3-9; 31:35-37; cf.9:32-33)

All will be well, Job thinks, if only he can interview God. But when Job finally gets his wish to speak with God, the interview is not what he had in mind. God responds to Job but not on Job’s terms; God responds on his own terms. Job doesn’t question God; God questions Job. And God does so by thundering out of the whirlwind (38:1; 40:6).

The exchange between God and Job (38:1-42:6) reveals that in Job’s eyes (1) God is too small and (2) Job is too large. God is not obligated to give Job anything-not even answers to his questions. So God changes the subject. Job gets vindication but not explanation. God does not answer Job’s main question: “Why am I suffering?” The closest God comes to answering it is rebuking Job for defending his own righteousness at the expense of God’s righteousness (40:8). God asks Job a series of stunning, humbling questions about creation. God’s point is that only he controls every aspect of his creation, and that Job cannot control any of them.

When God interrogates Job in round two (40:6-41:34) God asks Job a series of stunning, humbling questions about Behemoth (40:15-24) and Leviathan (41:1-34). There are at least three major views on how to identify Behemoth and Leviathan.

  1. They are physical animals (e.g., dinosaurs or the hippopotamus and crocodile).
  2. They are mythological creatures that represent evil, primordial, cosmic, chaotic forces.
  3. They are physical animals (view 1) that also symbolize evil cosmic forces (view 2).

I find view 3 most compelling. The evidence for evil cosmic forces (view 2) is too strong to dismiss, but Behemoth and Leviathan also seem to be earthly creatures, because God tells Job that he created Behemoth (and by implication, Leviathan) just as he created Job (40:15).

Whether you hold to any of these three views you should be able to agree on why it is significant that God mentions Behemoth and Leviathan, God created these powerful, fear inducing creatures, and only God can control them. God is God; Job is not. Therefore, Job’s respectful fear of God should surpass his respectful fear of Behemoth and Leviathan.

If view 2 or 3 is correct, then Job 41 not only teaches that God controls the earthly dimensions of Job’s suffering; it also teaches that God controls the cosmic ones—namely, Satan himself. God is more powerful than Satan. And that is exactly what the book of Job teaches:

  1. When Satan joins the sons of God (apparently God’s angels) as they present themselves before God, God initiates a discussion with Satan about Job (1:6-8). Satan accuses Job of serving God merely because God has blessed Job, and God gives Satan permission to test Job but not touch him (1:9-12).
  2. Again, Satan joins God’s angels as they present themselves before God, and again God initiates a discussion with Satan about Job (2:1-3). Satan accuses Job of serving God merely because God has blessed him with health, and God gives Satan permission to touch Job but not to kill him (2:4-6).
  3. God allows Satan to afflict Job, but he does not merely allow it. The epilogue describes Job’s Satan-inflicted calamities as all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (42:11). This is consistent with the prologue, where God twice initiates discussions with Satan about Job (:8;2:3). The end of God’s statement in 2:3-“you incited me (i.e. God) against him to destroy him without reason”- implies that God himself is the ultimate cause of the calamity since he, not Satan, is the one who destroys Job.

God is sovereign over serpents, which often symbolize God’s enemies. And God’s enemies ultimately do what God decrees. For example, when Amos prophesies that God will judge Israel, the Lord says. “If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search them out and take them; and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.” (Amos 9:3)

The serpent is out to kill and destroy God’s image bearers, but God is sovereign over the serpent. God is more powerful than Leviathan. God is sovereign over Satan (cf. II Cor.12:7-10.

God Will Slay the Dragon

“In that day the Lord with his hand and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea. (Is.27:1).

Isaiah 27:1 describes the Lord’s sword with three adjectives e (hard, great, and strong), and it also describes the serpent in three ways (Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and the dragon that is in the sea). Isaiah characterizes Leviathan in a way that complements how the book of Job appropriates it. Isaiah is not adopting a pagan mythological worldview-such as the Babylonian myth that the god Marduk had to defeat the dragon Tiamat in order to create the world. Instead, Isaiah is using a well-known concept in the ancient Near East to describe what is actually true-namely, that god will sovereignly destroy the most powerful evil monster in the universe. The book of Revelation identifies this ancient serpent-monster as Satan. And Paul promises, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” Rom./16:20.

Part 4 Outline


I. Holy Man

II. Heated Man

III. Humbled Man

IV. Heavenly Man