Amazed

They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking, Job 32:15.


Our modern use of the word "amaze" is trivialized when comparing it to its use in our King James Bible. To get an understanding of its use in England centuries ago, think of its root word, "maze". We use mazes nowadays as puzzles that intrigue us as we try to figure how to navigate through a cleverly drawn or a cleverly constructed series of pathways strewn with bewildering dead ends and seemingly endless turns.

In John Wesley's journals he states that one of the accusations against him is that he was a "mazed" man. In other words, people accused him of being confused of mind and unable to process his thoughts properly. When the word of God says that someone was amazed, they are saying that something has happened that makes it difficult for them to process their thoughts.

We see this in our opening verse from Job. Job's three friends become living examples of the proverb, In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise, Proverbs 10:19. Their words were overabundant and though started in wisdom, they degenerated into foolishness. (Keep in mind that the Apostle Paul quoted Eliphaz the Temanite; Job 5:13, 1st Corinthians 3:19.)

Taken on the surface, and without thinking about the context, Job and his three friends being amazed doesn't seem that big of a thing. It was. They were amazed. In the words of the Oxford English Dictionary; To put out of one's wits; to stun or stupefy, as by a blow on the head; to infatuate, craze, or as another OED definition says; To overwhelm with wonder, to astound or greatly astonish. Both definitions can be seen interwoven throughout the King James Bible when the word "amaze" is used.

To understand the context of Job 32:15, four of the greatest men in Job's day gathered together. They each spent time speaking of God and his ways and trying to relate them to Job's current plight. There is no doctrinal statement that they made that was wrong, yet as the time wore on, their application of doctrine to Job's predicament grew worse and worse. It became vindictive as they became more frustrated. Then Elihu spoke up and let them know that he was speaking by inspiration of God.

In my early days as a preacher I would view certain problems in people and then seek for bible answers to cure those same problems. I would directly preach about the problem and the bible solution. It was ineffectual and stirred resentment. I often hear of preachers who operate that way. Job's friends did. Now, I have learned to preach and teach doctrine.

In the process of doing so, certain problems or the answers to such problems will pop up unexpectedly. Without having any specific person in mind, I nail the thought that has turned up. Invariably, it greatly affects someone or many people without pointing them out, The Holy Ghost reproves, rebukes or exhorts them on the inward parts. They thrive under such preaching. I want my people to experience what Job experienced whereas in the midst of Elihu's message, and as he explained the might and power of God, God began to speak to Job.

In Job 32:15 through the first two words of verse 17, Elihu steps out of the narrative of what was said and gives away the fact that he is the author of the Book of Job. He tells you how they responded to his words, but he is not telling you what he spoke at that time. After the first two words in verse 17, I said, he begins again to quote the dialog.

The second definition given from the OED appears to be applicable here, To overwhelm with wonder, to astound or greatly astonish. As each man sat exhausted and frustrated, a much younger man than themselves began to reprove them. None of those men were strangers to the things of God and it amazed them to hear from God in such a manner.

There are other uses of "amaze" in our English Bible. And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them, Judges 20:41. This isn't a bunch guys saying, "isn't it just amazing what those Jews are up to?". These are men who are overwhelmed and out of their wits as if they had received a stunning blow to the head. They were about to die and they were helpless to stop it.

Understanding the depth of the word "amaze" helps us to understand Peter's admonition; Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement, 1st Peter 3:6. For a wife to obey her husband and to call him lord in her heart as Sarah did is good. (Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?Genesis 18:12.) For her to obey her husband out of being out of her wits with fear is no glory to her, her husband, or to God.

The ESV is so silly in 1st Peter 3:6 that it is its own parody; as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Imagine telling a woman who survived a carjacking that she was no longer any child of Sarah's because she was frightened. New versions get away with that nonsense because their users long ago gave up thinking that they could learn from the bible alone. It is far more important to them what some commentary says on the subject than anything their bible says.

Words like "amaze" are good reasons to stick with our authorized text. A person could have just as easily looked up the several times in which some form of the word was used and applied it to 1st Peter 3:6. In trying to simplify the bible, our modern translators make it more obscure and the important difference between a voluntary biblical choice by a woman to be in subjection to a man, and the peer pressure induced, cult replicating subjection that we see all too often is not distinguished.

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