I. גֶּ֫בֶר66 noun masculine man (Late Hebrew id., MI16 גברן (plural), Aramaic גְּבַר, ; Assyrian gabru, rival is Akkadian Loan-word according to SchrJLZ 1874, 200 DlS 120, Sm. Chald. Gen. 286) — Deuteronomy 22:5 39t.; גָּ֑בֶר Job 3:3 13t.; construct גְּבַּר Psalm 18:26 (= 2 Samuel 22:26 גִּבּוֺר but ᵐ5 ᵑ6 read גֶּבֶר); plural גְּבָרים Jeremiah 41:16 10t.; — man as strong, distinguished from women, children, and non-combatants whom he is to defend, chiefly poetic Exodus 10:11; Numbers 24:3,15 (E) Exodus 12:37; Joshua 7:14,17,18 (J) Deuteronomy 22:5 (twice in verse); Judges 5:30; 2 Samuel 23:1; 1 Chronicles 23:3; 1 Chronicles 24:4; 1 Chronicles 26:12; Job 3:3 14t. Job; Psalm 18:26 8t. Psalms; Proverbs 6:34 7t. Proverbs; Isaiah 22:17; Jeremiah 17:5 8t. Jeremiah; Lamentations 3:1,27,35,39; Daniel 8:15; Micah 2:2; Habakkuk 2:5; Zechariah 13:7; also 1 Samuel 10:21 ᵐ5 We Dr; = each (of locusts) Joel 2:8, compare אישׁ.
An understanding of this word will shed light on the story of Job. The story of Job, as we all know, was a story of suffering at the will of God. I’ve never heard any very great teaching on the story of Job. Most pastors fumble through or avoid it. I discovered that knowing the Hebrew is key.
The suffering is absolutely heinous and doesn’t seem to make sense. Usually, sermons on Job gravitate toward this theme in that we are somehow supposed to learn from Job how to trust God when suffering doesn’t make sense. Or we are taught something about God’s sovereignty and that he can do whatever he wants and it will always be just. However, both Elihu and God give the answer to the problem of Job. You will not see this in English translations, though it will change the entire picture dramatically.
Here’s the answer given by Elihu with the Hebrew meaning,
“Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed
and with continual strife in his bones,
so that his life loathes bread,
and his appetite the choicest food.
His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
and his bones that were not seen stick out.
His soul draws near the pit,
and his life to those who bring death.
If there be for him an angel,
a mediator, one of the thousand,
to declare to man what is right for him,
and he is merciful to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down into the pit;
I have found a ransom;
let his flesh become fresh with youth;
let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
he sees his face with a shout of joy,
and he restores to man his righteousness.
He sings before men and says:
‘I sinned and perverted what was right,
and it was not repaid to me.
He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit,
and my life shall look upon the light.’
“Behold, God does all these things,
twice, three times, with a strong man [geber],
to bring back his soul from the pit,
that he may be lighted with the light of life.
Elihu tells us that God does all these things, these awful things, to a strong man. Job was a geber. This means Job’s trial is not something that just any man might find himself in. Job was a special kind of man of God, and God knew that he could make it. And so God said to Job,
“Now gird up your loins like a strong man [geber], And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! (Job 38:3)
“Now gird up your loins like a strong man [geber]; I will ask you, and you instruct Me. (Job 40:7)
Job’s story was about God making him stronger as a man. He does not do this to women or children.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (Hebrews 12:7 KJV)