A Muslim commented on this verse:
The point is, in the above verse, when the sun not suppose to rise, one must ask where would it be? I mean if the earth is round to the Authors of the Bible, then the sun must be visitable in some parts of the earth, but to say it will not rise is an alarming matter that doesn't have any answer, and means the earth is flat to the authors of the Bible, and certainly it shouldn't be the word of God almighty.
In order to understand any verse we need to read it in its context. Before you continue therefore, please take one minute to read Job 9:1-20.
Instead of taking every passage literal we have to first ask:
What kind of literature genre is it?
Is it teaching?
Is it prophecy?
No, it is poetry! Therefore we have to employ the rules of interpreting poetry.
In Psalm 98 we read:
One could be like the person above and insist that the Bible teaches that rivers have hands, and that they feel joy and when they do they clap with their hands, and that mountains have voices and can sing...
This is obviously a ridiculous response. You don't treat poetry that way. It is metaphorical and an expression of exuberance. And the above passage in Job is similar. It employs poetic language, not scientific language. It brings up one magnificent picture after the other to express God's power.
Before we look in detail at the Job passag and its context, not only poetry like in this one, but most of the texts in the Bible are written in phenomenological not in scientific language. The Bible speaks about the sun rising and setting just as the Qur'an does. And just as people say to this day everywhere even thought everybody knows that the sun doesn't rise but that the earth revolves.
The language we use and the language the Bible uses is talking "the way we see it" from our perspective. And the Bible is no more wrong than we or the Qur'an when it speaks about the rising of the sun. Let us keep this phenomenological language in mind when we read now this passage in Job 9:
3 Though one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him one time out of a thousand. 4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? 5 He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. 6 He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. 7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine [rise]; he seals off the light of the stars.
Verses 5 & 6 are affirming that God has the earth under his control and earthquakes are his doing. He is more powerful than earthquakes since he is the one who is their origin. Also, we see that we have the usual Hebrew poetic devise of parallelism here, i.e. the second line of each stanza says the same thing as the first only, it only repeats it in slightly different words. All of it is about shaking the earth. And the next verse, verse 7, is continuing in this same poetic parallelism of the two preceding verses.
Now what does this mean? In the verses 5 and 6 we have earthquakes. They often go hand in hand with volcanic erruptions. If you remember the eruption of Krakatau, then you know that for several weeks there was a thick black cloud over the area and virtually no sunlight came through. Seeling off the lights of the stars does not mean they are not there, but we can't see them. And this is in parallel to the first line. If we don't see the sun when it is time for the sun to rise, then we are in the same phenomenological language entitled to say, "the sun didn't rise", because "rising" means "I see the sun coming up on the horizon." And this is perfectly correct English. It is commonly used this way. On a cloudy day, one can say, "the sun didn't rise today," and everybody will understand it correctly. Why would the Hebrew language not be allowed to use this in the same idiomatic way? And Job doesn't make a statement about all the earth at once, but about the observation at one place. When talking about the sun rise it is always the observation at on specific place at a time. And the unvisibility of the sun rise is from the same point of view.
Where then is the problem? When you understand the literary form of the text and the language employed then there is absolutely no problem at all. The problem is in the mind of those who seek to create them where there are none.
That is why you should heed the next verses of Job's speech:
14 "How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? 15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.
When even the innocent have nothing to bring to God for an argument, how much should you fear God and ask for his mercy instead of distorting his word and try to ridicule it?
Job made statements about the awesome power of God, described in the phenomenological language of the day. Our duty is it to read it as it is intended.
If you want to force this to be a statement about "all the locations on the earth at once" and "sun rise happens when we see it or not" then apply it consistently to the Qur'an as well and it becomes just as false.
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