Irony is a figure of speech in which the intended meaning of a statement is the exact opposite of what is actually said. An excellent example of irony being used in scripture is found in chapter 38 of the book of Job:
"Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: . . . . Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. (Job 38:1,4)
Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years! (Job 38:21)
If we interpret verse 21 in a strict literal sense, we would have to accept as fact the idea that Job was born before the creation of the earth and that he witnessed the creative process and understood it fully. However, this conclusion would be false because we can easily refute it from the Word of God.
Job could not yet have been born at the time of the creation because man had not yet been created. We see this in the account of the creation in the book of Geneses:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
At a time after this event God said, 'Let us make man in our image.'(Genesis 1:26a) Job, himself, clearly denies being present at the time of the creation and of even understanding it when he says to the Lord:
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. (Job 42:3)
There can be no doubt whatsoever that verse 21 of Job 38 is intended by God as irony. We must, therefore, interpret it in this way.