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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Job 16

 

 

Verses 1-22

JOB REPROVES THEIR HEARTLESSNESS

(vv.1-5)

Eliphaz had claimed to be giving Job "the consolations of God," and this moves Job to reply bitterly, "Miserable comforters are you all!" (v.2). Instead of comfort, they had given heartless accusations, which Job terms "words of wind." He says that if they were in his place, he could heap up words against them in similar cruel accusation, but he would not do so: he would use his words to strengthen and encourage them in order to give them some relief. He longed for this himself, but they had nothing for him.

JOB FEELS GOD HAS MOVED MEN TO PERSECUTE HIM

(vv.6-14)

Whether Job spoke or remained silent, he found no relief. He feels that God has worn him out by making all his company (his friends) desolate of any help, and thus Job was shrivelled up. In verse 9 it may be doubtful that he is referring directly to God, for in verse 10 he uses the plural "they" three times. But he evidently thought God was practically influencing others to tear Job in His wrath. Did he think God was responsible for the hatred of man? In fact, we know that God would not approve of such persecutions that Job lists in verses 9 and 10, but his friends were claiming to be speaking for God!

Because Job had found no help or encouragement from his three friends, but rather the opposite, he pathetically declares, "God has delivered me up to the ungodly, and turned me over to the hands of the wicked" (v.11). Just as Eliphaz had exaggerated Job's condition by calling him wicked, so Job exaggerates by referring to his friends as wicked. He felt that God was taking sides with the ungodly against him. A resisting attitude will always have wrong thoughts about God and His ways, whereas a submissive attitude will find its thoughts wonderfully corrected.

Still, it is commendable that Job recognised that in the final analysis he was dealing with God, so that he looks beyond his friends to see that God was behind all that was coming upon him. This shows he was a true believer, though he made deductions that were wrong, for he was virtually blaming God as though God was doing wrong. "I was at ease," he says, "but He has shattered me; He also takes me by the neck and shakes me to pieces. He has set me up for His target, His archers surround me. He pierces my heart and does not pity, He pours out my gall on the ground. He breaks me with wound upon wound; He runs at me like a warrior" (vv.12-14).

If Job had only realised that it was because of God's pure love to him that He allowed such things to try him, how different would his attitude have been! Eventually he was brought to such a conclusion, however, so that the end of the history is bright with God's praise and Job's great blessing.

JOB LOOKS TO HEAVEN FOR HELP

(vv.15-22)

Job now draws attention to the extreme misery he was passing through, concerning which Zophar had callously said Job's suffering was less than he deserved. "I have sewn sackcloth over my skin, and laid my head in the dust, my face is flushed from weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death" (vv.15-16). If he had been guilty of violence and hypocrisy, this would be understandable, but he insists that no violence was in his hands and his prayer was pure.

He calls to the earth not to cover his blood, that is, not to cover up the fact of his undeserved suffering; and not to let his cry have a resting place, apparently that his cry should be heard rather than silenced. For he had confidence that the witness of his innocence was in heaven, though his friends on earth had refused it and scorned him (vv.18-20).

"Oh that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbour!" (v.21). We today know the wonderful answer to this in the New Testament. "We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). The Lord Jesus does indeed plead for us before the Father's face, a true and gracious Intercessor whose petitions the Father will never deny.

Even in Job's day, his faith could have anticipated this if only he had a submissive spirit. However, in a state of despondency he says, "For when a few years are finished I shall go the way of no return" (v.22). He therefore expected to live a few years more, but thought of those years only as continuing his present misery, and says nothing of the bright prospect of eternity, which at least today should be a matter deeply precious to a believing heart, - that is, eternal glory and eternal blessing with Christ. How marvellous is the advantage the children of God have today over those of Old Testament days!

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 16:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/job-16.html. 1897-1910.

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