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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Job 6

 

 

Verses 1-30

JOB'S REPLY TO ELIPHAZ

(vv.1-30)

It is remarkable that Job, being in the painful condition he was, was still able to reply in such capable and stirring language to Eliphaz. He knew that Eliphaz had not shown any understanding of Job's predicament, and he again emphasised the unutterable pain and grief that had overtaken him. He knew Eliphaz had not weighed Job's grief accurately, or he would have had more compassion for the poor sufferer (vv.2-3). Job says, "Therefore my words have been rash," that is, he had spoken as one in deepest anguish, so that he had inferred that God was not just in allowing this suffering to one who was upright. Of course it is rash to say such a thing, but Job's friends should have realised that Job's condition was such that wrong words were virtually forced from his mouth. Could they not make some allowance for this?

He goes on to describe something of the awfulness of his grief, speaking of "the arrows of the Almighty" piercing him and God's terrors arrayed against him. "Does the wild donkey bray when it has grass," he asks. If his situation was favourable, would Job be crying out as he was? Why would he be like an ox lowing when it was satisfied? The ox will not do that. Where was the salt to give some savour to the things Job had to bear? What comfort could he get from having to virtually eat the slime of an egg? He was left with no desire for food, in fact considered food loathsome (v.7).

Again he expresses his desire for death, for which he had prayed before. He could not understand why God did not answer such a prayer, for he was sure death was preferable to the anguish he was suffering (vv.8-9). Yet he did not think of suicide being an option. He says he has not concealed the words of the Holy One. He had not been guilty of covering up anything that God has spoken (v.10): could God not then listen to Job's prayer for death?

He felt he had no strength to even hope for anything better on earth, and no prospect of anything better, for which his life should be prolonged (v.11). Was he as strong and hard as stone or bronze that he could bear all his affliction with no feeling? (v.12). He could not look within himself for any help, and soundness (even sound reasoning) was virtually impossible to him (v.13 - JND trans.).

In verse 14 Job rightly remonstrates to the effect that kindness ought to be shown to one who was afflicted, even if that one had gone so far as to "forsake the fear of the Almighty." Not that Job had done so, but Eliphaz suspected he was on the verge of this. But in contrast to showing sympathy for Job, he says, "My brothers have dealt deceitfully like a brook, like the streams of the brook that pass away," that is, the streams in winter swollen by snow and ice, promising blessing and refreshment, is soon dried up, leaving nothing of blessing behind (vv.16-17). Travellers may come, expecting water, but are disappointed to find nothing and are confused. Job thus expressed his own confusion at the words of Eliphaz (vv.19-20).

Job asks, "Did I ever say, 'Bring something to me?'" (v.22). Job had not even asked his three friends to come, let alone asking them for some benefit from their hands. Why did they then accuse him when all he needed was a little sympathy?

If they had something profitable and true to teach him, Job would willingly hold his tongue and listen. If he had erred as they supposed, why did they not tell him in what way he had erred (v.24). Right words would have been forceful and effective, but their arguments proved nothing (v.25). They rebuked his words that issued from his desperation, with no consideration of the depth of his suffering (v.26). They sought to overwhelm the fatherless, which seems to infer that Job's father had died, so that he did not have a father to help him; and they were undermining their own friend, a heartless attitude in contrast to former friendship (v.27).

Then Job pleads with them to just look at him. Did they see deceit in his countenance? He insists, "I would never lie to your face;" yet they were certain he must be concealing sin in his life (v.28). "Yield now," he tells them, let them not be guilty of injustice in their attitude. "Yes, concede my righteousness still stands!" Had his character changed since they last saw him?

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 6:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/job-6.html. 1897-1910.

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