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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

Job 16

 

 

Verses 1-22

JOB'S SECOND REPLY TO ELIPHAZ

I. Complains of the want of sympathy on the part of his friends (Job ).

1. They gave him only verses from the ancients about the punishment of the wicked and the prosperity of the righteous, such as he was already familiar with. (Job ).—"I have heard many such things." In this, and the manner in which they did it, they showed themselves "miserable" (margin, "troublesome") comforters; (Heb. "comforters of trouble or mischief"). Professing to come as comforters, they had turned out tormentors. Professed comfort may be only an exasperation of sorrow. No small sin to "talk to the grief of those whom God has wounded." In speaking to tried ones, we need a tender heart and a gentle tongue. Easy to irritate the wound instead of healing it. Words may either—

"Scorch like drops of burning gall,

Or soothe like honey-dew."

Deep distress and despondency not to be cured by moral and religious aphorisms. "To preach of patience is often the very means of stirring up all impatience" [Maurice]. The tongue of the wise nowhere more needed than in the house of sorrow. The two requisites for a "comforter" found in Solomon's virtuous woman: "She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness" (Pro ).

Men are "miserable comforters"—

(1) When they comfort others with error and falsehood—as with erroneous views of God, of His dealings, or of themselves; "daubing with untempered mortar;" healing the hurt of the mourner "slightly, saying peace, peace, when there is no peace;"

(2) When they direct to improper means for relief—as drowning the remembrance of the trouble in the pleasures and pursuits of the world;

(3) When they seek merely to divert the mourner's mind from the trouble, or persuade him to put away and forget his sorrow;

(4) When they fail to point him to the true source of comfort—Christ as a Saviour and sympathizing Friend—the truths of the Gospel and of the Word of God. "The waters of Lethe will not change the nature of sorrow, but the blood of Christ will."

To be a true "comforter" we require—

(1) To be able to sympathize with the troubled;

(2) To understand, generally, the meaning and use of trouble. Trouble a part of our education for heaven, as well as for the right performance of our duties on earth,—to be accepted as a message from above—an angel of mercy sent by the God who is love;

(3) To be acquainted ourselves with the truth with which we are to comfort others, and to have experienced in some degree the power of it on our own hearts;

(4) To possess the spirit and imitate the conduct of Him whose mission on earth was to "comfort them that mourn;"

(5) To speak truthfully and suitably to the case, while we present such views of God and His dealings as are fitted to impart light and comfort to the sad and sorrowing.

2. Job's friends spoke as not realizing his sorrow. They treated him either with unfeeling reproofs, or sometimes with fine speeches (Job ). "Shall vain words (Heb. ‘words of wind,'—airy, empty speeches) have an end?" The friends had all followed in the same unprofitable strain. Job returns the reproach of Eliphaz (ch. Job 15:2). Too much of the spirit of angry retort in these discussions. The time and country of the speakers, however, to be remembered. The Gospel of Jesus teaches us to give the "soft answer that turneth away wrath."—"Or what emboldeneth (or exciteth) thee that thou answerest?" No ground or need for continuing such speeches. Eliphaz had spoken as a man under excitement. The style and spirit of his second speech considerably different from that of his first. Especially important for a comforter and instructor of others to exercise patience, and not to lose his temper. No small part of wisdom to know how we "ought to answer every man." "Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer" (Pro 24:26). Job's friends found it easy to repeat commonplaces, and shake their head.—(Job 16:4). "I also could speak as you do: if (or ‘would that') your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words (—string sentences and verses together) against you, and shake mine head at you" (—either in condolence or solemn admonition). Easy for the whole to advise the sick. The great want in Job's friends a genuine sympathy. After the first oriental outburst of grief at their friend's calamity, all was cold, heartless, and even cruel. Selfishness the common sin of our fallen nature—

"The proud, the cold, untroubled heart of stone,

That never mused on sorrow but its own."

In Job's friends this coldness aggravated, if not generated, by false religious views and misinterpretations of Divine Providence. True religion softens the heart, and inclines it to kindness and compassion. A false religion generally the parent of cruelty.

Job expresses what his own conduct would be were they in his situation (Job ). "I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving (or condolence) of my lips should assuage your grief" (—or perhaps, ironically, ‘I could strengthen you with my mouth,' and give you lip-consolation as you give me, instead of the "hearty counsel" of a friend, Pro 27:9). Job's actual practice described. Acknowledged by Eliphaz himself to have been a comforter of many (ch. Job 4:3-4). His own testimony as to his manner of life in the time of his prosperity (ch. Job 29:25; Job 31:18). His friends had dealt in words which had no weight or force (ch. Job 6:25), and which only tended to exasperate his sorrow. His words, had their places been changed, would have strengthened and relieved them. Three objects to be aimed at in comforting those in trouble—

(1) To strengthen them to bear their trouble;

(2) To lighten their grief;

(3) To lead them to the right improvement of their trial. The last, the object more especially aimed at by Elihu (ch. Job ).

II. Renews his sorrowful complaint regarding his condition (Job ).

His sorrow neither mitigated by speech nor silence (Job ). "Though I speak my grief is not assuaged; and though I forbear, what am I eased?" Natural for grief to find relief in words. The troubled spirit also often calmed by silent meditation. Job experienced neither. No relief found in the assertion of his innocence or utterance of his sorrow. He had spoken to God, to his friends, to himself, yet his grief remained. Had sat at first in silence many days, and had spent many silent hours since then. Still no ease to his trouble. A bad case that yields to no kind of treatment.

He ascribes his troubles to God (Job ). "But now he hath made me weary" (—quite exhausted me, or laden me with trouble). Job's troubles accumulated and now of some continuance, with as yet no relief. The visit of his friends, instead of a balm, had proved a bitterness. All ascribed by Job to God. Good to eye God's hand in our troubles, whoever and whatever may be the instrument of it. No trial but of His sending. When Satan was labouring to "destroy" Job, it was only by God's permission and authority (ch. Job 2:3). The part of a sanctified nature, to see God in every event of our lot, whether prosperous or adverse. So David—"Thou didst it" (Psa 39:9). "Let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him" (2Sa 16:11).

He turns from man and addresses his complaint to God Himself. "Thou hast." One word spoken to God in our trouble better than a hundred to man. The invitation (Psa ). The resolution (Psa 42:8-9). Tragic and touching description of Job's sorrows. Embraces—

1. The loss of his family and alienation of his friends (Job ). "Thou hast made desolate all my company" (—overwhelmed in calamity all my family, and struck with astonishment all my friends). Difficult to forbear recurring to grievous visitations and present troubles. All Job's children removed by one fell swoop. His property gone. Himself a mass of loathsome ulcers. His wife and friends paralysed and alienated by his calamities. His very servants standing aloof from him (ch. Job 19:13-19). A grievous aggravation of affliction when friends are alienated and stand a distance from us (Psa 31:11; Psa 38:1; Psa 88:18). The experience of the Man of Sorrows foreshadowed in Job's (Mat 26:31; Mat 26:34; Mat 26:56).

2. His wasted appearance construed by his friends into a token of guilt (Job ). "Thou hast filled me with wrinkles (or ‘laid fast hold of me,' as a person arrested by the hand of justice), which [in the opinion of my friends] is a witness against me [that I am a guilty man]; and my leanness (—or ‘liars,' or, ‘my lie') rising up in me beareth witness to my face." A marred and meagre visage may testify to our grief, but not to our guilt. Christ's visage marred more than any man's, and his form more than the sons of men (Isa 52:14). Our guilt, not His own, and our sorrows carried by Him as our Surety, marred His visage and robbed His form of comeliness and beauty (Isa 53:2; Isa 53:4).

3. The apprehension of Divine anger in His troubles (Job ). "He teareth me in his wrath who hateth me (Heb., ‘his wrath hath torn and violently opposed me'); he gnasheth upon me with his teeth: mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me" (or, ‘as my enemy he glares upon me with his eyes,'—looks on me with fierce, sparkling eyes, like an enraged lion, ready to pounce upon his prey.) The perverted view of God which Satan presents, and the flesh is ready to take under severe and protracted trouble. Sad that our best Friend should be viewed as a relentless foe,—that the God who is love, should be converted into a furious wild beast or a wrathful demon. Such a view on the part of Job Satan's especial object at present. His aim to bring him to curse God to His face. Satan but showed himself to Job, and sought to pass himself off for God. The bitterest ingredient in a believer's trials, when not love but anger is apprehended in them. To see love in a cross takes out all bitterness; to see wrath, adds poison to the dart. David's prayer—"Rebuke me, [but] not in thine anger, chasten me, [but] not in thy hot displeasure" (Psa 6:1).

4. The bitter hostility of his friends (Job ). "They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me" (as conspirators, to effect my ruin; or, "they have attacked me with combined forces"). Terribly bitter cup when both God and man—especially our friends and professedly good men—seem to be turned against us. The cup given to Jesus as our Surety. The words of the first clause of the verse those of the Psalm which describes His experience on the cross (Psa 22:13). His cheek literally smitten, according to the prophecy (Mic 5:1; Mat 26:67; Mat 27:30; Joh 19:3). Jews and Gentiles, rulers and people, were gathered together against Him (Act 4:27; (Psa 2:12). Man's combined opposition, joined to a frowning providence, no proof either of guilt or Divine displeasure. David's prayer: "Let them curse, but bless thou" (Psa 109:28).

5. His apparent abandonment by God into the hands of wicked men (Job ). "God hath delivered me to the ungodly (Heb., ‘to an evil one'), and turned me over (or, ‘thrown me down headlong') into the hands of the wicked." His case, in his own view, like that of a criminal delivered over to the executioners of justice; or one cast into a gulf or dungeon, as the punishment of his crime. His friends appeared to him in the character, and as acting towards him the part, of wicked men. Job delivered by God into the hands of an "evil one" in a way that he was not then aware of. Possibly, however, some glimmering of the truth as to the immediate agent in his affliction. The doctrine of evil spirits, and of one prominent among them as their leader, not likely to have been unknown in Job's time. The tradition of man's temptation and fall widely spread and preserved in the line of Shem. No uncommon thing for a child of God to be for wise purposes left for a time in the hands of bad men and bad angels. Divine abandonment the bitterest ingredient in the Saviour's cup. The only thing that extorted a wail of sorrow from His lips (Mat 27:46). To be left in the hands of the wicked was itself a grievous affliction. "The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." To appear to be abandoned by God at the same time a fearful aggravation. The Surety actually delivered into the hands of Satan to be tempted, and of wicked men to be put to death (Mat 4:1; Act 2:23).

6. The sad and sudden reverse in his experience (Job ). "I was at ease (—in tranquillity and prosperity), but he hath broken me asunder (or, in pieces, thoroughly crushed and smashed me as an earthen vessel); he hath also taken me by my neck [as a wild beast does his prey] and shaken me to pieces (—or, dashed me as on the ground, or against a rock), and set me up for his mark" (—to shoot his arrows at, as Saracenic conquerors sometimes did with their captives, and as his own soldiers did with Sebastian, the martyr of Gaul). Great and sudden reverses among the sorest earthly trials. The remembrance of previous comfort and prosperity an embittering of present calamity and suffering. Once none more happy and prosperous than Job; now none more afflicted and wretched. No greater contrast between past and present experience since Adam and Eve were driven out of Paradise. Labours for words to express the grievousness of the latter. Employs words of double form and intensified meaning. "Broken me asunder," "shaken me to pieces." No mere hurt, but utter destruction, like that of a glass or an earthen vessel dashed to the ground, and smashed into a thousand pieces, no more to be united. Children gone; property lost; wife alienated; body covered from head to foot with the most grievous and loathsome disease that ever afflicted fallen humanity; mind harassed, depressed, distracted; sleep taken away; what sleep obtained made more wretched than the absence of it by horrifying dreams; his sincerity and piety more than suspected by his friends, in consequence of his sufferings; and his bruised spirit worried and irritated by their flippant and worldly arguments, to convince him that he must not be the man he had been taken to be, and that to be delivered from his troubles he must repent and seek God. And of all these overwhelming reverses, God Himself, whom he had diligently and faithfully served, the Author! High and important object that for which God could do such violence to His nature in thus dealing with a faithful servant! Transcendently glorious end in view, when He still more terribly bruised His faithful and well-beloved Son!

7. A tragically sublime enlargement on his treatment at the Divine hand (Job ). "His archers (or ‘his mighty ones,' perhaps ‘his darts'—the many calamities with which God had visited and was still visiting him) compass me round about: he cleaveth my reins asunder (—attacks me in the most vital parts, and inflicts on me deadly wounds), and doth not spare: he poureth out my gall upon the ground" (—His strokes of the most fatal kind, leaving no hope of life). No pity shewn in dealing with His servant, but all kinds of severity inflicted. Sometimes God appears to lay aside His attribute of mercy, even in dealing with His own. So in visiting Jerusalem for her sins: "Thou hast not pitied" (Lam 3:43). Thus God "spared not his own Son."—(Job 16:14). "He breaketh me with breach upon breach;"—is continually dealing new blows, like a storming party attacking the walls of a fortress—is always inflicting new griefs. So David's complaint: "Deep calleth unto deep; all thy waves and thy billows have gone over me,"—one after another in rapid succession" (Psa 62:7). One severe trial often found almost sufficient to crush us. Ordinarily, "in the day of the rough wind," He "stayeth the east wind." Rarely, as with Job, are heavy strokes repeated, successive, and accumulated. Such, however, the experience of Jesus in the last hours of His earthly life. From the traitor's kiss to His dying cry upon the cross, "bruised and put to grief" by God, devils, and men; smitten in soul and body with one wound after another, till at last reproach broke His heart, and He was brought to the dust of death. And all this, while standing in your place, reader, and mine.—"He runneth upon me like a giant," or, "as a warrior," sword in hand, with strength and fury. Appalling climax! Terrible experience for a child of God. Awful situation of an impenitent and Christless soul. "A fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." If these things be done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

8. The effect of this severity on the part of God (Job ). "I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin." Sackcloth, a garment of coarse cloth worn by mourners and penitents. Probably assumed by Job after the death of his children, and continued ever since. Worn next to the person, and now adhering to his skin through the purulent matter issuing from his ulcers. God's providence able very soon to change our silk into sackcloth.—"And defiled (or thrust) my horn in the dust,"—like a noble animal spent with fatigue or overpowered in conflict. Job now literally in the dust. His place still among the ashes. His condition one of the deepest misery. His experience that of sorrow and humiliation. The horn an emblem of strength and dignity. Job, as a prince or emir, naturally speaks of his "horn." Easy with God to bring the loftiest horn to the dust. Witness Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, Wolsey, Masauiello, the fisherman-saviour of Naples. Soon "high ambition lowly laid." (Job 16:16).—"My face is foul (or red) with weeping." Job no stoic. His eye poured out tears to God (Job 16:20). Manly to weep from a sufficient cause. Jesus wept. It is only sin which makes men callous and insensible. True religion neither makes men stones nor stoics. "Scorn the proud man that is ashamed to weep."—"And on mine eyelids is the shadow of death." A speedy dissolution anticipated as the result of his calamities and disease. The dimness of death already appearing to him to settle on his eyes. Now viewed himself as a dying man (ch. Job 17:1.) Figuratively also, deep and continued sorrow clouded his eyes as with the dimness of death. The effect of grief and tears on the sight frequently complained of in the Psalms (Psa 6:7; Psa 31:9; Psa 38:10. See, also, 2Sa 5:17). Faustus, son of Vortigern, said to have wept himself blind for the abominations of his parents.

III. Re-asserts his innocence and integrity (Job ).

"Not for any injustice (or, ‘although,'—or, connecting with what follows,—‘because there is not any violence') in mine hands; also my prayer is pure." Maintains that his sufferings were neither on account of wrong done to his neighbour or hypocrisy towards God. The two charges alleged or insinuated against him by his friends. The gist of their speeches to shew that he must have made himself rich by oppression, or had abused his riches to the injury of his neighbour, and that the justice of God now overtook him for his crimes. This conduct towards man necessarily implied that his profession of religion towards God had been false and hollow. Job maintains, like Paul, that he had exercised himself in having a conscience void of offence both towards God and towards man. "Prayer" here put for religion or religious duties in general—his duty towards God. A great part of religion consists in prayer or in communion with the Father of our spirits. Divine worship an approach of the soul to the mercy-seat. Job a man of prayer, contrary to the allegation of his friends (ch. Job ). A prayerless man is a man without religion and without God. Job speaks of

Prayer

as a matter of course, as a thing natural for a man. As natural for a man to pray as for an infant to utter cries to its mother. The natural instinct of a babe towards its earthly parent a picture of that in a human soul towards its heavenly one. Because natural, prayer is universal. Prayer to Deity in some form or other the language of man wherever found. The most degraded still sometimes prays, and pays respect to prayer when offered by another. Prayer a thing of the spirit, unconfined to time, or place, or form. In prayer, however, as in other things, the spirit seeks outward expression—in the lips, and the posture of the body, as bended knees, uplifted hands, &c. Prayer either public, solemn, formal, or private,—in the family, the closet, everywhere. "I will that men pray everywhere." Nehemiah prayed in the glittering banquet-hall while presenting, according to his office, the wine-cup to his royal master. Especial prominence given in the Bible to united prayer (Mat ; Act 12:5; Act 12:12). Prayer to be made for others as well as for ourselves. Job an intercessor (ch. Job 1:5; Job 42:10). Patterns for prayer given everywhere throughout the Scriptures. Especially found in "the Lord's Prayer." The first part of this Divine form of devotion consists in three petitions for God himself—for God's glory, His kingdom, and His pleasure; the second part, in the remaining four, for ourselves and our neighbour. Of these four, the first is for temporal benefits; the second and third for spiritual ones; and the fourth and last, for both combined.

Job declares that his prayer was "pure." Prayer "pure" when offered with a sincere heart and pure conscience. More particularly—

1. When not in hypocrisy or "out of feigned lips"; when with the heart and not merely the lip or outward posture (Isa ; Mat 15:8).

2. When not accompanied with the practice of sin. The sacrifice of the wicked an abomination to the Lord (Pro ; Pro 31:27; Pro 28:9) "If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me" (Psa 66:17). Men to lift up "holy hands."

3. When for right objects and from right motives. "Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (Jas ).

4. When addressed to the only true God (Psa ).

5. When presented in a way according to His own will, not through images or pictures, or with superstitious and humanly devised practices (Colossians 2, Col ).

6. When offered with right disposition and feelings, with benevolence and forgiveness of injuries. "Lifting up holy hands, without wrath" (1Ti ). "When ye stand praying, forgive" (Mar 11:25).

7. When made with humility through the one Mediator, and with faith in His atoning sacrifice. "To this man will I look who is poor and of a contrite spirit" (Isa ). "There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." "No man cometh to the Father but by me" (1Ti 2:5; Joh 14:6). Boldness given to enter into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus (Heb 10:19).

IV. Apostrophizes the earth in an impassioned prayer that his innocence may be made manifest (Job )

"O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place" (of concealment, or hindrance in its access to God'). Perhaps connected with the preceding: "Because I am innocent, let this be the case.'" Job, as an undeserving sufferer, regards himself as one whose blood is innocently shed. Probable reference to Abel's murder (Gen ). The narrative or document containing it well known to Job. The shedder of Job's blood either the immediate agent in his sufferings, or his friends who so cruelly persecuted him. Murder easily and often committed without actual shedding of blood. Parents often murdered by the unkindness of their children, and wives by the harsh treatment of their husbands. Words and looks kill as well as blows. Blood shed inwardly as well as outwardly,—shed where no eye sees it but God's.

Job's prayer heard. His innocence and his friends' unkindness at length revealed. No innocent blood always covered. "Murder will out" and be revenged. The blood of the slaughtered Huguenots visited on Charles IX., who died in a bloody sweat, crying: "What blood! what blood!"—and still visited in the wars and revolutions of France. A day coming when the earth shall "disclose her blood,"—the blood innocently shed on it and kept by it against a future day, and shall "no more cover her slain" (Isa ). Earth covers innocent blood till God uncovers and revenges it. Arabs say the dew never rests on a spot that has been wet with it. The innocent blood of the crucified One still speaks in heaven. Led to the sacking and burning of Jerusalem, with the slaughter and dispersion of its people. Is still visited on the outcast impenitent shedders of it. Speaks pardon and peace to all who, as guilty, take refuge in it as their only atonement and hope.

The "cry" of the helpless and oppressed never unheard. No place on earth able to hide it from God. Enters from the most humble and wretched hovel into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth (Jas ).

V. Job's consolation (Job ).

1. In God's consciousness of his innocence (Job ). "Also now (—besides the testimony of my own consciousness; or, ‘even now,' in the midst of these calamities and sufferings), behold (—strange as you may deem my assertion) my witness (—he who can and will bear testimony to my innocence) is in heaven, and my record (—the eye-witness of my upright life) is on high." Job's integrity already testified to by God in a way he was not aware of. The comfort of the righteous under oppression, that God is witness not only of their suffering, but of their integrity. God's great all-seeing eye the terror of the sinner, the comfort of the saint. The Eye-Witness in heaven will one day speak out on earth (Mat 25:31-45). A grievous trial for a good man to lie under suspicion of hypocrisy, especially with good men. His comfort in the record on high,—the Eye-Witness unseen, but seeing all.

2. In his constant tearful waiting upon God (Job ). "My friends scorn me (Heb., ‘my mockers are my friends'), but mine eye poureth out tears unto God." One of Job's great trials, that those who should have befriended and comforted him only mocked him, by dealing in wordy harangues and persuasions to repent in order to deliverance from his overwhelming troubles. His comfort in being able to turn from them to God. While his ear was stunned with their unfeeling reflections, his eye was pouring out tears to Him in whom "the fatherless findeth mercy." A relief in trouble to be able to weep, much more in being able to weep to God. Tears wept to God do not scald, but cool. The misery of the world, that they either do not weep in trouble, or do not weep to Him who is able both to pity and help them. Every tear wept to God put into His bottle. God's lachrymatory constantly filling with the tears of the sorrowful wept into His bosom. A day coming when each tear treasured up in it will sparkle as a gem in the mourner's crown. Prayers and tears the weapons of the saints. While the eye pours out tears to God, God pours in comfort and strength unto the soul. With God the eye pleads as effectually as the lips. The tearful eye an eloquent pleader when the tongue is unable to utter a word. Tears wept to God have a voice that He who sees them well understands. Those blessed troubles that open the sluices for tears to be poured out to God. Believers weep with their face to God, the world with their back to Him. Precious grace that enables a man to take his griefs and weep out his tears to God. The trouble that drives unbelievers farther from God is only driving a believer nearer to Him; as the wind that drives one mariner farther from home is wafting another nearer to it. The magnet, amid all the commotions of the earth, and sea, and sky, still keeps pointing to the north.

VI. His longing desire to have his case tried before God (Job ).

"O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour" (or, ‘O that a man might plead,' or simply as expressing the subject of his prayer,—‘that a man,—viz., himself,—might plead with God as a son of man with his neighbour'). Job's constant desire, from a consciousness of his integrity, to plead his cause with God (ch. Job ; Job 9:32-35). His aim not to establish his sinlessness, but his sincerity. His desire not to plead with God in reference to his personal acceptance with Him, but in reference to the particular matter and cause of his present sufferings. It is our happiness that we have not to plead our case with God as righteous persons, but as sinners. Even Job unable to answer God for one of a thousand charges he could bring against him (ch. Job 9:3). It is the comfort of the Gospel—

(1) That a sinner does not need to plead with God in order to establish his righteousness; God justifies the ungodly who believe in His Son;

(2) That receiving Christ as a Saviour we have one who constantly pleads for us. In Christ we have an Advocate who is God Himself while our Brother,—the Man who is Jehovah's Fellow (Zec .) Our God-man Advocate pleads not our innocence, but His obedience unto death, as the ground of our justification. Exhibits before the Divine tribunal not our tears, but His own blood. Mentions in the plea not our works, but our faith in Himself.

The reason for Job's earnest desire (Job ).—"When a few years are come (or ‘for the years numbered to me,' or, ‘my few years have come,' i.e., to an end), then shall I go whence I shall not return." The apprehension of approaching death now always present with Job. His great desire that his cause might be tried and his innocence declared before he left this world. Elsewhere he comforts himself with the assurance that even if death should intervene, God would vindicate his character and manifest his innocence (ch. Job 19:25-27). Natural to desire to see it done while living. Sad for a good man to die with a cloud of suspicion resting on his character.—Things which each ought to be earnest and diligent to have done before we go "whence we shall not return."

(1) Our own acceptance with God made sure.

(2) The salvation of our children secured.

(3) Our family and affairs rightly ordered.

(4) Peace and reconciliation sought with all men.

(5) Duties towards our family, friends, and neighbours discharged. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might" (Ecc ).

Solemn enquiry: "When a few years are come," where shall I be, and what shall be my place and experience? Like Job, I shall be done with a present world. Its joys and sorrows, its cares and anxieties, will have ceased with me for ever. Shall I be enjoying a better state? Have I a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens? Have I an interest in Christ, so as to be able to say: "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain?" Do I know that God is the strength of my heart now, and that He shall be my portion for ever? That He will guide me with His counsel while here, and afterwards receive me to glory? While my body is mouldering in the grave, shall my spirit be mingling in the songs of saints and seraphim before the throne? Am I already washed in the blood of the Lamb?

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Job 16:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/job-16.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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